Health plans that require consumers to spend thousands of dollars before insurance kicks in are more common than ever before.
About 40 percent of Americans have health plans with $1,200 or more in deductibles.
The plans are meant to push consumers to make smarter health care choices, but a new study from USC has found they put some people at greater financial risk.
The research, in the April edition of the American Journal of Managed Care, shows people with chronic health conditions, and those with lower incomes, are the most likely to be impacted by a high medical bill stemming from the deductible.
"When they face this bill, it has a serious consequence for them. Not every family can absorb a $2,000 bill without changing their lifestyle," said Neeraj Sood, Director of Research at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics.
"The most vulnerable populations are the ones who are going to face the highest risk."
To see how a high deductible plan might affect you, here's a breakdown of how they work - and what to look out for:
WHAT DOES HIGH DEDUCTIBLE MEAN, EXACTLY?
The premium is your monthly payment that keeps your name on the health insurance rolls. The deductible is the amount you have to pay before the health insurance kicks in. It could be anywhere from $1200 to $2000 or $3000 -- even up to $10,000.
Keep reading at 89.3 KPCC....
A top executive at the trade group representing health insurers on Monday warned of premium increases for ObamaCare plans next year, saying the situation is “not a pretty picture right now.”
Matt Eyles, senior executive vice president of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), said that insurers “want to make sure people have access to coverage at the most affordable price, but that also has to reflect what the reality is right now and it’s not a pretty picture right now.”
Eyles, who will become CEO of AHIP on June 1, blamed several policies advanced by Republicans in Congress or the administration for the problems.Speaking at an event hosted by The Atlantic, he noted the repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill in December, which is expected to lead to less healthy people signing up, as well as initiatives from the Trump administration to expand access to cheaper, skimpier plans known as short-term plans, which have also raised fears of siphoning away healthy people and causing an increase in premiums.
Continue reading at The Hill....
Between a third and a half of people age 45 to 59 and a quarter of those 60+ went without needed health care in the past year due to its cost, according to a troubling new survey from the West Health Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago.
“We were surprised by the magnitude of the findings,” said Dr. Zia Agha, chief medical officer at the West Health Institute, a nonprofit applied medical research organization based in San Diego. “And 80% of the people we surveyed had health insurance, so just having insurance does not make you immune to health care costs.”
The researchers at West Health Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago (a nonpartisan research institution) interviewed 1,302 adults. Their findings were released at the American Society on Aging’s 2018 Aging in America conference in San Francisco.
Age 45 to 59 skipping health care
Specifically, the survey found these results for people age 45 to 59 (members of Generation X and boomers) as a result of health care costs:
Age 60+ skipping health care
The percentages were less dramatic for people 60 + (boomers aged 60 to 72 and Americans older than 72) — perhaps partly because those 65 and older have Medicare. But they are still concerning:
Younger Americans were even more likely to go without health care due to costs last year, the survey found.
Continue reading at MarketWatch....
Under Armour, Inc. (NYSE: UA, UAA) today announced that it is notifying users of MyFitnessPal -- the company's food and nutrition application and website -- about a data security issue. On March 25, the MyFitnessPal team became aware that an unauthorized party acquired data associated with MyFitnessPal user accounts in late February 2018. The company quickly took steps to determine the nature and scope of the issue and to alert the MyFitnessPal community of the incident.
Read the press release here....
Health insurance – here's the big picture in 131 words.
If you're not covered by health insurance through your employer or your spouse's employer, then you really care about just one thing, and that's being able to get good health insurance coverage without spending an arm and a leg and without having an astronomically high deductible, so high that basically, you can't even afford to use your insurance.
If you need in your mind an example, consider the average Obamacare health policy. The monthly premium for a family of four – mom, dad, and two kids – is over $1,400.00 a month, with a deductible for the first two people who become sick or injured of around $6,800.00 each. That's basically a yearly cost of 12 x $1,400.00 = $16,800.00 PLUS the deductible of $6,800.00 for a total of $23,600.00 a year BEFORE you can actually use your insurance – and that's if your doctor will accept it.
This article is dedicated to those of us who want and need truly affordable health insurance that we can actually use.
So I’ll ask you something. Have you used Obamacare health insurance? If so then, you’re the last of your kind. Fewer than 10 million Americans even have it. Doctors don't want to accept it, and many insurance companies don't even want to sell it; they've left the Marketplace in droves over the past few years.
