Buying Individual Health Insurance: 3 Essential Tips From a Health Insurance Specialist

When you’re buying individual health insurance, you’ll probably get overwhelmed by the prices and options of health plans online. Health insurance is now one of the more expensive items in the budgets of many people, but it can also be one of the best decisions you make if you have some know-how selecting the right health plan for you and your family. Here I will give you the 3 Essential Tips that I advise my clients to use when purchasing individual health coverage.

Tip 1: Do not take health insurance advice from someone that is totally unqualified to give you this advice!!

I cannot stress this enough. It amazes me how many sensible people take advice about what health insurance to choose from people who are totally unqualified to give you this critical advice. For example, when I see health insurance messes, (which I see virtually every day) and I ask where they got their health plan information, I inevitably hear things like: “My brother-in- law told me to choose this health plan, he used to work at the hospital.” or “I read an article that says this is the best plan available.” And so on. Everyone’s got an opinion about what health plan you should choose. Just because they are your relative, or involved in some area of health care totally unrelated to insurance, does not mean they know the answers to your individual needs and questions! Work with an insurance specialist BEFORE the problems come up! You have no idea how many clients I have worked with come to me after they chose a health plan online and then have an insurance coverage issue and expect me to fix it, I want to tell them: you should have come to me for help before! Most insurance specialists get paid through insurance carriers, so their services are free to you. USE THEM!!

Tip 2: Determine your actual needs.

The three things to keep in mind when determining your needs are: budget, patterns of doctor and hospital visits, and prescription drug usage. Ask yourself these questions: How frequently do you visit your doctor? Do you go for checkups only or do you go for sick visits? How many times have you been in the hospital in the past 2 years? Do you take regular prescriptions? What are they? Generic or Brands? This is another area where most of my clients neglect. It is not possible to have maximum coverage in all of these areas in any affordable way, maximum coverage for the doctor and hospital plus prescriptions leaves a dent in the budget. However, most health insurance plans offer more than one version of the same plan. For example, say you have “health plan A” that offers maximum coverage for the doctor, maximum coverage for the hospital, and maximum coverage for your prescription drugs. But “health plan A” costs the same as your mortgage. The good news is “Health Plan A” most likely also has customizable options, meaning if after analyzing your needs, you discover that you rarely visit a hospital, you could change “health plan A’ s” hospital coverage to moderate or even minimal which will bring down the premium a great deal. If these options are confusing to you, again, a health insurance specialist will be able to help you. They are already aware of “health plan A’ s” customizable features and can match your needs to the appropriate version of “health plan A”. A health insurance specialist also has access to versions of health plans that aren’t available as options to the average consumer buying health insurance online.

Tip 3: Resist the urge to over-insure!!

After you’ve analyzed your needs, resist the urge to over-insure! One of the most common health insurance messes I see is over-insurance. People think that if they have maximum coverage for doctors, hospitals, and prescriptions, they have “good” insurance. The truth is, most people who will be approved for individual health insurance won’t need all this coverage. Two things I advise my clients to be aware of: Health Care Reform and Stop-Loss. First, Health Care Reform allows for preventive care services to be covered at 100%. For example, if you only get checkups, why enroll in the plan with 100% doctor’s visit coverage? Enroll in the plan with a lower premium and pay a $10 copay for your sick visit. The difference in premium with this small detail is $100’s of dollars! Furthermore, some of these “maximum coverage” health insurance plans exclude things like pregnancy. The last thing you want to do is pay a small fortune for “good” health insurance only to discover it won’t cover something you need it for! Second, most health insurance plans have a stop-loss built into them which basically states that when your out-of-pocket costs reach a certain amount, the plan will cover you at 100% for all services. And you don’t need the “maximum coverage” plan for this benefit. Your health insurance specialist can even customize this stop-loss amount!

Then, select your plan after following My 3 Essential Tips:

1. Do not take health insurance advice from someone unqualified to offer this advice. Seek a health insurance specialist, they have studied and are licensed to offer this advice and they’re free to you. USE THEM!!

2. Consider your actual needs. Ask yourself questions so you know what your specific health plan needs are, that way you can make sure you select a plan that meets them. After all, if you don’t know what you actually need in a plan, how will you know if you’ve come across the right fit?

