Health Insurance

Individual Health Insurance in Georgia 2017 - Blue Cross Blue Shield and Other Carriers

Health Insurance in 2017 – Blue Cross Blue Shield and Other Carriers

I’m writing this post in late August 2016.  By now, most people are aware of the big news – that Aetna decided to pull out of 11 states in 2017.  Some experts are saying this is the unraveling of Obamacare.  Regardless of the what the future holds, we now have a much different and more challenging health insurance landscape.

Aetna currently offers plans off the Exchange in Georgia.  They also offer plans through their subsidiary –

Clark Howard’s Misleading Commentary On The Health Insurance Marketplace

Clark Howard's Misleading Commentary On The Health Insurance Marketplace

I was listening to the radio today and I heard Clark Howard opine about what’s going on in the personal health insurance market. He was responding to the big news about Aetna and how they decided to withdraw from most of the states where they participate in the Marketplace. He went on to explain the reason why this is happening and I was surprised to hear some half-truths. Clark is usually better informed on issues like this.

Accident Insurance – A Smart Way to Supplement High Deductible Plans

Accident Insurance, also referred to as Accident/Injury Insurance, is designed to pay money directly to the policyholder in the event of an accident or injury. The coverage will pay for out-of-pocket costs incurred as a result of an injury: urgent care, emergency treatment, exams and x-rays, hospitalization and other expenses related to the injury. The coverage can also pay for items not covered by insurance, such as travel and other incidentals.

Accident plans work well for active families with high-deductible major medical plans.

High Deductible Health Plans / Tools You Can Use

The trend towards higher deductible health plans has been forced upon us. With extremely high rate increases, employers and individuals have turned towards high deductible health plans as a way to mitigate costs.

I read an article today in Consumer Reports that provides statistics to show this trend is growing rapidly. However, the real take-away is at the bottom of the article in the “What You Should Do” section. This section references two helpful websites that allow consumers to compare prices for healthcare.

Harken Health: A New Insurance Carrier in Atlanta

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It’s mid-November and this is a super busy time during Open Enrollment.  Normally, I wouldn’t take the time to write a blog post, but I need to answer some questions about Harken Health.  This is my attempt to offer a review of sorts — a fair assessment of this new carrier.
Harken Health is an independently operated affiliate of United Healthcare.  Currently, they are offering coverage on the Exchange (the Marketplace) and off the Exchange in Chicago and Atlanta. 

Early Signs of HIGH Health Insurance Rates for 2016

It’s still early in the summer, but we have some solid information this year on what to expect in terms of rate increases for 2016. All individual (and many group) plans are now based on a calendar year.  In other words, new plans and premiums will be available during Open Enrollment — starting November 1 — for plans to begin in 2016. So, everyone needs to compare plans and make a decision for the new plan year.

Paying Too Much For Your Medications?

Paying Too Much For Your Medications? - Rx bottle

People who have been prescribed expensive brand-name drugs know how much it can hurt their wallet.  The good news is that close to 80% of all brand-name medications have a generic counterpart. Oftentimes, generics are perfectly fine; other times a generic isn’t available or is not recommended by your doctor.  So, most people accept the higher cost brand-name drugs and figure there’s not much they can do.  Well, depending on the situation, there can be some very good ways to lower drug costs.

Georgia Hospitals Graded on Safety: Northside Hospital ‘A’, Piedmont Hospital ‘D’

A recent article by Georgia Health News reports on the patient safety ratings for Georgia hospitals. According to the article, the intent of the hospital safety report is to aid consumers in their selection of hospitals based on a very important measure of care: “the ability of hospitals to prevent errors, injuries and infections.”  They should have added “deaths” to the list.

The article cites a statistic that is quite alarming: “More than 1000 people die each day in the United States because of preventable hospital errors”

Open Enrollment for 2015 in Georgia: Marketplace Plans

This post is geared towards people who might qualify for a health insurance subsidy based on their income. What I wrote below is actually an email I sent to my clients who currently have an Exchange policy they purchased within the past year.  I thought it might be helpful for others in a similar situation.  If you know someone who needs health insurance, but they think they can’t afford it, please direct them to this post. Thank you!

2015 Health Insurance Rates in Georgia: An Early Look

It’s the middle of August and Open Enrollment is still a few months away, but in my world, the emphasis is on PREPARATION!  For those people who have personal health insurance plans, Open Enrollment is the period of time when almost everyone will want to evaluate their plan options for the next year.  The time to do this has been compressed into a very short span of time — from November 15 to February 15.  The vast majority of people will make their decisions before December 15,