Stay Well in a Toxic World – Without Health Insurance

Are you looking for some fresh ideas about how to take care of yourself in our toxic world? Here is the true story of how my family and I have lived a healthy life, and incidentally without health insurance, for more than thirty years.

I quit my job as a director of mental health services when I became convinced that there was a better way to help people get their minds back and was determined to find it. Fran and I had two young children, and she was a stay-at-home Mom. We sold our home and decided to use the equity to build another one with our own hands. We calculated that if we were relatively frugal, we could build the house and live well for about three years. What didn’t fit into our budget were the huge, monthly Cobra health insurance payments.

We looked at our options and decided that our situation was the perfect opportunity to learn how to take full responsibility for our own and our children’s health. No excuses, no safety nets. So, gradually we developed a health strategy for staying healthy that has kept us disease and injury-free for the last thirty-three years. That is surely statistically significant in anyone’s book, I’d say.

I think it’s really very funny and immensely instructive that the last time I was seriously ill and hospitalized was when I still had health insurance. In the last thirty-three years, though, only once have I been sick enough to need a short course of antibiotics; but, Fran and the children never were. Can you imagine the money we’ve saved? In fact, I actually didn’t go back to full-time work again for eight years, and during that time we finished our twenty-five-hundred-square-foot passive solar home, bought two new cars, and took a magical vacation to Disneyland on the auto train. At today’s rates, I estimate that over the last thirty-three years we’ve saved the equivalent of about $400,000.

Far more important than the money, though, is how much pain and suffering we have saved ourselves. Did we have some illness, did we have some injury? Yes, of course, but we paid for them out-of-pocket, because they were rare and relatively minor. We are now in our late 60’s, take no medication and just don’t get sick enough to need professional medical care. The main thrust of this article is that anyone with an open mind and the motivation to take responsibility for their own health can do what we did.

Keep in mind that we always strive to balance mind, body, and spirit, because we are a blend of all of those. We definitely also strive to enjoy life, but realize that we are all gambling with our lives in this toxic world. The difference is that we see ourselves as professional gamblers, because we play the odds. Fran and I love our pizza and ice cream and enjoy going out to eat once in a while; but, very rarely, maybe twice a year, do we eat fast foods. We are not purists but know how to balance what we eat. We like the advice, “Moderation in all things, especially in moderation.”

Check out Part II for the ten tactics in our health strategy that continue to keep us healthy and insurance-free.

Stephen Scalese was a psychotherapist for more than thirty years, until he discovered a better way. He has spent four decades studying and healing the mind, including his own. He has uncovered the wonderful way the mind really works, and solved a key mind puzzle by discovering how its misuse is literally killing us.

In his book, The Whisper In Your Heart, Stephen tells how, as her therapist, he helped Nancy to heal herself of terminal cancer by finding within her mind a special intelligence that guided them on a five-year healing adventure that not only saved her life but healed his as well.

Group Health Insurance For the Self-Employed

Some insurance companies have health plans that are designed specifically for the sole proprietor or the self employed individual. At first glance, these plans look enticing to sole proprietors that are searching for affordable health insurance.

However, when taking a closer look, these plans are mediocre at best. They tend to be expensive, have limited health care benefits and one of the biggest draw backs to many of these sole proprietor plans is that they come with high deductibles. This is not what many self employed individuals have in mind when it comes to finding affordable health care coverage for themselves and their families.

So what’s a small business owner supposed to do? Here’s a tip that we’ve been using at our company for many years to help self employed business owners use to qualify for group health insurance rates.

Simply put your spouse or a family member on payroll. You can pay them minimum wage and for as little as 20 hours per week. What this strategy does for you is this; you now have 2 people working for your company. You can still file your schedule C as a sole proprietor like you always have and your spouse or family member will receive a paycheck every 2 weeks or so. Now because you have 2 people working at your company, presto, you can qualify for group health insurance! You will have unlimited possibilities of health insurance plans available to you.

Once you find the health insurance plan that fits your needs, all you need to do is apply and provide a W-4 form to the insurance company for your “new employee.” Your spouse or family member simply “waives” his or her coverage. You now have group health insurance coverage that will save you plenty of money and provide you with the great benefits that you have been looking for.

