Archive for the ‘aultcare’ Category

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.

Pre-Existing Conditions: Compare Health Insurance Options

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

texasThere are many health insurance options for Americans with pre-existing conditions.  An article in Texas’ The Brownsville Herald, “Federal insurance program covers pre-existing conditions,” discusses the state and federal options available.  Author Steve Clark says that the federal agency is called the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  This public insurance is available to Americans who have been denied coverage after they compare health insurance from private insurers, due to pre-existing conditions.

The pre-existing condition insurance plan or (PCIP) offered by the federal government could be used by 7 million Americans, 250,000 in Texas alone.  This program was brought about from the Affordable Care Act last year and will last through 2014, when private insurance companies like Aultcare must cover Americans with pre-existing conditions.  As of February of this year, only about 1,000 Texans had signed up for insurance through the government’s PCIP.

Texas already runs the Texas Health Insurance Pool for high-risk individuals including those with pre-existing conditions.  Each state has a high risk health insurance pool that is an option for Americans along with the federal PCIP.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say that their option is less costly than the state run pools.  The stipulations to qualify for the PCIP are being a U.S. citizen or legal resident, having a pre-existing condition, being uninsured for at least six months, and being denied coverage by private insurers.  Compare health insurance options when you have a pre-existing condition.

Health Insurance Rates for Pre-existing Conditions

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

It used to be next to impossible to anyone with pre-existing health conditions to find health insurance.  Since it will be mandatory in 2014 for insurance companies to offer health care coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions, many companies are offering “bridge” coverage that allows people to get insurance now.  Some states are running their own programs, while others are letting the government run theirs for them.  P.C.I.P.’s, or Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans, are different from high-risk health insurance pools run by the states and federal government.  With more than one option, those with pre-existing conditions are able to compare health insurance costs from multiple places and look for better deals.

Most P.C.I.P.’s offer lower costs than the high risk health insurance pools.  The article highlighted the story of a man who lost his health insurance but had $2,000 a month in medication he needed for a kidney transplant six years ago.  He was denied coverage by multiple insurance companies in Michigan because of his pre-existing condition, but was able to find insurance through the state’s P.C.I.P.  His health insurance rates are actually less now than they were with his previous insurance plan.

The plans come in three different forms and vary between the states and the federal government.  You can get a standard coverage plan, an extended coverage plan with higher premiums but a lower deductible, or a high deductible plan with a health savings account.  One of the limitations to these plans is that you have to be uninsured for at least six months to qualify, even if your health insurance rates would be much lower with a P.C.I.P.  Federal plans also require proof that you were denied coverage from an individual health insurer such as Aultcare before you qualify.  States have different requirements, but most accept a letter from a doctor saying that you do in fact have a pre-existing condition.  As with any plans, do your research and compare details to make sure that this is the best insurance for you.

NFL Players Must Compare Health Insurance

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

nfl logoCurrent NFL players will be losing their life and health insurance coverage today if the players and the league cannot reach a collective bargaining agreement.  According to a notice on the NFL players website entitled “Notice: Important News About NFL Player Insurance Plan,” the players’ group health insurance coverage will be suspended until an agreement is reached.  Players need to compare health insurance from other sources, including COBRA, before they are left in the lurch.

COBRA coverage can be purchased to continue NFL players’ current health insurance at a fairly high cost.  Notices regarding COBRA went out to NFL players this week.  If they don’t follow the guidelines and get the required information and forms in by the deadline though, they will lose the right to their COBRA coverage.  Some players are also looking for individual health insurance from companies like Aultcare, which is quite close to the Football Hall of Fame in Ohio.  It’s possible that they could pay less when they compare health insurance at an individual level to their COBRA costs.

The players’ life insurance policies will also be suspended today if an agreement isn’t reached or the deadline isn’t extended.  MetLife, the insurance carrier, is sending out information to the players so that they can convert their policies into individual life insurance rather than the group coverage they currently have.  The NFL players website recommends players get help from an insurance agent or financial advisor so they don’t miss important deadlines.

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.

