Your Short Term Health Insurance Options

With the economy in the shape it is, many people are losing their jobs. As of November 2008, the United States lost 500,000 jobs. With that kind of loss, there are many people now without health insurance. Even though many people can’t opt for COBRA, the price is usually too high to afford.

Finding an affordable health insurance plan in the US can be a challenging task for someone who does not have money. There are many different kinds of health insurance plans available. The health insurance plans that usually come to mind when people think about health insurance are employer-sponsored group health insurance plans, state-sponsored health insurance plans, and individual health insurance plans.

If a person does not have the option of buying into an employer-sponsored group health insurance plan, he will usually look into purchasing an individual health insurance plan or state-sponsored health insurance plan. There is, however, another option available for health insurance.

Many people overlook the affordable, short term health insurance plans available in the US. You may not be familiar with short-term health insurance plans. But take a look at some of the frequently asked questions regarding short-term health insurance.

Short term health insurance is health insurance that lasts for six to 12 months, depending on your needs. Short term health insurance is an affordable way to obtain temporary insurance to cover your health care costs, and the health care costs of your family. If you are in between jobs and you know you were going to be getting another position soon, this may be a great option for you.

In general, short term health insurance plan usually provides the same kinds of health care available with any other health insurance plan. A short term health insurance plan may give you coverage for doctor visits, surgeries, inpatient and outpatient treatments and procedures, other hospitalization services, discounts on prescription medications, as well as dental care and vision care. There are many different plan options available and you should take a look to see what is available to you.

An individual who finds himself unemployed or laid off should consider purchasing affordable, short term health insurance in the US. Just because an individual’s employment status changes does not mean his, and his families, health care needs change, too.

Some short term health insurance plans are actually designed with unemployed and laid off workers in mind. This means that short term health insurance plans are made to be affordable for people without steady income.

As the economy continues to deteriorate, it may be necessary not only for short-term health insurance but more state or federal government-sponsored insurance plans. If you think that you may be in a position that you are losing your insurance shortly, it is very important that you start now researching your options so that you don’t get caught having a gap in medical insurance coverage.

For more information, visit thehealthinsuranceshop.com for details about major medical health insurance and Hawaii health insurance online.

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Health Information – Useful Information

With all of the health information available don’t you find it interesting that you can’t seem to find a way to stay consistently healthy and fit? The explanation can be as simple as knowing that most of us don’t have a working knowledge of how the body works. With the application of this health information we would find it easier to remain fit and healthy.

Studies Indicate

Studies have shown that Americans are by and large poorly educated about health. Nutrition, health care in general and medicine are all large gaps in most American’s knowledge. Many are either unable to grasp the information available to them or do not have enough information about healthy practices to maintain health. What we don’t know can and does hurt us too – A lot of illnesses are related to unhealthy lifestyle habits which could be averted if more information was conveyed effectively to people. Also included are emotional and mental health factors, which a large percentage of Americans are uneducated in the effective management of for better health.

Simply not engaging in these harmful behavior patterns would go a long way towards improving general health amongst the populace, but of course many are unaware of what habits are healthy versus which are unhealthy. In the absence of information being readily available to the public in a way that they can understand, this is likely to continue. So what conclusion can we draw from this premise? Simply, there needs to be more health information out there.

World Wide Web Research

The hundred dollar question is “Do we really attempt to get Health information? With the advent of the World Wide Web it is really difficult to find a good reason for having a lack of good health information facts. The latest research states that over half of the American adults have access to the World Wide Web. Having access to the Internet means access to the myriad of of websites that have good health information on human anatomy and health.

Some of these websites even provide animated sequences that illustrate the human anatomy and it’s functioning. This makes it a lot easier to grasp the information and is more interesting then other more basic ways of presenting the information. If you think about it since these are some of the same health information vehicles that medical students use then shouldn’t we be doing the same? Having access to animations that graphically illustrate how different systems of the body work will of course lead to a better grasp of the systems involved and allow one to modify the associated behavior. This will lead to more consistent health and fitness.

As an example, let us take the endocrine system. The hormones produced by this system affect almost every part of the body; nearly every organ, every function is to some degree influenced by the workings of the endocrine system. A demonstration, in graphical or animated format would lead to greater understanding of the endocrine system and the body as a whole. This could lead to a greater concern with controlling stress once a basic understanding of the effects of hormones on health has been established.

In Summary

A greater understanding of this system, such as could be gained through an animated demonstration could well lead to a better understanding of the relation between stress and health on the part of the public.

James Redder is a Health Information specialist and writes for the Health Information blog. If you thought this information was useful then go here for more Health tips.

Thinking Of Getting Health Insurance?

When comparing individual health insurance quotes in the marketplace it is very important that you are comparing plans that have similar policy benefits.

Ask about the limitations of the health insurance coverage as well as the deductibles. Additionally, 14 percent of Ohio residents under the age of sixty-five did not have health insurance during 2005.

Unlike most of your employed counterparts, there is no employer subsidy for your health insurance. Contacting a benefits insurance broker whenever you call or email a health insurance broker, it is very important to prepare ahead of time.

We also find ourselves more stressed about finances and frustrated about escalating health insurance premiums, greater deductibles, larger co-pays and higher taxes.

How much better can it get for those with no health insurance? We offer a unique and innovative suite of individual health insurance solutions, including highly competitive HSA-qualified plans, and an unparalleled ‘real time’ application and acceptance experience. They are responsible for paying their own taxes, and you no longer have to pay for health insurance.