Call us today if you would like see how this strategy can work for you.

Health Insurance Providers Lift the Burdens of Healthcare Services

If you live in the USA, you probably see lots of TV commercials or receive promotional letters from different health insurance providers. If you are like many other Americans, most of those medical policy messages fail to impress you or their glossy informational papers end up in your trash. But did you ever stop to think that you may be throwing away your quality of life or at the least, your ability to access good healthcare services?

Insurance policies are important even though their costs are fairly high. Nothing in life is certain. If you exercise regularly, eat and drink in moderation and take nutritional supplements, you are still at risk due to accidental injuries, viral or chronic diseases and other major hereditary or genetic illnesses. Owning more than one medical insurance policy from a variety of health insurance providers may be a godsend.

Healthcare services like preventive care (similar to the HMOs, healthcare maintenance organizations), long-term care, hospitalization coverage and major medical insurances along with a travel-related healthcare insurance provider’s policy is the way to go – believe me, I’m not trying to make more sales for health insurance providers either. Emergencies happen and you really don’t want to be caught short without some medical care insurance or limited coverage policies.

We want you to have the latest, best information on how to effectively bill, buy the policies and programs or block the denied claims or settlement payment refusal strategies of health insurance providers and medical insurance policy issuers.

If you are hunting for an individual, family, small business health insurance plan or if you plan on becoming a healthcare services provider who is looking for reasonable health insurance providers, we hope you diligently search for the most cost-effective resources, terms and policy programs you are able to find.

Bill Thomas is editor of Healthcare-Insurance-Providers.Info – the site has tools to help you effectively bill, buy the policies and programs or block the denials or payment refusal strategies of healthcare insurance providers and medical insurance policy issuers. If you are a user, partner or provider of healthcare services, we hope the resources, articles and programs you find on our site increases your knowledge and abilities.

Rethinking Health Insurance

Overview:

The cost of healthcare is driving a difficult dilemma — Few of us can take the risk of a major illness or injury which can often be many thousands of dollars, yet health insurance that offsets this significant financial risk can be very expensive. The combination of a High Deductible Health Insurance plan along with a tax favored Health Savings Account (H.S.A.) can be a sensible middle path; Health Insurance for major medical situations while the Health Savings Account allows you to set aside your own money for routine or future medical costs. If you are self-employed and are paying for your own healthcare insurance coverage, this can be a path to affordable medical insurance that still provides important financial protection. An H.S.A. qualified High Deductible Health Insurance policy still has the substantial protection of a major medical plan, just not the “low-end” benefits. Don’t be fooled by “Cheap” Health Insurance or “Affordable Healthcare” plans that limit benefits that you might need and still leaves you vulnerable to catastrophic medical expenses.

Two Parts:

Health Insurance Component. A High-Deductible H.S.A. compliant health insurance contract.
Savings Account Component. A tax advantaged “Health Savings Account.”

It is important not to confuse the two components.

The High-Deductible Health Insurance: It is your backstop to protect you from the financial risk of a major illness or severe injury. The health insurance contract completely stands on its own but is a prerequisite for the tax advantaged Health Savings Account. These insurance contracts are really misnamed. You can indeed have a H.S.A. compliant health plan with a range of deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket limits. Insurance companies offer a range of “H.S.A. compliant plans” with different features within the IRS rules — just find a plan that makes sense for you. Be sure that any plan you select is labeled as H.S.A. compliant or compatible. Very few of us can afford the healthcare costs of an illness such as cancer, heart attack or a severe injury. These costs can run into the hundreds of thousands. My older brother’s struggle with Lymphoma, for instance, resulted in over $500,000 in healthcare costs over two years. A High-Deductible Health Insurance is often lower cost because you are not buying the “low-end benefits” but it still offers financial protection similar to any “Major Medical” health insurance plan beyond the maximum out-of-pocket. This is a critical component to this overall healthcare finance strategy.

