Sick patients may feel they have no choice but to sign up for a loan to receive treatment. And the quick loan process may leave them with expenses they can ill afford to pay.
Laura Cameron, then three months pregnant, tripped and fell in a parking lot and landed in the emergency room last May; her blood pressure was low, and she was scared and in pain. She was flat on her back and plugged into a saline drip when a hospital employee approached her gurney to discuss how she would pay her hospital bill.
Though both Cameron, 28, and her husband, Keith, have insurance, the bill would likely come to about $830, the representative said. If that sounded unmanageable, she offered, they could take out a loan through a bank that had a partnership with the hospital.
The hospital employee was “fairly forceful,” said Cameron, who lives in Fayetteville, Ark. “She certainly made it clear she preferred we pay then, or we take this deal with the bank.”
Hospitals are increasingly offering “patient financing” strategies, cooperating with financial institutions to offer on-the-spot loans to make sure patients pay their bills.
Private doctors’ offices and surgery centers have long offered such no- or low-interest financing for procedures not covered by insurance, like plastic surgery, or to patients paying themselves for an expensive test or procedure with a fixed price.
But promoting bank loans at hospitals and, particularly, emergency rooms raises concerns, experts say. For one thing, the cost estimates provided — likely based on a hospital’s list price — may be far higher than the negotiated rate ultimately paid by most insurers. Sick patients, like Cameron, may feel they have no choice but to sign up for a loan since they need treatment. And the quick loan process, usually with no credit check, means they may well be signing on for expenses they can ill afford to pay.
Keep reading at AARP.org....
READ TO THE BOTTOM!
You pay a certain amount each month for health insurance hoping in the end, it will save you money on your health care. In this 11 Listens, one man ended up paying more for a visit to a walk-in clinic than if he didn't use his insurance.
"I mean is this legal? I don’t know," said Jon Luke Hendricks.
Hendricks went to Excel Health in Haskell for his son's ear infection.
"We processed our insurance without any questions," said Hendricks.
He got the bill. $150 dollar for the office visit, plus $50 for a flu test. Because of his in-network discount, he was left with $110 bill. He didn't question it until he heard another patient only paid $75 for their entire visit.
He called the clinic and found out their walk-in fee without insurance was $75, but because he used insurance, he was charged $35 dollars more than that.
"It’s sad that I’m paying a large portion of my check for insurance and yet I have to pay more to process insurance," said Hendricks.
So we called around and found out most urgent cares or walk-in clinics will offer a discount base fee for paying up front. Excel health charges $75. MedExpress charges $119. Central Arkansas Urgent Care charges $110. These prices are often half of what someone with insurance will be billed. Keep in mind if you use the self-pay rate, it won’t go towards your deductible.
"I just feel like people should know you might have a better option. If your deductible is high, you may be better off paying up front,” said Hendricks.
You can read the rest of this article at this CBS affiliate in Arkansas. But before you do, let me interject.
With our Expected Benefits Plan, you can elect to pay cash anywhere and then be reimbursed. For regular doctor visits, Level 2 will pay you $80 every time you go (up to 20 times per year). For a visit to a Walk-in Clinic or Urgent Care facility -- the kind of facility discussed in the above article, the insurance company will pay you $125. Do the math.
If the man in the article had our insurance, but paid cash for his $75 visit, after submitting his bill to the insurance company he would have pocketed $50.00!
More about our Expected Benefits Plan is here.
After Elizabeth Moreno had back surgery in late 2015, her surgeon prescribed an opioid painkiller and a follow-up drug test that seemed routine -- until the lab slapped her with a bill for $17,850.
A Houston lab had tested her urine sample for a constellation of legal and illicit drugs, many of which, Moreno said, she had never heard of, let alone taken.
"I was totally confused. I didn't know how I was going to pay this," said Moreno, 30, who is finishing a degree in education at Texas State University in San Marcos and is pregnant with twins.
Her bill shows that Sunset Labs LLC charged $4,675 to check her urine for a slew of different types of opioids: $2,975 for benzodiazepines, a class of drugs for treating anxiety, and $1,700 more for amphetamines. Tests to detect cocaine, marijuana and phencyclidine, an illegal hallucinogenic drug also known as PCP or angel dust, added $1,275 more.
The lab also billed $850 to test for buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid addiction, and tacked on an $850 fee for two tests to verify that nobody had tampered with her urine specimen.
