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Ohio Health Care Doesn’t Need More Government Expansion

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Expanding government health care programs must be stylish. Everybody is getting into the act. First President Obama.  And now, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland wants to give health insurance to every child in the state. A nice gesture, but the method is quite cost-ineffective.

Marc Kilmer of “The Times-Gazette” in Hillsboro, says it best:

 

Much of the problem of uninsured children could be solved by simply getting those eligible signed up for coverage.
Instead, politicians like Governor Strickland want to expand coverage to those with higher incomes.

Children in families with higher incomes not only have a lower uninsured rate than children who are already eligible for the program, their parents are more likely to be able to afford private coverage.

 

 

 September 2009 Update: It appears that the “public option” is off the table. That’s good news for everyone.

May 2013 Update: Wow! That 3 1/2 years went fast!  The public option has not been discussed for a few years and is not likely to be mentioned again, especially now, with three government scandals rocking the political world. We will start taking Ohio State Marketplace applications in October. It should be a very busy time.

Ohio Health Insurance Plan Review

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Get the most recent unbiased reviews of Ohio health insurance plans available to consumers. Coverages range from high-deductible catastrophic plans to comprehensive policies with small out-of-pocket expenses. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are also available and growing in popularity.

And The newly-created Exchanges will bring four new metal plans to consumers- Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Your premium could be impacted by an immediate rebate if your income falls within the specified guidelines. Yes, there are a lot of policy options here in the Buckeye state.

 

We review popular Ohio policies each month. This month, all four selected plans are readily available, easily underwritten, and quite affordable. They’ll likely meet your budget and be much less expensive than most other options.

How To Get The Best Anthem Ohio Plans

Find The Cheapest Medical Plans In Ohio

 

Anthem Value Plan Two office visits per person (per year) are included, subject to a $30 copay. Brand-name formulary and and Generic non-formulary prescription are included. Like many Ohio health insurance plans, some preventative care and diagnostic services are included. And a generous $5 million lifetime limit is also built into the policy.

 

UnitedHealthCare Copay Saver Plan  One of many Ohio health insurance plans offered by UnitedHealthCare. A $35 copay applies to the two allowed office visits per person per year (including wellness). Generic prescriptions are subject to a $15 copay while non-generic prescriptions are not covered. The lifetime limit is $3 million and maternity coverage can be added as a rider.

 

Aetna Preventative And Hospital Care 3000  Perhaps Aetna’s most affordable Ohio health insurance plan, this policy is HSA compatible. The principal feature of the policy is the outstanding preventative care coverage. Annual routine GYN exams, routine physicals, and Paps/Mammograms are not subject to a deductible. A $1 million lifetime limit is included.

UnitedHealthCare Saver 80 Plan One of the least expensive Ohio health insurance plans, this plan is designed to cover catastrophic claims. Major medical and emergency room charges are covered, along with most routine hospital expenses. Office visits are not covered, although a drug prescription discount card in included. $3 million of lifetime limit coverage per person is included in each policy.

Affordable Ohio health insurance plans are available, and often can be approved in less than a week. The application process is simple and physicals are rarely required.

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UPDATE: August 2011. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since I wrote this short post. Many plans have changed. The Anthem Value plan has been replaced by the “SmartSense” plan. You can easily view Anthem Ohio Rates on our website.

Also, The UnitedHealthCare Copay Saver plan is now referred to as the Copay Value plan. The rates are still very attractive.

Lifetime caps have also been eliminated on all plans.

UPDATE: July 2013. Many additional changes have occurred. There is no longer an annual or lifetime cap on the amount of money an insurer will pay for a covered claim. Also, the number of available policies that will be offered to residents in the state will reduce when the first Exchange Open Enrollment takes place in October (runs to end of February). When getting a quote from our website, all of these changes will be reflected in the plans you view.

 

 

Cobra Premiums Reduced by “American Recovery And Reinvestment Act”

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Congress has passed the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” which was signed into law by President Obama. This act includes a 65 percent subsidy on the cost of Cobra premiums for nine months. The Cobra recipient will only pay 35 percent of the overall Cobra premium for that period.

The coverage expires on the earlier of the date the individual becomes eligible for major medical employer-sponsored coverage or Medicare, nine months, or the end of the maximum required period of Cobra continuation. More current information is available on this page that is more current. It also includes information about The Affordable Care Act.

The Cobra subsidy is available, if:

*You were laid off between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009; and

*At the time of your layoff, you were covered by an employer-sponsored policy  and

*Your annual income is less than $125,000 or your annual family income is less than $250,000; and

*Your prior employer must still be actively in business.

This subsidy is not retroactive and will only apply from the date of the law’s passage. If you are already enrolled in Cobra, and began paying premiums before the Act effective date, you will not receive a credit for the Cobra premiums you paid prior to the effective date.

However, if you were layed off on or after September 1, 2008 and did not Select Cobra within the 62-day window, you are allowed to become eligible for Cobra again, as long as your former employer still exists and offers group coverage.

Despite the 65% subsidy, it is still very possible that Cobra’s rate will be substantially higher than an individual plan. And, of course, the Cobra subsidy only lasts for nine months, leaving open the possibility that a chronic health condition could occur, thus, making it more difficult to qualify for an individual or family health insurance policy.

