Category Archive - Family

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Underinsured Families Less Likely To Follow Doctor’s Orders

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Image: edenpictures under CC 3.0

According to a survey from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, 13 percent of parents admitted to not following at least one recommendation from their pediatrician in the past year. They are not purposely rebelling; on the contrary, they blame high costs. For example, medications and exams can be particularly expensive if the out-of-pocket cost is not covered by their insurer.

Working class and lower-middle-class parents are most likely to be underinsured. That is because families earning under $15,000 have public health insurance, while those with annual incomes over $34,999 were able to afford a better private health insurance plan.

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Are Child-Only Health Insurance Plans Falling By The Wayside?

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Image: Pink Sherbet Photography under CC 3.0

Several health insurers, including Aetna and Anthem Blue Cross, will soon stop selling dedicated health insurance plans to children. These plans often appeal to parents who believe they cannot afford health insurance for the entire family, but decide to sacrifice for the sake of their kids. Still, children’s health insurance is a relatively small market by itself.

They blame newly effective provisions of the healthcare reform law that prevent them from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, which means that those plans will no longer be cost-effective for them to offer.

Which states will lose this option? So far, they are:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Virginia
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • Colorado
  • Arizona

Although there is a legitimate argument for the moral hazard of allowing adults with pre-existing conditions to forgo paying into the system when they are healthy and joining when they are sick, children have no choice in the matter. (The individual mandates that discourage this practice won’t go into effect until 2014–and may not survive a Supreme Court challenge.) Furthermore, unlike adults, children never contribute to their own health status by choice.

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Adult Stepchildren Can Be Covered By Family Health Insurance

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

As a result of the healthcare reform law, people will soon be able to cover their adult children under their family health insurance policies.

In an era of blended families, it is of serious concern that the same benefits are extended to stepchildren. Fortunately, that is the case. The stepchild of any half of a married couple will indeed be eligible for coverage under their stepparent’s plan until the age of 27. (The same is true for adopted children.)

Under healthcare reform, the same limitations for biological children apply to stepkids. Namely, that they can’t partake in it if they are offered acceptable health coverage by their employer.

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Missouri Health Insurance Must Now Cover Autism

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Image: jeffk under CC 3.0

The governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, recently signed legislation that mandates family health insurance coverage for autism treatment.

What does the bill do?

  • It requires that all Missouri health insurance companies cover the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.
  • Insurers are now also mandated to provide up to $40,000 worth of Applied Behavioral Therapy (ABA), which has been clinically shown to be effective in many cases, until the child turns 18.
  • Meanwhile, small businesses who can prove that the law will increase their premiums by 2.5% are exempt.

Despite that, some are worried that the new requirements will drive up costs, pricing many others out of the market and leaving them uninsured.

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Top 8 Children’s Hospitals

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Image: roens under CC 3.0

Recently, U.S. News and World Report released its ranking of the best children’s hospitals in America. They judged them on criteria related to cancer, neonatal care, and other specialties.

Here are the overall winners! Hopefully, your health insurance company includes some of these hospitals in its network.

  1. Children’s Hospital Boston
  2. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  3. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  4. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
  5. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  6. New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley-Komansky Children’s Hospital
  7. St. Louis Children’s Hospital-Washington University
  8. Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston

(Step your game up, Miami Children’s Hospital!)

Call your insurer to see if they are covered under your family health insurance policy.

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Health Insurance To Fight Childhood Obesity?

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Image: USDAgov under CC 3.0

The House of Representatives recently released a list of over 70 recommendations intended to reduce the childhood obesity epidemic, upon First Lady Michelle Obama’s request.

One of their recommendations is that family health insurance plans cover the prevention and treatment of obesity in children. Reducing the percentage of overweight and obese children is predicted to save our health care system up to $150 billion annually.

Services these health insurance providers could offer include visits to a nutritionist (with no or nominal co-payment), counseling, and tips on exercise and other forms of healthy living.

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Family Health Insurance Rates Rise With Adult Children

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Image: justinknabb under CC 3.0

The recent healthcare reform law allows parents to keep adult children on their family health insurance until the age of 27. How many families will take advantage?

It may be fewer than you think. That’s because premiums will most likely rise if an extra person is added to the policy, especially if the young adult has a pre-existing condition. None other than the federal government admits that this will probably happen until 2014, when similar health rating is banned. Unfortunately, adult children with pre-existing conditions are the ones most likely to need a parent’s coverage, because finding affordable health insurance on the open market is extremely difficult for them.

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How Family Health Insurance Reform Helps Mormons

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Image: Aoife city womanchile under CC 3.0

Healthcare reform makes it so that young adults will be able to remain on their parents’ family health insurance until the age of 26, regardless of their college enrollment status.

While this helps all adult children in this demographic, it is especially heartening to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Many young Mormons go on mission trips for one or two years. They often take a break from their university studies to do so. During that time when they are not actively enrolled, their student health insurance often lapses. When they come back, they would be uninsured unless they bought a potentially expensive short term policy. In addition, they are unlikely to have a job with health benefits immediately among returning.

Therefore, the legislation may be a net benefit for LDS Mormons looking for Utah health insurance, or coverage in another state.

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Family Health Insurance Can’t Be Denied Due To Child’s Health

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

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Those buying family health insurance will see a significant benefit in healthcare reform within a year. What is it?

This particular change is very important: health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny families coverage due to a child’s health status. Sometimes, children are born with pre-existing conditions. Clearly, it is through no fault of their own. In the past, companies were able to refuse to sell a health insurance plan to a family whose child had a potentially expensive condition.

The provision will be especially helpful to the self-employed or parents whose firms don’t offer health benefits.

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Wellness Incentives for Individual and Family Health Insurance

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Image: D Sharon Pruitt under CC 3.0

According to researchers at Harvard, wellness incentives from insurers will help people save large amounts on their health insurance plan premiums!

How much will individuals save?

  • With a 30% discount: they’ll save $1,447 annually, on average.
  • With a 50% discount: $2,412

What about a family health insurance policy? The savings are even more substantial:

  • 30% discount: $4,013 savings
  • 50% discount: $6,688 in annual savings

The healthcare reform law promotes these incentives as a method of reducing costs, since they encourage policyholders to take better care of their health.

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