Total bill: $17,850 for lab tests that her insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, refused to cover, apparently because the lab was not in her insurance network. The insurer sent Moreno an "explanation of benefits" that says it would have valued the work at just $100.92.
By Mark Jones, Kommando.com
The battle against cybercriminals is always evolving. That's because when we catch on to their scams they change them up to find more victims.
Which is why we're always having to come up with more secure ways of protecting our critical information. Can you imagine the damage that could be done if a hacker is able to get access to sensitive data on your smartphone?
Well, there's a new scam dubbed porting going around that would do just that.
What is a porting scam?
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning Americans about a fairly new scam making the rounds. It's known as a porting or port-out scam.
It works like this. A fraudster finds out critical information about you such as your name, phone number, Social Security number, date of birth and more. Much of this information is obtainable on the Dark Web thanks to the massive Equifax data breach that we learned about last year.
Once the criminal has this information they call your mobile phone service provider pretending to be you, and tell them that you're switching to another company but want to keep your phone number. Transferring your number from say Verizon to AT&T is a process called porting.
The porting process takes up to 24 hours to complete. During this time both phones will be functional. Meaning, any text messages that you receive on your phone will also be seen by the scammer on the phone your number is being transferred to.
This opens the door for all kinds of problems. If you have two-factor authentication set up on your bank accounts, or any online sites for that matter, the scammer will be able to get the code needed to log into your account. From there, you could become a victim of identity theft and even have money stolen from your bank accounts.
Now, don't let this turn you against two-factor authentication. It's an important security feature that you should be using whenever possible.
The problem isn't two-factor, it's the criminals trying to rip you off. There are ways to prevent falling victim to these types of scams, keep reading for suggestions.
Continue reading at Kommando.com....
A pursuit of a stolen car ended with the arrest of not only the alleged teenaged thief, but also the car's owner.
Joseph Brummett, 29, reported to police in Manchester that a teenager had stolen his Mercedes at gunpoint in the 900 block of Interstate Drive. A Tennessee Highway Patrolman saw the car shortly thereafter and began a pursuit that soon went into Rutherford County, where it was stopped with spike strips deployed by sheriff's deputies.
Police found the pistol Brummett had described in the Mercedes' floor board and charged the 15-year-old driver with aggravated robbery, robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon, vandalism and evading arrest and booked him into the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center.
Read more at Patch.com....
Seattle's leading U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorney resigned as federal prosecutors leveled allegations that he used immigrants’ identities to open credit cards.
Prosecutors with the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section claim ICE Chief Counsel Raphael Sanchez used the fraudulently obtained credit accounts to defraud the creditors. The scheme is alleged to have run for four years before it was discovered last fall.
Sanchez is alleged to have stolen the identities of seven people involved in immigration proceedings. Federal prosecutors contend Sanchez stole from American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Citibank, Discover and JPMorgan Chase.
“Sanchez devised and intended to devise a scheme.... Using the personally identifying information of seven aliens in various stages of immigration proceedings with the United States Immigrant and Customs Enforcement to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Luke Case and Jessica Harvey said in court papers.
In a Tuesday email to SeattlePI, Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas said Sanchez resigned Monday, the day he was charged. He served as chief counsel in the agency's Seattle office.
Read more at Seattlepi.com....
For several years now, Publix has offered antibiotics and select other medications absolutely free of charge at its pharmacies. These include:
But now the regional grocery player has a new offer for pharmacy customers that you’ll want to take note of.
You probably already know that a lot of other retailers have offers of a 30-day supply of select generics for $4 or a 90-day supply for $10. Well, Publix is lowering that price to only $7.50 for a 90-day supply.
That’s just $2.50 for a 30-day supply!
And while the list of generics being offered is smaller at Publix than at a Walmart or Target, if your medication is on the Publix list and the store is located near you, why not take advantage of the savings?
Benefits you expect at prices you can afford. Call us today at 678-654-9500 to apply for our NEW Expected Benefits Group Healthcare Plan for 10 or more employees. This is guaranteed issue coverage. You cannot be turned down.
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"Freedom works much better than all this nonsense." — Ron Paul
Obamacare is a crony-politically-connected program that has punished Americans who need the exact opposite. Government must GET OUT of the healthcare industry. Ron Paul discusses on today's Liberty Report.
Watch the video at Ron Paul's Liberty Report....
