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Florida's Health Insurance Advice for January 9th

Today's Health Insurance Topic:: Daschle's New Health Insurance

When Tom Daschle shows up for a confirmation hearing, senators are likely to grant him all the courtesies due a former Senate majority leader.

A series of profiles of potential members of President-elect Barack Obama's administration. But that does not mean Mr. Daschle should expect only softball questions. Lawmakers will most likely question him sharply about one of the most contentious aspects of President-elect Barack Obama's domestic agenda: his call for a new public health insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

No other proposal so clearly defines the political and philosophical differences between Mr. Obama and Republicans, or provokes such deep disagreements.

Mr. Daschle, the point man for Mr. Obama's campaign to revamp the health care system, supports the concept of "a government-run insurance program modeled after Medicare." It would, he says, give consumers, especially the uninsured, an alternative to commercial insurance offered by companies like Aetna, Humana and WellPoint.

But the proposal is anathema to many insurers, employers and Republicans. They say the government plan would have unfair advantages, like the ability to impose lower fees, and could eventually attract so many customers that private insurers would be driven from the market.

"The public plan option is a terrible idea — one of our top concerns in the health reform debate," said James P. Gelfand, senior manager of health policy at the United States Chamber of Commerce.

The public plan, as conceived by Mr. Obama, would vie with private insurers to provide better benefits and better customer service at a lower cost. Without such competition, Democrats say, private insurers cannot be expected to control costs much better than they do now.

Jacob S. Hacker, a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley, said the new option was essential to the success of Mr. Obama's effort to rein in costs and make coverage available to all Americans.

"Public insurance has a better track record than private insurance when it comes to reining in costs while preserving access to care," Mr. Hacker said. "The public plan would set a standard against which private plans must compete."

Jeanne M. Lambrew, an associate professor at the University of Texas who is in line to be deputy director of a new White House Office of Health Reform, asks: "Why should policy makers give private insurers the exclusive right to cover Americans? If private insurers can better meet our goals for the health system, why object to a level competition with public plans?"

The idea of a public plan has been endorsed by two Democrats with a decisive say on health legislation: Senator Max Baucus of Montana, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Representative Pete Stark of California, chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.

Two of Mr. Obama's rivals for the presidential nomination, John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton, also wanted to give people a choice between private insurers and a public plan modeled after Medicare.

"Over time," Mr. Edwards said, "the system may evolve toward a single-payer approach if individuals and businesses prefer the public plan." That is what worries insurers, employers and Republicans.

"Forcing private plans to compete with a public program like Medicare, with its price controls and ability to shift costs to private payers, will inevitably doom true competition and could ultimately lead to a single-payer, government-run health care program," said Senator Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, the senior Republican on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, before which Mr. Daschle will testify on Thursday.

Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, a moderate Republican, shares some of that concern. "Creation of a government plan is no panacea," she said, and "could disproportionately shift costs from private plans to the public."

Mr. Gelfand, of the Chamber of Commerce, said: "People would gravitate to the public plan because it would look cheap. Instead of paying the full cost of care, it would shift costs onto private insurance plans. It's our employees, American workers, who would pay the price."

In a report to Congress last year, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent federal panel, said Medicare paid doctors 19 percent less than what private insurers paid, on average. For hospitals, the gap was similar.

Mr. Stark said he did not accept the argument that Medicare was grossly underpaying doctors and hospitals.

"Many of the private plans are poorly managed," he said. "They are the General Motors of medical care delivery. Medicare is paying the right amounts. To suggest that a heart surgeon has to make $600,000 or $700,000 a year, as opposed to only $400,000 under Medicare fees, does not get much sympathy from me."

Linda J. Blumberg, a health economist at the Urban Institute, said: "Large insurers do not seem to use their market power to drive hard bargains with health care providers. The presence of a well-run public plan could constrain private spending because private insurers would have to compete on price, in a way they do not often do today."

