Archive for the ‘UnitedHealth Group’ category

Health Care Reform Needs The Right Leaders

January 21st, 2013

As the exchange era approaches and the reform bills take affect, many are still wondering what the overall result will be.  As of late, many have seen there health insurance premiums double with no explanation.  Also, many are still without health insurance because it is still way too expensive.  It is estimated that there are still over 40 million Americans without health insurance today.  That number is obviously why President Obama is trying to overhaul the system with his laws that were passed over two years ago.  In California, there are currently over 8 million uninsured, one of the highest figures in the country.  So, how will the exchanges get these millions of Americans insurance?  How long will it take for everyone to get health insurance?  5 Years?  20 years?  Another question, will people simply pay the fees associated with not having insurance because that it is still much cheaper than actual health insurance premiums.

Many people who make $10 dollars an hour, trying to make a living, do not have and can’t afford to get health insurance.  America needs quality leaders to oversee the health care system and the implementation of it coming next year.  Most are predicting that the healthy will pay for the poor, just like the rich pay for the poor when it comes to government programs, etc.  Next year everything takes affect, we will find out soon.

Higher Health Insurance Premiums On The Way

January 7th, 2013

Obamacare has been at the forefront the last three years and has been one of the most important issues the Obama administration has handled in their term.  As Obama’s four year term is coming to an end and the new term is starting, many consumers are wondering why insurance premiums are continuing to rise.  Also, many are now questioning how it will all of sudden start to decrease starting in 2014.  Aetna, one of the largest insurers in the United States, says health insurance premiums may go up as much as 20 to 50 percent in 2014.  Blue Shield mentioned that some markets may even double by the time the health care reform really starts in 2014.  So why is this really happening?  Many critics of the health care reform saw this coming from a mile away.  This is because, starting in 2014, no one can be denied health insurance coverage.  Anyone can apply through the health insurance exchanges, or direct, and get approved for health insurance even if they have a pre-existing condition.

From a care standpoint, this is obviously a great thing because everyone should have access to care.  However, from a pocket book standpoint, everyone will pay the price.  The main reason for this is because the healthy will have to pay for the sick.  There are 8 million uninsured in California alone that might be entering the market starting in 2014 when its required to have health insurance.  The sick pool will need the most money to pay for their claims, and that will only come from the healthy.

The health care laws also state that the premiums can not vary too much based on age and that it will be a community rating.  This will probably benefit the older more than it will the younger.  Since the older population have higher health costs, the younger segment will pay for this difference.  So what do we do at this point?  Well, there actually is no easy answer to that.  We have to all hope that the reform rules and regulations will not effect the market as much as all these top insurance carriers do.

Why Does Insurance Keep Rising?

August 7th, 2012

Each year, consumers see their health insurance premiums increase and there are no signs of it getting better anytime soon.  Why do these premiums keep going up and not down?  Why hasn’t the government stepped in and tried to help?  Well the quick answer is that the government passed the health care reform with the exact attempt to make health insurance more affordable for everyone.  The reason premiums increase each year, and why the health reform was passed, is obviously very complex and confusing.  Starting with the health care system, all the way from hospitals to doctors, is very broken and tiered.  Meaning, there are many doctors that are incentivized by different things.

Some want to see as many patients as possible, which obviously lowers quality of care.  And some doctors, only deal with certain markets, providers, carriers, etc. and that leads to other hosts of issues.  The only way that health insurance will become affordable is if people do not game the system.  The major reason health reform might not succeed is that adverse selection might become a big issue.  Since pre-existing conditions will not be an issue starting in 2014 to get approved for health insurance, many fear that the sick will only get health insurance right before a major surgery and then cancel the plan.  This means that the healthy will end up paying for the sick.  This will not make health insurance more affordable.  In fact, it will probably make health insurance more expensive in the years to come.

Individual Plans Offer Maternity Coverage

June 8th, 2012

Before July of this year, many individual health insurance plans did not offer maternity coverage.  And if you picked a particular plan that had some type of maternity coverage, the coverage was limited and the plan was very expensive.  Now, the marketplace has changed a little bit.  Whether a direct result of the health reform or not, all carriers are offering plans that cover maternity and it is not at a hefty price.

Many individual health insurance plans have actually become more affordable while offering better benefits.  This is usually not the case in the individual health insurance market.  Usually when carriers offer better benefits for their health insurance plans, they usually charge you more per month.  Many are taking advantage of these great benefits, especially since there is uncertainty because the Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on the health reform any day now.

How To Save On Individual Health Insurance

May 7th, 2012

There are many different types of California health insurance plans in the marketplace.  Before you decide on which plan is right for you, here are some helpful tips to save you some money.

1) Comparison shop across all the health insurance plans

It is very important for you to shop the health insurance market to find the right plan and save  money.  There are literally hundreds of plans with different benefits for each.  Based on your affordability, see what plans make sense for your health history.  If you are a healthier person, maybe a higher deductible plan will be the right route for you.  Additionally, some health insurance carriers could be more
competitive from a pricing standpoint than others, and that can save you some
money in your wallet.