The Health Savings Account: An optional, tax advantaged savings account that you can use to set aside your own funds toward future medical costs. You are required to have a High-Deductible Health Insurance plan to take advantage of this exceptional tax deal. In 2009, the maximum contribution to your H.S.A. is $3000 for an individual account ($5950 for a family account) plus a “catch-up” contribution of an additional $1000 for people age 55 or more. This contribution limit is adjusted for inflation by the IRS each year. One of the very important advantages of the Health Savings Account is how broadly you can use the funds for healthcare expenses while retaining the tax savings. Examples are over-the-counter medicines, eye glasses, dental expenses and more. A second important advantage of a Health Savings Account is the tax impact. Essentially, the money you set aside in a tax year in this special account and then either retained or spent for qualified medical costs is reduced from your taxable income. A third very important benefit is with a Health Savings Account, if you don’t spend the money contributed, you keep it. What you contribute this year and don’t spend is retained for future healthcare expenses. Don’t confuse the H.S.A. with a “Health Reimbursement Account” (H.R.A.) which you may have had with an employer sponsored plan.

Core Advantages:

Lower health insurance cost. Why pay for benefits you don’t use?
Insurance protection for a major injury or illness. The “major medical” insurance protection of the High Deductible Health plan is a critical component.
Tax Savings. Optional but productive tax deal with the Health Savings Account.
Broad Eligible Expenses. Your H.S.A. funds can be spent for many different qualified healthcare costs.
Use it or Keep it! Money you set aside in your H.S.A. can be spent for qualified medical bills but is retained if you don’t use it.

Is it a Good Fit?

This healthcare financing strategy, a High Deductible Health Plan paired with the Health Savings Account, is a good fit for many folks but not everyone. Here are the criteria that I want my clients to consider:

Can I qualify? Normally, you have to be in good health before the health insurance company will make you an offer.
Can I save? This strategy is better for folks that are willing to save for future healthcare costs.
Can I decide? This strategy is better for folks that want to make choices on what to buy with their healthcare dollars.
Can I spend? For this strategy to work safely, you have to be willing to spend your money when you need to for necessary healthcare expenses.

Summary:

I purposely have not focused on the tax rules, plan details, etc. Most folks get caught up with this extensive detail and become completely confused. The big picture is what I want you to see — This can be a great deal! — Buy health insurance for the catastrophic risk only and self-insure your normal healthcare costs with contributions to a Health Saving Account. You save on your insurance costs, save on your taxes and have an overall better outcome.

Health Insurance Money Saving Strategies – How Combining Health Insurance Saves Money

How does anyone get the best value with health insurance? Answer: Combine Health Insurance Plans. To explore the principles at work, many people should understand how combining health insurance is a sound solution to a serious problem. It may appear obvious that combining insurance improves coverage, but few people truly understand how combining plans leads to thousands of dollars in potential savings over time. With so many health insurance plans available and over 1 million insurance agents actively licensed today, it leads one to question why no one knows how combining plans saves money.

Today, too many people are learning the hard way that they are under-insured when it comes to health insurance. This happens because competitive health insurance agents bid lower and lower amounts in an inflated market, leading to more gaps in coverage that less experienced agents often fail to comprehend well enough to explain. There is a simple truth to understand about the rising costs of health care.

Health Care Costs Will Continue to Rise When No Regulation is in Place

Hospitalvictims.org conducted research on hospital charges nationwide. These charges were compared to those of Johns Hopkins Hospitals, one of the most respected health care institutions in the nation. What were the results?

The vast majority of hospital charges average between 300% and 400% above the institutions’ costs for treatment. Johns Hopkins Hospital’s average charges are 117% above its costs. For every $1 charged, Johns Hopkins pays $0.85, or earns a profit of $0.25 for every dollar charged.

The average U.S. hospital pays $0.27 for every dollar it charges. The average hospital is paying $25 Million in costs while charging $95 Million to patients. The average profit margin is around $70 Million annually. The greatest of these charges are credited to surgical supplies and the administration of anesthesia.

In an ever-inflating health care industry, a solution does exist. While politicians continue making promises to solve the health care crisis, individuals and families continue to expect more than the insurance market can bear. But many self-employed individuals and families can find comfort in knowing they can do something to secure assets by simply doing the legwork and becoming informed about health insurance.

