Archive for July, 2012

California Health Insurance Exchange

July 31st, 2012

In California, over 7 million people do not currently have health insurance.  And over 40 million people do not have health insurance in America.  You can see how large California is though as far as percentage of the total uninsured.  The decision last month to not overturn the health care reform, and more significantly the individual mandate, will have large affects for years to come.  So what does this really mean?  Starting in 2014, everyone in America will be forced to have health insurance and they will face a fine.  There are certain waivers, such as being on a governmental program or getting an income waiver.  But for the most part, many will be seeking health insurance in the coming months.

In California, many might seek health insurance through the exchange which has to be up and running by 2014.  There are some critics though that say the management of the exchange will be challenging.  For one, many have questions when buying health insurance and there might not be enough coverage to answer all the questions.  Buying health insurance is more complex than say, getting a plane ticket.  Also, when small businesses want to purchase health insurance through the exchange, who will be there to guide them.  Many of these questions will be answered soon in the coming months.

Adding Coverage For A Dependent

July 27th, 2012

If you are currently on a health insurance plan, there are options to expand your coverage for your family.  Many plans have great health insurance coverage for families.  For instance, if you want to add your new born child to your insurance, most carriers give you about 30 days to do so.  However, one important thing to note, it is usually more expensive to add a dependent then to insure yourself.

Family plans come in both PPO and HMO formats.  In the individual health insurance market, PPO plans are more popular and usually less expensive.  This gives the flexibility to the consumer to visit any doctor they choose and most likely have coverage for it.  One draw back of PPOs is that the benefits are usually less rich than HMOs.

Physical Inactivity Just As Deadly As Smoking

July 18th, 2012

A recent report suggests that about one-third of adults worldwide are not doing enough physical activity on a daily basis.  And this inactivity has lead to many illnesses and death.  The study actually shows that it accounts for over 5 million deaths per year.  The researchers are saying that the death toll is so high that the problem should be treated as a pandemic.

The study also showed that nations where people have higher incomes actually do exercise more.  This was forecasted by the researchers because these people have the means to do more physical activity.  Pedro Hallal, one of the lead researchers in the study, is hoping that the upcoming Olympics will help encourage people to do more physical activity on a daily basis.  If the government makes it a public health priority, then it will definitely improve the health of the adults around the world.

Deductibles Versus Out-Of-Pocket Maximum

July 12th, 2012

The deductible is the amount that must be met before the insurance company starts to cover expenses.  For many routine visits like seeing a doctor, the deductible is waived.  Meaning, make sure you check and see when your deductible will apply.  The out-of-pocket maximum is the most you will have to pay per year.  Once you meet this maximum, the plan covers 100% of all bills for the rest of the year.  This number resets every January so be careful.  It is important before you decide which health insurance plan is right for you, that you know the difference between these two benefits.  Sometimes a very high deductible only makes sense if you are on the healthier side because it can be quite costly if you start to use medical services.  The maximum is basically your cap for the year.  So if a catastrophic event happens, the out-of-pocket maximum amount will be the most you will be charged.  Each January that figure will reset.

Record Year For Whooping Cough

July 10th, 2012

The United States is on a record year, but not for the right reasons.  They are on pace for the most whooping cough cases than any other year.  Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a bacterial infection that causes a real deep cough in children.  It can be very serious if not treated right away.  It is called whooping cough because that is the noise children make after they finally catch there breath from so many coughs in a row.

This year so far, there has been over 16,000 cases of whooping cough.  Just to put it into perspective, the entire last year reported just over 15,000.  The highest ever reported and validated was in 2010 when over 27,000 cases were known.  This year, we are on pace for over 30,000 cases of whooping cough.  The best treatment is preventative.  Make sure all children get the proper shots when they are young so they can avoid this dangerous sickness.

Finding The Right Benefits For Your Family

July 6th, 2012

Recently, health insurance carriers were required to add maternity coverage for their plans in California.  Starting July 1st, all health insurance plans will include maternity and many consumers are already starting to take advantage.  If you already have an individual health insurance policy, many plans will convert with maternity coverage at your plans’ renewal.  Another important factor when thinking about getting family health insurance is the current health of your family members.  Many plans have different types of coverages and also different benefit amounts for types of services.

For instance, medication coverage differs greatly from plan to plan.  Anthem Blue Cross has health insurance plans that have strong prescription coverage and also plans that have limited coverage.  And by limited, we mean plans that have high brand deductibles which make it expensive to purchase brand medication.  To really understand which plans make the most sense for your family, research the plan details under each search result for a full break down of what the plans really offer.

What The Supreme Court Decision Means To You

July 5th, 2012

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled not to throw out the health care reform which was passed over two years ago.  Two major issues were being watched by many people.  The first one, was the Medicaid expansion and the qualifications to get insurance through Medicaid.  And the second, was whether or not the individual mandate was constitutional.  The Supreme Court ruled that the mandate is constitutional and that they will enforce the mandate as a tax.  The original pitch and what was Obama’s selling point, was that the mandate would be penalized as a fee not a tax.  So this decision is huge and can have some falling out by supporters of Obama.  Anyone who does not health insurance by 2014, will pay $95 or 1% of their income, which ever is greater.  The figures go up if you have a family that is not covered.  Also, if you still do not have health insurance by 2016, the tax will go up to 2.5%.

So the question here is, will people that are healthy still go without health insurance and pay the tax.  Or, is the tax enough to make them change their behaviors.  Most likely, the former because it still is a lot cheaper to pay the tax then pay the monthly premium on a health insurance policy.  Another issue will be how each state will proceed with implementing the health insurance exchanges by 2014.  Still, there are 26 states that are opposed to the ruling and it will be a challenge for the federal government to manage the exchanges without support on the state level.