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Wisconsin’s state health plan among richest

Posted August 12th, 2014, in Health Insurance, News, Uncategorized by Tim Keyes

Wisconsin’s state health plan among richest

By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin state employees have one of the richest health insurance plans in the country, and also pay among the highest premiums for that coverage, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The report studying public worker plans comes as states are looking at ways to control growing public employee health insurance costs.

On average, state health plans nationwide paid 92 percent of a typical enrollee’s health care costs last year. In Wisconsin, that was 97 percent, making it richer than the average plans offered for sale under the federal health care law and better than what most private employers provide.

Only Connecticut had a higher actuarial value, at 98 percent, while four other states were the same as Wisconsin at 97 percent, according to the report.  Continue Reading Here

HEALTH INSURANCE DEDUCTIBLES HAVE INCREASED 42%

Posted February 10th, 2014, in Cancer Insurance, Dental Insurance, Diabetes, Health Insurance, Medicare, News, Obesity Insurance, Preexisting Conditions by Frank Mossucco

With the Affordable Care Act in full swing; consumers are now realizing that most of the Qualified Health Plans (QHP) found on the public exchanges are costly and have high deductibles.  A recent article in the Wall Street Journal noted that Deductibles have increased 42% since 2013.  Consumers are faced with the decision to increase their deductibles to keep the monthly health insurance premiums manageable.  SASid has developed two supplement insurance productswhich brokers can use to assist consumers which can pair with their major medical insurance plans to help manage high deductibles and out of pocket costs.

Deductible Supplement Insurance:  Consumers can save money by increasing their deductibles and supplementing their major medical insurance

  • Supplemental cash benefits for accidents and sicknesses
  • Benefits are paid regardless of other insurance
  • Simple to use and smart to have

QHP Supplement Insurance:  Helps fill the gaps in the Qualified Health Plans found on public and private exchanges

  • First dollar coverage with fixed indemnity benefits
  • Supplemental benefits for accident and sicknesses
  • Benefits for physician office visits, hospital stays, surgeries, emergency visits, x-rays and more.

Consumers can save money and/or increase benefits by getting creative with their healthcare…

more….

5 Myths About Canada’s Health Care System

Posted November 12th, 2013, in Health Insurance, Medicare, News by Frank Mossucco

Today I came across this article, although it is from 2012 I found it interesting and figured I would share it.  After reading let me know what your thoughts are.

5 Myths About Canada’s Health Care System

The truth may surprise you about international health care

 by: Aaron E. Carroll, M.D., M.S., from: AARP,

5 myths about Canadas' healthcare systemHealth care systems differ, and there can be many myths about their pros and cons. — Photo by RK Studio/Kevin Lanthier/Getty Images

En Español| How does the U.S. health care system stack up against Canada’s? You’ve probably heard allegedly true horror stories about the Canadian system — like 340-day waits for knee replacement surgery, for example.

To separate fact from fiction, Aaron E. Carroll, M.D., the director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research in Indianapolis, identified the top myths about the two health care systems.

 Myth #1: Canadians are flocking to the United States to get medical care.

How many times have you heard that Canadians, frustrated by long wait times and rationing where they live, come to the United States for medical care?

I don’t deny that some well-off people might come to the United States for medical care. If I needed a heart or lung transplant, there’s no place I’d rather have it done. But for the vast, vast majority of people, that’s not happening.

The most comprehensive study I’ve seen on this topic — it employed three different methodologies, all with solid rationales behind them — was published in the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs.

Source: “Phantoms in the Snow: Canadians’ Use of Health Care Services in the United States,” Health Affairs, May 2002.

 The authors of the study started by surveying 136 ambulatory care facilities near the U.S.-Canada border in Michigan, New York and Washington. It makes sense that Canadians crossing the border for care would favor places close by, right? It turns out, however, that about 80 percent of such facilities saw, on average, fewer than one Canadian per month; about 40 percent had seen none in the preceding year.

Then, the researchers looked at how many Canadians were discharged over a five-year period from acute-care hospitals in the same three states. They found that more than 80 percent of these hospital visits were for emergency or urgent care (that is, tourists who had to go to the emergency room). Only about 20 percent of the visits were for elective procedures or care.

