Thursday, February 9, 2012

Are Medicare Advantage Plans A Better Choice?

One of the biggest selling points that Medicare Advantage Plans have is their low cost. The federal government still subsidies these plans and has a new strategy that makes certain ones more attractively priced. They are now rated on a five-star scale and a high rating means more federal funding. That, in turn, means premiums can be low because the insurance company is earning more federal money on the plan.

Medicare Advantage Plans See A Decrease In Premiums

Medicare Advantage Plans are expected to be less expensive in 2012. A four-percent drop in cost, averaging $32 a month, is being projected? That's pretty remarkable considering that certain of these policies already cost $0 above the price of Medicare Part B premiums.

In 2012, Medicare Part B premiums will only rise by $3.50 for the majority of beneficiaries. This is the first time in three years, though, that Medicare beneficiaries have had any increase in those premiums.

For beneficiaries who spend enough in out-of-pocket costs to meet the Part B deductible, there will be some savings. The $162 deductible is being reduced to $140 for 2012. Beneficiaries don't need to meet the deductible before a long list of preventive health care services will be covered, either. These preventive services are age specific so living longer may actually entitle you to more covered health care.

Medicare Advantage Plans Are Expected To See Growth In Membership

Only about 25 percent of those eligible for Medicare currently get benefits through one of the Medicare Advantage Plans. However, with the decrease in premiums, private insurance companies are expecting to see an increase in the number of enrollees in 2012.

The other big selling point that Advantage plans have is low cost combined with expanded coverage. The plans are required to provide all of the traditional Medicare benefits by law, but most plans add on extra value. They typically pay benefits for dental services, help with hearing aids and offer some coverage for vision care.

In addition, there's another reason to choose an Advantage plan. They offer guaranteed acceptance for all pre-existing health conditions except End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

With these benefits, it's hard to understand why more Medicare beneficiaries aren't exploring this option. It could give them additional coverage for the same price they are already paying.

Medicare Advantage Plans Vary In Availability

Certain areas of the country, like urban settings, may have a choice of two dozen MA Plans, but no Advantage plans are available in some parts of the nation. If you're fortunate enough to have several options where you live, be sure to compare both coverage and cost.

MA Plans come from private insurance companies, which set their own rules within the range that Medicare allows. To ensure that you will get your money's worth, be sure you read how the coverage is provided. For instance, Advantage plans set up their own separate networks of providers and don't pay for non-emergency care provided by those outside of that network. That makes it essential to check the list of doctors and see whether your doctor is considered to be in-network.

Medications are another important issue. Unlike traditional Medicare, Advantage plans do cover medications, but not every prescription may be eligible. Compare your list of medicines with the plan's coverage.

The last consideration deals with timing. When you're first eligible to enroll in Medicare, you have the option of signing up for an Advantage plan instead. After that period passes, you can only join an Advantage plan between October 15 and December 7. If you find you prefer traditional Medicare, you can switch back between January 1 and February 14 of the next year. If you decide to keep your MA plan, the coverage will be effective by January 1.

Texas Health Insurance For The Kids Of Low-Income State Employees

Before the health care reform law of President Obama, kids of low-income state workers were not allowed under the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). But now, Texas has embraced this option and gave low-income state employees the chance to have their kids enrolled in the program and get health care.

Since 1997, the federal government had closed that option because they were wary that it would create an easy way for financially strapped states to shift the health care costs of some public-employee to the federal government. The CHIP program is jointly financed by the states and the federal government. It gives health coverage to the uninsured children of families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford to buy private Texas health insurance from insurance companies.

In these tough economic times we have seen a lot of state employees being laid-off and wages have been frozen and cut, stated Steven Kreisberg, Director of Collective Bargaining and Health Care Policy at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He continued, the ability to take part in CHIP is very crucial for families.

According to the Program Manager at the National Academy for State Health Policy, Leigha Basini, "It potentially is a win-win for the states and the employees." CHIP would potentially increase savings and expand healthcare coverage to children.

Texas Health Insurance Expanded Access For Kids

Despite programs created by the government to cut down the number of uninsured children in Texas, a survey from the Robert Wood John Foundation revealed that 40 percent of children in Texas still lack health coverage. Having a Texas health insurance plan to cover children is very vital because the outcome of delayed treatments is usually fatal. The research showed that almost 60 percent of children with no health coverage die in the hospital compared to those protected with a Texas health plan.

