About Louise Norris

Louise Norris has been writing about health insurance and healthcare reform since 2006. In addition to the Colorado Health Insurance Insider, she also writes for healthinsurance.org, medicareresources.org, Verywell, Spark by ADP, and Boost by ADP, and Gusto. Follow on twitter and facebook.

Eagle County Colorado Offering Same Sex Partner Benefits

Eagle County, in the Colorado mountains, will begin offering health insurance benefits to their employees’ same sex partners, provided the couple meets the same “common law” guidelines required for heterosexual couples to obtain benefits.  Same sex partner benefits are becoming more common among private companies, but Eagle County is the first public (ie, tax-payer funded) […]

A Healthy Employee Is a Good Employee

It seems that every day we hear more bad news about health, obesity, sedentary lifestyles, healthcare costs, and uninsured Americans.  I just read a great AP article about employers who are doing more than just talking about improving the health of their employees.  From loaning bikes to employees to making nutritious food more affordable in […]

The Healthcare Battleground

The rapidly rising cost of health care has taken a toll on the relationships between hospitals and insurers. The suspension of the agreement between HCA and United HealthCare in Denver garnered national attention this fall as the two health care big-dogs struggled to work out their differences. Rather than harmoniously working towards a common goal […]

Wasting Health Care Dollars

My best friend is an emergency room nurse at a large hospital in Denver, Colorado.  In the past two months, two of her friends have given birth.  One is a fellow nurse, and the other a dentist.  Both have a solid knowledge base in medicine, and had thoroughly researched pregnancy and childbirth.  Both women wrote […]

Guaranteed Issue Health Insurance

I just found a post on a financial blog, punny money, that is a review of a book dedicated to helping people lower their health care costs.  It sounds like a good book, with in-depth analysis of the financial ramifications of which health plan you choose and how you use it.  I had to laugh when […]

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Now Has Rating Areas

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado used to be the only company with one rate grid for the entire state of Colorado.  That’s not the case anymore now that they’ve released their rates for 2007.  Anthem’s number crunchers have come up with four sets of rates for Colorado, based on the cost of services, […]

Families Feeling the Squeeze

Current predictions are that health care costs could rise by at least 10% in 2007, further straining an already stretched market.  The part of the article that I found most interesting was that studies show that Americans spent about the same portion of their annual budget – 6% – on health care in 1960 that […]

Battling Prescription Drug Prices

Rising pharmaceutical costs has been an issue in healthcare for quite some time.  Television advertising for prescription drugs has resulted in more patients demanding that their doctors give them specific prescriptions, even if something else -or nothing at all – may work better.  This practice has been widely criticized, but is showing no signs of […]

Sending Healthcare Overseas

It probably won’t suprise anyone to learn that US businesses are looking into the possibility of sending employees overseas for medical treatments that tend to be costly at home. Afterall, US businesses have been outsourcing production and customer service overseas for years. So far, only a handful of employees have been sent overseas by their […]

Being Held Accountable

This is a follow up to our last post about how obesity has a huge impact on health care usage, and therefore contributes heavily to skyrocketing health insurance premiums.  Most Americans with health insurance get their coverage through their employers.  Group health insurance through an employer is required to cover all qualified employees, regardless of medical history.  […]

A Greener Earth, Fitter Employees and Lower Insurance Premiums

What if health insurance carriers teamed up with employers to improve employee health, lower the number of cars on the roads, and give employees a discount on their health insurance?  What would it take to get people to participate?  Here’s the idea:  Let’s say a company has 200 employees, and offers health insurance to them, […]

Tax-Deductible Gym Memberships

The Personal Health Investment Today Act of 2006 is currently under consideration in the House of Representatives.  Since we are big fans of maintaining health rather than trying to fix health problems after they develop, we think this bill would be a great addition to our myriad of tax laws.  Basically, it would allow Americans to […]

Moral Support for Those Battling Breast Cancer

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to spread the word about the Y-ME hotline (1-800-221-2141).  This is a grass roots support system, founded by Ann Marcou and Mimi Kaplan in 1978.  The Y-ME website explains more about their mission and how they provide support and encouragement to those fighting the battle with breast cancer.  […]

Free and Reduced-Price Prescription Drugs

With more and more Americans going uninsured, and health insurance policies excluding coverage for prescription drugs, people are finding themselves footing the entire bill at the pharmacy, or worst still – going without needed medications because of the cost.  Most people don’t know that pharmaceutical companies often have programs to provide medications free or at a reduced […]

Insurance Mergers and Network Shrinkage Hurts Consumers

I have a good friend who is seven months pregnant with her first child. Her employer-sponsored health insurance is with PacifiCare, which recently merged with United HealthCare. Ever since her first prenatal visit in April, she has been seeing a nurse-midwife and an OB/GYN with whom she feels very comfortable. She had planned to deliver […]

Funding Health Care with Tobacco Tax

The governor of Oregon has proposed an $0.85/pack tax increase on cigarettes with the expected $150 to $170 million in revenue being used to subsidize health care for children in Oregon.  I think this is a great idea, and one that could be implemented in every state to help with the health care crisis in […]

Inexpensive Birth Control

Several years ago, I was working for a large company, and health insurance was something that I just took for granted.  The only time I ever used it was to visit my gynecologist once a year, and to get my birth control prescription filled.  I think I paid $5 or $10/month for my Rx.  Once I […]

Can’t Afford Health Insurance? Don’t Eat Out.

I just read a news article about why people choose to eat out several times a week instead of cooking at home.  I couldn’t help but notice the $30 tab that the article cited as the amount it would cost to cook a meal at home for TWO people.  Is this a special-occasion meal, or do […]

Uninsured American Children

There are currently 9 million uninsured children in the US.  Census data shows that 70% of those children live in a home where at least one parent works full-time.   The same data indicates that about two thirds of these children would qualify for government-sponsored health insurance if the parents were to apply for it.  Uninsured people are […]

Financial Incentives For Good Health

I have a friend who is a physician’s assistant, and spent some time working for a city wellness program.  The plan was set up to help city employees improve their overall health, and in the process, get a discount on the health insurance premiums that were deducted from their paychecks.  I think this could be […]

Wal-Mart Health Insurance Not That Bad

Let me preface this post by saying that I am usually not too impressed with Wal-Mart. I think that their lowest-price-at-any-cost strategy is not the best long-range plan in terms of caring for our Earth and its inhabitants. The Wal-Mart news of the day is about their new super-low priced generic drug program. The news […]

Sending the Wrong Message To Our Kids About Health Insurance

Recently, several states have passed laws increasing the age that children can stay on their parents’ health insurance policy.  The reasoning behind the change is sound: these days, it’s not as easy to get a job with health benefits as it used to be, since fewer employers offer coverage to employees.  So allowing young adults to remain on […]

Preventative Care on Individual Health Insurance

We’ve all heard the adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, yet it often seems that most people ignore this advice.  Otherwise people would not be dying from smoking-related cancers and the plethora of illnesses caused by obesity.  It’s easy to say that these are personal problems and that people […]

Ultrasounds and pregnancy… too much of a good thing?

There is no doubt that over the last few generations, vast amounts of research has been done in the area of obstetrics; modern medicine seems to be able to work miracles when it comes to the care and safety of high-risk mothers and babies, both during and after pregnancy. Babies born 3 months early have […]

Health Insurance – Another Reason to Quit Smoking

In case you needed another reason to ditch your ashtray… Did you know that smokers pay more for their health insurance than non-smokers, if they have to get an individual/family policy? If you’re currently covered on a group plan through your employer, you may not have given this much thought over the years. But what […]