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ACA (Obamacare) Sticker Shock: Fact or Fiction? October 27, 2013

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous, Money.
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The skyline of Seattle, Washington at dusk. In...

The skyline of Seattle, Washington at dusk. Interstate 5 is the freeway that cuts through downtown and Puget Sound is visible to the left. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Please ask your friends and family a few questions if they are claiming sticker shock. It is possible that they did not collect all the information that was relevant to potential coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

( Don’t you wish we had lots of media video asking politicians why they are against “Affordable Health Care”?)

I found this valuable link from Consumer Reports via a notice from Group Health Cooperative in Seattle. (offering nationally known health care and coverage – Full disclosure-I am a member of ghc.org)

Three scenarios are asked and answered in this column. Check it out; then tell Full Coverage about your experience below.

 

Employee costs up; Employer rate increase less in 2013 October 17, 2013

Posted by Admin in Healthonymous, Money.
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The good news is that employer rate increases for large group plans increased by only 3.3% for 2013. The 2012 rate increase was 4.9% and 8.5% in 2011.

The bad news is that the employee share of costs have increased from $2,011 in 2004 to an expected $4, 969 in 2014, according to AON Hewitt.  Remember, while expensive, an employer’s cost-share of health coverage costs is tax-deductible, while not usually to individuals and families. (Want to know more about why our health care is tied to employment?)

AON Hewitt released its’ annual analysis of health coverage costs on October 17, 2013.

President Barack Obama listens to Safeway Pres...

President Barack Obama listens to Safeway President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Burd during a meeting with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to discuss employer health care costs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The US Chamber of Commerce Said What? October 7, 2013

Posted by Admin in Health Quote of the Week, Healthonymous, Money.
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In this article, the Chamber of Commerce is siding with the President! That doesn’t happen very often, but has happened before with this President.

The letter circulated by the Chamber of Commerce urges lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling “in a timely manner and remove any threat to the full faith and credit of the United States government.”

No mention of the Affordable Care Act in this letter whatsoever.

 

The ACA: Bad for American Business? October 4, 2013

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Wall_Street_-_New_York_Stock_Exchange

There are allegations that the Affordable Care Act is bad for American businesses. The key questions are  more nuanced – which ones and when?  The ACA will prove to be disruptive, says  former insurance executive Wendell Potter.  But the last 4 years have been good for people holding insurance stocks on their retirement plans and mutual funds. According to a report shared across the country by the AP, 5 major health insurance companies have benefitted greatly since the recession and with the prospect of millions of new customers. For example:

The good news: CIGNA stock up 477% since 3/9/2009 (as reported by the AP-not a solicitation to buy or sell shares). For comparison, the Standard and Poor’s 500 index was up 151% in the same time period.

The bad news: According to Wendell Potter (formerly of CIGNA), this may not continue as the exchanges alter the traditional insurance marketplace.

English: Wendell Potter in 2010

English: Wendell Potter in 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And what if the American public benefits as a whole because of fewer ER room visits, with more people insured and using preventive care?

20 Things to Know about the ACA (Obamacare) September 23, 2013

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A special section was published in The Seattle Times on September 22nd and has valuable information for Washingtonians and others.

One valuable section of the ACA allows for subsidies:

If you make up to $45,950 ($94,200 for a family of four) you may get a subsidy that will decrease your premiums.

Some of us will just be happy to save a few bucks per month to apply to our increased deductibles. I’m not blaming the ACA for that-your $250 deductible (as recently as 5 years ago) seems to be gone forever.

However, people who earn less than an adjusted gross income of $45,950 per year may very well immediately reallocate any savings  to other parts of their budget. Deductibles, groceries, retirement savings.  This could be good for our collective economy.
Here is one link to a subsidy calculator that anyone from across the country can use.

If you receive a subsidy how will you use the money you save? Tell us in the comments.

 

Post-COBRA Coverage Choices: What Next? April 24, 2012

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Healthonymous, Money.
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18 months is a long time-until the end is near. My employer-provided COBRA coverage April 30th, 2012.  I have appreciated the coverage very much, and it seems to be a relic from another time.

The main concern I used to have was how to maximize my choices in the individual insurance coverage market. Now, I am resigned to the bad choices, at least until the Supreme Court rules in June 2012. [Then it might get worse]

U.S. Supreme Court, 1998.

U.S. Supreme Court, 1998. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my state there are fewer than 5 companies that offer individual coverage in my town. Not much competition there.