Next, the authors of the study surveyed America’s 20 “best” hospitals — as identified by U.S. News & World Report — on the assumption that if Canadians were going to travel for health care, they would be more likely to go to the best-known and highest-quality facilities. Only one of the 11 hospitals that responded saw more than 60 Canadians in a year. And, again, that included both emergencies and elective care.

Finally, the study’s authors examined data from the 18,000 Canadians who participated in the National Population Health Survey. In the previous year, 90 of those 18,000 Canadians had received care in the United States; only 20 of them, however, reported going to the United States expressively for the purpose of obtaining care.

Continue Reading 

Risk Factors for Women and Heart Disease

Posted October 30th, 2013, in Health Insurance, Preexisting Conditions by Frank Mossucco

A Great Articled I found b y Andrea at http://www.healthandwellnessupdates.com/

 

Focusing this week on the physical health aspect of the wellness wheel, a new set of risk factors have been recently identified by the American Heart Association for heart disease in women.

Symptoms of heart disease in women 300x233 Risk Factors for Women and Heart Disease

Most women are familiar with the set of symptoms for heart attack that are specific for women. While men and women both report chest pain with a heart attack, men tend to feel the pain as severe and crushing. Women tend to feel less intense chest pain, and report other symptoms such as neck or shoulder pain, nausea or vomiting, difficulty breathing or dizziness.

Similarly, women have a specific set of risk factors for heart disease and heart attack that differ in importance than those for men. While men and women who are overweight, have high blood pressure and have high cholesterol are more likely to have a heart attack, women who suffer from depression, are smokers, have hormonal changes after menopause or have certain metabolic issues are at even greater risk.

Pregnancy complications have been identified as a new set of factors that increase a woman’s risk for heart disease and therefore for a heart attack. Women who develop high blood pressure or diabetes during a pregnancy, or whose baby is bigger or smaller than expected for gestational age (length of time of the pregnancy) are more likely to develop heart disease by middle age than women who have uncomplicated pregnancies.

The good news is that young women who develop these complications during a pregnancy are getting an early warning of their increased risk, and have more time to protect themselves. If you are in this category, you can make better wellness choices such as maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and managing your stress to avoid depression.

 

Obama: Health Care Reform Not About Website

Posted October 28th, 2013, in Cancer Insurance, Dental Insurance, Diabetes, Eating Healthy, Health Insurance, Medicare, News, Obesity Insurance, Preexisting Conditions, Uncategorized by Frank Mossucco

VOA News  original article found here: 

October 26, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama says the glitches of the Healthcare.gov website are “frustrating,” but people are working around the clock to to fix the problems.

The president said in his weekly address Saturday the fight for health care reform is not about a website, but was instead about establishing the “principle that in this country, the security of health care is not a privilege for a fortunate few, but a right for everyone.”

Obama said the site has been visited more than 20 million times and nearly 700,000 people have applied for coverage.

The president accused Republicans in Congress of spending the last few years obsessed with denying people access to health insurance.

Watch President Obama’s weekly address:

In the Republican address, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton said his committee will hear directly from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to find out why the so-called Obamacare website does not work, despite the investment of hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars.

The expert the White House has hired to fix the massive problems with the website says he expects it to be running smoothly by the end of November.

Thousands of people trying to buy government mandated health insurance using the website have run into numerous problems.  Some users complain of extremely long wait times while others have had their passwords rejected.  Other users said they were given conflicting prices for the same health plan.

Executives of the companies who built the website told Congress Wednesday the system was not fully tested and that last-minute changes to the website contributed to the problems.

Republicans opposed to the Afrodable Care Act – commonly known as Obamacare – said the computer problems illustrated their argument the health care law is not ready.

Under the Affordable Care Act, people without private health insurance can sign up for government subsidized plans through the website.  Those who fail to carry any health insurance would pay a penalty.

 

Thousands get health insurance cancellation notices

Posted October 21st, 2013, in Health Insurance, Medicare, News by Frank Mossucco

Article by Anna Gorman and Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News Oct. 18, 2013

Health plans are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more costly policies.