Hooray! The "individual mandate" that required that you have ACA-compliant health insurance or pay a hefty tax penalty is no more!
You can now buy or not buy whatever health insurance you want, instead of feeling forced to choose between Bad and Worse on the Obamacare Marketplace.
My Expected Benefits Plan has always been, and still is, the best choice for covering yourself, your family, and your employees if you're a small business owner.
And it costs about half what you'd pay for an Obamacare plan without subsidies.
The Expected Benefits Plan has a zero deductible, and is part of the MultiPlan/PHCS Network. It's accepted by over 900,000 medical doctors and chiropractors, and at over 4,000 hospitals nationwide.
This coverage is currently available in AL, AR, AZ, GA, IA, ID, IL, KY, LA, MI, MO, MS, NE, NM, NV, OK, SC, TN*, TX, UT, WI, WY, and is coming soon to IN, MD, and PA.
For more details, visit my website.
*Slightly different coverage in TN.
President Trump on Wednesday claimed the Republican tax plan “essentially” repeals former President Obama’s signature health-care law.
“When the individual mandate is being repealed, that means ObamaCare is being repealed,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House. “We have essentially repealed ObamaCare and we will come up with something much better.”
The GOP tax overhaul gets rid of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which requires almost all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a fine.
Trump said he refrained from playing up that measure because he was worried about how the news media would report it, but added “now that it’s approved, I can say that.”
Despite Trump’s claim, the tax bill does not repeal ObamaCare entirely.People will still be able to purchase insurance through individual marketplaces, Medicaid expansion is preserved and consumer protections remain in place.
But health-care experts worry that without the mandate, premiums in the individual insurance market could spike, competition could decrease and more people will become uninsured.
Before turning to taxes, Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress tried multiple times to repeal ObamaCare but failed.
Trump offered his first in-person comments on the tax bill after the Senate passed it on a party-line vote just after midnight Wednesday.
The House is expected to vote on the legislation again Wednesday afternoon, sending it to the president's desk in what will be the first major legislative achievement for Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress.
“We got it done,” Trump said, thanking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) by name. “We have a tremendous amount of talent.”
Reprinted from The Hill....
Cara Pressman sobbed in the big red chair in her living room. The 15-year-old tried to absorb the devastating news relayed by her parents: that their insurance company, Aetna, denied her for a minimally invasive brain surgery that could end the seizures that have haunted her since she was 9 years old.
"When my parents told me, I went kind of blank and started crying," she said. "I cried for like an hour."
Her friends had been lined up to visit her in the hospital for the surgery three days away, on Monday, October 23. Between tears, she texted them that the whole thing was off.It was supposed to be a joyous weekend. Cara's grandparents had come to town to celebrate their 90th birthdays, a jubilant party with more than 100 family and friends crowding her home. The party did go on -- just with a lot more stress.
Cara had multiple complex partial seizures that weekend. When the seizures strike, her body gets cold and shakes, and she zones out for anywhere from 20 seconds to two minutes, typically still aware of her surroundings. Her seizures can be triggered by stress, by being happy, by exerting herself -- almost anything. "It's like having a nightmare but while you're awake," she said.
In the six weeks since the denial, Cara has had more than two dozen seizures affecting her everyday life. Her message to Aetna is blunt: "Considering they're denying me getting surgery and stopping this thing that's wrong with my brain, I would probably just say, 'Screw you.' ''
Keep reading at CNN.com....
By Carl O’Donnell and Caroline Humer
(Reuters) – U.S. drugstore chain operator CVS Health Corp <CVS.N> said on Sunday it had agreed to acquire U.S. health insurer Aetna Inc <AET.N> for $69 billion, seeking to tackle soaring healthcare spending through lower-cost medical services in pharmacies.
This year’s largest corporate acquisition will combine one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) and pharmacy operators with one of its oldest health insurers, whose national business ranges from employer healthcare to government plans.
The deal comes after Aetna’s $37 billion plan to acquire smaller U.S. health insurance peer Humana Inc <HUM.N> was blocked in January by a U.S. federal judge over antitrust concerns. A proposed combination of peers Anthem Inc <ANTM.N> and Cigna Corp <CI.N> was also shot down.
Aetna shareholders stand to receive $207 per share in the deal with CVS, the companies said. The consideration comprises $145 per share in cash and 0.8378 CVS shares for each Aetna share. Reuters first reported the terms of the deal earlier on Sunday.