3. Resist the urge to over-insure! Health Care Reform has changed how many plans work and you may be able to receive ample or superlative coverage without over-insuring. And most importantly, without the hefty premiums!

There you have it, online health insurance shoppers! I hope this was helpful!

Shaun P. Avery is a licensed health insurance specialist dedicated to giving the consumer The Real Truth about Healthcare in the Reform Age! For more information or to contact us with questions, visit us at http://shaunavery.wix.com/onlinehealth

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Shaun_P_Avery/1363545

 

Considering High-Risk Health Insurance: How to Tell If It’s The Right Fit For You

If you are considering enrolling in the high-risk health insurance of your state, there are some things I’d like to discuss here so that you can make an informed decision about whether a high-risk health insurance plan is for you. Let me start with a quick definition of high-risk health insurance: It is defined as medical coverage for individuals with health conditions that prevent them from enrolling in a traditional health insurance plan.

These “high-risk pools” are options that are available to help ensure that individuals who are labeled as high-risk are still able to carry health insurance. Now, for those of you that are all set to jump on the risk pool bandwagon, I do advise you of the following negative aspects of it: is typically more expensive, is often difficult to obtain (strangely) and may also require that you have been without health insurance for the past six months. And I get the following question almost daily, so I figure I will answer it here: should I forego applying for an individual health plan and go straight to the pool? The answer is no! Most high-risk pools require getting formally declined from an individual health insurance carrier or a letter from a health insurance agent that states that you are medically ineligible for an individual health plan.

With this being said, let’s discuss situations in which high-risk health insurance is a good fit.

You Have High-Risk Health Conditions

If you have one of the conditions listed in the eligibility requirements of the pool in your state, then it is most likely that it will be a good fit for you. Conditions may be also be considered high-risk if they require costly or ongoing medical treatment in the form of prescription medicine or medical treatments and procedures. However, not all individuals that I would advise to go into the risk pools will have chronic diseases that prevent them from obtaining medical insurance. The pools may also be a good fit for those that have conditions with a high incidence of complications or require ongoing medical care, thus making it difficult to obtain coverage. Obesity and pregnancy are examples of such conditions. Health factors such as these can make it difficult for an individual to obtain healthcare while the conditions are still present. The pool is also a good option if you have a condition that is not specifically listed as an eligible condition in the eligibility requirements but was excluded from coverage when you applied for an individual health plan. In other words, if you applied for individual health plan and you weren’t declined but you got your condition excluded from coverage, high-risk health insurance is available to you as well.

You Have Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

High-risk health insurance should be a good fit for you if you have a pre-existing condition that may not be high-risk. Pre-existing conditions are health issues that are known to exist prior to an individual seeking healthcare. However, when obtaining new individual health coverage, there is typically a waiting period during which insurance will not cover medical care related to these conditions. The last thing you want is to enroll in a health insurance plan and they tell you, “we’re going to cover the very condition you’re getting health insurance for after a year.” Yeah, thanks! It is easier to get around the pre-existing condition clause if you’re in a high-risk health insurance program. The pools have special rules governing pre-existing conditions that are much easier to navigate than their corresponding individual health plans. An example of such pre-existing medical conditions that I’d advise for the risk pool are neurological conditions. Neurological conditions are usually not one of the conditions listed in the eligibility requirements of the high-risk pool but they are typically pre-existing conditions that, if you were to enroll in an individual health plan, you’d be waiting a year for coverage on.

You Can Afford To Pay Higher Premiums

The premiums can be higher when compared with individual health policies, the premiums are based on the carrier considering the fact that they are covering people with pre-existing conditions. You will be paying an average of $660/month for a 50-something year old non-smoker (in states where the federal government is running the pools), which is not affordable for everyone.

You Have Been Uninsured For Six Months

For the most part, in order to qualify for coverage in one of the risk pools, a person has to have been uninsured for at least six months. This was created to keep people from switching off of other coverage (including existing high risk pools) and then jacking up the new pools with members. For those who have conditions and have been uninsured for several months after exhausting COBRA or after an employer goes out of business and stops offering health insurance all together, a high-risk health plan will likely be a good fit for you.

