Posts Tagged ‘go blue florida’

Health Insurance Rates Lower with Fewer Unnecessary Dr. Visits for Kids

Monday, January 9th, 2012

It’s hard for parents to determine when they should take their sick kids into the doctor and when it is okay to ride it out at home.  With the rising health insurance rates, co-pays and deductibles, you don’t want to be at the doctor weekly when they are just going to send you home and say that time will be the healer.  Parents magazine’s Kristyn Kusek Lewis tells us the “12 Kids’ Symptoms You Should Never Ignore.”

Fevers are important to watch because they can signal serious internal problems, but a fever isn’t always dangerous.  Based on your child’s age, know the temperature your doctor wants to see your child at, no matter what other symptoms they may have.  This is typically 100.4 for infants and 103 for children up to 2 years of age.  If your child has a fever that isn’t lowering with treatment, has lasted longer than 5 days, or comes along with a stiff neck, headache or dangerous rash; they should see the doctor.

Rashes that look like a bullseye or red dots that don’t disappear when you press down on the area can be dangerous and should be checked by a doctor.  Also make sure to check your child’s moles for any changes from year to year.  Moles they have had since birth have a greater chance of becoming cancerous.  Appendicitis symptoms include lower right side abdomen pain or stomach pain that is crampy and comes in waves.  Treating conditions before they worsen is crucial to the well-being of your family.  It can also save you money with a health plan like Go Blue Florida, which covers more basic doctors visits.

A headache that occurs first thing in the morning, wakes a child from sleep, or comes with vomiting is likely a migraine.  Signs of dehydration include dry mouth and lips, excessive vomiting or diarrhea, lessened urination, and skin that is dry or stays bunched up when pinched.  Very labored breathing or irregular sounds while breathing are serious and warrant a trip to the doctor or ER.  Swelling of the tongue, lips, or eyes, or extreme itchiness or vomiting indicate an allergic reaction.  Any fall for an infant or a high fall with visible signs of injury or neurological changes should be treated by a doctor.  Finally, any cut that is wide enough to fit a cotton swab or continues bleeding after a few minutes of applied pressure should be treated by a doctor.  Parents have to go with their instincts when treating their kids, but this guide could help save some unnecessary doctor visits.

Florida Hopes for Better Health Insurance Rates

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

As they are fighting the federal health exchanges mandated by the government in 2014, Florida is introducing their own slightly different version now.  Phil Galewitz’s Washington Post article, “Florida to launch its own health insurance marketplace,” points out that Florida’s version of the plan has significant differences from the federal mandates.  The main difference is that Florida’s plan is only offered to small businesses and not to individuals.  Small businesses can shop online for health insurance rates from multiple insurance companies with just one application.  Florida is the third state with such a partnership between the public and private industries.

There are two more significant differences between Florida’s exchange and the federal guidelines.  No subsidies or tax breaks will be offered to the small businesses to help them offer health insurance, while the government plan offers help to its individuals and small businesses.  There also is not a requirement for companies to offer what the government deems ‘essential health benefits’ in Florida’s exchange.  Since both insurance companies and agents have to pay to use Florida’s exchange, many argue that they don’t see any significant savings being possible.  But the Florida government begs to differ and point out many benefits with their exchange.  While individuals will still have to look for affordable insurance from plans like Go Blue Florida, small businesses will now get multiple rate quotes with one application and be able to offer up to four different plans to their employees.

Medicaid Cuts Would Hurt Michigan’s Kids

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Cuts to Medicaid are proposed in both President Obama’s debt reduction plan and a current House bill sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.  According to Jay Greene of Crain’s Detroit Business, a study by The Lewin Group and Families USA showed that 120,000 kids in Michigan with lung disease could be devastated by these cuts.  In the article “Report: Medicaid cuts could seriously hurt residents in Michigan with diabetes and lung disease,” Greene says that in addition to pain, suffering, and increased death, Medicaid cuts could inevitably lead to higher costs.

The third leading cause of death in the U.S., lung disease in children is most commonly associated with asthma and cystic fibrosis.  There are almost 240,000 Michigan residents on Medicaid receiving care for these lung diseases as well as chronic obsessive pulmonary disease and other lung diseases.  Medicaid also covers around 100,000 people fighting diabetes, which is the nation’s seventh highest cause of death.  Close to 250,000 residents receive Medicaid for heart disease and stroke, as well as around 23,000 for cancer treatment.  With cuts to Medicaid trickling down to states like Michigan, they would have no choice but to deny Medicaid to some people.