The solution is based on a very simple principle of insurance. Insurance is an Agreement to Share the Financial Risk of Loss Between Individuals and Companies

This basic concept is more important for individuals to understand now than ever. Health insurance companies, like individuals, cannot afford the rising costs of health care on their own today. Many health insurance companies have developed their focus to specific areas where they can offer more competitive coverage at very affordable prices. This is where people can save significant amounts of money by adjusting to this trend. It is no longer the case that a single health plan can offer full, comprehensive coverage at a competitive price because health care costs are out of control.

Today it takes multiple health plans from multiple health insurance companies to have the best coverage at the lowest price. This follows the trends associated with investing in the economy. One creates greater risk for their financial performance in the market by investing all funds in one stock or trade. The safest, most secure investment is a diversified portfolio. Health insurance is no different today.

Why You Do Not Know

Is it surprising to learn that many insurance professionals have no idea how to give individuals and families the best coverage and the greatest savings on health insurance? The majority of health insurance agents today are captive to one company. This means that most insurance agents are only trained to present the products of the health insurance company they represent.

Independent agents are less restricted to one plan, but a large number of these professionals still have limited access to the competitive plans available to individuals and families. While this explanation is complicated, the simple answer is that most agencies earn the majority of their profits from the volume of product sales per company, not the volume of sales overall. Some general agency contracts offer higher incentives to the agency, which can influence what products agencies offer.

So, it comes down to the individual shopping for health insurance to find the policies that create the greatest coverage and savings.

A Well-Structured Health Insurance Portfolio is the Key to Having the Best Coverage for the Lowest Price

Combining health insurance plans is the best way to improve coverage save money on health insurance long term. Health Insurance Money Saving Strategies is a 10-week campaign to spread the word to self-employed individuals and their families looking for private health insurance. A well-structured Health Insurance Portfolio is the best way for people to protect their assets and be comfortable knowing their insurance adequately protects them from the worst medical situations. The benefit is knowing that this type of approach to health insurance saves people money.

Understanding the importance of combining health plans is essential to being a responsible business owner, and more free information is available at [http://www.edgeoninsurance.com] Find protection from the rising costs of health care that lead to financial ruin. Take action now and begin building that portfolio today.

Shaun Salem is a licensed insurance agent and contributing staff member to [http://www.edgeoninsurance.com] providing free information about health insurance for individuals, families, and the self-employed. Here you can learn about the different types of health insurance plans available, from major medical and HMO plans to surgical expense and supplemental health insurance.

Health Insurance – Top Five Strategies to Lower Your Medical Bills by Thousands

It’s a typical health insurance scenario. You or a family member has some medical procedure done. It usually involves a hospital stay. Within a few days or weeks, all of the bills come to you from the doctors, the hospital, the anesthesiologist, the labs, the radiology department, the surgeon…everyone who had a part of your health care event.

If you have health insurance through your employer, you’re usually only concerned about the amount of the bills not covered by the insurance. That would be your deductible amount and any co-pays you might have.

But what if some medical procedures are denied? What if some are underpaid? How do you challenge the determinations of the insurance company examiners?

Those bills can be in the thousands of dollars. For more serious illness and treatment, the bills can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Unfortunately, many of the bills are incorrect…sometimes wildly incorrect. Billing miscommunication happens daily on all levels. Doctor to patient, doctor to coding staff or billing service, billing service to insurance company, and insurance company to patient. Many miscommunications are due to poor interpretation of the facts. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

The patient is caught in the middle, doesn’t know who to believe, and being the ultimate bearer of the financial obligation, many times just pays the bill out of frustration. There is no average case, all situations are different, and no two problems are the same.

But, what can be done? How can a regular person…an average American faced with giant medical bills…determine the correct medical charges and get correct medical bills?

Strategy #1: Remain calm.

When calling the insurance company to dispute a payment amount or challenge a denial, insist on obtaining the full name of the person you’re speaking to. If they refuse, ask for a supervisor. I also strongly recommend recording every call. When you call into the insurance company, you’ll regularly hear that “this call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes.” Don’t you believe it. They are covering their butt in case the claim goes into litigation. Get a recording of your own. Make sure you know the law on recording conversations in your state. You can find that information in the Resource Box below.

Strategy #2: Become aware of “hot spots” in the health insurance billing process that are the source of many errors.