The main reason insurers offer is that the policies fall short of what the Affordable Care Act requires starting Jan. 1. Most are ending policies sold after the law passed in March 2010. At least a few are canceling plans sold to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

By all accounts, the new policies will offer consumers better coverage, in some cases, for comparable cost — especially after the inclusion of federal subsidies for those who qualify. The law requires policies sold in the individual market to cover 10 “essential” benefits, such as prescription drugs, mental health treatment and maternity care. In addition, insurers cannot reject people with medical problems or charge them higher prices. The policies must also cap consumers’ annual expenses at levels lower than many plans sold before the new rules.

But the cancellation notices, which began arriving in August, have shocked many consumers in light of President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their plans if they liked them.

“I don’t feel like I need to change, but I have to,” said Jeff Learned, a television editor in Los Angeles, who must find a new plan for his teenage daughter, who has a health condition that has required multiple surgeries.

An estimated 14 million people purchase their own coverage because they don’t get it through their jobs. Calls to insurers in several states showed that many have sent notices.

Florida Blue, for example, is terminating about 300,000 policies, about 80 percent of its individual policies in the state. Kaiser Permanente in California has sent notices to 160,000 people – about half of its individual business in the state. Insurer Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping about 20 percent of its individual market customers, while Independence Blue Cross, the major insurer in Philadelphia, is dropping about 45 percent. Read More..

Fat and Thin Find Common Ground

Posted October 15th, 2013, in Diabetes, Eating Healthy, Health Insurance, Obesity Insurance by Frank Mossucco

By ABBY ELLIN

Fat and ThinStuart Bradford

When binge eating disorder gained legitimacy as a full-fledged mental condition in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in May, many people in the eating disorders and obesity communities wondered: Will this inspire us to finally get along?

It was a good question, since historically, the two groups have been at odds.

Unlike people with anorexia or bulimia, who tend to be excessively thin, many binge eaters are overweight or obese. And much of the focus of anti-obesity efforts — listing calories at restaurants, banning cupcakes in schools, sending students home with body mass index “report cards” — are decried by eating disorder activists, who say such measures can encourage anorexia or bulimia.

Anti-obesity activists, in turn, worry that the eating disorder community minimizes the medical risks of obesity, which the American Medical Association classified as a disease in June, and plays down the discrimination many obese people face.

“They come out of different traditions,” said Kelly Brownell, dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. “Obesity was mainly dealt with in medical professions, and eating disorders were dealt with more in psychology professions.”

But binge eating disorder, symptoms of which include consuming enormous amounts of food in a two-hour window without purging at least once a week for three months, could bridge the gap between the two worlds, while also reducing the stereotype that only thin people suffer from eating disorders. READ MORE

Tax Day Marked Pivotal Point for Health Insurance Reform

Posted April 18th, 2013, in Health Insurance, News by Frank Mossucco

Earlier this week, tax day presented the first taste of Obamacare for some lower- and middle-income taxpayers.

Though most of the aspects of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, won’t go into effect until 2014, many in lower- and middle-income tax brackets who do not have health insurance will start to see the benefits of the program when it comes to calculating subsidies.

Upon filing their 2012 return, uninsured taxpayers will find out whether they qualify for a subsidy and, if so, the amount of that subsidy. Those who receive a subsidy will then need to  make a choice to either purchase insurance later this year to comply with the law by 2014, or pay a fine to the IRS in 2015.

State-run health exchange programs will begin enrollment in October of this year and, at that time, those who qualify for the tax subsidies can buy into the program. In 2014 when Obamacare takes full effect, the federal government is projected to spend $25 billion to help those who qualify to purchase plans in the online marketplaces where they can choose from many private insurance plans.

Over the course of 10 years, the Affordable Care Act is expected to collect more than $1 trillion in tax revenues to help pay for the extended health care coverage. The IRS, Health and Human Services and other agencies will work together to coordinate the program and encourage qualified Americans to join.

There’s quite a bit of unknown as to how Obamacare will eventually work. While some effects, such as subsidies and additional taxes, will begin this year, no one will really know how all the pieces will fall together until the program is in full effect in 2014.