Over the next decade, cuts have been proposed between $15 and $771 billion for Medicaid.  These cuts could reduce state funding by 30% and force those with less serious cases to stop receiving Medicaid altogether.  Residents would have to compare lower cost health insurance alternatives like Go Blue Florida, which helps residents of that state.  Until it is mandatory for health insurance companies to cover those with preexisting conditions however, many of those suffering from lung disease or diabetes might be forced to go without insurance.  That would be devastating to everyone involved, especially sick kids.

More Qualify for Medicaid When You Compare Health Insurance Reform Law

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

An interesting part of the healthcare reform act from last year will allow 3 million middle class Americans to qualify for Medicaid.  This could put a huge strain on the government and seems to many lawmakers to be a mistake.  The Associated Press article “AP Exclusive: Medicaid for the middle class?,” by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, discusses the possible loophole.  Medicaid health insurance is meant to help the poorest Americans, but will now be available to pre-retirees making around $64,000, or 138% of the federal poverty level, starting in 2014.  Pre-retirees who compare health insurance might decide to take the government up on this free healthcare until they qualify for Medicare at age 66.

The loophole allowing millions more Americans to qualify for Medicaid is that Social Security will no longer be included in the income eligibility determination for the government health insurance.  A spokesman from the Health and Human Services Department said that they are concerned about middle class Americans qualifying for a program meant only to help the neediest in America.  The main concern is over the financing of course.  Millions more getting relatively free healthcare means millions more government dollars being spent.  Early retirees can get Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but are not eligible for Medicare health insurance until age 66.  Currently, they have to find another form of health insurance, whether they get a limited benefit plan like Go Blue Florida, or comprehensive individual health insurance.  It is likely that something will be done to change this loophole before it is to take effect in 2014, but if not this could mean big bucks paid out by the federal and state governments.

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.

Medicare Plans’ New Ratings Based Partly on Health Insurance Rates

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

medicareOne of the most recent changes from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is a new ratings system for Medicare Advantage Plans, says Patty Henetz of The Salt Lake Tribune.  In the article “New ratings for Medicare Advantage plans may boost quality in Utah, nation,” we learn that insurers will be judged on 36 factors related to 5 different groupings and issued a rating between one and five stars.  Companies consistently rating above average will be rewarded with incentives like rebates and bonuses.  This quality control rating system allows consumers to pick their insurer based on more than just health insurance rates, but the quality of service they will receive as well.  The incentives to insurers also make it more lucrative for insurance companies to offer quality service to consumers.

The federal Medicare website will flag insurance plans that have had ratings below three stars for three consecutive years with a warning sign.  Unfortunately for consumers in Utah and much of the central U.S., the highest rated plans are not available to them.  Not one five star plan was available in Utah and noone in the state was signed up for a four star plan, probably due to low availability.  If the ratings systems improve the quality of plans like the government hopes, residents of Utah and other central states should have access to better Medicare Advantage plans soon.

Out of the 523 plans rated, only three received a five star rating this year.  The highest rated plans were in Florida, competing with Go Blue Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Arizona.  Non-profit insurance companies tend to have higher ratings than those for profit.  States in the Northeast and on the West Coast seem to have higher rated plans available than other areas.  Lower enrollment and plans that are too new are two reasons that those in the central U.S. had a harder time finding highly rated plans.  In addition to ratings based on factors like customer service, healthy consumers, and responsiveness; increases of health insurance rates will also be closely monitored.  Any increase above 10% for monthly payments will be more closely reviewed.

Go Blue Florida Customer Satisfaction

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

bcbsAccording to a company press release, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida has received an award for their high customer satisfaction.  In “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Awarded Prestigious J.D. Power and Associates Award,” we learn that the company has received this award for the third time.  They have received the award for “Highest Member Satisfaction among Commercial Health Plans in Florida.”  Go Blue Florida is just one of the plans Blue Cross and Blue Shield offers Florida residents.  Their customer service skills reach across their entire network of plans.

The 2011 National Health Insurance Plan Study from J.D. Power and Associates polled health insurance members in 17 regions throughout the United States.  They were asked to compare health insurance plans from 2010 on a number of factors regarding their overall experience.  The seven main factors companies were judged upon are the approval process, processing of claims, their coverage and benefits, customer service, information availability and communication skills, provider choice, and their statements.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida is pleased that the commitment to their members shows and they plan to use the survey information to improve their customer service even further.

