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

July 26th, 2010

Unintended Consequences

So you thought the new Health Care Reform law was on your side, didn’t you?  Ha.  Not so much.   There is nothing in the new law that will stop these unintended (but predictable) consequences.

A provision of the new “stealth” care reform law says that insurance companies must issue health insurance to children, regardless of their health status or history.  In other words, guaranteed health insurance for children up to age 19, no matter what.

Fooled you!!  Guess what?   The new rules are leading health plans in some states to stop issuing new child-only coverage.   Which means that families are going to have to include their high-risk child on a pricey family plan.   In the past they could have saved money by buying separate policies for themselves and their children.

Florida and Oklahoma, come to the front of the class to get your wrists slapped!   Go sit in the corner.

Some families may wind up paying higher premiums because of the requirement in the new law that plans cover sick children.   The rule barring insurance plans from turning away sick children or denying coverage for specific illnesses for children who are already covered was one of the most popular parts of the new law.

The Insurance Mom recommends that if you have a high-risk child, get that health insurance in place fast before the insurance companies in your state play follow-the-leader with Florida and Oklahoma.

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July 22nd, 2010

Be Pro-Active and Preventive

The Insurance Mom wants you to stay pro-active about your preventive care (aka annual check-ups).    Besides keeping some yummy chicken soup handy, having annual check-ups will keep you well-informed about your lifestyle and future health care choices.

Something sort of good has actually been included in the federal government’s “stealth” care reform bill.    As of September 23, 2010, insurance companies must include annual preventive care benefits in all of their insurance plans.   And, these wellness services must be at no cost to you.   No co-pays, no deductibles.

But, these new benefits will not include every test in the book that your doctor wants to run.    The services that are included are defined by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American College of International Physician recommended vaccinations, and Health Resources and Services Administration recommended screenings and preventive care for infants, children and adolescents.   For more information take a look at the government’s new website.

Some insurance plans already include full annual preventive care benefits, and those will not change.   These new preventive care benefits will be added to existing plans that do not meet the new federal guidelines.

The Insurance Mom has a question.    How do you think your rates are going to be affected when the insurance companies have to start paying for all of these new and improved benefits?    Hmmmm?

Better keep that chicken soup handy!

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July 19th, 2010

Uninsured? Uninsurable?

In March of 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act—the new health law.  The law creates a new program – the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan — to make health coverage available to you if you have been denied health insurance by private insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition.

A couple of weeks ago, the government launched its health insurance website.     Click on the “Understand The New Law” tab to find information about plans and costs which might be available in your state.

If you’ve had no health insurance for at least 6 months, have been declined for health insurance and have a letter from an insurance company to prove it, you may be eligible for the government-run high risk health “insurance.”

However, 29 states, including California, have opted out of the federal government program.   Instead, by September 23rd, California, and other states, will launch their updated Major Risk Plans with new federally mandated benefits and rates.

These high risk plans — both federal and state — will provide coverage through 2014 when all insurance companies in the country will be mandated to offer health insurance to everyone, regardless of your health status.

BUT… between now and 2014, watch out!  If you already have private health insurance, I predict that rates are going to skyrocket.   The insurance companies are going to have to fill the coffers and gird their loins in preparation for 2014, when the bulk of the “stealth” care reform goes into effect.    If insurance companies are forced to sell to everyone, then everyone must buy.  It’s the only way the system can work.

And if you think that buying health insurance through the government’s Exchange network is going to be fun, then think again.  There will be no one to look out …

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