Insurance fails to prevent bankruptcy
2/11/2010 6:20:34 AM
The purpose of health insurance is to provide medical and financial protection. But according to estimates, three-quarters of those who filed for personal bankruptcy due to medical problems were actually insured.As Washington pushes to cover almost every American in the proposed health insurance reform, many health-policy experts agree that having everyone insured will not fix the rough edges of the system. With many people already covered, a medical crisis would definitely mean financial calamity.Lawrence Yurdin, a computer security specialist, filed for bankruptcy even though he had medical insurance. The 64-year-old’s Aetna policy indicated up to $150,000 worth of coverage per year. However, almost his treatments at a hospital in Austin, Texas, were not covered by his policy. Last December, Yurdin and his wife filed for bankruptcy with $200,000 worth of medical bills to pay.Lawmakers are struggling with legislation details that would create minimum insurance coverage standards. With the expensive price tag, lawmakers could lean toward less comprehensive coverage for some policy holders.However, patient advocates stress the necessity of laying down basic levels of insurance coverage to protect individuals like Yurdin from bankruptcy. They also want new federal rules that would prevent some insurance firms from selling worthless and incomprehensive policies.According to Elizabeth Warren, a law professor from Harvard who studies medical bankruptcies, “Underinsurance is the great hidden risk of the American health care system. People do not realize they are one diagnosis away from financial collapse.”Republican senator Charles E. Grassley from the Senate Finance Committee points out the same thing as he emphasizes the need to make “meaningful” insurance policies more accessible and affordable. “Until that happens,” Grassley continued, “any presentation of limited-benefit plans ought to be completely straightforward, and not misleading in any way.” Author: Warren Blumberg
Government shoulders 65% of insurance premiums for those who lost their jobs
2/11/2010 6:16:53 AM
Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), the federal economic recovery plan offers a subsidy for employees who wish to continue their health insurance after job loss. As long as they are qualified for a new health insurance plan, the subsidy will pay 65% of their insurance premium for nine months.COBRA offers continuing group/business health insurance for workers who lost their jobs. Signed into law in February 2009, this new subsidy covers involuntary job loss between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009, and applies to those who were terminated for any cause as long as it was not because of gross misconduct, as set in the IRS guidelines. Workers cut in large layoffs may also avail themselves of the subsidy.In a notice, the IRS explains, “If the company would have terminated the employee’s services and the employee had knowledge that he/she would be terminated, the retirement is involuntary.” Moreover, although COBRA mostly covers offices with at least 20 workers, smaller companies or groups that are under state mini-Cobra plans may also avail themselves of the subsidy. If the employee worked in a company that pays for COBRA premiums, he/she is only required to pay 35% of the total health plan for up to nine months.Once qualified, a laid-off employee can use the Health Coverage Tax Credit, which shoulders 80% of health premiums for retirees that receive financial support from Pension Benefit Corporation. This also covers workers who lost their jobs due to technical modernization or deferral trade policies. Workers who do not qualify for the subsidy are those who have a gross income of more than $125,000 a year or $250,000 for joint filers. Author: Van Kelsey
Contrasting Health Insurance
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
When it comes
to researching health insurance plans, any person would be tempted to only
glance over the jargon and the fine print. But this method would not be
beneficial when a person is comparing the different types of health insurance.
One has to spend time carefully analyzing the various alternatives that are available. This could help
the individual save a lot of money when seeking the best insurance deal.
Health insurance comparisons are not hard to
do, especially these days. It is not necessary to call a lot of people on the
telephone since information gathered over the Internet is easily accessible. Information
about the majority of insurance companies can be found as easily as clicking a
mouse button. Aside from this, searching for information is not limited to
regular office hours only. Don’t just visit the website of a specific insurance
company – utilize comparison sites that contain a broad range of information on
health plans and their providers.
Spending enough time when dealing with health
insurance comparisons is a wise decision to make since everyone has different
needs. The health plans that the various companies offer might be similar in
their structure, their rates could be significantly different and some health
plans may have options that are not necessary to the applicant. Effective
health insurance comparisons will help the applicant decide on what health
plans will provide them greatest benefits.
Health insurance and medical treatment
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
A lot of people are allergic to something, whether it be an object or an
environmental condition. Though these allergies can be prevented, there are
certain instances wherein people come into contact with some of these things,
thus, resulting to pain and discomfort.
An allergic reaction is usually triggered by something that is not
usually harmful to other humans. This reaction is connected to the person’s
immune system and caused by a variety of things including pollen, pets,
medication and dust.
According to experts, being allergic to something is generally inherited
from the parents but it can also be caused by other factors such as changes in
the environment. Some of the most common manifestations of allergy are
sneezing, itching, swelling, and rashes.
For a doctor to identify the type of allergy a person is suffering from,
he or she should undergo a rigorous allergy exam. This would entail the
methodical documentation of one’s medical history. The person will be screened
of the different kinds of allergy-related symptoms and assessed by the doctor
in terms of how the body reacts to certain allergens.
The coverage of a person's HMO might be affected depending on the
allergy. Most medications for
allergies are not covered by the person’s insurance. However, there are other health plans that include
allergy-related illnesses in their premiums.
Health insurance exchange: a necessary means in America
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
A health insurance exchange is a venue to purchase an organized health
insurance set up, may it be governmental or quasi governmental, to assist
insurers in terms of dealing with
the policy in a cost-efficient way, to allow consumer protections, and to aid
in the expansion of insurance to more individuals. These exchanges are not insurers per se, but they are
responsible for contacting private insurers in order to present a public plan
option to cover specific individuals like those without coverage from employers
or those given coverage by small employers.
This exchange allows accountability and transparency in insurance
coverage. This also assists in
enrollment and delivery of subsidies, and takes part in spreading risk and containing
costs. But this can also increase
premium rates, force an exchange clearance, and allow cherry-picking among
customers because of restriction in terms of eligibility and a small market
However, insurance exchanges promote efficiency in the markets. Since most health insurance markets are
not organized, these exchanges could make them more structured when it comes to
seeking requirements or coverage.
The health reform initiative of the U.S. government emphasizes the
importance of a health insurance exchange. Health plan issues can be addressed as individuals will be
given the option to choose the right health plan. Prices and benefits will also be laid down for people to
assess. Health insurance will not
be denied despite a preexisting medical condition, benefit packages will be
made affordable, and those affected by catastrophes will be fully covered.
With a health insurance exchange, individuals will definitely experience
a proper health care coverage.
Healthy Lifestyle For Better Health Insurance Coverage
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
More and more Americans are foregoing individual health
insurance even if health care costs are getting more expensive. Because of
this, health care reformers, as well as politicians, have been looking for ways
to address the anxiety of consumers. There is even a proposal to link the rates
of medical plans to lifestyle choices like exercise, smoking, and dieting.
A study, recently conducted by The University of California,
shows that on the average, $72 billion is being spent for treating medical
conditions associated with smoking. A separate survey, done by the Centers for
Disease Control, shows that for health issues linked to obesity, $75 billion is
being spent. The cost for the treatment and management of the said conditions
contributes to the increase in the price of the premium paid by individuals who
are covered by a medical insurance. According to some experts, unhealthy
lifestyle choices contribute to the increase in the price of a premium so much
that they have become causative factors in making health plans unattainable for
roughly 50 million Americans.
Those supporting this plan propose that people with healthy
lifestyle choices (like those who exercise regularly, maintain an ideal weight,
avoid drugs and alcohol, and refrain from smoking) should not be burdened with expensive
health insurance premiums. Rather,
they should benefit from cheaper ones.
Even if this is a controversial proposal, rewarding a person
for his or her healthy lifestyle is an example of how people are willing to
give extra effort to lower the cost of health insurance so that more Americans,
who currently do not have medical coverage, would be able to afford it.
Individual Health Plans
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
Health insurance statistics shows that 57 percent of US citizens avail
of health plans as employee benefits from their companies and employers. The
government provides health care coverage to 29 percent of Americans through
Medicaid or Medicare.
Self-employed people, on the other hand, usually turn to private
providers that offer individual health plans.
Availing of individual health insurance is basically more difficult than
getting a group plan. With this option, policies are handed out individually resulting
in a close scrutiny of insurance companies to an applicant’s medical history.
Since health insurance companies are profit-oriented institutions, they
expect to benefit more from consumers through the monthly premium, than through
paying of medical bills.
If someone has had a pre-existing medical condition prior to its
application for an individual health plan, the insurance company will not likely
approve the application, the reason why most apply for insurance before having
Moreover, it is important for a person to disclose his complete medical
history once applying for health plan coverage. Otherwise, he may fall in the
prey of ‘rescission--’ a practice in the industry where an insurance company
may claim that it has received an undisclosed medical condition, problem, or
inconsistency about their client.
So, people must beware of agents who suggest deleting a part of the
applicant’s medical history. These people usually don’t help, as they only aim
to close the deal.
Lastly, it is important to avail of health insurance for the family as
well. Statistics shows that 60 percent of family bankruptcies were due to unpaid
medical bills. Also, there are about 137,000 Americans who died because of lack
of health insurance.
Insurance plans help cut prescription drug costs
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
Most people think of healthcare as having those bottles of pills
prescribed by their doctors, and this makes prescription drugs account for over
$230 billion of the health care expenses in the country.
Amid the rising costs of many products in the market, one should
consider the best value drugs to be able to afford the necessary medications at
a reasonable cost. It would help one to compare the prices of medicines on the
Internet to find out which options to choose from.
One of the more practical ways to cut one’s health care budget is by
choosing a medical insurance plan that covers prescription drug benefits.
Some insurance providers offer prescription drug benefits depending on
the coverage, whether one is eligible for a brand-named drug or a generic drug,
or whether the drug is included in the provider’s list.
The price of the prescription drug benefits is normally included in the
medical premiums of the insured. The copayment will also depend on the type of
medical insurance program, or what kind of drug is available, whether it is
branded or generic.
The types of available drugs vary from the costs included in the health
insurance coverage. Generic drugs are often the cheapest and brand-named ones are
usually double the price of the generic. Brand-named drugs that are not
included in the list of the insurer cost more than the usual ones.
Also, some insurance plans have prescription drug benefit that allows
the insured the option for services such as mail-order prescription. It would
just require a prescription that was written for a three-month supply of the
Medicare Advantage Part C
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
Medicare Advantage offers additional benefits of hearing, vision, dental
and fitness. It includes the Medicare program Part A (Hospital coverage), Part B
(Medical coverage), as well as Part D (Prescription drug program).
Medicare Advantage can be availed through most plans such as Health
Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Medicare Special Needs Plans, Preferred
Provider Organizations (PPOs), Medical Savings Account Plans (MSAs) and Private
Medicare Advantage offers services including all coverage in the
original Medicare plan plus the assistance on prescription drugs. Medicare
Advantage is best for employees seeking additional benefits in routine dental
check up and eye lens upgrade. Medicare Plan C also covers wider health
services in various hospitals in the country.
The state includes Part C in the premium of every employee or insured
person. Medicare Advantage offers flexible payment program for out-of-pocket
expenses compared to original Medicare. Unlike HMO that limits the options for
covered hospitals and doctors, Medicare Advantage allows more freedom in
availing special health care.
Medicare Advantage program is available for Private Fee-for-Service
(PFFS) Plan, which allows people to avail of the services through a
Medicare-approved health professional or hospital. If the insured person avails
of out-of-network services, additional charges will apply.
Medical Savings Account offers more flexible terms as it allows the
insured person to select more affordable health service fee. Prescription drugs
are covered in PFFS, while MSA requires membership to Medicare Prescription
Drug plan to avail medicine assistance.
Medicare MSA program features a bank account, which allows the insured
person to deposit certain percentage of money. At some cases, out-of-pocket
fees are needed. Special Needs Plan offers maximum coverage for senior citizens
needing nursing care, and extended health assistance. It covers all
prescription drug expenses.
Medigap and Medicare
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
Even though a
lot of people living in the United States are aware of Medicare being the federal
health insurance program that provides health plans for those over 65, they are
probably not familiar with the term “Medigap”. This stands for Medicare
Supplement Insurance, and it was designed to take care of the parts of the
healthcare coverage that have not been covered by Medicare. Medigap is ideal
for people who have medical costs that are not covered by Medicare.
Why is it a good idea to purchase Medigap for
health plans? Medicare handles two parts; Hospital insurance falls under Part
A. This helps pay for some home hospice and health care, as well as inpatient
care inside a skilled nursing establishment or hospital following confinement. Medical
insurance, on the other hand, falls under Part B. This helps pay heavy-duty
medical equipment, outpatient hospital care, physician’s fees, and other
supplies and services that are not handled by Part A.
Since some health plan expenses are not paid
by Medicare, it is advisable to get extra insurance to cover the costs like the
Part B yearly deductible, and hospital co-payments that are out-of-pocket.
Medigap can take care of the payments for co-insurance, co-payments, and the
deductibles that are not handled by either Part A or B of Medicare.
To avail of Medigap insurance, the applicant
must have signed up for both Parts A and B of Medicare health plans. If the
applicant has already signed up for a supervised care plan like a PPO
(Preferred Provider Organisation) or an HMO (Health Maintenance Organisation),
they cannot anymore avail of Medigap.
Mental Health Insurance
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
Mental Health Insurance provides mental health coverage for the insured
person and his or her children. It offers services such as counseling for children,
adolescents and adults. It has professional clinical psychology intervention,
medication, inpatient, respite care, office visits and day hospital services.
Mental Health Insurance cares for over-all family mental health with
long term assistance and guidance. It has flexible insurance payment terms and
can be modified for the person to have the freedom to pick his or her preferred
hospital and/or doctor. Managed care companies usually encourage insured
members to choose mental health professionals within their network.
the child of the insured member prefers a clinical psychologist outside the
accredited list, the HMO (Health Maintenance Organisation) will ask the insured
member to pay for the health expenses. Most companies offer alternatives on
mental health insurance plan, which allow partial or a maximum of 80% coverage on
mental health expense.
The mental health insurance plan works similarly as with the Medicare
program. Mental health insurance specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry
along with clinical intervention. Insured members similarly need to inquire about
yearly deductibles. Insured members may also ask for policies concerning
The utilization review is done by professional clinical psychologists
and nurses. It informs the managed care company or mental health provider about
the required treatment.
Parents may also request a special review in case of a child’s sudden
behavioral change. The preferred psychiatrist will coordinate with the
utilization reviewer and administer the needed treatment.
Mental Health Providers have an open customer relations program that
eases the needed counseling. Payment terms are flexible and customized
according to each client's needs.
Non-Network Services of Health Insurance Providers
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
Availing of professional health services often calls for wise selection.
Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) and Preferred Provider Organizations
(PPO) may limit options for accredited hospitals and doctors.
Some insured persons prefer to avail of private or family doctor
services, and may encounter queries on coverage plans. A wise choice for health
insurance plan is the flexibility of out-of-network health assistance.
All health services availed from non-accredited hospitals and doctors
are called non-network services. Some private specialists are not yet enlisted
among HMOs and PPOs network. HMO charges insured persons for full payment,
while PPO charges a certain percentage.
PPO plans have higher premiums, yet it allows the flexibility of a
co-payment, covering a maximum of 80% in health expenses. The insured person
needs to pay for the remaining 20% of the total health expense. Most insured
persons decide to seek professional medical services inside HMO network, as it offers
maximum coverage and faster benefit claims process. As a result, most health
insurance providers arrange payment modes to accommodate insured persons who need
special health assistance outside of the network.
Private specialists update their accreditation documents to accommodate more
insured patients. On the other hand, managed-health-care providers are creating
new means to address the changing health needs of the citizens. Special Needs
Plan coordinates with nursing facilities to widen convenience in extended
health care service. Private family clinics and pediatrics are encouraged to
complete accreditation documents to accommodate families with children needing
Professional dentists are also invited to coordinate
with Medicare Advantage arrangements. An effective health insurance provider
allows maximum coverage for medical and health care services, along with
flexibility of options and payment modes
Pregnancy issues vs. the complexity of health plans
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
Family planning has been an ongoing concern of both HMOs and advocates
of reproductive health. Both parties sometimes disagree regarding their
coverage, or their terms, when it comes to the issue of family planning. This
growing issue concerns the definition or boundary of the insurance’s
Insurance companies include in their family planning coverage the use of
contraceptives or access to it. However, there are groups and organizations
that are not in favor of their terms and coverage, such as churches and
Through different kinds of legislations, the boundaries of family
planning have been expanded, and insurance terms now cover a wider scope when
it comes to preventive measures.
Today, states require HMOs to provide their clients with a complete list
of all the contraceptives that are FDA-approved. The list includes all pills,
injectables, patches, IUDs and other types of contraceptives. Nonetheless, even
though insurance companies cover these contraceptives, employers in most states
who wish to have these scratched off their coverage are allowed to do it so. This
allows the insurance clients to have more flexible terms, and provides a wider
variety of choices for their employees’ benefits. In addition, only about 19 states
allow this kind of setup, and so it would be beneficial for religious sects to
inquire about their own federal rule beforehand.
It is important to note that state-sponsored health plans are required
to provide the people with a complete coverage on family planning as this
allows the poor to have a greater access when it comes to health care.
Protecting One’s Blindside from Cancer, Stroke or Heart Attack
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
During the last century, a number of individuals who suffered cancer,
stroke or heart attack died early. Their families mourned their death while
medical insurance companies made the insurance payments.
Nowadays, doctors are now making advances to prevent people from dying.