Health Insurance Rates Too High for NFL Players

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

nflThe president of the NFL Players’ Association is worried that some of the NFL players will not be able to afford their own health insurance rates for very long, according to Sports Illustrated’s article “Insurance ‘concern’ for locked-out NFL Players.”  This seems hard to believe since the average player makes over $2 million a year and rookies make a minimum of $320,000, but Kevin Mawae says that it is a real possibility for some of the younger, unprepared players.  Those continuing their health insurance coverage through COBRA will pay $2,400 a month for a family plan.  This can hurt even those making over six figures if they haven’t planned for the expense.  Most people’s expenses are in line with their salary, so a drastic increase in the cost of their health insurance can hurt even those making much more than the average American.

Americans, especially those hurt most by the economic turmoil of the past few years, have a hard time garnering sympathy for NFL players making so much money.  They won’t need to use a limited benefit plan like Go Blue Florida anytime soon, but some NFL players might want to look into individual or family health insurance rates depending on how long this lockout lasts.  Not many of the 1,900 active players will be severely affected, but like anyone paying way more for the same coverage, they are suffering a financial crisis relative to their lifestyle.  Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL, wrote a letter appealing to the players and hoping they can bring their union back into negotiations.  If the 2011 NFL season does not happen, everyone involved with the NFL stands to lose a lot of money, including the players.  They have been warned to save money and spend less for the past two years, so hopefully increased health insurance rates will be easily covered by their savings.

Hepatitis C Patients Compare Health Insurance

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Americans living with Hepatitis C may not have access to the latest and best antiviral medications, according to Red Orbit.  In the article “Lack Of Health Insurance Limits Hepatitis C Patients’ Access To Latest Antiviral Therapy,” they say that people with Hepatitis C are two times more likely to be without health insurance than people without the viral disease.  Even those who are insured may not have coverage for the latest antiviral treatments.  Plans like Go Blue Florida which are affordable but offer limited benefits may not cover some of these costs, but if consumers do their research on health insurance they should be able to get coverage.  Once pre-existing conditions are no longer an issue in finding health insurance, even more patients suffering from Hepatitis C could get insurance coverage.

The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the top cause of chronic liver disease, liver cancer, and liver transplants in the United States.  Eighty-five percent of people with HCV, a full 3.5 million people, develop chronic infections and the disease kills 12,000 people every year.  Patients who have successful antiviral treatments have a better quality of life and lower morbidity and mortality rates.  But when you compare health insurance, it costs close to $50,000 a year to monitor and treat HCV.  That is why many people suffering from the disease don’t have insurance or don’t have that specific coverage that they need.

Study information being published in the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases journal Hepatology, found that 61% of those infected with HCV had insurance compared to 81% of those who did not have the disease.  About 67% of those suffering from HCV are eligible for antiviral treatment, but only about half of those eligible patients had insurance coverage.  The reason that some HCV patients aren’t eligible is because of contraindications to antiviral treatment.  Certain patients don’t get positive results with the treatments and may even get adverse reactions, such as patients who also suffer from cardiac disease, renal failure, or severe depression.  Those who qualify for treatment hopefully will have insurance to pay for that treatment.

Go Blue Florida Health Insurance

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida offers a discount plan for individuals under the age of 65 called Go Blue Florida.  The plan is geared towards individuals who work and have household income between $25,000 and $50,000 or individuals who retired young.  It is a discount plan that can cost anywhere from $18 to $59 a month per person.  The plan also offers complementary coverage to people currently carrying only catastrophic health coverage.  Because the plans are not medically underwritten, indemnity-type payments are paid toward doctor visits, lab work, basic dental care and prescriptions.  Go Blue will pay up to $50 per visit for services and the member is responsible for the rest of the allowed amount.

When you compare health insurance from Go Blue Florida, your insurance card will get you discounts on basic and preventative care.  You will want to see NetworkBlue providers in order to get the best value out of your plan.  Since you can only get billed for the allowed amount, having Go Blue coverage will save you a lot of money compared to being uninsured.  Plan 90 and Plan 91 are the two choices of Go Blue Florida plans.  Since the coverage is not comprehensive, maternity care, hospitalization, emergency room visits, substance abuse or mental health care and therapy for rehabilitation are not covered.  Look into Go Blue insurance for yourself if you need a discount plan in Florida.