Private health insurance should not be confused with permanent health insurance, which is something completely unrelated to medical costs and which pays out an income if you become permanently ill. It was our decision to write so much on health insurance after finding out that there is still so much to learn on health insurance. A recent study showed that 74 percent of standard workers have health insurance through their jobs, compared to only 21 percent of non-standard workers.

Many folks also believe that long term care is covered by health insurance and/or Medicare. This can be car insurance, gas, transportation, health insurance, food, etc. Health insurance portability & accountability act ensures complete security of digital health information that includes – secure storage system and secure transmission of digital information over the Internet.

If you’re interested in premium individual health insurance preferred provider plan at affordable rates, created specifically for young, healthy individuals, you should take a look at precedent.

One business man predicts that if nothing is done and the health insurance premiums keep increasing that in the year 2008, the amount of health premium contribution to employer will surpass their profit. The number of people that are forced to go without health insurance is nothing less than a crisis in this country today.

Voted the number one insurance portal by Florida consumers, Florida Health insurance web, reports nearly three million Floridians without health insurance in Florida. So it does not make sense for them to be paying a high premium for a traditional health insurance plan with co-pay, particularly when their medical treatments are not covered anyway.

You and your family’s health insurance needs will change as well so be sure and add or remove options and benefits to customize the plan to best fit your needs.

A health insurance lead can also be someone who is self-employed and needs to obtain coverage for themselves or their entire family. Smoking will not immediately disqualify you from being approved for health insurance but it really doesn’t help your over all cost. And managed care has capitalized further by applying the medical, disease-based model onto the practice, requiring any and all users of health insurance to declare a diagnosis worthy of treatment.

Increased premiums may drive people who fund their own health insurance out of the system by making personal insurance unaffordable. If you need to get a Florida health insurance quote there are several ways of getting started.

Uchenna Ani-Okoye is an internet marketing advisor and co founder of Free Affiliate Programs

For more information and resource links on health insurance visit: Health Insurance Ratings

Personal Health Records–Who Are the Key PHR Providers and How Are They Handling Laboratory Results?

Several significant events have driven public and industry interest in personal health records. In 2004, President George W. Bush outlined a plan for the implementation of an electronic health record that could be accessed by all Americans. Although numerous companies had been in this market for several years, the announcement provided impetus for growth in this area. In 2007 and early 2008, computer giants Google and Microsoft announced their intentions to enter into this market, Google with Google Health and Microsoft with Microsoft HealthVault.

In March of 2008, laboratory industry leader Quest Diagnostics announced a partnership with Google Health to provide uploading of laboratory testing to Google’s version of a personal health record (PHR).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cites six positive outcomes with the implementation of widespread personal and/or electronic health records.

1. Improved healthcare quality
2. Prevention of medical errors
3. Reduction of healthcare costs
4. Increased administrative efficiencies
5. Decreased paperwork
6. Expanded access to affordable healthcare

Although there are a number of potential barriers to widespread implementation of personal health records, three are the most significant. They are:

1. Interoperability. The various systems need to be able to interact with each other and various computer systems.

2. Privacy and Security. The systems need to provide HIPAA-like compliance, but also have security measures similar to the banking industry and in compliance with a variety of industry standards.

3. Data Modification. In order for physicians to be able to act on medical information, they will need to be confident of the veracity of the medical data. This will at least partly require that they be able to determine the sources and modifications that have occurred to the information in personal health records.

Although there are a number of companies currently in the marketplace offering personal health records, they fall into four broad categories.

1. Standalones. These companies are primarily personal health record companies, such as LifeOnKey or FollowMe. In some cases these companies also specialize or have specialty subcategories, such as MiVia, which was designed for the migrant farmworker population, or LifeOnKey’s Diabetes focus or Women’s Health focus.

2. Spin-Offs of Information Technology or Software Companies. Most notable in this category are Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault.

3. Healthcare Providers. Examples of this are Partners HealthCare’s Patient Gateway and the Group Health Cooperative’s MyGroupHealth.

4. Platform Providers. In some cases, the companies are focused less on being the patient/consumer’s personal health record, than in providing the platform and/or technology for personal health records. MedCommons is an example of this. Microsoft HealthVault may also fall into this category. FollowMe also is willing to customize their product for other companies, which then provide their own branding.

There are five ways personal health record providers are generating revenue.

1. Subscriptions. Typically, standalone PHR providers charge nominal annual subscription rates ranging from about $ 25 to $ 50.

2. Advertising. Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault indicate they will generate income via advertising. It’s not yet clear how Microsoft intends to do this, but Google Health has indicated that their product itself will not contain advertising, but will have search boxes that connect to the traditional Google page, which does have targeted advertising.

3. Data mining. Although often mentioned as a possible source of revenue, few companies indicate they are currently selling non-user-identified health data to researchers or pharmaceutical companies.

4. Increased Service. Healthcare providers, in general, acknowledge that their personal health record systems are just part of the service and a happy client will remain with the system. Google Health indicates they aren’t in the healthcare business and part of their mission is to drive users to Google.

5. Subcontracting and licensing. MedCommons is focusing on providing their services and platform technology for other users and companies that might want to deliver personal health records. It’s not clear if Microsoft HealthVault plans to enter the market in this fashion, but many industry sources suggest it’s likely.

Ultimately, what is clear from looking at a cross-section of PHR providers is that there are a number of approaches to dealing with laboratory results depending on the nature of the PHR. Google Health has recently announced a partnership with Quest Diagnostics.

