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Secrets To Getting The Best Individual Health Insurance Quotes
Health insurance quotes are something that almost everyone is afraid of. As much as possible, people want to save on these quotes and try to get the lowest quote possible out there. This is not really that tough, if you follow a couple of simple tricks and then try to apply for insurance in this manner. In fact, people have been able to save quite a bit by following these tips and managed to get really low individual health insurance quotes. You too can gain from this by just following some of these instructions.
If you want to get the best individual health insurance quotes, then you should know the agent that you ought to approach for getting this taken care of. There are a number of different agents out there that you can go to and have this issue taken care of. Look around and research your options so that you are able to get the right agent to have the insurance quotes. It might take a little time to get the best possible quote, but you should be able to get it with minimal effort. In fact, these quotes do fluctuate quite a bit, depending on who provided them for you, which is why you ought to take care of getting the right ones.
Another option that can help you get really low individual health insurance quotes is if you compare the different quotes and check out the ones which are genuinely low. This too shouldn’t be a problem as such, and you should be able to perform a comparison after getting a sufficient number of quotes. There are a lot of different agents that can help you on this regard and get you some good numbers. When you compare, it is possible to get really low rates and ensure that you are in fact getting the best value for your money.
If you smoke or drink heavily, then add insurance costs as yet another reason to give it up for good. Heavy smokers and alcoholics have very high individual health insurance quotes, which is because of the risk that they pose for the insurance company. The cost differences are phenomenal and you might be quite shocked at how much money one can save by simply kicking the butt. Hence, rising insurance costs should perhaps give you the push to give the habit up for good.
There are some other techniques using which it is possible to get some truly low health insurance for individuals. As you look around trying to get these quotes, you might be able to save more money and try to ensure that you don’t simply waste money on insurance for no apparent reason. In many cases, people have been able to save a significant amount of money following these tips. You too should give them a try and see how much you can save. Don’t be alarmed if you end up saving quite a bit of money! In most cases, this is pretty much what is expected to happen.
Heathy Eating, The Secret to – Advanced Health Institute
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Looking For The Best Online Health Insurance Quotes?
When you’re in the business of looking for the best online health insurance quotes, you need to start off slowly and get all the pieces of the puzzle put together before you start so that you can be assured of getting the best policies.
That means you’ll need some background if you don’t already have it on how the Internet and the health insurance industry work together. Like anything else, there are places to get better health insurance quotes than others, and having some knowledge will help you understand what you need to look for.
First and foremost, you need to find a place that has an outstanding reputation in the health insurance industry. That means that you need to look at a few deciding factors including,
Testimonials on the website. It’s a great recommendation when past customers like the work that a firm does getting them online health insurance quotes so much that they comment on the website. It’s a sure way to know they have a great reputation. Variety. Your health insurance needs will change as time goes on and that means that you’ll need to work with a company that can change with you. You can start with a family health insurance policy that covers all of you needs, but eventually you’ll need student health insurance as the children grow up and go to college. Agents. These are the soldiers of the whole enterprise. The health insurance agents that you chose are the ones that you’ll be working with closely. They need to be both trained and licensed so that you can get the best online health insurance quotes to bring everything in on budget.
And everything needs to come together under the banner of a great free quotes system. The one that they have here at Insurance Care Direct has a few steps that assure you of the best online health insurance quotes possible.
When you need these quotes, it’s in your best interest to make sure that you get them from professionals. Use the people that have been in the business of health insurance long enough that they understand the best ways to go about getting your needs met without going over budget.
You need to be realistic as well. While you need to get the best health insurance possible, you need to be aware of the fact that the best most comprehensive policy means nothing if you can’t pay the premiums.
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Find The Best Texas Health Insurance Quotes
One cannot deny the importance of having a health insurance in today’s times where incidences of illnesses and diseases are constantly on the rise. This is applicable for all regions around the world and Texas is no exception. This need to have a health insurance becomes even more essential if you are forced to visit any doctor for an illness of any magnitude or nature and are unable to pay the medical bill. Once you realize the importance of procuring cheap health insurance Texas for you and your family, you must do some research in terms of the best Texas health insurance quotes that are provided by insurance companies in this region.
