Here are all the articles I wrote during February, 2010. I hope they're useful to you.

February 25th, 2010

More Bang for Your Buck – Part 2

Hospital labs vs. Stand-alone Labs

Prices vary between a hospital laboratory and a stand-alone laboratory.   Hospitals tend to charge more for their services, while a stand-alone laboratory has less overhead costs and often charges less.   If your doctor refers you to a hospital, ask to be referred to a stand-alone laboratory.    You have the power… go ahead, ask!

Make sure the stand-alone lab is in your insurance company’s network.   To find out, call the lab and ask or go on-line to the insurance company’s website.

By using a lower-cost medical facility, you and the insurance company save money.  If we can all save money, maybe the insurance companies can avoid raising their rates so much.     That’s a good thing!   Be a smart money manager, fight for your money, spend wisely.

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February 24th, 2010

More Bang For Your Buck – ER vs. Urgent Care

Getting the right care you need is very important.    But making smarter choices can help stretch your health care dollars further and save you a significant amount of your out-of-pocket expenses.    There are a lot of myths out there about where to get the best care.

When you need health care right away, the emergency room may seem like a natural choice.   But what if it’s not a true emergency?    Did you know that you can still find quality care for a lot less money and spend less time waiting around?

Retail health clinics, walk-in doctor’s offices and urgent care centers can treat many of the same non-emergent health problems and injuries that an ER can.   For non-emergencies, these other treatment center options are half the cost of going to an ER.

By using a lower-cost medical facility, you and the insurance company save money.  If we can all save money, maybe the insurance companies can avoid raising their rates so much.     That’s a good thing!   Be a smart money manager, fight for your money, spend wisely.

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February 15th, 2010

More news for Anthem Blue Cross members

This past weekend Anthem BC announced that, due to public and political reactions, the anticipated 3/1/10 rate changes have been postponed for a couple of months, to 5/1/10.

Prior to an insurance carrier raising rates, CA State law says an insurer must prove that at least 70% of its income (your insurance premiums) is legitimately being spent on your medical expenses.   Once the insurance company files the actuarially prepared documents, and the data is approved by the State, then the company can raise its rates.    CA Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner’s office approved Anthem BC’s actuarial data in November, 2009.   But that wasn’t made public.

Now, Commissioner Poizner has appointed an outside insurance actuary to review Anthem BC’s data.   Needless to say, we all know that number crunching is an art not a science, right?   Numbers can be crunched to skew one way or the other, depending on who’s doing the crunching.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that the State-appointed actuary’s review will result in completely different findings than that previously provided by Anthem BC.

So, for at least the next couple of months while the State’s review is being conducted, there will be no rate increases from Anthem BC.   I’ll be very interested to see what they ultimately do.

And one more little tidbit of clarification… as seemingly outraged as the Obama administration and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius may be, remember that the Federal government has no jurisdiction over the states and how each state constructs and mandates its insurance laws.

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February 5th, 2010

News for Anthem Blue Cross members

If you have individual health insurance with Anthem Blue Cross of CA and are about to be hit with huge rate hikes, this news is for you.   Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner says his office is investigating… but is this a real investigation or is he politicizing the investigation to boost his run for Governor?…

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February 4th, 2010

Canada-Care’s Secret

You want medical care like Canada’s?   Are you sure?   Take a look … and now tell me, are you really sure?…

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February 3rd, 2010

1 in 10 Canadian Leaders Says YES To American Medicine

This little article from PublicPlanFacts made me chuckle.   Is it tongue-in-cheek?  I think not.…

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