This is likely to be the first in a number of similar relationships with other laboratory corporations. The real question, one that remains unaddressed yet, is whether competing labs will create partnerships with Google Health and other PHRs or whether it will become an exclusive and competitive marketplace, where some PHRs will find their services locked out of the market.

Another potential question is whether or not a laboratory, independent or affiliated with a particular healthcare provider, is going to be able to provide data uploads to a myriad of different PHRs. Although largely a technical issue, it’s hard to see how a laboratory needing to provide results to twenty or thirty different PHRs in addition to requesting physicians and patients, is going to make laboratory medicine more efficient or cost-effective.

PHRs Gain Momentum
In his January 20, 2004, State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush outlined a plan for the implementation of an electronic health record that could be accessed by all Americans. The system was to be in place by 2015. According to the White House Web site, patient participation would be voluntarily, and “these electronic health records will be designed to share information privately and securely among and between health care providers when authorized by the patient.”

To achieve that goal, the following steps were taken:

1. Health Information Standards were adopted. Under the direction of the Department of Health and Human Services, in cooperation with other Federal agencies and the private sector, voluntary standards were to be identified and endorsed.

2. Health Care Information Technology Demonstration Project funding was increased to $ 100 million.

3. Federal agencies were encouraged to adopt Health Information Technology.

4. A sub-cabinet level position of National Health Information Technology Coordinator was created. This falls under the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

It’s important to note that the Bush Administration’s proposal did not break new ground. Numerous companies providing personal health records (PHR), medical health records, and electronic health records or some way of storing and delivering medical information electronically were in existence for several years prior to the Bush Administration’s efforts.

The announcement of launches into the health information technology (HIT) arena by Google and Microsoft has renewed media interest in the area, and may signal a renewed velocity and vigor to the market.

Mark Terry is a staff writer for Washington G2 Reports and author of Lab Industry Strategic Outlook: Market Trends & Analysis 2007 and several other Washington G2 Reports publications. Learn more about Washington G2 Reports.

Choosing the Right Health Insurance

Only a few ‘health insurance’ programs are wellness insurance. Choosing the health insurance plan with the best coverage health insurance contracts may be the most complex of the insurance policies purchased by the average family. They ended up working with us to find an acceptable private health insurance plan and reimbursed her for a percentage of the cost which I didn’t even know was possible.

The handling of the premiums for life, accident and health insurance, and for service contracts, does not create a problem, if a routine is established. Finally, a few had headlines that just reiterated their life-auto-health insurance. Financed partly by the federal government, the children’s health insurance programs (CHIP) operate either as an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program or a subsidy for basic private health insurance.

If you sell health insurance, your list might include health clubs, running clubs, basketball teams or physicians. So, before you purchase health insurance for your employees or your business, make sure the insurance company you’re dealing with is legitimate. A health insurance plan premium with an 80/20 or 20% co-insurance level is much higher typically than is a 50/50 or a 50% plans.

This indicates that even those who do have health insurance aren’t always protected, said Cindy Zeldin, a report co-author and federal affairs coordinator with demo’s economic opportunity program. A college student attending school full time may be eligible for a student health insurance plan, if one is available at the student’s school. The APA has neatly classified several different types of depression (manic, bipolar, unipolar, post-partum, grief, etc – mostly for the purposes of legally making them covered by health insurance.

Why underwriting is important the majority of small-group health insurance companies use a process called underwriting. If you’re an individual who tries to keep informed and maintain a healthy condition and lifestyle, you should take a look at the revolutionary, comprehensive and highly-affordable individual health insurance solutions created by Precedent specifically for you. This is a very basic comparison of the types of health insurance plans, and further investigation into the details is advised.

We have to agree that the main reason for having health insurance is to protect ourselves from large unexpected medical bills. Enjoy it while you can, because I feel the future is bleak for Americans to continue to afford health insurance. These benefits may include health insurance, retirement savings plans, disability insurance, life insurance, dependent care reimbursement accounts, vision care, dental insurance, employee assistance plans, job counseling and educational benefits.

I’m having a bear of a time finding health insurance. In other cases, a company may offer health insurance, yet the premiums are so expensive that the individual can not afford to pay them. Some critics of health insurance plans also fear consumer-driven plans punish the sick because the sick visit their doctors more often and need more expensive treatments.

Experts say that the United States should consider a nationalized health insurance scheme, like that to be found in all countries in the world. Employee benefit plans – you may deduct contributions to employee benefit plans (such as health insurance plans and retirement plans).

Other working class citizens are able to afford the insurance premiums, but are unable to take advantage of a health care plan because such a large percentage of their monthly or yearly income is set aside to pay for health insurance.

Moreover, if you only operate in one state, you can further to ‘cheap health insurance California’. Fortunately most of the brochures and outlines of coverage that you may receive from a health insurance provider will have a similar structure.

Uchenna Ani-Okoye is an internet marketing advisor and co founder of Free Affiliate Programs

For more information and resource links on health insurance visit: Health Insurance Ratings

Is Health Insurance Right For You?

Health insurance you are lucky you have health insurance. Similarly-crafted policies need to also address the growing number of workers in contract, freelance, self-employed, and full-time positions, in which benefits are self-provided through individual health insurance plans. Do not assume that any health insurance through your employer will be good enough for you.

