Archive for the ‘Golden Rule Health Insurance’ Category

Insurance Rebates Owed in Missouri By August 1

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

The Affordable Care Act stipulates that health insurance companies have to follow what’s known as the 80/20 rule.  This Medical Loss Rule helps to assure that health insurance companies operate more efficiently by spending at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on patient health care or quality improvement.  If they don’t spend according to the rule, insurers have to send rebates to the customers paying those premiums.  According to the Missouri News Tribune’s Olivia Ingle, “Health insurance rebates (are) on the way” for Missouri residents.  The average family in Missouri will get a rebate of $173.  This will affect 600,000 Missouri residents, who will be paid $60.5 million this year.  Last year, $1 billion was owed to U.S. residents through this health insurance program, compared with a total of around $500 million owed this year.  The Department of Health and Human Services says that 8.5 million Americans will get part of that $500 million owed in rebates.

For consumers with individual health insurance, they will be notified by their insurance company if they are owed a rebate.  It can be sent to them as a check, it can be reimbursed through the account used to pay the insurance premium, or it can be applied as a credit for future premium payments.  Companies have until August 1 to issue the rebate regardless of the way it is issued.  For employer health insurance rebates, companies can use one of the three ways mentioned above or offer more generous benefits to their employees in exchange for the rebate amount.  Golden Rule Health Insurance owed the most in Missouri’s individual market with almost $2.5 million owed.  Healthy Alliance Life Insurance Company owes close to $4.2 million, the most in the small group insurance market.  In the large group market, UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company took the top spot for rebates owed with $3.6 million.  Missouri residents owed a rebate look forward to receiving their money this summer, regardless of the amount.

Golden Rule Health Insurance Watches Battle

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

courtroomTwenty states are fighting mad over President Obama’s health care reform.  With Florida being the largest and the most likely to bring its fight to the U.S. Supreme Court, all political eyes are on the southern state.  This information comes from the NPR story and article “States Lay Out Battle Lines In Health Care Suits” by Carrie Johnson.  Insurance Companies like Golden Rule Health Insurance will watch these battles unfold to see if the outcome will effect the changes they expected in the federal health policies.  In 2014 all Americans will be required to carry some form of health insurance.  While this could be a good thing for health insurers, they also have a lot of new rules to follow from the government and are getting a hard time over their rising insurance rates.

The states who have filed lawsuits seem to run right along political lines.  Democrats tend to agree with the President’s health care reform while Republicans tend to argue against it.  Those in opposition believe that the government it overreaching its boundaries into people’s lives and the health care industry.  They think that it is against the constitution to force these requirements and policies on American citizens and insurers like Cigna Health Insurance.  Opponents don’t think the government has the right to regulate people’s inactivity, so they are most angered about the individual mandate requiring the purchase of health insurance.  Obama’s administration argues that states don’t have to follow the new rules if they opt out of federal money for programs like Medicare, but state governments say that is hardly a good solution.  We’ll be following this political health care battle.

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.

Compare Health Insurance Medigap Plans

Monday, July 12th, 2010

In the article “Ask Kim: The ABCs of the new Medigap plans,” Kimberly Lankford of Kiplinger’s Money Power explains the recent Medigap changes.  Two new Medicare supplement plans were introduced on June 1, Medigap plans M and N.  Plans E, H, I, and J will no longer be offered as Medigap plans.  Anyone who wants to keep their old plan, even those that have been discontinued, is able to do so with no changes.  It might be a good idea to compare health insurance options though, because the new plans offer lower premiums in exchange for some cost-sharing.

The new plans are both similar to Medigap’s most popular policy, Plan F.  The difference with Plan M is that it only covers half of the Medicare Part A deductible of $1,100 and does not cover any of the $155 Part B deductible.  While Plan N does cover the full Part A deductible, it has the added expense of co-pays for doctors visits ($20) and emergency room treatment ($50).  Medicare Part B “excess charges” are not covered by either Plan M or N.

More insurers like Golden Rule Health Insurance are offering Plan N than Plan M.  The cost is about 30% less than Plan F.  While you’ll be paying less for your policy, take into account the additional co-pays, Part B deductible, and any Part B “excess charges” you may have to pay out of pocket with Plan N before switching.  It might still work out to your benefit to change plans.  People eligible for the first time for Medicare Part B within 6 months will automatically qualify for Medigap plans.  Once that enrollment period ends, you could be disqualified for health conditions.  There are insurers offering Plans M and N regardless of health conditions though.

Compare Health Insurance with Dental

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

One-fourth of Americans do not have dental insurance, according to a U.S. News & World Report article.  In “1 in 4 Americans Under 65 Lacks Dental Insurance,” this survey from 2008 shows that race, employment, and even education all play a roll in whether Americans have dental coverage.  Compare health insurance with dental coverage and many people think dental is something they can cut back on to save money.  Unfortunately this leads to dental problems and other health issues since dental health is directly related to overall health.

This U.S. National Center for Health Statistics report was released last week and showed that having dental insurance is the main indicator of whether or not you receive regular dental care.  Eighty-percent of people who have employer sponsored health care had dental coverage included in that care.  Unfortunately, only thirty percent of those who had directly purchased their own insurance from a company like Golden Rule health insurance had included dental coverage.

Black Americans were more likely to have dental coverage than white Americans, Asian Americans, or Hispanic Americans.  People with less than a high school education only had dental insurance in forty percent of the cases studied.  Americans are more likely to have dental insurance as their income gets higher, along with most other types of insurance.  Taking care of your teeth, mouth, and gums is very important to your overall good health.  Search for dental insurance coverage to take care of you and your family.

