Short term health insurance is your best option if you missed open enrollment

Short term health insurance plans don’t have an open enrollment period Short term health insurance plans may be the best option if you missed open enrollment and you don’t have a qualifying event. Get short term health insurance quotes Qualifying events include marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, moving to a new area where different plans are […]

How Individual Health Insurance Measures Up

[…] So although it’s true that out-of-pocket costs are higher in the individual market (likely due in large part to people opting for policies that are less expensive), if we combine the premiums and the out-of-pocket costs, the total expenses are lower in the individual market ($8,821 in the individual market versus $15,158 in the group market, using Colorado private sector family premiums for the group data). To ignore cost when comparing the policies is to leave out a large piece of the equation.

The Commonwealth Fund study mentions maternity coverage as an example of a benefit that is often not included on individual policies, thus earning them a “tin” rating. In Colorado, maternity is now included on all policies that have been issued or renewed since January 2011 (the data for the study was collected in 2010). But in many states, maternity coverage in the individual market is rare and/or quite expensive as an optional rider. This will change in 2014, and based on our observations of the Colorado individual market over the past year and a half, I would say that the change will be a positive one. But given the fact that so many individual policies did not include maternity coverage in 2010, I’m curious as to what percentage of individual health insurance plans would have earned at least a “bronze” ranking if maternity had been excluded from the data. If we don’t count maternity, how do individual health insurance plans measure up? Most individual plans (assuming they aren’t mini-meds or some sort of limited benefit coverage) in Colorado in 2010 covered complications of pregnancy and charges incurred by a newborn (eg, a premature baby who is in NICU for weeks). But routine maternity care was included on very few individual plans in Colorado prior to 2011. Given that fact, and the fact that all new individual plans in Colorado now have maternity coverage, I’d be curious to see how individual and group plans compare in 2012.

Overall, I think that The Commonwealth Fund study is a good one. It highlights the out-of-pocket exposure that people have in the individual market, and it’s true that the average plan in the individual market has higher out-of-pocket exposure than the average plan in the group market. But to make the comparison without also looking at the premium costs in each market seems a bit disingenuous. If individual health insurance were two to three times as expensive as it is now, it could cover more costs for members with less cost-sharing. But that doesn’t seem like a good solution either.

Anthem Introduces New Accident And Critical Illness Benefits In Colorado

[…] For individuals and families who are healthy and rarely need their health insurance benefits, an accident may be their primary concern. Obviously we’re all susceptible to illness aswell, but accidents have a more “out of the blue” quality to them, and can happen to even the healthiest of people. We’ve never needed our health insurance due to illness, but we’ve had a few injuries over the years that have been pretty costly. Stitches and x-rays on our son’s finger alone came to $1,400. The charges can add up quickly when you’re in an emergency room, and if you have a high deductible health insurance policy, you’d be responsible for the entire bill for an incident like that. An accident supplement that will cover all or a portion of the deductible can help people feel more at ease with a high deductible (ie, less expensive) health insurance policy.

The accident supplement portion of Balance will coordinate with your health insurance, so it will pay you either your out-of-pocket amount or the Balance benefit maximum, which ever is lower. For example, if your out-of-pocket expenses for an accident – after health insurance has paid its portion – come to $1750 and you have the $2500 benefit Balance plan, you’ll get $1750 in supplemental coverage. But if your out-of-pocket expenses come to $4500, you’ll get the full $2500. The critical illness benefit is a lump-sum payment, but the amount paid depends on the specific diagnosis.

With the introduction of Balance, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has added another solid plan to the options available for individuals and families in Colorado who are looking for an accident and critical illness supplement to go along with their health insurance policy.

A Look At Canadian And US “Mini-Med” Health And Dental Insurance

[…] Glenn notes that although most people there have provincial health insurance policies, they often get additional coverage from their employers for things like prescriptions and dental care. And he points out that all too often, people think that they’re “covered” just because they have a health insurance card in their hands – even though the coverage might have very low annual limits. Of course that only becomes a problem when you have a catastrophic claim, which is of course when you need your health insurance the most.

