Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Re-evaluating Health Care Costs

To many Americans, insurance coverage is a cost burden. This is a sentiment felt by those along a broad range of financial capacities. Whether they are financially comfortable or barely making ends meet, many citizens opt out of insurance when they can. Their feelings are understandable. With the rising cost of insurance, many have had to either re-evaluate their health care plans or drop them altogether.

With respect to health care, the new health plan was supposed to make coverage less of a burden. Then a few providers started raising their prices, which eventually trickled down to the insured.
Cost is a valuable factor to consider, and in time the goal for the nationalized health care plan, or Obamacare as the conservatives graciously labeled it, is to further reduce those costs in the long-run. But aside from costs, what many are forgetting is how prior plans passed to protect Americans have been affected by Obamacare. Take, for instance, the COBRA and SCHIP programs passed by the government in the '90s to help those families who may lose their health coverage.

COBRA was passed to help cover any workers who lose their employer-based coverage. Under specific standards, an employee is granted the opportunity to keep an existing insurance plan after unemployment or a reduction in work hours. Only setback is that the affected employees (or ex-employees) is responsible for the enter premium cost. Quite costly for anyone who finds herself without a job, but the purpose of COBRA was to prevent insurance companies from denying these individuals coverage based on pre-existing conditions, in this case the loss of a job. Although the program is still available, the cost of staying on an employer-based health insurance plan is more expensive than what Obamacare offers under its new terms.

SCHIP was passed to insure children whose families fall below the poverty line. What most may not know is that in 2009, President Obama extended this coverage to millions of more children under his comprehensive healthcare plan. In this case, choosing to apply to this program may be a better cost option than anything the new health care plan can offer.

There may be other changes that need to be taken into consideration. The problem, however, is how to keep up with these changes, especially as Obamacare continues to roll out in the future.

Some tips:

1. Stay informed. Understand your current health insurance plan and ask questions if something seems unclear.
2. Re-evaluate your insurance options when renewal is up. Especially with Obamacare still in its initial changes, the cost of insurance is bound to keep changing.
3. Stay updated on the latest health care changes by visiting the following sites:
    - Your state-run insurance exchange http://insuranceexchangehq.com/health-insurance-exchanges-by-state/
    - National Association of Insurance Commissions http://www.naic.org/, where you can also link to your state insurance board
    -Insure.com for insurance quotes http://www.insure.com/

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