Anthem Blue Of California 2-Year Rate Guarantee On Some Medical Insurance Plans Expires Today!
If you have been considering getting a new medical insurance plan, you should look at these medical plans today, before the 2-year rate guarantee expires. Having a 2-year rate guarantee is a great way to lock-in 2009 rates for the next 2 years...you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars!
The 2-year rate guarantee is offered on these medical insurance plans:
- Smartsense 5000 Medical Insurance Plan
- ClearProtection 5000 Medical Insurance Plan
- ClearProtection 3300 Medical Insurance Plan
- PPO 3500 H.S.A. Compatible Medical Insurance Plan
- PPO 3500 Medical Insurance Plan
The effective dates have to be in April; therefore, the last day to request an effective date in April is today. Effective dates of May 1, 2010 and later will only have the medical insurance plan rates guaranteed for 1 year.
An analysis of the new health care reform bill carried out by the government says it will not slow down the growth of healthcare spending. The reason cited is the expansion of medical insurance and healthcare services to the uninsured 34 million people will offset cost reductions in Medicare and other healthcare programs.
The study was carried out by the chief Medicare actuary, Richard S. Foster and provides a detailed, rigorous analysis of the law. In signing the measure last month, President Obama said it would "bring down health care costs for families and businesses and governments."
But Mr. Foster said, "Overall national health expenditures under the health reform act would increase by a total of $311 billion," or nine-tenths of 1 percent, compared with the amounts that would otherwise be spent from 2010 to 2019.
In his report, sent to Congress Thursday night, Mr. Foster said that some provisions of the law, including cutbacks in Medicare payments to health care providers and a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored coverage, would slow the growth of health costs. But he said the savings "would be more than offset through 2019 by the higher health expenditures resulting from the coverage expansions."
The report says that 34 million uninsured people will gain medical insurance coverage under the law, but that 23 million people, including 5 million illegal immigrants, will still be uninsured in 2019.
Republicans said the report vindicated their concerns about the law, which was approved without a single Republican vote. The White House pointed to bright spots in the report and insisted that the law would help bring down costs. In 2004, when Mr. Foster raised questions about cost estimates by the Bush administration, Democrats lionized him as a paragon of integrity.
Mr. Foster says the law will save Medicare more than $500 billion in the coming decade and will postpone exhaustion of the Medicare trust fund by 12 years, so it would run out of money in 2029, rather than 2017. In addition, he said, the reduction in the growth of Medicare will lead to lower premiums and co-payments for Medicare beneficiaries.
But, Mr. Foster said, these savings assume that the law will be carried out as written, and that may be an unrealistic assumption. The cuts, he said, "could become unsustainable" because they may drive some hospitals and nursing homes into the red, "possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries."
Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, said that fear was unfounded. Mr. Foster's report, which analyzes the effect of the law on national health spending of all types, has a different focus from studies by the Congressional Budget Office, which concentrated on federal spending and revenues and concluded that the law would reduce budget deficits by a total of $143 billion over 10 years.
In his report, Mr. Foster made these points:
*The government will spend $828 billion to expand medical insurance coverage over the next 10 years. Expansion of Medicaid accounts for about half of the cost. The number of Medicaid recipients will increase by 20 million, to a total of 84 million in 2019.
*People who go without medical insurance and employers who do not provide coverage meeting federal standards will pay $120 billion in penalties from 2014 to 2019. Individuals will pay $33 billion of that amount, while employers pay $87 billion.
*The law will reduce consumers' out-of-pocket spending on health care by $237 billion over 10 years, to a total of $3.3 trillion.
Cuts in federal payments to private Medicare Advantage plans will "result in less generous benefit packages," the report said. By 2017, it
said, "enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans will be lower by about 50 percent, from its projected level of 14.8 million under the prior law to 7.4 million under the new law."
An Article From The New York Times.
Despite the beliefs of many that the new healthcare plan
is the demise of the healthcare system in this country, the existing system has been on a crash course for destruction for quite some time. If changes were not made, the year 2019 would see 30 percent more people without medical insurance
in 29 different states, and at least 10 percent more in all the other states. In 27 states, medical insurance premiums for businesses would have doubled. Fewer individuals would have had employer sponsored health insurance coverage. Everyone, from individuals to businesses, even states themselves, has felt the pressure of rising healthcare costs.
The new health insurance reform bill means significant change. Millions of people currently without coverage will be able to get medical insurance. Premiums and out-of pocket costs will be lower. The new system offers health insurance stability, so that regardless of whether you are unemployed, changing jobs or self-employed you will have access to health insurance that is high quality and cost-effective. And the hope is that new health insurance exchange market that is being devised will be competitive enough to keep the cost of coverage down.
Small Business Healthcare Reform Benefits
76% of businesses are actually small businesses. In 2008, only 42% of them offered medical insurance coverage. A small business tax credit being proposed would help to ensure that premiums are affordable. Employer responsibility provisions would also be eliminated.
