Archive for February, 2012

How Long Does COBRA Coverage Last For?

February 29th, 2012

When you have group coverage, you have the option to remain on the group plan if you choose.  COBRA is the option some former employees choose so their is no break in coverage and no gap in medical services.  Usually, COBRA is allowed for 18 months after you stop working for your company.  In some cases, COBRA can be extended if you have a qualifying event for an additional 18 months.  Important to note, COBRA is much more expensive than regular coverage through your employer because during COBRA you have to pay the entire bill. 

Before, your employer contributed a heavy portion of the monthly premium so that is why it can be quite expensive.  Also, companies can charge an additional 2% administration fee on top of the monthly premium.  At the end, it might benefit the former employee to shop for individual health insurance as that might be the cheaper option for medical coverage.

Can I Get Child-Only Plans?

February 28th, 2012

The answer is yes.  Their is health insurance specifically designed for children ages zero to eighteen.  Sometimes it makes economic sense to keep yourself on your group insurance plan or individual plan and get a plan just for your child.  These plans are usually less expensive and the chance of getting approved is much higher.

It is important to remember that child plans for health insurance are different than individual health insurance plans that include maternity coverage.  Health insurance plans that include maternity are for the mother expecting to go through labor.  After the birth, it is up to you to get health insurance for the baby.  Also important to note, that health insurance usually takes two to three weeks to get approved.  It is wise to plan ahead so you are not scrambling last second to get health insurance on your baby.

Individual Health Insurance Quotes

February 23rd, 2012

Their are many options when it comes to individual and family health insurance.  In fact, many people are very frustrated because their are so many options and they are not familiar on how to filter down the choices.  At Health Insurance Outlet, we make it easy to get the right health care options to fit your needs.  You can easily shop and compare all the health insurance plans from the top carriers in California.  Also, we make it even easier because you can filter your results and narrow down the choices to plans that makes sense for you and your situation.

Health insurance is a complex product that everyone needs but not everyone knows how to obtain.  Let us help and guide you through the process.  If you get confused or do not know what your looking for, give us a call and we can help you.

Health Care Costs And Reform

February 22nd, 2012

Since the health reform was passed two years ago, many critics are predicting that the reform will actually drive up health care costs and make the problems even worse.  In looking at one state in particular, Massachusetts, who had a health insurance exchange established 5 years ago, we see that health care spending actually increased dramatically after their health care initiatives. 

Massachusetts set up a health insurance exchange that is meant to provide affordable health insurance for both individuals and families.  Since their launch, only a small percentage of the population have enrolled under their exchange.  Many complain that the process is too complex and the savings is not that much.  Many other experts predict that starting in 2014, when all states are required to have a health insurance exchange, that adverse selection make take affect.  This means that only the unhealthy will enroll in the exchange as they might qualify for the subsidies and the healthy view insurance as a waste of money.  But eventually, the unhealthy enrollees will drive up the cost of health care.

Health Care Issues In Texas

February 21st, 2012

Currently, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people at about 25% of the states’ population.  For the ages between 19-64, about 1 in 3 do not currently have health insurance.  This is a very high rate and it is part of the reason why Obama has been pushing the health reform so consistently. 

Texas health insurance has been a big issue for many years.  But the health reform alone will not fix the problem.  The entire health care system needs to get an overhaul.  The costs to obtain health insurance are still very high in most states.  Also, residents in Texas have been struggling because of the economy and it has been slow to get back on track.  In fact, less then 33% of small business owners offer health insurance to their employees in Texas.  This is mostly because the small business simply can not afford to cover some of the premium costs of health insurance.

What Are My Options When My COBRA Health Insurance Ends?

February 16th, 2012

If you are currently on Federal COBRA and it is coming to an end, you have some options to get health insurance and to also save some money.  Federal COBRA lasts for 18 monhts, and sometimes you can get an extension if you have a qualifying event to get another 18 months.  However, if you were on COBRA for that long of a period, chances are that you were over paying for your individual health insurance.  Employer sponsored plans can get pretty expensive once you go on COBRA because you no longer have the benefit of the employer contribution to your monthly premium.  To state the obvious, landing another job that offers health insurance would be the best bet as sometimes employers cover the entire cost of health insurance. 

Another option would be to shop and compare individual or family health insurance plans.  By visiting our website, www.healthinsuranceoutlet.com, you can easily and quickly compare hundreds of plans and filter the search results to pick the right plan that works for you.  Many times, individual health insurance plans will be less expensive than COBRA plans and you would be making the right choice to explore your options.