A major source of errors is the “superbill” filled out by your doctor. It is a long form with row after row of medical procedures, types of tests, diagnoses, types of treatment and codes. If the doctor checks the wrong box it can lead to a claim denial. For instance, a woman may be covered for a mammogram for a typical “wellness checkup doctor visit.” But if the doctor checks a different reason for the visit, the insurer might not cover the mammogram.

If the insurance company denies the claim in that instance, you need to get the doctor’s office visit file notes to see just what the doctor wrote in your file. Send the notes to the insurance company along with the explanation of the doctor visit. This one strategy could turn a claim denial into a claim paid.

Strategy #3: Ask for Credentials

Insurance companies use the term “not medically necessary” frequently in denial letters. This is another way of saying a claims processor is questioning your doctor’s judgment. If you get this denial message, call the insurance company and ask for the name and medical credentials of the person doing the second-guessing. Be cordial and polite, and take good notes. Record the conversation. If you find that the credentials of the claim processor are less than your doctor’s credentials, then send a letter to the insurance company, Certified Mail, requesting a medical review by a doctor with appropriate qualifications. For example, if you have a thyroid problem, ask for review by an endocrinologist, not just the insurance company’s medical director, who may have a completely different medical specialty.

Strategy #4: Separate Multiple Services

Multiple medical services that occur on the same day can also lead to a claim denial, especially if the doctor sends the insurance company two separate bills. So a bill from the doctor for reading an X-ray can get confused with the X-ray procedure that happened on the same day. The insurer may see them as duplicate bills and denies one of them…probably the larger of the two. So, get copies of the bills, highlight the separate charges, include a letter of explanation and send it all into the insurer. You might turn a denial into a payment.

Strategy #5: Retain a Patient Advocate

A Patient Advocate is a person or company that

o Organizes the endless bills, statements and claims forms
o Appeals denials of claims and incorrect payments
o Negotiates settlements with medical providers

The Patient Advocate gathers all the medical bills for a patient, analyzes them for accuracy, works with the insurer and medical provider to get the bills corrected, and negotiates settlement of the bills. They can cut thousands out of incorrect bills.

Finally, remember that everything about a medical bill is negotiable. Medical providers constantly accept negotiated amounts as payment in full. Don’t be the guy that “pays retail”…NEGOTIATE!

The Need For Cheap Health Insurance Quotes

In the fast paced lifestyle of the times, we hardly have time for anything. We tend not to set aside time for even a thing as important as one’s own health. This is the primary reason that necessitates a health insurance policy. This cheap health insurance quote is very much essential and it is quite affordable to people according to their specific needs. However there is a misconception that health insurance quotes are meant only for the adults. Even children are under the insurance coverage. The rationale: ill health does not discriminate on the basis of age.

The insurance mechanism is large and complex which people normally does not take into account. A skewed understanding will lead the insurance companies to take advantage of them costing their money. Occasions wherein one has to pay a fat hospital bill does not come often. In fact if such a situation never occurs in our lives, the money we had toiled to make goes into unworthy hands. Hence before planning to avail of an insurance policy, it is better to get a basic understanding of the whole insurance process.

The health insurance companies which provides cheap health insurance quote are mushrooming at a faster rate with enormous spending on advertisements. Televisions, dailies and other electronic media sources are flooded with ads intended to attract investors. There are specialists for advice on financial matters with the sole aim of building up business and devising strategies to lure more and more customers. All of this will only perplex you even more as to which policy caters to your needs the best.

Before one finalizes on an insurance policy, a few aspects have to be kept in mind. There is nothing as such that insurance plans have to be expensive. The installments should come at affordable rates. Check thoroughly to find out if the policy will cover aspects such as doctor’s bills, prescription and the medicines. Instead of sticking on to just one insurance firm, find out and make a comparison of the policy offers from different companies. This process of comparison will give you a fair idea of which one will suit you or your loved one as people have different needs. Scrutinize properly the terms and conditions of the policy.

Even while updating, transferring or reviewing the health insurance policy, it is best to give the terms and conditions a thorough read as there is a probability that some changes might have occurred. The reference to the physicians and specialist practitioners should be large enough, also finding out if the references made are genuine or not. The time period for which the conditions and terms will remain in force has to be checked. Find out if there is any relaxation of the terms in the plan.

