Raising Women’s Voices

Save 30% on Health Premiums?

Posted in Affordability, Health Disparities, Insurance companies by raisingwomensvoices on April 15, 2009

President Obama’s health care plan that offers  options similar to that of Medicare could save Americans up to 30% on their health care premiums costs. According to MoveOn.org: 

  • Health care costs are spiraling out of control. From 2000 to 2008, health insurance premiums increased five times faster than wages.
  • A public health insurance option would provide an affordable, quality alternative. Two new studies show that Americans could save 25% or more off of a traditional private plan. The New York Times says this would “keep the private plans honest.” They’ll have to lower rates and offer better value to compete.
  • Plus, a public health insurance option would be reliable coverage for all. Private insurers are notorious for dumping people with little notice. A public option would allow consumers who’ve been dropped—or just don’t like their current coverage—to switch to a steady public choice.

Join MoveOn.org and other health advocates and send a message to Congress, telling them how you could use the 30% savings.

Political Power for the Uninsured?

Posted in DC Reform, Health Reform Policy Proposals by raisingwomensvoices on April 13, 2009

If the uninsured were an organized lobby group, Congress would have a tough time trying ignore their demands.  The recession has contributed to the increased numbers of insured, pushing the numbers to over 50 million.  UNINSURED

So what’s the problem?  Health care, accessing it and paying for it, are still regarded as private issues, rather than ones of public debate.  But what cannot be stressed enough is that health care affects us all. According to one writer of the Associated Press, “People who lose coverage often struggle alone instead of turning their frustration into political action”.

Health Care for America NOW!, (HCAN) a grassroots organization that advocates for quality, affordable health care for all, plans to bring more than 15,000 individuals to Washington, D.C. to lobby on the behalf of the uninsured.  Campaign director Richard Kirsch notes that many of the uninsured do not have the opportunity to partake in events such as the one being organized by HCAN due to fiscal and familial restraints, which is why it is important to have those numbers represented in health reform activism.

With a presidential administration committed to health care reform and advocates across the country working for quality, affordable, comprehensive and accessible health care–the time to act is now!

Health insurers restricted from dumping customers

Posted in Health Reform Policy Proposals, Insurance companies by raisingwomensvoices on August 5, 2008

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday signed a bill that bars health insurers from creating financial incentives for employees to dump customers from health plans after they become sick. The bill by South Bay Assemblyman Ted Lieu grew out of a lawsuit against Health Net, a major insurance carrier based in Woodland Hills. A judge found earlier this year that Health Net had created a bonus system that rewarded employees who rescinded health plans after claims were filed. Health Net was ordered to pay $9 million to Patsy Bates, a Gardena hairdresser whose plan was canceled while she was undergoing cancer treatment. Lieu’s bill, AB 1150, passed unanimously in the Assembly and the Senate. “Before, when Health Net did it, it just smelled bad and looked bad,” said Lieu, an El Segundo Democrat. “Now it would be a violation of state law.” After the allegations came to light, Health Net voluntarily changed its practices and turned all rescission procedures over to a third party.

read_more: http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_9966170

Health savings accounts haven’t caught on

Posted in Health Disparities, Insurance companies by raisingwomensvoices on July 31, 2008

Four years ago, the hot new idea for reining in health costs was the health savings account, a savings vehicle tied to a high-deductible insurance policy and designed to make patients more responsible for – and more aware of – the expenses involved.  The thinking was that such accounts would slow spiraling medical costs for both employers and consumers.

Today, with only 5 percent of the 114 million Americans covered at work opting for such health plans, their future is in question. In Texas, regarded as the birthplace of the HSA, only 387,000 people have signed up out of the 12 million with employer-provided insurance.  Proponents point to small companies – including some in Texas – that have used the lower-cost plans to offer coverage for the first time.

Meanwhile, critics argue that the plans benefit only the healthy and wealthy, with sick patients who can’t afford deductibles of more than $2,000 doing without care.  Under the 2003 federal law that established them, HSAs must be coupled with high-deductible health plans carrying at least a $1,050 deductible for an individual or $2,100 for a family.

Read more on the topic here.

Law Banning Rewards for Rescissions Caps Statewide Effort

Posted in Insurance companies by raisingwomensvoices on July 28, 2008

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R) signature this week on a bill banning health insurers from rewarding their employees for rescinding or limiting coverage comes on the heels of state regulators reaching deals with the state’s five major insurers over rescissions.
The governor signed AB 1150 by Assembly member Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) on Tuesday. It is one of several bills aimed at the individual insurance market that lawmakers introduced following state investigations into rescissions, a practice in which insurers revoke policies after people get sick and file claims.
Only people who buy coverage in the individual health insurance market are subject to rescissions; members of group plans cannot have their coverage rescinded. An estimated 14 million Americans, including three million in California, have individual policies.

read_more: http://www.californiahealthline.org/theweekly.aspx?article=legislative&w=07/25/2008

Amerigroup Settles Medicaid Lawsuit Over Denial of Coverage to Pregnant Women for $225M

Posted in Insurance companies, Pre-existing conditions by raisingwomensvoices on July 23, 2008

Amerigroup on Tuesday said it will enter a $225 million settlement agreement with Illinois and the federal government over allegations that it denied coverage to eligible pregnant women, the Baltimore Sun reports (Baltimore Sun, 7/23).

Cleveland Tyson, former vice president of government relations at Amerigroup’s Illinois subsidiary, in 2002 filed a whistle-blower lawsuit that claimed the company cherry-picked the healthiest patients to reduce spending. The U.S. attorney in Chicago and the Illinois attorney general later joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs. Illinois paid Amerigroup a flat fee per beneficiary that took into account that some people require more costly treatment than others. In March 2007, a federal judge in Chicago ruled against Amerigroup and awarded $334 million in the lawsuit.

read_more: http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=53457