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Health Care Reform – How Are You Affected? – Part 3

If you are an employer with fewer than 50 full time and “full time equivalent” (FTE) employees, you will enjoy the luxury of being exempted from the most onerous provisions discussed in the previous article. If you offer health insurance coverage to your employees you will still have a few issues affecting your health plan.
Effective for tax year 2013, an additional Medicare Part A tax of 0.9% will be assessed on incomes above $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for joint filers. This works out to a 62% increase over the current Medicare tax rate of 1.45%. Another tax of 3.8% will be assessed against unearned income for “high income” taxpayers.
Other taxes will go into effect on or before January 1, 2014, that relate to HSA account distributions. The so-called Cadillac tax on rich health plans will begin then as well, but perhaps one of the most notable tax increases actually began March 23, of this year. All tanning bed operators began paying an additional 10% tax surcharge for customer rental of tanning beds.
If you offer group health insurance, your plan will have to eliminate lifetime caps on Essential Health Benefits (EHBs). As was discussed previously, EHBs will be further defined by Health and Human Services. It is believed EHBs will include certain wellness, outpatient and hospitalization benefits. That is, all health insurance plans must offer these benefits and can not place caps on how much can be paid out under the plan. A few of the EHBs may be required to be offered exclusive of a plan deductible, such as routine physical exams.
The most important issue for small groups is the 35% tax credit that is available for tax year 2010. This credit is available through tax year 2013 if the employer contributes at least 50% of the total premium cost. The debate continues at present if the 50% contribution rate must apply to dependents’ premiums as well. The larger the business becomes, the smaller the credit becomes. Consultation with a knowledgeable tax professional is recommended.
The credit will stop after 2013. At that time a two-year tax credit will then be available if the small group plan is purchased through the government health insurance exchange.
Children of employees are eligible as dependents until age 26, regardless of marital or student status.
By January 1, 2010,annual caps on EHBs must be eliminated. Too, the small business will not be able to extend a waiting period for enrolling new employees beyond 90 days. Texas state law already requires no more than a 3-month wait.
Pre-existing health conditions must be fully covered by January 1, 2014 for adults. The mandate for children under 19 years must be in effect by September 23, 2010. Insurance companies are challenging the child provision however saying, the time frame is too soon for the mandate to be implemented.
As you shop for better deals for small group insurance or even individual insurance, HCR is supposed to open the door to expanded competition. You will be able to continue to shop for insurance as you have in the past, but you may also go direct with insurance carriers, or look at Consumer Owned and Oriented Plans (CO OPs), or even through a state run health insurance Exchange.
The exchanges, in conjunction with purchasing from carriers directly through third parties, will most likely be the same insurance carriers, similar plans and comparable premiums. Although, the Exchanges will require insurance companies to offer plan designs that satisfy unresolved minimum benefit levels. Only the CO OPs may be able to offer a little diversity in plan design, and because they are supposed to be owned by the individual group employers, the idea is that premiums will generally remain stable.
HCR will provide initial seed money to start up the CO OPs and Exchanges, but no one knows yet any details on how these programs must be structured. Some important questions remain to be answered.
-Can CO OPs cross state lines?
-Can CO OPs include different industry types?
-Who actually will run the program?
-Will multiple plan options be available to different employers’ unique needs?
Individuals will also be able to shop through the Exchanges, but will not be allowed the opportunity to enroll in CO OPs unless 1-person groups are allowed to participate. Eventually, the small group market and individual market probably will merge into just an individual market.
A lot more of the “fun” begins for small groups and individuals January 2014. As mentioned earlier, the Medicare tax begins. Also on that date, individuals must enroll in a health insurance plan that is equal to or better than EHBs or pay a penalty. The penalty is $95 or 1% of household income in 2014; $325 or 2% in 2015; or $695 or 2.5% in 2016 …

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Affordable Health Insurance Quotes and How to Get Them