However, the downside to this is that people who suffered these conditions can
no longer go back to their old life. According to experts, the last 20 years
offered major advancements in science and technology. This led to major changes
in people’s lives and financial plans.
Insurance companies believe that an individual’s health and
income-earning ability are the most important assets one can have. Anyone is
vulnerable and may suffer from cancer, stroke or heart attack anytime. Given
that scenario, it is necessary to think of the things that should be taken care
of right away including medical insurance plans. In the event of a stroke
instead of death, one must plan carefully and take care of things that need to
Almost 50% of all bankruptcies in the United States are due to critical
illnesses. Once an individual is diagnosed with a critical disease, these
people often end up using all their sick and vacation leaves and their credit
cards leading to disability.
More or less, 70% of those who file for bankruptcy had medical
insurance when the disease began; however, health insurance coverage gets lost
since the insured is no longer able to pay their monthly COBRA premiums.
Thus, it is important to have a health care plan to help people
safeguard their health and protect their future.
Public-funded insurance helps improve women’s health
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
Americans have long been battling for their right to a proper and
secured health care insurance, and women are deemed to need this privilege more
since their health could be at risk during pregnancy and even before and after
According to studies, there are as many as 1.94 million unplanned
pregnancies each year that is why the government has funded family planning in
the US to prevent the number of unplanned pregnancies from rising.
These services have helped alleviate the numbers of unplanned pregnancies
and abortion among women of different ages and economic status in the US every
More importantly, women who are under these family planning programs by
the government are also entitled to health insurance programs that are publicly
Through these public-supported insurance programs, women are eligible to
receive prenatal, delivery and postpartum services that are supported by the
medical insurance program.
Since the past several years, the number of women enrolled to publicly-funded
medical insurance program has risen. Hence, early pregnancy rates among
teenaged women have dropped.
Encouraging pregnancy prevention among young women also helps them
improve their health and well being.
Moreover, publicly funded health services have a broader coverage
wherein women can avail of breast exams, diabetes and hypertension screening,
and other tests for chronic illnesses. They are also evaluated in order to
identify whether there is a need for counseling in relation to mental health or
Other important services that women can avail
of in publicly-funded family planning centers nationwide include pelvic exam,
Pap test, and even HIV testing and counseling
Save More with Health Insurance Plans
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
Getting sick is becoming more and
more costly. With the medical fees you need to pay for hospitalization, and
medicine, on top of the receding economy, getting sick is not an option.
People say that quality medical
assistance in the USA is now becoming a burden, and it seems to be true. The
price of quality health care is ten times higher compared to what it was some
few years ago.
In this situation, having a
health insurance plan is the best option. Not only because it can spare you
from expensive medical treatments, it could also give you protection just when
you need it the most. Financially speaking, it is best to be prepared at all
So how do health plans work? The
insurance company shoulders the medical expenses of their insured members if
the said member becomes ill. The policy provided by the medical insurance
company contains a list of accidents or causes of illnesses they cover. In
return, the insured member pays for a monthly premium for the said coverage.
Medical insurance are provided by both government \agencies and private
Health plans cover everything
under the policy, ranging from basic physician check-ups to advance medical
treatments like surgery. Some companies even cover medications and prescribed
drugs, thereby reducing their costs and making them more affordable. Even
visits to the dentist are covered by health insurance plans. So only for the
price of the monthly premium, a person can get his health and his life covered.
Special Prescription Plans
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
rates of prescription medication for health plans are going up, people have
started to look for some cheaper alternatives. Prescription plans offer a resolve for the
expensive prescriptions. Discounts and plans can be dramatically different.
A lot of plans offer discount cards to the
customers, and then the customers present the cards whenever they buy any
prescriptions. A yearly fee is usually charged to compensate for the health
plans, and the cards can be obtained from non-profit groups, insurance
companies, chain drug stores, and drug companies.
It is difficult to make generalizations about
the various health plans since fees are normally tiered. These fees use
discounts in varied ways that depend on the preference of the member who is
buying generic medicines or pills with brand names. One medicine may have a
discount as big as 30%, but a generic form of that same medicine may be sold at
half the price despite showing up on a similar drug organization card. If ever
the doctor gives a prescription that involves a number of manufacturers, the
individual may realize that obtaining discounts from the prescriptions may
require more than one card.
It might be a challenge to find out about all
the details regarding some health plans since prescription plans are so varied
and there are a lot of them out there. It is advisable to take some time in
analyzing the discounts that are associated with the health plans, what
medicines the health plans take care off, and what expenses may incur when
these health plans are used.
Taking Advantage of Alternative Therapy
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
the uncanny ability to remedy pain yet a lot of insurance companies still
prefer treatments involving massage and herbal supplements for their health plans.
This method of treatment is referred to as CAM or Complementary and Alternative
Medicine and there are several insurance companies that provide coverage for a
number of alternative therapies and medicines depending on the situation.
The quickest way
for an insurance company to incorporate alternative treatments in their health plan
is to formulate an excellent situation that requires a person to undergo
alternative therapy. The ideal way to go about this is to get a prescription
from the physician. Information on the frequency and length of the therapy is
necessary. Some examples of alternative treatments include homeopathy, stress
management for the body and mind, acupuncture, herbal remedies, chiropractic
care, and massage treatment.
A number of
insurers could save a lot of money if alternative medication becomes part of
their health plans. Alternative
treatments like biofeedback and acupuncture are cheaper compared to the usual
therapy for chronic back pain. To add to this, a handful of individuals
believe that usual therapies are not as efficient as the alternative ones. A
session of acupuncture, for example, costs around $200, but conventional
treatment could go as high as $600. Surgery could take away an amount close to
$10,000, but going through alternative treatments again and again could take
away just as much money as usual therapies would.
Term life insurance: Flexible insurance plan at a much lower cost
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
A lot of insurance companies nowadays are offering different kinds of
health plans to suit the needs of different people. Depending on what the
person wishes to avail of, all health care providers have flexible terms and
provisions that are deemed beneficial for everyone who wish to have their own
Since there are a lot of offerings in the insurance industry, people
sometimes get confused as to what type of insurance they will avail. Perhaps,
one of the simplest options when it comes to getting insurance coverage is term
Some may not be familiar with this type of insurance. It would be best
for people to familiarize themselves with all types of insurance for them to be
able to pick the best insurance for themselves and their families.
This type of insurance is only applicable for a certain duration or
term. The time period of the insurance coverage will depend on what the person
Although both permanent life insurance and term life insurance serve the
same purpose—that is, to provide benefits to the dependents of the insured upon
his or her death—there is a big difference between the two. Permanent life
insurance encompasses both insurance and investment. On the other hand, term
life insurance only includes life coverage. The latter is the best option for
those who are young and healthy since they will be able to avail of a much
higher death privilege at a much lower premium.
The Cost of Health Insurance
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
The US health reform created a big buzz among Americans. This issue has
produced several debates in Congress, which includes one on the cost of health
The cost of health insurance depends on the age, health condition,
income, and job status of an American.
People should be resourceful when searching for the most suitable health
plan for themselves. One may acquire online health insurance quotes from the
internet to find the best health plan that will cater to their needs.
It is also part of an employee’s benefits. Majority of companies give
health insurance to their workers. Most Americans with health insurance availed
of it through their companies.
If a company does not offer this benefit, or if you are self-employed,
you can avail of health insurance by purchasing it yourself.
There are also health plans given by state governments. Medicare and
Medicaid, for example, are government health insurance that are available to
people 65 years old and above, disabled, or those with minimal and no income.
The cost of health care insurance will depend on different things, such
as the income that you earn in a month.
Health insurance also covers premiums. These are monthly fees that are
paid by the insurance holders.
If your health insurance is provided by your company, the premium is
paid by your employer. Most of the time, it is deducted from your salary. If
you purchased your own insurance, the entire fee is your responsibility.
The Dangers of Breast Cancer
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
It is crucial
to obtain a dependable health insurance policy, especially if the person finds
out that he or she has breast cancer. It is necessary for an individual to
receive the fundamental Health Plans to keep this disease at bay.
A lot of
clinics offer mammograms and breast tests on a regular basis. This gives individuals a better chance
of overcoming breast cancer, especially if they are enrolled in an excellent
Despite of gender
or age, every human being is a likely candidate for breast cancer. The earliest
detection of breast cancer is very important because the possibility of getting
rid of the cancer is a lot higher at this point. Clinics that conduct breast
examinations and mammograms on a regular basis, as part of their Health Plans, produce
the best methods of detecting breast cancer. These tests should be performed
regularly to make sure that the cancer cells are discovered at the earliest
A lot of women
are susceptible to breast cancer. Women have to make sure that they are
enrolled under Health Plans that could offer examinations such as mammograms
and vital medical attention needed in the event of a breast cancer diagnosis.
The Important Role of Health Insurance in Diabetes
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
Diabetes is a medical condition wherein the body does not have the
capacity to produce enough insulin. This results to an increase in the level of
blood sugar. Insulin is a type of hormone produced by the pancreas and it is
needed in converting sugar to energy. There are a lot of risks involved in
having diabetes. Complications arise because of this disease. These include
kidney failure, strokes, amputation, and heart diseases.
The absence of a health plan for diabetic patients puts them all the
more at risk. Their treatment options become limited, making them candidates
It is indeed important for diabetics to get covered. Different medical
insurance companies provide ways for diabetes patients to manage their disease
through doctor visits, insulin, and the necessary medical treatments.
Furthermore, since diabetes is a lifelong illness, long term health plans are
the best choice for paying medical expenses.
There are things that should be considered by diabetics if they want to
purchase medical insurance to cover their medical needs. The policy should
cover almost all possible medical treatments and medicines needed in diabetes,
including insulin shots. The policy should also cover prescription medicines.
Get a health plan that has wide coverage.
Purchasing a health plan when diagnosed with the disease may be
difficult. However, there are laws that protect people with pre-existing health
conditions, such as The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It
is stipulated under this law that employers are required to shoulder the
medical expenses of their employees who already have pre-existing conditions.
Types of Health Insurance in America
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
Cost is an important word when it comes to health insurance or benefits.
There is a need to reduce it without compromising the quality of care. However,
this is only possible if the right system is in place.
One option is for an individual’s health care needs to be coursed
through Health Maintenance Organizations or HMOs, the solution to costly health
plans. The HMO model involves a copayment cost share scheme, in which one would
pay a general payment upon the use of a service.
The coverage of a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) is considered to
be the least expensive of all. Under the PPO, a discount could be obtained
instead of paying the regular rate. But unlike the HMO, a copay is not involved
in this program. However, it does have a deductible and a coinsurance
A POS or a point of service plan, meanwhile, is quite similar with HMO
or PPO. However, it could be more costly if a patient decides to move away from
some of its features. If a patient, for example, decides to stay in the network
of providers and seek a referral for the services of a specialist, a copayment
is applicable. But once the patient uses an out of network provider without
seeking a referral, a higher amount will be tagged.
An HSA or a Health Savings Account, on the other hand, offers different
ways for health care to be paid. It allows individuals to pay current health
care expenses and at the same time save for future health expenses, tax-free. However,
individuals must be covered by the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to obtain
Understanding POS Insurance
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
There are three
different types of managed health-care plans available. One plan offers an
inexpensive plan but has a limited choice of health care providers, while
another plan offers more flexibility but at a higher premium.
The answer to this
dilemma is Point-of-Service (POS). POS is a healthcare plan that combines the
flexibility and inexpensiveness of the two other managed health plans (PPO and
HMO). Just like HMOs, POS offers members a list of affiliate health-care providers
and they can designate a primary-care physician. The PCP takes care of
everything with regard to the health care of a patient. However, the insured is
not required to elect a PCP.
In addition, it also
includes the flexibility of a PPO. POS health plans allow members to seek
medical advice complete with their benefits from any doctor, even if the said
doctor is not affiliated with the network.
Moreover, there is no
need for pre-approval when consulting with a preferred doctor. However, a
referral is needed when consulting a non-network doctor. The insured would need
to shoulder around 40% of the total cost incurred when consulting a non-network
health care provider.
One should also keep
in mind that the medical costs incurred when checked by a PCP is less than the
costs when checked by in-house health care providers.
The POS health plan is
gaining popularity among those in search of inexpensive health care coverage
because of the combined benefits of HMO and PPO. POS is great for companies
that have employees that work at several places. This health plan gives the
impression that inexpensive and fuss-free medical care is possible.
What is HSA?
1/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
accounts (HSA) and individual health insurance help in saving money on medical
expenses. HSA also earns interest and is tax-free.
HSA is available to
those who have an eligible health-care insurance plan, which means that one’s
health plan has a high deductible. An individual can discuss HSA with his
employer, insurance companies, banks or credit unions.
People with individual
health insurance can use HSA for specific medical expenses, or HSA qualifying
expenses. There are a number of medical expenses that are covered, such as
expenses for chiropractors, orthodontists, dentists, eyeglasses and
One can also use HSA
for purchasing over-the-counter medicines such as antacids and aspirin. In addition, HSA can also be used for
paying medical expenses incurred anywhere, even in other countries.
People who have saved
money on their HSA won’t have to worry about losing it since it works just like
an ordinary savings account. If the owner wasn’t able to use the money by the
end of the year, it will carry over to the next year.
In the event that the
owner lost their individual health insurance, one can still use their HSA
despite not having a high-deductible health plan. However, one can no longer
contribute money to the HSA. The
savings in the HSA can be used as payment for the health insurance’s monthly
premiums while one receives unemployment benefits provided by the state or the
With regard to the HSA
savings contribution, a single individual can pay a maximum of $2,850/year
while a family can pay a maximum of $5,650/year.
Survey shows women shop around for healthcare.
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
A recent survey commissioned by health insurance company CIGNA has found that when it comes to health care costs women are far more likely to search for bargains, such as by using healthcare comparison sites, than men are.Kurt Weimer, who leads the companies division for individuals along with small businesses, says: “From our perspective, women have always been sort of the key decision maker in health care selection. It’s moved to the next level… Not only are they making that health care decision, now they’re looking at the economics.”The survey found that out of the 1,000 people questioned only 15% of men compare the costs of medical treatments and doctors in comparison to 20% of women. The survey also found that 79% of Women were more likely to buy the generic own brand range of medications, whereas only 69% of men would look to a generic range as opposed to the well known, and more expensive brands.Weimer goes on to say that the recession has forced mothers to take on the role of “Chief financial officer” as well as “Chief medical officer”, pointing out “If you’re like all of us, you’re looking at how to make ends meet.”Executive director of the National Association of Mothers Centers (motherscenter.org) believes that women might be feeling the pressure of the recession and downturn in the economy more so than men because they make “the bulk of the buying decisions for the family”.
Short-term insurance applications are increasing, insurers say
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Insurance companies are seeing an increase
in short-term health insurance applications this year.
Texas insurance company Blue Cross and Blue
Shield expects an increase of 33% in individual short-term health insurance applications
in the first half of the year.
spokesperson for Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Texas, said sales of individual
health plans, whether short-term or long-term, in the first half of last year, were
at a record high for the company. Sales of both types of individual insurance,
Jarvis said, increased by over 30%.
interest in getting individual health care plans, in general, and in short-term
insurance plans, in particular, is evident in the recent launching of more
short-term individual policies by big health insurance companies. Shifting from
group health insurance to temporary individual health coverage indicates the
growing number of unemployed people in the U.S.
Golden Rule subsidiary of United Healthcare in Texas launched two new
short-term health plans that are specifically designed to cater to the health
care needs of the unemployed not qualified for the subsidized health plans
under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) or those who
cannot afford it.
COBRA is a federal program
that offers up to nine months of subsidy to those who wish to continue their
health insurance after losing their job. COBRA, however, can also be very
expensive for those who do not meet the primary requirements.
insurance company, Humana, opened a new short-term insurance plan in April for
Arizona, Colorado, Alabama, Ohio, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Collins, CEO of United Healthcare Golden Rule, said temporary health plans are
necessary especially now, when the economy is not yet stable.
Increase of 95% in health insurance costs strikes Alabama
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Health insurance costs in Alabama
have increased by 95% since 2000, according to the Health Care Status report.
The report reveals that the
number of small businesses or companies providing health coverage benefits to
workers dropped by two percent since 2000. Currently, only 48% of small
employers in Alabama offer health benefits to workers.
The soaring costs of health
insurance have affected individuals as well. According to the report, 28% of middle-class
families spend at least 10% of their total income on health care.
A related study found that the
limited options offered by health insurance companies is an issue related to
these rising costs. According to the study, BlueCross-BlueShield controls an 83%
share of Alabama’s health insurance market. Roughly, 13.6% of Alabamians are
Options for health insurance are
even more limited for individuals with pre-existing conditions. In Alabama, the
costs of health insurance vary based on health status and demographic factors.
Coverage can also exclude some pre-existing conditions or even be completely
The report also
says that 16% of people in Alabama do not visit a doctor due to the high costs.
Moreover, families and businesses in Alabama pay a hidden health tax of about
$600 each year on premiums to subsidize the costs of the uninsured.
approximately 2.9 million people in Alabama avail themselves of health plans
through their jobs. Subsidized by their employers, these people have an average
family premium of $12,230.
Based on the Health
Care Status Quo report, the need for health care reform in Alabama and across
the U.S. is clear.
Difficult times for jobless and uninsured young adults
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
days, young adults are learning about individual health insurance the hard way.