Although the ACA has nixxed lifetime benefit maximums on health insurance policies here in the US, significantly increased annual maximum thresholds, and designated several categories of “essential benefits” that must be covered at specified levels, HHS has granted plenty of waivers for employers who are offering “mini-med” policies to their workers. These policies are far from being a safety net in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury, and often only cover a few thousand dollars in benefits per year. They remind me a lot of the type of policies Glenn is describing. […]

Health Wonk Review And A Thoughtful Look At Life Expectancy

[…] Lastly, Roy’s article points out that there isn’t just one “US healthcare system”. Rather, we have Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance, and millions of people with no health insurance at all. Lumping everyone into one group when it comes to life expectancy doesn’t really tell us how our health insurance funded-healthcare systems are functioning, since there are so many people with sub-par health insurance or no insurance at all. It stands to reason that if we can get everyone covered by health insurance and secure realistic access to healthcare for the whole population, our life expectancy should increase. But that might be simply because of an increased life expectancy for the portion of the population that is currently under-insured or uninsured. It could be that the population that is currently covered by high quality health insurance would continue to have the same life expectancy, which is likely quite a bit higher than the population that is under-insured or uninsured.

IMG Europe Wins Award

IMG Europe just won Best International PMI Provider at the Health Insurance Awards 2010. IMG Europe is a subsidiary of International Medical Group Inc. – one of the most popular travel insurance benefits providers […]

Expanding Access To Health Insurance For People With Disabilities

[…] Will guaranteed issue health insurance – and subsidies to help pay for it – starting in 2014 also help to decrease the number of people receiving SSDI? If people had a way to obtain affordable health insurance without having to qualify as disabled, it stands to reason that there would be more incentive for people to return to work after a serious illness or injury.

The Value We Get From Our Healthcare Dollars

[…] Perhaps the question we should be asking is not who should be paying for healthcare, but rather, why in the world are we paying so much in the first place? Health insurance premiums will continue to rise as long as health care costs do the same. It won’t do any good to try to address premiums without first figuring out why we’re paying so much for our health care in the first place, and doing something about it.

Why Mandatory Health Insurance Makes Sense

[…] no matter how careful we are, we never really know what is around the bend when it comes to our health. Accidents can happen to even the healthiest people. Freak illnesses can strike otherwise healthy people. And when these situations arise for people who are uninsured, the cost is eventually borne by those who have health insurance.

Profitability And The Health Insurance Industry

[…] The industry as a whole chalked up a profit margin of more than 10% in 2007, but that was carried by the life insurance side of the industry. Health insurance companies don’t fare nearly as well when it comes to making profits. Far more of their revenues are eaten up by claims, which continue to grow year after year as health care costs increase.

Past Averages Do Not Predict the Future

I just read a blog post by Dani at Living Behind the Curve. She writes about her thoughts on going without health insurance in order to work part-time. Initially, she goes looking for individual health insurance, but talks herself out of it for several reasons. The policy has a $5000 deductible, and Dani calculates that […]

Cavalcade of Risk #26

Everything you do in your life involves some risk. Every decision you make has consequences and the best way to manage the everyday risks is to stay informed. So I present the 26’th Cavalcade of Risk. You won’t find a better source of information about risk anywhere on the internets. I think the most interesting […]

Misperception of a Free Market

Proponents of private health care make it sound really simple to the average person. I always hear the statement “A free market system will ensure the best price and service”. While that may be true with most other industries, that argument over simplifies what healthcare is and misses the point. I’ll show you what I […]

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 […]

How to Get Health Insurance for Jackasses

Jackass: Number Two hits theaters tonight and the first thing I think of when I watch that movie is “I hope they have good health insurance”. Johnny Knoxville said he was sure they were going to die while filming the Jackass sequel, so they asked studio execs to shell out $7 million in insurance coverage […]

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 […]