Archive for November, 2011

Getting Approved For Health Insurance

November 30th, 2011

Individual health insurance works very different than getting coverage through your employer.  Most importantly to note, health insurance offered through your employer is guaranteed from a health standpoint.  As long as you work the required number of months to fulfill the waiting period, you will qualify for health insurance.  On the individual side, it works a whole lot different.  Applying for individual health insurance usually involves a few steps.  After picking the right plan and applying, you will most likely not have an answer because the the application will be sent to underwriting.  Health insurance carriers will see if you will qualify for health insurance.  They usually check about three years worth of medical records and see if you would be a risky person for them to insure.  Starting in 2014, the health reform states that no one can be turned down for individual health insurance because of pre-existing conditions.  But today, still if you have complications the health insurance carrier could deny you coverage.

If their are some pre-existing conditions present before you apply, then maybe considering a higher deductible plan is the best option.  Health insurance carriers will approve your application at a higher rate if they know that you will front more of the health bills.  Additionally, if they do approve you, if could be at a higher rate.

Lack Of Health Insurance Increases Risk

November 29th, 2011

Many people in California do not have health insurance because it is not affordable.  Some students who are currently in college do not have health insurance because they say that the monthly premium is not worth it and its too expensive.  The health reform passed by Obama almost two years ago was created strictly for this purpose – to make health insurance more affordable. 

The reason why the health reform is so important is because of the many uninsured people in the U.S..  Twice as much in spent on health care than any other nation.  That is basically saying that we should have the best health care system since we spend so much on it.  However, the U.S. is ranked 37th in the world from a health care standpoint.  Many students though are taking a big risk by not having health insurance.  Since catastrophic events costs so much, especially if you end up in the hospital, students will have a hard time paying the bills if they do not health insurance.

Skin-Cell Research To Probe Cellular Basis Of Autism

November 28th, 2011

Researchers are making strides when it comes to finding out more answers about autism.  Neuroscientists at Standford University have studied the brainlike spheres grown in skin cells in an effort to learn what causes autism and how to help cure the disease.  Autism is a disorder that effects developmental in both children and adults.  Autism effects verbal and social skills and if caught early enough in children, the success rate of living a more normal life increases. 

To date, doctors have not found a way to treat autism once diagnosed in children.  The only way to battle the disorder is through behavioral and social therapy.  Working with the kids at both the school and home will help the child learn to stop the tendencies that are associated with autism.  Early intervention is key and as the society gets more educated the better the chance of finding a cure.

How To Save On Health Insurance

November 23rd, 2011

As premiums continue to increase for health insurance, many consumers are looking for ways to reduce their monthly cost for health coverage.  It is important to first consider your health and what you need the insurance for.  If you are generally a healthy person, then maybe a plan with a higher deductible would work better for you.  When deductibles are higher and you are responsible for more of the upfront cost for medical care, then the insurance carriers will charge you less per month for the policy.  Many individuals use this strategy when they do not have many recurring medical needs and also they do not take prescriptions drugs.

Another strategy to lowering your health insurance premiums is looking at the actual carriers and the network.  Sometimes shrinking your network of doctors you have access to will lower your monthly premiums.  If your doctors accepts the lower network plan, then save money and choose that plan.  Some people also take advantage of HSA plans to have tax benefits when using their health insurance.

Aids-Related Deaths Down 21%

November 22nd, 2011

According to a recent UNAids 2011 report, Aids related deaths are down 21 percent from their peek in 1997.  The main reason that the numbers have decreased is access to treatment for the poorer countries.  Their has been a massive treatment push when people are diagnosed with HIV.  The latest numbers show that about 34 million people live with HIV.  And the treatment seems to be working.  UNAids predicts that about 700,000 deaths were avoided last year because of proper and early treatment.  Many countries in the past that could not afford to have treatment now do because of this global push to get these deaths down. 

Also, the number of new infections is down about 30 to 50 percent lower than it would of been if these poorer countries did not have access to treatment.  In addition to treatment, people around the world are being smarter about their decisions.  Use of condoms also rose dramatically over this time period.

Medicare And Open Enrollment

November 21st, 2011

Every year Medicare allows individuals who qualify to enroll and save money on their health coverage.  This year, open enrollment for Medicare ends in early December so many individuals are asking about coverage and benefits for Medicare.  In addition to Medicare coverage, individuals can purchase Medicare supplemental plans to get even more benefits.

