We hear it everyday on the nightly news, splashed on the newspaper, even on talk radio. Things like “we’re not out of this recession yet” and “it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.” Well how about a little more optimism! There ARE things you can do to help your health insurance plans make strides in such an uncertain time. Preventative care is now 100% paid for- all blood tests, physicals, pap smears, mammograms, and well-baby exams are free. With tons of new research & technology, generics are making prescription drugs more affordable. Gyms have seen a downturn in membership and often offer employers huge discounts if
Enrollment Up in High-Deductible Health Plans
By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today WASHINGTON — Enrollment in high-deductible health insurance plans that are tied to health savings accounts (HSAs) grew by nearly 14% in the past year, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an industry trade group. As of January 2011, 11.4 million Americans are covered by high-deductible plans, which are eligible to be coupled with an HSA that can be rolled over from year to year and can be used at any time to pay medical expenses. AHIP, which takes an annual census of enrollment in HSA-eligible plans, found that enrollment in the plans has nearly doubled over the
Government to lower prices, ease rules on health plans for people with preexisting conditions
The Obama administration, expanding a program created by the new healthcare law, reduces premiums on preexisting condition insurance plans and loosens restrictions on who can sign up for them. By Noam N. Levey, Washington BureauJune 1, 2011 WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, expanding a program created by the new healthcare law, moved Tuesday to make health insurance more affordable and accessible for Americans who have been denied coverage because they are sick. Across the country, the federal government is reducing premiums on special coverage available to uninsured people with preexisting conditions such as cancer or diabetes. And the administration is loosening restrictions on who can
Pros & Cons of California’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP)
What is a Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP)? The Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan is a federal program that offers health coverage to medically-uninsurable individuals who live in California. This federally-funded health coverage program is the result of federal health care reform and is meant to help individuals who are unable to obtain traditional, individual health insurance due to a pre-existing condition. To qualify for the PCIP, a person must: Be a California resident Have no health insurance coverage for the past 6 months prior to application date Be a U.S. Citizen, U.S. National, or lawfully present individual Provide a social security number Have been denied
Key Health Insurance Benefits
Deciding on a health insurance plan can be confusing. We are here to let you know which benefits are most important, so you can make an informed decision. Deductible The most important part of any health insurance plan is the deductible. A deductible is the amount of expenses that must be paid out of pocket before an insurance carrier will cover any expenses. Most deductibles can range from $1,000 to $5,000. As a general rule, lower deductible plans tend to have higher monthly premiums, and higher deductible plans tend to have lower monthly premiums.
Provider Networks: What are they & why are they important?
What is a provider network? And why is it important to you? Provider networks are groups of doctors and medical facilities contracted to perform medical services at a discounted rate for the members of health insurance plans. The participating doctors and medical facilities in a provider network are referred to as “in-network.” Conversely, doctors and medical facilities not participating in the provider network are considered “out-of-network.” Participating doctors and facilities vary from network to network, as well as carrier to carrier. The benefit of provider networks is that if you choose to see an in-network provider you can take advantage of the providers discounted rate
HMO vs. PPO: What’s the difference?
It is important to learn about your health insurance options, so that you will know which option is right for you, your family and/or your small business. What is an HMO? HMO stands for health maintenance organization. Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) contract with healthcare professionals and facilities, which make up a “provider network.” With HMO insurance you typically pay a small copayment to visit a doctor or a hospital within your HMO network. The benefit of HMO insurance is that it generally has lower premiums and copayments. A disadvantage of HMOs is that they are the least flexible type of health insurance. This is because
California small businesses still unclear on provisions of healthcare reform law, poll finds
A poll commissioned by supporters of the healthcare law finds that 57% of small businesses surveyed are unfamiliar with new tax credits that small employers can use to offset the cost of an employer-provided health plan. Also, 62% did not know about new state-regulated insurance markets. March 20, 2011|By Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau Nearly a year after President Obama signed his landmark health overhaul, most small businesses in California are still unaware of provisions in the law designed to help them provide their employees with health benefits, according to a new poll. The survey of more than 800 businesses with fewer than 20 employees
The Top 10 Health Insurance Companies in California
The 10 biggest health insurers in California are listed below, ranked by market share according to the latest data available from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in early 2011. Rank Insurer #1 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. #2 Blue Cross of California #3 Health Net of California, Inc. #4 California Physicians’ Service #5 Pacificare of California #6 Anthem Blue Cross Life & Health Ins. Co. #7 Delta Dental of California #8 Aetna Health of California, Inc. #9 Unitedhealthcare Ins. Co. #10 Aetna Life Ins. Co. Source: US Health News
Anthem Blue Cross reduces rate increases
March 21, 2011|By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times Anthem Blue Cross plans to raise rates for more than 500,000 individual policyholders in California 9.1% on July 1, down from 16.4%, state officials say. In addition, 80,000 members would see rate cuts. California health insurer Anthem Blue Cross, scaling back rate increases for the second time in less than a year, has agreed to cut nearly in half average increases for more than 500,000 individual policyholders. State officials said California’s largest for-profit health insurer would reduce average July 1 increases to 9.1% from 16.4%. Anthem said it also would put on hold until January plans to