Most Americans don’t know that you can buy medical insurance in much the same way that a lot of people now buy their car insurance – online. You can find affordable health insurance quotes online and get yourself into a policy that is specifically built just for you and your family in a matter of minutes and have the health care coverage that you need.
Living in today’s world without some form of medical insurance is a recipe for disaster. Without medical insurance, you will put off going to the doctor until things get really bad. You will also not take care of some of the preventative matters and testing that everyone should have done. You will find that when you shop for affordable health insurance quotes online that getting coverage is a lot cheaper than you might think.
People have long thought that getting health insurance through your employer as the cheapest way to do it, but that is not always the case. Especially if your employers requires you to help fund the insurance program, then you are probably paying a lot more than if you got your policy individually. So before you sign up for a high-priced medical insurance policy at work, you should shop for affordable health insurance quotes online.
Because not all families are alike, not all insurance policies are, either. You can design your own health insurance policy so that is perfect for your health, the amount of regular visits you make to a doctor, and your budget. Some people find that a low level of coverage is enough, while others want to be able to go to the doctor on a regular basis without paying a high office co-pay. The choice is really up to you, but remember that having coverage of some kind will always be beneficial for your family’s health.…

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Lifelines Sustained Via Health Management

To sustain any business of sorts, there is a necessity to employ administrators to ensure proceedings run on clockwork. In similar fashion, health management services are essential in the dispersal of services of a commercial sense or otherwise. As the business of providing quality health care continues to climb to new heights due to newly discovered diseases, cures, methods and like, it takes a substantial amount of knowledge and experience to keep its lifeline running well. It certainly does not spell well for the patients if the establishment they are seeking services from is in equally bad shape.
Although great honor is laid at the feet of those who do service to the public by restoring them to good health via medical treatment coupled with befitting bedside manner, let one not forget those who function in the background. In order to run a successful performance on stage or in recorded mode, the unseen faces play equally crucial roles. The responsibilities of those in charge of health management are no easy burden to carry. One is charged to run a business which provides care for the less fortunate whilst keeping itself in shape. Being different from other commercial trades which focus on profit-generating objectives, this sort of establishment is supposed to uphold the Hippocratic Oath as sworn by its staff of health care practitioners. Times may call for difficult decisions when escalating costs may cause one to make decisions which are deemed unfavorable and unfair to the common eye.
With relevant knowledge via a degree in this field, one is better equipped to handle the daily affairs plaguing the establishment. This is not to say that one can handle with ease every sort of problem thrown in his way. An educated and experienced administrator can better assess the situation and derive informed judgments for the provision of quality health care as well as overall good of the organization.…

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Kenneth Weene’s ‘Memoirs From the Asylum’ Is a Powerful, Unsettling Read

Chances are, you have a family member or an acquaintance who’s been affected by a major mental illness. For many people, mental illnesses are very treatable. They will either recover or learn to manage their episodes of illness. For others, a mental illness does not respond to treatment and living in a therapeutic setting becomes an option. Of those whose illness leads to hospitalization, some are lucky enough to be able to afford private care. For others, there’s the state hospital.
As Alice famously said to the Cheshire Cat, “I don’t want to go among mad people,” and any examination of the lives and thoughts of those living in the state hospital will not be a walk in the garden. Although ‘Memoirs From the Asylum’ by Kenneth Weene is fictional, those of us who have mentally ill friends and relatives or who have worked in mental health care settings will find it unsettlingly real.
Readers will no doubt find this book fascinating. It’s like what medieval Christians used to call “the abominable fancy:” the saved glimpsing the suffering of those in Hell. The trouble is, as Weene’s book makes clear, the line between the “sane” and the “insane” is a fine one. The “insane” are institutionalized by their own volition, but can declare “the vacation’s over” and walk out to rejoin society at any moment. The staff are just as capable of abnormal thoughts and irrational behavior as the patients. It reminds me of a joke from an early season of ‘The Simpsons,’ when Homer found himself committed and asked the doctors how they could tell who was sane and who was insane. Simple, they tell him: everyone who’s insane has his/her hand stamped “INSANE.”
‘Memoirs From the Asylum’ is, at times, funny, sometimes unsettling, but largely tragic. It’s a powerful book, but one worth reading. It’s a plea for compassion and a disorganized rant as careening as the Jimi Hendrix solos that a patient named Jamul endlessly plays on his invisible guitar.
Funny thing about that: thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, the Navy record of the real Jimi Hendrix is now public, and it reveals he was once thought to have a mental illness. The real Hendrix seemed to be unable to concentrate on any work other than writing songs and playing his guitar! Perhaps Jamul was a misunderstood genius. Within the pages of ‘Memoirs of the Asylum,’ anything is possible.…