If you’re considering high-risk health insurance, consider the above situations and also make sure you know your state’s plans and regulations. The pools vary by state due to rules and regulations that are at the state government level. Individual states offer high-risk pools that allow those who have been denied coverage to obtain health insurance and these pools are designed to grant medical care to those who cannot otherwise obtain it but they are not available in all states. High-risk health coverage may also be a higher cost than individual health insurance but it can still be an extremely viable option for those who cannot obtain coverage by any other means.

Thank you for reading, I hope this was helpful!

Shaun P. Avery is a licensed health insurance specialist dedicated to giving the consumer The Real Truth about Healthcare in the Reform Age! For more information or to contact us with questions, visit http://thespecialist.mymedicalquotes.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Shaun_P_Avery/1363545

 

Reasons for the Rapid Change in the Health Insurance Industry

Perhaps one of the most controversial issues in the United States being faced by the Federal Government is health insurance especially that it is at a time when financial resources are extremely low these past years. When it comes to health care provisions, the U.S. ranks below the several developed countries like itself as well as some of the developing countries, according to the benchmark statistics for such, in that many are unable to avail of health care programs. This is being dealt with affordable care legislation where several changes are being implemented with potential positivity.

What the Statistics Reveal About the Health Care in the US

The system actually does not work as well for anyone and that is noted by the national statistics for health care. Being one of the very few countries without a nationalized health insurance or health care, the United States gives its people the burden to look for health care which can be bought from private providers. With many of these providers facing quite a competitive market however, still many people can’t afford health care and so most of the seniors and retirees are faced with the financial burden toned down in many other areas in life.

The effects of a private health care system in the financial aspect has been truly crippling to the people and the economy in general. Majority of the people are currently questioning the soundness of such a system and are looking for changes. Considering that the U.S. possesses unparalleled technological resources many people see it truly unfair that they are decaying below several other nations in terms of mortality rate in infancy, lifespan statistics, and in the general health of its population. Those who either have no insurance or under-insured are growing constantly even when several efforts designed to reverse the trend has been implemented.

Employment, Retirement and Government Schemes for Health Insurance

Those who are employed and retired have availed of insurance paid directly through employers and retirement schemes. Because of these schemes many people have come to avail of it where they may not even possibly choose to have one if it were according to their own efforts. Such schemes are made in addition to the government schemes designed for the protection of particular groups. Take for instance Medicare programs for seniors and the Medicaid schemes for the poorest portion of the population, as they are government interventions aiming to give benefits to the majority however expenses also come consequential to the economy in general.

A new legislation passed recently had it in mind to provide health care that is more affordable to many sectors of the population and this has been welcomes throughout the industry of health care however the extent of its effects still comes undefined. A large portion of the U.S. population still have no health insurance cover and in order to address this the right way the economy will have to go through severe sacrifices in some areas of the national budget given the recession taking place. This may be a move towards the systems found in other developed countries however it proves to be costly to maintain.

What Seniors Can Do Best For Health Care

Many seniors are gravely concerned about the health insurance sector of today particularly that there is a visible growth in the population of older ages and thus their need for health care is expected to increase. A large portion of the seniors’ budget often goes to health care and so when it comes to other aspects they can be restricting unless savings plans have been amply accumulated while they were in their working stage. Tax benefits being presented to those who start savings plan and save their money until their retiring age has a significant need to be taken advantaged of therefore.

Finding Quotes and the Best Offer in Health Insurance

Because there are several health insurance providers out there it may be tough to know where to begin. But a good way to go is to start obtaining quotes from larger and more established insurance companies as they can give a good benchmark when it comes to comparing quotes with other suppliers. You are likely to find small independent providers beating these quotes particularly those with a very narrow market to specialize on.

With the Internet booming, health insurance being sold has changed and conformed to a great advantage to the consumers. Today you can easily avail of quotes from several suppliers without the need to leave your desk or the cost of several phone calls. This big savings in time made possible in this modern way of obtaining quotes have eliminated old systems as anybody can access the Internet and consequently benefit from it not only through competitive quotes but also in making their choices of suppliers even wider. So when you plan to buy insurance, maximize this advantage.