What is ‘high risk health insurance’? Health insurance is for ill-health issues. Unfortunately, unless prescribed to treat a hernia or for other medically necessary reasons, tummy tucks generally aren’t covered by health insurance.

Why buy health insurance you do not use. Ask your regular passengers about their own health insurance policies and its coverage. High cost – it is not covered by health insurance schemes as it’s considered a cosmetic.

In most states, insurance companies which offer small group health insurance plans are required to accept any employer group of two to 50 employees provided the employer agrees to insure 100% of the eligible employees. Choosing a health insurance policy that covers you well can be complex.

Taking out international health insurance, be it for business or pleasure, while travelling abroad is a good idea, though not compulsory, most travel operators do insist on some kind of insurance as part of their holiday product.

Ask about the limitations of the health insurance coverage as well as the deductibles, when health insurance premiums inch up, why is passing the cost onto the employees the best solution. Most consumers can attest to the fact that rising health insurance costs, gas prices, education fees, rent and mortgages costs are taking a toll on the best of us.

Obtaining Florida health insurance quotes this way is as easy as it gets. Since health insurance does not cover cosmetic surgery, you need to figure out how to pay for it. How to pick a good health insurance company call their customer service with as many questions as you can think of and see how they handle it.

Essentially, the companies demand the doctor take less than the normal fee, much as health insurance companies do with most medical professionals. Most employers – especially those with fewer employees – have strong reasons to avoid taking on the health insurance burden. Account holders can contribute more funds HSA contributions are no longer limited by the deductible of the health insurance policy.

As a society, we don’t expect this in private-market auto insurance, but we expect it in private-market health insurance. The struggle to offer employees affordable group health insurance coverage is an ongoing process for most employers in today’s health insurance market. The knock on effect means that as almost everything is covered, PMI can work out more expensive than basic health insurance such as cash plans.

Take the example of a growing doctor’s office: As expenses rise with patient-load increases, you accrue more outstanding cash, particularly before receiving reimbursement from the health insurance payers. Now we come to what I believe is one of the biggest problems from a health insurance agent’s point of view, which is the inability for persons with pre-existing health conditions to obtain coverage. I did have my health insurance to pay for most medical expenses, but it did not cover alternative therapies.

We offer a unique and innovative suite of individual health insurance solutions, including highly competitive HSA-qualified plans, and an unparalleled ‘real time’ application and acceptance experience. Studies have shown that a solid majority (over 60%) of Americans receive health insurance benefits via group health insurance coverage through their employer (or their spouse’s employer).

Uchenna Ani-Okoye is an internet marketing advisor and co founder of Free Affiliate Programs

For more information and resource links on health insurance visit: Health Insurance Ratings

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Buyers Guide For Individual Health Insurance

Let’s Begin

You know how important it is to have health coverage when you you have been sick or injured. But if you’re confused about what kind is best for you, you’re not alone.

If your employer offers you a choice of health plans, what should you know before making a decision? What types of health coverage are available? In addition to coverage for medical expenses, do you need some other kind of insurance? What if you are too ill to work? Or, if you are over 65,will Medicare pay for all your medical expenses?

These are questions that today’s consumers are asking; and these questions aren’t necessarily easy to answer.

This booklet should help. It discusses the basic forms of health coverage and includes a checklist to help you compare plans. It answers some commonly asked questions and also includes thumbnail descriptions of other forms of health insurance, including hospital-surgical policies, specified disease policies, catastrophic coverage, hospital indemnity insurance, and disability, long-term care, and Medicare supplement insurance.

While we know that our guide can’t answer all your questions, we think it will help you make the right decisions for yourself, your family, and even your business.

Making Sense of Health Insurance

The term health insurance refers to a wide variety of insurance policies. These range from policies that cover the costs of doctors and hospitals to those that meet a specific need, such as paying for long-term care. Even disability insurance – which replaces lost income if you can’t work because of illness or accident – is considered health insurance, even though it’s not specifically for medical expenses

But when people talk about health insurance, they usually mean the kind of insurance offered by employers to employees, the kind that covers medical bills, surgery, and hospital expenses. You may have heard this kind of health insurance referred to as comprehensive or major medical policies, alluding to the broad protection they offer. But the fact is, neither of these terms is particularly helpful to the consumer.

Today, when people talk about broad health care coverage, instead of using the term “major medical,” they are more likely to refer to fee-for-service or managed care. These terms apply to different kinds of coverage or health plans. Moreover, you’ll also hear about specific kinds of managed care plans: health maintenance organizations or HMOs, preferred provider organizations or PPOs, and point-of-service or POS plans.

While fee-for-service and managed care plans differ in important ways, in some ways they are similar. Both cover an array of medical, surgical, and hospital expenses. Most offer some coverage for prescription drugs, and some include coverage for dentists and other providers. But there are many important differences that will make one or the other form of coverage the right one for you.

The section below is designed to acquaint you with the basics of fee-for-service and managed care plans. But remember: The detailed differences between one plan and another can only be understood by careful reading of the materials provided by insurers, your employee benefits specialist, or your agent or broker.

Fee-for-Service

This type of coverage generally assumes that the medical provider (usually a doctor or hospital) will be paid a fee for each service rendered to the patient – you or a family member covered under your policy. With fee-for-service insurance, you go to the doctor of your choice and you or your doctor or hospital submits a claim to your insurance company for reimbursement. You will only receive reimbursement for “covered” medical expenses, the ones listed in your benefits summary.