Over the next few months and years congress will try and fill-in the gaps in the new healthcare reform bill and figure out how it will be paid for.
In the event of losing your job you maybe able to keep your last employers group medical insurance coverage. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) may make it possible for you to keep your employer-sponsored medical insurance coverage. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), as amended by the Temporary Extension Act of 2010 (TEA) on March 2, 2010, provides for premium reductions for medical insurance benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, or as we all know it, COBRA.
The premium assistance program is also available for continuation coverage under some State laws. Individuals that are eligible pay 35% of their COBRA premiums; the remaining 65% is recieved by the medical insurance coverage provider through tax credits. The medical insurance premium reduction applies to periods of medical insurance coverage that began on or after February 17, 2009 and lasts for up to 15 months.
To be eligible to receive the reduced premiums:
You MUST have an employer sponsored continuation insurance coverage election opportunity (qualifying event)* related to an involuntary termination of your employment that happened at some time between September 1, 2008 and March 31, 2010;
You MUST elect the continuation of coverage (within the time allowed);
You MUST NOT be eligible for Medicare; AND
You MUST NOT be eligible for medical insurance coverage under any other group health plan, such as a plan sponsored by a new employer or your spouse's employer.
For more information please visit:
Denied COBRA Premium Reduction
Medical Insurance coverage legislation enacted this year includes a Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to help small businesses and small tax-exempt organizations afford the cost of covering their workers.
Small businesses and tax-exempt organizations that provide health insurance coverage for employees may now qualify for a special tax credit, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IR-2010-38, April 1, 2010).
The maximum small business tax credits are:
- Eligible small businesses - The maximum credit is 35% of premiums paid in 2010
- Eligible tax-exempt organizations - The maximum is 25% of premiums paid.
These maximum credits are scheduled to increase in 2014
Eligible small businesses can claim the credit as part of the general business credit starting with the 2010 income tax return they file in 2011 (the IRS will provide information for tax exempt organizations later).
Click Here For Three Simple Steps for Employers to Qualify For
As a basic part of the new healthcare reform bill, every state is to establish a marketplace or health insurance exchange
for the purchasing of health insurance
. Those who do not have health insurance through their work would be able to get competitively priced coverage this way. Since most people would be required to purchase medical insurance
under the new bill, the exchanges would be very helpful.
There is also financial assistance that will be available for paying for health coverage through the health insurance exchanges. It will be specifically for lower and middle income earners who qualify.
Health Insurance exchanges have been devised to help promote market competition between health insurance companies. Even though there will still be some people ineligible to use these exchanges, many will benefit from the deals available there. While still in the planning stage, the idea is that smaller businesses and individuals will be able to band together in order to get "group" rates. Prices should rival those of big businesses.
When one looks back on a terminal illness, bitter lessons emerge. Along with the more than $600,000 price tag, come countless emotional costs stretched over a 7-year period. This is a real life glimpse inside the lives of those who endured that 7-year battle. To protect their privacy we have omitted their names.
Terence the 67-year-old well-educated Renaissance man ran up medical bills of $618,616 for the 7 years he spent fighting kidney cancer, but was lucky enough to have good medical insurance that took care of the vast majority of those bills. 66% of those costs accumulated in the last 2 years of his illness. In those 7 years, his daughter grew from a child to a young lady. His son graduated from high school and went to college. His family had the chance to take a dream trip to Italy. He beat the odds and survived much longer than many others who were faced with his diagnosis.
The cancer was discovered by accident when in 2000 when Terence was admitted to the hospital for unrelated stomach pain. He had surgery for colitis and returned home, but an attentive hospital employee reminded him and his wife that a shadow had been seen on his kidney during the initial ER tests and should be followed up on.
It was kidney cancer. The surgery to remove the affected kidney cost $25,000. The family's out of pocket amount was $210. The medical insurance company paid $14,084 after discounts. It turned out that that surgery represented only 4% of how much it would eventually cost to keep Terence alive. Upon biopsy, the cancer was deemed to be the most aggressive type and spelled death within months, if not years. The doctor recommended that they keep an eye on it. It did not progress. Terence got better.
Until in 2002, when Terence was told that he had 6 to 9 months to live because the cancer had spread to his lungs. He initially kept it a secret to protect his family. When his wife found out, it was because of a bad reaction to a drug he was taking to fight the lung cancer. That drug had a price tag of $735 per dose and a success rate of only 10%. He stopped taking it after a few weeks.
The quest for experimental drugs and procedures led the couple to a specialist who also recommended a wait and see approach. Luckily the cancer was slow growing. When it did start growing more rapidly in 2005, they got into drug tests that were promising. The drugs were free because of the clinical trial, but a billing error charged the couple's medical insurance over $8,000 for the drug during the clinical trial period.
