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

September 27th, 2010

Can I Exchange This?

If you’re in California, then please sit up and pay attention ’cause this one’s for YOU!

The new federal “stealth” care reform laws specify that by 1/1/14, health insurance “exchanges” in every state must be implemented.  The exchanges will allegedly be designed as a health insurance online mall, giving consumers better tools to compare and buy individual health insurance plans.

In California, there are currently 2 bills pending in Sacramento — AB1602 and AB 900 — which will establish the CA Exchange NOW!    These 2 bills are being rushed through the legislature.   Isn’t that a good thing, you may ask.    No!  The Insurance Mom believes these 2 bills must be vetoed by The Governator.  Here’s why and what you can do to help:

The Insurance Mom wants you to send a fax to the Governor’s office @ 916-558-3160 TODAY.  Tell him you do NOT want more of your money spent without your permission!   Say ‘NO’ to AB1602 and AB900.

AB1602 and AB900 WILL HARM Health Care AND California’s ballooning Budget Deficit.  Tell the Governor that you know the Exchanges don’t have to be operational until 1/1/14.  Ask why the CA legislature is rushing these 2 badly written bills through the process and why they aren’t taking their time to do it right!

In this era of public employee pension spiking and salary scandals – like what we’ve seen in the City of Bell – the last thing California needs is another government agency with the power to tax and spend without oversight.

The Health Benefits Exchange will be a huge state bureaucracy – The Exchange Board –  with broad, enormous  authority and no oversight or accountability.

If signed, these bills could lead to increased costs for millions of Californians seeking health insurance and unnecessary costs to the state.

The bills …

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September 24th, 2010

I’m Here and I’m Yours! At Least For Now

Some politicians would like to drive health insurance brokers out of business and replace them with distant government bureaucrats or, even worse, off shore customer (dis)service reps.   These critics claim that removing agents from the plan-choosing process would trim the administrative costs of insurance without significantly impacting ordinary consumers.   They’re wrong, wrong, wrong!

Although there is great deal of support from both sides of the aisle, it would help to have some more solid evidence that agents and brokers do more than just help with the initial sale.  (You do like what I do for you, don’t you?) Legislators want proof that what they’re doing is right.   Washington needs some real stories, and they need them NOW.   If you can tell your own story, that’s great.  Please tell me how having a health insurance broker on your side has positively impacted your life.  (Of course, if you want to mention The Insurance Mom specifically, that’s great, but it’s not necessary.)

E-mail your comments to Alison@TheInsuranceMom.com and I’ll forward your personal story to those in Washington who need to know!

And here’s a BIG hug from your own personal Insurance Mom! (((((((….))))))

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September 23rd, 2010

Today’s The Day in Health Care Reform

“They” say that today, September 23, 2010, is a milestone in health care reform, or as I’ve affectionately been calling it, Stealth Care Reform.   Some of the new federal mandates go into effect today, but will affect only some of you:

1.   Removal of pre-existing condition exclusions for minors up to age 19.  But, the law does NOT state that insurance companies must issue a policy to a child.  It only says that IF a policy is approved, all pre-existing conditions must be covered.  The insurance companies said early on that they will abide by the intent of the law, which was to provide insurance to any child, regardless of the child’s health condition or history.   The unintended consequence: now most of the major players in the country have said they won’t issue “child-only” policies, meaning that at least one adult must be on an application with a child in order for the child to get health insurance.

2.  Coverage for dependents up to age 26. If an adult child wants to stay on Mom & Dad’s policy they can.  Isn’t it time to grow up?

3.  Preventive care with no co-pays and no maximum benefit. All new policies that you buy after today must include this provision.

4.  Removal of lifetime dollar limits. This one is going to be a pricey mandate for you.  Watch how the insurance companies raise their rates to offset this unlimited financial exposure.    The Insurance Mom has said it before and I’ll say it again… mandates are expensive!   Must I repeat myself?!

5.  Removal of annual coverage limits. Fortunately, in California, our policies have not had annual limits on benefits (except for the state’s High Risk Pool, which has an annual limit of $75,000 in benefits, and is not subject to …

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September 9th, 2010

The Other Side Of The Story

The Insurance Mom loves her colleagues around the country… they are a very smart bunch!  Especially Ric Joyner, a benefits specialist in Madison, WI, who writes an excellent benefits blog.      If you value your hard-earned money, I really want you to take a few moments to read how health care reform will impact your life and your money.

The Wall Street Journal is saying that insurers are adding costs to health insurance premiums to pay for health care reform measures.    The insurers are adding 5-9% MORE to your premiums due to health care reform.   But why?

1. No underwriting starting in 2014. That means no one can be rejected. Thus, we move from “insurance” to a utility organization which the government can dictate, including fees too.   If the insurance company can’t underwrite the policy then they can’t prevent bad risk.   Thus everyone who is healthy will pay for those who are unhealthy.   Is this bad?   Perhaps.   It depends on your politics.   If you believe that everyone should pay for everyone else then it works great.   But think about it.   Our founding fathers wanted true freedom to succeed or fail. We are taking the ability to succeed or fail away and promoting mediocrity.

2. If you read the article closely you will find the Obama Administration is saying that this concept is out of line, however it actually makes perfect sense.   If you cover everyone, where you weren’t before…there are more costs. Thus insurance companies will pass on the costs to you!

3. So the Obama Administration knew that this was going to happen.  When you extend coverage to everyone you also increase cost.   Economists agree that when the health care bill was conceived and passed the costs of coverage for everyone would go up as well.   This bill

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