When a service is covered under your policy, you can expect to be reimbursed for some, but generally not all, of the cost. How much you will receive depends on the provisions of the policy on coinsurance and deductibles. Here’s how it works:

The portion of the covered medical expenses you pay is called “coinsurance.” Although there are variations, fee-for-service policies often reimburse doctor bills at 80 percent of the “reasonable and customary charge.” (This is the prevailing cost of a medical service in a given geographic area.) You pay the other 20 percent – your coinsurance. However, if a medical provider charges more than the reasonable and customary fee, you will have to pay the difference. For example, if the reasonable and customary fee for a medical service is $ 100, the insurer will pay $ 80. If your doctor charged $ 100, you will pay $ 20. But if the doctor charged $ 105, you will pay $ 25. Note that many fee-for-service plans pay hospital expenses in full; some reimburse at the 80/20 level as described above.

Deductibles are the amount of the covered expenses you must pay each year before the insurer starts to reimburse you. These might range from$ 100 to $ 300 per year per individual, or $ 500 or more per family. Generally, the higher the deductible, the lower the premiums, which are the monthly, quarterly, or annual payments for the insurance. Policies typically have an out-of-pocket maximum. This means that once your expenses reach a certain amount in a given calendar year, the reasonable and customary fee for covered benefits will be paid in full by the insurer. (If your doctor bills you more than the reasonable and customary charge, you may still have to pay a portion of the bill.) Note that Medicare limits how much a physician may charge you above the usual amount. There also may be lifetime limits on benefits paid under the policy. Most experts recommend that you look for a policy whose lifetime limit is at least $ 1 million. Anything less may prove to be inadequate.

Managed-Care

The major types of managed care plans are health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and point-of-service (POS) plans.

Managed care plans generally provide comprehensive health services to their members, and offer financial incentives for patients to use the providers who belong to the plan. In managed care plans, instead of paying separately for each service that you receive, your coverage is paid in advance. This is called prepaid care.

For example, you may decide to join a local HMO where you pay a monthly or quarterly premium. That premium is the same whether you use the plan’s services or not. The plan may charge a copayment for certain services – for example, $ 10 for an office visit, or $ 5 for every prescription. So, if you join this HMO, you may find that you have few out-of-pocket expenses for medical care – as long as you use doctors or hospitals that participate in or are part of the HMO. Your share may be only the small copayments; generally, you will not have deductibles or coinsurance.

The interesting things about HMOs is that they deliver care directly to patients. Patients sometimes go to a medical facility to see the nurses and doctors or to a specific doctor’s office. Another common model is a network of individual practitioners. In these individual practice associations (IPAs), you will get your care in a physician’s office.

If you belong to an HMO, typically you must receive your medical care through the plan. Generally, you will select a primary care physician who coordinates your care. Primary care physicians may be family practice doctors, internists, pediatricians, or other types of doctors. The primary care physician is responsible for referring you to specialists when needed. While most of these specialists will be “participating providers” in the HMO, there are circumstances in which patients enrolled in an HMO may be referred to providers outside the HMO network and still receive coverage.

PPOs and POS plans are categorized as managed care plans. (Indeed, many people call POS plans “an HMO with a point-of-service option.”) From the consumer’s point of view, these plans combine features of fee-for-service and HMOs. They offer more flexibility than HMOs, but premiums are likely to be somewhat higher.

With a PPO or a POS plan, unlike most HMOs, you will get some reimbursement if you receive a covered service from a provider who is not in the plan. Of course, choosing a provider outside the plan’s network will cost you more than choosing a provider in the network. These plans will act like fee-for-service plans and charge you coinsurance when you go outside the network.

What is the difference between a PPO and a POS plan? A POS plan has primary care physicians who coordinate patient care; and in most cases, PPO plans do not. But there are exceptions!

HMOs and PPOs have contracts with doctors, hospitals, and other providers. They have negotiated certain fees with these providers – and, as long as you get your care from these providers, they should not ask you for additional payment. (Of course, if your plan requires a copayment at the time you receive care, you will have to pay that.)

Always look carefully at the description of the plans you are considering for the conditions of payment. Check with your employer, your benefits manager, or your state department of insurance to find out about laws that may regulate who is responsible for payment.

Self-insured Plans

Your employer may have set up a financial arrangement that helps cover employees’ health care expenses. Sometimes employers do this and have the “health plan” administered by an insurance company; but sometimes there is no outside administrator. With self-insured health plans, certain federal laws may apply. Thus, if you have problems with a plan that isn’t state regulated, it’s probably a good idea to talk to an attorney who specializes in health law.

Appropriate Care

HMOs, PPOs, and fee-for-service plans often share certain features, including pre authorization, utilization review, and discharge planning.

For example, you may be asked to get authorization from your plan or insurer before admission to a hospital for certain types of surgery. Utilization review is the process by which a plan determines whether a specific medical or surgical service is appropriate and/or medically necessary. Discharge planning is an approach that facilitates the transfer of a patient to amore cost-effective facility if the patient no longer needs to stay in the hospital. For example, if, following surgery, you no longer need hospitalization but cannot be cared for at home, you may be transferred to a skilled nursing facility.

Almost all fee-for-service plans apply managed care techniques to contain costs and guarantee appropriate care; and an increasing number of managed care plans contain fee-for-service elements. While the distinctions among plans are growing increasingly blurred, the number of options available to consumers increases every day.

How Do I Get Health Coverage?

