Posts Tagged ‘compare health plans’

Personal Stories of Americans Looking for Health Insurance

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Just say the words health insurance in public right now and you are likely to incite some type of debate.  It’s a hot button issue because of the Affordable Care Act, people losing health insurance coverage, and a new government site that is running anything but smoothly.  In “Barriers to health insurance: doubt, distrust, and glitches,” Maggie Fox of NBC News gives us three personal stories of Americans dealing with health insurance problems.  One woman has been trying, unsuccessfully, to find a plan on the government website for months.  One man has seen his existing insurance plan canceled and will have to pay considerably more for an acceptable plan.  But he won’t even give the website a chance because of all of the negative talk he has heard.  And another woman’s insurance company has doubled her premiums, but she won’t shop elsewhere because she trusts her current insurer.

The first woman highlighted has tried for more than two months to get an insurance plan on the government website, run by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  She has run into countless barriers and error messages in her quest to find affordable health insurance.  Most of the time, she can’t even make it to the sign-in page.  She has received help from the call center and said that the workers were kind and helpful, but they were running into glitches as well.  She will keep trying until the site is working correctly.  Next, a man in Indiana has been worrying about what to do with his health insurance.  His plan was canceled because it does not meet the new requirements.  Without action being taken on his part, his insurance company will issue a “comparable plan” that costs $1,000 more than his original plan each month.  Rather than deal with the headache he anticipates on the government website, he is relying on help from an insurance agent to maintain his insurance.

Finally, the story of a female lawyer from Iowa is highlighted.  She has been paying for individual health insurance from Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield for 16 years.  Her premiums have increased to $11,565 per year.  When asked why she wasn’t shopping for more affordable insurance premiums, she said that she trusts her insurer and appreciates the continuity.  The article authors found plans through the government website that would cover this lawyer ranging in price from $2,820 per year to $7,250 per year.  But she is strong in her conviction that she doesn’t want to comparison shop because she is comfortable where she is.  She does think that the Affordable Care Act will work in the long run to make health insurance more affordable for Americans.  It often takes awhile for new programs to run smoothly, so she is willing to wait it out and hope for lower health insurance premiums in the future.  If you are looking for health insurance, Compare Health Rates can help get you free quotes from multiple insurance companies.

Aetna Insurance Paying for Obesity Pills

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

One decision made by one health insurance company can really change the ways of the whole industry.  Aetna has made the decision to cover the cost of weight loss drugs for some of its patients.  This not only helps these patients, but the drug makers have seen an increase in stock prices because of this decision by Aetna.  They will be selling more weight loss drugs because of Aetna’s patients, but it also is likely that other health insurers will follow Aetna’s lead and cover the drugs for their patients as well.  This information comes from The Associated Press article “Weight loss drugmakers rise on Aetna Policy Update.”

Vivus Inc.’s Qsymia and Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s Bleviq will now be covered by Aetna for patients who have a medical necessity.  Aetna already covers Pfizer Inc.’s Didrex, GlaxoSmithKline plc’s Alli, and Roche’s Xenical.  Aetna has the third largest enrollment of all health insurance companies in the United States.  With 35% of the population being obese, Aetna has deemed this medical problem serious enough to cover drugs to help take care of it.  Untreated, obesity leads to a host of other medical conditions that may cost insurers much more than these pills.

It’s not yet clear how many more people will be able to receive these drugs with Aetna’s policy update.  Compare other health plans and it’s likely that the largest insurers will follow Aetna’s lead in covering these weight loss drugs.  The FDA has been more willing to approve new weight loss drugs in the last year.  A new drug is expected to be sent for approval next year.  With the news of Aetna’s policy change, Vivus’ shares increased 13% and Arena Pharmaceuticals’ went up by 3.4%.  Orexigen Therapeuticals Inc., who is developing obesity drug Contrave, saw a 6.9% increase in their share price.  Maybe these obesity drugs can help stop the increasing rate of obesity in the United States.

Presidential Debate Rages On When it Comes to Health Insurance

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

In the wake of the second Presidential debate last night, it’s as good a time as any to discuss the differences between President Obama and Mitt Romney when it comes to health care.  Insurance News Net’s “Report: Romney Vs. Obama’s Health Plans” summarizes a recent report from the Commonwealth Fund.  This report, “Healthcare in the 2012 Presidential Election: How the Obama and Romney Plans Stack Up,” says that Romney’s plans would leave 72 million people without health insurance by 2022.  I’m not sure Governor Romney would agree with this number, but the Commonwealth Fund’s report took into account the proposals of each Presidential candidate to fix the problems in our healthcare system.  They then estimated the amount of Americans who would be uninsured under both plans, divided up by age and income.

Economist Johnathan Gruber performed an analysis of the Affordable Care Act, along with an analysis of two Romney proposals in order to determine the number of uninsured Americans there would be under each plan.  Romney’s plans include providing states Medicaid block grants and offering tax incentives for Americans who buy their own individual coverage of health insurance.  When you look at Americans 19 and under, 6 million would be uninsured under Obama’s Affordable Care Act compared to 17.9 million under Romney’s plans.  The Affordable Care Act would leave 3.3 million middle-class families uninsured, while 17.7 million would be uninsured under Romney’s plans.  Families of at least 4 making less than $32,000 a year would be the hardest hit.  Obama’s plans leave 17.2 million of them uninsured and Romney’s will leave 38.7 million without health insurance.

Under the Affordable Care Act, those purchasing health insurance through exchanges or individual companies like Aultcare are estimated to spend around 9.1% of their income on their health care costs.  Under Governor Romney’s health plans that repeal the Affordable Care Act, individuals are estimated to spend either 14.1% or 18.1% (depending on potential tax breaks) on their health care costs.  This economic report doesn’t take other changes that could be made by either President into account, so job growth and Medicare changes could effect these statistics differently.  But it is interesting to see the comparison between the two potential outcomes taking only their health care plans into account.