Archive for January, 2010

If You Didn’t Compare Health Insurance Plans, You May Need “Healthcare Watchdog”

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

watch dogAccording to company press release “Healthcare Watchdog Launches, Promises Everyone a Fighting Chance Against Greedy Health Insurance Companies,” Healthcare Watchdog is there to help consumers.  It is important to compare health insurance plans and coverage before selecting the plan that is right for you.  Unfortunately though, sometimes the plan doesn’t cover everything that was intended and consumers find themselves with a mountain of health insurance bills.  Healthcare Watchdog is a company founded in 2009 whose purpose is getting your valid health insurance claims covered, obtaining reimbursements when providers pay less than promised, and other health insurance dilemmas.

Shockingly, the press release states that over half of bankruptcies are due to medical costs and 3/4 of those who filed actually did have health insurance.  Healthcare Watchdog charges a monthly fee to customers to provide their consumer advocacy services.  Interesting concept, but a cost that could be avoided by finding great health insurance.  Fallon Health Plans in Massachusetts work hard to meet their goal of developing healthy communities.  They strive to improve the quality of their participants’ lives through great communication, wellness programs, and innovative online technology.  Fallon strives to meet their customers’ needs daily and hopes that you won’t ever need a service like Healthcare Watchdog.  But if you’re looking for an extra insurance against unwanted health care costs, the service might be right for you.

Compare Health Insurance to Get the Most from IRS Help

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

An Internal Revenue Service program seeks to help laid-off workers pay for health insurance, according to the Columbus Dispatch article “Laid-off workers get IRS help on health insurance,” by Suzanne Hoholik.  While the IRS program has been around since 2002, it doesn’t seem to be well-known among those laid-off workers who are paying out of pocket for their health care.  They should compare health insurance to get the best plan possible so that the IRS’s 80% coverage goes even further.  With close to 11% of Ohioans unemployed, the IRS is trying to spread the word about this program throughout the hard hit state.

To qualify for IRS health care assistance, you have to have lost your job to foreign outsourcing or to a foreign company.  Jobs that are included in this “trade-affected” program are auto workers and others who worked in the plants, and call center workers.  You also qualify if you are between the ages of 55 and 65 and are receiving a pension from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation because of the failure of your company’s pension.  Ohio workers can look for a good insurance plan from a company like Aultcare health insurance in Stark County, then get the IRS to pay for 80% of the premium for a period of time.  If you have been laid-off and meet the qualifications for this plan, your monthly expenses could be significantly reduced.

Fallon Health Plans: How the Massachusetts Election Could Effect Health Care Reform

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Scott Brown is the new Massachusetts Senator.  Seeing that he is a Republican, this could change everything about President Obama’s health care plan.  In “Massachusetts Senate race results: Obama’s signal that all is changed” by Peter Grier of The Christian Science Monitor, the repercussions are discussed.  Unfortunately for President Obama, things have not gone as he planned during his first year in office.  The economy is still struggling, a record number of Americans are unemployed, and his much anticipated health care reform plan has been a battle between Democrats and Republicans.  With a new Republican Senator in a “blue state”, what happens now with health care is up in the air.

Insurance companies have a lot at stake with the proposed health care reform bills.  Fallon health insurance, part of Fallon Community Health Plan of Massachusetts, is dedicated to making communities healthier.  They have a strong interest in health care reform and are waiting to see what will happen in the government with health insurance coverage for more Americans.  Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, is insistent that health care reform will pass even with the Democratic loss in Massachusetts.  Only time will tell how President Obama’s agenda may change after his first difficult year in the presidency.

Will Mercy Health Plans Be the Next to Implement Online Care?

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

skypeAccording to Megan Johnson of U.S. News & World Report, “Visiting your doctor online is a virtual reality.”  The use of technology to connect doctors and patients in real time is spreading fast.  Not only is it convenient for both doctors and patients, it saves quite a bit of money.  Whether using a video camera to see the patient’s ailment or simply having it described, doctors are able to help patients avoid coming into the office nearly 95% of the time.  This saves patients on costly emergency room or urgent care visits off-hours or on the time it takes to schedule an appointment in a doctor’s office.  Not only can you compare health insurance programs offering these services, online care can be helpful to people who don’t have insurance because they usually just charge a flat fee for chatting with a doctor.

These tele-health technologies might be one of the things that can help slow down this steep increase in the cost of health care.  The Hawaii Medical Service Association and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Minnesota are two health care plans using these online technologies.  Patients enter medical information into an online database and are charged based on whether they carry the insurance or not.  Members of Mercy Health Plans may wonder if their carrier will implement these programs as well.  Online health care allows patients and doctors to correspond via email, review lab results, refill prescriptions, and make appointments more easily.  This new wave of “visiting” the doctor online seems to be the next step in health care.