Look for an comprehensive health insurance for your family. Also, before buying health insurance quotes, learn more about its controversies.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jars_Marley/1115202

 

Musings From a Health Coach

I’ll begin with a conversation I had with a student just this past week. A female in her early 30s, let’s call her Joe, signed up for the health coach training program, not in order to become a health coach, but simply to learn how to live a healthier life. However, as she moved through the program Joe became a little more open to the idea of health coaching and has just recently signed on a client. Unfortunately, just a few days after signing the client, the client called Joe to say that she was reconsidering the health coaching program for financial reasons. So Joe began to doubt the worth of she is offering as a health coach, just as any new health coach would after having a client cancel their program.

During our call last week, Joe started asking me questions like, “What am I providing for the client? Why is it valuable? Do I really have something of worth to offer them if it’s nothing physical that they are getting from me?”

Of course, there may be many reasons that someone would back out of working with a health coach before their program has begun. If a client backs out because of finances after already committing to the program, one reason could be that they don’t know or understand everything that a health coach can provide for them. They understand it in theory, but they don’t actually feel it and they can’t imagine how great it could be. I want to focus on this potential situation in particular because it is easy to avoid with a little practice.

The average person has forgotten what it feels like to have a health professional fully committed to spending a significant amount of time on them.They have forgotten that someone could be physically, mentally and emotionally focused on them for longer than 5 minutes! When a health coach sits down with a client, the cell phone goes off, there are no televisions in sight and the door is closed. No one is leaving or coming. Health coach and client face each other seated, in comfortable chairs with a notepad and glass of water, and they talk. They work through the challenges that interrupt a healthy, balanced lifestyle and they create solutions so that the client may move forward with his or her goals and dreams. Even if the potential client does understand this, sometimes they still can’t see the benefit because they have never had someone do this for them.

All that being said, there is a solution!

It simply takes more of an effort to help your prospective client see what you can do for them.

I know two specific “tricks” that you can use to overcome this health coaching challenge and I think that as you read them, your faith in the value of your service will be reaffirmed.

First of all, you need to tweak your initial conversation with the potential client. There are two steps to take during an initial consultation that I believe are essential. The first step is to summarize their health challenges and/or goals after taking their health history.

This step helps to establish trust between client and coach and to remind them of what it feels like to have someone listen and actually hear them.

Then right after you summarize their specific health challenges and/or goals, you ask the magic question. That question is, “How do you want my support with reaching these health goals (or, with overcoming these health challenges)?”

Sometimes they will have no idea how to answer this question. You can clarify by giving them examples of how you could support them, like by talking through the problem with them, taking them grocery shopping, giving them private cooking lessons, trouble-shooting when they can’t figure out how to fit more greens in their diet, organizing their pantry, teaching them about nutrition, etc.

The point is that they need to verbalize how they want you to support them with reaching their health goals and you need to confirm that that is what you can and want to do for them.

Don’t forget to give them some examples of what you will do together, ask them if they have any specific requests, and take notes!

My second thought on how to help a potential client see the worth of your service is less specific but even more important. It has to do with your confidence level.

In order for a person to want to trust you with their future, they have to respect you. It almost verges on the point of them needing to idolize you. They need to want what you have. This is a very subtle, instinctual and possibly unconscious feeling that they get about you based on your feelings about yourself. Some of the time you cannot control this, but most of the time you can.

One way you can improve your confidence in yourself and your service is to practice talking to people. Practice asking them questions and try to get them to talk about their personal life. They won’t know what you’re doing and you will become very skilled at making someone comfortable with opening up to you and getting them into the right mindset to say “yes!” to working with you.

I believe that once you start putting those suggestions into practice, you will begin to believe that the work you do is invaluable, as will your potential clients.

Robin Shirley is a health enthusiast, entrepreneur and the founder of the International Health Coach Association LLC and the Take Back Your Health Conference. Her mission is to bring together people and health information in an inspirational atmosphere so that healthy lifestyles will spread like wildfire. She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and a member of the American Board of Drugless Practitioners. Her formal training was at the Institute for Integrative. Nutrition through SUNY Purchase College.

Please visit her website for more information: http://www.robinshirley.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Robin_N_Shirley/1376648

 

The Best First Foods for Baby – Creating Lasting Health From Birth

We have an exciting opportunity as parents to create lasting health and happiness for our children and it starts with what we feed them.

Experts believe that nutrition (the food we eat) is responsible for 80% or more of our health. That means that we can create health and wellness that will endure or we can create illness, chronic conditions and lifestyle diseases that set our kids up for a lifetime of struggle with health, misery and discomfort.

