Archive for the ‘assurant health’ Category

45% of Health Insurance Applicants Denied in Montana

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

In a recent study done by HealthPocket, they determined that 22% of people applying for health insurance coverage are denied.  This information comes from Fox Business’ article, “Health Insurance Application Denied? Here are 5 Options,” by Mark Chalon Smith.  Luckily for them, President Obama has made it mandatory for insurance companies to offer coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, so that number will be down to almost zero in 2014.  Until then, there are a few things you can do to try and get yourself or your entire family covered by health insurance.  Pre-existing conditions are the top reason why consumers are denied health insurance coverage.  Insurance companies worry that they will be taking on too much risk and will shell out too much money to cover those who are already sick.

Montana is by far the worst offender when it comes to denying health insurance applicants.  Close to 50% of those who apply are denied coverage.  Other states with more than 30% of applicants getting denials are Alabama, the District of Columbia, Arkansas, Alaska, and New Mexico.  One of the main reasons that these states have such high denial numbers is that they typically have fewer health insurers offering plans in their area, so there is less competition.  Individual insurers with the worst denial rates include John Alden Life Insurance Company in South Dakota, Time Insurance Company in Kentucky, and Assurant Health in Utah, North Dakota, and Idaho.  Assurant Health defends their denial rates by saying that they do offer some type of more expensive plan for consumers who were denied their plan of choice, so they weren’t denied altogether.

In New York and Massachusetts, the denial rate for health insurance applications is already zero because those states mandate coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.  If you don’t happen to live in those states though, there are a few ways to try and get health insurance after a denied application.  Try multiple insurers and be sure to ask if there is any plan for which you qualify, even if you were denied your first application.  States offer pre-existing conditions insurance plans (PCIP’s) which have to cover you, even though the rates will be high.  There are also high risk health insurance plans in 35 states that have to cover you, another option that could be costly.  Low income families can get government help through Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  You can also try to join a professional group like a Chamber of Commerce or union to apply for their group coverage.  Keep in mind that it will all be temporary until coverage can no longer be denied in 2014.

McDonalds to Compare Health Insurance Waivers

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

McDonalds and other retailers hope that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will grant them a waiver to continue offering the same “mini-med” insurance plans.  The plans do not comply with the new health care reform law, but President Obama has stated that his administration is working with McDonalds and other companies so that their employees are not negatively impacted.  “Mini-med” plans offer limited benefits to hourly workers, of which McDonalds employs over 30,000.  It’s affordable for both the employee and the company and offers employees prescription drug coverage, preventative care, and both inpatient and outpatient care.  Compare health insurance costs and McDonalds and other retailers pay far less in administrative costs when they offer “mini-med” plans.

The stipulation in the health care reform bill stating that 85% of the premium costs that companies collect must go directly to paying medical costs rather than administrative costs is the problem for McDonalds.  Because of their high turnover and fairly low payouts of claims relative to other costs, they spend more than 15% of collected premiums on administrative costs.  The “mini-med” plans offered by McDonalds also have annual and yearly benefit caps on coverage which could be eliminated in the new health care reform.  McDonalds is looking for other health insurance options, possibly from Assurant Health or another insurer, in case they are not able to get a waiver from the government.  Obviously having McDonalds’ hourly employees lose their group health insurance is not a side effect of the reform that the government anticipated, so hopefully something can get worked out soon.

Aultcare Says No Working While Sick

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

sickEven doctors are guilty of going into work when they are sick, according to the Associated Press’ article “Working while sick? Study finds even doctors do it.”  Lindsey Tanner’s article highlights a survey that will be published in the American Medical Association’s Journal on Wednesday of 537 medical residents at 12 hospitals in the United States.  Insurance companies like Aultcare aren’t big fans of people going into work sick because of the likelihood that they will infect others with their illness.  Of those responding to the study, 58% said they had gone into work sick once before and 31% had gone in sick more than once is the past year.

