Thursday, July 28, 2016

House Ways And Means Committee - 3 Ways GOP Health Care Plan Improves Lives

By Coleen Elkins   24-7 Health Insurance 

Dear Readers,

As the November election draws near we will be receiving more documents and information provided by the Federal Government in the form of public Notices. We are posting this for the purposes of keeping our readers informed. Any citizen can request these notices from the government to be delivered to their personal email.

This is not a political statement.

This Summer's health care headlines have not reflected what Americans were promised in 2010.

Premiums are rising, insurers are leaving the market, and too many individuals and families cannot get the care they need.

They’re sobering reminders that our health care system and the Affordable Care Act continues to fail too many Americans. 
As Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) described it:
“Americans today are trapped in a system where bureaucrats in Washington make our health care choices for us. Under Obamacare … patients not only face dramatically higher health care costs, they’ve also lost the power to choose the options right for them.

“Millions of Americans have been forced to pay more for an inadequate plan with fewer options for treatment.” 

House Republicans refuse to settle for a broken health care system and believe Americans deserve a better way.
In June, we proposed our plan to finally provide Americans with high quality and truly affordable health care. Our plan is based on what patients want, not what Washington prescribes. We recognize that individuals and families have unique needs and we make it easier for them to access the care that’s right for them at the price they can afford.
Explaining the premise of our plan, Chairman Brady wrote in USA Today:
“We know that a single 28-year-old in Washington, D.C., a family of four in Huntsville, Texas, and a retired grandpa in Tampa, Fla. have very different health care needs. But we also know that, regardless of their needs, everybody deserves to have the same access to a robust and vibrant health care market with affordable, quality options.

“Americans have asked for years for an alternative to Obamacare. Commonsense, portable, affordable, personalized, high-quality health care is our answer.”
Here’s how our plan improves the lives of all Americans:
  • It expands access to health care: Our plan strengthens employer-sponsored insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. But for those who do not have access to those coverage options, our plan provides an advanceable, refundable tax credit — in other words, portable financial support — for individuals and families to purchase the insurance plan of their choosing. We also preserves patient protections that increase access to health care, including allowing dependents to stay on their parents’ plan until they are 26; prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage to patients based on pre-existing conditions; lifting lifetime caps on medical care; and ensuring standard rates for individuals who have maintained continuous coverage. These policies help ensure all Americans have access to coverage.
  • It increases health care choices: Our plan makes it easier for Americans to find the health care plan that works for them and take it with them — from job to job, state to state, or home to start a business or raise a family. Under our plan, consumers would not be limited to coverage options available only in their state. They can shop across state lines to purchase coverage that meets their needs. Our plan also promotes and strengthens consumer-driven health care options, such as Health Savings Accounts, which empower individuals and families to make their own decisions about how to spend their health care dollars. Additionally, we bolster support for Medicare Advantage — a market–based program proven to expand high-quality, affordable options for our seniors — and move Medicare toward premium support to unleash the power or choice and competition. These policies help ensure all Americans have access to the care and support they need when they need it.
  • It reduces health care costs: By expanding access and increasing choices, our plan spurs competition and innovation — essential drivers for reducing health care costs. For example, our plan incentivizes states to craft premium-reduction programs to make health care more accessible and affordable. Additionally, we remove policies that drive up costs by repealing Obamacare’s most harmful mandates, eliminating layers of federal bureaucracy, and putting control back in the hands of patients and doctors — not politicians and special interests. These policies, combined with the right incentives for individuals to have and keep their coverage, will decrease premium rates by double digits in the individual market, as well as help ensure all Americans can afford to purchase coverage.
Over the next few weeks, the Ways and Means Committee will roll out a series of blogs showing how real Americans will benefit under House Republicans’ health care plan.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2017 Plan Maximum Out of Pocket Updates For Obamacare

By Coleen Elkins       24-7 Health Insurance

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services sets the annual out-of-pocket limits for individual medical plans under The Affordable Care also know as Obamacare.

For 2016 the individual out of pocket limit was set at $6,850.00.

New out of pockets are set for 2017 at $7,150.00 per individual and $14,300 per family. Couple this with rate increase of 30 to 65 percent monthly depending on your health insurance carrier and plan it may seem not so "affordable".

Are You Aging In To Medicare? Be Aware Of Your Options

By Coleen Elkins       24-7 Health Insurance

For those of you turning 65 in the next six months you have several things to learn in order to maximize your benefits.

Some people receive their Medicare card automatically some do not. If your address is not correct with Social Security your Medicare will not reach you.

Ninety days before your 65th birthday you can enroll in Medicare and begin the process of selecting your Medicare Supplement and your Part D prescription drug plan. You can enroll in your Medigap aka Medicare Supplement and Part D 90 days prior to your 65th birthday the month of your birthday and 90 days after your birthday. You can also choose a Medicare Advantage Plan. This seven month "window" is known as your Open Enrollment Period. All benefits are guarantee issue during this time frame.

Beware of this however: If you are currently enrolled in a health plan with a health insurance company that also offers Medicare Advantage Plans the Federal Government is allowing these health insurance companies to auto-enroll you in their Medicare Advantage Plan also known as Part C. This is done by informing you in a letter the action will be taken. This could slip by you very easily if you don't scrutinize every piece of your incoming mail.

A Medicare Advantage Plan is a private health insurance company contracted with Medicare to become responsible for all your medical care. The cost of a Medicare Advantage Plan is very low and you are responsible for out of pocket costs. The networks can be narrow and you could lose your doctors. This may not be the best fit for your personal needs. If you don't opt out you could be locked in. You may not realize you have even been enrolled until you use your benefits and discover you no longer have original Medicare.

Please take the time to read this story published by the Kaiser Foundation and WATCH YOU MAIL!

Kaiser Foundation: Senior Surprise

Need help with your Medicare options? Please contact us today 24-7 Health

Friday, July 15, 2016

Question: Why Has Healthcare Spending Reached $10,345 Per Person?

By Coleen Elkins   24-7 Health Insurance

The per-person cost of healthcare has reached over $10,000 this year.

What is driving the cost. The first thing that comes to mind is the cost of prescriptions drugs. What is driving up the cost of drugs? Try counting in an hours time how many drug commercials you see while watching your favorite television program. Notice how much of that commercial is devoted to disclaimers of how the particular medication can harm you. Commercials "sell" products and goods. RX commercials are televised to prompt you to see your doctor about possibly prescribing this medication for you. Is it possible over the last decade over medicating has made Americans sicker?

Projections indicate health care spending will grow at a faster rate than the national economy over the coming decade. National health expenditure will hit $3.35 trillion this year adding up to $10,345 for every man, woman and child. Medicare and Medicaid are expected to grow more rapidly than private insurance.

Republican nominee for President Donald Trump vows to repeal Obamacare without cutting Medicare (which is currently scheduled under the Obama administration for major benefit reductions over the next 7 years including Hospice Care and Physical Therapy). Democrat Hillary Clinton has promised to expand government health care benefits to include a "single payer system".

Obama's health care law in an attempt to control costs reduced Medicare payments to hospitals and private insurers aka Medicare Advantage Plans. The law increased costs by expanding coverage to millions who previously lacked it. Health insurance premiums will rise 30 to 65 percent for each insured American in 2017 based on insurance carriers filing rate increases for the coming year.

Each of the presidential candidates are going to have to provide a plan to address these costs. How will each of them project fiscal leadership to keep America healthy without driving up government cost and/or passing it on to the consumer?