In 2007, Terence took a turn for the worse again and restarted the same drug that had worked last time. However, it was no longer a trial, so the hospital billed the insurance company $27,360 per dose. The insurer paid $6,566.50. Terence paid nothing. However, the fact of the matter is that the healthy people pay for the sick ones when it comes to health insurance, therefore insurance continues to go up while those who are sick struggle with difficult decisions about treatment, regardless of cost.
When this drug failed to help as before, he was given a new one, costing $200 per day. This one failed too. Terence had a series of mini-strokes that put him back in the hospital. In his final 7 days of life, medical care totaled over $57,000. $43,711 was for the hospital care in the first 4 days of that week. $14,022 was for the final 3 days in hospice.
Sticker prices for the different services proved to be a starting price for bargaining. Some companies prove to be better than others at bargaining. The hospital sticker price for a chest scan was $3,232. United Healthcare paid 80% of that amount in 2006 or $2,586. In 2007, Empire BlueCross paid only 20% of that amount or $776. Even the total amount of Terence's medical care, which came to a sticker price of $618,616, was negotiated down to $254,176. Terence and his family paid $9,468 out of pocket, or 4% of the total.
The amount spent on healthcare for one dying man could have provided 250,000 children from a developing nation with vaccines. However, for people facing cancer and life threatening illnesses, they will do anything for more time. Terence survived 17 months following the clinical trial. He was the exception. Most averaged 14 months longer than anticipated.
When faced with these tough decisions, even knowing how much medical insurance cost, family members would do the same thing again. The cost of beating serious illness is nothing compared to the joy of having their loved one a little while longer.
It is our hope that in the years to come more families will have the security of a good medical insurance plan, so that they can devote their time to their sick loved ones.
On March 21st
, change came to healthcare in California
. Millions of Californians without health care coverage are on the verge of getting healthcare coverage very soon. Young people, retirees and small businesses are poised to benefit from changes that will take place as early as this year.
Medical Insurance companies can no longer cap lifetime limits. They cannot cancel coverage unless fraud has occurred. Children up to the age of 26 can remain on their parents' health plans. Those who have pre-existing health conditions can get their coverage through a pool which is federally subsidized. These changes will give those who have previously been unable to access health care to get what they need.
These Are Some Of The Changes That Will Occur In 2014
There are extensive changes set to occur in 2014. That is when all Americans are required to have Medical insurance. They will be able to buy policies using government subsidies and through specialized health insurance exchanges. States will also enlarge Medicaid.
California is probably the state that will benefit the most as it has the most uninsured residents of any state. A recently completed UCLA study showed that almost 25% of Californians under the age of 65 were uninsured for at least a portion of 2009. That translates to 8.2 million people, up 1.8 million over 2007. There are still some people in the state however, who will be unable to benefit from the new plan. Illegal immigrants and those who earn too much will be ineligible. A hefty 63% will benefit from the proposed changes.
There are some drawbacks to the new plan. A tanning tax of 10% if starting next year. Your pre-tax contributions that you can make for your flexible spending account will be lowered. The amount needed to claim medical expenses on your income tax return will rise in 2013.
One good thing is the set-up of a new high-risk insurance pool for people with pre-existing medical conditions. It will be in place within 3 months. The pool will give subsidized rates to those who have had no insurance for 6 months or more and have not yet had their medical problems diagnosed. The federal plan will surpass the existing state one easily. It is temporary and will end in 2014 when insurers have to accept all applicants.
Problems Seniors Face
Medicare plans, those intended for people over 65, will also change especially the prescription coverage. Seniors should expect to see big savings. The Part D of the plan has problems that need to be addressed. A $310 deductible for drugs applies, after which coverage for drugs runs up to $2380. In excess of that amount, there is a doughnut hole, after which they have to pay all their drug costs. When they reach $4550 out of pocket, Medicare kicks in again.
In California, 1.9 million seniors fall into this category. Such financial stress often leads to choices such as food or drugs. The new plan reduces out of pocket amounts and provides for a 50% discount on brand name drugs. The next bill, which needs Senate approval, would do away with the doughnut hole by 2020.
Another aspect of the new healthcare plan will appeal to the younger generation. Young adults up to age 26 will be able to remain on their parents' health insurance plan, if they do not have the option of employer-sponsored health coverage.
There is small business help available with the new plan. Tax credits will be allowed for employers who make a contribution up to 35% of employee premiums. This is for companies with less than 26 employees.
One plus that is voluntary but will probably not be adopted by California right away is the loosening of guidelines for Medicaid. This is the government-subsidized plan for low-income families and children, as well as those who are disabled. It could send as many as 1.6 million more people into the Medi-Cal system. The state's plan is already suffering and expects new cuts soon. Therefore people will need to wait until 2014 when that aspect is mandatory.
California is poised and ready for all the healthcare changes headed its way.
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