Understanding President Obama’s Stimulus Package for Health Care

Even the acronym is just a little scary; the word “COBRA” brings to mind images of a deadly snake, coiled to strike folks who just want to hang on to their health insurance, presenting them with limited options that can be prohibitively expensive. In today’s economy, with the unemployment rate hitting levels unseen in decades, COBRA is a fact of life for millions of people who find themselves suddenly without a job or corporate health coverage. To help stem the tide and provide much-needed relief, one of President Obama’s first moves was to propose a $790 billion package designed to stimulate the economy and create cash flow to help pull us out of a deep recession. Part of that package includes $193 billion for benefits programs, including COBRA. grey active ultra

Available to employers with 20 or more workers, President Obama’s plan is designed to help the jobless keep their former health coverage. Under his federal package, workers who were laid off between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009 will have 65% of their COBRA premiums subsidized by the federal government for up to nine months. If you were terminated between Sept. 1, 2008 and the day the law goes into effect but did not sign up for COBRA, you will have 60 days to do so and still receive the subsidy. This makes COBRA a much more affordable option for many families. grey active ultra

However, the problem with COBRA is that it doesn’t apply to small firms, or if a company closes up shop completely. If COBRA still isn’t the right option for you, don’t give up. There are plenty of other ways to obtain short- or long-term health coverage for your family while you assess your career options. Anthem, United Healthcare, Humana, Medical Mutual and Aetna offer a variety of plans, including high-deductible, low monthly premium programs, catastrophic coverage, dental benefits and prescription drug coverage, at a wide range of prices and options. To find the plan that best suits your needs and budget, visit www.healthinsurancechaser.com or call us directly at 877.775.4321. Our helpful agents are ready to make health care easy. grey active ultra

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Doctor Search for Individual Health Insurance Products

Go to this link to begin your search and choose a state: grey active ultra

https://secure1.anthem.com/wps/portal/escproviderfinder?=&natdir=&ProvDirURL=http://provider-directory.anthem.com/awp/landing%2Easp%3F%3D%26natdir%3D Grey active ultra

Once you choose a state you have the option to search by location or name.  In addition, they require that you select a plan.  For individual Anthem policies, you should look in the Blue Access (PPO) network

If you should decide that you are now ready to purchase your Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, you can call 877-775-4321 x 4 to speak to an agent or you can apply online through http://www.insurancechaser.com/.  If you call to speak with an agent they can take the application right over the phone and it is much easier than filling out the online application or a paper application.

Tax Deductibility of Individual Long Term Care Insurance Premiums

Premium payments for a tax-qualified long-term care insurance policy are deductible as personal medical expenses for those taxpayers who itemize their deductions.

   

Age Per-Individual

40 Or Under - $260

41-50 - $470

51-60 - $940

61-70 - $2,510

Over 70 - $3,130

IRS Maximum Federal Income Tax Deductible Amounts for 2004.

Amounts indexed annually for inflation.

Deductions can be taken for individuals, their Spouses and tax dependents (such as parents) and are subject to the same tax rules as traditional medical expenses (such as the 7.5% AGI floor).

 These deductible amounts are subject to dollar limits based on the individual taxpayer’s attained age before the close of the tax year. These limits are annually indexed for inflation.

   

Payments for a tax-qualified long-term care insurance policy purchased by a self employed individual or sole proprietor are currently treated as medical insurance premiums with the same limits as those for individual taxpayers.

 

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shields Pre-Existing Condition Clause for Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana

Preexisting Condition Clauses vary from state to state, but the basic concept is:

If you have not had coverage in the past 63 days, then you are subject to a look back that determines how far the insurance company will not cover the expenses related to the condition going forward.  The expenses related to the condition include all services and prescriptions. 

Therefore, it is impotent to choose a plan that will best suit your need to pay for the preexisting conditions in addition to the covered services.  One company that does a great job of advising you in these situations is http://www.healthinsurancechaser.com/ (Phone: 1.877.775.4321).  Because no policies are created equal, it is important to speak with an unbiased health insurance advisor about your specific situation.

Here are a few state specific examples of how the preexisting condition clause reads with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield:

KENTUCKY LANGUAGE

A pre-existing condition is defined as a condition (mental or physical) that was present and for which

medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received within the six-month period

ending on the Enrollment Date. Pregnancy that exists on the effective date is considered a pre-existing

condition. Domestic violence is not considered a pre-existing condition. Genetic information may not be

used as a condition in the absence of a diagnosis.

Pre-existing conditions are only covered after the coverage has been in force for 12 consecutive months

following the effective date of coverage. Credit for a prior carrier’s coverage may be given, if that

coverage was continuous to a date not more than 63 days prior to Anthem’s receipt date of a completed

application.

INDIANA LANGUAGE

A pre-existing condition is defined as an illness, injury or condition which within the 12-month period,

depending on the policy prior to the effective date, manifested itself in such a manner as would cause an

ordinary prudent person to seek medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment for which medical advice,

diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received. Pregnancy, in addition, which exists on the

effective date, is also considered a pre-existing condition.

Pre-existing conditions are only covered after the coverage has been in force for 12 consecutive months,

following the effective date of coverage. Credit for a prior carrier’s pre-existing period may be given, if

that coverage was continuous to a date not more than 63 days prior to Anthems’ receipt date of a

completed application.

OHIO LANGUAGE

A pre-existing condition is defined as an illness, injury or condition which within six months prior to the

effective date manifested itself in such a manner as would cause an ordinary prudent person to seek

medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment or for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment

was recommended or received. Pregnancy, which exists on the effective date, is also considered a preexisting

condition.

Pre-existing conditions are only covered after the coverage has been in force 12 consecutive months,

following the effective date of coverage. Credit for a prior carrier’s pre-existing period may be given, if

that coverage was continuous to a date not more than 63 days prior to Anthem’s receipt date of a

completed application.

Tri-State

Prior coverage can be from a group, individual or short-term contract, (Medicaid qualifies as prior

coverage) but it must be a major medical type policy. To apply for pre-existing credit, the applicant must

complete the section for prior coverage information on the application. Credit is not available if the prior

coverage was an indemnity plan, hospital only plan or supplemental policy.

Short-Term

A pre-existing condition is an illness, injury or condition, which within 24 months prior to the effective

date, manifested itself in such a manner as would cause an ordinarily prudent person to seek medical

advice, diagnosis, care or treatment or for which a medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was

recommended or received. Pregnancy, which exists on the effective date, is also considered a preexisting

condition. Pre-existing conditions are not covered for the term of the certificate. If you become

pregnant during the term of coverage, the plan only covers complications

How to set up your Health Savings Account (HSA) with a Bank?

After setting up a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) that is Health Savings Account (HSA) eligible you are then left with the questions of which institution to place your account.  This process can be very easy, if you just know where to go.  Here is a list of banks that offer hosting of the HSA account:

HSA Bank - https://secure.hsabank.com/enrollment/

Fifth Third Bank - http://www.53hsa.com/pub/

US Bank - http://www.usbank.com/cgi_w/cfm/personal/products_and_services/savings/hsa_personal.cfm

Chase - http://www.chase.com/index.jsp?pg_name=ccpmapp/shared/assets/page/hsa_home

Huntington - https://www.huntington.com/health_savings_account/

Bank of America - https://benefits.bankofamerica.com/boa-cdhpweb/memberLogin.do

Wells Fargo - https://www.wellsfargo.com/investing/hsa/index

Huntington - https://www.huntington.com/health_savings_account/HSA_enrollment.htm

Citi - http://hsa.citibank.com/