Medicare supplemental plans are often a lot cheaper than traditional insurance.  And more importantly, the network of doctors and access to care is much larger.  Typically, people can purchase supplemental coverage for less than a hundred dollars and have very good health insurance.  Some carriers such as AARP, even offer health insurance for no monthly premium and basically a pay as you go option.  This is a great way to save money per month and only use the insurance when you need it.

Dealing With Health Insurance Premium Penalties

November 18th, 2011

Many people that get their health insurance through their job are being asked to contribute more towards the health insurance premiums.  As the economy continues to struggle, employers are doing everything they can to keep their health coverage for their staff.  Unfortunately, health insurance premiums are continuing to increase on a yearly basis and it is becoming very costly for a small business.

In fact, some employers are penalizing  employees that are more unhealthy than others.  Some companies are making overweight people and those who smoke to pay more towards their health insurance premiums.  Even one employee can affect a small business and the health insurance premiums they pay.  Companies are hoping by penalizing the unhealthy that it will motivate them to get healthier and change their lifestyle.

Is Individual Health Insurance Guaranteed?

November 17th, 2011

The short answer is no.  Unlike group health insurance where they do not individually underwrite the health of each employee, individual health coverage you actually have to apply for and hope to get approved by the health insurance carrier.  Each insurance carrier will look at the last three or four years of the applicant’s health history, and then make a decision based off that.  If someone is applying for health insurance and has some complications, it might be better to apply for a higher deductible plan which would improve your odds of getting coverage. 

Many applicants in California get denied from health insurance carriers and have no choice but to get insurance from California’s high risk pool program.  The insurance is a little bit more expensive but at least you can get coverage.  Major pre-existing conditions like cancer will usually get you denied from the health insurance carrier.  Consult with us to see what your options are and which route is best.

More Americans Want Health Law Repeal

November 16th, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court will be reviewing the health reforms laws that were put in place almost two years.  Many Americans have been in favor of the laws but also many have not.  A recent poll is showing that actually more Americans want it repealed by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The poll showed that 47 percent want it repealed while 42 percent want it kept in place.  The survey also showed that 50 percent of Americans want the government to be responsible to make sure that all Americans can get affordable health insurance

Their are currently over 30 million Americans who are uninsured and the health reform laws are supposed to get this number way down.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was enacted to make sure that all Americans can have access to affordable health coverage and that they will not be denied coverage. Starting in 2014, if the health reform laws are kept in place, then all Americans must have health insurance or they will face fines from the government.

Too Little Exercise, Too Much TV Linked To Depression

November 15th, 2011

Older women who exercised and watched less TV were the least likely to be diagnosed with depression.  This was according to a large study of thousands of women in the U.S..  The study showed that those women who exercised more and watched less TV had a 20 percent less likely chance of getting diagnosed with depression.

The researchers took into account other lifestyles linked to depression, such as smoking, weight issues, and other factors that might increase the chance of being depressed.  Taking everything into consideration, it showed that women who watched over three hours of television each day have a 13 percent more chance of getting diagnosed with depression.  Doctors and researchers do point out that their is not a direct correlation, but it is a strong factor.  Exercise increases endorphins in the blood which helps people feel better about themselves.

Getting Coverage For Your Business

November 14th, 2011

Group coverage works much different than individual insurance.  First of all, when you apply for individual health insurance, you may be denied because of pre-existing conditions.  Also, the plans are different than group sponsored plans.  Usually, when an employer decided to offer insurance to their employees, the coverage is much stronger and the benefits are much better than individual insurance. 

However, getting group insurance does have some hurdles to get through.  Employers must have a certain percentage of participation from their employees in order to get approved for the health insurance.  Also, health insurance carriers like to see a company to be around for a certain period of time before you qualify for group health insurance.  It is a great way for a company to attract and retain quality employees.

Proposed Health Insurance Rate Regulation Initiative Submitted

November 11th, 2011

The Santa Monica advocacy group, Consumer Watchdog, submitted a proposal to the state attorney general’s office that would require health insurance companies to get rate hike approvals for their PPO and HMO products.  The petition would need over 500,000 signatures to appear on the November 2012 ballot.  The initiative, of course, will have very strong opposition from health insurance companies as well as related healthcare providers.

The initiative would be similar to Proposition 103 that made auto and home insurance one of the most highly regulated industries in the nation.  Health insurance premiums have continued to increase, even after Obama passed the health reform laws over a year ago.  The reform has a main purpose to make health insurance more affordable for all Americans.  So far, their has not been the result that Obama and his administration has been looking for.

