Posts Tagged ‘Health Insurance’

Let’s take a moment to celebrate

March 24, 2010

There’s still a lot of work to be done, but let’s pause and be happy that our government finally passed real health reform. It’s not perfect, and there are many battles ahead, but for just a few moments, let us celebrate what we accomplished today.

Advertisements

Interstate health insurance shopping

February 24, 2010

John Goodman doesn’t seem like someone I’d normally agree with. I’m not talking about the former Roseanne star; I’m talking about the founder of the National Center for Policy Analysis. The site calls him the “Father of Health Savings Accounts” and  lists one of his major accomplishments as “playing the pivotal role in the defeat of the Clinton Administration’s plan to overhaul the U.S. health care system.”

That being said, I really enjoyed a posting he recently submitted to the HealthAffairs Blog on allowing consumers to purchase health insurance across state lines. He makes some great points about the benefits, including the ability to choose among 50 different insurance regulatory schemes. This means that if your state mandates in vitro fertilization coverage but not the chiropractic coverage you want, you could shop around for insurance from a state that does require chiropractic coverage to ensure you always have that coverage.

He notes that allowing interstate shopping could be bad for people with preexisting or chronic conditions. Healthy people from their state that might have normally subsidized their care through “guaranteed-issue and community rating in the individual market” might flock to states with cheaper insurance rates. This could leave people with preexisting or chronic conditions (which insurance companies do not like to insure) in ever smaller insurance pools and accordingly, higher premium costs. He mentions that the 6 states that currently require this could be exempt from interstate insurance shopping unless they want to opt in, but an even better solution would be “for states to find more rational ways of subsidizing the care of high-cost patients.” That’s the part that made me smile the most, because I fully agree that it’s important to help people with preexisting and chronic conditions receive affordable health insurance!!

Read the full posting here. If interstate health insurance shopping were allowed, what do you think states could do to subsidize the care of high-cost patients?

Dental health should be included in reform

February 21, 2010

Dental health has long been considered “optional” or an “extra” when it comes to health insurance. Just having insurance for dental procedures made you a lucky person; having good dental insurance that actually helped with the cost of expensive procedures (such as root canals and crowns) was like hitting the jackpot.

With the recent recession, dental health has fared even worse. People who lost their coverage along with their jobs are turning to safety net clinics, which were already overwhelmed with clients who never had dental insurance. Some states offer dental insurance to qualified applicants, but even that is dwindling.

States are feeling the sting of the recession when it comes to their budgets for dental insurance. According to NPR, California dropped 3 million people off of their dental plan 8 months ago due to budget cuts. The consequences of this? People are thronging to safety net clinics, which are struggling just to stay afloat in the economic downturn. Folks are turning up at these clinics swollen gums and infected teeth – problems that might have been avoided had they had access to regular cleanings. Instead of preventative care, people are forced to get teeth pulled because they can’t afford the expensive root canals and other treatments.

Public health has been pushing oral hygiene for several years now, since studies  have linked oral health to diabetes, stroke and heart disease. It is clear that dental health should not be considered optional, an extra or a luxury. I believe health is a human basic right – and this includes dental health.

Switzerland is the New Black

October 4, 2009

Every day/week/month/etc there seems to be a new country or model from which someone thinks the US should model it health care system after. Right now the en vogue model isSwitzerland. While Switzerland offers health care to all of its citizens, it is not like other counties with universal coverage. The government mandates that all citizens must have insurance but it is private insurers that must offer coverage to anyone and everyone, thus it is not a government run plan. (You can see why this would be a popular model with some in the US).

Read the article and see what you think, but I have a problem with models. Yes, that seems to work in Switzerland. That’s great. Switzerland has 7.5 million people. The US has 304 million. You can’t just transplant one model that works one place and expect it to work somewhere else. While that would be the nice and easy method, and everyone wants nice and easy, but health care reform is going to require some real work and while Switzerland seems like a good model and we could use elements of their plan, we need something that will be right for the US for the long term. And that isn’t going to be easy…but it will be nice once we get there.

Domestic Violence Is A Pre-Existing Condition

October 4, 2009

So I already posted this on Facebook a few weeks ago, but I figured that this bit of information needs to be disseminated as far and as wide as possible. Here is the original article. Yes, you read it write, in eight states, plus D.C., domestic violence is considered a pre-existing condition by health insurance companies.

To me, this is a prime example of why there needs to be regulations of insurance companies because despite what everyone likes to expound about the free market, if left to their own devices, these companies are not going to regulate themselves properly and in a way that is not morally repugnant (at least not all of the time). This argument links back to the earlier blog post about “yer mom” (see the September 29th blog post).

Read the whole article if you can. It is interesting to see the updates that have occurred since the original article was posted on September 14th.

And if there happen to be any readers who live in Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming, PLEASE write your state congressmen and your governor about this matter. Bring it to their attention because in all likelihood they have no idea.