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The Funniest Medical Cartoons

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Warning: You are about to enter “The Funniest Medical Cartoon” zone! Although my sense of humor is legendary…normally, my blog articles focus on serious Ohio health insurance issues. But, not this time. The topics are varied and all of them are relevant to the recent changes we have seen, including the establishment of Obamacare and the creation of State Exchanges.

Please enjoy some of my favorite cartoons:







Best Medicine

Best Medicine


Comprehensive Health Plan

Comprehensive Health Plan







Company Health Insurance Plan

Company Health Insurance Plan

Health Insurance Prices In Ohio For Individuals

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Ohio individual health insurance prices are quite affordable…especially if your employer is paying the premiums. However, if you’re self-employed or are paying your own premiums, they may not seem so attractive. And with more business owners reducing their contributions, and in some instances eliminating medical benefits, keeping healthcare costs within your budget is more important than ever.

Many new changes will occur in 2014 including the establishment of national and state Exchange programs. Many new guidelines, taxes, requirements and paperwork will be required. Don’t worry. We’ll be available to ensure you get the best deal.

Save Money Life Preserver Budget Rescue Sale

But until that time,  there are some ideas and tips that may help. Consumers can reduce their Ohio rates by following some simple guidelines. We have spent three decades assisting customers lower their bills, and here are a few of our best ideas:

·        If you’re relatively healthy, always consider raising your catastrophic deductibles. The savings could easily be thousands of dollars per year. And in most situations, you can change back on the anniversary date.

·        Never buy an Ohio health insurance policy from an out-of state broker. They may recommend the wrong plan, and are quite likely to be unfamiliar with all of the options. They may specialize in what’s best for a family in Idaho or Florida, but that won’t help you.

·        If any broker attempts to charge you an “application fee” or processing fee,” run away fast! The lone exception is some temporary policies. One of the biggest misconceptions among consumers is that you have to pay for broker services. You don’t!

·        If your prices have increased each of the last three years, it might be a good time to compare plans. Current  rates may be less than the premium your older policy is costing you. Often, you can apply “non-bound,” meaning that you are not obligated to accept the offer and you don’t have to cancel your existing coverage. This is a great feature for student plans for instate or out-of-state schools. You can read more about those plans here.

·        Consider an individual or family Health Savings Account (HSA). In addition to tax deductions, the savings in premiums can be deposited into a side account that pays current expenses. Potentially, you could save thousands of dollars. There are many good options available, with deductibles ranging from as low as $1,250 to $12,000.

·        Eliminate unneeded coverages. If you rarely visit a physician and there are no children on the policy, consider eliminating the coverage if the savings is substantial. The savings will vary depending on the carrier, so occasionally, you may be able to leave the rider in place for a very cheap cost.

·        Let us review your current private coverages. It’s possible there are some available discounts you’re not aware of. Also…simple “fine-tuning” instead of changing an existing plan might provide some premium savings. We provide free unbiased guidance that will save you had-earned dollars and time.

You can always count on change and individual health insurance prices in Ohio are not an exception. We have enjoyed low costs for many years and have seen our state rank among the best in the US for affordability. Hopefully, that trend will continue.


Ohio Health Insurance Consumer Complaints

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Every year, The Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) publishes complaint ratio data after receiving premium information for the previous year from different carriers. The final statistics are published so consumers have specific information that they can utilize to make an informed decision regarding which company to consider. Naturally, we use this information along with other factors to help recommend the best plans.

In 2007, the ODI received 2826 complaints about health insurance from Ohio consumers. When a complaint is received,  insurers must respond in a timely manner. Each complaint is documented, investigated and resolved.

If a company’s  complaint ratio is 1.0, it had one complaint for every $1 million in written premium. Therefore, the lower the complaint ratio, the better.

Some of the Ohio health insurers with the lowest complaint ratios are:

.08  Anthem

.11  United HeathCare

.13  Medical Mutual

.14  Aetna

Companies with higher complaint ratios are:

.67  Nationwide

.47  United American

.31  Time (Assurant)

All ratios can be viewed here.

Among some of the more interesting tidbits of information, the companies with the highest percentage of consumer issues were AIG,  Conseco, Senior HI of Pennsylvania, Genworth, National Union Fire and United American. The good news is that none of those carriers are big “players” any more in the marketplace. And on a personal note, we have never utilized or quoted any plans that they offer.

Susan Boyle…A Dream Come True

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Yes, this a blog about Ohio health insurance. But forgive me, because I am deviating from the normal content this one time. I think you’ll understand why when you watch this video. Can you say “WOW”?



March 2013 Update: I forgot about this post. Indeed, it is the shortest article I ever wrote! And I believe she is still singing!

Is Your Doctor An Ohio Network Provider?

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If you currently have an Ohio health insurance policy, then you probably pay a “copay” on your office visit coverage.  The “copay” is the dollar amount you must pay for your visit to the doctor. Normally, copays range from $15-$40. Sometimes they’re as much as $50. And if you have a deductible that applies, you pay almost the entire amount.

If your doctor does not participate in your plan, your out-of-pocket expense will be higher. A lot higher. That’s because your insurer (probably Anthem, UnitedHealthOne or Medical Mutual) will not (and can not) contractually force the provider to charge a lower rate. And that difference can be substantial.

Verify Your Provider

So what can you do? Perhaps your best course of action is to ensure that when you are treated for a sickness or an illness, you have previously verified that your doctor (or Urgent Care facility) is considered “in-network.” It will likely mean the difference of paying about $30 vs. perhaps paying more than $100. A specialist visit will result in greater savings. An unexpected emergency room visit could be extremely expensive if you go outside of your plan.

Find Healthcare Networks Ohio

Ohio Healthcare Networks

Perhaps the biggest price difference are ER or hospital bills. If you do not use a network provider, the difference in your actual bill could easily be thousands of dollars (or more). If you are scheduling a surgery, there should be ample time to determine the status of the hospital. You can also call them directly or easily view online a provider list from your carrier. It’s common that you can use out-of-state facilities, as long as network-verification occurs before treatment.

What About An Emergency?

If your treatment is an emergency and life-threatening, typically it will not matter where you are treated. It will be considered an “in-network” expense. For example, if you live in Toledo, and are vacationing in Florida, let’s assume you suddenly have an appendicitis attack. Of course, your vacation is ruined, but that’s a minor point!

If/when you are rushed by ambulance to the hospital, naturally, you don’t have time to research where you are going to be taken and what providers the facility accepts. You’re probably going to have your surgery at the closest hospital or trauma center. And that’s precisely the proper procedure.

Biggest Health Networks Ohio

It Pays To Stay In-Network

Your entire stay, including, surgery, room and board, anesthesia, doctors visits and consultations etc…should be classified as a network visit by your health insurer in Ohio. As a result, regardless whether you have a high-deductible plan or a PPO with little or no deductible, you should not be subject to a higher cost for going “outside” of the provider network. You can also verify this procedure with your carrier.

The type of coverage you have, whether it is a group, individual, catastrophic or comprehensive, will still cost you less when you utilize your provider list. If you have an HSA for 2013 or later, the same set of rules apply.

Size Matters!

Yes, the size of the insurer will often have a direct correlation on the number of providers you will have access to. For example, as you might expect, Anthem and UnitedHealthcare have the largest number of physician, specialist and hospital options in the state. Medical Mutual and Aetna aren’t far behind and Humana still maintains many participants. Kaiser and Summa Health are regional carriers and focus more on the Northern portion of the state.