Health and Wellness : SHOPPING FOR OBAMACARE

Discussion in 'Black Health and Wellness' started by Kemetstry, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    [​IMG]When it comes to shopping online, few purchase decisions will carry the magnitude of the one you'll make if you buy health insurance under Obamacare.

    Open enrollment starts in just over a month, on Oct. 1, for policies that would take effect on Jan. 1, 2014. So, if you need health insurance, it's time to start familiarizing yourself with the Affordable Care Act.

    Shopping for health insurance will become considerably different than it is today for most Americans, allowing consumers to shop through an online health insurance marketplace. There, you'll be able to compare prices as well as decide how big a deductible you'd like and how much of a co-pay you're willing to take on.

    Buying health insurance isn't as simple as choosing between Nike and Adidas. And you have to live with the decision you make until the next open enrollment period.

    3 basic levels
    Making the choice is going to involve some thought, because a lot of options are going to be on the table. In Massachusetts, which already has a health insurance marketplace and serves as something of a model for other states and the federal government, insurance is offered in tiers -- gold, silver and bronze -- to help consumers sort out the choices.

    Bronze is the least expensive, but has larger co-pays and bigger deductibles, than the more costly gold plan. There are also levels for each tier, giving consumers additional options to, say, shave off some of the monthly premium cost by accepting higher co-pays. Prices will be shown for each insurer at each level.

    So, picking through the plans involves some thought and decision-making based on how much you're willing to pay on a monthly basis balanced with how much risk you're willing to take in case of a serious illness or injury or the amount extra you would have to pay for frequent doctor visits.

    Differences among companies

    Once you've sorted through the issue of price versus deductible and co-pay, the next step is comparing insurers. As similar as the plans might be, cost is unlikely to be the only difference between companies. This is an area where it is vital for consumers to do some homework.
    Why? Not every provider accepts every insurance plan. Be sure your doctor, if you'd like to keep that doctor, accepts the plan you're considering. And if you don't care whether you're doctor is on any particular plan, still check the provider directory of a plan you're considering to see what doctors are available to you.

    Some plans could have considerably thinner participation in certain areas, and that's something you don't want to find out when you actually need to use your insurance. The carriers who offer the fewest options for coverage tend to also cost the least, so don't use price as the sole determining factor.

    For those who have health insurance through an employer, these choices won't be relevant. But for those who are self-employed have been gambling by not having health insurance, or couldn't get a policy because of a pre-existing condition, shopping in the new marketplace will be an opportunity. Just be sure to take the time to compare, and understand the decisions you're making.



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  2. butterfly#1

    butterfly#1 going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for the reminder/heads up. Its true we all need to take this last two weeks and make ourselves as knowledgeable as possible. Its not going to be as easy as we might think. We do have until Dec. 15th to make a decision. Whew....Im going to need it. I want the best without breaking the bank.
     
  3. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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  4. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Thanks Kemetstry ... it's good to see you being productive ... :wink:

    Keep it coming! ... :love:

    Love You!

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    Destee
     
  5. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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  6. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Jeffrey Young Become a fan
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    Obamacare Isn't Communism, And 13 Other Questions Answered

    Posted: 09/30/2013 8:06 am EDT | Updated: 09/30/2013 2:48 pm EDT
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    Health Insurance, Health Care, Health Care Reform, Health Care, Obamacare Answers, Obamacare Help, Health Insurance Exchanges, Individual Mandate, Jeffrey Young on Health Care, Obamacare, Obamacare Costs, Obamacare Exchanges, Obamacare Information, Obamacare Mandate, Uninsured, Black Voices News

