Tonik Rate Increase for Colorado Effective February 1, 2007

In 2005, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado launched Tonik, three simple, affordable and comprehensive individual PPO plans with a quick online application designed specifically for uninsured 20-somethings. So far, Tonik has done very well – in fact, 60 percent of Tonik applicants were previously uninsured, and 75 percent of Tonik applicants are […]

SEC Probes United Healthcare

I don’t think anybody will be surprised by the news that the SEC is looking into United Healthcare after their ex-CEO William McGuire’s stock option mess. McGuire was appointed president and CEO of what was then United Healthcare Corp. in 1989, then named chairman and CEO in 1991. Acquisitions he engineered helped United Healthcare rise […]

Putting the Uninsured Numbers in Perspective

DavidHunnicutt.com just wrote an article putting the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation study on the uninsured in the U.S. in perspective. 46,100,000 out of 300,000,000 people in this country are without health insurance. Leaving 15% of the population, or 1 in 6, uninsured. If you factor out the number of Americans over age 65, the […]

President Signs HSA Bill – What Do You Think?

President Bush signed the Health Opportunity Empowerment Act of 2006 yesterday, enhancing possible tax relief to those with an HSA.  According to Treasury Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Eric Solomon, the new bill “makes it easier for participants to put money aside for their personal health care”.  What do you think? “As soon as I’m able […]

President Bush Signs HSA Bill

President George W. Bush signed the Health Opportunity Patient Empowerment Act of 2006 today, enhancing Americans’ access to tax- advantaged health care savings. The law, part of the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, provides new opportunities for health savings account (HSA) participants’ to build their funds. “Health savings accounts are improving the […]

Specialty Drugs Boost Health Insurance Premiums in Colorado

Health insurance premiums in Colorado and the rest of the country are expected to increase by at least 10% in 2007, driven mainly by the cost of expensive specialty drugs. An article I just read from the Associated Press (published by the Insurance Journal) said that specialty drugs accounted for 19 %, or about $40 billion worth of pharmaceutical […]

Universal Private Health Insurance for All

In a previous article on the Colorado Health Insurance Insider, we were excited about Gov.-elect Bill Ritter’s promise to provide health insurance to the 760,000 residents of Colorado that are uninsured, but skeptical of universal health insurance plans recently enacted in other states. However, I’ve since reviewed a new plan by Senator Ron Wyden (D OR) […]

Health Wonk Review #22

You’ll find the latest edition of the Health Wonk Review over at the MSSP Nexus blog.  The Colorado Health Insurance Insider gets mentioned with Louise’s opinion of what needs to be done to fix the health care crisis in this country.  You’ll also find an article by InsureBlog, which comments on what a county in California is actually […]

What Needs To Be Done

There is a crisis in the American health care system.  The government got very excited about health savings accounts a couple years ago, but HSAs have not fixed anything.  There are 41 million uninsured people in this country – and that doesn’t count everyone who’s already on government-sponsored Medicare and Medicaid.  It is not uncommon […]

Get Your Grand Rounds at Treatmentonline

Grand Rounds Vol. 3, No. 12 is up at treatmentonline.com.  Jon must have spent several hours putting together a detailed explanation of each article, and there are a lot of them.  The only health insurance related article is by Bob at InsureBlog with a critique of the universal health care idea. The critique is mainly based […]

Alternatives to Prescriptions for Common Ailments

I recently read two articles touting alternatives to prescriptions for very common medical scenarios.  The first was about treating depression, the second was about treating ear infections in children.  Antidepressants and antibiotics for ear infections are very close to the top of the list of most frequently mentioned prescriptions when we ask Colorado health insurance clients about their […]

Big News for HSAs

Over the weekend, Congress passed huge new changes in HSA Legislation, it only needs the President’s signature to become law. With an effective date of 2007 for the law, we wanted to make Colorado Health Insurance Insider readers aware of the possible changes. All of the legislation is an improvement for HSAs and includes the following. Full HSA Deduction. The new […]

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) […]

Anthem Blue Cross of Colorado Small Group Health Insurance News

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance recently announced the expansion of their HMOSelect network in Colorado to Elbert, El Paso and Teller counties effective November 1, 2006. What this means For cost-conscious Small Group employers, there’s bound to be an HMOSelect plan that fits their unique needs. These employers can make the most […]

Health Insurance For All Colorado Citizens by 2010

America’s health system is breaking down and health costs are increasing more than five times the earnings increase for Colorado workers.  HSAs were introduced in 2004 as a way to cut down on over-utilization, but they aren’t gaining wide acceptance, they don’t really help the problem anyway, and they won’t work.  But there is a more progressive […]

Mullets, Cotton Candy, and Ringtoss…

Yup, it’s carnival time! Yesterday, Emily of The Antidote hosted a very well written Grand Rounds.  She included Louise’s article “Wasting Health Care Dollars”.  She comments… Colorado Health Insurance Insider bemoans the waste of money from “routine” childbirth procedures like episiotomy (no longer recommended as a routine procedure, by the way) and unindicated cesarean sections. […]

Don’t Confuse Generic with Brand Name

Since Wal-Mart rolled out their $4 generic prescription program in Colorado, I’ve talked to several people who said they don’t need a policy with prescription coverage “because Wal-Mart has $4 prescriptions now“. The $4 prescriptions at Wal-Mart were such big news, I don’t think the message got through in the media that generics weren’t that expensive […]

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 […]

How Do You Like Your HSA?

I haven’t actually kept any statistics, but a lot (maybe half) of our Colorado health insurance clients that I talk to with HSA qualified high deductible health insurance plans haven’t opened up a health savings account to go with it.  They usually say they got the plan because it was just one of the cheapest […]

HSAs Wont Cleanup the Waste

After writing about how health insurance invites waste, I came upon an article Ezra Klein wrote about the fact that even HSAs won’t help slow that waste. He makes a good point because the total exposures are usually the same. But once the out-of-pocket maximum is met, there is nothing to slow the wasteful spending […]

For Health Wonks Only

Michael Cannon has put together a great Health Wonk Review over on Cato at liberty.  He does a great job commenting and describing each post so you’ll have an easy time deciding which articles suit your interest.

Health Insurance Invites Waste

What if you had supermarket insurance and 20% was the most you would pay for any item you bought?  Would you be as choosy about what you buy as you are now?  Would you care as much about price?  If you didn’t care as much about price, would the supermarket have an incentive to keep […]

How To Save on Health Insurance in Colorado

1. Get quotes from multiple Colorado health insurance companies Premiums for health insurance in Colorado can vary greatly, sometimes as much as 50% for similar plans. When comparing plans, be sure to look at the benefits as well as the monthly premium. Make sure your plan provides adequate catastrophic coverage, preferably at least two million […]

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 […]