What are you going to choose?

The biggest challenge for parents who choose great health for their kids is sifting through the plethora of misinformation about what constitutes a healthy diet. If we are to rely on the information that is presented to us by government health representatives such as nurses or doctors, we are relying on their level of education, which is minimal or non-existent when it comes to nutrition, as well as other sources of information. These sources all have vested interests and profits stand to be made by someone.

The food pyramid as we know it is not a reference upon which any food decisions should be made. There is now significant research that has shown that grain consumption and sugar contribute to poor health and yet these foods are recommended to be eaten multiple times daily. The reality for good health is significantly different, below is a blueprint to follow in choosing the foods to best nourish your child for optimal development, growth and health both physically and mentally.

The primary nutrients needed by the body to support cellular health are quality fats and protein. These macronutrients support nerve and brain development, healthy bone formation and provide optimal nutrition for digestion and assimilation of nutrition.

The ideal first foods for baby include organic liver (frozen for a minimum of 10 days then finely grated) combined with runny egg yolk that has been separated from the egg white after 3 minutes of cooking. Organic lambs brains are another good option as is quality bone broth. Bone broth contains superior nutrition in a form that is immediately available to the body for use making it very supportive of digestion and optimal development. I suggest bone broth be represented daily in the lives of all infants consuming solid foods and of all children and adults for optimal health.

Vegetables well cooked in bone broth with the quality fats retained are another good option, avoiding the starchy vegetables such as potato until after 10 months or more and only if no health issues exist.

The notion that rice cereal should be the first food is based on misinformation and has only been recommended for a few decades. The health of society over the last number of decades is getting exponentially worse. For a blueprint of great health we need to look to traditional societies and traditional wisdom to discover the secrets of people who enjoyed long lasting health and died of natural causes, something we rarely hear of these days thanks to our own lifestyle choices.

To understand why certain foods should be avoided as first foods we need to understand an infant’s digestive development processes which all point to quality fats and proteins as ideal first foods.

A child is born with immature gastrointestinal lining. This is essentially the same thing as leaky gut, a condition of impaired immunity and gut function. The first 12 months of life sees this system evolve and develop and provided with the right support this process will happen optimally or in the face of challenges it can set the child up for poor health and lifetime of immune challenges, the foundations of chronic and fatal conditions.

With the gut as it is in an infant, the ideal scenario is to support that maturation and development, the cells in the gut require fat and protein (as these nutrients are the foundation for every cell in the body and the majority of the cells in the body are found in the gut). This points to the significance and importance of the gut, if 90% of the cells of the body belong to the gut flora and 85% of the body’s immune cells reside there, shouldn’t the vast majority of the things we do to support our health focus on preserving the health on that environment?

The foods that challenge a less than optimal gut, an infant’s gut, are sugars of all kinds including complex carbohydrates. These are foods that should not be introduced first and these comprise all grains and legumes, and all refined and processed foods. I believe there is a place for grains in a healthy diet but only if they are appropriately prepared through soaking or fermentation, and only down the track for a child entirely based on their level of health.

Grain consumption is not appropriate for any child with any acute or chronic health issue.

With first foods that are based on quality fats and proteins, maximum nutrition will be derived from the foods eaten and optimal development will be supported. Minerals need fat to be properly absorbed and healthy fats are crucial to support every cell in the body, as are proteins.

To understand more about what it takes to create lasting health and happiness for your child visit http://www.realhealthykids.com to buy the book and join our weekly newsletter with relevant and current information and research and tasty recipes.

Real Healthy Kids has been founded by Sally Gray ND and is committed to providing the relevant education needed to create improved health outcomes for children from preconception and birth onwards.

Sally has specialised in Natural Child Health and is an experienced and recognised Nutritionist, Naturopath and GAPS Practitioner running a busy clinic and presenting a range of workshops to educate families on all issues relating to child health. Sally also consults privately in her clinic and offers distant consultations via skype.

Sally’s book, “Nourishing Your Child for Health & Happiness” provides a blueprint for families to follow to create lasting health and happiness for their children and address underlying health issues that can impact their future potential.

Join her weekly newsletter inspiring families to create healthy choices and rewrite the course of your family’s health. Visit http://www.realhealthykids.com to sign up now.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Sally_M_Walker/1378575