Posekany, a 27-year-old nursing student, was forced to file for bankruptcy. She
underwent colon surgery and she was uninsured. Posekany is still in debt and
she owes a medical bill of thousands of dollars.
not fair," Posekany said. "We should learn how to be a strong nation
and take care of everybody."
Miletti is a 24-year-old college student. Although she survived cancer as a
child, she still has to deal with her treatment’s side effects. She was removed
from her mother’s policy, as she was already too old. For one month, she was
left uninsured. She later qualified for Medicaid, a federal-state program for
should have health insurance," she said. "I don't think it should
matter what your health problems are, how rich you are, or what your income
“the young invincibles” by the insurance industry, these young adults think
that they will never get hurt or sick.
Bernstein felt that way once, too. Bernstein became a waiter to pay off his
college loans. He also planned to get a wine-production graduate degree. He
filled his leisure time with snowboarding and backpacking.
snowboarding last April 1, Bernstein had an accident, which left his collarbone
first, he wasn’t sure if he had insurance at all. Fortunately, his stepfather’s
health plan was still able to cover a part of his $27,000 medical bill. However,
this coverage might stop before he gets well. He was diagnosed with a staph
infection. As he is incapable of working now, he still has to find a way to get
insurance before his 25th birthday, as he will be dropped from the policy of
Health insurance policies too expensive for millions of US citizens
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Expensive premium costs are
the main reason being cited by millions of US citizens as to why they cannot
avail themselves of individual health insurance policies, according to a recent
study published in “Health Day News” last Tuesday.
Approximately three out
four people want to buy a policy but are not able to get one because the cost
of the premium is prohibitive, based on a report by the Commonwealth Fund,
which is a foundation that financially supports an independent research on
health insurance reform. Around 57 percent admitted that finding coverage they
could afford is bordering on very hard to downright impossible.
A survey conducted for the
report also cited that 47 percent of the respondents said that finding the plan
with the coverage they needed was difficult or impossible. Another 36 percent
stated that they were charged additional rates or their application was denied
due to a pre-existing condition. Some companies had their condition excluded
from their coverage altogether.
The report, called
‘Failure to Protect: Why the Individual Insurance Market is Not a Viable Option
for Most US Families, compared the experiences of adults in the working-age
bracket who have employer- and individual-based private health insurance.
In the report, it was also
found that people who acquired health insurance individually pay more money on deductibles
and premiums than those with group or business health care coverage.
Among US adults who have
individual insurance, the survey showed that 64 percent spend more or less
$3,000 on premiums annually, while only 20 percent of people who have
employer-based insurance are spending that much.
Athletes and Health Insurance
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
companies are usually wary of providing coverage to athletes who want to get
health insurance. This is true despite the fact that the very active lifestyle
of athletes results in their good health. Compared to other people, athletes
eat well, exercise regularly, and get a lot of rest. Although this kind of
lifestyle could be beneficial for an athlete’s long-term health, athletes are
not immune to getting injuries.
For an athlete to improve
his performance, he usually goes through strenuous training. However, when an
athlete exerts himself too much in training, he is bound to experience its
negative effects. While pushing one’s limits can mean triumph for an athlete,
overdoing one’s training can lead to serious injuries and a visit to the
Every year, two million
adults experience injuries that are sports-related. Sciatica, concussions, bone
fractures, anterior knee pain, medial epicondylitis, rotator cuff injury, and
lateral epicondylitis are just some of the injuries commonly sustained by
Many people are finding
that getting preventative health care is becoming more difficult with the
rising cost of health care in the U.S. This is even worse for athletes who need
to regularly see health care professionals, as they strain their bodies with
exercise on a regular basis. To supplement an athlete’s fitness and nutritional
needs, regular visits to the doctor are essential in maintaining good health.
Athletes who have a health
plan can optimize their training by regularly meeting with a physical therapist
or a doctor who has experience in working with athletes. If an athlete has an
accident, he has a number of options to choose from to get physical therapy. If
an athlete has appropriate access to health care, he will find it easier to
maintain his health and to prevent expensive and possibly irreversible
Cancer Insurance 101
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Cancer health insurance is
designed to help reduce expenses for cancer care. However, it is not intended
to replace group/business or individual health insurance policies. Rather,
cancer insurance is meant to complement health plans that are already in place
by dealing with extra expenses not covered by your existing policy.
To be eligible for cancer
insurance, an individual should not have an existing cancerous condition.
People who have been diagnosed and treated for cancer are in most cases
ineligible for such a policy.
There are a wide variety
of cancer insurance policies, so it is necessary to read the documentation
carefully and understand it thoroughly before buying one. The coverage differs
based on its provider, although most plans cover both medical and non-medical
expenses. You should read it and compare it with your existing policy to check
if there are certain benefits that overlap. You also need to be aware of the
limitations of the policy beforehand.
To know if you really need
a specific health insurance plan, like cancer insurance, you should determine
the extent of your cancer risk. If you have a strong family history of cancer,
it would be wise for you to consider including this kind of insurance in your
coverage. However, if you only have an average risk of having cancer, a better
option might be to upgrade the coverage of your existing insurance policy. This
will help you save money and increase your range of benefits. Lastly, before
signing anything, make sure that you have completed a comparison check of all
the plans available to decide which policy is best for you.
Choosing the Right Insurance Plan
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
One of the most important
decisions for families is selecting the appropriate family health plan. Before
modern health plans were offered, there was only one kind of service, which is
now known as the fee-for-service option. Today, there are many plans to choose
from. Before choosing a health insurance plan, it is best to make health
insurance comparisons to know fully what are the available options. Basically,
there are two major issues that people must address when choosing a health
insurance plan: the needs and the budget.
Firstly, people must
realize that health plans do not cover everything. It is crucial to know the
needs that must be addressed to avoid spending on plans that offer irrelevant
services. After considering the type of plan to purchase, the next logical step
is to fully understand the benefits offered, as well as the plan’s guidelines.
So where do budget and
needs meet? As we all know, a teenager and a baby boomer have different needs.
It’s a good thing that every health insurance plan employs different ways to
cover different kinds of situations. After understanding the type of coverage
needed, the next thing that needs to be considered is affordability. As a rule
of thumb, the more comprehensive the insurance plan, the more expensive it will
be. Often, consumers base the type of coverage they purchase on their financial
Of course, monetary issues
are important because health insurance is just one of the basic needs that
families must address. Families also have to pay for the children’s education
and everyday needs. That is why it is very important to consider all the
factors before purchasing a health plan: in order to find a plan where price
and coverage meet.
Divorce and Health Insurance
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
It is very difficult to go
through a divorce. There are many things to worry about, and health insurance
is one of these. Health insurance coverage issues, such as continuing the
policy you had before the divorce, can be very challenging. People who are
about to be divorced may be worried about how their health insurance coverage
will be affected by the divorce. You must study the options that are available
to you. If you are satisfied with your current coverage, find out how you can
maintain it. If not, you can look for another health insurance plan whose rate
you find reasonable.
There are fewer things to
worry about when you are insured under a group health insurance plan provided
by your employer or when you have individual health insurance. In these cases,
your health insurance coverage will not be affected when you get divorced. The
bigger problem happens when you are insured under the group health insurance
policy of your spouse. When the divorce is finalized, your coverage is
terminated as well.
In this case, getting
COBRA coverage is a good option. With COBRA, you can continue your coverage
simply by paying premiums.
If COBRA coverage is not a
possible option for your use, or if you are not satisfied with your current insurance
company, you always have the option to get a health insurance policy from a
different insurance company. In some ways, doing this would be beneficial, as
you will have a fresh start with a possibly better insurance company. However,
getting a completely new policy may be difficult, as there will also be a
number of restrictions associated with a new policy.
Financing Elective Procedures
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
If you are considering
having liposuction, breast enlargement, rhinoplasty, or breast reduction you
are not alone. Plastic surgery has become very common nowadays, so that people
can now have an express treatment done over a coffee break within a busy day.
In 2006, around 11 million plastic surgery procedures were completed in the
United States. However, having an elective surgical procedure can be very
expensive. Only a very small number of individual health insurance policies
provide coverage for these procedures. An example of a covered procedure is
reconstructive surgery or if the cosmetic procedure is necessary for your
health. Usually, coverage of these procedures is only provided for special
cases, and even so, it is possible that not all of the expenses will be covered
by the policy.
Health insurance companies
usually provide coverage for elective procedures under a number of special
circumstances. These special circumstances include being in an accident
(reconstructive surgery), being excessively overweight (liposuction), having a
mastectomy (breast reconstruction), and having problems with one’s respiratory
To know whether the
elective procedure that you wish to have is covered by your plan or not and how
much it would cost you if it is not covered, you must consult with your health
insurance provider. However, it might be better for you to get another
insurance plan if the operation you wish to have is just for cosmetic purposes.
Getting a different plan could lessen the cost.
Finding Affordable Individual Health Insurance
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Finding individual health
insurance at an affordable rate is an achievable reality. There are many ways
in which health insurance can be obtained. The rule of thumb to keep in mind is
that the plans that have the most members are more likely to provide more, and
therefore better, savings for their members.
can apply for health insurance plans through the National Association for the
Self-Employed (NASE). NASE is the country’s leading resource for
micro-businesses that brings together a wide range of benefits to assist
entrepreneurs and to contribute to the growth of this important segment of the
US economy. This organization has programs known as the 105 HFR through which
small businesses are given the option to subtract all of their non-insured
medical expenses and premiums from the federal, state and self-employment
Also by simply becoming a
member of organizations such as alumni or trade associations, an employee may
secure a cheap, individual health plan. Employees should join an association
that is pertinent to their job description. For instance if the employee is a
journalist their best option is to join the American Society of Journalists and
Authors. Nevertheless, an association does not always have to be job-related in
order to be relevant to an individual. An organization can be relevant to
someone just because he is a single dad.
These associations can
offer affordable, individual health insurance plans because, unlike group
health plans, they are not intensely scrutinized by state regulations. One must
bear in mind that the premiums offered to members will not always be uniform as
is the case for premiums in group health plans.
Health Care Options for Uninsured Pregnant Women
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
According to the American
Pregnancy Association, every year, 13% of pregnant women are not enrolled in
any health plan. In addition, because pregnant women find it difficult to
purchase health plans, many of them either shoulder all the medical expenses of
their pregnancy or receive insufficient pre-natal care.
Pregnant women are
frequently denied health coverage by insurance companies mainly because
pregnancy prior to obtaining insurance is considered a pre-existing condition.
To many insurance companies people with pre-existing medical conditions, such
as cancer, liver and heart disease, are “high risk candidates” who need more
financial assistance. The law allows health insurance providers to decline applicants
who are classified as “high risk”, and many of them do so.
However, pregnant women
who do not have maternity coverage in their health plan or who do not have any
medical insurance at all still have options that can assist them with their
medical expenses. One important option for uninsured pregnant women is
AmeriPlan, an American company that offers discounted maternity coverage. For a
very low monthly fee pregnant women can have access to an array of maternity
and prenatal care services. AmeriPlan also gives as much as a 50% discount at
some health care providers.
Pregnant women with low
incomes may also seek assistance from Medicaid, a health care program funded by
the federal government. Women, Infants and Children (WIC), another
government-funded organization, provides an additional option for uninsured
pregnant women. WIC even provides grants or assistance, such as health care
referrals and even food supplements to low-income pregnant women as well as to
children under five years of age who are found to be at nutritional risk.
Health Care Plan Option: Discount Health Plan
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
A discount health-plan
organization provides its members with access to discounted health care.
Members of discount health plans pay for membership on a monthly or yearly
basis. This type of health plan also provides discounted rates on
Companies that run or
offer discount plans are not insurance companies. Discount plans are also not
insurance policies that provide broad health coverage.
Many discount plans offer discounts
of up to 40% on medical, vision, hearing and dental services. A discount health
plan is often an attractive option for those who cannot purchase health
insurance due to pre-existing conditions. Discount health plan providers,
unlike insurance companies, do not pay health care providers for their
Before enrolling in a
discount health plan, make sure that the total amount you will pay for your
membership fees annually will not exceed the money you are going to save in
discounts. It is also wise to make sure that there are enough drugstores and
health care providers in your local area and that these providers are
trustworthy. A disadvantage of a discount plan is the fact that there is no
regulatory agency monitoring discount-plan companies. Therefore, verifying whether
the company you are considering is reputable or not is often a challenge. It is
necessary to assess every aspect of the discount plan before choosing to sign
However, if you think you
will spend a lot on prescriptions and health care services over the following
year and if you do not have health insurance, a discount health plan might be
the right solution for you.
Health Insurance and Breast Cancer
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
The second most common
cause of cancer-related death in women in America is breast cancer; the leading
cause is lung cancer. One out of eight American women will have breast cancer
at sometime in their life. However, only one out of 28 American women will die of
it. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer it is important to have a reliable
health insurance policy, which will help you get the necessary health care.
With the availability of regular breast examinations and mammograms conducted
in clinics, you will have a greater chance of surviving breast cancer if you
have a good health insurance policy.
Everyone, regardless of
age or gender, can develop breast cancer. It is extremely important to detect
breast cancer early as the chances of curing it are then much higher. Regular
mammograms and breast examinations conducted in clinics are the best ways of
detecting breast cancer. These should be done on a regular basis to detect the
cancer as early as possible.
A great number of women
are affected by breast cancer. It is important that all women have health
insurance policies that not only cover mammograms, but also the necessary
medical attention that they will need if they are diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast reconstruction, mastectomy, chemotherapy and follow-up appointments with
the doctor should all be covered by the policy. By law health insurance
policies that cover mastectomy procedures must also cover breast
In 1998 the Women’s Health
and Cancer Rights Act was passed. It protects patients with breast cancer who
wish to have breast reconstruction after undergoing a mastectomy. Under this
act insurance companies and other HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) who
offer coverage for mastectomies must also offer coverage for breast
Health Insurance and Pre-existing Conditions
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
are medical conditions that a person has before he or she signs up for a health
insurance policy. The term usually has a negative connotation. A pre-existing
condition could make you ineligible for health insurance. If an individual with
a pre-existing condition is eligible for health care coverage, he or she will
probably pay higher premiums than usual.
pre-existing conditions who would like to get health insurance should not worry
as some insurers do offer coverage for people in this situation. However, a
number of restrictions may be applied. Each insurance company that offers
health plans will have a different underwriting procedure.
come in a variety of forms. Obesity, diabetes, arthritis, depression and
pregnancy are just some of the most common pre-existing conditions. Some
insurance companies have a list of the pre-existing conditions for which they
offer insurance coverage. Each insurance company as well as having its own list
will also have its own standards when it comes to offering insurance for
Usually an insurance
company will ask a newly insured person to go through a waiting period. It is
only after this period that a person’s pre-existing condition will be covered
by his or her health insurance. A number of individual health insurance
policies will ask the individual to go through a waiting period that is usually
from 12 to 18 months long. Only after this period will the company pay for any
medical expenses that arise from the person’s pre-existing condition.
Fortunately, people with
pre-existing conditions who get health insurance are protected by a number of
laws. One of these is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
Health Insurance Costs
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Nowadays, it is difficult
to find an affordable health insurance plan. The rising costs of health care as
well as those of health insurance have contributed to this. However, do not let
this discourage you from acquiring insurance or force you to get the first
health insurance plan you see. Remember that you have several options that will
still leave you with health insurance costs that you can afford.
To be able to choose the
health care insurance plan that is right for you, you will need to spend some
time looking at your options critically. Going through this process will help
reduce your health insurance costs. It is also important for you to accurately
assess the kind of health care that you need. People require different kinds of
health care depending on their age and health status.
You will be able to save
money when you get an individual health insurance plan that only covers the
kind of health care that you need. To get reduced health insurance costs, take
your time and research the various options that are available. You will find
that the differences between the prices of similar health plans from different
insurance companies can be astonishing.
These days, it is very
easy for anyone to look for health insurance plans. With the internet, finding
the best choice for you just takes a little bit of effort and time. With many
plans and providers just a click away, you can easily find a plan at an
Even though costs are
rising, you still have several options that you can choose from. You just need
to do some research and take the time to plan.
Health Insurance for Babies
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
A health plan is
definitely something to consider whenever you are about to have a baby or if
you are going to adopt. To protect the health of your baby, a health plan is
certainly necessary. To provide the new member of your family with the same
coverage as you, the best option is to include your baby in your existing
individual health insurance policy.
If you currently do not
have health insurance coverage, it would be very wise to consider getting a
health insurance policy. This would not only be good for your health care
needs, but for your baby’s needs as well. If you already have a health
insurance policy, another option would be to make its coverage level higher.
Now that you have a child, you must also ensure that you are able to maintain
your health so that you can take care of your child.
If you plan on adding your
baby to your health insurance policy, make sure that your policy will allow you
to do that. If possible, compare the increase in your policy’s premium after
the addition of your baby to your policy with the premium for a new policy.
Choose the one which is the most efficient in terms of cost.
It is also important to
understand the requirements that must be satisfied when adding your baby to
your policy. Doing this will help you stick to the rules set by the company and
thus enable the quick addition of your baby to your policy.
Finally consider your
policy options and the kind of coverage that they include. It is important that
your baby is fully covered. Immunizations, visits to the doctor and others
should be included.
Health Insurance for Children
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Insuring the safety and
health of one’s child is a top priority for all parents. It is therefore very
important to find a health insurance plan that will meet your child’s needs.
