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Waiving Reform Goodbye? For Some States It May Be Possible

March 7, 2011 in Affordable Health Insurance, Dependants, Employer Sponsored Plans, Grandfathered Health Plans, Group Health Plans, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance Exchange, Health Insurance Reform, Individual Health Insurance

Waiving Reform Goodbye? For Some States It May Be Possible

By Ashley Ahle
March 7th, 2011

On the eve of February 28th, President Obama announced his support of the Waiver For State Innovation bill, authored by Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Scott Brown. This bill is one of the first bi-partisan acts supported by the President in regards to health care reform.

First proposed back in November of 2010, this bill was only 200 words long, allowing States the Opt out option in 2014 instead 2017. This will eliminate any costs accrued for states already planning to opt out in 2017, by allowing them to avoid costs associated with implementing the Affordable Care Act mandates, IE: individual mandate, employer mandate, health insurance exchanges and the federal design of health insurance coverage.

These costs would potentially be avoided because the federal subsidies allowed to the States could be used to implement health reform how they see fit. Now, the states planning to opt out will have to come up with an alternative reform that meets the following requirements:

1. The State waiver ensures that individuals receive coverage that is at least as comprehensive as under the Federal law.

2. State waiver ensures individuals get coverage as affordable as under federal law.

3. State waiver ensures that as many people are covered as under Federal law.

4. State waiver cannot increase Federal deficit.

These waivers, when granted, will be valid for 5 years with the option to renew after. If states are seen not fulfilling any of the aforementioned requirements, then Federal Overhaul and reform will take effect.

The main problem seen from moving this opt-out up is that without 3 years of complete overhaul experience under their belts, the states may set their figures for grants too high, since there wouldn’t have been enough time to actually see what their costs will be related to insuring their own citizens.

This bi-partisan bill may be just what Washington D.C. needs in order to break the gridlock surrounding the Affordable Care Act. This plan would lessen the government’s rule over health reform (wanted by Conservatives) and would ensure reform happens for everyone (wanted by Liberals).

As stated in previous posts, repeal of reform is extremely unlikely. Many Republicans are still unwilling to ‘reform health reform’ strictly because they are holding out for a full repeal, while their counterparts are making efforts to ensure a bi-partisan agreement can be made. The only thing to do now is wait and see what changes will come. And hope for the best.

Oregon May Have the Answer for Child Only Health Policies

March 3, 2011 in Affordable Health Insurance, Child(ren) Only Health Plans, Dependants, Employer Sponsored Plans, Grandfathered Health Plans, Group Health Plans, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance Agent, Health Insurance Reform, Individual Health Insurance

Oregon May Have the Answer for Child Only Health Policies

By John Rueschenberg & Ashley Ahle of Coverage Point Insurance in Happy Valley, OR

The state of Oregon, a few months ago, restructured child only individual enrollments by switching to open enrollment periods, similar to that of a group open enrollment period. Child only applications are only accepted during the months of February and August of every year with effective dates of either March 1st or September 1st.

Congress Passed a law earlier this week allowing states to create similar laws that will close the loopholes in child only policies applications, which prevent insurance abuse of benefits. In order to keep insurance companies on board, regulation is needed to keep premiums from skyrocketing due people only obtaining coverage after they become sick and with no no consequences.

To simplify the process and reduce risk, annual enrollment periods across the industry, including enrollment for Medicare Advantage plans, should be changed to the month the eldest applicant was born. If this were to happen consumers, insurance companies, agents and the Federal Government would experience more ease when dealing with coverage.

Remembering the month you were born is far easier than researching the dates for the next enrollment period. Making this change would eliminate confusion that comes with purchasing an insurance policy. Enrollment periods that are lumped into a small time frame, like what currently happens for Medicare, group coverage and now child only policies in Oregon, increases the chances for error and reduces the quality of service, by creating an increased workload for the government, insurance companies and agents involved with enrollment.

