Inside U.S. Health Care

Posted: September 22, 2010 in Helping Hands Events, Table Of Contents, TRUTH / Occupy
Tags: , , ,

The following was provided by the CFRA email newsletter. Most links may not active in this blog but can be found from the CFRA.org website.

Rejected? Give High Risk Pools a Try
Have you been denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition? If so, you might qualify for a new high risk insurance pool in your state. High risk pools are helping to close the insurance gap until state insurance marketplaces are established in 2014 and insurers will have to accept everyone for the same price. Until then, we need to get the word out about these pools. Learn more here!

Don’t Delay! Small Business Tax Credits
Wondering how health care reform effects your small business?  Learn more here! The Small Business Tax Credits are offered to businesses that provide health insurance for their employees. The credits make health insurance more affordable and provide an incentive for small employers to offer health insurance.

Preventing Disease – Real Cost Control
What can be better than avoiding an expensive disease? If you enroll in a health insurance plan on or after September 23, your plan will cover recommended preventative services without having to pay anything extra. This includes routine vaccines, many cancer screenings, test for diabetes and blood pressure, health pregnancy visits and much more. Learn what is included here!

Your Doctor, Your Town
It’s hard to keep good doctors and nurses in small towns. When rural people get the medical care they need, not only are people healthier but the economy is healthier too. Read our report [PDF] on the programs available to help rural people get the medical care they need in the communities where they live.

How Will Health Reform Affect My Business?
Small businesses dominate the rural economy, and it is important for business owners to understand the impacts of the new law. Did you know that businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the requirement to provide insurance to their employees? Learn this and other facts about the new health law in our report Health Care Reform, What’s In It for Small Business? [PDF]

Where will you be on September 23?

Minnesota Says Farewell
From September 17-23, Minnesotans will say goodbye to some of the worst practices in the health insurance industry. Celebrate the end of lifetime limits, canceled insurance policies and costly preventative care! More info here.

Real Iowans Helped by Health Care Law: The new law isn’t just words on paper. Real children with pre-existing conditions and real 24-year-olds are able to get health insurance because of it. Iowans can join Sen. Jack Hatch in Des Moines on Sept. 23 at 9 am to learn more. Details here.

Find an event near you!
Click for more details.

Do you qualify for the small business tax credit or the high risk insurance pool? Or do you have another health care story you’d like to share? Tell us about it! Reply to this email and someone from the Center will contact you. Talk soon!

More News from the Center

2014: What Does the Future Hold for Health Care?
While some health reform changes are immediate, there are some that won’t start until 2014. New, easy and fair marketplaces to buy health insurance, an end to pre-existing conditions, and limits on how much insurance premiums can change between individuals are a few of these changes. Want to know more? Read on!

Reported by: http://www.cfra.org/policy/health-care

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http://www.healthreformwatch.com/2010/03/22/the-health-care-reform-bill-text-summaries-amendments-provisions-at-a-glance/

The nation’s new health care law turns 6 months old Thursday and starts delivering protections and dollars-and-cents benefits that Americans can grasp. But it won’t affect all consumers the same way, which may cause confusion.

Q: Will everyone’s health insurance change on Thursday?

A: No. It depends on when your health insurance plan year starts. Many of the new requirements begin with plan years starting on or after Sept. 23. But if your plan year starts Jan. 1, as many do, that’s when the changes start.

“Grandfathered” plans, those that existed before the law was enacted March 23 and which remain essentially unchanged, must meet only some of the requirements. New plans and those with significant changes in benefits or out-of-pocket costs must comply with even more changes in the law.

Q: How do I know how my health plan fits in all this?

A: If you get insurance through work, ask your employer about any changes. If you buy insurance yourself, call your insurance company.

Q: What are some of the new benefits?

A: Free preventive care, for one. Some people will no longer have to pay copays, coinsurance or meet their deductibles for preventive care that’s backed up by the best scientific evidence. That includes flu vaccines, mammograms and even diet counseling for adults at-risk of chronic disease.

Q: Are there exceptions?

A: Free preventive care isn’t required of existing health plans that haven’t changed significantly, those “grandfathered” plans we mentioned earlier. New plans, and those that change substantially on or after Sept. 23, must provide this benefit.

Q: What other changes start Sept. 23?

A: If you go to an emergency room outside your plan’s network, you won’t get charged extra. Patients will be able to designate a pediatrician or an ob-gyn as their primary care doctor, avoiding the need for referrals that are required by some plans.

Q: I’ve heard lifetime limits are being eliminated. What does that mean?

