Archive for February, 2011

Hepatitis C Patients Compare Health Insurance

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Americans living with Hepatitis C may not have access to the latest and best antiviral medications, according to Red Orbit.  In the article “Lack Of Health Insurance Limits Hepatitis C Patients’ Access To Latest Antiviral Therapy,” they say that people with Hepatitis C are two times more likely to be without health insurance than people without the viral disease.  Even those who are insured may not have coverage for the latest antiviral treatments.  Plans like Go Blue Florida which are affordable but offer limited benefits may not cover some of these costs, but if consumers do their research on health insurance they should be able to get coverage.  Once pre-existing conditions are no longer an issue in finding health insurance, even more patients suffering from Hepatitis C could get insurance coverage.

The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the top cause of chronic liver disease, liver cancer, and liver transplants in the United States.  Eighty-five percent of people with HCV, a full 3.5 million people, develop chronic infections and the disease kills 12,000 people every year.  Patients who have successful antiviral treatments have a better quality of life and lower morbidity and mortality rates.  But when you compare health insurance, it costs close to $50,000 a year to monitor and treat HCV.  That is why many people suffering from the disease don’t have insurance or don’t have that specific coverage that they need.

Study information being published in the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases journal Hepatology, found that 61% of those infected with HCV had insurance compared to 81% of those who did not have the disease.  About 67% of those suffering from HCV are eligible for antiviral treatment, but only about half of those eligible patients had insurance coverage.  The reason that some HCV patients aren’t eligible is because of contraindications to antiviral treatment.  Certain patients don’t get positive results with the treatments and may even get adverse reactions, such as patients who also suffer from cardiac disease, renal failure, or severe depression.  Those who qualify for treatment hopefully will have insurance to pay for that treatment.

Compare Health Insurance Quotes After Waiver

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

map of united statesIndividual states may be able to file a waiver against the federal government’s health care reform changes as early as 2014, the year that they will all be in effect.  The Christian Science Monitor article “Health insurance waiver: bipartisan proposal attempts to move up date” by John Whitesides says that the current law allows states to file a waiver in 2017.  Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden are working together on legislation that would allow states to file a waiver in 2014 since that is when the individual mandate and other aspects of the health care reform act of 2010 will take effect.

The waiver, if approved, will allow states to make their own health care policies rather than complying with the federal guidelines.  States can apply for exemptions from the individual mandate, the employer penalty that will be issued if they don’t offer insurance coverage, and some of the other main federal requirements.  When you compare health insurance quotes and the coverage that state residents will be offered though, states will have to prove that their alternatives to the federal requirements are both affordable and effective.

Since they don’t agree that all states need the same health care guidelines, the Senators hope that the government will see that one size does not fit all when it comes to health insurance for Americans.  Senator Brown’s home state of Massachusetts already has a comprehensive health care plan that they hope to maintain after filing a waiver against some of the federal requirements.  In Oregon, Senator Wyden’s home state, alternative health care programs are already offered as well.  The Senators are concerned that if states are not able to file a waiver until 2017, some of the successful health insurance options they offer will have to be cut between 2014 and 2017 to meet federal requirements.

Health Insurance Rates & Voided Reform

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

According to a Reuters article “Health Care Law Declared Void by Florida Judge” on CNBC, a U.S. Judge in Florida has just declared President Obama’s healthcare changes unconstitutional.  Judge Roger Vinson is the second judge to say that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.  He believes that the President went too far by requiring Americans to carry health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty fine for not doing so.  Health insurance rates were expected to change after this individual mandate took effect.  It remains to be seen what will happen to both health insurance rates and the healthcare reform bill overall with Judges ruling against it.

The Governors and Attorneys General in 26 states agree with the fact that this individual mandate is unconstitutional.  It will most likely be taken to the U.S. Supreme Court now since these political figures believe the whole act should be declared null and void.  Keep in mind that nearly everyone in the group against this reform is a Republican, so the party lines have been drawn.  Since the plaintiffs in this Florida case represent over half of the states in the U.S., it actually may have more bearing than cases filed in federal courts.  There have been more than twenty of those.

Healthcare reform in this Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has the goals of lowering healthcare costs while getting more Americans covered by health insurance.  The current administration is adamant that the reform is constitutional and will be upheld.  Two other federal judges have already upheld the individual mandate in cases they have seen, so not everyone agrees that the individual mandate is wrong.  While a judge in Virginia did recently rule against the individual mandate, he did not go as far as Florida’s Vinson in saying that the entire healthcare reform act needs to be thrown out.  Aultcare health insurance and other carriers are watching closely to see what will come of the House’s decision to repeal the healthcare act.  It will likely go no further since the Democratic Senate will probably just drop it, but the individual mandate is crucial to the plan and debates are likely to continue for a long time.

Compare Health Insurance Tax Breaks

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Income taxIn the Fox Business section online, George Saenz was asked if sole proprietors can deduct their health insurance costs on their taxes.  The article, “Deduct Health Insurance Premium?,” explains that while the deduction is available, it is not so easy to find.  When you compare health insurance tax breaks, the Small Business Jobs Act that was passed last September is really beneficial to small business owners.  It is aimed at bringing their health insurance costs in line with those of large businesses that have corporate-sponsored plans.

Those who own small businesses already have a disadvantage when shopping for health insurance from companies like Aultcare since they have fewer employees than large companies.  In addition to that, they were paying an additional 15% tax on their health insurance.  Now small business owners who file a Schedule C can get a tax break thanks to the Small Business Jobs Act.  They are able to decrease their self-employment income by the deductible health insurance premiums that they paid during the year.  Partnerships with partnership-sponsored health coverage are also affected by this new law.

The cost of your health insurance coverage is still reported on line 29 of your 1040 tax form.  You want to deduct that amount on line 3 of the Schedule SE Section B to get your tax break.  The Internal Revenue Service adjusted the Schedule SE to account for this new change.  This can make a big difference in self-employed workers, especially those with businesses making a net income of $100,000 or more.