Health insurance is generally available through groups and to individuals. Premiums – the regular fees that you pay for health insurance coverage – are generally lower for group coverage. When you receive group insurance at work, the premium usually is paid through your employer.

Group insurance is typically offered through employers, although unions, professional associations, and other organizations also offer it. As an employee benefit, group health insurance has many advantages. Much – although not all – of the cost may be borne by the employer. Premium costs are frequently lower because economies of scale in large groups make administration less expensive. With group insurance, if you enroll when you first become eligible for coverage, you generally will not be asked for evidence that you are insurable. (Enrollment usually occurs when you first take a job, and/or during a specified period each year, which is called open enrollment.) Some employers offer employees a choice of fee-for-service and managed care plans. In addition, some group plans offer dental insurance as well as medical.

Individual insurance is a good option if you work for a small company that does not offer health insurance or if you are self-employed. Buying individual insurance allows you to tailor a plan to fit your needs from the insurance company of your choice. It requires careful shopping, because coverage and costs vary from company to company. In evaluating policies, consider what medical services are covered, what benefits are paid, and how much you must pay in deductibles and coinsurance. You may keep premiums down by accepting a higher deductible.

Pre-existing Conditions

Many people worry about coverage for preexisting conditions, especially when they change jobs. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) helps assure continued health insurance coverage for employees and their dependents. Starting July 1, 1997, insurers could impose only one 12-month waiting period for any preexisting condition treated or diagnosed in the previous six months. Your prior health insurance coverage will be credited toward the preexisting condition exclusion period as long as you have maintained continuous coverage without a break of more than 62 days. Pregnancy is not considered a preexisting condition, and newborns and adopted children who are covered within 30 days are not subject to the 12-monthwaiting period.

If you have had group health coverage for two years, and you switch jobs and go to another plan, that new health plan cannot impose another preexisting condition exclusion period. If, for example, you have had prior coverage of only eight months, you may be subject to a four-month, preexisting condition exclusion period when you switch jobs. If you’ve never been covered by an employer’s group plan, and you get a job that offers such coverage, you may be subject to a 12-month, preexisting condition waiting period.

Federal law also makes it easier for you to get individual insurance under certain situations, including if you have left a job where you had group health insurance, or had another plan for more than 18 months without a break of more than 62 days.

If you have not been covered under a group plan and have found it difficult to get insurance on your own, check with your state insurance department to see if your state has a risk pool. Similar to risk pools for automobile insurance, these can provide health insurance for people who cannot get it elsewhere.

What Is Not Covered?

While HMO benefits are generally more comprehensive than those of traditional fee-for-service plans, no health plan will cover every medical expense.

Very few plans cover eyeglasses and hearing aids because these are considered budgetable expenses. Very few cover elective cosmetic surgery, except to correct damage caused by a covered accidental injury. Some fee-for-service plans do not cover checkups. Procedures that are considered experimental may not be covered either. And some plans cover complications arising from pregnancy, but do not cover normal pregnancy or childbirth.

Health insurance policies frequently exclude coverage for preexisting conditions, but, as explained, federal law now limits exclusions based on such conditions.

You should also remember that insurers will not pay duplicate benefits. You and your spouse may each be covered under a health insurance plan at work but, under what is called a “coordination of benefits” provision, the total you can receive under both plans for a covered medical expense cannot exceed 100 percent of the allowable cost. Also note that if neither of your plans covers 100 percent of your expenses, you will only be covered for the percentage of coverage (for example, 80 percent) that your primary plan covers. This provision benefits everyone in the long run because it helps to keep costs down.

A Final Word

If you get health care coverage at work, or through a trade or professional association or a union, you are almost certainly enrolled under a group contract. Generally, the contract is between the group and the insurer, and your employer has done comparison shopping before offering the plan to the employees. Nevertheless, while some employers only offer one plan, some offer more than one. Compare plans carefully!

If you are buying individual insurance, or any form of insurance that you purchase directly, read and compare the policies you are considering before you buy one, and make sure you understand all of the provisions. Marketing or sales literature is no substitute for the actual policy. Read the policy itself before you buy.

Ask for a summary of each policy’s benefits or an outline of coverage. Good agents and good insurance companies want you to know what you are buying. Don’t be afraid to ask your benefits manager or insurance agent to explain anything that is unclear.

It is also a good idea to ask for the insurance company’s rating. The A.M. Best Company, Standard & Poor’s Corporation, and Moody’s all rate insurance companies after analyzing their financial records. These publications that list ratings usually can be found in the business section of libraries.

And bear in mind: In some cases, even after you buy a policy, if you find that it doesn’t meet your needs, you may have 30 days to return the policy and get your money back. This is called the “free look.”

Before you buy health insurance, make sure you check John Millets’ excellent Individual Buyers Guide For Individual Health Insurance.

Health and Safety Distance Learning – Study Online for this Socially Responsible Technical Career

Both the demand and the available options for Health and Safety Distance Learning are high in USA, thanks to the growing public demand for wider and stricter regulations from the government’s side to ensure safe and healthy workplaces. Career options include Health & Safety Specialists, and Health & Safety Technicians. If you are responsible to the core, concerned about society’s safety, and a troubleshooter by nature, nothing can be more rewarding than one of these careers.

The field of Health and Safety should not be confused with the field of Safety Engineering. The more formal title for Health and Safety is Occupational Safety and Health. While Safety Engineering is a full-fledged branch of Engineering, Occupational Safety and Health is more of a scientific, medical, technical, managerial, & regulatory domain. This is reflected in its administration in the country by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) coming under the US Department of Labor, and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) under the US Department of Health and Human Services.