Many Individual Health Insurance Plans To Choose From

February 15th, 2012

If you were to start researching individual or family plans in California, you might be a little overwhelmed at the amount of choices and carrier options that pop up.  About 33 million people do not have access to group sponsored plans and also can not afford individual health insurance coverage.  So the pool of consumers “in the market” for coverage is very large.  That is also the main reason why Obama wanted to overhaul the entire system so these 33 million people can have access to affordable health insurance.  The problem is that where is the guidance.  The good news is, we are here to help.  Through our web portal, www.healthinsuranceoutlet.com, you can compare many plans and narrow down the search results to find a plan that meets your needs.

All the results can be filtered by carrier, price, deductible, PPO or HMO so you can narrow down the options so you can easily compare the right ones for you.  Also, if you need further assistance, calling one of our expert agents is only a quick phone call away.  We can help guide you through which plans would make the most sense for you based on your budget and your health history.

Health Insurance Exchange Challenges

February 14th, 2012

In 2014, each state is required to have an operating health insurance exchange ready for consumers to buy health coverage.  The exchange will have many different features, including portals for both individuals and small businesses to buy health insurance.  Many individuals, as much as 2-3 million, will qualify for subsidies when they buy their health insurance.  Also, many small companies may be able to find more affordable health insurance for their employees while also taking advantage of tax subsidies. 

Their are some major challenges though when 2014 finally comes around.  First, adverse selection could be a big issue for these health insurance exchanges.  Many critics of the health reform claim that only unhealthy individuals will migrate towards the health insurance exchange and that will force the premiums to ultimately increase.  This is because healthy individuals see health insurance as a waste of money and will not buy health insurance.  Another big challenge of the health insurance exchanges is marketability.  Especially in the small group market, many of the relationships are currently with health insurance brokers.  If the exchanges do not properly compensate the brokers, then they will not take their clients over to the exchanges.

Total Health Care Costs Fall When Poor Are Provided Insurance

February 10th, 2012

A new study out of UC Irvine states that overall health care costs actually drop when the poor are provided health insurance.  The Affordable Care Act has been the center of attention the last couple of years.  From the Republicans perspective, it has been a long fight that they are not going to give up on.  Many critics of the health care reform argue that it will cut too many jobs and also that forcing Americans to get health insurance against their will is unconstitutional.  Republicans are also very firm in saying that the health care reform will be way too costly both on a federal level and state level. 

The study actually found some interesting results that might interest Republicans.  The study shows that when the poor are given insurance, the amount of visits to the emergency room drops significantly while visits to the primary care physician increases.  This saves a lot of money because emergency room services are very costly to the overall system.  The study shows that health care costs dropped by more than 50 percent in some communities.

Is COBRA Right For Me?

February 8th, 2012

Many people are faced with this question when they are no longer working for their company; is COBRA right for me?  It is actually not as easy to answer as you might think.  COBRA is basically federal law that mandates employers to offer coverage through their group health plan to people once they leave the company.  The laws are a little different depending on how many employees are in the company as well. 

COBRA offers protection to the former employee because it allows no break in coverage.  For instance, if you have a pre-existing condition, it might be best for you to stay on COBRA.  Also, if your pregnant, then taking advantage of COBRA is the best bet.  However, the downside to COBRA is that it can be quite expensive.  The health insurance coverage no longer has contribution by the employer so the monthly premium you are used to goes way up.  Shopping around to find cheaper health insurance coverage might be a great option for you.

Can I Cancel My Coverage Anytime?

February 6th, 2012

With individual health insurance, their are no contracts and you can cancel your health insurance anytime you want.  Usually, the carriers will hold the premium steady for about one year and then they will review the policy.  Sometimes health insurance carriers will change the rate depending on the claims history and what went through the system.

When you cancel your individual health insurance coverage, carriers will pro-rate the premium and refund the unused portion for the month.  So what this means is that getting health insurance does not have much risk for the individual applying for coverage.  In most states, their is also a free look period where someone can apply for health insurance and have about 10 days before they need to make a final decision.  If they do not want it during the free look period, they can get all of their money back.

Blue Shield Agrees To Cover Autism Therapy

February 1st, 2012

Blue Shield of California is the first major health insurance carrier to cover autism therapy.  Specifically, Blue Shield of California agreed to cover the cost associated with applied behavior analysis therapy.  The is a major therapy treatment that many autistic children receive.  This is a major step forward for a lot of families that currently suffer with large medical and therapy bills because of their current situation.  It is very expensive to treat autism.  This is primarily because their is no short term fix.  Therapy for autistic children can last years and can become very expensive for the families.

Before the enforcement action with the state regulators, Blue Shield of California was denying a lot of claims from autism therapy.  Blue Shield knew that this was in demand and that most likely other health insurance carriers will follow their direction.