COBRA Ohio Options And How To Apply

You May Not Need COBRA After 2013

Additional Cobra details can be found from the United States Department of Labor

If your Cobra coverage is close to ending, we’ll find an affordable Ohio health insurance plan to meet your needs. You can view instant quotes at the top of the page or contact us.


UPDATE 2011- Of course, this subsidy has now expired.

UPDATE 2013- It still has expired! However, there is good news for folks that are on COBRA and will be losing coverage. Typically, you would be facing huge rate increases when you have to convert to a HIPAA plan (when benefits are exhausted).

However, now (as of 2014), you will be able to purchase affordable medical plans through an Open Enrollment through the State Health Marketplace. Since losing benefits, should be a (qualifying event), instead of waiting until November and December, you may be able to obtain benefits at any time.

Also, starting in 2014, if you lose benefits from an employer-sponsored policy, you will be able to compare COBRA vs. Open Enrollment prices. If you are in great health, perhaps purchasing a “Bronze”  plan may make the most financial sense. Also, the availability and amount of the new federal tax subsidies will depend on your income.

Overhaul Ohio Health Care…Can It Be Done?

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President Obama wants to overhaul U.S. and Ohio health care. Can he do it? He took his first step by naming a University of North Dakota  health care expert to head the federal agency in charge of improving access to care in the United States.

Mary Wakefield was chosen to head the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. This agency will oversee the release of $2.5 billion in the economic stimulus signed by President Obama. Ohio health care programs will likely see some of the money, but it may take quite a while to trickle down to you and I.

The current system faces a shortage of nurses and has many individuals and families without  health insurance. Can Obama push through a bill in Congress ?

Get Affordable Ohio Exchange Rates

Ohio Health Exchange Open Enrollment

The Associated Press reports that President Obama plans to move quickly.

“They don’t intend to blink. They intend to plow ahead,” said health economist Len Nichols of the nonpartisan New America Foundation. “Health reform is seen as essential to balancing the federal budget and economic recovery in the long run.”

Ohio health care will change, but it will take time. Premiums will likely reduce, but the major  companies, such as Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna and UnitedHealthCare, will still be able to offer a wide variety of policies. Smaller carriers, such as Celtic may not be able to offer as competitive of a product.

But if major changes are to be made,ultimately, somebody will have to pay for it. Whether its the government (state or local), consumers, the rich, the poor (or both), extra money must come from somebody’s pocket. Will it be yours?

UPDATE: August 2011. Obamacare is now the law of the land…at least for now. Stay tuned for a possible Supreme Court ruling in 2012.

UPDATE: August 2013. Wow! Has it really been two years since the last update? Open Enrollment starts in October here in the Buckeye state and federal subsidies will be available if your income is below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Ohio Health Care…Where Do We Go From Here?

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What is the future of healthcare here in Ohio? Single-payer system? Government-run? Let market conditions dictate rates for consumers and allow insurance companies to compete for consumer business?

 

Ohio Health Care

Ohio Health Care Exchange

 

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has said that, by 2011, he hopes to reduce the number of uninsureds by 500,000. He also hopes to increase the number of  small businesses that offer health insurance to their workers.

Generally, uninsured Ohioans:

·Live in households with a full-time employee

·Graduated high school

·Have been uninsured for more than 12 months

·Live in urban areas

When compared to insured residents, uninsured Ohioans:

·Are in poorer health

·Receive less  care

·Receive less preventive attention

·Are less productive

·Have more medical bills

·Live shorter lives

So…without bankrupting the state and unnecessarily charging consumers, what can be done?

Ohio health care coverage for uninsured residents must focus on prevention, continuity of care, and ease of use. Existing public and private health care systems should be the backbone of the reform. Major health insurance companies should remain an important part of the solution…not just taken for granted.

Some  principles that reflect Governor Strickland’s goal of reducing the number of  uninsureds are:

·We  must take personal responsibility for reducing health care costs, which includes taking proactive actions to keep ourselves healthy. Naturally, getting annual physicals is a start.

·Reform must be sustainable, and have a measurable impact. Obamacare may not be the answer.

·All residents, including people with serious medical conditions, must have access to affordable health care.

·Ohio health care coverage should include ways that allow its residents to maintain good health, and seek medical help, if needed, as quickly as possible.

One of the best ways to encourage individuals to obtain quality and affordable coverage is to provide tax credits for a portion of the premiums, and make preventative treatment a condition to continue those tax credits.

Perhaps, by 2011, such an initiative will become a reality. But don’t hold your breath.

Approximately 1.3 million Ohioans are without health insurance. Most of them do not have access to affordable coverage. And more than likely, many are not receiving the appropriate medical treatment to maintain healthy lifestyles.


UPDATE: Actually it is 2011 right now (June) and there are still plenty of uninsured here in Ohio. National health care reform has created the state high risk pool which helps a little. But the real test will come in 2014. A lot can happen between now and then. Preventive benefits are included on most policies now so that’s a positive.
UPDATE: 9-24-2013. Open Enrollment for the Ohio Health Exchange begins in about eight days. The high risk pool is gone and will be replaced by a new medical delivery system where everyone gets approved when they apply for coverage. Tax subsidies can potentially pay up to 100% of premiums.
Premiums will rise for many individuals and families, especially if they do not receive any subsidy assistance.  And of course, it is now against the law if you do not buy qualified and approved coverage by January 1. The $95 per year tax will increase every year. In 2016, the tax penalty can be as much as 2.5% of your household income.