It is true that every health insurance policy has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. It is quite difficult to find something that would be the ideal choice for you and your family. Yet it always better to make an informed decision rather than an ignorant one. If you are looking for the best Texas health insurance quotes in order to procure cheap health insurance Texas, you should first know that are two basic plans or policies for health care that you can consider opting for. These are broadly classified into the ‘Fee-for-Service’ plans and the ‘Managed Care Health’ plans.
The plans falling under the category of Managed care essentially function through a network of reputed doctors. This entails that you will receive medical coverage if you visit any hospital or doctor that is mentioned in the list of this plan’s network. On the other hand, the plans belonging to the category of fee-for-service or indemnity plans, give you the liberty to visit any hospital or doctor of your individual choice or preference. These plans are more expensive but provide greater flexibility to the patients. Thus, before obtaining Texas health insurance quotes in order to locate cheap health insurance Texas, you should select the type of insurance that will suit you best.
To obtain cheap health insurance Texas, you can also consider ordering Texas health insurance quotes online. If you do some research online, you will find countless websites that advertise prices and quotes of different heath plans that their company offers. You will not only find details about the various prices and plans, but also be provided with guidance in terms of the most feasible and suitable option for your individual requirements. You can consider ordering brochures of the best insurance companies and make a comparison between their co-payments, deductibles, coinsurance, premiums, preventive care, diseases they seek to cover and the coverage that they will provide in the case of prescription drugs.
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Health insurance quotes reform Obamacare updates
Health care spending projections for the next decade, published in the journal Health Affairs last week, appeared to have a little something for everyone. Prepared by Medicare’s Office of the Actuary, the report notes that health care spending will increase 0.2 percent faster than previously projected due to the health reform law’s many changes to the system. As a result, The New York Times proclaimed that the “health plan won’t fuel big spending,” causing an annual spending increase of 6.3 percent rather than 6.1 percent. The Christian Science Monitor, on the other hand, warned that reform will definitely cause health insurance costs to rise and that Americans should be on guard for big increases in 2014 when many of the law’s major provisions kick in. Spending on health insurance is expected to increase 12.8 percent in 2014 as millions of uninsured Americans gain coverage. However one interprets the results of the report, it is clear that rising health care costs remain unfinished business.
ARIZONA: The Senate has established an Ad-Hoc Committee on the Impacts of Health Care Reform Implementation. The Committee will hold its initial meeting later this month. The preliminary agenda includes: Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (Medicaid) requirements; insurance reforms; impacts on health care providers; and tax implications. Members appointed to the committee include AHIP retained counsel, clinical and employer representatives, and representatives of the Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank.
COLORADO: The Division of Insurance (DOI) has applied for a million health insurance exchange grant. If awarded, the funds will be used for research and developing recommendations for implementation of an exchange. Specific areas mentioned include modeling on adverse selection, value choices, increasing actuarial staff and determining the actuarial effects of benefit packages within an exchange and in the external regulated market. The Department of Regulatory Agencies finalized three regulations that define the standardized electronic identification and communications systems to be used by all health plans operating in Colorado. The regulations are the result of 2008 legislation requiring carriers to use systems certified by the Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange (CORE). Carriers must be able to demonstrate their compliance by Sept. 1, 2012.
DELAWARE: The Department of Insurance (DOI) has issued a bulletin regarding recently enacted legislation that prohibits rescissions based on medical claims underwriting. The legislation signed into law by Governor Markell on August 30th prohibits rescission, cancellation, or limitation once an enrollee is covered, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of a material fact. Effective Sept. 23, 2010, prior approval by the Commissioner or her designee is required before a health insurer may rescind, cancel or limit existing coverage based on written health or medical information.
LOUISIANA: The DOI has applied for a grant related to health insurance exchanges. Aetna, along with the Louisiana Association of Health Plans, will participate in a meeting with the DOI to discuss the grant and other issues related to health care reform.