The pressure on medical residents is high and the programs are competitive, so calling off sick is often frowned upon.  As residents work 80 hour weeks and 24 hours straight in the hospital, their chances of getting sick can be greatly increased.  They usually are not seeing doctors when they are sick, which can worry insurers like Assurant Health.  Presumed self-diagnosis means that illnesses can be wrongly diagnosed and more easily spread to patients and other hospital workers.  A push for flu vaccinations by many organizations will hopefully help avoid an outbreak and spread this flu season.  Even though you may feel obstacles to calling off sick from work, reducing exposure to others is in the best interest of the greater good.

Illinois to Compare Health Insurance Rate Hikes

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Regulators in the state of Illinois have asked for a $1 million federal grant and permission from lawmakers to help police health insurance companies.  They hope to receive permission to make the final decision on any rate increases requested by insurers.  With so many Illinois residents fighting to pay the bills when they compare health insurance costs, regulators believe that this step will help control the skyrocketing premiums charged by many companies.

In the past two years, Illinois has received 186 complaints about health insurance increases, some of which have been up to a 100% increase.  The insurance department hopes that receiving the federal grant will help the lawmakers agree to allow their oversight of insurers like Golden Rule Insurance.  Because of medical inflation and the recession, individual health insurance rates have just skyrocketed.  Insurers defend their rate increases and say that they really should be raising rates even higher.

At least 25 other states have the power to approve or deny rate increases by health insurers.  All health insurers in Illinois, such as Assurant Health, work for profit.  The state currently does not require them to give consumers notice of rate increases or restrict the premiums charged to individuals or large businesses.  Small businesses do have limited protection.  In their request for the government grant, Illinois regulators said that their current system just isn’t effective and they need the government’s money to improve their rate review system.

Aultcare for Sun Damaged Skin

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

sunThose who spend too much time in the sun soon realize that their skin is paying the price through photoaging, lines, wrinkles, and age spots.  These premature skin problems can make you look older than your actual age.  Andrea Markowitz of Health Key suggests treatment options in “Treating Sun-Damaged Skin.”  There are a number of things you can do to revitalize dry and patchy skin and fade spots, lines, and wrinkles.

Check with insurance companies like Aultcare to see if they cover these dermatological treatments.  There are many non-surgical treatments that you can get to improve the look of your skin.  Botox softens wrinkles; chemical peels remove the top layer of your skin to reveal an improved look; and collagen injections can help fill lines, wrinkles, and even scars.  Dermabrasion abrades the skin and causes new smoother skin to grow.  Microdermabrasion is a milder form that can be used for moderate skin damage.  Tazarotene is a retinoid cream that can reduce photoaging signs.  Tretinoin is another cream which treats wrinkles and other skin problems.

There are surgical treatments that can take a more intense approach to skin correction.  With laser skin resurfacing, the appearance of wrinkles and scars can be reduced.  Non-ablative resurfacing is a laser treatment that also uses electrical energy to correct skin.  Intense pulsed light therapy is another surgical treatment that can be used to correct sun damaged skin.  If

Assurant Health or another insurer does not cover treatments, there are some over the counter remedies that will save money.  Creams and lotions with retinol, copper or copper peptides, alpha-hydroxy acids, or antioxidants can help improve the appearance of your skin.  Most importantly though, take care of your skin by always wearing sunblock and hats whenever possible.

Assurant Health: High Risk Insurance Pools

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Eighteen states will let the government run their high-risk health insurance pools, according to The Washington Post’s “18 states refuse to run insurance pools for those with preexisting conditions” by David Hilzenrath.  Beginning in 2014, health insurers like Assurant Health will not be able to deny health insurance coverage or charge increased premiums to people with preexisting medical conditions.  A provision in the health-care bill has extended this coverage temporarily beginning this year.  High-risk health insurance pools will run coverage programs for these high risk people almost immediately.  Some states already have high-risk pools, but for those who don’t and those whose current programs don’t meet the new federal requirements, a decision had to be made whether to run the pools themselves or let the government do it.

Five billion dollars has been allocated to run these high-risk pools, but many governors don’t think the money they will be given is going to last very long.  Because of this and other reasons, at least eighteen states are leaving it up to the Department of Health and Human Services to run the high-risk pools.  Many of these states have Republican governors, though not all do.  It’s possible that the federal government will hire a nonprofit health insurance company to run the high-risk pools for those states not running their own.  High-risk pools are expensive to run and many people, like the actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, think the federal government’s $5 billion could be spent by next year.  If that happens, state and federal governments could have to increase premiums, decrease benefits, or limit enrollment.  Maybe the government will come up with more money for these pools…it remains to be seen.