Not only would changing the open enrollment period to the month of birth lessen the workload, it would also reduce the amount of SPAM email consumers receive year round. Instead of soliciting year round, agents and companies would only focus on the weeks leading up to the insureds birthday, making it easier for all parties involved.

Under health care reform, insurance companies are prohibited from denying any child with pre-existing conditions. Due to this change, many companies have either adopted the open enrollment periods or have stopped offering child only policies all together. Although companies are allowed to offer them outside enrollment periods, they are still prohibited from denying any child thus allowing people the opportunity to only gain coverage when an illness occurs, therefore driving up costs for everyone.

Not only would the birth month enrollment periods ease workloads across the industry, many more consumers would find it easier to obtain coverage and in turn, more people would be covered. Which is the goal of health care overhaul all together.

Five Points of Focus For House Republicans in Efforts To Repeal “Job-Killing Health Care Act”

February 1, 2011 in Affordable Health Insurance, Dependants, Employer Sponsored Plans, Grandfathered Health Plans, Group Health Plans, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance Exchange, Health Insurance Reform, Individual Health Insurance, Specialists

Five Points of Focus For House Republicans in Efforts To Repeal “Job-Killing Health Care Act”

February 1, 2011
By Ashley Ahle

As you may know, House Republicans are leading a huge effort to repeal Health Care Reform. The following points are claims that have been made in order to sway voters, however what you may find is that these claims are not all true.

There are aspects of the Affordable Care Act that need to be revised, however a full repeal of the law at this time would cost billions of taxpayer dollars and truthfully, is just unlikely. Here are the main issues being argued in favor of repeal.

1. House Republicans claim that the Affordable Care Act will lose 1.6 million jobs.

This claim is outdated and comes from a National Federal Independent Business study of a completely different Reform proposal made back in 2009. This proposal stated that ALL employers must provide coverage. Under the ACA, businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from providing coverage. In reality, the ACA would ADD jobs due to the rise in demand for health services.

2. The ACA would destroy 650 thousand jobs.

A report from the Congressional Budget Office states that “650 thousand people will work less and retire early” if they don’t have to depend on their employers for coverage. Hopefully the ACA will cut premium costs, making individual insurance more affordable. If that happens and the 650 thousand people do stop working, that’s not because the ACA is making them. Those jobs are still available. Nowhere in the ACA does it state there will be a 650 thousand person job loss.

3. The Obama Administrations own speaker for Medicare and Medicaid says the ACA will actually INCREASE spending on health care.

While spending is expected to increase, it’s only because there will be more people with coverage able to receive care. The demand for services will rise, yes. But the spending isn’t rising because of ballooning prices caused by the ACA.

4. Republicans say the ACA will cost $2.6 trillion, and add $701 billion to the deficit.

This estimate comes directly from the House Republicans themselves, and is based off of future actions that may not ever come to fruition. It contradicts an earlier estimate made by the non-partisan group, CBO. According to them, REPEALING the reform act would increase the deficit by $230 billion. Selectively discrediting the CBO estimations only acts to ruin the credibility of the Republicans since the CBO acts objectively.

5. The Obama administration says 129 million Americans have pre-existing conditions and could be denied coverage.

While this fact may be true, one has to realize that the majority of those people are insured by their employers. Therefore, people who work for the large companies with those conditions don’t have an affect on access to insurance. This makes it impossible for over 100 million people to lack options for insurance coverage.
In fact, since November of 2010 over 8,000 uninsured people have gained access to coverage due to the high-risk-pools put into action by health reform.

While these arguments are being made and held up in some courts across the country, all in all health reform is not going away. It would cost too much to fully repeal it, and breaking it down piece by piece would only strengthen it more.

