Posts Tagged - ‘children’s health insurance’

Post border

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.

Post border
Post border

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.

Post border
Post border

Affordable Health Insurance Grants for Utah’s Native Americans

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Image: Bob Rosenberg under CC 3.0

Native Americans are one of the demographics most likely to be uninsured. Although a majority of them are eligible for affordable health insurance through CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program) and Medicaid, they still struggle with access, especially on reservations.

The new healthcare reform law includes a grant for nearly $1 million to help Utah’s many tribes access health care. The smaller tribes are less likely to have charitable clinics established.

What will the grants cover? Their purposes include outreach from the Utah Navajo Health System to the nearby town of White Mesa, where there is a large American Indian population. 10 to 15 percent of children living there are enrolled in CHIP, when up to 95 percent are estimated to be eligible for that Utah health insurance plan. Several other walk-in clinics in the state will also receive grants.

Post border
Post border

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.

Post border
Post border

Tobacco Industry Bilks Children’s Health Insurance Plan

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Image: cupcakes2 under CC 3.0

A tax on tobacco products–intended to provide children with health insurance–brought in less money than expected last year. A loophole is to blame.

Tobacco companies began marketing loose rolling tobacco as pipe tobacco, and therefore paying the far lower tax rate for the latter ($2.83 vs. $24.78 per pound). In addition, production of pipe tobacco products has ramped up unusually.

The Obama administration believes that over $250 million in predicted funding for kids’ health insurance plans, such as SCHIP, was lost due to the industry changes. A bill is currently pending in Congress to make the tax rates equal has received little attention thus far.

Post border
Post border

HMO Health Insurance Turns Off Pediatricians

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Image: isafmedia under CC 3.0

A recent essay in Newsweek discusses the plight of pediatricians. They are the first primary care physician most people have, and good health care as a child is one of the best ways to improve adult outcomes.

Unfortunately, managed care has caused many pediatricians to quit their jobs. The stress of fighting with managed care health insurance for reimbursement of their services gets to be too much. Justifying essential care to corporate bureaucracy ruined the joy of their practice.

When HMO health insurance providers decide to cut their reimbursement rates, pediatricians are forced to fill their days with more patients, which leads to longer wait times. Health insurance reform, which adds more patients to the rolls, may make the situation even worse.

Post border
Post border

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.

Post border
Post border

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

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Image: cole24_ under CC 3.0

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.

Post border
Post border

Health Insurance Reform Promotes Breast Feeding

Monday, April 5th, 2010

(Image: Wha’ppen under CC 3.0)

A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics has found that the nation could save up to $13 billion if 90% of mothers exclusively breast fed their babies for twelve months. It is thought to lower family health insurance costs, since breast-feeding has been associated with lower rates of stomach and ear infections, juvenile diabetes, asthma, and other common illnesses that often require treatment and hospitalization.

What does healthcare reform have to do with it? Many women resort to using formula due to work obligations. Hidden in the health insurance legislation is a requirement for large employers to offer a private room–not a bathroom–for women to pump breast milk.

Post border
Post border

Health Insurance Companies Backtrack On Denying Children

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

(Image: D Sharon Pruitt under CC 3.0)

Good news for those seeking family health insurance: despite concerns that the language in the healthcare reform bill could be interpreted as allowing health insurers to continue denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions until 2014–going against President Obama’s own statements, the insurers have decided to extend that coverage regardless.

Initially, some health insurance companies’ lawyers claimed that the immediate effect of the legislation in the next six months would solely prevent insurers from refusing to cover pre-existing conditions of children they had already decided to underwrite. After public controversy and negative publicity, they have backtracked on that view. Instead, they have agreed to abide by the clear intent of the law: that kids should have access to affordable health insurance.

A letter from America’s Health Insurance Plans’ president Karen Ignagni assures Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that they will not seek loopholes. Rather, they will follow complementary regulations soon to be released by Sebelius’ office. Families can now breathe a little easier.

Post border