Archive for the ‘compare health insurance quotes’ Category

Lower Premium Increases from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Even though the inflation rate in Massachusetts is expected to increase 1.6%, health insurance premiums are increasing by as much as 10%.  The VP of Blue Cross Blue Shield says that their premium increases are actually at the lowest levels since 2005, but notes that the increases are still not acceptable or sustainable.  Their increases will range from 4 to 6%, Tufts Health Plan will increase premiums 5 to 8%, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care plans 5 to 10% increases.  This information comes from Boston’s NPR news station’s article, “Mass. Health Insurance Premiums On the Rise,” by Martha Bebinger.

Harvard Pilgrim says that increases aren’t as high as they have been for two reasons.  One is that health insurance companies have been negotiating deals with doctors and hospitals because they are all under pressure to lower costs.  The other is that people are getting fewer procedures and using their health insurance less in many cases.  This may be because they are scared of losing their jobs if they miss work, but it could also be due to the fact that they have to pay a lot out of pocket before their insurance pays the rest.

High deductible health plans have become much more prevalent lately as insurance companies, doctors and hospitals work to cut costs.  Consumers who compare health insurance quotes find that these high deductible plans are helpful in saving money and ensuring people aren’t getting any unnecessary procedures.  Not everyone thinks that all of the responsibility for lowering costs should be put on insurance companies and health care providers though.  Many consumer groups want the state to step in and set prices that insurers and health care providers have to follow.  Whether the state steps in or insurance companies can lower prices on their own remains to be seen.

Health Insurance Denials As High As 70%

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Maybe some companies are trying to get their denials in before health care reform takes effect in 2014, but many are issuing health insurance denials at an all-time high level.  According to a USA Today article by Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News, “Health insurance denial rates (are) routinely 20%, data show.”  Companies like Aultcare health insurance work hard to keep their denials for health insurance coverage low, but it can be hard when more and more applicants have pre-existing conditions related to obesity and other seemingly manageable conditions.

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) found data in 2009 suggesting that 87% of Americans who apply for individual health insurance are accepted.  That figure does include those who are denied their original request and are given an alternate plan or charged more for insurance than they thought.  Current information shows that more than 20% of applicants are denied coverage for a wide range of reasons.  Different health insurance companies have different denial rates state by state and each state has a large variation in the denial rates of different companies.  Aetna denies 15% of applicants in Georgia, while Kaiser Permanente denies 47% of applicants in the same state.

The highest denial rate of 70% went to John Alden health insurance, a branch of Assurant Health.  Assurant points out that these statistics can be a bit misleading, however.  The denial rate includes applicants who are offered a plan in which they qualify for an additional cost and those who apply, but are out of the company’s coverage area.  Regardless of the reason for the denial, many Americans are having a hard time finding individual health insurance and have high hopes that the 2014 ban of denying coverage for pre-existing conditions will really help them.  Click here to see if you qualify for the individual health insurance of your choice.

Easy to Compare Health Insurance Quotes

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

It’s about to get much easier to compare health insurance quotes and determine exactly how much money you’ll have to pay out of pocket.  The Washington Post article, “New health insurance rules would let consumers compare plans in ‘plain English’,” says that consumers should get this benefit by next March.  Author N.C. Aizenman says that the government plans to require all health insurers to to give a short and easy to understand summary of their policy’s benefits and costs.  This will be available to current customers as well as those looking to compare different health insurance plans.  In addition, each plan will have to include a breakdown of your out of pocket expenses for having a baby, receiving treatment for breast cancer, and treating diabetes.

The Department of Health and Human Services compared the health insurance summaries to ‘Nutrition Facts’ food labels.  Summaries have to be less than four two-sided pages and cannot be in font smaller than 12-point.  Consumers can request a summary at any point in the application process.  Insurers like Aultcare have to provide summaries before enrollment in a plan, 30 days before a health plan is up for renewal, and 60 before any important changes are to occur in someone’s health plan.  Right now the regulation is in a 60-day comment period.  It is expected that many health insurers will express concern over the added administrative costs they will have with these summaries.  Employer-sponsored plans have so many different options that insurers might have to make thousands of different summaries.  Consumers, however, will much more easily be able to compare health insurance quotes and plans to see what option is best for them.