Individuals Plans And Health Insurance Carriers

November 10th, 2011

In California, their are many different health insurance plans to choose from, as well as many different health insurance carriers.  It is very important to first research the health insurance carrier you would like, and also see if your current doctor accepts their insurance.  Not all doctors accept all insurance companies.  For instance, some doctors may only accept Anthem Blue Cross where as some may only accept Blue Shield

Another important element when your researching health insurance plans is the type of coverage you want.  Health insurance comes in the form of PPO and HMO for the most part and they work very differently.  HMO plans require you to get all your medical care through your primary care physician.  And any specialists have to be referred by your primary care doctor.  PPOs are more flexible as you can go to any doctor in the network without a referral.  More importantly, make sure to research the benefit details within each plan.  This will determine the out of pocket expenses you many occur outside of paying the monthly premium.

Childhood Obesity Drops 3% In Orange County

November 9th, 2011

According to a study out of UCLA, childhood obesity has dropped by 3 percent in Orange County from 2005 to 2010.  The study looked at kids that were in 5th, 7th and 9th grade over a 5 year period.  The results also showed that over 33 percent are still considered obese.  The highest rate of obesity is actually in Imperial County.  Obesity has had a rapid increase over the years so these figures are encouraging to say the least.

Experts have been worried over the past ten years because obesity has been such a big problem in the United States.  Especially, kids that are going through weight issues have to be encouraged to eat better and get more exercise.  Many states in the U.S. have over a 25 percent rate of obesity, and it is still getting worse.  Hopefully these results will be the starting point to a decline in the future.

Do Individual Plans Cover Maternity?

November 8th, 2011

For the most part the answer is no.  Most individual health insurance plans do not cover maternity because the medical expenses associated with the whole process is too expensive for the carriers.  If you and your spouse do need maternity coverage in your health insurance plan, make sure to read the detail benefit summaries.

Unfortunately, including maternity coverage will cost you a lot more than usual.  Also, you have to make sure to apply for health insurance before you are expecting to improve your chances of getting approved at a lower rate.  Health insurance carriers are very careful and strict when it comes to offering maternity coverage in health insurance plans.  Individuals and families applying for health insurance coverage should ask their broker which plans would make sense for them.  Their are many health insurance plans to choose from, but if you need maternity coverage be ready to pay much more than the average.

Blue Shield Opens Retail Store

November 7th, 2011

Blue Shield of California opened up a 500 square foot store in San Francisco.  The store was opened in a supermarket store so consumers can easily access the specialists to ask them questions.  The idea behind this is so current members can ask all the questions about insurance they may have.  Also, it serves as a retail store to attract new customers to Blue Shield of California. 

Blue Shield is the first health insurance company to have a retail store.  They believe that it is good timing because of the health reform and all the questions that are arising from the new laws.  Their are also many uninsured Americans that Blue Shield hopes to capitalize on.  In recent times, individual health insurance has been in high demand because many employers have either stopped offering insurance or have gone out of business.

Should I Go Into California High Risk Pool For Insurance?

November 4th, 2011

Many people that apply for health insurance these days get denied coverage.  Whether you are applying for Anthem Blue Cross of California or Blue Shield of California health insurance, carriers have their underwriting standards and some individuals do not meet them and will get denied.  Consumers have other options if they get denied health insurance coverage.  California has a high risk pool for people that get denied from traditional options.

Basically, this pool of members are those who might have pre-existing conditions and that is why they got denied from going direct to the carriers.  Sometimes the health insurance premiums in the high risk pool will be higher so consumers should be aware of that.  But, at least their is an option for people to get health insurance if they have a pre-existing condition.

Did You Recently Get Denied Health Insurance?

November 3rd, 2011

Many people applying for health insurance are confused when they receive a letter from the health insurance carrier stating that they have been denied.  All the major health insurance carriers in California have their own underwriting standards and criteria for new members that they want to insure.  When one individual applies for health coverage with Anthem Blue Cross of California, it might be a different result than applying to Blue Shield of California

Health insurance carriers look at many factors when considering whether to approve or deny an applicant.  They pull medicals records for the last few years to look for recurring medical expenses that might be expensive for them to insure.  If you have a history of taking a lot of prescription medication, the health insurance carrier will definitely take that into consideration.  It is very expensive for the carriers to insure people that have a history of medication because the drug makers have made those drugs so expensive.