2/27/2007 09:10:00 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.

Accident Insurance
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.

Aetna to Parents: When choosing a student health insurance, you should examine carefully

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."

Affordable Health Insurance > Health Insurance Mandates Aren't the Answer to Uninsured
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.

Alarming Number of Kids Living Without Health Insurance
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.

Americans Dissatisfied with Health Care
(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.

An answer for the uninsured
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.

Athletes and Health Insurance

Medical insurance 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 hospital.
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 athletes.
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 injuries.

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law -- Advocating for the Civil Rightsand Human Dignity of People with Mental Disabilities
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. Latest Publications 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.

Bear To The Right
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.

Benefits (Ftrain.com)
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.


Many 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.
Insurance 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.
There are 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.
Some 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.
Both 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.
Certain 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.

California pushes to cover all children
Families USA 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.

Cancer Insurance 101

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.

China: Internal Migrants: Discrimination and abuse. The human cost of an Economic 'miracle'
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.

Choosing the Right Insurance Plan

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 status.
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.

click here for
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 provide assistance." 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).

Click Here for Email Datacard
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.

Contrasting Health Insurance

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.

Difficult times for jobless and uninsured young adults

These days, young adults are learning about individual health insurance the hard way.
Sarah 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.
"It's not fair," Posekany said. "We should learn how to be a strong nation and take care of everybody."
Katie 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 health insurance.
"Everyone 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 is."
Called “the young invincibles” by the insurance industry, these young adults think that they will never get hurt or sick.
Nick 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.
While snowboarding last April 1, Bernstein had an accident, which left his collarbone broken.
At 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 his stepfather.

Disability Etiquette
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.

Divorce and Health Insurance

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.

Fall 2006 Action News-History 1998-2005, Part 1
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.

Families of the fallen
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.

Family medical insurance safeguards both family health and financial future

As 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.
When 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 budget.
A 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.
For 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.
Client 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.”
“We 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.

Financing Elective Procedures

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 health (rhinoplasty).
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

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.
Self-employed individuals 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 taxes.
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.

Government shoulders 65% of insurance premiums for those who lost their jobs
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

Green Left - The limits of formal equality
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.

Health Care Options for People with AIDS

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 contaminated needles.
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 and co-payments.
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.
Unlike Medicaid, 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 monthly income.
Applicants should 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 card.
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 Care Options for Uninsured Pregnant Women

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

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 medical-related services.
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 services.
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 up.
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

Medical care 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.
Health 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.
For further 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 policy:
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.

Health Insurance

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.
Explore your 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.
Determine if 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 insurance plan
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.
Use HealthDecisions.org, 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 unemployment compensation.
Under certain circumstances, you can make penalty-free withdrawals from an IRA to pay premiums if you're unemployed.  

Health Insurance and Breast Cancer

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 reconstruction.
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 reconstruction.

Health insurance and medical treatment

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 and Pre-existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions 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.
Individuals with 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.
Pre-existing conditions 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 pre-existing conditions.
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 (HIPPA).

Health Insurance Costs

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 affordable cost.
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.


Many health 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.
When 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.
Educate 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 literature.
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.
When you 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 exchange: a necessary means in America

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 share.
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.

Health Insurance for Babies

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

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

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 medical insurance.

Health Insurance for Freelance Writers

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.

Health Insurance for Low-Income Earners

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 coverage.
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 Maintenance Organizations).

Health Insurance for People with Mental Illness

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 didn’t spend.
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. 


About 50 million Americans are without health insurance.

Health Insurance in California

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 sick. 
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 costs.
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 markets out of whack
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.

Health Insurance Plans

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 policies too expensive for millions of US citizens

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.

Health insurance policies too expensive for millions of US citizens

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.

Health Insurance Policy

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 insurance policy.
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 happens.

Health Insurance Premiums

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.

Health Insurance Quotes

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 insurance quotes.
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 Insurance: Fighting Against Breast Cancer

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 Patients
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 Act
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 surgery. 

Health Insurance: Prevention and Treatment of Prostate Cancer

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.
Health Insurance’s role in detection of Prostate Cancer
Since prostate 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 early treatments.
When purchasing a health insurance plan, make sure that the policy you are getting offers prostate cancer preventive care, and options for prostate cancer treatment.
Studies show 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.
Treating Prostate Cancer
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.
If undetected, 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.
Insurance 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: What Immigrants Should Know

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.
Though Medicaid 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.
Moreover, 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.
Because of 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?
Legal 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 (HSA).
When choosing 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.
The Health 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.

