Archive for December, 2011

California May Consider Tighter Controls On Health Insurance Companies

December 29th, 2011

A proposal set forth by John Metz of JustHealth, is trying to put tighter controls on California health insurance companies.  The ballot would not be the first initiative of its kind.  For years, people have been trying to get more control of health insurance companies and the policies they have in place.  The ballot would require many new things of health insurance companies.  For instance, it would require health insurers to give detailed explanations of why a health insurance application is being denied.  Also, it would require health insurance companies to get prior consent before reducing or changing health insurance benefits. 

This is has long been a complaint of consumers applying for health insurance plans.  Many who get denied health insurance are not given a proper reason why and are left in the cold.  They do not know what actions to take next and whether or not they will ever be approved for health insurance.  Also, consumers who do have health insurance are often receiving letters in the mail that their benefits are either reducing or premiums are increasing.  Many are saying that their needs to be more regulation over this process.

Regaining Weight Bad For The Health

December 28th, 2011

Researchers have shown that regaining weight that was shed can be very unhealthy.  Older women who have lost some weight tend to gain weight back as fat not muscle.  Many people are fighting to stay thin through the holidays and those that recently lost fat are really struggling.  The body, if recently trimmed down, will try to get back the lost fat.  That is why is makes it so difficult to keep the weight off, especially through the holiday season.

The study looked at over 75 women over the age of 58 who had lost at least twelve percent of their body weight.  The study showed that at the one year mark, over ten percent had actually weighed more than the original time they recorded the weight.  About 68 percent of the women surveyed showed some weight gain after they trimmed down twelve months earlier.  From a health insurance standpoint, this does not make it easy on the wallet either.  People who weight more tend to have health issues which will not only drive up the health insurance premiums, but also the drug and medical bills as well.

Anthem Blue Cross Is The Largest Carrier In California

December 26th, 2011

Anthem Blue Cross is the largest carrier in California and one of the largest in America.  Anthem Blue Cross is very strong from a network standpoint when it comes to individual health insurance.  In 2011, they saw record volume as more and more people are getting insurance outside group-sponsored plans.  As the economy continues to struggle, many people are forced to buy individual health insurance.

Before the economic downturn in 2008, group-sponsored plans comprised more than 60% of the health insurance market.  Today, those numbers have dramatically gone down.  Many companies are still reducing their workforce in an effort to decrease costs.  Also, many companies have decided to stop offering health insurance because the rates are so high.  It is a good time to comparison shop for health insurance and find the right plan for you and your family.  Health insurance is vital to protecting yourself from high medical costs resulting from unexpected events.

California’s Pre-existing Health Condition Plan Getting New Funds

December 21st, 2011

Adults with pre-existing conditions is a big issue in California.  Many people who apply for health insurance coverage are denied everyday because they have a pre-existing condition.  After someone gets denied from getting individual health insurance, they have an opportunity to still get health coverage in California.  Consumers can get health insurance from the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan through the California high risk pool.  This is an important avenue for people that still want health insurance coverage. 

California will receive $118 million in federal funds to bolster the coverage it provides to people in 2012.  This state program is only going to be in affect for a couple of more years.  In 2014, the health reform will not allow health insurance carriers to deny individuals for health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.  Currently, their are about 6,000 members in the California pre-existing condition plan.

What Coverage Is Right For Me?

December 19th, 2011

Depending on how much you can afford, there are many different types of plans with many health benefits.  It is important to take a look at your health history and determine what types of services you may need.  For instance, if prescription drugs is something you rely on every month, then make sure you pick a health insurance plan that has strong drug benefits. 

Also, you must take into consideration the carrier you want and also the type of plan.  Anthem Blue Cross of California is a very large insurance carrier and they have the most variety of plans and doctors on the network.  The majority of plans plans are either PPO or HMO.  It is also very important to determine if you want to either have a primary care physician or the ability to self-refer.