Aetna shareholders will own about 22 percent of the combined company, while CVS shareholders will own the remainder.
The companies said that cost synergies in the second full year after the transaction closes — 2020 if the deal closes in the second half of 2018 as they expect — would amount to $750 million. They foresee it adding to adjusted earnings per share by the low- to mid-single digit percentage points.
Their vision expands beyond capitalizing on CVS’ existing MinuteClinic structure, which largely offers preventative services like flu shots, the companies’ chief executives said in an interview.
“When you walk into CVS there’s the pharmacy. What if there’s a vision and audiology center, and perhaps a nutritionist, and some sort of care manager?” CVS CEO Larry Merlo said.
Continue reading at One America News Network....
By Chris Conover
A headline this week in The Hill shocked me: "ObamaCare enrollment strong in third week of sign-ups." The Hill is a serious, well-respected, non-partisan news source. But any reader taking this headline at face value would be seriously misled about what is really going on with Obamacare enrollments during this fifth open enrollment season.
The Hill's reporter correctly notes that "the pace of sign-ups has exceeded last year: In the first 26 days of last year's open enrollment period, 2.1 million people signed up compared to the 2.3 million people who signed up the first 18 days of this year's period."
Those figures imply that the daily rate of sign-ups this year is outpacing last year's rate by 58% [originally reported as 28%: Update #2]. Surely that is evidence of strong enrollment, no?
The reason it is not is buried at the tail-end of the story where the reporter notes "the enrollment period ends Dec. 15, which is about half as much time as people had to sign up last year."
Yipes! If enrollees have only half the time to sign up, then by pure arithmetic, the daily enrollment pace needs to be double last year's in order for total enrollment at the end of the enrollment period to match the level reach at the end of last year's enrollment period: 12,216,003.
But if current enrollment is 158% [originally reported as 128%: Update #2] of last year's when it needs to be 200%, a more accurate way to frame this year's performance would be to say that Obamacare is on track to sign up 21% [originally reported as 36%: Update #2] fewer enrollees than last year (i.e., 158/200=79% which would mean signing up 21% fewer). [originally reported as 128/200=64% which would meaning signing up 36% fewer: Update #2]. That's a pretty bad news story rather far removed from the rosy picture painted by The Hill's headline.
Read more at Forbes....
The Senate this week is expected to vote on a tax bill that includes a controversial provision to repeal Obamacare’s tax penalty on the uninsured.
Democrats and some conservative policy analysts fret that if Congress scuttles the so-called individual mandate, insurance premiums will rise.
The reverse may be closer to the truth: Premiums for Obamacare policies next year will be so high that millions will be exempt from the tax penalty whether Congress repeals it or not. Even the skimpiest coverage now costs so much that many uninsured people with six-figure incomes will be exempt.
The individual mandate is repealing itself.
The mandate represented a grand bargain between the government and the insurance industry. Insurers agreed not to base premiums on applicants’ medical conditions, and in exchange, the government agreed to subsidize premiums and penalize the uninsured. In theory, the threat of tax penalties would induce healthy people to pay an unfairly high price for a product they wouldn’t otherwise buy, creating a stable insurance pool that would generate billions in profits for insurers.
It hasn’t worked out that way. Healthy people have largely shunned the exchanges, making the individual health-insurance market a losing proposition for most insurers. The number of people with individual policies, which grew during Obamacare’s first two years, has been shrinking since 2016. The erosion has been most pronounced among those who earn too much to receive premium subsidies.
So why aren’t more people who refuse to buy Obamacare policies forced to pay tax penalties? One reason is that the Obamacare statute does not permit the IRS to collect the penalty in cases where premiums would exceed 8 percent of an uninsured person’s income. That is a high bar: The average household spent 5.5 percent of its income on health-insurance premiums last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Read more at the National Review....
Our awesome Expected Benefits Plan is about half the cost of Obamacare or an employee group plan. Apply today!
As a business owner, you have enough on your plate without having to worry about what's become for many a confusing and sometimes complicated health insurance maze.
I'm here to un-complicate things and show you how to protect yourself, your family, and your employees from unforeseen health care costs.
Low-cost health insurance is available, at 30-50% less than what's on the Obamacare Marketplace.
Do you find ACA plans unaffordable? Is your subsidy too small to offset the cost of Obamacare plans? Did you lose dependent coverage at work? Do you want to offer your employees truly affordable benefits?
