Archive for June, 2011

Compare Health Insurance with Limited Coverage

Monday, June 27th, 2011

It really may not be worth the cost to carry limited health coverage plans once you compare health insurance costs with the coverage you receive.  Consumer Reports’ advice columnist Nancy Metcalf answered the question “Should I buy a low-priced limited benefit health insurance plan just in case something happens?”  A reader wrote in because their COBRA insurance would no longer be available and they were worried about not having health insurance.  They had researched costs associated with plans from well-known companies like Aetna and Blue Cross as well as less expensive, more limited coverage from a company like Lands Health.

These indemnity plans with limited benefits clearly state that they are not major medical insurance plans.  While they may cover some doctors visits and decrease your co-pay or prescription costs, the main point of the inquirer’s question was what to do “in case something happens.”  Metcalf gave an example for this scenario regarding breast cancer and how much you would pay out of pocket with and without a major health plan.  If you were diagnosed with breast cancer and had a lumpectomy, chemo & radiation therapy, you would pay an average of $70,000 out of pocket with a limited benefit plan.  On the other hand, with a full coverage plan from a company like Aultcare, Aetna, or Blue Cross, you would pay around $4,000 depending on your particular benefits.

It would be much more beneficial to research into the most affordable comprehensive health insurance plan when you are most concerned with “in case something happens.”  Depending on the state in which you live, your age, gender, and medical history, you can find a plan around $400 per month.  That number changes based on those factors, but is the average for a 50-year-old non-smoking woman living in Indiana.  Once the health care reform fully goes into effect in 2014, state health insurance exchanges will offer more affordable health insurance coverage and yours may even be subsidized by the government.  Some states are already offering the heath insurance exchanges.

Porn Actors Compare Health Insurance Quotes

Friday, June 17th, 2011

hospital bedAfter losing the preferred clinic for porn actors in the San Fernando Valley, an industry trade association is helping to get care for the actors.  Shaya Tayefe Mohajer’s article, “Porn trade group has plan for actor health care,” was published in Bloomberg Business Week.  The trade group Free Speech Coalition has arranged for a network of doctors, hospitals, and facilities to get labwork and testing done after the workers compare health insurance quotes.  The Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, serving the L.A. area, closed recently after a number of problems including an HIV positive actor complaining about poor care.

The porn industry makes billions of dollars each year and employs a large number of actors, who need routine testing, preferably in a discreet environment.  Not only did the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation take care of STD tests and other medical care for a multitude of actors, it also helped producers in their casting.  The Foundation maintained STD records for its patients, which producers could check before making casting decisions.  Some porn actors have health insurance through trade associations or other companies, while others must shop around for low cost individual health insurance comparable to Go Blue Florida.  It is possible that their riskier careers could cost them more when they compare health insurance quotes.

Lower Health Insurance Rates for Individuals and Small Businesses

Monday, June 13th, 2011

missouriMissouri’s Health Insurance Committee passed legislation to set up health insurance exchanges in the state based on the provisions set forth in the Affordable Care Act of 2010.  The St. Louis Beacon article “Missouri House begins work on health insurance exchanges,” by Robert Joiner, discusses the Show-Me Health Insurance Act in Missouri.  These exchanges will allow small businesses and individuals looking for health insurance to shop around for the lowest health insurance rates possible.  The system will be fully operational in 2014 and could help a million Missouri residents get lower health insurance rates.  Most of the plan has to be in place by January of 2012 and the state still has a lot of work left to do.

An expansion of Medicaid will be included in this health care reform as well, from being available to only the poorest residents to eventually including residents making 400% of the federal poverty guidelines.  Insurance companies like Aultcare can no longer charge higher health insurance rates to people because of their health status or gender, although they can still base rates on age.  Missouri will receive $1 million to help set-up the exchange from the government, but they will have to finance it on their own by 2015.  Missouri is one of the states that chose to run their own health insurance exchange because they want to be in charge rather than let the government make decisions for their state health insurance exchange.  One of the biggest challenges is making sure that the system is very user friendly and explains the choices and health insurance rates in a simple way.  Teaming up with another state or two to work together on a user-friendly system might be the best bet for Missouri.  As all the kinks get worked through, it will be even more beneficial to individuals and small businesses looking for cheaper health insurance.

Medicare Advantage Carriers Compare Health Insurance Losses

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Even though the government said that it would be increasing its payments to Medicare Advantage plans in 2012 earlier this year, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has now decided to decrease the amount they pay for the plans.  This information comes from “Medicare Advantage Plans to Get Less in 2012,” by Emily Walker of MedPage Today.  Medicare Advantage plans are available for people in the government’s Medicare program, but they are run by private companies like Aultcare health insurance.  In February of this year, the CMS thought it would be increasing its Medicare Advantage reimbursement by .7% next year.  But by April, they realized that they would have to cut the reimbursement by .16% from today’s levels.  A government spokesperson said that the reason for the decrease is “lower 2010 physician outlays.”

The Advance Notice and Call Letter gives the updates for this year’s Medicare changes.  The same warning is given to companies offering Medicare Advantage plans that they received this year.  Increasing premiums by more than 10% next year will result in the companies being banned from enrolling any Medicare beneficiaries.  Since the Affordable Care Act gives the government the right to compare health insurance companies’ rates and make changes to their privileges, they are using this power to keep beneficiaries’ rates as low as possible.  There are also changes in store for Medicare Part D.  Seniors in the so-called doughnut hole will get 50% off of brand name drugs and be reimbursed for 14% of generic prescriptions.  Part D deductibles will increase by $10 next year as well.