Posts Tagged - ‘health plan’

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Are Health Insurance Brokers An Endangered Species?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Image: H. Michael Karshis under CC 3.0

In many states, regulators fear that health insurance brokers are falling by the wayside. The healthcare reform law passed this year requires that a certain percentage of premiums be spent on providing medical care, as opposed to being spent on administrative costs.

Some consider brokers as middlemen, standing in the way of affordable health insurance by creating yet another level of bureaucracy. However, they can help people navigate the confusing variety of plans available and shop around–although that purpose may become irrelevant once states get their own health insurance exchanges up and running.

In addition, many brokers may end up out of work if they cannot adapt to the changes in the market and regulatory environment.

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Insurers Testing Out Controversial Health Plan

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

A new type of medical insurance will soon be available to workers in Portland, Ore. Here is how it works: Participating health insurance plans will offer free health care for certain illnesses such as diabetes or depression. Sounds to good to be true, and maybe it is. There are selected treatments that will cost you pretty big. The insurers have singled out selected treatments that are often overused, including knee replacements, hysterectomies, and heart bypass surgery.

The new insurance is an attempt to control medical spending that continues to rise and impact health insurance premiums.

“We’re trying to make people better consumers,” says John Worcester, head of benefits at Evraz Oregon Steel, the sole employer to sign up since the plans began coming on the market earlier this year.

Workers who choose the option over a more traditional plan next year could see their costs drop sharply if they have one of six chronic conditions but might pay hundreds more in deductibles and co-payments if they need a hip replacement or a heart stent.

Those who support the new plan feel it will improve health and reduce medical costs. However, critics warn the plan will limit access to certain medical services. People who are advised to have one of the overused treatments will be discouraged from them due to the high costs. The plan could have an adverse affect of hurting individuals instead of helping them.

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