Category Health Insurance Plans

Health Insurance Mergers: Increased Profit, Not Better Care

By Joseph Valenti, MD, FACOG
Past Chair, Council on Socioeconomics, Texas Medical Association

Think back to your last airline flight. After paying a premium price for your ticket you probably waited in a long check-in line, paid hefty baggage fees, dealt with delays—and spent hours in a cramped, narrow seat. (I assume, like most of us, you fly in economy.) Commercial flying has become increasingly miserable in recent years. But as travelers, most of us feel pretty powerless; if we want to fly, we have no choice but to take what the airlines are offering.

We can trace the unpleasant state of airline travel to one overriding cause: industry consolidation. In the past 12 years, 10 major U.S. airlines have merged into four mega-carriers—and they have all the power.

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The Pro’s and Con’s of High Deductible Health Insurance Plans

Are you familiar with the term “high deductible health insurance plan” (HDHP)? This type of coverage saves you money on monthly health insurance premiums in exchange for higher deductibles—the annual upfront amount of covered health expenses you must self-pay (out-of-pocket) before your plan pays for medical expenses. Read today’s post to better understand if these plans are right for you.

Autumn brings a change in the weather, the onset of fall colors, and for many, it signals the annual rite of choosing a health insurance plan for 2015. Employers are increasingly offering HDHPs to their employees. In fact, according to a National Business Group on Health survey, of the 136 large companies studied, almost 33% offer HDHPs to their employees. These plans are also available from the health insurance marketplace for individuals and families who do not receive their health insurance through employers.

Before deciding on whether or not this plan is right for you and your family, it is wise to evaluate your own and your family member’s mental health care needs.

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Can Medicaid Managed Care Programs Deliver on the Promise to Improve Outcomes?

Heather O’Donnell
Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy, Thresholds

Autumn ushers in a time to evaluate your current health insurance plans. Over the next few weeks, CFYM will provide information on Medicaid, employee-sponsored plans, and ACA marketplace plans. In today’s post, Heather O’Donnell provides guidance about moving to a Medicaid managed care plan.

As the Affordable Care Act is implemented across the country, Illinois, like most states, is making changes to its Medicaid program. As the largest insurer of Illini living with a mental health condition, this program has a responsibility to

  • improve health outcomes
  • reduce preventable hospitalizations
  • reduce costs.
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Will Your New Insurance Plan Do a Better Job Covering Your Mental Health Care?

Gretchen is optimistic that hers will.

The federal government is in shutdown mode but the health insurance marketplaces are open for business. People with mood disorders and their families have the opportunity to explore the pros and cons of different insurance plans that become effective in January 2014. Mental health care must be covered, but will the different levels of plans pay for the services you need? What will you need to pay for yourself?

Gretchen, who lives with a mental health condition, is hopeful that her new insurance will cover her preferred therapist and psychiatrist...

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Help! I Need Somebody: How Enrollment Assistance under the ACA Will Make All the Difference

William Tomasko
Enroll America

enroll_americaStart your timer. Count down the days. Open enrollment is coming. On October 1, consumers will be able to start signing up for the new health coverage options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—and there will be new opportunities for them to get help finding quality, affordable plans.

Our organization, Enroll America, is a nonprofit, non-partisan 501(c)3 dedicated to spreading the word about Americans’ new health coverage options. Working with our broad array of partners, we’re helping consumers get the facts about how they can get covered and engaging the entire health care community as we all mobilize for enrollment.

Out of those who reported having an unmet need for mental health care in 2011, nearly two-thirds said they went without care because they couldn’t afford it or because their health insurance either wouldn’t cover it at all or insufficiently covered it, according to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

And around 30% of those who will soon be eligible for financial help through health insurance marketplaces or from expanded Medicaid have a mental illness or a substance use disorder. In total, around 11 million in need of mental health and substance use disorder care could benefit from newly enrolling in coverage this fall.

Getting these individuals enrolled will take one of the biggest outreach and public education efforts ever undertaken in the history of public health coverage programs. Why? Our research reveals that 78% of the uninsured don’t know (yet) about the coming coverage options. Our findings point to some of the most important messages to use to compel people to enroll, and the effective ways to reach them.

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To Market, to Market: The Health Insurance Marketplace and You

As of the date of this post, there are 75 days until open enrollment begins on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

With the implementation of the ACA, the Health Insurance Marketplace will be your destination for figuring out how to get the best health care coverage you can within your budget.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Americans are assured access to health coverage, whether through insurance provided by your (or your spouse’s) employer, a government-administered program, or an exchange (the marketplace).

A Personalized Shopping Cart

The Health Insurance Marketplace provides personalized information about your options for health coverage and provides the mechanism to enroll. You’ll learn whether you can reduce the costs of your monthly premiums from your current coverage through private insurance plans and if you can lower your out-of-pocket costs.

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