Health insurance will not only help protect your child’s health, but it will
also protect you from expensive medical fees. Frequent visits to the doctor and
check-ups are normal for children. With health insurance, you can have peace of
mind and ensure that your child is being well taken care of.
Parents usually find it
difficult to search for affordable health insurance for their children. It is
not surprising that they only want the best coverage option for their children.
Although the health care needs of a child are a primary concern of every parent,
it is also important to find a plan that will fit the family’s financial
requirements. Fortunately, it is no longer difficult to find appropriate health
insurance for one’s child.
Nowadays, parents have
many options when choosing their child’s health insurance plan. An individual health
insurance plan is one of these options, which parents can get from public and
private entities. A large number of PPOs and HMOs have individual health
insurance plans designed specifically for children. For families with a low
income, federal and state plans, such as the State Children’s Health Insurance
Program, offer individual health insurance custom-made for children.
Parents can also add their
children to their group health insurance plans if their employers provide them
with group health coverage. If you cannot access a group health insurance plan
from your employer, you can look for one through private agencies. A large
number of HMOs and PPOs offer family and group health insurance plans.
Health Insurance for Foreigners
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Every year the United
States has a large number of visitors. People come either as tourists or to
visit their relatives living in the U.S. Others also come as prospective
immigrants on various kinds of visas.
Health care in the U.S.
has become so expensive that in the event visitors get sick or need
hospitalization, it is often difficult to meet the costs. Since no one knows
when they will become ill or have an accident, it is necessary for a visitor to
enroll in a medical insurance plan, even a temporary one, covering his or her
stay in a foreign country. Medical insurance is necessary for visitors who are
staying longer, such as parents of green card holders. Older people, especially
those coming from tropical regions, cannot adapt to the cold climate as well.
The US Department of Health provides free visitor insurance
quotes and information about this topic. Medical health insurance plans usually
provide coverage for hospital stay, surgery, prescription drugs and doctor visits.
Before entering the U.S.
potential visitors should check the websites of medical insurance companies for
benefits, hospital facilities and premiums. Look for insurance companies that
offer affordable and much-needed benefits. Many visitors and new immigrants
recommend nriol.net as a source for good medical insurance agents that give
quick responses to inquiries.
Insurance companies offer
different health plans. Although there are several medical insurance plans for
travelers, these plans can be classified into two categories: Fixed Benefit
Plans and Comprehensive Plans.
Fixed benefits plans
include "Inbound USA", "Inbound Immigrant" and
"Visitors Care." Examples of Comprehensive Benefits plans are
"Diplomat Long Term Insurance", "Visit USA Healthcare Insurance"
and "World Long Term Insurance."
You might think,
especially if your stay is a short one, that traveling to a foreign country
without medical insurance is acceptable. However, although medical insurance
for foreigners may be costly, it provides peace of mind and if you should be
unfortunate and require medical treatment you will be glad that you purchased
Health Insurance for Low-Income Earners
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
For low-income earners in
the U.S., the rising cost of health care in the country has become a very big
problem. According to the Commonwealth Fund, 96% of families who earn $60,000
or more per year have health insurance that they can use to pay the burdensome
expenses of health care. On the other hand, 53% of families who are considered
to have low incomes are either uninsured or have had a lapse in their coverage.
For families without
insurance, the consequences can be devastating. Unlike persons and families
with insurance, individuals and families without insurance tend to avoid going
to a doctor. Because of high costs these uninsured individuals or families do
not get the urgent or preventative care they need. A lack of access to
preventative care often means that uninsured individuals are diagnosed with
serious diseases when they are already at an advanced stage. In addition a third of families without
insurance find it extremely difficult to pay for their medical bills.
If PPOs and HMOs are too
costly for a family’s budget, there are alternative options. These options
include the Health Savings Account and the Mini Medical Insurance Plan.
A Mini Medical Plan can
cost as little as $50 per month. This would include coverage for prescription
drugs, hospital benefits, a number of visits to a doctor and partial accident
Another relatively new and
inexpensive way to get coverage for one’s health needs is the Health Savings
Account (HSA). HSAs work when used together with a health plan called the High
Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). The premium for an HSA is significantly lower
than premiums for PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations) and HMOs (Health
BEYOND THE PHYSICAL: MENTAL HEALTH AND YOUR INSURANCE
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Americans suffer from some form of mental health issue such as depression,
anxiety or stress. The stigma that
was once so firmly attached to these disorders has significantly lifted and
many health insurers now provide comprehensive coverage for substance-abuse
treatment, therapy, in-patient care and other mental-health services.
coverage for mental-health services varies from provider to provider and across
states. Some states have laws
outlining a minimum standard of care for mental issues or substance-abuse
treatment, though many plans offer much more coverage than state minimums. Coverage for mental health or substance
abuse is typically not as comprehensive as other medical services and may
require higher deductibles or co-pays.
The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 mandates that insurance plans that
offer mental health services set dollar amount limits for this coverage equal
to those of other kinds of medical care.
The law does not, however, require all health insurance carriers to
offer coverage for mental-health treatment. Many states have parity laws, as well, so check with your
state’s insurance department to find out about regulations in your area.
potentially very many professionals involved in mental-health treatment: primary-care physicians, physician
assistants, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers,
substance-abuse counselors, therapists, nurses, etc. It is important to explore all of your options before
seeking treatment and to coordinate care with specialists through both your
primary-care doctor and your insurance company. Before you seek treatment for a mental health issue, contact
your insurance carrier and request a written outline of the services covered by
your plan. Find out if you will
need a referral from your primary-care physician, and if there are any
restrictions on the kind of care you are eligible for or the providers you have
access to. Be sure to ask about
any out-of-pocket fees you may incur while seeking treatment, whether you are
required to use in-network providers, and other options available to you
through your insurance plan.
companies offer employee assistance programs (EAP). These services can be a part of a larger health insurance
package or can be entirely separate programs. Visits to therapists or counselors are usually free, though
the number of times you can see a provider may be limited. EAPs cover preventative and diagnostic
services; many provide assistance with substance abuse, stress, depression,
family and marriage counseling. If
your employer offers an EAP, you can rest assured that any information you
share with a mental-health professional is completely confidential and your
employer never receives any information about your treatment.
Medicare and Medicaid cover mental-health and substance-abuse services. If you are eligible for either of these
programs, check with your plan representative or caseworker for more
information and help locating an approved provider or treatment facility.
states offer public mental-health services such as state-funded clinics where
payment is calculated on a sliding scale based on your income level or what you
can afford to pay. Many of these
facilities also offer financial assistance to patients who qualify.
Health Care Options for People with AIDS
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is a human immune system
disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This disease
progressively makes the immune system ineffective, leaving a person susceptible
to tumors and infections. HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous
membrane with a bodily fluid, such as semen or vaginal fluid, containing HIV.
The transmission can be transmitted through blood transfusion, sex and
Since 2007, AIDS has affected 33.2 million people worldwide and it has
killed more than two million people, including an estimated 330,000 children.
And while this virus progressively makes your immune system weak, being
infected with HIV weakens your body’s capability of fighting against other
disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
AIDS and HIV have no cure but treatments can slow down the course of the
disease. People with HIV or AIDS should undergo the Antiretroviral treatment
that reduces both the morbidity of HIV infection. However, aside from being
expensive, these drugs are not available in many countries.
If diagnosed with AIDS, getting a health plan or being enrolled in a
health program is indeed necessary.
There are some programs that provide assistance to people with AIDS. The
AIDS Health Insurance Program (AHIP) is designed for those with AIDS or any
HIV-related disease but not eligible for Medicaid and cannot afford an
insurance. The AHIP pays for your health insurance premiums but excludes deductibles
To qualify, you must be ineligible for Medicaid and should have an
insurance plan during the time of application. Monthly income should also not
be higher than $2,096 for a household of two or $1,559 if single.
If your income disqualifies you from the AHIP program, you may also apply
for the ADAP Plus Insurance Continuation Program (APIC). APIC, which started in
2000, is administered by the AIDS Drug Assistance Program of the New York State
Department of Health. The program assists in paying health plan premiums of
people with HIV. Individuals with an annual gross income of $44,000; a family
of two with up to $59, 200; and a family of three or more with $74,400 may
qualify. For individuals and families, the resource limit is about $25,000. If
you are not qualified for AHIP but think you can qualify for APIC program, call Client
Advocacy Helpline at 212/367-1125 from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.
AHIP does not count assets in determining eligibility. However, AHIP examines
the income generated by the assets of the applicant. When determining
eligibility, the income of the applicant’s assets is added to his or her
show proofs for eligibility. These include: birth certificate, naturalization
certificate, green card or passport for proof of citizenship; SSI/SSD award
letter, unemployment benefits statement or pay stub for proof of income; letter
of diagnosis from doctor or M11Q form for medical documentation; and insurance
premium or COBRA statement for verification of health insurance; and insurance
If diagnosed with
AIDS or HIV, you should apply immediately or before your current health plan
coverage ends. If you lose your health policy, AHIP will require you to
purchase a new insurance.
To qualify, you must
be able to complete the Medicaid application process. A relative or a friend
can also apply for you and give you all your required AHIP documentation.
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
insurers decline coverage for experimental medical treatments simply because
there is not enough evidence of success to warrant deeming them medically
necessary. Because these
treatments and medications cannot be established as effective for a large group
of patients, the cost of covering them is not justifiable. Yet for many patients, these
investigative treatments and cutting-edge medications represent real hope for
improved health. If you have been
denied coverage by your health insurer, request a written statement of exactly
why your desired treatment has been rejected. This will give you a starting point for working with your
company and your doctors to get coverage for the treatment you seek.
seeking experimental or investigative treatment, you are your own best
advocate. The first step is to
establish that the treatment is indeed medically necessary in your particular
case. To do this, gather evidence
to support positive outcomes resulting from the procedure or medication. It is important to collect scientific
or anecdotal support explaining that the treatment has been effective for
others with your condition. However, it is more important to establish that you
have personally exhausted all other options. If you can show that traditional treatments or medications
have not worked for you or have ceased working, this can go a long way to
convincing your health insurance carrier to consider alternatives. Furthermore, if you have been able to
pay for your desired experimental treatment out of pocket or have participated
in a clinical trial and have had positive results, showing documented proof of
this can lend further credence to your case.
yourself in the terms and language of your health insurance policy. Read your policy carefully to determine
how your insurer defines experimental treatment. If the terms of your policy are vague, this ambiguity can
work in your favor. Your
particular therapy may not be categorized as experimental, even if your claim
has been denied. If your health
plan includes coverage for prescription medications, find out if your state has
laws regulating off-label uses of approved drugs. In many states, health insurance providers who offer prescription
drug coverage are required to pay for any and all uses of the medications
included in their plans, even if the treatments are non-traditional and as long
as those uses can be proven to be effective or are supported by the scientific
As a last
resort, plead your case in terms of economic common sense. Would it be more cost efficient for
your insurer to pay for experimental treatment or a traditional course of
therapy? Could the investigational
treatment be cheaper than not treating your condition at all? Will the experimental treatment prevent
a more serious, and potentially more expensive, condition from developing? Work with your primary-care physician
or specialist to determine the answers to these questions and take them to your
insurer for consideration.
want experimental or investigational treatment for a medical condition, it is
important to educate yourself, advocate for your health and work with trusted
healthcare providers to help you get the coverage you need.
Health Insurance for People with Mental Illness
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Mental health refers to how we feel, think, and act while coping with
life. It also determines the way we handle stress, make choices, and how we
relate to others. Everyone gets anxious, sad or worried sometimes. But, people
with a mental disorder find it hard to control these feelings, and often these
feelings interfere with their daily lives. Fortunately, these disorders—schizophrenia, phobias,
depression, bipolar disorder and many others—can often be treated. Therapy and
medicines can improve the lives of those with mental disorders.
In the U.S., having a mental illness is very common; one in five
families has a member with a mental illness. And, with the rising number of
people with these disorders, getting mental health insurance has quickly become
a hard-fought issue. As of 2003,
many states have passed laws that require insurers to offer mental health
coverage, although a few may offer minimal coverage. Some states also have laws
that regulate insurance parity to ensure that mental health coverage is as
strong as physical health coverage. Lawmakers are still working on the national
bill to improve health parity, hoping to regulate the mental health coverage
offerings of insurance companies.
So, what are the necessary benefits one must be aware of in getting
mental health insurance? Until
now, many mental health plans offer policy holders a limited amount of doctor
visits and the deductible amount. But, before shopping for mental health
insurance, it is best to first check the state laws to know what your rights
are. In most cases, the coverage for mental illnesses requires a higher
deductible and co-payments compared with the physical health insurance. If this
is the case, try looking for cheaper options. If you have other insurance
provided by your employer, an MSA, or a medical savings account may be the best
choice for you.
People working for small businesses, with 50 or less workers, can access
an MSA. An MSA is also available
to self-employed individuals, provided they have a high-deductible health plan.
Medical savings accounts can be used in mental health treatments along
with your high-deductible health insurance plan, provided that it is your only
health insurance. You may pay as much as $1,600 or more annually for every
individual, and as much as $3,200 per family. MSA can be used in paying your health care costs, provided
that you are not in between jobs and do not have an income. The amounts you
deposit into your MSA are tax-exempt, and you can also claim the amount you
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is also another option for mental
health coverage. An FSA works the same as an MSA except that these can be used
even without a high-deductible insurance plan. Workers whose employers offer a high-deductible plan are
qualified to get an FSA. The disadvantage of this option, however, is that
unused money cannot be withdrawn for non-medical expenses.
As the number of people diagnosed with mental illness increases, the
need for mental health plans also increases. It is necessary to stay informed
of new laws and health insurance company policies.
HEALTH INSURANCE FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
million Americans are without health insurance.
Health Insurance in California
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Although California ranks second in terms of
the highest number of uninsured children in the U.S., California is still one
of the top states in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality list. It
offers exceptional home health care and pain management quality.
Individual Health Insurance policies in
California have different rules. One can be denied from getting health
insurance because of pre-existing conditions, unless he or she is eligible for
HIPAA. HIPAA eligible individuals cannot be denied individual health insurance
and cannot be provided with pre-existing condition exclusion periods. They also
do not have limitations on their health care insurance costs.
According to the California Department of
Insurance, people with individual or group insurance that have no breaks in
coverage for more than two months, must receive credible coverage from the new
insurance company for their previous health insurance. Moreover, in California,
individual health insurance cannot be cancelled if the policy holder gets
California also offers the Major Risk
Medical Insurance Program that covers individuals for 36 months, who cannot
afford individual health insurance policies because of a pre-existing health
condition. But, after the given period, individuals who accessed the Major Risk
Medical Insurance Program will be guaranteed an individual health insurance
policy. This health insurance must cover all the policy holder’s medical needs
for their pre-existing health condition, but with limits on their treatment
The state also offers the Medi-Cal program
to assist those with limited income.
Moreover, families with children who are 18-years-old or younger and who
do not have health insurance may also purchase health insurance policies
through the state’s Healthy Families insurance program. Eligible middle-income
mothers and infants can also access affordable health plans through Access for
Infants and Mothers.
Moreover, individuals, even those with a
pre-existing health problem who apply for a group health insurance plan, cannot
be denied. This means that if you change jobs, you cannot be denied group
health insurance at your new job. You will also not be charged any extra fees,
as long as you meet certain requirements.
In addition, small businesses with a small
group of employees cannot be turned down by insurance companies. But, if one in the group has a disease
or has pre-existing condition, the insurer may charge a higher premium for the
health coverage of the group. Small businesses with two to 50 employees or any
business of any size may also purchase cheaper health plans through a statewide
alliance or trade association. The
California Department of Insurance has the list of associations one may join
for the purpose of purchasing cheaper health plans.
Pregnant women, who had group insurance for
three months and suddenly lose it for certain reasons, may also get health
coverage through some state programs.
Self-employed individuals in California
cannot enjoy the health benefits provided by group health insurance, although
they are allowed to join certain associations that may assist them in paying
for health coverage.
Health Insurance: Prevention and Treatment of Prostate Cancer
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Aside from skin
cancer, prostate cancer is the major disease that affects many men in the
United States. Erectile dysfunction and difficulty in urination are the
symptoms of prostate cancer.
One of the most
important risk factors that concern the development of the disease is age.
Research show 70 percent of those diagnosed with prostate cancer are 65 years
old and above. Research from the American Cancer Society also reveals that most
of those diagnosed with this disease are African-American men. Genetic factors
are also considered a risk factor. The number of relatives diagnosed with
prostate cancer may correlate with one’s chance of developing the disease.
Insurance’s role in detection of Prostate Cancer
cancer has affected hundreds of thousands of Americans, many researches have
been done on prostate cancer. These researches reveal that men covered by
health insurance are less likely to die from this disease. But this does not
mean that men with health policies do not develop prostate cancer. The
difference is just that these insured men diagnosed with prostate cancer have
access to medical care, had examinations that detect the disease early, and had
a health insurance plan, make sure that the policy you are getting offers
prostate cancer preventive care, and options for prostate cancer treatment.
that men over 50 years old, those whose family has a history of prostate cancer,
and those who are considered “high risk” are advised to have an annual exam to
detect prostate cancer. Detection of prostate cancer at an early stage enables
one to have early treatments to prevent the spread of cancer. Preventive
detection examinations for prostate cancer are: digital rectal exam and blood
test called prostate specific antigen testing. Many insurance companies offer
policies covering these preventive exams. Moreover, many states also require
insurers to provide coverage on prostate cancer treatments.