    Like most Americans, you've probably heard of "Obamacare," but you're not exactly sure what it is. According to your uncle's Facebook posts, it sounds pretty scary, like maybe it's going to turn America into a Kenyan Soviet Union or something.
    Well, good news: Obamacare is probably not going to do that! What a relief, huh? What other mysteries about the new health-care law can we clear up for you? Huffington Post health care reporter Jeffrey Young has 14 answers, for starters:
    1. What is Obamacare, exactly?
    "Obamacare" is a nickname for the Affordable Care Act, a controversial law Congress passed and President Obama signed in 2010. To the chagrin of Republican opponents, who are still trying to kill the law, the Supreme Court declared it constitutional in 2012.
    Its goal is to get health insurance to more Americans, 48 million of whom currently don't have any. This includes making it easier for people who aren't insured through work to buy their own insurance.
    Obamacare also ends some notorious insurance practices. Now insurers can't exclude people with pre-existing conditions, can't kick patients off their plans when they run up big medical bills, and can't set dollar limits on how much care they'll cover. The law also says consumers' out-of-pocket costs generally can't exceed $6,350 for a single person or $12,700 for a family in a year. If a serious illness or accident creates costs above that amount, insurance pays all the bills.
    Obamacare also sets "minimum essential benefits" every insurance plan must cover, including prescription drugs and maternity care. Many plans today don't include such benefits. Health screenings and birth control are available at no cost when you get them.
    2. What if the government shuts down because Republicans want to stop Obamacare?
    It doesn't really matter. Ironically, the program will continue even if the federal government is technically closed for business.
    3. Why is it called "Obamacare?"
    Because Obama pushed for its passage. Republican opponents first started using the term as an insult, but then Obama embraced it. Now everybody calls it Obamacare. Although perhaps Obama should reconsider, as "Obamacare" doesn't poll nearly as well as "Affordable Care Act."
    4. So do I need to do anything?
    Probably not, if you're one of the roughly 80 percent of Americans who gets health insurance through their job or a family member's job, or is enrolled in a government program like Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children's Health Insurance Program. Congratulations, you might be done with this article.
    If you're really worried about it, you should check with your employer about how your benefits might change in 2014.
    And if you buy your own insurance, or if you aren't insured, then you will likely need to know and do some things.
    5. OK, I buy my own insurance, what do I need to know? What do I do?



    OK, I buy my own insurance, what do I need to know? What do I do?
    You may find that your current plan isn't available next year because it doesn't meet the new standards set by Obamacare. That's good news because you'll probably be getting better health insurance. Bad news: you may have to pay more. You'll be able to shop for a new plan on new health-insurance exchanges.
    6. What's a health insurance exchange? Sounds communist!
    "Exchange" is the technocratic term for the government's new health-insurance stores, which are run either by your state or the federal government. Also called "marketplaces," these web sites let you comparison-shop for various health plans. Massachusetts has had an exchange since 2006 and has the lowest uninsured rate in the U.S.
    The exchanges are also the main way for people to get help paying for their coverage.
    To find out what kind of policies are available, and what kind of help you're eligible to get, you'll have to give the exchange some basic personal information like your age, where you live, your income, family size and whether you smoke.
    The exchanges are open to most everyone, but people who have health benefits at work or are in government programs like Medicaid are probably better off keeping what they have.
    Click here to find the exchange for your home state.
    7. A government-run health-insurance market? What could possibly go wrong?? That is sarcasm, by the way.
    Sarcasm noted. Not shockingly, there have been glitches in the online exchanges. Officials hope to fix them between the time they open for business on Oct. 1 and Jan. 1, when coverage starts under the new plans.
    8. OK, so how much will health insurance cost me under Obamacare?
    Alas there's no simple answer to this question. Insurance premiums will vary a lot.. The national average price for a high-deductible plan is $249 a month, not counting subsidies -- but coverage like that would cost $144 in Minnesota and $425 in Wyoming. Rates are based on age, geographic location, family size and, sometimes, tobacco use. The insurance plans will differ a lot by monthly premium and by what share of medical bills you have to pay out of pocket.


