We knew they were coming
Yesterday I looked on the website of my state’s (Washington) Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC). Health insurance companies are required to submit requests for 2015 premium increases in May. The OIC then posts these requests and the public is allowed to comment.
Insurers also have to file any benefit changes to existing plans, and details of any new plans they will offer in 2015. Actuarial data (what the company paid out in medical claims, administrative costs, enrollee risk profiles, profits, etc.) must be included to support the need for the rate hikes.
Rates are … Continue reading
Mark my words—Washington state’s health exchange is going to be the next big news story about an internet security breach resulting in the theft of consumers’ personal information.
As I mentioned in Monday’s post about internet security and your health care records, I recently changed the password to my family’s account on our state’s health benefits (Obamacare) exchange, wahealthplanfinder.org.
In that post I cautioned against using your personal (insecure) email to communicate sensitive health information.
So imagine my surprise and dismay when I received an email from Washington Healthplanfinder not only acknowledging my change of password, but also … Continue reading
A few months ago I posted about health-sharing ministries as an affordable alternative to Obamacare’s marketplace.
And recently I read that these groups are enjoying a surge in enrollment.
Since the launch of HealthCare.gov on Oct. 1, membership at each of the ministries has exploded, with nearly 30,000 new enrollees — more than the number of people who selected a plan through ObamaCare in 24 states.
Anyone participating in a health-sharing ministry is exempt from the mandate to buy ACA-compliant health insurance.
For more information about these ministries, read one of my posts on the topic:
… Continue reading
A friend emailed me a link to a recent article about a patient’s experience with the health care system in France.
The writer’s father, a French citizen living in New York, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and chose to forego treatment at one of America’s top-notch hospitals and return to his native country for chemotherapy.
The writer was understandably worried for her father: How could a public hospital in Paris possibly improve on Sloan Kettering’s cancer treatment?
Indeed. But what she discovered over the course of her father’s treatment is that the French have a pretty awesome … Continue reading
Losing a job or gaining an opportunity?
I feel compelled to give my perspective on the latest round of Obamacare news (OK, not really the latest, since it seems to be changing every day).
And I’ll give my bottom line here at the beginning, just in case you aren’t interested in the following health care-political gymnastics: Don’t retire early if you’re getting good health insurance at your job!
Last week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) came out with a report that caused a stir among political and health care reform pundits.
Some highlights from the report include:
… Continue reading
A terrific resource
Recently, I was delighted to receive a copy of “The Self-Pay Patient” by Sean Parnell.
He has a blog of the same name, and he asked me to read his recently-published book and give him some feedback. (Full disclosure—the book was gratis.) I was happy to oblige; what he didn’t know was that I had been following his blog for several months and was eager to read the book!
Sean has a background in economics, writing and health care policy. He realizes, as I do, that today’s health care (and health insurance) is increasingly unaffordable … Continue reading
It’s all relative
A few days ago I read something that really annoyed me: “Report Finds That Health Exchange Insurance Purchases Are A Good Deal”
Now, I’m not annoyed that people might be getting a good deal on the health exchanges. I just don’t think they are. I’m not. My neighbors aren’t. Premiums are expensive, deductibles are high, networks are narrow. Even those individuals and families who get subsidies must now always be aware that if their income goes too high or too low, they will lose the subsidy and perhaps their insurance. That sounds really stressful to me.… Continue reading
If Pajama Boy can’t sell health insurance, who can?
Despite ads with Pajama Boy, keggers and casual hook-ups (really?), the 18 to 35 crowd apparently isn’t rushing to buy health insurance.
Or maybe Creepy Uncle Sam is scaring them away. Or the lame technology.
Related news: Jimmy Kimmel Savages ObamaCare and Uninformed Young People Who Support It
Whatever the reason, this week it’s been reported that only about 25% of uninsured young adults have enrolled in Obamacare plans. The administration has said that at least 38% of this age group is necessary to prevent “adverse selection” (too many sick … Continue reading
Affordable coverage by January 1?
This week I have to make a final decision about a new health insurance plan for my family.
Yes, I’ve been dawdling. Partly because I wanted to wait and see how my state’s health exchange would work (there were several glitches, so I’m glad I waited) and whether the administration might “fix” or delay parts of the law, as it did when it suggested insurance companies could extend canceled policies through 2014 ( my state has refused to play).
And, to be honest, I’m procrastinating because I’m angry about losing my current policy, about paying … Continue reading
Glitchy exchanges improve…kind of
The big news this past weekend, other than Black Friday deals and mayhem, was the much-anticipated announcement that by the end of the day Saturday, Nov. 30, the federal health exchange, healthcare.gov, would—finally—be working as it was supposed to.
Well, is it? That depends.
Most of the media report that the website is “improving” and working better than it did on October 1. That’s a pretty low bar. The official Health and Human Services exchange website, hhs.gov, states:
The site is better today than it was on Oct. 1. We are on track
… Continue reading