Here are all the articles I've written about United States. Enjoy!

July 17th, 2017

Pack your bags – we’re goin’ on a trip around the world!

The Insurance Mom mentioned in last week’s post that there seems to be a huge misunderstanding of how America’s health care delivery system compares to those of other countries.   The divine Michael Lujan, shares his expertise:

The UK Model – In this mostly single-payer model, healthcare is provided and financed by the government through taxes. Except for small co-pays for prescriptions, there are no co-pays or deductibles as health care is delivered as a public service, like fire and police. With Britain’s National Health Service, most doctors and hospitals are owned by the government and patient wait times can vary by region or treatment type. As the sole payer, the government controls what doctors can do, and what they can charge. Our Veterans (VA) system is a close example. They also have private insurance options.

The Canadian Model – With this “National Health Insurance model”, the providers are private but the payer is a government-run insurance plan everyone pays into. Our Medicare system is a close example of this model. The private insurance plans are non-profit and manage their costs by limiting or delaying care.  Canada’s decentralized health system (coincidentally called “Medicare”) is technically a multi-payer system with slight differences for each of their ten provinces and three territories; some provinces/territories have co-pays at the point of care and others don’t.

The German Model – In this multi-payer system, providers and payers are private and largely funded through employer-based payroll deductions. Patients have co-pays at the point of care. The world’s first national health system (established around 1883) offers citizens 135+ private insurance plans called “sickness funds”. These private insurers negotiate prices with private hospitals and providers. Patient wait times are shorter than U.S. patients typically experience. This is the system most familiar to most Americans and might be …

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March 13th, 2017

Is TrumpCare my Care??

The Insurance Mom is back to blogging after a very busy Open Enrollment!  Thank you to all our followers and lovely clients who sent along referrals.  We are very grateful for you!

 

It’s been an interesting end of 2016 and beginning of 2017.  With that, we are seeing a TON of proposed changes that could affect your health insurance.    But, we probably won’t know for quite some time.   Remember, it takes a while to un-law a federal law!

 

But what’s it all mean, Mom!?  My brain hurts with all the HSA, tax credits, tax penalties, cross-border, stuff!
Well, that’s why I’m here, sweetie!  To take your hand, and tell you to take a deep breath because it’s going to be a long time before we see any changes take places.  And so far, no one can seem to get close to agreeing what those changes will be.  Now that we’re all feeling a little better, let’s get back to our health insurance education.

 

Here’s a great article from the fabulous team at Vox which does great work at explaining things in a simple way.  But the gist is this… Trump proposes these things:

 

  1. Pre-existing conditions will not affected.
  2. The tax credit thing is going to change, likely based on age not income.
  3. Trump and the GOP really like Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
  4. He wants to remove the plan restrictions.  So that whole metallic thing will likely go away and companies can design their own plans again.
  5. Trump is a little unclear about the Medicaid situation, but the GOP seems to want to decrease Medicaid enrollment.
  6. Trump would like to reduce costs of insurance and drugs.

 

Here’s the Insurance Mom’s takes on these things, by the numbers:

 

  1. Goodie.
  2. The GOP’s current proposal called the American
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August 6th, 2016

Health Insurance Forecast for 2017– Are YOU Prepared?

Hello, Friends!

 

Are you ready for health insurance news for NEXT year??   Sit, get cawfee, or a cocktail and let’s tawk!

 

This interesting article from the NY Times and this one from the Free Beacon each have loads of important info, but here’s the gist….

 

The SAME news: the NEXT open enrollment period will be 11/1/16 through 1/31/17.

 

The HAPPY news: Obamacare will be rating health insurance plans based on how many doctors and hospitals are in their networks.  BUT (as I am your interpreter of bulls*#$) this doesn’t necessarily mean that doctor networks are going to improve for individual plans.  It just means there’s more transparency for you to make informed choices.

 

The PHEW! news: there’s a new thing next year called “continuity of care.”   What do you do if your doc leaves your network?  Often they leave or get dropped from the network without any heads up to YOU.  BUT in 2017, if you’re in an “active course of treatment,” you’ll be able to continue seeing the doctor if they leave the network.

 

The BAD news: out-of-pocket maximums are going up.  WAY UP!  In some states, they’ll increase from $6500 to $7150 for individuals, and from $13,000 to $14,300 for a family.

 

The YUCKY news: The Beacon article anticipates that deductibles in most states will see increases , too.

 

The WORST news: hold on to something…  premium increases are on the horizon for 2017.

 

The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be for 2017.…

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February 19th, 2016

Intro: The Insurance Mom’s Guide to Better Living Through (Cheaper) Chemistry!

Hi Insurance Mom Family,

 

OK, let’s talk prescriptions.  But Mom… they’re so expensive!  I know, sweetie.  The Insurance Mom hears you.

 

Yet another (un)intended consequence of the Affordable Care Act… formulary shrinkage.    The formularies are the lists of drugs your insurance company covers – generic and brand name.   Most people just pay up at the pharmacy and don’t know they can actually shop around for better prices.   Just because you have health insurance doesn’t mean you’re getting the best price!