Our Expected Benefits Plans are accepted throughout the PHCS/Multiplan network, which includes over 900,000 doctors and thousands of hospitals.
These plans provide up to $1,000,000 coverage per year. They have zero deductibles. Our plans include Teledoc services, $50,000 in critical illness protection, dental coverage, and even a concierge-type service to help you find and schedule recommended surgeries and procedures.
Once you're covered, you never have to re-apply or re-qualify. You can keep these plans until you reach age 65, no matter what future health issues may arise.
Details about our Expected Benefits Plan can be seen here.
Call me today!
PS: The Expected Benefits Plan is currently available in AL, AR, GA, IA, KY, LA, MI, MS, NE, OK, SC, TN, and TX. Coming soon to AZ and NC.
Don and Debra Clark of Springfield, Missouri, are glad they have health insurance. Don is 56 and Debra is 58. The Clarks say they know the risk of an unexpected illness or medical event is rising as they age and they must have coverage.
Don is retired and Debra works part time a couple of days a week. As a result, along with about 20 million other Americans, they buy health insurance in the individual market.
But the Clarks are not happy at all with what they pay for their coverage — $1,400 a month for a plan with a $4,500 deductible. Nor are they looking forward to the Affordable Care Act's fifth open enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 in most states.
Many insurers are raising premiums by double digits, in part because of the Trump administration's decision to stop payments to insurers that cover the discounts they are required to give to some low-income customers to cover out-of-pocket costs.
"This has become a nightmare," said Don Clark. "We are now spending about 30% of our income on health insurance and health care. We did not plan for that."
Continue reading this story on CNN....
Health care spending in the United States increased by about $933.5 billion between 1996 and 2013, according to an analysis published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA. More than half of this surge was a result of generally higher prices for health care services.
Joseph L. Dieleman, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, gathered information on 155 separate health conditions and six possible treatment categories: inpatient, outpatient (hospital), emergency services, dental care, prescriptions and nursing facilities.
The researchers also analyzed changes in five factors -- population size, aging, disease incidence, use of services, and service price and intensity -- as they relate to health care spending in the study period, 1996 through 2013.
"Intensity of care" refers to service variety and complexity. "It's the difference between a relatively simple X-ray as a compared to more complex MRIs and other forms of diagnostic services," Dieleman wrote in an email.
The analysis resulted in four main takeaways about why US health care costs rose.
Read more at CNN....
By David Ross
Every American under age 65 has one of three kinds of health insurance. Either you have government health insurance, private health insurance, or you're self-insured.
What does it mean to be self-insured? It means if you have a medical bill, you're expected to pay it. If you don't have cash to pay the bill, or can't get a loan to pay the bill, then your assets – house, car, whatever you own – can be taken from you in a lawsuit. Bankruptcy may be your only means of eliminating your medical bill debt.
The whole point of health insurance is this: To transfer risk from you to an insurance company, in exchange for a certain sum of money, known as the premium. You pay a small amount now so you won't have to pay a large amount later.
If you don't have health insurance, you're liable.
By government insurance, I'm not talking about health insurance provided by a federal or state agency to its employees.
I'm calling “Obamacare” government insurance. Through the misleadingly-named Affordable Care Act, the federal government has mandated certain requirements and coverages by health insurance policies that are offered through the federal or state “exchanges,” now known as “The Marketplace.”
Policies offered through The Marketplace are required to provide certain services, known as the 10 Minimum Essential Benefits. Don't be fooled by the phrase – there's nothing “essential” about some of the benefits. Since the law doesn't allow for any kind of discrimination, maternity coverage, for example, is required for males and post-menopausal women. Pediatric services must be included, even if the policyholder has no children. Coverage is required for substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment, counseling, and psychotherapy... even if you don't want or don't need such services.
Additionally, government insurance – Obamacare – forbids the rejection of any applicant. It's guaranteed-issue health insurance, which means that already-sick people must be accepted. While this may be great for already-sick people, it drives the cost of the policy to astronomical heights. This is why so many insurance companies have abandoned selling through the Marketplace. The “risk pool,” i.e, the group of people being insured, has become heavily weighted with people who are running up high medical bills because of their pre-existing conditions.