Health Coverage In 2014

December 16th, 2011

The Obama administration passed the health reform laws over a year ago and many are waiting to see what the long term outcome will be.  The main purpose of the health care reform is to make health insurance more affordable for all Americans.  Also, Obama made it a point that the health reform laws will give all consumers a chance to get health insurance and no one can get denied because of a pre-existing condition.

Another big part of the health reform laws is that all states must have an operational health insurance exhange up and running by 2014.  The purpose of these exchanges is to make the buying and comparing of health insurance plans easy and affordable.  Carriers can have plans inside the exchange and also outside of the exchange.  Their will be agents, known as navigators, on call to answer any questions consumers may have when buying a plan in the health insurance exchange.

Health Reform Extends Coverage To Young Americans

December 14th, 2011

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that about 2.5 million young Americans now have health coverage because of the health reform passed by Obama over a year ago.  The main provision that caused this increase is the new law that states young adults may stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26.  This has been a big advantage for many young adults.  As the economy continues to struggle and people are still out of work, many are forced to go on their parents’ insurance plans.

Young adults have usually been the age group where insurance plans are least utilized.  Since the health reform and the new provisions, the percentage of insured in this age group has rose from 64 to 73 percent.  This has also been a very big win for President Obama.  Since the health reform has passed, many have questioned its purpose and its probability of success.  The health reform entire goal is to make health insurance more affordable for people in America.

Health Insurance Obstacles

December 13th, 2011

Applying for health insurance is not as easy as people may think.  In fact, many people that are applying for individual health insurance get denied for health coverage.  Health insurance carriers look at many factors when deciding to approve someone for individual health insurance.  For instance, carriers will usually look at the last 3-4 years of medical history to see what the applicant has paid as far as medical claims.  Also, health insurance carriers will sometimes conduct a telephone interview to ask more questions.

Once an applicant goes through all these obstacles, it usually takes about 3 weeks to get an answer back on average.  Sometime it is much faster and sometimes it takes even longer.  In some cases, they will ask the applicant to get a physical check up to verify that their health is in good order.  In 2014, the health reform will make the process of getting health insurance much easier because no one can be denied because of a pre-existing condition.

California Health Insurance – The Fight For The Rights Of COnsumers

December 12th, 2011

Is major healthcare reform on its way? Are we in for a sweeping reorganization of the healthcare field that could affect how insurance companies deal with consumers in the future? Legislation has been passed to try to help heal what some call a crippled system.

As an example of the state of the system, a woman with cancer in Los Angeles, California, recently had her insurance coverage cancelled when the provider insisted her cancer was a pre-existing condition. The burden of the cost of chemotherapy treatments shifted to her as the insurance was declined.

This story, which is from Healthreform.gov, illustrates the very real financial burden that a person can endure. How many people’s household budgets could handle the strain of a sudden bill for thousands of dollars, a cost that could lead to financial ruin, or even worse, lack of treatment?

The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March of 2010 by President Obama, was designed to help consumers avoid situations such as the one outlined above, where insurance companies leave patients without coverage when they need it most.

The woman may be in better shape than many of her fellow Californians, as the state has a long history of fighting for the rights of individuals to have access to affordable healthcare. While the Supreme Court wrestles with the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, California works to be ready for any type of decision, wanting to ensure that affordable California health insurance is a very real option for all citizens.

In an article featured on Newamericamedia.com, Dr. Felix Aguilar, chief medical officer at the South Central Family Health Center in Los Angeles, talks about how reform advocates need to remain in tune with any Supreme Court decision. California has focused on building the infrastructure for any future coverage expansion and implementing as many of the new changes as quickly as it can. But should the mandate fail, Aguilar explained that has plans to persist.

“If it doesn’t pass, then I’ll be calling the governor the next day, to not lose momentum,” he said.

Peter Harbage, who worked as an assistant secretary for health at the California Health and Human Services Agency and as a special assistant to the administrator for federal health in the Clinton Administration, is confident that change is inevitable and completely independent of the Court’s decision on Obama’s legislation.