NEW JERSEY: The Department of Banking & Insurance (DOBI) last week issued a bulletin providing template contract riders that insurance carriers can use for the large group market and the (non-reform) individual and small employer markets to describe changes to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The rider templates, which may be used by carriers without submission to DOBI for formal review or approval, address the following health benefit plan requirements: Extension of coverage to dependents; annual and lifetime dollar limits; first-dollar coverage of preventive services; limitations on preexisting condition exclusions; and rescissions. A carrier not using the rider template must submit their own forms for DOBI’s formal review and filing, or approval to bring benefit plans into compliance by September 23, 2011.
OKLAHOMA: DOI Commissioner Kim Holland and staff hosted an informational stakeholder meeting last week to discuss the DOI’s plans for creation and implementation of Oklahoma’s exchange under the PPACA. DOI intends to use issue-specific working groups to manage the task going forward. The state’s online Medicaid enrollment process went live September 7 and processed over 2,000 applications with a 60 percent approval rate the first 28 hours. Over 400 apps came from hospitals that provided overwhelmingly positive feedback. This web tool was referenced as a possible “starting point” of the exchange’s eventual infrastructure. The DOI submitted an application for a million Exchange Planning Grant in August and expects to hear a decision from HHS by the end of this month. If awarded, the money will be used, in part, to hire a consultant to assist with an RFP to hire a vendor to help build the exchange. Other topics of conversation focused on the more technical and difficult aspects of building an exchange, such as coordinating billing/payment through employers, collecting and reporting data on those entitled to tax or premium credits and cost sharing subsidies, allowing/finding/identifying navigators to assist consumers, and deciding if any additional state benefits/mandates would be included in coverage. Aetna will stay active in this process by serving on future workgroups when appropriate.
WYOMING: The DOI has submitted its plan for a health insurance exchange grant to the federal government. The DOI will use 0,000 to fund a study, to be overseen by a Governor’s task force, of the feasibility of three exchange options. The options include (1) operating a Wyoming state exchange, (2) participating in a regional exchange, or (3) allowing HHS to run the exchange. This study would occur in two phases: phase one would help educate task force members and consult with stakeholders and experts on operating an exchange in the state; phase two would include implementing the recommendations of the task force if it is decided that Wyoming should participate in the operation of an exchange. DOI has indicated that no legislative action is necessary to carry out the duties of the grant, unless the state decides to pursue the operation of an exchange. The white paper also outlines that several key governmental agencies will participate in the efforts, which will be facilitated by the University of Wyoming.
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Health Insurance Quotes Reform Obamacare & Buying Individual Health Insurance
This Week in Health Care Reform
Following the election of Republican Scott Brown to the Massachusetts State Senate last week and the resulting loss of Senate Democrats’ supermajority, lawmakers continue to pave the way for health care reform – with limited progress. In addition, polls indicate that the public would rather lawmakers focus more on the economy than on health care.
President Obama Gives State of the Union Address: On Wednesday evening, President Barack Obama delivered his first State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. Having hoped to have a health care reform bill on his desk prior to his address, the President instead used his speech to encourage Congress to push forward on health care reform. Yet, he did not give specific guidance as to how to proceed with the legislation. Instead, he made it clear that his primary focus would be on jobs and the economy.
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Democrats Still Seek Way Forward: While vowing not to give up, Democratic Senate leaders indicated Tuesday that they no longer felt pressure to move quickly on health care reform; and, in the wake of the Massachusetts election and in reaction to public opinion, they shifted focus to jobs and the economy. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) commented that there is “no rush” on health care and said that he and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) were working to map out a way to complete health care reform in the coming months. On Wednesday, Sen. Pelosi floated a two-pronged strategy to pass incremental changes now and pursue comprehensive reform later.
Some lawmakers have considered breaking up the legislation into smaller pieces that have bipartisan support. However, this option will prove challenging given the complexities and interdependencies of the measures. For example, lawmakers would like to include a measure that requires all insurance companies to insure those with pre-existing conditions; however, premiums will most likely increase unless there is an individual mandate.
