Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Majority Of People Not Enrolling In Obamacare Say Cost Is The Reason

By: Coleen Elkins

A Kaiser Foundation Survey reveals the majority of those that elected not to enroll in The Affordable Care Act did so because of cost. 83 percent of those that enrolled in private health plans received a tax subsidy. The average cost for a 4 person household in their mid-forties is $880.00 per month for a silver plan without assistance from the Federal Government. If the household income was less than 400 percent of the Federal poverty level the household would have received a $63.00 monthly subsidy according to the Kaiser Foundation calculator.

Click here to read more about the survey

Monday, April 28, 2014

Cuts To Medicare "Home Healthcare" Will Result In Loss Of Services And Jobs

By: Coleen Elkins

Medicare Advantage Plans have received a pardon from Medicare cuts for the time being. So where are the $716 Billion dollar in cuts to Medicare funding the Affordable Care Act going to happen?

The widest cuts possible to Medicare are being allowed by the administration is to the home healthcare benefits. Over the next four years 14 percent will be cut resulting in 40 percent of 11,000 home healthcare agencies receiving less money by 2017. Ninety percent of these healthcare workers are women. Home healthcare is one of the fastest growing job sectors in America. These cuts will result in some of the deepest job cuts in a decade.

Over 3.5 million seniors receive healthcare in their home. Slashing home healthcare services will leave those who can't drive and are most vulnerable without care.

Read more here: Home healthcare cuts

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Employers Encourage Employees To "Drop The Fork"

By Coleen Elkins

More employers are encouraging their employees to drop the fork and pick up their laced shoes. The employers motive is to reduce the cost of healthcare and health insurance in the future. This tactic has some concerned such as older workers that have chronic conditions. It will remain to be seen as whether this will truly have a positive impact once the employer mandate takes effect. Taxes as high as 40 percent could be implemented on more benefit rich plans in 2018.

Read more here

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

State Exchanges Are Now Asking For "Policy" Fees To Cover Deficits

By Coleen Elkins

Some state Affordable Care Act Exchanges are realizing financial shortfalls. In Colorado the Exchange is looking for ways to raise $13M. It is unknown if they have looked at ways to cut costs. They are however looking for ways to create revenue. The Exchange in Colorado is considering a "policy fee" for everyone in Colorado that has health insurance regardless of where they purchased it. They are not calling it a tax. Health insurance policies already are being taxed under the law.

Read more here

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Many Americans Fall Into Health Insurance Coverage Gaps

By Coleen Elkins

There are many ways that American's have fallen into coverage gaps after the first open enrollment of the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare.

Some families have budgets so tight they still can't afford the premium after being awarded a tax subsidy. Some can't or won't make adjustments to their monthly expenses to make a health insurance payment. They will continue to seek services for healthcare as they have in the past.

Some earn too much to obtain a subsidy and have decided to drop their insurance because of the rate increases over the last couple of years. Illegals in the country can't obtain insurance under the law. Dozens of states object to expansion of Medicaid and want to focus on expansion of job creation to get people off of welfare. Some employers have reduced staff hours to avoided providing mandated benefits.

To learn more continue reading: Affordable Care Act Only Chips Away At Core Goal

Monday, April 21, 2014

Healthcare.gov Asking Users To Change Passwords

By Coleen Elkins

Healthcare.gov says there is no evidence that their system has been compromised. The site holds information about each person that has logged into the site. That information is considered protected and private information. This includes social security numbers and financial information of each user that created a user name. Healthcare.gov is now asking all that visited the website to change their passwords now. The concern is  the risk of the Heartbleed virus becoming an issue for the site in the future.

Virus protection is not always a 100 percent guarantee our computers won't be compromised. It seems the day is coming we will have to "insure" against cyber attacks.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Insurer Spends $100 Million In Three Months To Cover Hepatitis C Medicine

By  Coleen Elkins

Unitedhealthcare spent $100 Million Covering medication to treat Hepatitis C in the first 3 months of 2014. The cost is reportedly $80,000.00 per treatment. The expense is spread across all three lines of business at Unitedhealthcare which is Commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid. This cost is straining budgets of government run Medicare and Medicaid. The treatment was approved in December and caught insurers off guard and have impacted their profits in a negative way. Unitedhealthcare also commented President Obama allowing insured to keep their 2013 plans has hurt profits as they premiums are lower than the plans for 2014.