Karen M. Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group, said the consolidation of the hospital industry in the last seven or eight years had increased the market power of hospitals, thereby reducing the ability of insurers to negotiate discounts.

Democrats say a public plan could use its purchasing power to secure better value for patients and taxpayers.

"Together with traditional Medicare," Mr. Daschle said, "this new program would have tremendous clout to bargain for the lowest prices from providers and push them to improve the quality of care."

Republicans say that Medicare rates, the prices paid for everything from wheelchairs to brain surgery, are set not by negotiation or competition, but by a web of federal laws and regulations.

Scott P. Serota, president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, whose member companies insure one-third of all Americans, said: "I'm not worried about our ability to compete on a level playing field. I am worried that a public program would have marketplace advantages that make private plans noncompetitive."

Daschle Nuevo Seguro de Salud

Tom Daschle cuando se muestra para una audiencia de confirmación, es probable que los senadores le concederá todas las cortesías debidas ex líder del Senado.

Una serie de perfiles de miembros potenciales del Presidente electo, la administración de Barack Obama. Pero eso no significa Sr. Daschle deben esperar sólo softbol preguntas. Lo más probable es que los legisladores le pregunta bruscamente sobre uno de los aspectos más controvertidos del Presidente electo, Barack Obama interna del programa: su llamamiento para un nuevo plan de seguro de salud pública para competir con los aseguradores privados.

Ninguna otra propuesta define claramente las diferencias políticas y filosóficas entre el Sr. Obama y los republicanos, o provoca profundas discrepancias.

Sr. Daschle, el punto que el hombre para la campaña de Obama Sr. para reformar el sistema de atención de salud, apoya el concepto de "un gobierno de gestión el modelo de programa de seguro de Medicare." Sería, dice, dar a los consumidores, especialmente los no asegurados, una alternativa a los seguros comerciales ofrecidos por compañías como Aetna, Humana y WellPoint.

Sin embargo, la propuesta es un anatema para muchas aseguradoras, los empleadores y los republicanos. Dicen que el plan de gobierno tendría ventajas injustas, como la posibilidad de imponer tarifas más bajas, y, eventualmente, a fin de atraer a muchos clientes que los aseguradores privados sería impulsado desde el mercado.

"El plan de la opción pública es una idea terrible - una de nuestras principales preocupaciones en el debate sobre la reforma de la salud", dijo James P. Gelfand, director de la política de salud en los Estados Unidos Cámara de Comercio.

El plan de público, tal como lo concibe por el Sr. Obama, que compiten con las aseguradoras privadas a ofrecer mejores prestaciones y mejor servicio al cliente a un costo menor. Sin esta competencia, los demócratas decir, los aseguradores privados no se puede esperar que los costos de control mucho mejor que lo hacen ahora.

Jacob S. Hacker, profesor de ciencias políticas en la Universidad de California, Berkeley, dijo que la nueva opción es esencial para el éxito del esfuerzo del Sr. Obama para frenar los costos y hacer la cobertura a disposición de todos los estadounidenses.

"Público de seguros tiene un mejor historial de un seguro privado cuando se trata de frenar los costes al tiempo que se preserva el acceso a la atención", dijo el Sr. hacker. "El público se fijó un plan contra la norma de que los planes privados deben competir."

Jeanne M. Lambrew, un profesor asociado en la Universidad de Texas, que se ajusta a ser subdirector de la Casa Blanca una nueva Oficina de la Reforma de Salud, pregunta: "¿Por qué los encargados de formular políticas deberían dar las aseguradoras privadas el derecho exclusivo para cubrir los estadounidenses? Si las aseguradoras privadas pueden cumplir mejor nuestros objetivos para el sistema de salud, ¿por qué oponerse a un nivel de competencia con los planes públicos? "

La idea de un plan ha sido aprobado por dos demócratas con la voz cantante en la legislación sobre la salud: el senador de Montana Max Baucus, presidente de la Comisión de Finanzas del Senado, y el Representante de California, Pete Stark, presidente de la Subcomisión de Medios y Arbitrios de la Salud.