Talking to a
health care professional may help you see whether your health care policy
offers coverage for preventative exams on prostate cancer. If it does not, it
helps to purchase a health plan that does.
There are two
popular ways in treating prostate cancer: radiation therapy and surgery. Many
health insurance plans cover both; if not, however, at least to some degree.
Coverage differs depending on the plan, thus, if purchasing a new health plan,
make sure to talk to a health insurance representative to understand the
coverage of your plan and the payments.
prostate cancer is a threat to your health. Since early detection and
preventive care is a life saver when it comes to any disease, a comprehensive
health insurance plan is indeed necessary.
companies offer many options. Even if you already have the traditional health
care plan through PPO or HMO, it may be of help for you to explore the benefits
you can get from new health care options, including the High Deductible Health
Plan. This plan, along with Health Savings Account or a Health Reimbursement
Arrangement, offers a traditional medical coverage that is tax free. This helps
saving funds for future medical expenses. Like any health plan, getting this
type of plan also has advantages and disadvantages. Thus, talking to a health
care professional before purchasing one is necessary.
Health Insurance: Fighting Against Breast Cancer
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
In the U.S., breast cancer is a major cause of cancer-related death in
women, second only to lung cancer. The percentage of breast cancer occurrences
is high, with one in every eight women suffering from the disease. However,
only one in 28 breast cancer patients die from it. Because breast cancer, like
any other type of cancer, is one of the most costly diseases that require
frequent treatments, having a solid health insurance plan helps you access the
medical care necessary for overcoming this disease. Solid health insurance
provides a better chance of fighting breast cancer, with access to treatments
and early detection exams.
Breast cancer results from an uncontrolled growth of cells in the
breast. These abnormal cells may also spread to nearby tissues and organs. The
growths the cells form are called tumors.
Tumors can be benign or malignant. While benign tumors do not spread and
are harmless, malignant ones invade nearby organs.
Both men and women can have breast cancer. Breast cancer may be cured if
detected at an early stage. The best way to detect this disease early is
through mammograms and breast exams. Women below 40 years old are advised to
have a mammogram every three years, while women who are 40 years old and above
should have this type of exam every year. Although breast cancer can be
prevented, some uncontrollable risk factors may cause the development of the
disease. The most important risk factor is having a family history of breast
cancer or any type of cancer. Some lifestyle-related factors including not
breastfeeding and having children at the risk age (30 years old) or beyond may
also trigger the development of the disease.
Since breast cancer is a disease that affects many women, it is necessary
for women to make sure that their health plan covers mammograms and other
medical treatments and exams that may be necessary if diagnosed with breast
cancer. Make sure that you purchase the right policy—one which covers
chemotherapy, breast cancer reconstructive procedures, mastectomy, and doctor
appointments. By law, if a woman’s
policy includes coverage of a mastectomy, it must also provide coverage for
reconstructive surgery as well.
Insurance for Breast Cancer
Individuals with cancer, whether it be breast or lungs, are considered
“high risk” to health insurance providers. With different and more
comprehensive medical needs, one insurance option for breast cancer patients is
the high risk insurance, which is almost the same as individual health
insurance, but generally covers comprehensive medical plans with a wide range
of deductible options. A Preferred Provider Organization plan is the most
common coverage option for “high risk” individuals. The Health Maintenance Organization plans are also available
in many states.
Women’s Health and Cancer Rights
Signed into law in 1998, the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act was
designed to assist breast cancer patients who, after a mastectomy, choose to
have reconstructive surgery.
Under this law, HMOs and other insurance providers that provide coverage
for mastectomy procedures must also cover breast reconstructive surgery after
the mastectomy. Breast
reconstruction includes the reconstruction or augmentation of the affected
breast to provide a similar appearance with the other breast, breast
prosthesis, and treatment or therapy for complications that may arise after
Health Insurance: What Immigrants Should Know
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
In the United
States, a big portion of the immigrant population is uninsured. Approximately
50% of the non-citizens do not have health insurance. Purchasing a health
policy can be difficult for immigrants, considering the fact that most of
immigrants do not have high-paying jobs or work that provide them with health
insurance packages. There are a few choices for immigrants to have access to
cheaper health care. But it is necessary to take note that immigrants may not
be eligible for health care programs administered by the government.
helps assist people with low income, many uninsured non-citizens with low
income are still not qualified for Medicaid in some cases due to some
restrictions. The Personal and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA)
restricts legal immigrants from getting health benefits like Medicaid. Under
this law, non-citizens who are living in the United States for not more than
five years are not qualified for federal health care programs. Even after five
years of stay, they can still be ineligible for these programs if they do not
meet the income requirement. Immigrants who are undocumented are also not
eligible for Medicaid.
children immigrants cannot avail themselves of the health care benefits the
State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) offers. In the same case with
Medicaid, PROWRA restricts immigrants from getting SCHIP benefits in the first
five years of their stay in the US. They may still not qualify for the SCHIP
for an extended period because of economic factors.
these restrictions, it is easier for immigrants to purchase private health
insurance only if they have sufficient income. Immigrants with higher income
may find private health plan the best option if their employer does not provide
them with health insurance benefits.
So, what are
the options for immigrants?
immigrants in the US can choose to buy group plans to save money. Group plans
use some medical networks such as Health Maintenance Organization (HMO),
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), and the new Health Savings Accounts
an HMO, you need to live in close proximity to where you are required to visit
your primary care physician. An HMO plan is usually less expensive. Similarly,
the PPOs and POSs use a medical network but offer a wider geographic area.
Although PPO and POS encourage you to use health care within the network, with
these plans, you may also be allowed to use out-of-network physicians. PPO and
POS plans, however, are slightly expensive than HMO plans.
Savings Accounts work similarly but it only requires a high deductible health
plan and charges lower premiums. The money you saved with lower monthly
payments is deposited into your Health Savings Account which you can use for
your medical fees. For more information about the possible health plans you can
get, talk to health care experts.
It is very
important for all residents in the US, whether born there or immigrated, to
have the means to pay for health care. In this country where health care costs
are soaring at an alarming rate, getting a solid or comprehensive health plan
helps a lot in reducing the burden of these costs.
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
costs can be quite daunting. That is why there is health insurance, to help you
alleviate any pain or sickness you might have without breaking the bank. Health
insurance policies are available in most companies. Generally, employees
acquire this as soon as they become part of the company. Most employers avail
their employees with health insurance policies, which are often structured as a
managed care plan. These plans benefit employees with health care treatment and
medical facilities at low costs.
insurance policies can also be acquired through the government, like Medicare
and Medicaid. If you are able to meet the requirements of the government, these
policies can be made available to you.
understanding about health insurance policies here are a few details:
What health insurance covers
A health insurance policy
is a written agreement between the insurance company and you, in which you can access
certain benefits, such as drugs, tests and treatment services. The insurance
company agrees to handle the cost of certain benefits that are in your policy.
These are called "covered services."
The insurance company also
lists in your policy the forms of services that are not available to you. In an
event that you suffer from a sickness or accident that is not covered by your
policy you have to pay for the medical care that you acquire.
What a medical necessity is
A medical necessity is
different from a medical benefit. A medical necessity is what a doctor will
deem as necessary. A medical benefit is something covered in your insurance
policy. There might be incidents that your doctor might decide that you require
medical care that is not available in your insurance policy.
The insurance company will
decide what drugs, services or tests they will avail to you. They base this on
what kind of medical care each patient needs. This might mean that the drug,
test or service that you require is not available in your policy.
What you should do
You should ask your doctor
to study your insurance coverage carefully so that he/she can give you the treatment
that is most appropriate for your coverage. Since there are so many insurance
plans it is wise to study the details of each plan. When you have studied your
insurance policy, you can help your doctor by suggesting medical care that is
appropriated to your plan. Here are a few tips to better understand your
Read and learn your insurance policy. It's wiser
to know what your insurance company will pay for before you get tested, receive
a service or fill a prescription. Your insurance company will have to
approve the kind of care that you need before your doctor can give it to
you. Forward your queries to your insurance company
and ask a representative to clarify it with you. Always be mindful that your insurance company,
not your doctor, decides what will be paid and what will not.
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Today’s economic downturn has affected many aspects of
people’s lives. Even purchasing a healthcare insurance plan became troublesome
when it comes to finding the best plan at an affordable price. But despite this
dilemma there are still ways for you to purchase a health insurance policy that
will cover your basic needs at no burdensome cost. Here are a few ways to
acquire the health plan:
Exhaust all options in your employer plan
If you acquired your insurance policy through your
employer, study your coverage yearly when your company offers open enrollment.
options with your policy. Find out what it doesn’t cover and what it does.
Determine what kind of service or treatment it offers and see if you can
add more to it without breaking the bank. Study your deductibles,
co-payments, lifetime maximum benefits, limits on out-of-pocket expenses
and lifetime maximum benefits and prescription coverage.
your medical needs have altered. A plan with a lower co-payment but a higher
premium is more advisable for people with health problems.
You can pay for health-care
expenses with your own money by using a flexible spending account with pretax dollars, which means that the US government will pay
for a third of the tab.
You can adjust
the price of your premium through employee incentives, like quitting
smoking, losing weight and exercising regularly. People with a healthy
lifestyle have lower premiums.
Less costly ways to purchase a health
The health savings account is another way to pay for
medical expenses from your own pocket. You can get an HSA through an employer
if you purchase a high-deductible health insurance.
$2,900 is the
maximum contribution of the HAS to individuals, while $5,800 is for
adults. Your contribution is either deductible or pretax, even if it’s not
itemized, and withdrawals and earnings for medical expenses are tax-free.
In this plan
your money is invested, and what you don't spend will move over to the following
year. If you change jobs you can take the account with you.
eHealthInsurance.com or HSA Insider to look for insurance that qualifies
as highly deductible under IRS regulations.
The maximum age
to make contributions is 65; afterwards taxable withdrawals for any
purpose are permitted.
For those who have a hard time coursing
through the economic slump
Do not let insurance coverage lapse if you’re between
jobs. If you’ve neglected to attend to your insurance policy and you’ve been
without coverage for 63 days some provisions of the federal law will not apply
to your policy.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, COBRA, of 1985,
permits you to retain group coverage after the end of your job, for 18 months,
but you will pay the entire premium. You should know about your rights under the
state and federal law.
You can keep on
contributing to your flex account under COBRA, giving you more chance to
use the money.
You can use your
HSA to pay COBRA or other health insurance premiums if you're receiving
circumstances, you can make penalty-free withdrawals from an IRA to pay
premiums if you're unemployed.
HOW TO OBTAIN THE BEST MEDICAL COVERAGE TO MEET YOUR NEEDS
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choosing a health insurance plan it is important to honestly assess your
current health, your risk factors for future conditions, and your budget. Plans vary in terms of services covered
and cost, but remember that the cheapest premium or the greatest number of
covered benefits does not always mean the best value. Obviously, the goal is to choose the plan that will cover the
services you need at an out-of-pocket price you can afford. This is what determines the best
insurance value for your money.
insurance plan will cover doctor and hospital bills, with varying
limitations. Virtually everything
else—prescriptions, vision care, dental care, mental health treatment,
preventative care—may or may not be covered depending on the plan. It is important to make a list of the
services you and your family regularly use. Once you’ve made your list, note the benefits for each
category as laid out by the plan you are researching. For example: prescriptions,
50 percent covered; pediatric care, 100 percent covered; eyeglasses, not
covered; etc. This will help you
identify healthcare plans based on the services you actually need and use, and
will help you determine how comprehensively each plan will meet your particular
tight economy, we are all concerned about the bottom line. If you are in good health and do not use
any medical services, your out-of-pocket costs will be limited to your monthly
premium. If you regularly use
several medical services, your actual out-of-pocket expenses may be hard to
gauge since you will have to factor in deductibles, co-pays, excess charges,
and payment for treatments that are not covered. The cost for joining a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
is fairly easy to estimate as patient fees are fixed and nearly everything is
covered once the premium has been paid; so long as services are rendered by an
approved network provider. For
other types of medical insurance, doing an accurate cost evaluation can be more
difficult because out-of-pocket expenses are based on whether you seek care
within the organization’s network or choose an outside provider or treatment
insurance plans limit patients’ choice of providers to a list of approved
doctors and specialists. Some
plans require patients to seek approval before getting treatment or using
services. If you have special
needs or are already established with a trusted physician who does not
participate in your new plan, you may want to reconsider changing your
insurance. You will have to pay more out of pocket—sometimes even the total
cost of care—if you want to continue to see your own doctor. Financial inhibitors linked to policy restrictions
include higher out-of-pocket fees like co-payments, deductibles, and increased
patient responsibility for services not covered by the plan.
make a decision about medical insurance, be sure to educate yourself about all
the benefits, costs, and restrictions of a particular plan to help you
determine the best value for you and your family.
MAKING THE DECISION TO PURCHASE HEALTH INSURANCE
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The high price
of health insurance can be intimidating, deterring many people from taking on
the additional expense, especially during these difficult financial times. However, even a minor motor-vehicle accident
resulting in injuries can run up expenses that may seriously drain personal
savings. In the long run, not
having any medical coverage can cost much more than paying a monthly health
to a 2008 survey conducted by the Kaiser Foundation, the average cost of
employer-sponsored health insurance for an individual was about $4,700 per
year; the cost for a family of four was just over $17,700. For those who do not have the benefit
of a health plan through an employer or spouse’s job, the cost of purchasing an
independent individual or family plan can be considerably higher. If you are thinking about buying health
coverage on your own, use these figures as a baseline for your own research.
comes time to comparing plans and prices, be sure to keep in mind the factors
that may affect your final premium.
These include age, gender, health history, location and the type of plan
you select. Because older people
typically require more medical treatments and preventative care, most health
insurance plan premiums jump significantly for consumers over the age of 50. Females can expect to pay more for
health insurance, though the exact reasons for this are unclear. A history of good health translates
into lower premiums, while some pre-existing conditions could exclude you from
coverage altogether. Prices for
health plans vary from state to state, so your residency could also have an
impact on how much you will pay for coverage.
begin your search, check the Internet for online health insurance quotes. Your initial quote will take into
account only your most basic information:
your age, gender and state of residence. This figure is meant as a starting point only and may not
give you a comprehensive picture of your final cost. Once you have made a decision about the kind of plan that
best suits your needs, you will complete an application and receive a more
accurate final quote. The
application will likely include detailed questions about your health history
and any pre-existing medical conditions; some health plans may even require a
doctor’s physical examination or basic medical tests. The number generated by this second quote will be much more
representative of what you can expect your monthly premium to be.
if you prefer not to go it alone when purchasing health insurance, you can
always turn to a reputable broker.
These insurance experts will have expert knowledge of the market in your
particular area, as well as personal relationships with several insurers that
will help you make a truly informed decision. You can also visit your state’s insurance department website
for more information about the rules and regulations specific to your location,
or to explore state-sponsored healthcare plans you may qualify for.
SHORT TERM HEALTH INSURANCE: IS IT RIGHT FOR YOU?
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
health insurance, sometimes called major medical coverage, is a category of
health plans offered by private insurance companies that protect otherwise
healthy people from the possibility of a serious health crisis that could cause
severe financial hardship. Short
term insurance is meant to be just that—temporary—and can be a viable option
for people in transition.
term policies can only be purchased for a specific, predetermined period of
time, usually up to six months.
Some companies do offer policies with longer terms, though, some up to a
year or more. Coverage ranges, but
is generally focused on treatment in the event of a significant accident or
injury. Plans that offer more comprehensive
coverage are generally much more expensive than catastrophic plans, making them
a less popular option for many customers.
medical insurance policies often have very strict qualifying standards and
usually do not cover pre-existing medical conditions. These types of temporary polices are not a good fit for
patients who require extensive or long-term care for an illness or injury, or
for those who are looking for a policy that encompasses a variety of services. Short term policies generally do not
cover things like mammograms, physicals, immunizations, pregnancy or
childbirth, dental, or vision care.
All plans also clearly exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions,
defined as an injury or illness that has been diagnosed or treated within the
previous three to five years.
Purchasing a short term plan also negates a patient’s eligibility for
participation in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA). HIPAA plans cover
treatment for pre-existing medical conditions that would make it difficult for
patients to find other kinds of health insurance. Patients who qualify for HIPAA should not consider short
term medical insurance.
term medical insurance is not meant to be a lasting solution to health coverage
needs, it can be a smart choice for many people. This type of coverage is best suited to those between jobs,
those waiting for insurance from another source such as a new job or spouse’s
plan, for early retirees who are not yet eligible to enroll in Medicare, and
for recent college graduates, discharged military personnel, or the recently
divorced. The application process
is relatively simple and involves a few basic questions about medical history;
coverage usually begins immediately, sometimes within 24 hours of application
approval. Most plans offer
flexible payment options with a wide range of premiums and deductibles to
choose from. Policy holders
typically have the freedom to choose their own doctors and hospitals without
restriction, though sometimes financial incentives are offered—in the form of
lower co-pays and fewer out of pocket expenses—for seeking treatment with
short term or major medical policies are not for everyone. Yet for already healthy people looking
for an affordable safety net to protect their assets in the event of a
catastrophic injury or illness these plans are an excellent fit.
TEN TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
CARE DOCTORS: Some health
insurance plans require patients to use only those doctors included in a
limited network of providers and you’ll have to pay more of your own money to
see someone outside the network.
If you must choose a new doctor, research credentials and background
information through the American Medical Association website.
