Archive for February, 2010

Fallon Health Plans Gets Great Ranking

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Fallon Health Plans was named one of the top ten commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid health plans in the United States last year, according to company press release “Fallon Community Health Plan achieves national top 10 ranking.”  U.S. News & World Report ranked the health plans in a joint report with the National Committee for Quality Assurance.  Fallon Health Plans was the only health plan in America to be included on the Honor Roll in all three product categories.  The Honor Roll looks at the commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid managed care plans and picks the very best.

The FCHP commercial HMO plan was ranked 7th out of 239 plans.  FCHP’s Medicare plan was ranked 2nd out of 166 similar plans and their Medicaid plan was ranked 3rd out of 82.  These rankings made Fallon Health Plans the top Medicare health plan in Massachusetts.  When you compare health insurance plans, especially those in Massachusetts, you are bound to find Fallon Health Plans as one of the best.  The President and CEO of FCHP is pleased to be recognized for their hard work.  Their goal is always to give their members the highest quality of care and services.

Fallon Health Insurance for the Vancouver Olympics?

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

vancouverWhile the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics are in full swing, thousands of spectators from all over the world have flocked to Vancouver, Canada.  With snow, ice, and cold temperatures, hopefully fans planned ahead and purchased travel health insurance for their trip.  Daniel Workman of Health Insurance Suite 101 wrote about available coverage in “Winter Olympics Travel Medical Insurance.”  Manulife Financial is Canada’s largest health insurance company.  They offered individual rates to travelers from the United States, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Russia, China, Italy, and Japan; all countries who have athletes participating in the games.

For consumers with Fallon health insurance, Aultcare health insurance, or other insurance plans, they should always check with their personal insurance company first to see if they cover medical care while traveling.  If not, additional coverage is wise.  No one wants an accidental injury or emergency on vacation to ruin not only their trip, but their finances as well.  The rates are much cheaper the younger your age, but are the same for males and females and residents of any included country.  The exclusions to the insurance are few, but should always be checked out before purchase.  Whether traveling to the Olympics or somewhere else, if your health plan doesn’t include travel insurance look into separate trip coverage.

Better Compare Health Insurance as Individual Rates Skyrocket

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Consumers in at least four states have seen their health insurance premiums skyrocket, according to “Individual insurance rates soar in 4 states” from the Associated Press.  The article applies mostly to consumers that purchased their own individual health insurance, either because they didn’t have any from an employer or they found better rates when they went to compare health insurance at the individual versus the company level.  Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in California plans to raise its individual policyholders’ rates by up to 39% at the beginning of next month.  In Maine, Anthem Blue Cross plans up to 23% increases this year, after increasing rates 32% last year.

Many insurance companies in Oregon plan to raise rates by up to 15% after a majority of the individual plans increased by 25% last year.  Unfortunately premiums are much more volatile for consumers who hold individual insurance policies because they can’t get the group discounts allowed to employers and other large groups.  It is predicted that individual insurance rates will increase in the short term by up to 30% across the board.  Without any kind of meaningful health care reform happening at the federal level, states will most likely start the legislative process of helping their consumers.  Companies like Golden Rule Insurance work to give you affordable health care in a climate with seemingly outrageous increases.  While insurance companies defend the increases and say they are necessary, the best that individuals can do right now is shop around for the best health insurance for them and contact the government to get involved in legislation.

What Would UPMC Health Insurance Think of Pregnant Olympian?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

pregnant bellyOne of Canada’s Olympic hopefuls is 5 1/2 months pregnant, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Chase.  Kristie Moore is a 30 year old member of Canada’s curling team.  She is only the third known pregnant Olympian, after a Swedish figure skater in the early 1900′s and a German skeleton athlete in 2006.  Moore says that her pregnancy does not affect her ability to “throw rocks” just yet, although when her belly grows it just might.  Her teammates have been supportive and point out that she is young and fit, which will help her in curling competitions.

I have to wonder what her insurance company thinks about her competing in the Olympics while pregnant.  While companies like UPMC health insurance and Mercy Health Plans don’t have any rules against this, they may be taking on more risk with a pregnant customer competing in high level sports.  Moore is an alternate so she will only actually compete if one of her team members gets injured anyways.  With the Canadian women being favored to win gold in curling, Moore’s unborn baby could be the youngest team member to win a gold medal!