Households with incomes from 100 to 400 percent of the Federal poverty level will be able to receive the subsidies depending on their individual income and family size.

It is projected by the Congressional Budget Office that around 26 million U.S. citizens could receive health insurance through the program by 2022. Yet most people have no idea how taxes will be used to subsidize the program.

While enrollment for Obamacare begins in October 2013, coverage will not kick in until 2014. Qualified taxpayers’ subsidies will be used to purchase private insurance through the plan and be paid directly to the insurance company with the difference in price being the responsibility of the individual taxpayer who qualifies.

Once the taxpayer elects to use the subsidy, they must report it to the IRS the next year. The IRS will make adjustments to the subsidy through the taxpayer’s refund.

In 2015 things get really interesting. A year after the mandate to be covered goes into effect; proof of insurance will need to be made to the IRS. If proof is not established, a fine of $95 will go into effect. If the taxpayer does not comply the next year, the fine jumps to $325 in 2015 and finally goes up to $695 if the taxpayer still doesn’t comply.

There will be some exemptions to the law in extreme cases of poverty, Native American tribes, etc. Estimates for non-compliance will be at about $6 million by 2016 according to the CBO.

The popular belief is that non-compliance will be small as most would rather take the money than owe it to the Federal government through their tax return.

This year wealthier Americans are paying higher taxes because of Obamacare. A surtax of 0.9 percent of income over $200,000 for those who file as single or $250,000 for joint filers is being assessed.

Another tax is also being assessed in the form of a 3.8 percent surtax on investment income for taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income above $200,000 or couples with an income above $250,000 . Combined, the two new taxes are projected to add $317.7 billion over 10 years.

These two new taxes are expected to bring in $317.7 billion over 10 years, making them two of the biggest revenue raisers in the Affordable Care Act.

HIV/AIDS Insurance: What to Know About Your Coverage

Posted April 8th, 2013, in Health Insurance, News, Preexisting Conditions by Frank Mossucco

When you are diagnosed with HIV or AIDS the news alone can be crippling. You are thinking about how it happened and what you are going to do about it. You feel tremendous stress and heartache. The last thing on your mind is your insurance plan. But it is an unfortunate fact that as a person with HIV/AIDs it can be a challenge to receive coverage.HIV AIDS

It is tough for many people to deal with the news and then move forward. But moving forward is the most important part. You can’t be brought down by the news. Instead you must take action to find coverage and receive the proper treatment you deserve.

The major challenge faced when looking for HIV/AIDS insurance is whether or not you will actually be covered. HIV/AIDS is considered to be a pre-existing condition and, as we always discuss, many  insurance companies will not provide coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition. And, the few companies which do offer HIV/AIDS insurance only cover the bare essentials of treatment leaving a patient with an excess of out-of-pocket costs.

The good news is, there are still some insurance companies which offer full health insurance coverage no matter the pre-existing condition and First Preferred Health Insurance  is one of them. With First Preferred Health Insurance you don’t have to worry about your financial security. Instead, you can focus on your health and your family – and that’s what really matters in life, after all.

Government Halts Preexisting Condition Insurance Program

Posted March 26th, 2013, in Health Insurance, News, Preexisting Conditions by Frank Mossucco

Last month it was announced that the government will officially close the Preexisting Condition Insurance Program (PCIP) due to the overwhelming cost and high premiums which made it difficult for people with preexisting health conditions to afford coverage.Preexisting Conditions

While the program was initially allotted $5 billion, the program has already totaled $2 billion in claims and $180 million in administrative costs. While this  decision comes at a time when there is heated debate regarding health insurance and the future costs to all Americans, the government ultimately came to the conclusion that the program could not continue at this pace.

The good news is, the government is already making strides toward even better, more efficient programs that could very well change the landscape of healthcare coverage for folks with preexisting conditions. One of these programs is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACPA) which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014. Among the advantages of this program will be lower premiums, which will allow more patients to participate, and a more efficient administrative process sure to make better use of allocated funds.

It is too early to tell where this will all lead. The health insurance industry is rapidly changing as the government shuts down programs and gets ready for new reform. As time goes on we will witness the change and see first-hand how those with preexisting conditions are affected.

 

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