Compare Health Insurance Reform for the Military

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Many military people are worried about the effect of health care reform on both the active and retired military personnel, according to “Health reform’s effects on military care” from the Sun Herald of Mississippi.  They worry that when you compare health insurance today to the Senate-passed ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’, the military plan ‘Tricare for Life’ will be eliminated.  Both the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress insist that health-care reform will not effect the military in any negative way.  In fact, they say that many of the 16 million veterans currently not enrolled in VA health care will have access to greater benefits and tax credits.

Section 311 of the bill states that the Defense and the Veterans Affairs Departments ability to provide Tricare and other VA health-care will not be affected by the new health-care plan.  The National Military Family Association and other military organizations worry that unplanned negative effects will occur.  Since Tricare fees are tied to Medicare, they worry that new “health insurance exchanges” will give doctors higher fees from private insurance that Tricare cannot match.  Aultcare of Ohio and other health insurance plans would easily be able to beat the fees Tricare can currently pay to doctors and Tricare wouldn’t be able to compete.  Military organizations are urging lawmakers to take a look at the unintended negative consequences that could come out of their health-care reform.

Golden Rule Insurance Helps After Job Loss

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

unemployedSadly, Americans have been losing their jobs in record numbers over the past year or so.  If you’ve already been laid off or are worried it might be coming, start looking for health insurance outside of your company.  According to “Worried about losing your job? Better start checking out insurance,” by Gail Appleson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there are health insurance options out there.  If you lose a job with a company employing at least 20 people, COBRA is an option for continuing the health care you received at your company.  While COBRA was introduced by the government in 1985 to help individuals continue their recently lost health coverage at group rates, diving into the individual insurance market may be much cheaper.

Golden Rule Insurance is just one of the companies that offers individual and family insurance policies to consumers.  They have been in business since 1940 and recently became part of United Health One.  If you are healthy, it might be wise to skip the high costs of COBRA and shop around for a less expensive individual health plan.  It is crucial to find a plan to cover your insurance needs rather than going uninsured.  While the individual insurance marketplace can seem overwhelming and costly, one emergency health related situation can put you in a financial nightmare.  Shop around for short-term or temporary plans that require less paperwork and are made for helping you get from one insurance plan to another, like in the case of being laid off.  There is insurance coverage out there for you, just spend the time to research.

Compare Health Insurance Myths with Assurant Health

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

The U.S. News staff straightens out some facts in “3 Biggest Health Insurance Myths.”  While some people wonder if health insurance is actually worth the cost, experts agree that it is crucial to protect your most valuable asset, your health.  The 1st myth is that health insurance sponsored by your employer is always the best to have.  Since large groups were traditionally able to get reduced rates, that belief held true.  But as health care premiums increase by double-digit numbers, compare health insurance costs that are being passed onto employees like co-pay increases and reduced coverage.  These plans don’t always make sense for healthy people that don’t often go to the doctor.  It may be best to find a health plan that specifically meets your needs.

The 2nd myth is that it is too costly to purchase your own health insurance.  Assurant health and other health insurance companies work hard to make your health care affordable.  Just like you comparison shop for car insurance, you should do that with health insurance plans as well.  The 3rd myth is that young and healthy people are just wasting money purchasing health insurance.  It is always important to have some health coverage to protect you from the unexpected injury or health problem to avoid costly emergency room care.  But shop around so that you only pay for the coverage you need.  If you don’t need prescription coverage or maternity benefits, look for plans offering the financial protection that works for you.

Quit Smoking with Mercy Health Plans

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Is your new years resolution to quit smoking?  With information from Mercy Health Plans you can succeed this year.  The Mercy Health Plan System is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.  They serve the health care needs of patients throughout Missouri and in Arkansas, Kansas, & Oklahoma.  Mercy is dedicated to helping their members obtain healthy lifestyles.  One of the most important ways to do this is by quitting smoking.  While there are national and statewide phone numbers and programs to help you quit, Mercy has some additional tips and information to help you succeed.

The first step to quitting smoking is just thinking about doing it.  Let doctors, friends, and family know that you want to quit so that they can help you along the way.  Your chances of quitting actually double with medications like nicotine replacement.  A few weeks of nicotine replacements like gum, the patch, or a prescription can help get you through the toughest cravings and difficulty.  Since many people smoke as a stress release, it is important to find another way to relieve stress like taking a walk or calling a friend.

Most people try to quit smoking around eight times before they succeed, so hang in there and know that you are not alone.  Get ready to quit by selecting a date, getting any medications you need, and throwing away all ashtrays and lighters around you.  It is crucial to change your routines so that you don’t crave a cigarette at the usual times.  Ask for support to keep you on track.  The National Quit Hotline and numerous other support programs throughout the country can assist and keep you on track.