Aside from CHIP, the health care reform also prohibited TX health insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Current health plans after the 2010 Affordable Care Act provides preventive health care services with no out-of-pocket cost whether or not you met your annual deductible. Meaning, you don't have to worry about paying deductibles, co-pays or co-insurance as long as you go to a doctor within the network list.

Preventive care for kids include immunizations, anemia correction through iron supplementation, well baby check-ups, and screening procedures for health conditions including Rh incompatibility, Hepatitis B, sickle cell anemia, vision and hearing problems, and even autism.

Besides health, you can also protect your young ones from accidental injuries. The cost of medical treatment for accidental injuries might shock you. With a broken arm, it can cost you an out-of-pocket expense of $2,500. What a shocker, right? When you have a supplemental accident insurance plan, you only have to pay a $100 deductible and expenses will be covered up to the maximum coverage you select for your family. If you go with the $10,000 coverage and two of your family members get into an accident, both of them will be covered with $10,000 each. You get $10,000 coverage per member per incident.

What Is A Fee For Service Health Insurance Policy?

In a Fee for service health insurance policy, an individual needs to pay for his health services separately. Even though the patient might be allowed to choose his/her doctor, it is essential to properly review the policy terms to observe what amounts, services and percentages the insurance firm will pay. This article is going to talk about fee for service health insurance policy. You need to pay proper attention towards the below mentioned article.

Now, we are going to offer you complete details regarding Fee for service health insurance plans. If you are planning to opt for this service then you need to research hard beforehand. This would help you in understanding the prospects of this service. Insurance plans can be quite beneficial for you if you choose the right one.

Fee for service patients are entitled to receive superior, more comprehensive health care facilities. Every individual will be treated fair because all the doctors receive a suitable amount of remuneration for the services rendered by them. Your treatment will be the best in the world.

Care Drawbacks
Along with fee for service insurance policies, there is an enticement for physicians to offer unnecessary tests and treatments. Unluckily, there is no motivation for precautionary care, because doctors make more money on fixing an issue. The mixture of prescription drug incentives and fee for service policy also encourages doctors to distribute medicines rather than offer care.

Billing Issues
Even though fee for service may be preferable when patients are dealing with one physician, however it can be quite awkward if there are more doctors. Imagine submitting claims, receiving bills, and waiting for responses from several doctors. What happens if the firm denies one of your claims? Imagine the price, and consider the different billing errors. All these issues should be resolved carefully.

Billing Solutions
A lot of strategies exist for adapting fee for service health insurance plans. Separating the billing from the care is a great strategy for you to adopt. Another important suggestion is offering monthly or annual pay for doctors.

Patients Pay
Another popular proposal involves requiring individuals to pay a part of their own medical care bills. This will help in increasing the patients' responsiveness of costs and influence them to compare the best prices. Additionally, if individuals are needed to pay for needless treatments, they will be more careful regarding superfluous procedures and tests. Everything should be done in a planned and systematic way.

The discussion over medical care alternatives will carry on for a long time period. You must consider choosing a fee for service health insurance policy once! It could definitely offer you some amazing benefits.

Read this article carefully for further information on this topic. It could be of great help and guidance to you. Fee for service policy is a great option for you to consider! Don't forget to choose this insurance policy if it suits you in the best probable way. Internet is the best place to look for information on this topic.

What Is a Stroke? Causes, Symptoms and Preventions

Stroke Victims

A stroke occurs when part of the brain is deprived of blood for too long a time. That part of the brain dies because the brain cannot survive for long without oxygen and nutrients, which are supplied by blood.

A stroke causes permanent brain damage. Sometimes permanently disabling a person. Thus, stroke is one of the most feared disorders, particularly by elderly. Even though a stroke causes permanent brain damage, most people recover. How well they recover varies, depending largely on how severe the stroke was. People may recover fully or be disabled slightly,severely, or anywhere in between.

There are two types of stroke:
• Ischemic Stroke
• Hemorrhagic Stroke

In ischemic stroke, sometimes prevents blood from reaching part of the brain. The most common cause is blockage of an artery.