Travel Health Insurance Essential: Golden Rule Insurance

Monday, May 10th, 2010

airplaneThere probably aren’t that many travelers who worry about medical evacuation insurance.  You should, according to “Experts Say Travel Health Insurance Can Be Crucial,” by Lindsay Tanner of the Associated Press.  Most health insurance policies do not include transportation home for critically ill patients requiring medical equipment and staff.  And while most people think that they will never need those services, accidents happen.  Car crashes and heart attacks are the main injuries sustained on vacation and those can happen to just about anyone.  If you have Golden Rule Insurance or medical coverage from another insurer, you should inquire about their coverage in advance.  If it is not under your plan, you can usually purchase supplemental insurance just for traveling.

It is also possible to get a stand-alone policy from an insurer like Assurant Health that will only cover you when you are traveling.  With the busy summer travel season fast approaching, no one wants to come home with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills or worse yet, not come home at all.  The cost for most supplemental plans is around 4 to 8 percent of the cost of your trip.  A vacation costing $2000 would make for about $120 in supplemental travel insurance.  Those who have needed the services say that it is well worth the cost.  The State Department has information on where you can obtain travel insurance and what type you may want to get, including medical evacuation insurance.

Cobra Remains: Compare Health Insurance Bill

Friday, April 9th, 2010

cobraAmericans who were worried about the recent health care reform bill eliminating Cobra coverage can rest assured that will not happen, according to The New York Times article “Health Law Preserves Cobra Plan” by Walecia Konrad.  The government-mandated Cobra program is meant to bridge insurance you have lost with new insurance coverage.  Compare health insurance under Cobra and it basically continues insurance coverage from a job you were either laid off from or left to find another job.  Cobra lasts for 18 months and you have to pay the premiums your old employer was paying for you as well as what you were previously paying in most cases.  The health care reform bill that just passed basically makes no changes to Cobra, but for people that couldn’t afford Cobra or had yet to find another job after the 18 month coverage expired, some other aspects of the new law should help them.

A government subsidy covering 65% of laid-off workers’ Cobra coverage  expired at the end of March which puts many unemployed families in a predicament where they will go from paying around $385/month to $1,100/month for their coverage.  For families like that who may no longer be able to afford Cobra coverage and those whose Cobra has expired, they have to look into the independent insurance market at companies like Assurant Health for coverage.  Anyone who was previously insured under Cobra cannot be denied coverage by individual insurance companies based on a preexisting condition, so make sure to shop around well before your 18 months expires to find health coverage.  Some other options to look into if you are uninsured are getting onto your parents insurance up to age 26 and obtaining coverage under the new state run high-risk insurance pools.  But even without a subsidy, Cobra may be the best way to continue your previous insurance after a job loss.

Oregonians Can Look to Assurant Health for Help

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

oregonLocal news source The World wrote about a concerning report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  In “Report: More Oregonians lack health insurance,” the nonprofit health group’s findings are highlighted.  There has been a significant increase in the number of Oregon’s middle class citizens that don’t have health insurance.  Compare health insurance trends nationally and you get the same type of results.  As the national trend has gone the same way as Oregon’s, its citizens are hoping that some type of health care reform will help them obtain health insurance.  Ten years ago, Oregon had 98,000 people without health insurance.  The 2008 study found 170,000 Oregonians without health coverage.

In the same time frame, the cost of a family’s health insurance increased by 70%.  In Oregon, as well as much of the rest of America, the median income for its citizens actually decreased by 1.6%.  These statistics make it so hard for people to find good health insurance.  Assurant Health is one of the top health insurance companies in the United States, with one million customers all over the map.  They work with people who don’t have health insurance through their work or other group coverage.  Since many businesses have dropped health insurance benefits or reduced them and 15% of Oregonians working for private businesses are not offered health insurance, Assurant Health would be a good company for Oregonians to look into.

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.