SPECIALISTS: If you have an existing condition you
are currently being treated for or anticipate you will need specialized care in
the future, find out how the plans you are considering deal with this. Some insurers require a referral from a
primary care doctor in order to approve specialized treatment, while other
plans let you choose your own specialists as you see fit. You should also find out if your plan
requires specialists to be part of a network of approved providers.
CONDITIONS: Health plans vary in
coverage for pre-existing conditions—some cover them 100 percent, some exclude
them totally, some fall in the middle.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
guarantees coverage for existing medical conditions if you are forced to join a
new plan through an employer or if you were insured for at least 12 consecutive
months by another carrier, regardless of your current health status.
CARE AND HOSPITAL STAYS: Find out
what treatment facilities are covered by your plan. You should also find out how your plan defines an emergency
medical situation. Some insurance
plans set restrictions on urgent care, and some require patients to contact
their primary care provider before seeking emergency treatment.
CARE: Will your plan cover things
like yearly physicals and health screenings? If you have dependent children you will need to know if the
plan pays for things like well-baby visits and immunizations.
PRESCRIPTIONS: If you currently take prescription
medications, or think you might someday need them, consider plans with good
prescription drug coverage already built in. Find out which prescriptions are covered, whether you have
the freedom to choose generic or name brand drugs, and what costs you will
incur out of pocket for your medications.
AND GYNECOLOGICAL CARE: For women,
you will want to find out if your plan covers routine gynecological care. If you are thinking about having
children, find out if your plan covers fertility treatments, prenatal care, and
labor and delivery costs.
SERVICES: Some patients may also
be interested in seeking coverage for things like substance abuse, mental
health, home health services, hospice, experimental medicine, and alternative
or homeopathic treatments. If any
of these areas are of interest to you, be sure to research plans that offer the
type of coverage you want.
COST: Be certain you understand a plan’s fee
structure, premiums, deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, and lifetime maximums
before you make a decision.
RESTRICTIONS, LIMITATIONS: Now
that you have educated yourself about what your plan will pay for, make sure
you ask about anything that will not be covered. These exclusions and restrictions can run up high out-of-pocket
expenses quickly if you are caught off-guard.
Tips to Keep You Afloat In Spite of Losing Your Health Insurance
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Due to the current economic state
of the world, hundreds of people are being laid-off. In addition to that, some
employers are reducing or eliminating health benefits, which lead to several people
having no health insurance policy. In order to survive these trying times, here
are a few tips on how to keep your health insurance policy:
1. In the event that you get laid
off, use COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus
Budget Reconciliation). COBRA gives you the opportunity to keep your health plan for 18 months even
when you have lost your employer health coverage. As long as your health plan
is still in existence COBRA can let you use it. You can qualify for some health
insurance that your employer is offering if his/her business is still operating.
Despite it being expensive COBRA is much cheaper than individual or private
health insurance plans.
2. Living healthily will
definitely aid you in times of economic struggle. By living healthily you have
a better chance of avoiding sickness and therefore not having to use your
health insurance policy.
3. Consult your doctor about
discounted fees or certain treatments and drugs that are more affordable.
4. Try to live with lesser
stress. Stress is one of the major killers and you shouldn’t take this lightly.
A stress-free life means lesser trips to the doctor and lesser chances of using
that health insurance policy. So exercise regularly, sleep early and avoid
stressful situations. Also try getting into yoga and other activities that help
the body relieve stress and promote well-being.
5. Quit smoking. Smoking has
always been harmful to your body and it doesn’t take a genius to know that once
you stop smoking the better you will feel. Also, by not smoking you are more
likely to be approved for another health insurance policy/plan. Insurance
companies deem non-smokers as more risk-free so they give them lower premiums.
6. File an application for
7. Get a Medicare plan, which
caters to those who are 65 years of age or older, and qualify for a certain
8. Seek alternative medical treatments, such as herbal remedies and
9. If your spouse or partner has
a health insurance plan, you can use that to your advantage by applying as a dependent.
The cost might be expensive but at least this will result to lesser coverage
rejections compared to applying for independent or private health insurance
10. Apply for a lower paying job
because more often than not these companies have a better health insurance.
Health is very important and as our economy is struggling it is much wiser to
opt for a job with lower pay but better health plans, than take a high-paying
job with minimal medical benefits.
WHEN THERE’S NOWHERE ELSE TO TURN: OPTIONS FOR THE UNINSURABLE
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
individuals with serious medical conditions like AIDS, cancer, diabetes, heart
and kidney disease, depression, or a history of heart attacks, are ineligible
for or cannot afford health insurance to help them pay for the essential
medical care they need. If you
have a pre-existing condition, there are options for affordable insurance that
will cover your medical needs. You
just have to be creative and educate yourself.
Most of the
plans that do provide coverage for pre-existing conditions have extremely high
premiums and very limited coverage.
Although this is certainly not an ideal scenario for someone with a
serious medical condition, it is usually a much better alternative to going without
coverage altogether. If you manage
to find a company that will insure you despite your health issues, take the
coverage until you can find something better.
place to search is within an employer-sponsored group plan, professional
organization or trade union coverage, or private individual health insurance. Some states have laws meant to protect
people with pre-existing conditions who are forced to change insurance plans
because of a new job. If none of
these is an option for you, though, there are still other avenues to explore.
pools are allowed in some states and protect people with serious medical
conditions. These programs give
access to either private insurance or special health plans for the uninsurable,
and provide access to comprehensive private plans. The premiums for these policies can be very high — sometimes
twice as much as the cost of private insurance for a healthy person — and enrollment
is often limited to certain times of the year, or requires placement on a long
waiting list. These risk pools are
generally a last resort for people who need care for a medical condition, are
currently paying astronomical fees for insurance, or cannot find an insurer at
all. Certain conditions and
requirements are usually mandated for enrollment into these pools. Your state’s
Insurance Department website will have more information.
insurance for the uninsurable and for those with pre-existing conditions that
exclude them from eligibility in a quality health plan -- also called
“mini-meds” -- are not discount health card plans. Guaranteed-issue plans are usually quite affordable, and
coverage is often surprisingly good.
Most plans cover pre-existing conditions after one year. These types of plans are not intended
to be used as comprehensive insurance; they will only pay in limited scope for
things like doctor visits, hospital stays, surgery, and emergency care. Most guaranteed-issue plans require a
medical questionnaire or physical to qualify.
cards are not insurance, but offer reduced rates on many services and
procedures. Yearly membership is
generally required and some plans have deductibles as well. Research discount card programs carefully
before making a decision as many of these organizations have been known to
front scams or never deliver as much as they have promised.
If you have
been turned down for individual health insurance because of a medical
condition, continue to explore other avenues for care before you give up on
getting the protection you need.
More young workers in Florida add to the list of uninsured
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
A report from “The
Orlando Sentinel” stated that experts are worried about the fact that more
young workers in Florida are working without health insurance coverage because
of tight budgets.
The young employees,
who consist of about 25% of the uninsured in the state, could possibly have many
problems in the future.
According to the
report, "Of the 2.4 million Floridians in that age group, an estimated
915,000 are uninsured, according to U.S. census data. And a national study
released Thursday by the private research group Commonwealth Fund pegged the
number of uninsured young adults in 2007 at 13.2 million - up from 11 million
in 2000. That the youngest segment of the adult population is forgoing regular
doctor visits and delaying urgent medical care for lack of insurance worries
health experts, who say if the trend persists it could mean a sicker country in
workers, who usually pay for their own treatments in emergency rooms or in
clinics, are actually paying for the medical expenses of older or chronic users
of the medical insurance system, according to the “Sentinel” article. However,
the health insurance reform bill that is being discussed in the Congress could
improve the current situation of the young laborers.
The report added, "Under the reform bills in Congress, Medicaid would be expanded to include
childless adults who have incomes less than 133 percent of the federal poverty
level - or about $14,400 a year; children could remain dependents until age 26;
premiums would be capped; and insurers wouldn't be able to exclude people or
charge more if they have pre-existing conditions such as asthma or
Family medical insurance safeguards both family health and financial future
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
a way to lower costs, more and more families are opting not to avail themselves
of family medical insurance. According to reports, an estimated 50 million
Americans have no coverage, and therefore are not protected against possible
financial woes in the future, which could lead to bankruptcy. That’s why
financial experts are advising families to seek family health insurance policies.
it comes to cost-cutting, families can always find alternative measures instead
of dropping medical insurance plans. Many affordable medical plans in the
market are suitable for different budgets. Families can seek help from
insurance experts when it comes to figuring out confusing insurance language,
to help them decide on the plans that will perfectly suit their needs and
good look at available family medical insurance policies can help families make
informed decisions. Families can choose from a variety of available policies,
from the basic to catastrophic to comprehensive insurance plans.
starters, families should look back at their own medical histories, and the
medical services they’ve sought during the previous five years; this will give
them an idea of the kind of coverage they may need in the future and what they
should be looking to buy.
Services Director Tom Carolan of BestHealthcareRates.com explains, “Finding the
right family medical insurance coverage
can be both confusing and overwhelming, but it is a vital part of protecting
your family’s future.”
enjoy walking families through the process of selecting a plan that can give
them solid coverage at the price they need, which is why we offer one-on-one
consultations for each and every new customer,” he added.
Health Insurance Plans
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Years ago, the kinds of health insurance plans available were very
limited. Today, there are a lot to choose from. It is not always easy to choose
the perfect health insurance plan, so it is very important to know your needs.
You can choose from either a managed care plan or an indemnity plan. As both
have unique benefits, you must decide what is best for you and your family.
Indemnity plans offer a lot of benefits. One of these is being able to
choose any doctor you want. Normally, an indemnity plan will pay a percentage
of your expenses. It usually does not cover services such as preventive exams.
A Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) is another kind of health insurance
that is similar to indemnity health plans. Going to a doctor that is within the
PPO’s system will get you discounts.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) health insurance plans are also
available. Through these health plans, you pay a monthly fee to receive health
care benefits. Also, you must go to a doctor that is within the plan’s system
or else your care will not be paid for. A number of HMO’s may also require
co-payments for visiting a doctor.
You may find it difficult to choose a health plan because of the wide
variety that is currently available. What you must keep in mind is that your
health needs must be met by your health insurance plan at a reasonable price.
It is very important for you to find a health plan that will answer your
family’s specific needs. And, of course, it must also be within your budget.
Health Insurance Policy
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Getting a health insurance policy will protect you from the expensive
costs of health care. However, having a health insurance policy is not just
protection from these costs; it can also be protection from serious illnesses.
Health insurance costs have been rising partly because of the
advancements in health care. Modern medical technology has given us more
options for treatment. Many illnesses that were difficult to cure before can be
effectively treated by doctors today. However, getting these treatments is
expensive. This is where your individual health insurance policy comes in.
You don’t have to worry about treatment expenses, including anything
from a diagnostic test to specific forms of treatment, when you have a health
insurance policy. You are also not limited by the amount of money you have
available. This is why it is so important to have a comprehensive health
With a health insurance policy, it is also easier to maintain your
health. Many policies focus on preventative care, not only coverage for
catastrophic and emergency health situations. Preventive care can help you
avoid more serious medical conditions.
Purchasing a health insurance policy is just like making any other
significant purchase. You need to take the time to assess the details of each
policy. Also, you need to consider the expenses that you will incur when you
decide to get a specific health plan. Taking these steps will ensure that you
get a health plan that is right for you.
It is a very wise decision to invest in a health insurance policy. Not
only will you enjoy the medical benefits, but you will have the security of
knowing that a policy is there to cover you in case something unexpected
Health Insurance Quotes
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Because there are many health insurance companies that you can choose
from, it can be challenging to find the health insurance that best suits you.
First find out what type of coverage will meet your needs. After figuring this
out, start looking at companies that offer that type of coverage and start
comparing their rates. An online quote for health insurance can be obtained
from numerous sites on the internet. When you do go to the internet for an
online health insurance quote, make sure to fill the forms out correctly.
Another way to get a health insurance quote is to talk to an insurance
agent. An agent will help you with your decision and with finding the right
plan for you. They can present several plans from different companies. After
that, you can easily compare the features of each plan. This will save you the
difficult task of talking to people from many different companies about health
If talking with an insurance agent is not what you have in mind, you can
visit websites that will allow you to review insurance plans. These websites
can also give you quotes. Some websites may ask for your personal information.
They use this to provide you with health insurance quotes from a variety of
health insurance providers. This only takes a short while and you can
comfortably compare the plans and rates on your computer.
It is very important to get several health insurance quotes and compare
them. Doing so will help you choose the insurance plan that is perfect for your
needs and budget.
Health Plans: Preferred Provider Organization Plans
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, sometimes referred to as
participating provider organization plans, are health care programs managed by
an insurance company. Medical doctors, clinics and hospitals, and other health
care providers are contracted by the insurance company to assist its insured
members with their medical needs.
Under a PPO plan, the insured pays a fee at the time of every medical
service. However, with this type of plan, a member is provided with a
substantial discount by the professional partners of the insurance company.
Before the insurance company starts paying for the insured’s medical fees,
the insurance company collects a yearly deductible. The company typically pays
80% of the insured’s medical cost for the in-network physician. The patient is
responsible for the remaining cost not covered by the insurance company. The
patient also has the option to request an out-of-network physician or medical
service provider. The deductible for these services may be more expensive than
PPO physicians and the insurance will cover less of the cost. In order for
people with PPO plans to get cheaper rates, it is best if they use the doctors,
hospitals, and other medical providers in their plan’s network.
PPO plans also provide prescription services at a discounted rate. PPO
plans cover most health care services, and PPO premiums are lower than those
for individual health insurance. Moreover, insured members have more health
care options with PPOs, since they are part of a wide network of medical
Hidden Health Insurance Benefits
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Free or discounted fees for doctors' visits and prescriptions are not
the only things your health plan can offer. Today, many insurance companies
also offer improved coverage for mental health conditions, disease management
programs, infertility, and much more. Sometimes these benefits may not be well
explained by your insurer.
Disease management programs are health programs designed to help health
insurance plan members with chronic health conditions, such as asthma and diabetes.
For diabetic members, your health plan may offer benefits, such as counseling
sessions on proper diet, nurse consultations, and drug monitoring. However,
because most insurance companies sell plans to employers, many workers are not
aware that these benefits exist.
Your health insurance may also include coverage for those trying to
conceive. Since the cost of reproductive technology, such as in vitro
fertilization (IVF), is very high, many insurers do not include such benefits
in the package. However 14 states, including New Jersey and New York, have
passed a bill requiring insurance companies to provide some level of coverage
for infertility treatment. In most states, legislation includes IVF in the
For people who are diabetic and who need to lose weight, some insurance
companies also reimburse a portion of a health club membership and other
programs that promote weight loss to manage diabetes. For people with heart
disease who are smoking, some health plans also offer support programs that may
help them kick the bad habit.
You may also enjoy coverage for alternative medicines and therapies,
such as massage, acupuncture, and herbal medicine. Today, a growing number of
insurance companies now include such treatments in their health plans.
It is unlikely that your health plan is trumpeting information about state-mandated
coverage. It is up to you to get the details.
Health Insurance for Freelance Writers
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Heath insurance for freelance writers and independent contractors can be
very expensive. As a result, no matter how tempting the freelancer lifestyle
may be, many people still stick to a nine-to-five job because of the employer
subsidized health plans.
Finding a health plan for an independent worker requires some research.
As when making any other major decision, a careful assessment of the options
available is necessary.
There are several routes freelancers can take when getting a health
plan. Joining a group, like a guild, may offer some affordable medical
insurance options. Some states consider one individual who works independently
as a “group”. This means that, in those states, independent workers may just be
charged a group or discounted rate without the additional fees of joining a
guild or group.
The Editorial Freelancer Association, for example, provides health plans
to its members. Discount health plans and dental HMOs are also available to
members. Some health insurance providers offer plans that are targeted to
freelance writers for as low as $333 per month for each member. Other options
include the National Association for the Self Employed, AvantGuild, and the
Author’s Guild, all of which provide discounted insurance for published writers
in selected states.
Another option for freelance writers is COBRA, a program run by the
federal government. COBRA offers a subsidy to individuals who have just lost
their jobs and who wish to continue the health plans subsidized by their
previous employer. Should an editor or writer leave their full-time job and
become a full-time freelancer, the COBRA subsidy may be a good option. COBRA
offers 18-36 months of coverage, depending on various factors.
Long-term Care Health Insurance
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Many people consider buying long-term care (LTC) health insurance. However,
there are a number of factors that need to be considered.
LTC coverage may not be affordable or necessary. Before purchasing LTC
insurance, it is best to consider your family status. Incurring out-of-pocket
costs for long-term care may be a financial risk worth considering, because
this type of health plan may not be affordable. Ideal candidates for this type
of coverage are those who can afford to pay high premiums, and can also handle
The affordability of LTC plans is also determined by your general
financial picture. Your net worth is one reliable measure, but this should
exclude your home and even your savings and the investments and pension you
expect after you retire. People who have less than $500,000 in investments
might also not be able to afford this type of coverage.
It is also necessary to calculate the insurance costs as a percentage of
your calculated retirement income. You might not be able to afford the
insurance plan if the premiums consume more than 10 percent of your income.
Individuals with investments worth $1 million, and couples with $1.5
million worth of investments, may be able to afford this coverage.
You may also consider your family health history. Although not a perfect
predictor, many inherit their parents’ or grandparents' health patterns.
