Posts Tagged ‘compare health insurance quotes’

Night Shift Can Increase Health Insurance Quotes & Heart Problems

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

A large study reported by BBC News says that night shift workers have a greater risk for heart problems than people who work day shift.  The British Medical Journal analyzed studies involving over 2 million workers and found that there is a serious disruption in your body’s clock that negatively effects your lifestyle.  In “Shift work link to ‘increased risk of heart problems,” it says that you can lessen your problems by reducing night shift work.  That is much easier said than done for many workers, so how damaging is working night shift and what can be done to combat its harmful effects?

This study analyzed information from 34 different studies around the world.  They found that shift workers were 23% more likely to have a heart attack, 24% more likely to have a coronary event, and 5% more likely to have a stroke than non-shift workers.  Interestingly, they did not find an increase in mortality rates related to heart problems for these workers.  The additional factors taken into account for the studies were diet, socioeconomic status and overall health.  People working night shift have interrupted sleep patterns and typically have worse eating habits than those on regular day shifts.  The fact that their nervous system is constantly activated with no regular sleep patterns also leads to increased obesity and higher cholesterol.

I wonder if health insurance companies compare this factor when they give their insurance quotes.  If those working night shift have a higher rate of heart problems, obesity, and high cholesterol; insurers may have a legitimate reason to increase rates for night shift workers.  To combat higher health insurance rates and heart problems, there are some things night shift workers can do.  They should be educated in the possible symptoms that can occur from working night shift.  Many workers turn to sleep aids, have problems with their appetites and digestion, and may even have social or family problems.  If workers know what to look for ahead of time, they can combat the issues that are leading to heart attacks and other coronary events.  Try not work a permanent night shift and make sure to have two full nights of sleep when going between day and night shift.  Also, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and avoiding smoking can help combat these heart problems.

UPDATE: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Individual Mandate

Monday, July 9th, 2012

UPDATE to 6/27/2012 Blog:

After a long wait, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  The votes were close at 5-4, according to ABC News article “Supreme Court Health Care Ruling: The Mandate Can Stay.”  Matt Negrin and Ariane De Vogue explained that while the Supreme Court deemed the individual mandate unconstitutional under the commerce clause, they ruled that it is allowed under the taxing clause.  Essentially, the government can “tax” you for not carrying health insurance.  President Obama is happy with the victory because he believes that this reform is in the best interest of Americans.  The political battle will rage on though, especially with this being an election year.

Most Americans must compare health insurance quotes and purchase a policy, or else they will be fined.  These fines could total thousands of dollars each year.  The most popular facets of the health care law will also remain in effect, including the fact that those under 26 may stay on their parents’ health insurance plans, Medicare members get free mammograms, and health insurance companies cannot deny you coverage because of pre-existing conditions or a mistake on your application.  A Supreme Court expert said that while this is a win for the President, it was actually the administration’s third choice of an argument, not the first.  They first argued that the individual mandate fell under the Commerce Clause, then the Necessary and Proper Clause, and finally the Tax Clause.

Regardless, the debate will rage on through this election year.  Republicans show survey results that only 36% of Americans agree with the Affordable Care Act.  But when asked about specific items in the Act, surveys have also shown much support of the age 26 provision and the pre-existing condition provision.  Of course there is going to be opposition because everyone does not believe in the same path for America, but I hope that decisions are informed when it comes to the Affordable Care Act.  I think some polling results show that many Americans are against the Act in a blanket way without knowing the details.  Since only 39% of Americans think the health care system is in a good place right now, it’s clear that something needs to be done.  Whether or not the Affordable Care Act is the right solution remains to be seen.

 

CIGNA Health Insurance Rates Increasing 44% in Arizona

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Federal regulators have taken over some of Arizona’s health insurance rate increase reviews.  Any health insurance company requesting a rate increase of 10% or more will be subject to a review from the federal government now.  This information comes from Ken Alltucker of The Republic’s article, “Arizona health-insurance companies targeted.”  “Unreasonable” was the term used by the federal government for Trustmark Life Insurance Co.’s requested health insurance rate increase of 13%.  If you compare health insurance quotes in Arizona, many companies are increasing them without following the federal requirements that 80-85% of collected money be spent on medical costs.

Thirty-two other health insurance companies in Arizona will be reviewed by federal regulators as well, with requested increases between 14-44%.  CIGNA health insurance of Arizona has a proposed rate increase of 44% for its small business plan.  Their individual health insurance plan has a proposed rate increase of 21%.  A company spokesperson says that these plans have been losing money for multiple years.  Insurance companies in Arizona are pushing the state’s Department of Insurance to increase their regulations so that the federal government backs off.

Trustmark’s review has already been completed and they have been told by the Department of Health and Human Services to refund consumers or give a reason for not doing so.  Their proposed 13% increase for a small group insurance plan is actually an 18.1% increase once you account for another increase Trustmark had within the last year.  DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius points out that the company is using too much money for administrative expenses and not enough on paying for medical care.  The Affordable Care Act stresses the importance of this expense ratio.  The government regulators plan to review the remaining Arizona plans soon.

Unexpected Health Benefits of Coffee

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Most of us love our morning, or afternoon, or evening cup of coffee.  Lucky for us, Woman’s Day has given us “7 Surprising Health Facts About Coffee.”  Amanda Greene Kelly writes that these benefits and facts are sometimes unexpected and always interesting.  Women who drink coffee have 20% fewer cases of depression than those who do not.  And the more coffee consumed, the less likely those studied were to suffer from depression.  Coffee can also help you keep your weight in check.  Sipping on caffeine after a meal causes your body to process the food more slowly and could be a small help in keeping a healthy weight.

Regardless of the amount taken in, caffeine has also been shown to increase fertility in males because it helps with sperm motility.  The least deadly form of skin cancer was reduced by drinking caffeine.  Basal cell carcinoma risk was 20% less for women and 9% less for men who drank caffeine.  While coffee can increase the pain you feel from heartburn, it is unlikely to cause other stomach problems like ulcers and increased pains.  You might have some fatigue or irritability without your daily coffee, but that will go away within a few days because coffee is not truly addictive like drugs.

A random coffee fact is that your coffee maker is one of the germiest places in your house.  Practically no one cleans it, so make sure to follow your instructions and clean your coffee maker once a month or so.

While the article is not suggesting that you only drink coffee to protect against skin cancer or keep your weight in check, it’s kind of nice to know some positive side effects from your morning cup of joe.  If you have taken on any healthier living habits, compare health insurance quotes and see if you can lower your premiums.

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.

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.