Archive for the ‘aultcare health insurance’ Category

Compare Health Insurance for Same Sex Married Couples in New York

Monday, July 25th, 2011

New Yorkers who recently celebrated gay marriage and health insurance companies are looking into benefits to see what changes will be made.  Chris Hawley and Michael Hall of the Associated Press wrote about this in their article “NYers ask how gay marriage will affect benefits.”  Many people hope to add their same sex spouse to their insurance plans and save money.  But some companies who compare health insurance plans before and after New York legalized gay marriage won’t be making any changes at all.  There are employers who put restrictions on domestic partner benefits and it remains to be seen if and how these restrictions will be changed now that the marriage is legal.

With well over 40,000 same sex couples in New York, the question of how legalized marriage will affect health insurance benefits is important.  Many of the couples are already legally married in other places, but now that their marriages are legal in New York, insurance and tax consequences will follow.  State taxes will be reduced and offer savings for the newly married and those whose unions are now legal in New York.  But because their unions are not recognized federally, the differences between state and federal taxes will become more complicated.  Health insurance, taxes, adoption and estate selling are the most common financial changes that will occur with the new laws, but other areas of life will be affected as well.

Couples who are married do not get taxed on their employer’s contribution to health plans from companies like Aultcare health insurance, for the costs to cover their spouse.  Even if same sex couples were able to get their partner covered under their health insurance plan, as is the case in about one-third of businesses, the working spouse was taxed on the employer contributions toward their partner’s coverage.  Now that their marriages are legal in New York, same sex couples will see savings from this tax.  But those who maybe weren’t planning on getting married could risk losing same sex domestic partnership benefits now that they can legally get married.  It might force some couples to get married once they compare health insurance benefits that could be lost if they don’t, but not all companies will force people to marry to keep their benefits.  There are quite a few changes that same sex couples, businesses, and the government will have to figure out with gay marriage legalization in New York.

Taking Severely Obese Kids from Parents as Health Insurance Rates Soar

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Two American doctors wrote an opinion piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which says that states should have the ability to remove severely obese kids from their parents.  John Moore’s article “State should take obese kids from parents: US doctors” from the AFP reminds us that while this is not the specific opinion of the American Medical Association or JAMA, it may be someday.  Lindsey Murtagh and David Ludwig, doctors at the Harvard School of Public Health and Children’s Hospital in Boston, respectively, believe that removing children who are severely obese from the homes of their parents is the same as removing kids who are starving.  Health insurance rates and childhood illnesses skyrocket because of the obesity problem in the United States.  Two million kids in the US are considered severely obese and have a BMI above the 99th percentile, shocking to some but reality to many who see these kids every day at school or in the neighborhood.

Both doctors argue that the parents of these severely obese kids are neglecting their health risks and medical problems.  The children are likely to develop lifelong conditions like Type 2 Diabetes and other ailments that will be nearly impossible for them to overcome.  While states already have laws protecting kids from starvation or undernourishment, only a few states have laws protecting them from overfeeding and severe obesity.  California, Iowa, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico do have a legal precedent on the books.  This debate is likely to interest some insurance companies like Aultcare who spend billions of dollars a year on obesity related ailments.  While these doctors believe that a temporary home in foster care can help children learn healthy eating and exercise habits and lose excess weight without the risks of bariatric surgery, it is wise to look into other alternatives first.  Educating the parents should really be the number one priority and they should at least have some kind of a warning and help before their kids are taken into foster care.  Severely obese kids do need help, but their parents likely do as well.

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.

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.

Compare Health Insurance Quotes for Abortion Coverage in SC

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

A new bill was passed in the South Carolina House which could require women to pay separate health insurance premiums to cover abortions.  That is the only way that health insurers would have to cover the procedures when South Carolinians compare health insurance quotes.  This information comes from The Augusta Chronicle’s ‘Across South Carolina’ section in the article “House approves more abortion legislation.”  This bill protects doctors who will not perform abortions because of personal reasons as well.  The House approved the bill with a vote of 69-41.  This legislation is part of a bill mandating that state insurance exchanges put in place with federal health care reform will not have to provide coverage for abortions.

The South Carolina House has a GOP majority which lists abortion legislation among its top priorities.  Democrats in the state are unhappy about this new bill.  They argue that a woman has no idea if she would ever need abortion coverage in the future, especially if she encountered rape or incest.  Other opponents say that health insurers like Aultcare health insurance will be unlikely to even offer the added coverage and that women would rarely add an additional premium for something like abortion.  They may never plan to have one, but a pregnancy difficulty or deformity, or a devastating rape cannot be predicted.  The abortion debate will rage on in both state and federal government as long as there are opposing sides, which will likely be forever.

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.

Compare Health Insurance Quotes in North Carolina

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

A recent customer satisfaction survey ranked Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina the second best health insurer in the South Atlantic Region.  Bob Graham’s article “North Carolina health insurer earns high customer satisfaction score” in Insurance & Financial Advisor talks about the J.D. Power and Associates’ U.S. Member Health Insurance Plan Study.  The 2011 study polled 34,000 commercial health plan members of insurers like Aultcare health insurance.

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan was the top ranked with a score of 747 out of 1,000.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina’s score was 714, 14 points higher than the regional average.  Out of the five years that this study has been given, this year marked the lowest national average for the 137 health plans studied in 17 regions throughout the United States.  This year’s national average was 696 points.

To compare health insurance quotes is not the only aspect that this study looks into.  They also ask about customer service, different coverage and benefit options, processing of claims, provider choices, the communication process and information offered, statements, and the approval process.  The companies rounding out the rest of the South Atlantic Region’s best were Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina.

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.