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Health Insurance Tips
WE CAN HELP — Our health care experts are working to provide you with the resources you need to make the most of new health care consumer protections and tools.
Get The Best Deal On Health Insurance
Looking for health coverage? The Health Insurance Marketplace could save you time and money.
1. Check out options at the Health Insurance Marketplace. The plans include coverage for doctor visits, hospitalizations, maternity care, emergency room care, prescriptions and more.
Toll free: (800)318-2596 TTY: (855) 889-4325
2. Find out about financial help that’s available. At the Health Insurance Marketplace, you can find out if you qualify for financial assistance to lower your costs.
3. Use the Health Insurance Marketplace to compare plans side-by-side. The new marketplace lists your options on one website, and shows what each plan covers.
4. Take advantage of expert help in-person, online, or by phone. Specially trained people are available in communities across the country to help you apply and understand your options. Find them at LocalHelp.healthcare.gov.
5. Don’t take no for an answer. For coverage starting January 2014, insurance companies can no longer deny you due to a pre-existing condition.
6. Keep in touch. Check for updates on our website, and tell us about your experience. We want to hear what you think so we can spot trends and advocate for ongoing improvements. Contact us.
HEALTH CARE CONSUMER PROTECTIONS
If you have coverage, you already have protections under the health care law, such as:
- Children and young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26
- Free preventive care, including check-ups and vaccinations
- Insurance companies can’t set a lifetime cap on what they’ll pay if you get sick
- Rebates if your insurance company spends less than 80% of premiums on care
Plus, new protections for coverage effective January 1, 2014 include:
- Insurers can’t deny anyone coverage for having a “pre-existing condition”
- No more annual caps on what your insurer will pay if you get sick
- Insurance companies can’t charge women more than men for coverage
A new analysis by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group found that 8 percent of nursing homes nationwide as of Dec. 27 had a critical shortage of surgical-grade N95 masks, which are the best protection against spreading the virus. Additionally, 4 to 6 percent of nursing homes reported shortages in at least one other category of personal protective equipment.
King Bio Inc. issued the second significant voluntary recall since late July of their homeopathic drugs on Wednesday. Safety concerns over homeopathic drugs extend beyond King Bio as over the past several years, the FDA has issued recalls to several companies for a variety of health products from zinc-containing intranasal medicine to asthma drugs with toxic ingredients.
Many consumers who buy their own health insurance face a big decision right now. Should you renew your existing plan, or switch to a new one? Here are our tips for consumers, and a checklist to help you make the decision that’s right for you:
The U.S. Supreme Court will rule Thursday whether all or parts of the Affordable Health Care Act the Obama Administration designed are constitutional. Several facets of the act have already been enacted, according to Bruce Speight, director of WISPIRG - the Wisconsin Public Interest Group or WISPIRG. Listen here: http://www.wuwm.com/news/wuwm_news.php?articleid=10683.
States have an important opportunity to improve their health care marketplaces through the creation of an exchange. And the health reform law gives the states substantial leeway to define critical aspects of the exchange, including who is eligible to buy coverage through it, how aggressively it will set standards and negotiate with insurers, and who will run it. A weak exchange could wind up taking its cues from the insurance industry, not consumers, and do little to shift the fundamental problems in most states’ health care markets. A strong exchange, though, can be just the tool states need to revolutionize their health care systems and improve quality while lowering costs.
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