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Where is C-SPAN? January 11, 2010

Posted by Admin in Diary, Health Quote of the Week, Healthonymous.
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You’ve see the clips by now-about President Candidate Obama telling everyone that the health bill negotiations would be conducted live, on C-SPAN. And C-SPAN wrote Senator Harry Reid a letter about that.

Nothing on C-SPAN. Right now they are showing former Rep. Mickey Edwards-I mean really! I guess the negotiations are going on behind closed doors and in closets.

But there is almost no discussion in the other media (radio, print) about the negotiations and I don’t think that is a good thing. The public has been removed from the  issue. Apparently, the President took time away from his People magazine interview to remind us that many good things would go into effect right away. When is right away? First it was August, then October, then before the holiday recess, then before the State of the Union.

I’d like to see the President be a tad more visible on this issue and use his capital on what was one of Candidate Obama’s signature issues to make things happen. Wait, the print media is weighing in. This just posted by the San Jose Mercury News.

Even Governor Schwarzenegger got in a great quip last Wednesday at the Democrat’s expense-or maybe it was just anti-Nebraska. A little statist rivalry? The Governator said about the Cornhusker state Senator Nelson-

He got the corn-we got the husk!

Senator Reid, let C-SPAN show us the corn!

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Mental Health Coverage-Parity and Annual Maximums November 11, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous, Money.
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A friend of mine will be released from the hospital soon. This friend has been there for just over two weeks. The insurance coverage ran out on the 6th day. When my friend goes home, they will not be able to return to work full time-at least right away and there will be huge out-of-pocket expenses. The reason the insurance ran out is because the stay was for in-patient mental health treatment, which has an annual cap. The annual coverage maximum was reached on the sixth day, but my friend was not medically ready to be discharged on that day.

So they are facing at least 8 days of bills for treatment, plus the opportunity cost of lost wages, during the treatment and after being discharged. I’m guessing $1000 per day. The bill is in $25,000 for 8 days!

To my friend’s credit and also  the medical staff’s, the stay did not end when the insurance coverage ran out. My friend is struggling and checking into the inpatient facility was actually the healthy thing to do in this case.

I don’t know the specifics for this particular insurance policy, but an important issue in mental health coverage is parity. Parity means the same level of coverage for mental health as there is for medical surgical procedures and illnesses. There is existing legislation about this issue in the US. But beware if you work for a “small business”. See below-

The Dept of Labor Fact Sheet describes the legislation this way:

The Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA), signed into law on September 26, 1996, requires that annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health benefits be no lower than any such dollar limits for medical and surgical benefits offered by a group health plan or health insurance issuer offering coverage in connection with a group health plan. MHPA applies to group health plans for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 1998.

Naturally, there are some exceptions:

MHPA applies to most group health plans with more than 50 workers. According to Federal Standards, MHPA does NOT apply to group health plans sponsored by employers with fewer than 51 workers. Source

To learn more about laws in the 50 states, visit the web page for the National Council of State Legislatures site here.

My friend’s next challenge will be  (more…)

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