Even at the high prices they're charging, they aren't making a profit, because Obamacare changed the game. Most of those 10 million Americans who DO have Obamacare aren't paying for it themselves – taxpayers are footing the bill. And most of those 10 million Americans who do have Obamacare are already sick, running up medical bills. That's hardly a sustainable business plan for insurers, many of whom have simply gotten out of the health insurance business rather than continuing to bleed money.
Rather than sell on the Obamacare Marketplace, many insurance companies have decided to focus their efforts in other areas, like life insurance, disability insurance, and annuities, basically abandoning the individual health insurance market and those of us who need good, affordable health insurance. There was a time not so long ago when there were dozens – maybe hundreds – of companies selling traditional health insurance. Not any longer – the government took over traditional health insurance business. And killed it.
If you walk into an insurance agent's office today, you will find a ton of brochures offering life insurance policies, auto policies, homeowners policies, disability polices. What you won't find very often are health insurance policies. I often drop by the offices of other agents – and find that most of them are either uninsured themselves, or that they are covered under a spouse's employer's group policy. I've found a few agents covered under an Obamacare policy, but they hate it – and before I leave their office, they've learned about my solution and not only do they switch their own coverage, but sign up to sell our plan, too.
Our solution is modern health insurance – a low-cost plan with a zero deductible that you can use at every medical office and every hospital in the country. It's called the Expected Benefits Plan. We call it that because you know what to expect. You know that you can afford it. You know how much will be paid for a particular event or procedure or doctor visit or medication. You know that it will be accepted by any doctor or hospital. You know that you can concentrate on healing and recovering from your accident or illness instead of stressing over medical bills.
Look. For people who are uninsured and for people who make too much money for Obamacare subsidies and for people who just want affordable, usable health insurance, our Expected Benefits Plan is exactly what you've been searching for.
Expected Benefits is a new kind of health insurance. It's what other companies may soon be offering – but we have led the way. It will save you money, it will reduce or eliminate your medical bills, and it will give you peace of mind.
Unlike traditional health insurance, it is easy on your budget, it eliminates deductibles, and it is accepted everywhere. It pays for or helps pay for doctor and dentist visits, lab work, prescriptions, surgeries, broken arms, broken legs, physicals, mammograms, and pretty much whatever else is medically necessary, It lets you talk with a doctor on the phone through the Teladoc service, at no additional cost. If you are diagnosed with a critical illness – heart attack, internal cancer, stroke, kidney failure, major organ transplant – you'll find a $50,000 check in your mailbox to help you while you're recovering. If you're advised to have a surgery, we'll even find the best doctor and the best price and schedule it for you.
And once accepted, you can keep the Expected Benefits coverage until you're age 65, no matter what may happen to your health status.
Let me tell you a little bit about our team. I'm David Ross. I'm a licensed life and health agent based in Atlanta. Our Expected Benefits Plan is currently available in 22 states, and we expect to be adding four more to that list soon. We have dozens of people at our agency in Nashville backing me up, and over 200 people working for you and me at the home office of New Era / Philadelphia American in Houston, the 100-plus year old insurance company behind our Expected Benefits Plan.
And then there are the people who will be working directly for you, as an Expected Benefits policy owner. You'll have the team at LabCorp, providing you with discounts of up to 80% on your medical labwork. You'll have the entire team at Teladoc, a full staff of licensed medical doctors to take your calls 24/7/365 to discuss any minor health issue you may have, who will call in prescriptions for you if necessary. And you'll have over 900,000 medical doctors and medical facilities and over 4,500 hospitals across the country available to take care of you if you are sick or injured.
Right now, if history holds true, someone reading this is pulling their hair out trying to figure out the health insurance maze, and wondering if they can afford quality health insurance. We have figured out the maze for you. And yes, you can afford our quality health insurance.
Let's pause for a minute. We're pretty choosy about who we cover. Unlike Obamacare, which is required to accept everyone, we don't accept people who already have a serious illness. That's how we keep our premiums so low. However, once you're accepted, you're covered until you're age 65 and you're eligible for Medicare – no matter what happens to your health.
Why don’t you tell me about your health insurance needs? Just a few simple questions about your age, who in your family you want to cover, whether you use tobacco, and your zip code – and I can show you how inexpensive your premium will be. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how little our Plan costs compared to a non-subsidized Obamacare policy or to your current group health policy.
Call or email me for your quote. If you like what you hear – and you will – I'll ask you a few questions about your health, and if you qualify, we'll have you and your family covered with awesome, amazing, and affordable health insurance in just a few days.
Call me at
• Independent Life & Health Insurance Agent
• LegalShield & IDSheld Independent Associate & Director