Earlier this week, Democrats appeared to be coalescing around a different strategy through which Senate lawmakers would make changes to their bill to appease members of the House. The Senate would then pass the revised bill via reconciliation, which only requires 51 votes. Following that, the House would approve the revised bill, giving it to President Obama for his review. However, movement on this strategy stalled Tuesday when two centrist Senators, Sens. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AK), indicated that they would oppose using reconciliation to bypass Republican support. Others, including Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), have suggested a “time out” on health care reform until there is a clear path forward.
In the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell said that Republicans share the Democrats’ desire for health care reform, but do not agree with their proposed solutions. Republicans suggest that Democrats scrap the current proposals and start over with more Republican input on issues such as medical malpractice reform and selling insurance policies across state lines.
Republicans Call for Transparency: On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up a resolution presented by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) which requested that the administration divulge documentation regarding the health care reform deals made with trade associations and a labor union. Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) said that while details remained to be worked out, he would support a narrowed version of the Republican request for White House records.
President Obama to Speak with House Republicans: President Obama will meet with House Republicans on Friday in response to an invitation to speak at their annual retreat in Baltimore that begins Thursday and ends Saturday. The meeting comes just after the President’s State of the Union address, and members of the news media speculate that the meeting may spur more bipartisanship or potentially lead to even more tension between the two parties.
Interest Groups Call for Reform: With health care reform’s fate in jeopardy, interest groups have voiced their support, encouraging Democrats to push forward with legislation. The AARP, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Consumers Union, Families USA and Service employees International Union sent a joint letter last Thursday urging Congress not to abandon comprehensive health care reform. Further, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also sent a letter to Congress urging a push for reform.
Polls Show Concern with Health Care Reform; More Focus on Jobs and Economy: Several polls were released this week that highlight the public’s disenchantment with health care reform and anxiety around the struggling economy.
A new CNN/Opinion Research poll released Tuesday shows that only three in ten Americans say they want Congress to pass legislation similar to the bills currently being discussed in Congress. Forty-eight percent of Americans would like lawmakers to start again on a new bill, and 21 percent believe Congress should not work on bills that would change the current health care system. Further, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll released Wednesday found that 51 percent of Americans believe President Obama has paid “too little attention” to the economy and that 44 percent feel he has paid “too much attention” to his proposed health care overall.
In addition, a new USA Today/Gallup poll released late last week finds that most Americans call for a more bipartisan effort in health reform. A 55 percent majority of Americans say that President Obama and Congressional Democrats should suspend movement on health care reform and consider alternatives that would increase Republican support.
A poll released last weekend by the Washington Post , Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University’s School of Public Health indicated that dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, including the Democrats’ health care reform proposals, drove the outcome of the Massachusetts election. The post-election survey of Massachusetts state voters showed that overall 43 percent say they support the health care reform proposals advanced by President Obama and Congressional Democrats, while 48 percent oppose them.
A new poll released Monday from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that fears regarding the health care reform package increased significantly in December as members of the Senate finalized their bill. Thirty-three percent of respondents said they believed their access to care would worsen if the legislation passed, up from 25 percent in November. Forty-two percent said the country’s finances would suffer under reform, compared with 34.6 percent in November.
Next week, the President will present his Budget to Congress (which includes health programs), after which Congressional hearings will commence. We expect health reform to be discussed in these sessions. While there remains no clear path forward for health care reform, Congressional leaders will continue to work to find a solution.
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Health Insurance Reforms Easy To Insure Me Health Insurance Quotes
President Obama’s Health Insurance Bill
President Obama Releases New Health Care Proposal in Time for Health Summit: On Monday February 22, 2010, White House officials unveiled a new health insurance reform overhaul that builds on the Senate version passed last Christmas Eve, with some changes aimed at pleasing House Democrats who had concerns with the Senate bill. The President’s proposal does not include the public option, despite the hopes of Senate Democrats, due to White House concerns that the provision will hinder passage in the Senate. President Obama ignored requests by Republicans to scratch the Democratic plan and start over. As such, Republican leaders questioned Democratic motives and labeled the bill as a massive government takeover of America’s health care system.