Compare Health Insurance Quotes With New Public Rate Info

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Residents in the state of Washington can now see health insurance rate increase requests and all pertaining information thanks to Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s HB1220.  The Business Examiner article “Health insurance rate requests now public” says that individual and small business health plan rates are now available to the Washington public on their government’s insurance website.  Some health insurance companies who put requests in before the July 1 deadline volunteered to make their information public as well.  The rate requests and supporting documents will be available online not long after they have been filed by the insurance companies.

Now that the public has access to the same information as the Insurance Commissioner, they can see for themselves why increasing health care costs are justified.  Commissioner Kreidler had a long battle with insurance companies over this legislation, and wondered what some of the companies may have to hide.  Consumers can now see what is behind rising health care costs when they compare health insurance quotes.  They will be able to see how much of their health costs go to medical claims, administration, and profit.  Whether their benefits will change at all with the health rate increases is more information that will be made public.  Kreidler is confident that this information will greatly benefit the consumers of Washington.

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.

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.

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.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Rate Increase in Rhode Island

Friday, March 18th, 2011

According to The Providence Journal in Rhode Island, insurance rates from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island are going up.  Richard Salit’s article “State approves reduced health insurance rate hike” says that the Health Insurance Commissioner of Rhode Island approved a rate increase of 1.9% for consumers purchasing their health insurance directly from Blue Cross Blue Shield.  Although an increase is still an increase, the percentage could have been much higher.  Blue Cross had requested an increase of 7.9%, which could have financially impacted many in the state.  They are the only health insurance company that residents not eligible for employer or government health coverage can use.

Rhode Island’s Health Commissioner said that he worked hard to find a balance between keeping insurance rates low for consumers while still maintaining solvency for Blue Cross Blue Shield.  He didn’t want to hurt the company while helping consumers or vice versa.  Since Rhode Island residents cannot compare health insurance quotes from different companies, the state feels an obligation to protect their consumers from unnecessary rate hikes.  While they didn’t approve Blue Cross’s initial request, the company was able to process a rate increase that the Commissioner believes is fair to everyone.

Blue Cross is not happy with this outcome however.  A spokesperson for the company said that their 7.9% request was justified by numbers and that the company has been diligent in reducing their expenses.  They have even cut administrative costs by $15 million.  The Direct Pay customers’ rate increases will go into effect on April 1, but there is always the possibility that Blue Cross will appeal the decision made by the Commissioner.  He defends the smaller rate increase, however, by stating that Direct Pay customers are very vulnerable to insurance companies so he must protect them.

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.

Compare Health Insurance Quotes in Minnesota

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

There are more people than ever looking for individual health insurance and this will only increase as more health insurance reform changes take effect.  According to Blue Cross Blue Shield’s news release “Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Minnesota Launches New Individual Products,” Minnesotans can now compare health insurance quotes from Blue Cross Blue Shield with many added choices.  The new options are available only for individual and family coverage.  After polling consumers, the plans were developed with their needs for lower cost coverage with good benefits and choices.

GoBlue is their new plan, which is made especially for young adults who are looking for affordable health care coverage.  Blue Cross Blue Shield has also updated many of their already existing health care plans.  Discounts at health and fitness clubs are available through many plans now, something that consumers really asked for.  They have made the co-pays for doctor visits more affordable and increased the number of retail clinics that plan members can conveniently visit.

Some of the plan changes have been dictated by the new health care reform, such as 100% coverage on preventative care.  Consumers can choose their own deductible and co-pay amounts based on their plan.  The plans include InstaCare, Simply Blue, GoBlue, Options Blue and Personal Blue.  Some plans are available for anyone aged 19 to 64, while others are for all individuals and families.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota’s InstaCare plan is short term coverage available for 1, 2, or 3 month periods.