“Regardless of whatever happens in the Supreme Court, health reform will continue,” Harbage said. “It already has made a positive impact, and it will continue to make a positive impact.”

Also, in the Newamericamedia.com article was this:

The California Endowment, which was set up to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved Californians, is now focused on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Dr. Robert Ross, the foundation’s president and CEO, said in a press release: “We know that the Affordable Care Act will positively impact the health of communities in our state and its implementation is core to our mission of ensuring all Californians have access to health care services.

“We have to rely on California’s strong history of covering people, of taking on health care challenges including trying to implement health reform on our own; and rely on policy makers, who – if parts were struck down – would still seek to maximize coverage opportunities of the federal law.”

The Affordable Care Act was designed to help consumers by stopping insurance companies from limiting the care they need, which includes exclusions involving pre-existing conditions for children and enforcing limits on lifetime coverage.

In addition, the Act would remove insurance company barriers between consumers and their doctors, meaning they would be able to choose the doctor they wanted from their plans’ provider networks.

All the pro-active work in California points to a more promising future for individual California health insurance.

While the battle to improve healthcare options for all continues on many fronts, the most important factor for consumers to focus on when managing their health remains information. Saying informed about all options available is very important.

Health Insurance Outlet helps consumers stay on top of their options with online assistance designed to aid in making informed decisions. Once those decisions are made, Health Insurance Outlet is able to offer California medical insurance with a competitive field of rates, coverages, and premiums. For California health insurance quotes from all the major carriers in California, visit us at www.healthinsuranceoutlet.com.

California’s Health Care Spending Among Lowest

December 9th, 2011

A new study revealed that California spends a lot less on health care than most other states in the U.S..  In 2009, spending by insurance companies, the government and households totaled $6,238 per person, and the national average was $6,815.  Out of all 50 states, only eight states spent less for health care than California.  A big reason that California spends less than most states on health care is because many Californians do not have health insurance.  In fact, about 1 in 5 Californians currently do not have health insurance

Another interesting factor is that many people living in California that currently have health insurance are covered by HMO plans.  HMOs can control costs much more than PPO plans can.  And proportionally, California has many more people on HMO plans than other states do.  Since about 7 million people in California do not have health insurance, it will be interesting to see how the health care reform will effect affordability in the future.

One Third Of Cancers Caused By Lifestyle Factors

December 7th, 2011

A new study shows that a third of all cancers are caused by 4 common lifestyle factors – tobacco, diet, alcohol, and obesity.  This is basically saying that many cancers today are made by the decisions that people are making everyday.  Obesity has long been known to cause many health related issues.  Even outside of cancer, obesity can lead to heart issues and diabetes.  The study analyzed data from over 14 years and the results were staggering.  It shows that that men have a 5 percent higher risk of having their lifestyle cause cancer.  The main reason for this is because of breast cancer in women which is not caused by these lifestyle choices.

The main fact that this result is showing is that many cancers can be avoided if people change their behaviors and lifestyle choices.  Exercise and better eating would be the first step.  Obesity is a huge problem in California and people have to start taking control of their life.

Medicare To Help Obese Patients

December 1st, 2011

A decision has recently been made that Medicare will pay for screening and counseling services to help obese patients lose weight.  This decision has caused a lot of debate in a short period of time.  Many experts are concerned that doctors do not have the time to help obese patients because they are already so busy with everything else they are doing.  And having free medical services will make doctors too busy and the service will go down overall. 

A recent survey of primary care physicians showed that 72 percent of the staff in their offices had no prior weight loss training.  This is a big concern if Medicare plans to start paying for these services.  Experts are saying that Medicare jumped too soon and that doctors and their staff are not ready to handle the potential demand.  About 30 percent of Medicare population is considered obese.  This means that their will be a huge increase in services that they will demand and many are not sure if the system can handle it.