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  7. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Earl Ofari Hutchinson

    Author and political analyst

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    Obamacare Is a Triumph for African-Americans

    Posted: 09/29/2013 1:44 pm

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    The verdict was in even before the first enrollee inked their signature October 1 on a health care plan under the Affordable Care Act. The law is an unmitigated triumph for the millions of uninsured in America. The triumph is even greater for African-Americans. The checklist of pluses is well-known. More than 7 million African-Americans will now have access to a health plan, there will be subsidies for low-income persons to offset the costs, a half million children will be covered under their parent's plans, millions of dollars will be allocated for research and testing, the establishment of more than 1000 new health care facilities in many rural and urban communities, the National Health Service Corps workforce will be tripled and more than 4 million elderly and disabled African-Americans covered under Medicare will have no cost access to health care preventive services. The triumph is even greater because of the grim figures on the health care crisis that has been a national disgrace for so long for African-Americans
    The dismal figures have repeatedly told why. Blacks make up a wildly disproportionate number of the estimated 50 million Americans with absolutely no access to affordable or any health care. The majority of black uninsured are far more likely than the one in four whites who are uninsured to experience problems getting treatment at a hospital or clinic. This has had devastating health and public policy consequences. According to a study by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, blacks are far more likely than whites to suffer higher rates of catastrophic illness and disease, and are much less likely to obtain basic drugs, tests, preventive screenings and surgeries. They are more likely to recover slower from illness, and they die much younger.
    Studies have found that when blacks do receive treatment, the care they receive is more likely to be substandard to that of whites. Reports indicate that even when blacks are enrolled in high quality health plans, the racial gap in the care and quality of medical treatment still remains low. Meanwhile, private insurers have routinely cherry picked the healthiest and most financially secure patients in order to bloat profits and hold down costs. American medical providers spend twice as much per patient than providers in countries with universal health care, and they provide lower quality for the grossly inflated dollars. Patients pay more in higher insurance premiums, co-payments, fees and other hidden health costs.
    It's been a perfect storm mix of politics, race, and ignorance and fear that has driven the GOP's mania to dump Obamacare. It's included every slander, lie, and false flag, countless votes and threats to defund the Act and a crude attempt at blackmail to shut down the whole government over it. Some claim that this is big government intrusiveness since it allegedly whipsawed Americans into buying insurance and that it was too costly, too overburdening on businesses, and supposedly too unpopular with a majority of Americans.
    The race part is two-fold. One it was proposed by President Obama, and anything, that's any program or initiative that's been proposed by him by him for every moment of the five years he's been in the White House has been the trigger for GOP knee jerk opposition. The other part is the great fear of GOP health care reform opponents and the health care industry lobby which includes private insurers, and for a time pharmaceuticals and major medical practitioners was that they'd have to treat millions of uninsured, unprofitable, largely unhealthy blacks. That would be a direct threat to their massive profits. The pharmaceuticals eventually dropped their opposition only after getting assurances that they would not have to cut costs of drugs to make way for more generics and drug competition from Canada and that the millions of newly insured recipients will be drug purchasers.
    The Act is not totally out of the woods. House Republicans have already gotten their way on one point and that's to delay for one year requirement that businesses with more than 50 employees provide health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty. They will play for time and push their inept demand for a one year delay. After the provisions kick in, they will latch onto to too every real or imagined mishap or negative experience with a business owner, provider, or recipient to scream loudly that the Act is a bust and must be scrapped. GOP ultra-conservatives will continue to assault the Act with their favorite attack weapon and that it is big government run amok at the expense of the health of Americans.
    Their ploys will not succeed in scuttling the Act. Too many millions will have been helped, even saved by it, for that. And millions of them are African-Americans. Obamacare is a triumph that can't be taken away.
    Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a frequent MSNBC contributor. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KTYM 1460 AM Radio Los Angeles and KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network. His latest ebook '47 Percent Negro': A Chronicle of the Wackiest Racial Assaults on President Obama is now available (Amazon).



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  8. butterfly#1

    butterfly#1 going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Good stuff Kem, thanks!
     
  9. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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  10. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    i haven't gone shopping yet ... oh boy ... what'll i wear ??!!! ... :mirror:

    :heart:

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