2) Choose a health insurance plan with a smaller network

If network size is not an important factor for you, then
maybe picking a health insurance plan with a smaller network might be your best
option.  This will instantly save you money because health insurance carriers
will always charge you a premium if the network is large.  Research to see if
your doctor is in the network you are choosing.

3) Increase your deductible on your health insurance plan

The easiest way to make your health
insurance
premiums go down and save you money is to increase your
deductible.  The deductible is the money you have to pay out of your own pocket
first before the insurance carrier will start paying benefits.  If you have a
higher deductible, you are taking on more risk so the carriers will give you a
break.  If you are a healthy person, consider choosing a plan with a higher
premium to save you some money on your health insurance.

4) Consider your health history and how old you are

Knowing your own health history is very important when
choosing a health insurance plan.  Health insurance plans have all different
kind of benefits.  For instance, if you do not have a history of taking
prescription drugs, then pick a plan with lower drug benefits and that will
lower your health insurance premium.  On the other hand, if you have certain
needs that you know will require rich benefits, then picking a plan with a
little bit higher monthly premium will save you money in the long run.

5) Ask your employer if they offer health insurance

For the most part, group insurance through your employer
will have lower monthly premiums.  This is also because employers are required
to contribute towards your health coverage and that will always save you money.
Additionally, group insurance plans usually have better benefits than individual
plans so that can also lead to savings in your pocket.

6) Consider HSAs to maximize your tax
benefits

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are great ways to spend your tax dollars
wisely.  These health insurance plans are meant for people who have recurring or
predictable health care needs. The dollars are put into an account that is tax
sheltered and you can pay down your medical bills using those dollars.

Saving On Health Insurance

April 30th, 2012

There are a few ways to save on individual health insurance.  For one, make sure you know what you need as far as medical services.  What I mean by that is, know your health history and also your current health.  Many people can save money if they know what is necessary and what benefits would be a waste of money.  For instance, prescription coverage is very costly for both the health insurance carrier and the consumer.  If you know that you do not have a history of taking medications, then choose a health insurance plan that does not have rich prescription coverage.

Also, if you are generally a healthier person, then selecting a health insurance plan with a higher deductible can also save you some money.  Why?  Because health insurance carriers will give you a discount if they know you have more skin in the game.  If you are responsible for more of the upfront bills, then they will try charge you less per month.

Which Carrier Has The Strongest Network?

April 25th, 2012

Obviously depending on where you live, this answer may vary greatly.  However, in most parts of the United States, you will find coverage with the major health insurance carriers.  In California, the largest health insurance carrier is Anthem Blue Cross.  They have the most volume of new applications and have the most members.  The largest HMO provider in California is Kaiser.  They have the most members on the HMO side but there PPO is very weak.  In the United States, Anthem Blue Cross and United Healthcare have the largest networks.  United has the most volume and while Anthem Blue Cross has the most members.

There are some parts of the USA where carriers such as Aetna and Healthnet have large networks.  However, sometimes going with a smaller carrier can save you money.  Carriers will most times give you a discount if you go with their reduced networks.  If you do not have a particular doctor that you must have, then sometimes that is the best option to save some money.

Do All Individual Health Insurance Plans Have Maternity Coverage?

March 28th, 2012

The fast answer is no.  In fact, most individual health insurance plans do not have maternity coverage.  The reason is simply, it is very expensive for both the carrier and unfortunately the patient.  When looking at the health insurance plans, make sure you research the benefit details to see whether maternity is offered with that particular plan.  All the health insurance carriers do offer plans that have maternity coverage, the issue is that it can be very expensive from a monthly premium standpoint.

Also, health insurance carriers know that most people get the health insurance right before they are giving birth and will probably cancel the health insurance afterwards.  In these cases, most will be denied.  The best thing to do is to get the health insurance before you start planning the pregnancy.  As a consumer, the best thing to do is plan ahead and make sure you look at the fine print.

UnitedHealth To Buy Doc Group

September 1st, 2011

UnitedHealth is the largest health insurance company in the United States.  Only WellPoint has more enrollments than UnitedHealth.  Based out of Minnesota, UnitedHealth plans on purchasing one of the largest physician associations in Southern California.  Monarch was founded in 1994 and has over 2,600 doctors.  Monarch offers access to 20 hospitals in the Southern California area and over 30 urgent care facilities. 

Their has been a fair share of acquisitions from large health insurance companies.  Last year, WellPoint announced the purchase of CareMore Health Group, which provides Medicare Advantage coverage in California.  Also, Humana, purchased Concentra last year for over $790 million.  Concentra provides medicine and urgent care services in 42 states.  These large health insurance companies are buying up market share around the U.S. and we have to wait and see how all these acquisitions will be affected by the health reform in 2014.