Republicans Insist House Democrats Don’t Have the Votes to Pass Legislation: Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced on Wednesday that Democrats don’t have the necessary votes to pass the President’s proposal in the House because of three new House vacancies and lagging support among some moderate Democrats. At issue for some Democrats are weaker abortion provisions in the President’s proposal as well as the ongoing controversy over passing a bill by a simple majority, a process known as reconciliation.
On Thursday, the President’s Health Care Summit began at 10:00 a.m. with opening comments from the President, followed by remarks from both Republicans and Democrats. The discussion centered on four themes: controlling health care costs, overhauling the insurance market, reducing the deficit and expanding insurance coverage. Prior to Thursday, several top Republicans and some Democrats stated that expectations were extremely low for the Summit’s success.
House Republicans arrived armed with their own version of a health care bill that encourages small businesses to join together to buy insurance, gives federal money to states to run high-risk pools for those unable to obtain private insurance and limits damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. The Republican plan would cost billion and cover three million people over ten years. In contrast, President Obama contends his plan would cost 0 billion and cover 30 million people over the same time period. However, officials at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) indicated they would not be able to officially score the President’s proposal with just a summary – that legislative language is needed.
Note: A full summary of the results from the Health Care Summit will be included in next week’s newsletter
WellPoint Executives Defend Premium Increases: On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing to examine the proposed health insurance premium increases by Anthem Blue Cross in California. Anthem, a WellPoint subsidiary, recently informed subscribers in California that premiums for individual insurance policies would be raised an average of 25 percent, with some rates going up as much as 39 percent. Angela Braly, president of WellPoint , said the premium increases were justified by soaring medical costs, and that pending legislation could make the problem worse, driving up costs further for young, healthy people.
“Raising our premiums was not something we wanted to do,” Ms. Braly said . “But we believe this was the most prudent choice, given the rising cost of care and the problems caused by many younger and healthier policyholders dropping or reducing their coverage during tough economic times. By law, premiums must be reasonable in relationship to benefits provided, which means they need to reflect the known and anticipated costs they will cover.”
In Sacramento , Leslie Margolin, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, also testified before lawmakers, joined by vice president and general manager James Oatman. The focus of that hearing was also the proposed premium increase for California members in the individual market, with company executives pointing to the current economic climate and rising health care costs as reasons for the rate hikes.
U.S. House of Representatives Repeals Antitrust Exemption from Health Insurance Companies: On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted 406-19 in favor of repealing a 65-year-old antitrust exemption from health insurance companies. Democrats said the repeal would lead to increased scrutiny of the industry. Yet, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said last year that repealing the exemption would not significantly reduce premiums because states already investigate health insurance companies.
In addition, industry executives pointed out that legislation could further hinder competition and the ability to share information to improve health care quality. “Health insurance is one of the most regulated industries in America at both the federal and the state levels,” said Karen Ignani, president and chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). “The real focus should be on addressing the rising cost of medical care, which is putting an unsustainable burden on families, employers and the federal budget,” she said.
Polling Suggest Health Care Reform is Still Key to Economic Recovery: Recent polling on health care reform shows mixed reaction among the public over the proposed legislation. According to a recent CNN poll, 48 percent of those questioned said lawmakers should work on an entirely new bill and 25 percent felt that Congress should stop work on health care reform altogether.
According to the monthly poll from the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 75 percent of Americans still think it’s important that Obama include health care reform in addressing the nation’s economic crisis, while many still harbor doubts about the legislation.
When asked how health care legislation relates to their economic situation:
* Nearly 31 percent said they thought the Democratic bills would make their personal financial situation worse, compared with 10 percent who said it would improve their family budgets. * Forty-two percent said the nation’s fiscal condition would suffer because of the legislation, compared with 26 percent who said it would get better. * Americans were divided on whether the Democrats’ approach would improve overall access to health care around the country, with 35 percent saying it would and nearly that many disagreeing.
Health Insurance Coverage Varies Widely Based on Age: Coming just before the President’s Summit on Health Care Reform, a newly released Gallup Poll reinforces the wide degree of variability in health insurance coverage across U.S. population segments, especially when it comes to age. Eighty-four percent of 18-year-olds have health insurance, most likely because they are still covered under their parents’ policies. By age 22, health insurance coverage reaches its lowest point, with just 66 percent maintaining coverage. From age 22 on, the percentage of Americans with health insurance begins to climb, albeit slowly, reaching the 95 percent level at age 65 when Medicare becomes an option.
