Why does my Individual Health Insurance Premium go Up Every Year?
Well, to start off, you are a year older each birthday and thus statistically more expensive to cover. Now, the increase for a 25 year old that turns 26 is relatively small. But, for a 55 year old, with growing health care needs that turns 56, the increase can be significantly higher.
So, the older you are, the greater your increase will be each year.
Additionally, there is something called “medical inflation” that is different from your run-of-the mill cost of living increases. Medical inflation takes into account all the expensive new tests, prescriptions, procedures, etc. that come along each year. Your present plan will cover these, but there is a cost involved.
Then of course there are the new federal and state mandates larded on as requirements to health insurance plans. In the past few years the Affordable Care Act has added no co-pays for wellness visits, a provision that no child under 19 can be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition and eliminated any annual and life-time dollar limits to coverage as just a few of the new, expensive add-ons. In Colorado, the recent requirement that all new policies must cover maternity has also significantly increased costs.
These are the basics, but if you need a more detailed explanation go here.
Or you can just call me at 303-541-9533 and we can talk about some ways to trim your premium costs.
- Published in Individual Health Insurance, Premiums
How is my Newborn Covered by My Health Insurance in Colorado?
Under Colorado law, your child will automatically be covered by your (father or mother) insurance plan for the first 31 days of life, without notification or payment of premium.
If you do notify your plan of the child’s birth within the first 31 days, he or she will automatically be added to the plan going forward. As no new underwriting is required, this law is to assure coverage in the case that the child is born with problems.
Of course, you will be charged extra premium in the same manner you would for any new dependent.
Want to know more about it? Please give me a call at 303-541-9533
- Published in Colorado State Initiatives, Individual Health Insurance, Misc
Can’t understand your health insurance? Feds say insurers must give consumers a simple summary
Don’t have the slightest clue what your health insurance covers?
As part of the Affordable Care Act the government intends to take care of that. According to a recent article by the Associated Press “the Obama administration says that’s going to change, starting this year. Officials announced that private health plans will have to provide consumers with a user-friendly summary of what’s covered, along with key cost details such as copays and deductibles.”
“Just six pages long. And no fine print.”
“Officials are calling the summaries a “nutrition label for health care,” trying to capitalize on the name recognition of those information panels found on packaged foods at the supermarket. Consumer groups say the health care version isn’t perfect, but it’s a start.”
“These documents will allow consumers to compare plans on an apples-to-apples basis,” said Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner, who is also overseeing implementation of President Barack Obama’s health care law. If an insurance plan offers substandard coverage in some respect, they won’t be able to hide it in dozens of pages of text, she added.”
Call me cynical, but judging by past “clarification” efforts by the government on wording to our tax code, federal laws and something called “Plan Descriptions” for present health insurance policies, I am doubtful of anything useful coming out of this venture.
Jogging versus Running
It’s an old joke:
What is the difference between jogging and running?
Answer: Running is my speed and faster, anyone else is just jogging.
I have been running/jogging on a fairly regular basis since I was 25, so that is 40 plus years now.
In thinking about it, the reason I run is split 50/50 between wanting to stay fit and the internal cleansing I feel after a half hour run through the neighborhood. I have often equated running to taking a shower on the inside.
I attempt to go out four times a week, anything more often and I start to feel run-down and lose interest. I try to augment the running with light weight work outs at the local YMCA, but I have never been able to maintain that for longer than a couple of months at a time. Running is so much easier, just change shoes and clothes and you are out the door.
I go out all year long, but avoid the streets when there is snow and ice as I have taken some falls. On those occasions I avail myself of the YMCA indoor track (16 laps to the mile), but that feels more like work than play.
When I used to do a lot of businss travel, I would take my gear with me and try to get a run in in the evening.
I prefer to run the many fairly smooth dirt trails we have here in Boulder. However, I avoid those steep, rock and root strewn tracks along the foothills. On those, I believe it is not a question of if you will fall, but when.
I think about various things when I run and lately I have done some calculating in my head. I believe I am approaching having accumulated enough distance running to have circumnavigated the earth, 25,000 miles.
So, as I grow older and my pace surely slows, I’ll still be running, while those slower will only be jogging.
- Published in Personal Interests, Personal Observation
Money Back From Your Health Insurance Company
One of the little discussed provisions in the new Afordable Care Act (Obamacare) that is going to be very popular with the American public is the requirement called Minimum Loss Ratio (MLR). Starting January 1, 2011, health insurance companies must reimburse their clients for excessive premium dollars collected. Health insurance companies are now required to spend 80% (individual policies) or 85% (group policies) of monies collected on patient care, leaving them with only 15-20% for administrative expenses. Anything left over must be returned to clients by August of the following year.
It is my belief that when these checks start rolling in, the American public will feel a lot more positive about the whole Afordable Care Act.
- Published in Federal Law Changes and Mandates, Personal Observation
How Long Will It Take For My Health Insurance Application To Be Approved?
I am often asked how long it takes to get an application for health insurance approved. The answer is always the same, “it depends on how long the insurance company takes to review or “underwrite” the information you submit. Underwriting is a term insurance companies use that basically means “background check.” Individual health insurance companies have the ability to pick and choose to whom they will offer coverage. So, they require that you fill out an application form, answering a comprehensive list of personal medical and life style questions.
Once they receive this information from you, the underwriting begins. In addition to reviewing the information you have provided, they may plug your Social Security number into something called the Medical Information Bureau (MIB). The MIB is a sort of clearing house that collects patient information from doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and other insurance companies.
The underwriters may also call the applicant for clarification of details and, if need be, request records from your doctor before they are ready to make a decision on the application. The more information they need, the longer it takes for them to make an offer.
So, the answer to the question of how long it will take to get your application approved is, “usually a week to 10 days if doctors’ records are not required. If doctors’ records are required, it will take as long as it takes for the doctors’ office to respond to this request.”
That is why it is important to work with a knowledgeable insurance broker to fill out an application properly to avoid misunderstandings and delays from the onset.
If you’d like to find out what a professional individual health insurance broker can do for you, please give me a call at 303-541-9533.
- Published in Applications, Individual Health Insurance, Underwriting
Age Related Wellness Benefits
Your non-grandfathered health insurance is required to cover wellness benefits at 100%. However, many of these benefits are “age related.” Please find below some of the more commonly used wellness services and the ages, if appropriate, when they begin being covered.
Well-woman visits 18-64
Pap testing 18
HPV Immunization 11-26
HPV DNA testing 30
Osteoporosis Screening 65 (60 if at high risk)
Prenatal visits and testing
STD’s Contraception counseling
Prostate exam 50
Preventative colonoscopy 50 (every 10 years)
Well child visits 0-13 Immunizations 0-18
If you’d like to know more, please give me a call at 303-541-9533
- Published in Individual Health Insurance, Wellness