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How badly do you want health insurance reform?

2009-01-22 by Colleen King

Now that we have our new president in place and we’re all hoping things financially will improve, let’s talk about the reform of the health care/insurance system.


It’s not going to be free, in fact it could be quite costly. Are you will to do it? Here is an excerpt from an article the Associate Press ran on January 19th:


“Washington – Prospects for health reform drop significantly when Americans hear potential financial trade-offs associated with expanding health insurance coverage, a poll indicates.


For example, nearly seven in 10 people say they favor the concept of requiring employers to provide their workers with health insurance or contribute into a fund that pays to cover the uninsured. President-elect Barack Obama has called for such an employer mandate for medium and large businesses.


But what if they heard the mandate would cause some employers to lay off workers? Support falls dramatically to about three in 10 people, according to a new national survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.


Similarly, about two out of three people favor requiring all Americans to have health insurance. But when told some people may be required to buy insurance that’s too expensive or it’s something they don’t want, support for the individual mandate falls to 19 percent.


“As we have learned from past debates, public support looms for health reform largest at the beginning of the debate, but it’s relatively easy to chip away at that support with arguments about trade-offs,” said Mollyann Brodie, a Kaiser vice president.


Researchers said the economy is the overwhelming top concern in the United States, cited by nearly three quarters of the public. Health care is a top domestic concern too. But the survey suggests the public is split when it comes to a willingness to sacrifice financially to get more people insured.


About 47 percent were willing to pay higher insurance premiums or taxes, while 49 percent were not. The study is based on a telephone survey of 1,628 adults conducted in early and mid-December. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.”


Me again–So as you might suspect, once there is a suggestion that people break out a check book, interest generally wanes. You don’t want the government paying for it necessarily, because that means us in taxes. Remember the $600 toilet seats? They aren’t big on cutting costs. But maybe this time will be different, I’ve got my fingers crossed!


In California when the cry for decreasing the number of uninsured was big early last year, and about 6 million people were uninsured, there was an estimate of nearly 2 million people that could afford coverage but they didn’t want to pay for it. So we’re potentially going to raise taxes for everyone so those who don’t want to buy coverage are covered? Talk about expensive!


So we’ve got to find a way, we just have to be watchful of upcoming proposals. Be well, and Happy 2009!

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Health insurance with vision care–how much is it, and what is it?

2009-01-13 by Colleen King

First of all, Happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2009 treats people better than 2008.


In the individual health and group health insurance arenas, medical insurance covers medical problems only. The thing we used to debate when I worked for a carrier years ago, is what’s the difference between what is and is not covered under the medical plan when it comes to eye related problems.


Basically, vision care refers to glasses, contact lenses and the exams to figure out how well you do or do not see. Your health plan would cover illness or injury to the eye, like conjunctivitis, a corneal abrasion or cataract removal. If you can’t see because the lenses in your eyes are opaque, the surgery would be covered under medical and usually the eyeglasses associated with it would be as well. If you can’t see because you’re near sighted or far sighted, that fall under vision care.


When looking for a vision plan on an individual basis, there’s not a lot available. VSP offers a plan that you have to buy directly from them, they won’t let agents sell it and it’s about $200/year. Think about it; how much are your glasses or contacts and exam going to cost? It’s hard to market a vision plan that’s affordable because, who is going to buy it? People that WILL use it. Whereas with medical insurance, you may or may not use it but most people acknowledge they should have it, just in case.


Group health insurance parameters are similar as to what is covered how. But, group vision plans may be something to consider as there are so many more of them available and fairly reasonably priced.  But for individuals, I usually ask if the have the Auto Club, AAA. Many retail places like Lenscrafters, Pennys or Sears optical offer discount. And you’ve already bought that card!


Be well, and all the best for 2009!

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