Compare Health Insurance…or just marry for it!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

wedding ringsWhen Terri Carlson went to compare health insurance and determined it was out of her reach, she decided to find a husband with great health insurance instead.  According to “Married, with benefits: Calif. mom Terri Carlson starts Will Marry for Health Insurance Web site” by Rosemary Black of The New York Daily News, Carlson is looking to marry a virtual stranger in order to get good health insurance.  Recently divorced with her COBRA insurance coverage expiring this May, Carlson does not qualify for health insurance through her job and hasn’t been in the workforce long enough to get Social Security assistance since she stayed home with her kids for 24 years.

The charges for her Web site were less than $10 total and she has already had thousands of interested suitors.  While she hopes to find love as well, her top priority is marrying someone with excellent health insurance.  It could be with any company from Aultcare to Assurant Health, it doesn’t matter as long as it covers her medications.  Carlson has C4 complement deficiency, which is an autoimmune disease that leaves her body without the ability to fight off infections.  She takes up to 20 different prescription medications daily and says she just cannot afford to pay for those out of pocket.  Since she doesn’t see health care reform passing anytime in the near future, Carlson believes that Will Marry for Health Insurance is her best option.

Assurant Health Releases 2009 Stats

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

papersFrom company press release “Assurant Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-year 2009 Operating Results,” it’s clear that Assurant health had a good year despite a decrease from the previous year.  Assurant believes that their results stand high in this difficult economy and while they strive to do better, they are proud of their accomplishments.

Assurant’s 2009 operating ROE was 10.1%.  They are proud to maintain a double digit ROE through tough times, but are still focused on creating opportunities for growth and increasing company profitability.  New cost saving ideas have already been implemented so they expect 2010 to show even more profitability.  With a joint goal of helping customers and improving value for shareholders, Assurant health looks to remain one of the top health insurance providers in the United States.

Nancy Pelosi’s Bill Could Help Golden Rule Health Insurance & UPMC, Among Others

Friday, February 5th, 2010

nancy pelosiSince the large health care reform bill has stalled, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is working to pass smaller bills containing the most popular reforms.  This is according to The Denver Post article “Dems pursue Plan B: lifting health-insurance antitrust shields” by Michael Riley.  Compare health insurance industry rules with other industries and you see that health insurance and Major League Baseball are the only two shielded from antitrust laws.  Pelosi hopes to change that with a new bill sponsored by Reps. Betsy Markey and Tom Perriello.

The bill would simply remove the antitrust exemption that health insurance companies have had for decades.  This would allow smaller  companies like Golden Rule health insurance and UPMC a better chance to compete in the industry.  In nine states, 75% of insureds are covered by one insurer and in thirty-five other states, half of insureds are covered by only two insurers.  Removing the antitrust exemption would increase competition, therefore lowering the cost of premiums to individuals and businesses.  It remains to be seen what the Senate will think of Pelosi’s plans.

Better Compare Health Insurance Before States Ban Obama’s Reform

Monday, February 1st, 2010

american flagIn 34 states, conservative lawmakers might find a way out of President Obama’s healthcare reform, according to “States seeking to ban mandatory health insurance” by David Lieb of the Associated Press.  With amendments either filed or proposed in more than half of the United States, these lawmakers hope to ban any health insurance mandates by the government.  Some compare health insurance mandates to policies that have hurt the American people in the past.  These proposals would not allow penalties against people who do not carry health insurance, but prefer to pay for their medical expenses out of pocket.

While many of these proposals might be up for vote in November, conservative lawmakers shouldn’t get too excited about their plans just yet.  History shows that federal laws usually trump state laws when taken to court, so these measures may be null and void if the federal government does decide to step in.  Supporters of these state proposals believe that it is the right of individuals to decide whether they will buy health insurance or not.  They don’t believe the government should have the authority to tell citizens that they have to purchase health insurance.  This is just the latest battle in this ongoing healthcare war.  Let’s hope President Obama can work with all lawmakers to make decisions in the best interest of the American people.