Health Plans: Preferred Provider Organization Plans

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 providers.

Healthy Lifestyle For Better Health Insurance Coverage

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.

Hidden Health Insurance Benefits

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 coverage.
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.

How Patients Are Managing Their Care
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.

How to Choose a Pediatrician
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.


When 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.
Every 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 needs. 
In this 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 facility. 
Many 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. 
Before you 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.

February/March 2007 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.

In Health Care Reform Debate, Single-Payer System is Labor's Only Clear Choice
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.

Increase of 95% in health insurance costs strikes Alabama

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.

Increase of 95% in health insurance costs strikes Alabama

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.

Individual Health Insurance: Overview

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.
Individual health 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.

Individual Health Plans

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 medical problems.
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 fails to prevent bankruptcy
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

Insurance plans help cut prescription drug costs

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 needed medication.

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 levels.

Investment advice for your 30s and 40s
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.

Is Short-Term Medical Insurance Right For You?

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.

Long-term Care Health Insurance

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 increasing fees.
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

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 problem.
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.


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 insurance premium.
According 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.
When it 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. 
When you 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.
Of course, 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. 

Mater remains right site for Children's Hospital - O'Donnell
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.

Medical costs a burden even for some insured
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: Co-payment 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.

Medicare Advantage Part C

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 Free-for-Service Plans.
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

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

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.
If 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 utilization review.
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. 

Minimum wage increase is overdue:
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.

More young workers in Florida add to the list of uninsured

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 the future."
The young 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 diabetes".

MySA.com: Medical
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. Video UTSA captures Bonnie Terry's life Tribute by Rep. Charlie Gonzalez read on the floor of the U.S.

NACHRI | FAQs on Children's Hospitals
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.

Non-Network Services of Health Insurance Providers

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 medical assistance.
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

Onalaska Life - Opinion
. 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.

Pregnancy issues vs. the complexity of health plans

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 comprehensive care.
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 religious sects.
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.

Prescribing the Best Plan for Clients
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.

Proposed increase in kids health benefits draws mixed reaction
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.

Protect Your Kids And Pets With Custom Insurance
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.

Protecting One’s Blindside from Cancer, Stroke or Heart Attack

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 be addressed.
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

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 conception.
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 year.
More importantly, women who are under these family planning programs by the government are also entitled to health insurance programs that are publicly funded.
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 substance abuse.
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

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 times.
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 insurance companies.
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.

Seeking insurance, individuals face many obstacles
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.


Short term 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.
Most short 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. 
Short term 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.
While short 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 network providers. 
Certainly, 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.

Short-term insurance applications are increasing, insurers say

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.

Short-term insurance applications are increasing, insurers say

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.

Special Prescription Plans

Because the 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.

SRCD - Society for Research in Child Development
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.

Survey shows women shop around for healthcare.

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”.

Survey shows women shop around for healthcare.
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”.

Taking a scalpel to heath-care scams
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.

Taking Advantage of Alternative Therapy

Acupuncture has 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.


PRIMARY 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.
MEDICAL 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.
EMERGENCY 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.
PREVENTATIVE 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.
OBSTETRIC 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.
ADDITIONAL 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.
EXCLUSIONS, 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.

Term life insurance: Flexible insurance plan at a much lower cost

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 insurance.
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 life insurance.
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 chooses.
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 Appalachian Online - Gay faculty partners left uninsured
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.

The Cost of Health Insurance

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 insurance.
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

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 HMO.
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 possible time.
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 high-risk health pool
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.

The Important Role of Health Insurance in Diabetes

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 for complications.
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.

Tips to Keep You Afloat In Spite of Losing Your Health Insurance

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 Medicaid.
7. Get a Medicare plan, which caters to those who are 65 years of age or older, and qualify for a certain requirement.
8. Seek alternative medical treatments, such as herbal remedies and acupuncture.
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 policies.
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.

Tomcek: Insurance industry must help
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?

Types of Health Insurance in America

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 feature. 
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 HSA.

Understanding Health Insurance
Understanding Health Insurance From Faith Addiss, Your Guide to Breast Cancer. FREE Newsletter. Sign Up Now! 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.

Understanding POS Insurance

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?

Health savings 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 prescription medicines.
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 federal government.
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. 


Many 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.
The first 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.
State risk 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.
Guaranteed-issue 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.
Medical discount 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.

Which plan is right for me: short-term medical or individual medical?

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.

Worcester Telegram & Gazette News
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.

Worldwide Select - The Health Insurance Coverage You Asked For
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...
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.