 

To help you along the way, we’ve written a blog series we call …

“The Insurance Mom’s Guide to Better Living

Through (Cheaper) Chemistry.”

high-cost-prescription-medications-health-care-concept-money-flowing-open-pill-white-background-34658791

 

This FIVE part series walks you through money saving tips & tricks from the moment the doctor writes the script to the moment you pick it up at the pharmacy.  Keep tuning back for the next five Fridays to learn to speak Rx.

 

As an intro, click the hyperlinks for these great articles from the website, GoodRX and another one from Consumer Reports.

 

In the meanwhile, talk to me!  What are your insurance concerns for the coming year?…

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July 21st, 2015

Assurant is going WHERE!?

Big news across the nation.  Assurant Health, a big player in health insurance, will be closing up shop at the end of the year.  This means everyone with an individual Assurant plan will need to get a different plan in place for January 1st, 2016.  But my Assurant friends, we can’t do anything for you until Open Enrollment in November.  This is going to be a HUGE change for the face of health insurance next year.  The Insurance Mom will keep you posted on all the latest news and trends.  In the meanwhile, here’s a full article on the Assurant story.http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2015/04/28/milwaukee-based-assurant-health-to-be-sold-or.html?ana=lnk

 

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April 29th, 2015

The Insurance Mom is on KPCC!

Check out this great article by Stephanie O’Neill at KPCC about brokers and the Affordable Care Act.  So pleased she did this article and flattered she asked me to participate.

http://www.scpr.org/news/2015/04/29/51313/some-brokers-encounter-hard-times-under-the-afford/

Give it a listen or a read and let me know your thoughts below.…

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February 25th, 2015

Repost! 4 Simple Rules About Long Term Care Insurance

Another oldie but a goodie (with some updates) about Long Term Care Insurance.  Is it time for you or your parents to think about Long Term Care Insurance?  Here’s 4 quick rules about LTC . . .

First, always consult with a qualified broker, like The Insurance Mom!

Second, buy a plan that’s affordable.  Don’t go hog wild and buy a plan that’ll  cover 100% of anticipated future costs just because you think it’s better.  It is much smarter to buy a policy you can afford to pay for every month.   If you can’t pay the premium, what’s the point?  You’ll get no benefits at all if that happens!   It’s better to buy a policy that will cover at least half of future costs than buy no policy at all.

Third, buy a policy that keeps up with inflation (that’s called a Compound Inflation Rider).   The cost of care rises every year.   Get a policy that keeps up with the times.   Look for a policy with a built-in 5% Compound Inflation Rider.

Fourth, aim for the shortest possible waiting period for the plan to kick in (that’s called the Elimination Period).  For example, if you have a 30-day elimination period, you’ll pay for the first 30 days of expenses out of your own pocket.  The shorter the Elimination Period, the more expensive the policy will be.   If the Elimination Period is 90 days or longer, be sure you have the moo-la to cover you!

Now…. don’t you feel smarter?!  You get a cookie for reading!


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October 20th, 2014

How Much Will it Cost to Get Covered in 2015? 

If you know anything about the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), you know that the next Open Enrollment period is coming up (Nov. 15th – Feb. 15th for a Jan. 1st and later start date.)

Everyone’s first question to me is “how much will my monthly premium be?”

We don’t have enough info yet to compare.    Not all of the rates have been approved by the CA Department of Insurance.    But we do know the word on the street from going to conferences and doing lots of reading.  The Insurance Mom is here to translate!

There were a couple of great articles by Chad Terhune in the LA Times on 10/3/14 and 9/28/14.   For plans purchased through Covered CA, weighted increases in 2015 will range from 4.2% to 8% statewide (depending on where you live, it could be lower or higher).

But… actually using the plans is a whole different story!  That prompted two blog more posts about doctor networks AND why everything is so different after the ACA.  Click the links to read all about it!…

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October 10th, 2014

Time to Vote! Pay attention to Prop 45!

As you know, I normally don’t share my political opinions with clients.   However, Proposition 45 is on this November’s ballot and it will have a direct impact on your health insurance… and not in a good way. As your agent, I feel compelled to make you aware of Proposition 45 and why I so strongly oppose this measure.

Proposition 45 will radically alter the choices available to individuals and small businesses purchasing health insurance in California.

Supporters of Proposition 45 want to give one elected politician, the Insurance Commissioner, the power to determine your health plan’s premiums, benefits, networks and even what treatment options it covers.  (The Commissioner can receive millions in campaign contributions from special interests.) They want to create a costly new bureaucracy that duplicates existing regulatory agencies – the costs of which will ultimately be paid by you through higher premiums. They want to set up new rules and regulations that conflict with the new health care reform law.

As your agent, I take my responsibility seriously when I help you navigate California’s health insurance market.  Proposition 45 will make that market more chaotic and more costly – and worst of all it will potentially limit the choices you have as a consumer.

I plan to vote NO on Proposition 45 this November because it will create more problems than it solves.

I hope you will visit www.NoOn45.org to learn more about Proposition 45. While you’re on the website, I hope that you’ll take 30-seconds and sign-up to receive updates from the No on Proposition 45 campaign and join me on protecting your access to quality health insurance and preventing the possibility of rationed health care.

Feel free to email me back if you have any questions but, in the meantime, I hope that you’ll go

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May 16th, 2011

Around the world in 80 seconds…

WOW!   The Insurance Mom just went global!   How cool is THAT?!!…

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