There might not be many who can avail from a foolproof and long term health insurance offer. The short term, cheap health insurance quote are meant for those like this. Coming at an easily affordable rate, the chances for further installments as well as future spending is very low. Another advantage of this kind of a policy is that one need not wait for the policy to mature as it is given instantaneously.

However, availing from a health insurance policy is not all that you can do to free you from worrying about health. To maintain a healthy constitution, one has to develop a healthy way of life that will also include a balanced diet. The low nutrient value and unhealthy junk food consumption should be curtailed to the extent possible. Yoga, morning walk or gymnastics can be of great assistance in this regard.

How to Find Health Insurance Online

A premier online health insurance agency provides a faster more efficient method of finding the best affordable health insurance than the traditional paper application and multiple telephone call process.

Since insurance premiums are regulated and set by state departments of insurance, the premium paid for a particular plan is the same whether the insurance plan is purchased via an online agency, a local agent, or directly from the insurance company. Thus, the likelihood of being able to find the most affordable health insurance that best meets your needs is directly proportional to the number of insurance plans you can research and compare with others. Unless you have a vast number of insurance carriers and insurance plans to choose from and the proper tools at your disposal to efficiently research and compare the different plans, it can be a very long, tedious and frustrating process that very well could eventuate in the selection of a plan that you really do not fully understand and which you are not happy with down the road.

The first step in finding the best and most affordable health insurance plan is to find a reputable online insurance agency that offers the largest selection of insurance plans available with online resources that enable you to compare plans based on multiple variables, obtain free health insurance quotes, apply online and assess the financial strength of a carrier as reflected through its AM Best rating. Also, prior to beginning your research phase make sure that the online insurance agency is licensed and in good standing with the licensing bureau of the state in which it is based. Thousands of unsuspecting individuals per year fall victim of health insurance scams run by unauthorized purported insurers offering low-cost premiums that are in essence fake insurance companies.

Since the insurance industry is rather complicated and can be confusing to many, it is important to make sure that the online insurance agency provides support to help walk you through the research and application process and that you make full use of the resources in getting answers to any questions you might have during the either phase of your endeavor. FAQs and glossary support is great, but the combination of website textual support, e-mail support, chat support and telephone support is even better. By accessing any of these various resources, you should be able to make a determination of what type of product is best for you. Even before beginning to compare medical insurance plans by utilizing the online resources, you should develop a pre-comparison model of what you are looking for, whether it is an individual health insurance or a family plan.

As you view different insurance carriers and plans, it is important that you not only compare plans according to price but also by other variables such as deductibles, co-insurance, detail benefits such as whether or not wellness office visits are covered, prescription drug coverage, annual out-of-pocket limit, etc. In case of network HMO, PPO or PSO plans, it is important that you ascertain the healthcare providers in the various plans and also the hospitals and other ancillary healthcare facilities and providers which are in the networks, because oftentimes those variables will be the deciding factors in whether not you choose one plan over another. Even if the online agency resource lists a particular physician as being in a plan that you are interested in it would be prudent to call the physician’s office to verify membership and to make sure that he or she is likely to remain in that plan before actually applying for it.

After doing your research and before applying for a particular plan it would be judicious to choose from at least two or more plans offered by at least two or more different insurance carriers. If all other variables are equal or near equal the plan offered by the carrier with the higher AM Best rating in most cases would be the most reasonable choice. After all, the financial strength of the insurance company, which the AM best rating indicates, is the greatest determinant of whether not the company will be able to pay your claims in the near and distant future. It is never a good idea to use price as the determining factor in selecting between plans, particularly if the lower-priced plan has a poor AM Best rating.

Finally, once you have decided upon a health insurance plan to apply for make sure that the application process will be streamlined with real-time or near real-time communication between you and the insurance carrier with no undue delay in the decision process with regard to application approval or denial and that you will be under no obligation to actually purchase insurance if your application is approved.

The strategy outlined above should alleviate much of the frustration oftentimes associated with finding the right medical insurance, minimize disappointment and optimize your chance of finding the best health insurance for you.