It is also wise to understand the features and disadvantages of
long-term care policies. Although insurance of this type is aggressively sold,
many people who purchase it do not understand what they are getting. Make the
most of your hard-earned money. Know every aspect of the health plan you are
interested in before purchasing.
Loss of Group Health Insurance and What to Do About It
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
The loss of group health insurance may not be a question of whether or
not it will happen, but of when it will happen. When it does, as in any other
undesirable situation, one must know what to do. Otherwise lack of information
might add insult to injury. While there may be instances when this scenario is
inevitable, the good news is that there are a number of health insurance
options to be explored in case of the loss of group health insurance.
Each year, many adults under the age of 65 lose their health insurance
coverage for varying reasons. These reasons include the death of a spouse,
divorce, retirement from a job before reaching the age of 65, a decrease in
working hours, and, of course, separation from the job. If any of these causes
a person to lose their group health insurance, there are steps to counter the
A person who has just lost their insurance may opt to find out if they
can get COBRA benefits. COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act, a federal law enacted in 1985 that can help them keep their
insurance longer. Furthermore, because of the new provisions added to the law,
a person’s cost for this continuing coverage under COBRA may not be prohibitive.
A person who is changing jobs may want to know about the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA. This provides
protection of one’s right to have insurance when moving from one group plan to
another, as well as from a group to an individual plan.
Health Insurance Premiums
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Recently, there has been a
steady increase in health insurance premiums. Many insurance options have been
affected by this. However, you can choose options without the increased costs
by planning and researching carefully.
As health insurance
premiums are becoming more expensive, you will want to get the most out of what
you pay. To do this, you must ensure that your health plans only meet your
heath care needs. Everyone has different health care needs so it is possible
that you might have chosen the wrong plan if you pay high premiums for a plan
that covers options that you do not need. When this happens, it would be best
to reassess your needs.
For a person who is
generally healthy and who doesn’t visit the office of his health care provider
that often, an individual health insurance plan that features a high deductible
or a high co-payment could be the right choice. This is an example of spending
your money wisely when it comes to insurance. It is important to make sure that
you are only paying for the services that you need.
A health insurance plan
that focuses on affordable medications would be advisable for those who have
health conditions that need constant medication, such as asthma or allergies.
It is vital that you figure out the health insurance options that matter to
you. This will help you maximize your health insurance premiums.
Even though there has been
a rise in health insurance premiums, it is still possible to not spend too
much. You can do this by making wise choices, and by ensuring that the options
you are paying for are what you really need. A little bit of research will help
keep your expenses down.
Individual Health Insurance: Overview
8/5/2009 5:34:15 AM
Like accidents and
calamities, a failing health condition is something that one does not wish to
encounter. However, life does not always deal a fair hand and if one does
encounter health problems and you need to be prepared. For those employed by
companies, this may not be much of a concern, as companies have Health
Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) for their employees. For the self-employed,
whether voluntarily or not, individual health insurance is the option.
insurance is a health insurance type available to individuals, not to groups
and organizations. Given the fast increase in the unemployment rate because of
the current economic slump, many citizens seek cost-effective health insurance
plans. The good news is that the variety and the affordability of the options
available are rather pleasantly surprising, especially to those laid-off
workers who seek an alternative to the costly Congressional Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) coverage. COBRA is a federal law which
allows an 18-month extension of benefits to laid-off workers should they intend
to continue buying the health coverage from their employer-sponsored plans
within a defined period.
Applying for an individual
health insurance is not without its drawbacks, however. In applying for an
individual health insurance, one will typically be accepted if he or she is
healthy and without any pre-existing medical condition. This, nevertheless, is
to the advantage of an individual without any pre-existing medical condition,
since individual policies are usually inexpensive.
Among the few
organizations with data based on a national source is eHealthInsurance. The
data of the organization best reflects purchasing patterns and prices in the
individual health insurance market.
Health insurance policies too expensive for millions of US citizens
7/28/2009 11:58:32 AM
Expensive premium costs are the main reason being cited by millions of US citizens as to why they cannot avail themselves of individual health insurance policies, according to a recent study published in “Health Day News” last Tuesday.
Approximately three out four people want to buy a policy but are not able to get one because the cost of the premium is prohibitive, based on a report by the Commonwealth Fund, which is a foundation that financially supports an independent research on
health insurance reform. Around 57 percent admitted that finding coverage they could afford is bordering on very hard to downright impossible.
A survey conducted for the report also cited that 47 percent of the respondents said that finding the plan with the coverage they needed was difficult or impossible. Another 36 percent stated that they were charged additional rates or their application was denied
due to a pre-existing condition. Some companies had their condition excluded from their coverage altogether.
The report, called ‘Failure to Protect: Why the Individual Insurance Market is Not a Viable Option for Most US Families, compared the experiences of adults in the working-age bracket who have employer- and individual-based private health insurance.
In the report, it was also found that people who acquired health insurance individually pay more money on deductibles and premiums than those with group or business health care coverage.
Among US adults who have individual insurance, the survey showed that 64 percent spend more or less $3,000 on premiums annually, while only 20 percent of people who have employer-based insurance are spending that much.
Aetna to Parents: When choosing a student health insurance, you should examine carefully
7/28/2009 11:35:34 AM
Aetna expressed its support and concern for the welfare of college students in terms of health care. Head of Aetna Student Health Kate Begley said, “At Aetna, we work closely with campus health and counseling centers, as well as community and travel service providers, to offer students access to convenient care at an
affordable price, no matter where they are located.”
Most parents find summer the ideal time to ensure the academic and financial preparedness of college students for life on campus. This is also the time when vital decisions are made. What is often overlooked, however, is student health insurance. Aetna encourages parents to view a student’s health insurance options as one of the important considerations when they prepare their children
for college education.
Kate Begley further said that they “support the efforts of colleges and universities to ensure students have access to affordable, quality health care.” Aetna also gave tips to parents who are in the process of selecting a student health insurance plan. These tips include weighing the option of carrying a dependent on one’s plan against the benefits of a school plan; identifying a health-care contact on campus by reviewing the school’s website and visiting the campus health center; and understanding the health insurance requirements of the school.
"Choosing a student health insurance plan that is right for your child is a personal decision and one that should be examined carefully, particularly in today's uncertain economy," added Begley. "Evaluating the true cost, meaning the premium plus out-of-pocket expenses, of a family plan versus a student health plan is critical to understanding which plan is most cost-effective and will best serve the needs of your college student."
Increase of 95% in health insurance costs strikes Alabama
7/28/2009 11:18:23 AM
Health insurance costs in Alabama have increased by 95% since 2000, according to the Health Care Status report.
The report reveals that the number of small businesses or companies providing health coverage benefits to workers dropped by two percent since 2000. Currently, only 48% of small employers in Alabama offer health benefits to workers.
The soaring costs of health insurance have affected individuals as well. According to the report, 28% of middle-class families spend at least 10% of their total income on health care.
A related study found that the limited options offered by health insurance companies is an issue related to these rising costs. According to the study, BlueCross-BlueShield controls an 83%
share of Alabama’s health insurance market. Roughly, 13.6% of Alabamians are uninsured.
Options for health insurance are even more limited for individuals with pre-existing conditions. In Alabama, the costs of health insurance vary based on health status and demographic factors. Coverage can also exclude some pre-existing conditions or even be completely denied.
The report also says that 16% of people in Alabama do not visit a doctor due to the high costs. Moreover, families and businesses in Alabama pay a hidden health tax of about $600 each year on premiums to subsidize the costs of the uninsured.
Currently, approximately 2.9 million people in Alabama avail themselves of health plans through their jobs. Subsidized by their employers, these people have an average family premium of $12,230.
Based on the Health Care Status Quo report, the need for health care reform in Alabama and across the U.S. is clear.
Short-term insurance applications are increasing, insurers say
7/13/2009 1:17:14 PM
Insurance companies are seeing an increase in short-term health insurance applications this year.
Texas insurance company Blue Cross and Blue Shield expects an increase of 33% in individual short-term health insurance applications in the first half of the year.
Margaret Jarvis, spokesperson for Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Texas, said sales of individual health plans, whether short-term or long-term, in the first half of last year, were at a record high for the company. Sales of both types of individual insurance, Jarvis said, increased by over 30%.
The increasing interest in getting individual health care plans, in general, and in short-term insurance plans, in particular, is evident in the recent launching of more short-term individual policies by big health insurance companies. Shifting from group health insurance to temporary individual health coverage indicates the growing number of unemployed people in the U.S.
Recently, the Golden Rule subsidiary of United Healthcare in Texas launched two new short-term health plans that are specifically designed to cater to the health care needs of the unemployed not qualified for the subsidized health plans under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) or those who cannot afford it.
COBRA is a federal program that offers up to nine months of subsidy to those who wish to continue their health insurance after losing their job. COBRA, however, can also be very expensive for those who do not meet the primary requirements.
Another insurance company, Humana, opened a new short-term insurance plan in April for Arizona, Colorado, Alabama, Ohio, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Richard Collins, CEO of United Healthcare Golden Rule, said temporary health plans are necessary especially now, when the economy is not yet stable.
Survey shows women shop around for healthcare.
7/13/2009 11:41:22 AM
A recent survey commissioned by health insurance company CIGNA has found that when it comes to health care costs women are far more likely to search for bargains, such as by using healthcare comparison sites, than men are.
Kurt Weimer, who leads the companies division for individuals along with small businesses, says: “From our perspective, women have always been sort of the key decision maker in health care selection. It’s moved to the next level… Not only are they making that health care decision, now they’re looking at the economics.”
The survey found that out of the 1,000 people questioned only 15% of men compare the costs of medical treatments and doctors in comparison to 20% of women. The survey also found that 79% of women were more likely to buy the generic own brand range of medications, whereas only 69% of men would look to a generic range as opposed to the well known, and more expensive brands.
Weimer goes on to say that the recession has forced mothers to take on the role of “Chief financial officer” as well as “Chief medical officer”, pointing out “If you’re like all of us, you’re looking at how to make ends meet.”
Executive director of the National Association of Mothers Centers (motherscenter.org) believes that women might be feeling the pressure of the recession and downturn in the economy more so than men because they make “the bulk of the buying decisions for the family”.
Which plan is right for me: short-term medical or individual medical?
1/30/2009 3:32:49 PM
Courtesy of Assurant Health
Short Term Medical Insurance - For individuals and families in brief periods of transition.
Short Term Medical Insurance, also known as temporary health insurance, protects you and your family from large medical bills that can result from an unexpected illness or injury. It’s protection and coverage you can rely on – no matter if you’re in between permanent coverage or in a life transition. And, if you’re uncertain about how long you’ll need coverage, Short Term Medical Insurance is ideal since you can pay on a month-to-month basis.
Short Term Medical Insurance is appropriate for:
People in Transition or others who may be in-between permanent health insurance plans like those offered by most employers.
Examples of people who might purchase Short Term Medical insurance: people between job, people seeking a less expensive alternative to COBRA, employed people who need coverage while waiting for their new employer’s group coverage to begin, temporary or seasonal employees, and recent college graduates.
Individual Medical Insurance - Permanent Health Insurance for Individuals and Families.
For individuals and families in need of coverage for 6 months or more. Individual Medical insurance is designed to provide people with the permanent protection they need from the financial hardship that can come from just one unforeseen illness or injury.
Individual Medical Insurance also allows you the flexibility to choose the right plan for you – from the most cost-effective to the most comprehensive.
Permanent Health Insurance is appropriate for:
Individuals and Families whose need for health insurance is expected to last greater than six months.
Examples of people who might purchase Individual Medical insurance: self-employed individuals and their families, individuals working at companies that do not provide health insurance, individuals who are not satisfied with their employer’s health insurance, and retirees not yet eligible for Medicare.
Is Short-Term Medical Insurance Right For You?
10/3/2008 2:46:14 PM
Maybe you've changed jobs, or started a new job, and the health coverage doesn't take effect right away. Or, you've finished college, and are no longer covered under your parents' plan. Perhaps you may be between jobs, and don't know when you will get another job with health benefits.
Even a minor gap in insurance coverage can be cause for worry, because medical bills paid out-of-pocket can be financially devastating.
If this is the case, then short-term medical insurance may be appropriate. When you leave a job, you can choose to continue your coverage under the COBRA act of 1985, or get temporary coverage as your state laws dictate. Or, you can elect to purchase a short-term medical plan.
Weigh the pros and cons, and decide which choice is best for your situation.
Short-term medical insurance is best for those who are in good health, and have no pre-existing conditions. One of the biggest appeals of a short-term plan is its low premium. Depending on the policy, benefits can be up to $2 million per person. However, most policies have a limit on how long they last. The majority last for 12 months, although some insurers have plans with coverage up to 36 months. Short-term insurance can be bought in one-month increments, making it easy to drop the benefits at the end of any given month.
Surgery, hospitalization, emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, prescription drugs, follow-up visits, and limited mental health care are included under most short-term health policies, but under limits and conditions.
Because of its low cost, short-term health insurance does not usually cover routine preventative care such as physical exams, immunizations, and PAP tests. A good rule to remember with short-term health coverage is that it doesn't pay unless you've actually suffered an illness or injury for the first time during the policy period.
Most companies offer a 30-day guarantee period, and will refund 100% of your premium within this time if you decide that you don't want the policy . To get your money back during this window, however, you must not have filed any claims.
With some short-term medical plans, your deductible will apply on a per-injury or per-illness basis. After you've paid the deductible, most insurers will pay up to 50 or 80% of the next $5,000 of medical bills before 100% coverage takes effect, up to the plan maximum.
A short-term health insurance policy works like an "indemnity" plan that gives you the choice to go to any doctor or specialist you like. However, most plans do require pre-authorization, requiring that you obtain approval from your insurer before you are hospitalized (except for emergency treatment). If you don't get pre-authorization, your insurance company won't reimburse you.
If you aren't one of the 170 million Americans covered under an employer plan, short-term health insurance may be an appealing, less expensive alternative. We offer short-term medical from Assurant Health and you can begin the application process at our homepage.
3/14/2007 11:20:00 PM
People with disabilities are not conditions or diseases. They are individual
human beings. See the person who has a disability as a person, not as a disability.
For example, a person is not an epileptic but rather a person who has epilepsy.
First and foremost they are people. Only secondarily do they have one or more
disabling conditions. They prefer to be referred to in print or broadcast media
as people with disabilities.
Bear To The Right
3/14/2007 9:59:00 PM
Tue, 13 Mar 2007 18:10:00 +00002007-03-13T11:35:10.815-07:00Michael Yon from Iraq: Ernie is deadMichael Yon, a reporter/blogger embedded with Coalition forces in Iraq sends periodic dispatches. If you aren't reading them on his blog, you aren't getting what is really going on in Iraq.
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law -- Advocating for the Civil Rightsand Human Dignity of People with Mental Disabilities
3/14/2007 1:39:00 PM
The Bazelon Center produces a number of booklets and books, issue papers and manuals that analyze and interpret major federal laws, policies
and regulations that affect the civil rights of people with mental disabilities and access to services for adults and children with disabilities.
The publications featured below are just a few of the Bazelon Center's many reports, guides and other resources. To find others, click on the "publications" link on any of bazelon.org's issue area pages or choose a topic from the list on the left of this page.
NACHRI | FAQs on Children's Hospitals
3/14/2007 12:45:00 PM
How are children';s hospitals different than pediatric
units of adult hospitals?
Children';s hospitals are the most specialized and regionalized
centers of care for children in the United States. They provide the
majority of highly specialized inpatient care for children with complex
and rare conditions.
click here for
3/13/2007 10:12:00 PM
HMO Hotline - Toll Free 1-866-296-4319 - "What can you
do when you need medical care but your HMO or insurance company says no? Call
toll-free, 1-866-296-4319. If you have already received treatment and your
HMO or insurer refuses to pay, Senator Dayton's Health Care Help Line can
Dr. John D. Bransford is a James W. Mifflin University Professor of Education and Psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Bransford is also Principal Investigator and Director of the Center for Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE), a program recently funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
3/13/2007 7:18:00 PM
Eligibility and Coverage
As a member of Veterans Advantage, you are eligible for this free plan. You simply enroll to activate your coverage.You cannot be declined for medical reasons--as long as a you are Veterans Advantage Card member, you are eligible for free coverage under our group insurance policy, regardless of your age or health.
No matter how careful you are, accidents do happen. Accidental injury remains the number one cause of death for people under 40 and the fifth leading cause of death for all ages.
2/27/2007 09:10:00 PM
3/13/2007 4:39:00 PM
Annonymous 12:37AM, Are you sure HRC hasn't announced? I'm pretty sure she did:http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/20/clinton.announcement/index.htmlMost of the Republican's I've linked to haven't announced formally, though. Nurse Ratchett,The plans are too vague at this point to allow me to form an opinion, but in general I lean toward more "patient ownership" - the only way we will ever cut cost is to include the patient in the burden of bearing it. We know this from past experience. When people have no co-pays for drugs they want the newest, most expensive ones.
Onalaska Life - Opinion
3/13/2007 11:29:00 AM
The American health-care system is broken. Most of us agree with this premise despite advances in medicine over the last 50 years that have changed our way of life. How can a country with so many highly trained professionals and lifesaving treatments be home to a broken health care system?
Health care is failing in America because it';s no longer an American system. As health care has evolved over the last half century, free market principles that empower consumers and lead to quality improvements and lower prices have all but disappeared.