Another Lawsuit Against ObamaCare Survives a Preliminary Challenge

January 20, 2011 in Affordable Health Insurance, Child(ren) Only Health Plans, Doctors, eHealthInsurance.com, Group Health Plans, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance Agent, Health Insurance Exchange, Health Insurance Quotes, Health Insurance Reform, Individual Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Permanent Life Insurance, Primary Care Physician, Specialists, Term Life Insurance, Uncategorized, Whole Life Insurance

Another Lawsuit Against ObamaCare Survives a Preliminary Challenge
October 14, 2010 6:32 pm

The rulings keep rolling in on the constitutionality of the federal reform law. On Thursday, a federal judge in Florida refused to dismiss the lawsuit brought by a group of state attorneys general( led by Florida’s Bill McCollum), although he threw out several of the suit’s lesser claims. (Here’s the ruling, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.) That’s the second such decision; a federal judge in Virginia held in August that the Commonwealth’s attorney general could proceed with a similar lawsuit. On the flip side, a federal judge in Michigan ruled earlier this month against a lawsuit that had been brought by the Thomas More Law Center, declaring that the law’s requirement to buy was constitutional….

— Jon Healey

Health Insurance Exchanges Should Not Be Like eHealthInsurance

September 20, 2010 in Affordable Health Insurance, eHealthInsurance.com, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance Agent, Health Insurance Exchange, Health Insurance Quotes, Health Insurance Reform, Individual Health Insurance

Health Insurance Exchanges Should Not Be Like eHealthInsurance
By John Rueschenberg
CoveragePoint.com

Two months ago, I had a meeting with Mary, a director at a reputable health insurance company. Mary’s name has been changed and her company’s name will not be disclosed to protect her identity. Mary and I were talking about the different insurance agencies and the amount of production that they bring to her company each year. Not at all to my surprise, her number one producer of individual health plans was and has been eHealthInsurance. eHealthInsurance is the largest online insurance agency, owned by publicly traded company eHealth Inc. We have all seen their TV commercials for affordable health insurance. The truth is that the rates are no different if you apply using eHealthInsurance, another agency or if you apply directly to the company by yourself. It will be the same rate no matter what, but keep in mind that an agent can help you and keep you from making a costly mistake, so that is why you should always use an agent.

Most will agree, the ongoing history of publicly traded companies is to make a huge profit and achieve excellent numbers so that they can keep their stock holders happy. While some publicly traded companies do care about customer service, many others don’t. I have never been to the eHealthInsurance’s headquarters before nor have I spoken to someone who works for, or previously worked for the company, therefore I don’t know exactly how they operate. What I do know and can share with you are the experiences of others who have dealt with the company at one time or another.

In my meeting with Mary, she described eHealthInsurance as her double edged sword. They continually have brought Mary’s company the most new individual health business, but eHealthInsurance has had an ongoing history of not providing adequate service to their clientele after the policy is issued. Mary also said of the people who applied for one of her companies health plans using eHealthInsurance.com, that ongoing for years now, eHealthInsurance has had the highest percentage of policies not taken after an application was submitted. “Not taken” is an insurance term meaning someone applied, but for one reason or another the policy was never issued. Similar stories are out there on websites such as Epinions.com and other product or service review websites. Interestingly enough, one of the automatically generated search terms that Google gives is “eHealthInsurance scam.” The Better Business Business Bureau of North Eastern California alone has received 22 complaints in the past 36 months for eHealthInsurance.

Ordinarily, I’m not about attacking someone or a company and pointing out their flaws, but this has changed because EhealthInsurance has made the recommendation that the new health insurance exchanges starting up over the next few years should operate similar to how eHealthInsurance.com does now. While lack of service does sound like how most government agencies have long been operating; such as the Department of Motor Vehicle, the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration, the US population as a whole is not looking for health care to operate as another poorly serviced government agency.

