Posts Tagged - ‘health benefits’

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Should Republicans Drop Their Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance?

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The GOP believes that the federal government should stay out of health care. Some liberal union groups are calling their bluff, and challenging Republican politicians to opt out of the Federal Employees’ Health Benefits Plan.

While the strategy is appealing, there are significant pitfalls. Most strikingly, the FEHBP is at its core an employer-sponsored health insurance plan–the employer just happens to be in the public sector. The GOP has never expressed opposition for that type of coverage.

A handful of representatives and senators may take up the challenge, however, to score political points. Some are independently wealthy and can easily afford individual coverage.

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Congress’ Health Insurance Coverage Takes Time to Kick In

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Image: SourceWatch

Elected officials tend to enjoy generous health insurance benefits, fully paid for by the government. Members of Congress are no different. However, in one way they aren’t different from you and me: their employer-sponsored health coverage doesn’t kick in immediately.

Newly hired (or elected) representatives and senators must wait 28 days before they can take advantage of the federal health insurance plan. Rep.-elect Andy Harris of Maryland is currently protesting this waiting period, and expressed his problem during freshman orientation earlier this week. It may raise the eyebrows of some that Harris is a Republican who largely ran (and won) on his opposition to healthcare reform and the Obama administration’s increased involvement. He has vowed that he will seek to repeal the law as a member of the House of Representatives.

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Census: Percentage of Americans With Health Insurance Plan Dropped

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Image: Michigan Municipal League (MML) under CC 3.0

Since the Census Bureau began tracking the percentage of Americans who are insured in 1987, last year showed the lowest rate on record. 253.6 million reported having a health insurance plan in 2009, which doesn’t seem so bad until you find out that 255.1 million were insured last year.

The recession is largely to blame, because it caused hundreds of thousands of employees to lose jobs with health benefits. Supporters of healthcare reform will likely use this statistic as an argument for the necessity of the Obama administration’s legislation.

At the same time, Medicaid enrollment rose, along with the poverty rate.

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Employer-Based Health Insurance Plans Providing Less Care for More Money

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Image: RangerRick under CC 3.0

When employees look at their health insurance plans today, they see more responsibility (and cost) on their end with fewer benefits. That’s according to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

In a struggling economy, companies look for different methods of saving money. One of them is shifting the cost of health coverage to employees. Unfortunately, workers must pay for those costs with the same or even smaller (for those who have taken pay cuts) incomes! Wages have not grown with the cost of health insurance for several decades now.

The average employee is paying 14% more for health care in 2010.

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Inflation of Health Insurance Plans Continued in 2009

Thursday, August 26th, 2010
health insurance plans
Image: Paolo Camera under CC 3.0

2009 had the American economy in the throes of recession. Inflation was very low, while the Federal Reserve cut the interest rate to almost zero. So why did the cost of health insurance plans continue to rise?

To be exact, United Benefit Advisors found that health insurance rates increased by an average of 7.3% for employers. That’s almost three times the inflation in general consumer prices.

Insurers tend to blame an increase in medical expenses. Meanwhile, companies are using consumer-directed health plans to pass more of the cost of group health insurance coverage onto their employees.

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Will Healthcare Reform Help Part-Time Employees?

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Image: The Consumerist under CC 3.0

Many supporters of healthcare reform have pointed to the benefits that it can bring to part-time workers. In most cases, companies do not offer health coverage to employees who work under a certain number of hours per week. Some businesses even intentionally schedule employees just under the threshold, in order to deny them health care.

During the recession, many people have been juggling multiple part-time jobs. Although they end up working full-time hours or longer, they are eligible for health benefits from none of them.

Affordable individual health insurance is the solution in this case, but it may not be available to everyone. The exchange markets that the law establishes in 2014 are hoped to help in this regard.

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When Student Health Insurance Isn’t Enough

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Image: Art Pets Photography under CC 3.0

Student health insurance is generally helpful to the majority of college and university populations, who are young and healthy. However, sometimes it’s not sufficient.

It may not cover everything you need. For example, insurance might only cover the partial cost of treating accident-related or athletic injuries. With the high-deductible health insurance plans often targeted towards this demographic, they may have to chip in with thousands of dollars they are unlikely to have.

When it comes to health insurance, the options marketed towards students are far more likely to have annual and lifetime benefit limits. Healthcare reform will ban this practice, but that will take time to fully implement.

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Military Health Insurance Plan Will Remain Intact

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Image: U.S. Army Africa under CC 3.0

Some current military and veterans have worried about how healthcare reform will affect them. Will they be subject to the individual mandate, in the case that their current insurance isn’t deemed sufficient?

Not to worry! Tricare and Tricare for Life (the latter for those eligible for Medicare) will remain unchanged by the law. Active duty and retired military, their families, and National Guard and reserve members will retain their health insurance plans. Shared responsibilities for co-payments or deductibles won’t increase.

Tricare benefits are managed by the Department of Defense.

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Consider Health Insurance Benefits In Job Search

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Image: Photomish Dan under CC 3.0

These days, many people are in search of work. If you’re lucky enough to receive several job offers, it’s important to weigh more than just salaries.

The health insurance plan is an essential part of the benefit package. On average, employers pay 82% of the individual’s premium and 71% of the family health insurance premium.

Of course, if the difference in pay is significant, it may be a better idea to take that job and buy your own health insurance plan, especially if you don’t have pre-existing conditions.

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