Fall 2006 Action News-History 1998-2005, Part 1
3/5/2007 2:45:00 PM
We knew from the very beginning that the real purpose behind the NOW v. Scheidler case was to disrupt our effective pro-life efforts. The abortionists and the radical feminists at the National Organization for Women could see the impact we were having and they had no rebuttal to message. So they sought to silence us in the courts.
Scheidler grandson Aaron Miller sits beneath one of the billboards that featured his picture and inspired many pregnant women to seek help
We were determined not to let them succeed. During the 1998 trial we continued our life-saving work at the League.
SRCD - Society for Research in Child Development
3/5/2007 12:31:00 PM
The President signed the 2007 Continuing Appropriations Resolution into law on February 15. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be funded at $28.9 billion, an increase of 2.1 percent last year. The National Science Foundation (NSF) will be funded at $4.7 billion. This is an increase of $335 million in NSF's research account to fund Innovation Programs. The increase of nearly 8 percent corresponds with the amount proposed in the President's American Competitiveness Initiative, which advocates doubling NSF's budget in 10 years. In the Department of Education, funding for the Institute for Education Sciences would remain at $517.
An answer for the uninsured
3/5/2007 4:14:00 AM
Copley News Service
SPRINGFIELD - All 1.4 million uninsured adults in Illinois would have access to a range of public, private and subsidized expansions of health insurance under a $2.1 billion plan that Gov. Rod Blagojevich pledges would be affordable for citizens but would place heavier cost burdens on many businesses.
"Illinois Covered," the second-term Democratic governor's attempt to put Illinois among several states attempting to solve the growing problem of skyrocketing insurance costs, wouldn't stop with the uninsured.
As many as 3.
Americans Dissatisfied with Health Care
3/4/2007 11:20:00 PM
(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Many adults in the United States are not happy with their medical services, according to a poll by CBS News and the New York Times. 57 per cent of respondents are dissatisfied with the quality of health care in the country.
Health care in the U.S. is based on a system of benefits provided by employers, as well as the Medicare and Medicaid programs which allocate health insurance for the elderly, disabled and poor. Around 45 million Americans are uninsured. 64 per cent of respondents think the federal government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans.
U.S. president George W.
Click Here for Email Datacard
3/4/2007 4:41:00 PM
Individuals on the Eli Journals Investors Email List are an educated and information-hungry audience who have taken the time to research their options and plan for their futures. They spread their investments across the spectrum in order to diversify their portfolios. Stocks, bonds, CDs, mutual funds, IRAs and annuities are some of the ways they build their wealth.
The Eli Journals Investors Email List connects marketers to individuals that are not just looking to invest; they're planning for retirement, travel, paying for college and making major purchases such as cars and computers.
Investment advice for your 30s and 40s
3/4/2007 3:57:00 PM
This is the second in a series of articles about financial planning throughout your life. My first article focused on advice for your 20s, when you've gained the education/skills you need for the career you have chosen.
You are earning money and learning how to handle it. I discussed identifying goals and budgeting, saving and investing to meet those goals.
In the final article, I will focus on advice when you are in your 50s and 60s. Now let's look at your 30s and 40s.
By the time you are in your 30s, you are generally settled in a career. You will probably change jobs a number of times before retirement.
3/4/2007 3:49:00 PM
As immigration continues to change the face of New York City and other parts of the United States, social workers will be increasingly challenged to address the unique needs of immigrant families, children and youth. Child welfare service providers especially must have the resources, information and skills necessary to effectively address the complex needs of immigrant families involved with the child welfare system. This article will present a brief overview on factors that affect permanency planning for immigrant youth and recommend resources for those who work with immigrant families and children.
Families of the fallen
3/4/2007 2:16:00 PM
FORT HOOD, Texas - One of the first sights greeting visitors to Fort Hood is a day-care center's playground, brightly colored evidence of the Army's commitment to be family-friendly.
A few blocks away is a more poignant symbol: an office building recently converted into a first-of-its-kind support center for women and children whose husbands and fathers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. From Fort Hood alone, the toll has passed 365.
''It's our sanctuary,'' said Ursula Pirtle, whose daughter frequents a playroom at the center. Three-year-old Katie never met her father, Heath. He was killed in Iraq in 2003.
Worcester Telegram & Gazette News
3/4/2007 9:55:00 AM
Massachusetts residents can buy health insurance for an average of $175 a month, a figure much lower than previously cited, the Patrick administration announced yesterday.
"This is a big improvement from the first round of bids and a big step forward for health care reform," Gov. Deval L. Patrick said yesterday. "I want to thank our insurance carriers for working with us to develop more affordable plans."
Massachusetts' new health care reform legislation requires all residents to obtain health insurance. The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority was created to oversee the initiative.
Green Left - The limits of formal equality
3/4/2007 3:49:00 AM
Despite having won formal equality, the lack of an organised women's movement means that the Howard government has been able to take back a lot of the reforms won as a result of the struggles of the 1970s and 1980s. No reform is permanent under capitalism, and without a strong movement that mobilises to defend and expand reforms to improve women's lives, the capitalist class can easily remove, or knobble, the gains that have been won.
While PM John Howard has taken the axe to women's services, his government has also launched a massive attack on the working class in the form of Work Choices and attacks on welfare.
Alarming Number of Kids Living Without Health Insurance
3/3/2007 11:59:00 AM
DOVER- The health care advocacy group Families USA just released a new study about kids living without health insurance.
Researchers say uninsured children are twice as likely to die from their injuries as those with insurance. They are also less likely to get expensive treatment. Researchers say there are 9 million uninsured children nationwide.
The Delaware Health Care Commission says more than 21,000 of those uninsured kids live in Delaware.
It is a statistic that frustrates local mothers, like Kim Walker of Dover.
"I think it's inexcusable that our children aren't covered. I believe that most of the population would.
Mater remains right site for Children's Hospital - O'Donnell
3/3/2007 8:41:00 AM
PD Deputy Leader Liz O'Donnell says Irish children need a world class hospital and thankfully under Mary Harney's leadership, vested and political interests are being taken out of health. She said: "We've to take the local politics, the institutional politics and the medical politics out of decisions about the best health services for all the people. Mary Harney has now properly restated the health agenda as an agenda for patients. The new children's hospital is a patient's project."
Thank you for inviting me to speak at your annual lunch in aid of Heart Children Ireland.
Protect Your Kids And Pets With Custom Insurance
3/3/2007 6:36:00 AM
without the pressure of mounting vet bills. In this article, we'll explore these custom-made insurance polices and help you to determine whether they are worth buying.
Child Life Insurance
Who Can Benefit?
If your child is a six-figure-earning Hollywood star or an heir(ess) that is set to inherit an estate (which would be exposed to enormous estate taxes) then a child insurance policy should be your first priority. Purchasing an appropriate insurance policy (such a whole life policy) will protect your child and also have some cash value set aside for future use.
The Appalachian Online - Gay faculty partners left uninsured
3/3/2007 5:42:00 AM
Dr. Monica Pombo is an assistant communication professor at Appalachian State University with tenure. Because of her position, she should be able to take comfort in the benefits she receives as a state employee, such as health insurance coverage for herself and her family.
But unlike most of her colleagues, Pombo cannot rest assured that the university will take care of the well being of her family, at least medically.
This is because Pombo is a lesbian, and because of her sexual orientation, the fact that she and her partner have been together 19 years and have a son means little in the eyes of the
University of North Carolina system.
Worldwide Select - The Health Insurance Coverage You Asked For
3/2/2007 8:10:00 PM
What is WorldWide Select? The newest International Health Insurance Coverage available for sale in the Republic of Panama. This Policy is underwritten by WorldWide Medical Assurance, Ltd., a Panamanian Insurance Company with offices at the brand new Global Bank Building in Calle 50. The Policy is registered at the Superintendent of Insurance office and can be sold legally to residents of Panama.
Will WorldWide Select cover Expats living in Panama?
Your parents were right about this...
3/2/2007 7:39:00 PM
What was the biggest news this year involving World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz? Inflation? Poverty? Heck, no. It was when Wolfowitz took off his shoes at a mosque in Turkey and had two big toes sticking through holes in his gray socks. The tabloids went wild. The man spent decades working his way up to such an influential post, makes more than $390,000 a year - and yet he will never live this one down. I won't even bother to rehash the Britney Spears going-commando fiasco. But she's rich enough to afford a trashy image - you aren't.
3/2/2007 4:33:00 PM
She drove a few blocks to the American Cancer Society building, where members of the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation were in the middle of their monthly meeting, and, without making eye contact, took a seat at the end of the conference table.
Joy Moose, a sharp-tongued Realtor and the president of the nonprofit group stopped the meeting.
";Honey, how did the appointment go?"; she asked.
Bonnie looked up, tears welling in her eyes. She put her face in her hands and sobbed.
UTSA captures Bonnie Terry's life
Tribute by Rep. Charlie Gonzalez read on the floor of the U.S.
In Health Care Reform Debate, Single-Payer System is Labor's Only Clear Choice
3/1/2007 9:46:00 PM
At a time when employers routinely slash or eliminate health benefits for workers and their families or force union members on strike to preserve those benefits, when insurance plans routinely restrict workers' choice of doctors and prescription drugs, and when more working families declare bankruptcy due to medical debt, only one reform can provide the health care security working people need: single-payer.
Under single-payer, you don't face the loss of health benefits if you lose your job or are forced out on strike. You don't face employers constantly shifting costs onto your back.
Prescribing the Best Plan for Clients
3/1/2007 6:20:00 PM
Flexible spending arrangements'
use-it-or-lose-it feature pertains not just to the end of a calendar year (and possible 21/2-month grace period) but to termination of employment with a company. If employees know they're going to leave a job where they have an FSA, they can review their contributions and expenditures since the beginning of the year and make qualifying purchases from any unspent balance. But they'll have to do it before they leave the job.
Affordable Health Insurance > Health Insurance Mandates Aren't the Answer to Uninsured
3/1/2007 10:45:00 AM
In an op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun a few months ago, I questioned Maryland legislators' interest in mandating individual health insurance coverage. I pointed out that Maryland already mandates that individuals buy auto coverage, yet the rate of non-insurance for auto is 12 percent, not much different from the rate of non-insurance for health, 14.9 percent.
I also pointed out in that article that part of the reason many people don't buy health coverage is because the legislature has made it unaffordable by enacting 59 benefit mandates.
China: Internal Migrants: Discrimination and abuse. The human cost of an Economic 'miracle'
3/1/2007 10:39:00 AM
This case describes the plight of just one of the estimated 150-200 million rural-to-urban migrants who have moved to China';s cities in search of work and better lives in what has been called "the world';s largest ever peacetime migration".(2) This report will call these people ‘"internal migrants" and will document how they are treated as second class citizens within their own country.
Minimum wage increase is overdue:
2/28/2007 4:23:00 PM
The Legislature is considering raising the state's minimum wage. This will be the fifth state effort to raise the minimum wage over $5.15 an hour. It has been 10 years since Congress last increased it.
New Hampshire remains the only state in New England that has failed to raise the minimum wage in recent years. Vermont is at $7.25 an hour, and its minimum wage is automatically adjusted upward for inflation. Maine is at $6.75 and will increase to $7 on Oct. 1. Massachusetts is at $7.50 and will go to $8 in 2008.
So why hasn't New Hampshire raised its minimum wage? A callous disregard for the needs of low-wage workers.
Proposed increase in kids health benefits draws mixed reaction
2/28/2007 4:29:00 AM
Major health care industry groups, the American Association of Retired Persons seniors group, several hospital and left-of-center political organizations are backing Gov. Janet Napolitano's effort to extend public health benefits to more uninsured children.
Napolitano wants to allow more uninsured working class children to be covered by state public health programs by raising family income limits. There are an estimated 250,000 children without health insurance in the state.
The Democratic governor's plan faces some skepticism from Republican state legislators worried about the costs of expanding the state's KidsCare program.
California pushes to cover all children
8/21/2006 5:53:00 AM
July 25, 2006
Even though only 10 percent of California children are currently uninsured, that equates to almost 1 million children who lack access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance. Advocates, led by Californians for Healthy Kids (a collaboration of Children Now, Children’s Defense Fund, The Children’s Partnership, and PICO California, with 250 supporters), are sustaining pressure on the state to finish the job and cover all kids.
How to Choose a Pediatrician
3/2/2006 9:45:00 PM
One of the most difficult things about moving to a new city is having to find a new health care team for the family. I tend to base my own choices of physicians on the recommendations of colleagues, and the personality characteristics of the doctor - or the relative comforts of the waiting areas - don't interest me very much, as long as the doctor is good at the job. Choosing a doctor for my kids is another matter. Not only do I want a competent pediatrician who comes highly recommended by colleagues, but I'm interested in finding a pediatric practice that is as comfortable for the kids as possible.
1/30/2006 10:42:00 AM
While many data sources exist to measure the health of children
in the United States, few take into account the many contexts in which
children grow and develop, including their family and community environments.
The National Survey of Children’s Health, conducted for the first
time in 2003, addresses multiple aspects of children’s health and
well-being—including physical and mental health, health care, and
social well-being—as well as aspects of the family and the neighborhood
that can affect children’s health, on both the national and State
Tomcek: Insurance industry must help
6/15/2005 8:05:00 AM
First there was the HMO, or health maintenance organization. In theory, it was the answer to all the problems. In reality, it was too restrictive for the patient and opened the door for more litigation because of the required utilization controls.
Then along came the PPO, or preferred provider organization; EPO, or exclusive provider organization; and POS, or point of service. These plans have less utilization controls than an HMO, and the discounts could work.
The industry even formed a coalition of large employers to arm wrestle with the health care community. Remember the Health Care Network that started in 1987?
Seeking insurance, individuals face many obstacles
5/31/2005 7:45:00 PM
John Craig, a 46-year-old software consultant in Orem, Utah, plays racquetball twice a week, doesn't smoke or drink and isn't overweight. But when he tried to get an individual health-insurance policy three years ago, he was rejected.
The insurance company cited sinus infections and depression, two conditions that Mr. Craig felt were well under control. The sinus infections stopped when he quit eating wheat in 1992, and medication has kept depression at bay for years. Frustrated, he ended up pursuing coverage through various state programs.
The high-risk health pool
5/22/2005 11:22:00 AM
Someone calls for a quote and is asked if he or she has any health problems. The answer often isn't the right one. As many as one out of three of those callers, she estimates, have health problems that basically prevent them from getting insurance in the private market.
"I could tell you story after story of my own best friends who can't get individual insurance," Kitzman said.
The only place they can turn is the state Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan, or HIRSP. The plan, a so-called high-risk pool, was created to provide insurance for people whose pre-existing medical conditions effectively lock them out of the private market.
How Patients Are Managing Their Care
5/15/2005 10:23:00 AM
Obtaining Information on Conditions and Treatments. The Internet allows access to medical information that was unavailable to ordinary Americans only a decade ago. And people are responding. In 1997 the National Library of Medicine eliminated fees to search its “MedlinePlus” Web site, the world’s largest medical library, and the number of searches rose from about seven million a year to 180 million - about 60 million of which were by the general public rather than medical professionals.
Medical costs a burden even for some insured
4/29/2005 3:22:00 AM
People with health insurance not only pay all or part of their premiums, but also face other costs. The following are some terms common to many insurance policies:
The portion of the bill that patients must pay. Generally, co-payments are set dollar amounts for doctor office visits or prescription drugs. Often set in increments of $10 or $20, they are common in HMO policies. Co-insurance is a form of co-payment and is a percentage, such as 20%, of the cost of the visit or drug. They are more common in Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) policies.
4/15/2005 5:48:00 PM
Some thoughts on health insurance.
For years, I worked for myself, and when I was doing well I could afford health insurance, but the last few years I couldn't. And this made the world a threatening place, because I could be cast into a lifetime of debt by a single hospital bill. Every time I crossed the street I thought about what would happen to me if I was hit by a car, and I was nervous riding my bicycle, even wearing my helmet, because if I fell and broke an arm, I'd have to think of money first and pain second. So I stopped riding my bike.
Some people would pull back a little bit when they learned I wasn't covered.
Taking a scalpel to heath-care scams
3/27/2005 11:32:00 AM
Thomas Brennan Jr., helped unravel a scam that Highmark says led dozens of its patients, including a few from Pittsburgh, to California for unneeded procedures. The patients received several hundred dollars each in a scheme that reaped millions of dollars in insurance reimbursements for the surgery centers, according to the lawsuit brought by Highmark and 11 other Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
Health-care fraud is a big deal, Brennan said, citing a federal government estimate that 3 to 5 percent of the nation's $1.7 trillion health-care tab is lost to fraud and abuse.
Understanding Health Insurance
3/23/2005 2:02:00 AM
Understanding Health Insurance
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For those of us fortunate enough to have health insurance, wading through all the jargon can make us so confused that it seems like something less than a blessing.
In the old days, most private insurance was based on a "fee-for-service", major medical model. The model went something like this: we paid 20%, the insurance company paid 80% of any covered service.
Health insurance markets out of whack
3/20/2005 6:29:00 PM
The American Medical Association (AMA) has a very different perspective on health insurance markets from that reflected in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)/Department of Justice (DOJ) report, A Dose of Competition, and in the January 2005 Physician News Digest interview with Mark Botti, an attorney with the DOJ. Our perspective is based on objective data and the experience of practicing physicians.
The AMA is very concerned that federal regulators continue to turn a blind eye toward the reality that in much of the country health insurance markets are not competitive.