What it Involves

Health and Safety Distance Learning involves taking an Associate, Bachelors, or Graduate Degree in Occupational Safety and Health through the distance or online mode. Several Graduate and Undergraduate Certificate Courses are also available. Those planning to become Health and Safety Technicians can go for an Associate or even a Certificate Course, while those aspiring to become Health and Safety Specialists should go for at least a Bachelors, as the main employer in the domain, the Federal and State Governments, have fixed it as the minimum qualification.

However, there are more Graduate Degree Courses in Health and Safety Distance Learning than Bachelors or Associate Degree Courses. This is mainly driven by the private sector’s preference to employ Graduate experts with a firm background in supporting subjects like Science or Medicine.

Various professional certifications available in this domain like the Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST) require passing stringent examinations, and the training for them are also available through Health and Safety Distance Learning.

Why Health and Safety?

The discipline of Occupational Safety and Health is a fast growing field that is concerned with the safety and health of employees, customers, and the public. While the best managed companies go in for elaborate Health and Safety Departments to stand out in business ethics and cut the loss of employee productivity, many others are forced to create a Health and Safety program, at least to comply with the civil and criminal laws and thus avoid litigation. This has resulted in the field growing steadily over the past several years, and is expected to grow even further, through the next ten years.

Specialists and Technicians in this field get to work in large private firms or Governments (Federal, State, or Local), where the overall benefits will be much better than in smaller organizations. Most Health and Safety Specialists earn approximately between US $ 40,000 to US $ 80,000, while Technicians can expect a salary between US $ 30,000 to US $ 70,000.

Why Health and Safety Distance Learning?

Since it is a critical service, the private sector as well as governments demand experience in the field as a prerequisite for employment. This has resulted in a preference for those already exposed to the domain, due to work in an allied field obtained after undergraduate education in engineering, biology, or chemistry. As such, it is very important for those aspiring to be a Health and Safety Professional to undertake simultaneous work in this domain or in an allied field. The best option for such candidates is Health and Safety Distance Learning.

Universities & Colleges Offering Health and Safety Distance Learning

Many Universities and colleges offer Health and Safety Distance Learning courses, but the course names tend to be very different from each other. Tulane University offers three Graduate Degrees in the field, which are distinguished for their real-time, live interaction sessions over the internet. Spanning two years, these courses are Masters of Public Health (MPH) in Occupational Health and Safety Management, MPH in Occupational Health for Health Professionals, and Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in Industrial Hygiene.

Indiana State University offers a Master of Science in Health and Safety, with a specialization in Occupational Safety Management. The course delivery is primarily through television, but a weekly personal interaction with the instructor might be necessary.

Montana Tech Graduate School of University of Montana offers an online M.S. in Industrial Hygiene. Featuring advanced study in Occupational Health, the course also equips the students for the certification program by American Board for Industrial Hygiene. Montana Tech makes no distinctions between its regular and online students for this course.

Apart from such prestigious Universities, many smaller institutions also offer Health and Safety Distance Learning. However, prospective students need to ascertain the accreditation details as numerous institutions with poor accreditations also offer these courses.

Jim Zorn is web master of the Guide to Distance Learning. Please visit to learn more about online colleges and universities, distance learning degrees, majors and courses offered.
http://www.guide-to-distance-learning.com/index.html

Forming A Private Purchasing Cooperative For Health Insurance In Texas

As stated by the Texas Department of Insurance, the Texas Legislature enacted three bills that allow small business employers to form cooperatives for the purchase of employer health benefit plans in Dallas, Houston and throughout Texas. All three types of cooperatives are private purchasing cooperatives under state law. Texas Insurance Code Chapter 1501, Subchapter B provides for the formation of Purchasing Cooperatives. Two of the three have special characteristics; for clarity, we will refer to the broader category as “private purchasing cooperatives.”

Who may form a cooperative?

Two or more small employers may form a small employer health coalition. Any person – other than a health carrier – may form a health group cooperative. A health carrier may assist a sponsoring entity in forming a cooperative. A health group cooperative must have at least ten participating employers.

How do I start a cooperative?

All three types of purchasing cooperatives must be formed as a nonprofit corporation. For more information on how to form a nonprofit corporation, you should consult the Texas Secretary of State, specifically the Filing Guide for Business Organizations and Non-Profit Associations.

Texas Insurance Code Chapter 1501, Subchapter B provides for the formation of Purchasing Cooperatives. Small business employers interested in assistance with forming or joining a small employer health coalition should also consider contacting their insurance agent or one of the existing small employer health coalitions. Once the cooperative has received a certificate of incorporation or certificate of authority from the Secretary of State, the cooperative must file that document and the cooperative’s organizational document with the Texas Department of Insurance. The address for filing these documents is: Filings Intake Division, Mail Code 106-1E, Texas Department of Insurance, P. O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104.

What Type of Cooperative Should I Form?

This decision will be based on the goals for the cooperative and the employers interested in joining. You should consult the description of the types of cooperatives available and review the statutes and regulations associated with each. Things you should consider when forming a cooperative include the potential for growth in the cooperative, the complexities associated with potential growth, interest from a carrier and a sponsoring entity in the cooperative, and carrier requirements, such as participation levels.

How Do I Join a Cooperative?