3 Major Things to Consider When Deciding What Health Insurance Carrier is Right For Me

These three items are all equally important and are not stated in any sort of order to imply any level of importance. Although the three are stated in very basic generic terms, many people already understand this in their own manner and approach their evaluation of health insurance coverage on an individual or family basis as such. Health insurance is not easy and there are so many different state and federal regulations in addition to carrier specific terms and conditions that undoubtedly if anyone tells you that you do not need the assistance of an experienced licensed insurance agent, they are not helping you. In any case, here are the three main issues to wrestle with on a broad scope:

1 Health Status

Unfortunately, this is something somewhat out of our control, and yet it plays an important role in deciding what carrier to choose. It is important that as part of our strategy to take care of ourselves. Forget just for the sake of health insurance, but for ourselves and our families. Nevertheless, carriers have different criteria for underwriting and thus accepting or rejecting applicants. Certain conditions may be on a rider or excluded and others may be accepted with limitations. In the end what you should definitely avoid is submitting an application to a carrier that rejects you. This will negatively affect you in getting health insurance from another carrier.

2 Financial Situation

This is an important factor since it places a dollar amount in what you can afford with respect to health insurance. The truth is that affordability also plays into our personal value of our health and thus health insurance. As an example there can be two different people that earn the same income, have the same overall basic expenses, and their health insurance premiums are the same, yet one views health insurance as affordable (places a higher value on health) and the other views health insurance as unaffordable (they like to gamble and take too many vacations).

3 Appetite For Risk

Your willingness to take on risk will dictate what types of health insurance plans you need to be assessing. Some people like to share in the risk with the health insurance company by taking out policies with higher deductibles and/or higher co-insurance exposure; others are very adverse to risk. Although we have been led to believe that co-pays are important and exposure to risk is not a sound approach, it is definitely an approach that merits further analysis. A simple comparison between plans with high deductibles or co-insurance to low exposure plans based on monthly premiums will help you decide whether the savings in premium amounts is worth the added risk. For many it should be worth the added risk to get a high deductible policy with lower monthly premiums. The deductible amount you manage yourself, which means that if you were insuring that risk, your health insurance company would not be charging you for the added risk but also for the administration.

In conclusion, all three things are important to address and analyze, but the most important I left for the end. Do yourself a huge favor and speak to an experienced licensed insurance agent; it will not cost you a penny more to purchase a health insurance policy with their assistance.

A Sea Change in Health Insurance

While the Obama administration has designated health insurance as one of its highest priorities – implementation of a new national insurance program is, at best, a long way off.

Today, there are three dominant trends in health insurance market.

1. More Americans are without any insurance (approximately 45 million)

2. More corporations have stopped providing insurance or are radically cutting back on their benefits

3. More Americans are “looking” health insurance on their own

Today, only about 4.5% of Americans purchase their health insurance individually. Everyone knows that cost is the primary reason so few buy insurance on their own. In fact, according to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, 9 out of 10 families that shopped for individual insurance failed to buy because of cost or they were deemed uninsurable. But, even with its cost constraints this is a huge market and expected to grow as employer sponsored programs continue to deteriorate.

Forrester Research has just released two new reports that deal directly with the individual health insurance market.

The Demographic Profiles And Attitudes Of US Individual Purchasers Of Health Insurance.

We found that healthcare, and the purchasing of insurance specifically, is becoming more like a traditional retail transaction. Additionally, those consumers purchasing insurance on their own are looking for more control over their options and feel that they can make more informed decisions about their level of coverage than their employers can. While retirees make up a significant portion of today’s individual purchasers, eBusiness and channel strategy professionals in the healthcare industry looking to bolster their membership should familiarize themselves with this group.

The Next Wave Of Individual Purchasers: The (Recently) Uninsured.

Is there a real market opportunity for healthcare eBusiness managers hoping to gain individual memberships? We see many differences when we compare the uninsured with the non-elderly commercially insured. They’re not just younger and less wealthy. We found something more interesting when we segment these people by the duration of their uninsured status: The chronically uninsured (more than two years) burden the average, while the most recently uninsured (less than one year) should be the primary targets for eBusiness and channel managers seeking near-term, profitable growth.

For marketers to be successful in this evolving marketplace they must adapt their strategies to the new types of individual health insurance buyers. It is only recently that large firms, like Aetna, realized the opportunity providing insurance to the 50 – 64 year olds who may have retired early or started their own job.