Causes- When an artery that carries blood to the brain becomes clogged or blocked, an ischemic stroke can occur.

In hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel burst. As a result, blood escapes into or around brain tissue.

Causes- When blood vessels of the brain are weak, abnormal, or under unusual pressure, a hemorrhagic stroke can occur.

Certain conditions called risk factors make a person more likely to have a stroke. they include abnormal cholesterol levels, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), some heart disorders, and heart disorders such as abnormal heart rhythms, heart valve disorders, and heart attacks, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Smoking cigarettes, being physically inactive, being overweight, and drinking large amounts of alcohol also increase the risk of stroke.


Most strokes, whether ischemic or hemorrhagic, cause one or more of the following early symptoms:

• Sudden difficulty moving
• Sudden abnormal sensations (one side of the body)
• Sudden difficulty speaking
• Understanding speeach
• Sudden changes in vision
• Sudden loss of balance and coordination
• Confusion
• Dizzinessi
• Sudden severe headache

Other symptoms may occur early or later. They include difficulty swallowing, difficulty walking, partial loss of hearing, urinary incontinence, and loss of control of bowel movements. Remembering, perceiving, understanding, and learning thins may be difficult. Many people have problems with speech and language. Sometimes immediately after a stroke, an arm may be weak, numb, or paralized and thus be more easily injured .

Modifying- eliminating or controlling-risk factor for stroke can often help prevent strokes from occurring and from recurring.

Changes in lifestyle, such as:
• Exercise
• Eat a healthy, low-fat diet
• Not smoking cigarettes regular
• Limit the amount of salt in diet
• People who are overweight can lose weight
• If alcoholic consumption, drink in moderation
• Regular checkups
Sometimes modifying one risk factor modifies another. Stopping smoking, exercising, and losing weight help lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels as well as help control diabetes.

Early treatment may result in less brain damage and a better recovery. Knowing the early symptoms of a stroke is important. Then people can seek treatment right away.

What Is Medicare Part C?

Medicare Part C is a health insurance policy which is one among the few options available in the plan "Medicare." The other sections are Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D.

Medicare is a social insurance program for the senior citizens i.e., citizens who are 65 years and over, citizens with physical disabilities and citizens with some specific chronic diseases, especially renal diseases.

Features under this program are Hospital Insurance, Medical Insurance, Medicare Advantage Plans Part A, Part B and Part C and Prescription Drug Coverage.

Medicare is sometimes confused with Medicaid. But both are different and have unique insurance plans. Medicaid is aided by both federal and state governments of U.S.A. Medicaid eligibility requisite are: low/limited income and certain disabilities. Medicaid is availed by both citizens and permanent residents who fall under certain Medicaid eligibility requisites. These Medicaid eligibility requisites are scrutinized by the government before the citizens are given a definite "Medicaid eligibility" status. Whereas, Medicare is funded by the federal government and it can be availed by all the older citizens, the disabled citizens and citizens with chronic diseases. Few citizens are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid policies.


Medigap is otherwise called as "Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan." These programs do not cover all the health and hospital disbursements for senior citizens, and Medigap comes in to fill the gap of the uncovered medical emergencies. For this reason, most of the senior citizens enroll for both Medicare and Medigap.

Medicare Part C covers both the Medicare Advantage Plans which is Part A and Part B coverage of hospital expenses such as inpatient treatment expenses and medical or doctors' consultations fees respectively. It can also cover Medicare Part D which covers prescription drug expenses for an extra cost.

You can either choose the list of consultants and hospitals subscribed to you in the Medicare Advantage Plans or choose your own doctors and health care institutions of your choice for an extra cost.

Medicare Part C offers about six plans - Health Maintenance Organization, Preferred Provider Organization, Preferred Fee-For-Service, HMO Point of Service, Special Needs Plan, and Medical Service Account Plans.

Medicare Part C cost varies according to the options selected by the subscriber. It depends on the Part A, Part B and Part D premium payments, deductibles, network providers' option, any coinsurance payment, any additional service, any extra Medicare supplemental insurance, frequency of consultations, credit limit, etc.

Aanya is an expert commentator on Medicare and Health Care related information. Her articles have appeared in numerous local publications in the USA.