Click here to read more about Higher Cost Lower Profits

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Insurers Send Customers Coupons To Help Them Choose Healthier Foods

By: Coleen Elkins

A marketing firm now has a dozen insurers participating in a coupon mailer to their insureds encouraging them to eat healthier. Apparently it is working. Consumers are reaching less for the boxed  and processed food and purchasing natural healthier choices. They are reducing their sodium intake and visiting the produce isle more frequently. Newspaper coupon sections are still very highly read and people are still clipping. Many of those items are for boxed and processed food still today. It is recommended that you grab your grocery stores weekly sale circular when entering the store to see what fresh vegetable and fish may be on sale. According to a CBS New article it costs about $1.50 a day more to eat healthy.

Click here to read more and watch the CBS New Video

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Millions Have Purchased Health Insurance Privately From Insurers

By:  Coleen Elkins

While Millions of people shopped on the exchange during the Affordable Care Act open enrollment some where shopping elsewhere. Some people did not qualify for a subsidy and knew they did not have to shop through an exchange or Healthcare.gov.

On there own or through the assistance of a health insurance broker millions of people looked for plan options through private insurance companies not participating in the exchanges. It did not save them any money shopping this way. However it gave them many more plan options and they could choose from a wider variety of benefit options such as lower deductibles.

If you do not qualify for a subsidy keep this in mind for next year when open enrollment arrives on November 15th and runs until February 15 2015.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Will Medicare Cover Obesity?

April 15, 2014       By C.M. Elkins

Nearly nine months ago The American Medical Association Declared Obesity a disease. Currently Federal Law prevents Medicare from covering Obesity. Chronic diseases are responsible death of our loved ones. They are costly and put a strain on our health system.

Obesity can lead to chronic disease. The FDA have has approved two medications to help fight obesity. Of course we all must take personal responsibility for our own weight. Sometimes medication is a necessary part of successful weight loss.

Some Medicare Advantage plans encourage seniors to get exercise by offering them gym memberships at no cost. These memberships often offer exercise classes specific for seniors. Some offer classes and education specific to making some simple dietary changes that can help with weight reduction.

The Congressional Budget Office and the actuaries crunched the numbers and found covering the cost of obesity medications too costly. Part D Medicare has reduced the cost of medical care by keeping seniors healthier with more affordable medication. Perhaps they will revisit this again and come to a different conclusion.

You can read more here Fight Obesity With Medicare

Monday, April 14, 2014

Insurance Companies Become Actively Involved In Treatment Of Diabetes

April 14, 2014   by  C.M. Elkins

As the number of insured increase after the Affordable Care Act open enrollment health insurance companies work to help insured manage their disease. The cost of treating unmanaged Diabetes can cost as much as $100,000.00 per year. The insurance companies are reaching out to insureds reminding them to pick up prescribed medication and working to educated them on diet and other ways to manage the disease. Read more here:

Helping patients control Diabetes

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Medicare After The Affordable Care Act

April 13, 2014  by C. M. Elkins

How will the government shift the billions of dollars targeted to fund The Affordable Care Act from Medicare?

One way is to reduce payments to Medicare Advantage Plans that are responsible for their enrollee's care. This could result in higher premiums, higher copays and drug cost to the consumer. Another way is to reduce the amount of money that Medicare pays physicians and hospitals for their services.

The problem is the above mentioned "shift of funds" is not a popular option amongst Medicare beneficiaries or Baby Boomers about to become Medicare eligible. There are high stakes involved in any change for 2014 that is going to raise out of pocket expenses to consumers or reduce benefits. The November elections are on the horizon and savvy voters will be watching this hot topic closely.