There are other sites out there that do provide the same great online experience as eHealthInsurance, but also offer ongoing service for years to come. Websites like CoveragePoint.com give you the same great online service as eHealthInsurance.com does, but they instead have an ongoing reputation of being there for you when sticky situations come along. It is important that the example of the health insurance exchanges follow the examples of agents and agencies who have built a solid reputation of being there after the policy is issued. The agent is the person who is supposed to be there for you at the hardest time, such as when dealing with a difficult claim, especially if you have to deal with multiple insurance companies. An agent helps you during the application process, prevents you from making a simple mistake that would otherwise hold up your application in underwriting for days or weeks longer than necessary, or cause for you to receive a higher premium. An agent can help prevent a decline or a rider. An agents advice and experience are both invaluable and free to the consumer.

Circumstance and claims often do happen where you are dealing with your health insurance company, your auto insurance insurance company and Workman’s Comp; all three at once, or two at the same time for the same injury or claim. More than likely, each company wants the other to pay the claim, so often times none of them pay. Your agent is there to get you through these unfortunate circumstances as your personal representative. Your agent is supposed to be on your side. They should help you figure out the mess and point you in the right direction. The example of health insurance exchanges should not be eHealthInsurance, but instead the example should be that of agents and agencies who have built a solid reputation of being there for their clients when they are needed.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS) projects that the expense of health care would be 0.3% less by the year 2019 had the health care reform bill never passed. CMS also predicts health insurance exchanges are expected to cost roughly a total of $220 billion just to start up by 2014. Between 2014 through 2019, the health insurance exchanges are predicted to cost an additional $37.7 billion to operate. Roughly 85% of US health insurance policies are issued with the assistance of an agent. When you consider that about 85% of policies are issued using an agent, the duplicated efforts of exchanges will be a waste of taxpayer dollars. Eliminating the creation of the exchanges all together will save over $250 billion between now and 2019; health care savings would be seen and achieved much sooner. The creation of the health insurance exchanges will simply be a waste of time and taxpayer money, especially if they will be run like any other poorly serviced government agency. There is no reason to reinvent what has already been proven to work.

Health Reform News & Updates – Health Insurance Quotes & Affordable Health Insurance Plans – Compare Health Insurance Rates

June 9, 2010 in Affordable Health Insurance, Child(ren) Only Health Plans, Doctors, eHealthInsurance.com, Group Health Plans, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Insurance Agent, Health Insurance Exchange, Health Insurance Quotes, Individual Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Permanent Life Insurance, Primary Care Physician, Specialists, Term Life Insurance, Whole Life Insurance

Health Reform News & Updates – Health Insurance Quotes & Affordable Health Insurance Plans – Compare Health Insurance Rates.

Why Should I Work With An Agent?

June 7, 2008 in Affordable Health Insurance, Group Health Plans, Health Care, Health Insurance Agent, Health Insurance Quotes, Individual Health Insurance

The internet has made shopping for insurance easier. Instead of driving around town to meet with an agent, you can compare rates, benefits, and apply online. Some insurance companies even let you apply right from their website.

Does it still make sense to have an agent help you choose a plan? You bet.

Agents are insurance experts. It’s their job to help you shop plans from leading carriers so you can be confident you’ve found the best rates and benefits for you.

4 Reasons To Work With An Insurance Agent
When you consider all the benefits, working with an agent just makes good sense.

  1. Agents guide you through the process. Buying an insurance policy can be complicated. An agent walks you through each step of the process and helps you make sense of all the “insurance-speak”.
  2. Agents offer you choice. Your agent has a portfolio of plans to choose from, often from multiple companies. Your agent will know which policy will protect you the best. They’ll even know which company is most likely to accept your application.
  3. Agents troubleshoot mistakes. A mistake on your application can cause a company to raise your rates or even reject your application. Your agent will help you fill out your application correctly so you get the rates you deserve.
  4. It’s free. This is the best part about getting insurance through an agent. Agents collect payment from the companies they represent. So you get all the advice you want — absolutely free.

As professional agents, we’re happy to help you find the best plan. You can compare popular plans on our website, too. Get started now with your free online health insurance quotes.

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