New Sleep Apnea Treatments: Compare Health Insurance

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Sleep apnea treatments have just made a huge advance, according to “First Sleep Apnea Therapy System Designed for Outdoor Sporting Lifestyle Available Soon; Makes Evolutionary Jump Over Traditional CPAP Machines.”  The press release from Elise Schadauer of Somnetics describes the new sleep apnea therapy system called Transcend.  The system was designed for those who camp and travel often, but still suffer from the sleep apnea that millions of Americans face.  Transcend will be available soon for consumers and is lightweight, durable and compact according to the press release.

CPAP machines have never really been transportable for many reasons.  They are large, require constant power, and use distilled water.  If you are an outdoor enthusiast looking to sleep in a tent or cabin, a traditional CPAP machine will not work for you.  Transcend’s unique design will allow those suffering from sleep apnea to sleep outdoors in a tent, boat, cabin or just out under the stars.  Not only will consumers sleep, they will get the well rested sleep they desire when using a sleep apnea machine.  Consumers will have to compare health insurance companies to see who will pay for this new technology to help treat their sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea effects close to 20 million Americans.  The soft tissue of the throat closes during sleep and causes you to stop breathing briefly.  It not only makes for a very unrestful night of sleep, but has shown its sufferers to also have high blood pressure, memory problems, heart problems, and headaches.  The majority of those with sleep apnea are overweight, middle-aged men but anyone can suffer from sleep apnea.  The problem is also associated with snoring in about half of the cases.  Aultcare and other insurance companies may cover the cost of CPAP machines, Transcend and other sleep apnea treatments, but you have to check with them first to make sure.

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.

Pet Insurance From Aultcare?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

dogMore and more Americans are looking for health insurance to cover their pets, according to an article highlighted in USA Today.  Megan Neighbors’ “Popularity rises for pet health insurance,” from The Arizona Republic, says that vet bills have increased along with all medical costs and pets become more humanized each year.  Companies like Aultcare could stand to gain a lot by adding the millions of pets in the United States to insurance plans.  Even as we spend less on ourselves, we seem to be spending more on our pets including health insurance and discount plans from vets.  Only 3% of dogs and 1% of cats were insured in 2008, but that number is expected to rise as owners increase the limits they are willing to go to save or help their pets.

While inflation for most services has increased 28.1% since 2000, veterinary expenses have inflated by 80.4% in the same time frame.  Vets say that their costs have increased, as has the amount they need to spend to advance technologically.  With such increasing costs to care for your pets, looking for pet insurance from a specific pet insurer is becoming a wise way to spend your money.  While most traditional insurance companies do not yet offer pet insurance, it is quite possible that they soon will.  Pet specific insurance plans can vary just as much as human plans, and can range in price from $10 to $100 a month with varying deductibles and lifetime maximums.  There are also discount plans available to help cover preventative care like vaccinations.

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.

UPMC Health Insurance Stores

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

retail storeHighmark health insurance currently operates two retail health insurance stores in Pennsylvania.  They are the only company to offer such a service in the state and because of the stores’ success they’ll be opening four new Highmark Direct locations.  The current stores in Pittsburgh and Mechanicsburg have been operating just over a year and have seen tremendous success.  Highmark Inc.’s President and CEO says that the goal of these retail locations is to help Pennsylvania residents get the health insurance information that they need in order to make informed decisions about their care.  With the success of Highmark’s retail stores, it is possible that other Pennsylvania insurers like UPMC Health Insurance might take interest in offering similar services to their clients.

All of Highmark’s new stores are slated to open this year.  Their locations will be in Monroeville, Robinson Township, South Hills, and Harrisburg.  Customers have been requesting more one-on-one service from companies for years; Highmark is meeting this request with their retail stores aimed at explaining the health insurance options that are available and helping customers decide what will be best for them.  Highmark sells individual plans, senior plans, and small business plans to customers located in their service area.  They also sell dental care through their subsidiary iDental.  This innovative way to sell health insurance may catch on in surrounding states.  Ohio’s Aultcare could be the next company opening retail stores to help their customers get one-on-one health insurance service.