Insurance companies must charge higher premiums so they have money to pay the claims of so many sick people. In every year since the ACA went into effect, premiums have risen by double-digit percentages, and each year, fewer and fewer insurance companies are selling their policies in The Marketplace.
Contrary to popular belief, insurance companies aren't “getting rich by jacking up prices.” As part of the ACA law, insurance companies that sell in The Marketplace must return 80% of the premiums they receive in claims benefits. That leaves a 20% gross profit, from which they must pay salaries and other business expenses. Can your business thrive on a 20% gross profit?
Many people get “tax subsidies” which reduce their cost of Obamacare health insurance. When asked what the true cost of an Obamacare policy is, they usually have no real idea. They think that the $75 or whatever they actually pay is what the policy actually costs. In reality, it costs (and taxpayers are paying) five to ten times what the policyholder pays.
Obamacare policies also usually have very high deductibles that people don't figure into their “low-cost” insurance. If you have to pay $5,000 to $7,500 of your medical expenses before the policy begins to pay anything, how much is the insurance really costing you?
Stuck in the Middle
Many Americans feel “stuck in the middle,” wanting health insurance but not being able to afford it. Small business owners, especially, are feeling the pain. Owners earn too much money to qualify for government subsidies to help pay the high price of an Obamacare policy. If you don't qualify for subsidies, the price of insuring yourself and your family with government insurance is truly staggering. A family of four may have a monthly premium of $1,400-$1,800 or more a month for a basic Obamacare plan! That is not “affordable health care” for very many people. Many of these people have said “no more!” and have by default become “self-insured,” risking their assets and their future on the hope they will never get sick or be involved in an accident that requires medical care.
Private Health Insurance
There are at least two alternatives to Obamacare and to being “self-insured” — group health insurance and personal health insurance. Both are referred to as private insurance, to distinguish them from government-mandated Affordable Care Act policies.
Group Health Insurance
If you're employed by a midsize or large company, chances are that you have or have been offered group health insurance. By law, in most cases, if a company offers group health insurance, the employer must pay at least 50% of the premium for the employee. Some employers also help pay for some or all of the coverage for employee's families.
The amount paid per person on a group policy is determined by how healthy or how sick the group is, on average. One person who has had a high claims can raise the rates for the entire group when it's time for a renewal. Already-covered employees can't be bumped from a group plan, but their being in the group does indeed affect rates for everyone.
With group health plans, there is but one policy covering all participating employees. Each member of the group is insured under one policy. New employees can be added to the policy, and retiring or terminated employees are usually dropped from the policy. Coverage is not portable; you can't take it with you, except under COBRA laws, which allow an employee who leaves the company to be covered for up to 18 months. The downside here is that the employee must pay the entire premium without contributions from the employer.
Group plans usually have deductibles, and may or may not allow you to see certain doctors or have certain treatments. The guidelines are spelled out in the policy, and depend on agreements between the insurance carrier and the employer. Some of the requirements are mandated by state or federal laws, but not to the extent that individual Obamacare policies are.
Individual Health Insurance
Personal health insurance has been around a long time. The idea is simple. You pay a certain amount each month to an insurance company in exchange for the company accepting the risk that you will have medical expenses. It's a contract between the customer and the carrier. What is or is not covered is spelled out in the policy, and prices are set based on your age and health status.
The insurance company evaluates the risk of covering you. It can decline to accept you, or charge you more, or “rider out” (not cover certain health conditions), based on your health status. Certain pre-existing conditions may make you uninsurable, because the risk to the company is more than they are willing to accept.
Many people are offended by the above paragraph, or think it's “unfair.” Those people forget that insurance – health insurance, life insurance, homeowners and car insurance – is a business, not a birthright.
Personal, private insurance is much less expensive than insurance policies sold in the ACA-compliant Marketplace. It usually costs 30-50% less. Why? Because the risk pool — people covered by a certain company — are healthier and will have statistically fewer claims, costing the insurance company less money. Why are they healthier? Because unhealthy people weren't accepted as policyholders.
Contrast that with ACA-compliant Obamacare policies that by law must accept anyone who applies. With Obamacare, the insurance companies have a huge risk pool of already-sick people, running up massive healthcare bills. This is why so many insurance companies have pulled out of The Marketplace. Obamacare just isn't a good business model.
If you work for a company that offers group health insurance, take it. Consider yourself one of the fortunate ones. Keep in mind that you may lose coverage if you leave your employer.