All of the cooperatives registered and listed with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). Contacting a cooperative in your area is the first step you should take in joining a cooperative. For certain cooperatives, there may be an annual open enrollment period, which will limit your opportunities to a certain period each year. Small employers interested in joining a cooperative should also remember that, as individual employers, they are guaranteed issuance of coverage from an insurance company or HMO that offers coverage to small employers. Similarly, a small business employer must be allowed to join a health group cooperative and purchase coverage during the next annual open enrollment period.

What Type of Cooperative Should I Join?

Various factors will influence your decision about the type of cooperative to join, including whether your company is a small or large employer, the rates offered by the cooperatives in your area, a cooperative’s administrative or membership fees, and whether a particular cooperative is accepting new members or currently enrolling new members in an open enrollment period. You should review the different types of cooperatives to determine whether a particular type offers advantages for the employer. There is also a revolutionary individual health insurance plan you can offer your employees.

Health Group Cooperative – Sub (p)

SB 805, enacted by the 79th Texas Legislature (2005), created a new type of health group cooperatives with special rights and requirements.

– Any person, other than a health carrier, may form a sub (p) health group cooperative.

– Once a sub (p) health group cooperative is formed, it must have at least ten small employer members to be eligible to purchase coverage from a health carrier that is participating in the health group cooperative market.

– A sub (p) health group cooperative is not required to allow a small employer to join the cooperative if the cooperative has elected to restrict membership in the cooperative in accordance with legal requirements, and after the small employer has joined the cooperative, the total number of eligible employees employed on business days during the preceding calendar year by all small employers participating in the cooperative would exceed 50.

– A health group cooperative must make the election to restrict membership at the time the cooperative is initially formed.

– Employers that join a sub (p) health group cooperative must commit to purchasing coverage through the cooperative for two years, but may cease purchasing coverage upon demonstrating financial hardship.

– A sub (p) health group cooperative is considered to be a single small employer for the purposes of issuance of coverage and rating. Accordingly, a health group cooperative may purchase coverage from any small employer health carrier that is not already providing coverage to a health group cooperative in that county.

– Health carriers providing coverage to a sub (p) health group cooperative may offer a health benefit plan, specifically allowed by SB 10, which does not include state mandated benefits. This freedom from state mandates is specific to SB 10, but it is similar to that which authorizes consumer choice health benefit plans.

If you have a number of temporary, part-time or seasonal employees working for you, cooperatives have a number of limitations and may not be the best health insurance option for your small business. Group health insurance can be unaffordable for many small businesses, not to mention an administrative headache. Another alternative to group health insurance plans is to offer individual health insurance options to your employees. By law, an employer is not allowed to contribute to these plans, or that would be treated as group insurance under Texas state law. But you can still help your employees become insured in a good plan and improve their health and well-being and also improve employee retention in the process.

If you’re a small business owner who would like to offer affordable health insurance plans to your employees, but can’t afford group health insurance, you should consider offering your employees the revolutionary, comprehensive individual health insurance solutions created by Precedent specifically for young, healthy individuals.

Precedent offers affordable, individual health plans with catastrophic coverage, but without a high deductible, and we’ll offer these plans to your employees at a discount. For more information, visit us at our website. We offer a unique and innovative suite of individual health insurance solutions, including highly competitive HSA-qualified plans, and an unparalleled “real time” application and acceptance experience.

Pat Carpenter writes for Precedent Insurance Company. Precedent puts a new spin on health insurance. Learn more at Precedent.com

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EVAC for Faster Response of Health Personnel in Florida, USA

Among the 8 cities in USA with the most retirees based on 2014 record, 3 of them came from Florida. Palm Day ranked second with a population of 543,376 and 20.2 percent of them is composed of residents aging 65 years and over. Hialeah comes as fourth following Surprise, Arizona. With 224,669 population, 19.1 percent or 42,864 are 65 years and over. Clearwater, Florida ranked eighth with 107,685 residents, 19.8 percent or 21,330 people are senior citizens.

Older people are more vulnerable to diseases because of their deteriorating health. Thus, it is more often for them to get admitted to hospitals because of strokes, heart attack, and having an increased blood pressure. Cities with highest number of older people should have a more convenient facilities to accommodate the needs of our older people. For example, a faster response by health personnel to emergency calls will save many lives. However, it becomes a problem when gated communities prevented them from acting fast to save lives.

Gated communities are sometimes the cause of the delay when emergency health personnel responds to emergency calls. Instead of rescuing a patient, they will spend minutes fumbling with keys to open the gates. We know how important even a millisecond when it comes to saving people’s lives.

To avoid this problem, our Emergency Vehicle Access Control or EVAC is a convenient and simple way to open gates for vehicles of emergency responders. EVAC comes with a coded remote control which can only be used by emergency personnel and a receiver installed on the entrances of communities.

The personnel would only have to push the button on the remote upon approaching the gate or the entrance in order to open the gate. There is no need to get down from the vehicle and fumble with keys that could put the life of a patient at stake.

It is a simple yet convenient way for a safer community. The following entities have already installed EVAC;

* Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District
* City of Naples Fire-Rescue Department
* Collier County Government
* East Naples Fire Control and Rescue District
* Estero Fire Rescue
* Fort Myers Shores Fire Department
* Iona McGregor Fire Protection & Rescue Service District
* Marco Island Fire Rescue Department
* Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District
* North Fort Myers Fire Control District
* Ochopee Fire Control and Rescue District

Contact us at 239-274-1789 to know how your unit can gain access to communities with Emergency Vehicle Access Control.