Legislators need to determine next steps for health care legislation coming out of the President’s Health Care Reform Summit. On Wednesday, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius invited executives from the top five insurance companies to meet at HHS to discuss their companies’ insurance premiums.
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Best Catastrophic Health Insurance – Compare Lots Of Health Insurance Quotes At Once
Looking for information on Best Catastrophic Health Insurance? You can review the best health insurance rates available online using certain websites. Click here to get the best deals on health insurance from different companies.
To go on without having health insurance is not a very bright idea. One can get sick anytime and injuries can occur when one least expects them. Expenses can add up real quick since health care is by no means cheap.
In the event that an injury or ailment should come up and there is no health insurance, the finances needed to cover such misfortunes could be too overwhelming for many people. Since medical aid can be so costly, it’s crucial for folks to find and obtain low-cost health coverage.
Several are the companies who provide medical insurance. Getting matched with the right health insurance policy is important and these companies carry several packages to ensure a proper match.
It can get pretty hard to get a hold of the appropriate insurance policy. You have to find the ideal coverage and make sure that the cost is in the range that you can comfortably afford. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get insurance rates online so you can get the best rates out there.
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Getting a Best Catastrophic Health Insurance is simple, you just need to provide basic information into a form when using a health quote service. The policy figures from all the different providers will be made available to you so you can compare them. You can pick out those insurance plans that give you exactly what you need and that are within your financial reach.
Another great benefit of using online health insurance quote websites is that you save time. To get insurance quotes independently of each other from the providers, you would need to sit down and spend a few hours to get it all accomplished. Happily, however, you can take advantage of free sites to collect quotes from the insurance providers almost immediately.
To find out more about Best Catastrophic Health Insurance and to collect free insurance rates, go here.
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Best Online Health Insurance – Low Cost Health Insurance Quotes
Are you needing Best Online Health Insurance? Certain websites will allow you to find the best health insurance rates online. Find the best deals on health insurance now by going here.
It’s a bad idea to keep going on without health care coverage. Injuries are unpredictable and illnesses can strike at any time. Because health care is not cheap by any means, expenses can really add up fast.
In reality, if an accident or ailment comes up and you have no insurance you could be cleaned out financially. Today’s medical care is so expensive that people need to secure a low-priced health care policy.
There are many organizations that provide health care insurance. So people can pick what fits their needs best, these agencies provide multiple different insurance packages.
Acquiring the proper health insurance policy can be hard work. You must get an ideal coverage and make sure you get it for a price that is within the range that you are comfortable paying. As a result, it’s a great plan to compare health insurance quotes online to figure out who will give you the most coverage for the least amount of money.
Get a free health insurance quote now.
You just have to complete a form asking basic information when using a website to get Best Online Health Insurance. You will get a number of different insurance policies from different providers to review the prices and policy figures from all the different providers. Finally, you can sort out the insurance policies that meet your needs and that you are comfortable paying.
You will save a lot of time and frustration by using an online health quote site. It would take hours to go to every single insurance provider’s website and get a quote. Thankfully you can get quotes from all the insurance companies in a matter of minutes by using free health quote websites.
Go here to acquire a free quote and to learn more about Best Online Health Insurance.
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Health Insurance Reform From Easytoinsureme Health Insurance Quotes
Owing to multiple blizzards in Washington, Congress started its President’s Day recess a full week early and conducted no official business last week. However, there was some legislative drama as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the rug out from under Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus by scrapping the Baucus jobs bill (without warning), which contained many health insurance items, and replacing it with a stripped down, narrow jobs bill. Whether the health items Baucus originally inserted with Republican help will make it back to the table remains fuzzy. Among the health items that have been dropped are: the COBRA eligibility extension (to May 31); the “doc fix” (to October, 2010) of Medicare reimbursement rates; and the favorable statutory direction to CMS to calculate the 2011 Medicare Advantage rates “as if” the doc fix were in place.