Dos de los rivales del Sr. Obama para la nominación presidencial, John Edwards y Hillary Rodham Clinton, también quería dar a la gente la posibilidad de elegir entre los aseguradores privados y públicos un modelo de plan de Medicare.

"Con el tiempo," dijo el Sr. Edwards, "el sistema puede evolucionar hacia un enfoque único contribuyente si los individuos y las empresas prefieren el plan." Eso es lo que preocupa a las aseguradoras, los empleadores y los republicanos.

"Obligar a planes privados de competir con un programa como Medicare, con sus controles de precios y la capacidad de cambio de los costos para los contribuyentes privados, inevitablemente cierto castigo y la competencia podría llevar a un solo contribuyente, administradas por el Gobierno programa de atención médica", dijo El senador Michael B. Enzi de Wyoming, los altos republicanos sobre la Salud, Educación, Trabajo y Pensiones del Comité, antes de que el Sr. Daschle testificará el jueves.

Senador J. Olympia Snowe de Maine, un republicano moderado, que comparte algunas de preocupación. "Creación de un plan de gobierno no es la panacea", dijo, y "podría desproporcionadamente los costos de cambio de planes privados a los públicos".

El Sr. Gelfand, de la Cámara de Comercio, dijo: "La gente que gravitan plan para el público porque sería barato. En lugar de pagar el costo total de la atención, que en cambio los costos de planes de seguros privados. Se trata de nuestros empleados, los trabajadores, que pagan el precio. "

En un informe al Congreso el año pasado, la Comisión Asesora en materia de pago de Medicare, un panel federal independiente, dijo que los médicos de Medicare paga el 19 por ciento menos de lo que los aseguradores privados pagados, en promedio. Para los hospitales, la diferencia era similar.

Sr. Stark dijo que no acepta el argumento de que Medicare fue manifiestamente underpaying médicos y hospitales.

"Muchos de los planes privados están mal gestionadas", dijo. "Ellos son la General Motors de la atención médica del parto. Medicare es el pago de las cantidades correctas. Sugerir que un cirujano del corazón tiene que hacer 600.000 dólares o 700.000 dólares al año, frente a tan sólo 400.000 dólares en virtud de los honorarios de Medicare, no se mucho de mi simpatía. "

Linda J. Blumberg, un economista de la salud en el Urban Institute, dijo: "Las grandes aseguradoras no parecen utilizar su poder de mercado difícil para conducir negocios con proveedores de atención médica. La presencia de una buena gestión pública plan podría limitar el gasto privado ya que los aseguradores privados tendrán que competir en precios, de manera que no suelen hacer hoy. "

Karen M. Ignagni, presidente de América Planes de Seguro de Salud, un grupo comercial, dijo que la consolidación de la industria hospitalaria en los últimos siete u ocho años ha aumentado el poder de mercado de los hospitales, lo que reduce la capacidad de los aseguradores para negociar descuentos.

Demócratas decir un plan de público podría utilizar su poder de compra para garantizar una mejor valor para los pacientes y los contribuyentes.

"Junto con el tradicional de Medicare," dice el Sr. Daschle, "este nuevo programa tendría enorme influencia para negociar los precios más bajos de los proveedores y empuje para mejorar la calidad de la atención."

Los republicanos dicen que las tasas de Medicare, los precios pagados para todo, desde sillas de ruedas a la cirugía cerebral, no se establecen por vía de negociación o de la competencia, sino por una red de leyes y regulaciones federales.

Scott P. Serota, presidente de la Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, cuyas empresas miembros asegurar un tercio de todos los estadounidenses, dijo: "No estoy preocupado por nuestra capacidad para competir en igualdad de condiciones. Me preocupa que un programa público de las ventajas del mercado tendría que hacer planes privados no competitiva ".