A: Millions of Americans have insurance that sets a cap on what their insurance will pay to cover their medical costs over a lifetime. The caps have left very sick patients with medical bills topping $1 million or $2 million high and dry. These lifetime limits will be eliminated for plans issued or renewed on or after Sept. 23.

Those who have maxed out because of the caps but remain eligible for coverage must be reinstated on the first day of the plan year that begins on or after Sept. 23.

Q: What about annual limits?

A: Plans issued or renewed on or after Sept. 23 can’t have annual limits lower than $750,000. Annual limits will be eliminated entirely by 2014.

Q: Are there exceptions?

A: Employers and insurance companies can apply for waivers for so-called “mini-med” plans that offer limited benefits. The intent of the waivers is to allow these low-cost plans to exist so that people don’t lose their health coverage when premiums go up.

Q: Any changes that affect parents?

A: Insurers can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Also, parents can keep their adult children on their health plans until age 26.

Q: Is it true that some insurers will no longer sell child-only policies in some states?

A: Companies in some states have said the new requirement to insure children with pre-existing conditions will lead to unpredictable costs. Their decision to stop selling such policies won’t affect existing plans. Most children are covered under family insurance plans. A 2009 survey by the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans found about 8 percent of individual plans are child-only, covering about 140,000 children.

Q: Are there other consumer protections?

A: The law bars insurers from canceling policies retroactively when a person gets very sick and runs up high bills. Insurers still will be able to rescind policies in cases of fraud and intentional misrepresentation. But they can’t cut you off when you need coverage most for a capricious reason.

Q: Why Sept. 23?

A: That’s six months after President Barack Obama signed the law. Many provisions were scheduled to start six months after enactment.

Q: Are these changes likely to raise health insurance premiums?

A: The Obama administration says the new benefits will raise premiums by no more than 1 to 2 percent. Benefit consulting companies say the impact will be in the single digits, but may vary from plan to plan.

___

Sources: Associated Press research, Employee Benefit Research Institute, eHealth Inc., Kaiser Family Foundation, Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families Health Policy Institute.

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My opinion is that insurance is one of the strongest weapons of the wealthy to keep the rest of us under control. Thanks to advertising and psychological manipulation most people think they need as much insurance as possible.

Insurance allows all the products and services involved to increase in domestic value beyond the world average. We pay close to the world average out of our pocket and then just ignore the fact that insurance companies are paying the manufacturers and laborers even more above that for ridiculous retail prices.

Without insurance scams, medical procedures would be priced like a new car instead of a new airplane; pharmaceuticals would be closer in price to counter meds; and the result would be that people pay for what they can afford directly or through assistance programs.

If you get in a auto accident then the person at fault takes the financial responsibility of both parties. This would affect the legal industry by stopping them from filing lawsuits against insurance companies for policy limits. Lawsuits was be limited to their founding purpose of being directed towards other wealthy defendants.

The biggest benefit to society would be that the wealthiest people who are investors in insurance companies would gradually decrease in net worth and the gap between society classes would shrink! Policing agencies would also have to alter their budgets accounting for lost citation revenues.

I personally do not support insurance companies. I boycott their offerings as much as possible. The only policy I have is for my primary vehicle during registration renewal and that is only because I can be incarcerated for not paying a non-insured or expired plate citation.  If I was ever sued, I have plenty of time to transfer my valuables to new owners so scare tactics do not work on me.

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Here is some info and links from Green America’s team!

Have you ever battled your insurance company over an unpaid claim, a pre-existing condition, or some other snafu, and ended up wondering if there could be such a thing as a responsible insurance company?

Our Responsible Shopper team spent the summer building the newest category for our smart-shopping web site to help answer just that question. The facts collected on our site give you a clearer picture of what is going on in the insurance industry.

For example:

Though the employer-based health insurance system means you don’t often have a choice of a health insurance company, as you might for other industries profiled on Responsible Shopper, we hope you find this information useful if you are a decision-maker for a business, or when you have the ability to influence your choice of company. And Responsible Shopper will be there to help you make the most responsible insurance company choices when more people get to choose insurance companies as the new health care legislation gets implemented.

Plus, we’re adding more industries all the time. Check out some of our other most-recent additions: alcohol, telecommunications, and pharmaceuticals.

And please take our airline survey whenever you fly. Our Responsible Shopper research into the airline industry turned up an abysmal recycling record across the board. We’re documenting the experiences of passengers to put pressure on the airline industry to improve. We’ll be putting our next round of research together this fall – so let us know what happens when you ask about recycling on your next flight.

Thanks for all you do ,
Alisa (signature)
Alisa Gravitz
Executive Director
Green America

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