California health insurance The Office of Patient Advocacy released a report card on the state’s HMOs last week. Aetna received 3 out of 4 stars. The goal of the report card is to allow consumers to compare how well health plans use personal medical records and help address conditions such as asthma, arthritis and diabetes.
COLORADO: Governor Bill Ritter held a press conference to announce what he calls “the next round of reforms that represent common sense.” His legislative package includes bills to preclude insurance companies from charging different rates due to a person’s gender, ensure that women have access to breast cancer screening, assure plain language is used in insurance forms, standardize insurance applications and explanations of benefits, and encourage greater use of online tools to enroll people in public programs. Apart from the Governor’s proposals, a bill that would establish a public option was also introduced.
CONNECTICUT: In a short legislative session of only three months, the Insurance & Real Estate Committee wasted no time in putting forth an agenda that includes many concept drafts for repeat legislation from previous sessions. These include prohibiting health insurance copayments for preventive care, limiting prescription drug copayments, prohibiting Social Security disability payment offsets, and exempting the Municipal Employees Health Insurance Plans from the premium tax on small group premiums. In addition, the committee reintroduced legislation that includes nearly a dozen new health benefit mandates. The Council for Affordable Health Insurance, an independent think-tank, says that health insurance mandates could increase premiums in Connecticut by more than 50 percent overall.
GEORGIA: A bill was proposed last week that would impose significant restrictions on insurers’ ability to rescind health insurance policies. Aetna, through the Georgia Association of Health Plans and AHIP, met with the legislator sponsoring the bill to express concerns with the bill.
INDIANA: The legislative session is at halftime, and the insurance agenda is now limited. Most insurance issue bills are officially dead, including a bill that would have prohibited health plan provisions requiring a contracted provider to accept more than a certain number of patients; coverage for dialysis treatment regardless of whether the facility is contracted or not and without certain benefit restrictions; and a bill that would have allowed out-of-network assignment of benefits. However, Aetna is expecting that a bill requiring insurer and HMO annual reporting of premium cost composition, including administrative costs, may be resurrected. A bill that restricts dental insurers and HMOs from establishing fee schedules for non-covered services passed the Senate, with our amendment to accommodate most of the key concerns expressed by opponents of the bill. As the bill stands, dental insurance plans may impose fee schedules for covered services, regardless of whether the plan actually pays for the services rendered.
KANSAS: An amended version of S.B. 389 related to dental services passed the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee on February 11. The amended bill prohibits any contract between a health insurer that offers a health benefit plan and a dentist from containing a provision that requires the dentist to accept a fee schedule for services unless the service is a covered service. Committee amendments added to the definition of a “health benefit plan” the following: any subscription agreement issued by a non-profit dental service corporation; any policy of health insurance purchased by an individual; the state children’s health insurance plan; and the state medical assistance program under Medicaid. We will continue to update you as this bill progresses and hope to make favorable changes as the bill moves through the House.
MASSACHUSETTS: Governor Deval Patrick filed a 40-page bill that proposes giving the insurance commissioner the power to hold public hearings on rate adjustments and essentially cap health care price increases. Rate increases for individuals would be held to the rate of medical inflation; those sold to employers with 50 or fewer workers could not exceed one and a half times the level of medical inflation. The legislation would also impose a two-year moratorium on any new health benefit mandates. Legislative leaders praised the intent of the governor’s plan but declined to promise support. Strong opposition is expected from medical provider groups. The Governor simultaneously announced emergency regulations to take immediate effect that will require health insurers to submit proposed small business rate increases for review by the state 30 days before they take effect. Several other proposed provisions include a requirement that insurers offer at least one coverage plan with a limited network of health care providers costing at least 10 percent less than health plans with access to more physicians. The Massachusetts Association of Health plans is lobbying in support of a bill introduced by Senate Insurance Chair Richard Moore that would create a cheaper health insurance product for small employers by capping payments to providers at just 10 percent above Medicare rates. The Massachusetts Medical Society is against that proposal.