HERE IS A QUESTION -- Are Discount Prescription Drug Cards A Form of Affordable Health Insurance?

In all likelihood, you have probably seen them - whether you are at Walgreen's, CVS, or any various pharmacy across America, discount prescription drug programs seem to be offered everywhere. You can peruse an array of discount prescription programs online, and emails are often sent to elicit enrollment into different plans. So, what exactly are discount prescription drug cards?

Let us take a look at Walgreens as an example. Called the "Walgreens Prescription Savings Club," members have access to discounts on over 5000 brand name and generic medications. More specifically, 400 of the generic prescriptions are priced at $12 for a 90 day supply. For $20 a year, an individual can receive reductions in the cost of many of the medications he or she already uses. An entire family would pay only $35 a year.

Other discount prescription drug programs do not charge any fee. For instance, YourRxCard allows you to download a free prescription drug card online, instantly providing you access to savings up to 75% off all FDA approved drugs at 57,000 pharmacies across the United States. This site lists the following as the benefits of the program:

* No deductibles
* No waiting period
* No pre-existing exclusions
* Everyone qualifies
* Instant activation

YourRxCard even offers a medication pricing tool to find out how much your prescription will cost, as well as a pharmacy locator to find pharmacies in your area that participate in this program. Are programs such as the "Walgreens Prescription Savings Club" and YourRxCard considered a form of affordable health insurance?

The answer is, quite simply, no. Although discount prescription drug cards provide a savings for individuals and families who require an assortment of medications, they are not really a form of affordable health insurance. Instead, they are more of a supplement to existing health insurance. However, even if one does not have health insurance, he or she still can utilize the benefits from these types of programs in order to receive lower costs for prescriptions that are necessary to obtain.

Not all discount prescription drug cards are for everyone. Some find a significant savings while using one of these cards, while others find little to no saving at all. Some programs have restrictions, such as income limits and age limits, while others claim to provide discounts to everyone with no constraints. Some discount plans can be used in addition to one's health insurance, while others can only be utilized if the person or family does not already have access to prescription benefits in existing insurance coverage.

Although discount prescription drug cards are not considered a form of affordable health insurance, it may prove to be a wise decision to use them as additional coverage that will reduce the costs of medications. This is especially the case for those who find their monthly prescription bills to be very costly.

Buying individual medical insurance in the State of Florida can be a nightmare. Choose a policy after consulting a professional! Our experienced health insurance consultants provide accurate and reliable information that can be utilized to get the most beneficial health insurance policy available in Florida. (read more)

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About Individual Insurance
Insurance Advice From Morgan Moran

January 9, 2009 -- Floridians that are self employed, small business owners, or are independent contractors will need their own private Florida individual health insurance policy. These health plans in Florida are fully underwritten, which means, factors such as your health, prescriptions you take, and previous medical history will help determine if you are eligible for coverage.

Other unique factors that determine the rates of you Florida individual health insurance policy would be demographics such as your age and what zip code you live in. There are a few general guidelines that will help you make the best Florida individual health insurance decision. The first Florida health insurance option for self employed Floridians is to simply apply for an individual health insurance policy.

Individual health insurance rates in Florida are very competitive. There are many insurance companies that would like to earn your business. The major benefit to applying for an individual health insurance policy is that individual health insurance rates will vary among insurance carriers.

You can see that first hand by viewing quotes here on our web portal. We offer side by side comparisons of all top rated health insurance carriers in Florida.

The only snag that some people encounter when applying for an individual health insurance policy in the state of Florida is that you must be pretty healthy. According to Florida state law, a health insurance company can decline your application for an individual health insurance policy based on your prior medical history.

Most Insurance consultants will refer to this situation as there client having a pre-existing condition. Many other factors such as height and weight restrictions and other health related criteria come into play.

Be sure to contact your Florida health insurance broker to find the plan that meets and exceeds all of your expectations.


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