If you have pre-existing health conditions that would keep you from being covered under private health insurance, or if you have a low income which qualifies you to get subsidies, then sign up for Obamacare. You may still have to meet a high deductible before you can actually get any useful benefits from the policy, but at least you're covered in the event of a major medical catastrophe. Consider also buying a private supplemental plan, also known as a GAP Plan, to help cover your deductible.
If your income is too high for subsidies, or if you're fundamentally opposed to socialized health care a.k.a. Obamacare, get a private health insurance policy.
Here's the takeaway from your having read this far: Do not let yourself be self-insured. Unless you're a multi-millionaire, an unexpected sickness or accident can bankrupt you.
David Ross is a licensed life and health insurance agent providing both group and individual health insurance policies, as well as supplemental GAP plans, cancer plans, life insurance, and dental insurance. Call 678-654-9500 or email him at email@example.com. Visit his website at http://davidrossandassociates.com.
With the writer's permission, I just added to the testimonials page this thank-you email I received today from one of my health insurance customers, who has recently renewed their health policy with me for the third year.
+ + +
We would like to take the opportunity to thank you for all of the hard work that you have done for our family.
Since you have mostly dealt with my husband, Chris, I usually contact him with any questions that I may have about our insurance. Whenever I do so, he usually calls you and I have the answer to my question within hours. In a time where customer service seems to be fading quickly, I certainly feel like we receive great customer service from you. It may not be important to everyone, they may just be concerned with the end results. But in a customer service-driven business like insurance, it is very important to me and my family. We feel like you have gone above and beyond to answer our questions and service the needs that we have.
As we all know insurance is a very delicate subject these days, and to navigate through it with a consummate professional is appreciated.
— Shana & Chris Stephens, Mr. Pawn, Lilburn GA, Sept. 2017
President Trump is taking the future of health insurance into his own hands. A day after Congress' last-ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare failed, Trump said he may soon sign an executive order on health care that would affect millions of people.
"I'll probably be signing a very major executive order where people can go out, cross state lines, do lots of things and buy their own health care, and that will be probably signed next week," he told reporters Wednesday. "It's being finished now. It's going to cover a lot of territory and a lot of people. Millions of people."
The president has made no secret that he's frustrated with Congress for failing to repeal Obamacare. On Tuesday, Republican leaders in the Senate shelved plans to vote on the latest repeal proposal after it failed to gain enough support.
Read more at CNN....
by Scott W. Atlas, M.D.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is failing. Without regard for consequences, the law expanded government insurance programs and imposed considerable federal authority over US health care via new mandates, regulations and taxes. Insurance premiums skyrocketed even as deductibles rose; consumer choices of insurance on state marketplaces have rapidly vanished; and for those with ACA coverage, doctor and hospital choices have narrowed dramatically. Meanwhile, consolidation across the health care sector has accelerated at a record pace, portending further harm to consumers, including higher prices of medical care.
Almost inexplicably, even more top-down control — single-payer health care, a system in which the government provides nationalized health insurance, sets all fees for medical care and pays those fees to doctors and hospitals — has found new support from the left. And this despite its decades of documented failures in other countries to provide timely, quality medical care, and in the face of similar problems in our own single-payer Veterans Affairs system.
Clearly, this moment cries out for the truth about single-payer health care — conclusions from historical evidence and data.
Continue reading at CNN....
"Learning that my personal information had been stolen and fraudulently used to apply for credit from several companies was a living nightmare, until I spoke with my Kroll investigator. She immediately emailed a packet of information for me to complete and return, and I now feel assured and confident that my credit records will be protected. Thank you!!" — C.W., Florida member
To learn more about IDShield identity theft protection services, our to become a member, visit our LegalShield/IDShield page.
Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday. Maybe we should all take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company:
1. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put 'PHOTO ID REQUIRED.'
2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the 'For' line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.
3. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get it.
4. Place the contents of your wallet on photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place.
I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a Name, address, Social Security number, credit cards..
Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more.
But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:
5. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
6.. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).
But here's what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)
7. Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name.
The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.
Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, if it has been stolen:
1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-62851-800-525-6285
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742 1-888-397-3742
3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289 1-800-680 7289
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271 1-800-269-0271
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I recently saw the information above posted on my Facebook feed.
For information about the IDShield identity theft protection plan, take a look at this: https://w3.legalshield.com/aasites/Multisite?site=idt&assoc=jdross
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