Golden Rule Insurance Dental Care

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Your health insurance and dental insurance companies can only hope that you follow guidelines to take preventative care of yourself.  Health Key has listed some important tips on basic dental care.  Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth are important, as is seeing the dentist twice a year to get your regular cleanings and look for any issues.  It is also helpful to eat a diet rich in whole grains, dairy, and fruits and vegetables.  Taking care of your health allows insurance companies like Golden Rule Insurance to spend less on problem care and charge less for policies.  Taking care of your teeth helps to avoid tooth decay, prevents gum disease, saves money, avoids bad breath, helps your teeth last a lifetime, and improves your overall health.

Following basic dental care is the best way to avoid problems.  Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day to keep plaque away.  By using a toothpaste with flouride, you help prevent cavities and tooth decay.  Avoiding sugar as much as possible is important for your teeth.  Do not smoke or use other tobacco products which can cause gum disease and cancer.  Clean your tongue with a special scraper or soft toothbrush.  Find out how often your dentist would like to see you and check with UPMC, or your insurer, to see how often visits are covered by insurance.  Most experts believe that children should start seeing the dentist at one year of age and go every six months after that.  Check with your dentist for their particular guidelines for taking care of your teeth, mouth, and overall health.

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.

California Hospitals: Compare Health Insurance Rising Costs

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

In “California’s higher hospital costs add to health insurance hikes,” Bobby Caina Calvan and Phillip Reese of The Sacramento Bee try to compare health insurance costs and the reasons they keep rising.  While the general public and even the government can be quick to blame insurance companies for everything, the authors’ research showed that hospitals collected $25 billion from health insurance companies from September 2008 to October 2009.  Since 2005, that number increased by over one-third.  A lot of the charges to insurance companies, which flow directly to consumers, come from expenses like hospital expansions, new technology, and services for the uninsured.  It was found that some hospitals actually charged more than double what the service provided actually cost.

Insurers like Golden Rule Health Insurance are essentially held hostage by the charges from hospitals yet take most of the blame for increasing premiums to consumers.  Hospitals in California are required to report the amount they spend on caring for insured patients, the amount they charge insurance companies, and the amount that they actually collect.  The hospitals reported a 53% increase from the amount they spent on care to the amount they charged.  Unfortunately, hospitals are in their own predicament with costs which is why they have to pass them along somewhere.  Government mandates to make hospital improvements, provide care to uninsured Americans and illegal aliens, and reimbursements for Medicare and Medi-Cal that are less than cost force that money to be made up for somewhere.  Unfortunately for consumers, these cost increases for insurance companies usually lead to increased premiums.

Compare Health Insurance for Women After Health Care Reform

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

According to “Health Law Cuts the Cost of Being a Woman” by Denise Grady of the New York Times, health insurance companies can no longer treat women as a liability.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other women in government are advocating for women’s health by ensuring that being a woman is not considered a pre-existing condition.  The new health care bill forbids all health insurance companies, like UPMC, from sex discrimination.  In the past, companies took advantage of women with unfair health care and health insurance policies towards them.

Companies who sell individual insurance policies, usually bought by people who have lost jobs or other group coverage plans, had been charging women more than men for the same health insurance coverage.  Many plans did not even include maternity care.  Insurance companies argued that women use doctors more than men.  The National Women’s Law Center found that men who smoked were actually being charged less than women who did not.  Even group plans when you compare health insurance were affected.  Although sex discrimination laws didn’t allow the excess costs to be passed down to female employees, smaller business and those heavy in female employees have been forced to make sacrifices including discontinuing coverage in some cases.

Gender rating is now outlawed and maternity coverage has to be included as an “essential health benefit” like heart attacks and cancer.  Women should no longer have to be concerned about getting fair treatment in the health care industry from companies like Golden Rule Insurance.  There are people who worry that insurance companies will be able to find ways around the new laws to protect themselves from financial costs, but the Law Center’s co-president doesn’t currently see any loopholes and is confident that the health care bill will better protect women.

Compare Health Insurance with the Health Care Reform Act of 2010

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

ERThe Washington Post article “Who is left uninsured by the health-care reform bill?” by Ezra Klein contains intriguing information.  With two different pie charts showing the number of uninsured Americans both with and without the health-care reform bill, we are better able to compare health insurance coverage both ways.  The first chart shows the breakdown of insurance coverage in 2019 without the recently passed health-care reform bill.  Uninsured Americans would make up the second largest group of 54 million people.  The largest segment would belong to those insured through the employer market by companies like Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.  Thirty-five million people would have insurance through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) while the remaining 30 million Americans would be covered under other non-group plans.  Compare the number of Americans uninsured without this health-care reform to the number forcasted with the bill’s passing.

Uninsured Americans should move from the second largest category to the smallest group with the passage of this health-care reform act.  Employer market plans will remain the largest group with 156 million people, followed by 44 million on Medicaid or CHIP, 25 million in the other/non-group market with smaller companies like Golden Rule Health Insurance, 24 million in the created exchanges, and 22 million in the smallest category of uninsured.  Many skeptics ask why so many Americans would still be uninsured with the passage of the health-care reform bill.  The majority of those uninsured would actually be illegal immigrants who are not eligible for insurance coverage through the new program.  The other people that make up the uninsured category would be those who choose not to carry coverage in lieu of paying the $750 penalty, those whose income is low enough that they are not required to purchase insurance, and people who qualify for public programs like Medicaid but don’t actually sign up.  The bottom line is that only 40 million Americans will be in a different health insurance situation after the health-care reform bill and 75% of those will go from being uninsured to being insured.  Most of the others will have moved from individual or small group coverage into the insurance exchanges.