MISSOURI: An autism coverage mandate bill was amended and “perfected” by the Senate and then sent to the Government Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee from which it must emerge before returning to the floor of the Senate. In addition to two mandate-related amendments, a third amendment to the bill allowing for limited cross border sales of health insurance also passed. In its current form, the bill contains a mandated offering of the coverage in the individual market. Coverage is limited to treatment ordered by a licensed physician or psychologist whose treatment plan the carrier is entitled to review every six months. Coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) is limited to ,000 annually (down from the ,000 as introduced) for persons under age 21. Meanwhile in the House, a bill containing significant language relating to the credentialing of autism service providers also passed. The bill also contains a mandate to offer coverage in the individual market and to groups of fewer than 25. Groups of 25 to 50 would be entitled to an exemption from the mandate if they could demonstrate an increase in premiums tied to the mandate. The bill limits annual coverage of ABA (,000 for children ages 3-9; ,000 for children ages 9-21). Aetna will continue to monitor the status of these mandates, but it appears fairly clear at this point that something will pass on the issue of autism.
NEW JERSEY: Last week Governor Chris Christie declared a fiscal state of emergency calling a special session of the legislature to lay out his plan for dealing with state’s current .2 billion budget shortfall. His plan calls for significant cuts or eliminations across 375 state programs and withholding 0 million of state education aid. Of note on the program side is a .6 million reduction in Charity Care funding to hospitals, which pays for care to uninsured residents. In legislative action, the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee held a three-hour public hearing on out-of-network reimbursement. Much of the hearing focused on the markedly higher billing practices of ambulatory surgery centers and one non-par hospital. Aetna presented testimony regarding its experience with the non-par hospital, citing their disparate year-over-year increase in charges compared to other similarly situated hospitals. Chairman Schaer indicated the committee will work over the next several months to craft a solution.
NEW YORK: With Democratic Senator Hiram Monserrate officially expelled from the Senate, the Democratic majority (31-30) now faces an uphill battle getting the 32 votes needed to pass legislation. However, both the Senate and the Assembly moved forward with a public hearing on the Executive Budget proposal for health, including the section mandating the prior approval of rate adjustments. The Health Plan Association testified on behalf of the industry. If enacted, Governor Paterson’s proposal for an 85 percent medical loss ratio and a prior approval hearing process for all rate adjustments would essentially amount to government control of health insurance, undermining the private health insurance market in New York. Price controls would weaken health plan solvency, hurt providers and virtually eliminate innovation and efficiency. At the same time, the proposal ignores the underlying cause of the increasing cost of health insurance — the increase in the actual costs of health care services.
OKLAHOMA: The second session of the 52nd Oklahoma Legislature convened in Oklahoma City on February 1. Legislators quickly turned to the state’s .3 billion budget deficit described by Governor Brad Henry (D) in his eighth and final state of the state address and FY 2011 executive budget. During his address, the Governor focused on his plans for resolving the .3 billion budget deficit through precise budget cuts. His only reference to health insurance was to encourage the expansion of Insure Oklahoma, a program developed by the state in partnership with small employers to provide affordable health coverage. The legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 28 but only after addressing a range of legislation including several bills of interest to Aetna.
SOUTH DAKOTA: A dental fee schedule bill (S.B. 108) unanimously passed the Senate Commerce Committee and is expected to be taken up by the full Senate early this week. The bill prohibits any contract between a health insurer that offers a health benefit plan and a dentist from containing a provision that requires the dentist to accept a fee schedule for services unless the service is a covered service. Aetna will continue to follow the bill’s progress as it progresses.
TENNESSEE: Several bills have been proposed that would make changes to the state’s external review law. Aetna and other industry representatives will be meeting with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance regarding its proposed changes to the external review law. The bill proposed by the TDCI most closely mirrors the model legislation proposed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
UTAH: The Speaker of the House has introduced a health reform bill addressing health information technology, individual and small group market reforms and transparency. The overarching theme of the reforms is micromanagement of rates and rating factors, and a broadening of the Insurance Commissioner’s authority. The transparency provisions apply plan designs and benefit descriptions submitted by carriers, and would require providers to make available, upon request, a price list for services on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.
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