  • Deductibles: Used to a $250-$500 annual deductible? Kiss that one goodbye. The lowest annual deductible is $750, and that will be going up this summer to $1000. I contacted the state Insurance Commissioner and that apparently is perfectly legal. The annual deductibles go up to $10,000.
  • Monthly premiums: these range from $170 to more than $500 per month for one person. I know many people out there have more people to cover. How many folks do you know that didn’t even take COBRA, due to the cost?
  • Co-insurance or cost-share: Used to an 8o%-20% plan where you are responsible for 20% of the covered amount? Well, that is increasingly difficult to secure as well. I’ve even seen 50/50 plans. That means the insurance covers 50% of some amount and you pay the other 50%. That is after your monthly premium. Then you have to go through the calculation of whether it applies to your deductible or not.

For example, I learned yesterday that the plan I may select would cover an MRI like this: (as a cancer survivor I have had several of these in my life)

  1. Monthly premium $442
  2. Current deductible $750, in July increases to $1000
  3. Cost of MRI: about $2000
  4. Coverage pays the first $400 only
  5. The rest of the $2000 ($1600) charge would first go to my deductible of $750 if I need the MRI in the next two months.
  6. Out of pocket so far in one month $442+$750, then $850 remains. I pay 20% of that $850-$170.
  7. Total out-of-pocket that month = $1362

Whoa-Stay healthy for the rest of that month! Survive on reduced grocery budget! Other choice: go without coverage like many other Americans!

Health uninsurance rates in the United States ...


When Employment Ends, the Appointments Begin October 11, 2010

Posted by Admin in Blog Math, Healthonymous, Money, Women.
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Since I learned that my employment would end soon, I have scheduled the following:

  1. Overnight Sleep Study (for sleep apnea)
  2. Regular Physical (mammogram, cholesterol, Pap)
  3. 2010 3 in 1 Flu Shot (no shortage this year)
  4. Visit to the Optician
  5. 2 Massages for October (lymphedema)
  6. Cancer study appts: ultrasound, plus CA 125 blood test

Here’s how it is going:

Sleep-see separate post today…

Flu shot: easy-peasy and no side effects.

Cholesterol test. Each one of these begins with a great phlebotomist. How easy is it to voluntarily submit to a blood draw, while hungry and uncaffeinated? These phlebotomists should get combat pay!

(my secret-a number 23 needle)

Results-could be better. Fewer carbs?

Mammogram: Normal (what is normal, anyway?)

Pap test. (TBD-a couple of weeks). Good news for women! New policy. If one year is clear, then you might get a three year pass until the next one! (in my home town, at least)

Note: Each appt. cost includes parking, time away from work (whoops not any more), opportunity cost then, and a $20 co-pay (except for an appt. labelled annual physical exam), in the name of prevention. No co-pay at the optician and the parking there is free.

Cost for last week: $6.00 (parking)

Week before (sleep study) $14.00 parking plus TBD

Two days before sleep study: $4.00 parking for consultation that led to sleep study

(was physician maximizing his/her revenue for September?) hmmmm.

What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You…Will It? October 11, 2010

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In late September, I consulted a sleep doctor. It’s a newer specialty, which evolved out of pulmonology and internal medicine. Newer meaning late 20th century. I have some level of sleep apnea and was  interested [finally] in learning how I sleep. (Someone told me that I was ceasing to breathe, waking up and then breathing again).  Or not sleep. To sleep or not to sleep? Mine is probably more like:

To snore, or to snore some more?

This week, I will learn more about my sleep and the connection to my eating habits, how much I weigh and my age.

The not knowing part, (bet you thought it was the condition, didn’t you?) is that I don’t know how much it cost me to spend the night in the hospital and

  • be observed by a technician (caseload-two patients) for eight hours. I asked if they called my insurance company and trusted that it was
  • pre-authorized.
  • I wonder what the 20% cost-share will be;
  • if I will max out for the year;
  • if it was a 4 figure number; and
  • if it was deemed “medically necessary”.

I will let you know. Please don’t wait nine months, as I did,to investigate this potentially hazardous condition of sleep apnea.

HR 4872 Signed Into Law This Week April 3, 2010

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous, Money.
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[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=president+signs+health+care+bill&iid=8378233″ src=”e/3/f/b/Obama_signs_Health_ef8a.JPG?adImageId=12063901&imageId=8378233″ width=”380″ height=”521″ /]

Want more factual information about this bill? Check out this link, to see the entire bill history, the committees that worked on it, the CBO cost projections, etc. This website is a service of the Library of Congress called Thomas-in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson.

Random comments from the House floor [earlier] March 21, 2010

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“I am a physician and I’ve never operated on a Democratic or a Republican cancer in my life.” Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)

Rep. Cantor (R-VA) “We feel this government must stop spending money it doesn’t have”. “We want to doctors to continue to provide the best health care in the world.” What he left out: [ only to rich people]

“Health Care is a very personal issue”

What he left out: [except if you are poor or need to terminate an unwanted pregnancy”.]

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) “Today I will vote to extend health care to those with pre-existing conditions”.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, (D-CT) “This will be the most historic vote we ever take. Remember that Social Security and Medicare were also considered “socialist” undertakings.”

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