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Health Tips

Fantastic Four Reasons to Take LPN Programs

LPN programs are becoming popular nowadays. And with the availability of home-based learning offered by the Internet, one can get this program with convenience. There are quite a number of institutions that offer online LPN degrees, and many sites over the Internet provide information regarding online LPN programs.
Indeed, more and more individuals are getting encouraged to take an LPN course. An LPN or licensed practical nurse gives care to patients under the supervision of a registered nurse, a physician, or other health care practitioners who are licensed. Although LPNs may seem to be under the nurses, they are very much needed and their services are appreciated in the health care setting. There can be many reasons why one would want to be an LPN, but here are the top four most valid reasons why one should consider taking this course.
A� In demand- with the growing population of the elderly, the demand for LPNs will also rise. People who are in their late adulthood (ages 65 and above) needs more support and care because it is in this population group wherein the physical body deteriorates. Elderly people have slower metabolism. They are more prone to diseases because of decreased immunity, and they are also accident-prone. LPNs are perfect for this job of caring for the elderly as the skills required in doing so are basic, which the LPN can do without the close supervision of an RN. Furthermore, it was estimated that employment for licensed practical nurses would grow by 21 percent between 2008 and 2018.
A� Diversity of work area- LPNs can work in various health care settings. Hospitals employ a large number of LPNs. LPNs can also work in nursing homes, home healthcare, employment services, outpatient care departments, and government centers. Many procedures nowadays are performed in the offices of physicians and in outpatient care centers, this type of procedures are also called ambulatory surgeries. Ambulatory surgeries reduce the cost of healthcare, and are more convenient options for minor operations. LPNs can work on their areas.
A� Good salary- the average salary of licensed practical nurses is between 27,245 and 39,598 dollars, but this is only for fresh employees, those who have worked for less than a year. At least 50% of the total number of LPNs earn between 33, 360 and 46, 710 dollars while the rich ten percent of them receive as must as 53, 580 dollars annually.
A� Service- giving care to patients is one form of service. Thus, the joy of rendering service to others by offering quality care with a human touch is greatly fulfilled in this job.
LPN programs are available online for those who would want to be licensed practical nurses. However, please be informed that an NCLEX-PN test must be taken and passed first before getting the LPN or licensed practical nurse title. For more information and for questions regarding LPN programs, try to visit this LPN site. It has valuable…

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Older Women Like Home Care More

Survey says why insurance with home care benefit is popular
More older women get home-based care for chronic health issues than men, reveals an American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) study.
According to the study, 60 percent of home care recipients were women. In the same group, over 80 percent were 75 years or more than that. The survey, which was conducted by the association through a one-week period in March, had 1,000 men and women respondents.
“The large majority of both men and women home care recipients were over the age of 71 and most received care for three days a week or less,” according to Jesse Slome, executive director of AALTCI. 66 percent (two-thirds) of women received care at home for three days a week or less, while less men (49 percent) made use of the same service in the same frequency.
The AALTCI study also found the cost of home care services to be around $20 per hour. However, this varied depending on the type of service required and the location. “Someone requiring care three days a week for six hours a day is looking at a cost between @20,000 and $25,000 annually, which is why individuals increasingly buy long-term care insurance with a home care benefit,” says Slome.
“Most people wrongly associate long-term health care with skilled nursing facility when the vast majority of care takes place at home,” pointed out Slome in an earlier interview. Today more and more people prefer getting treatment for chronic and age-related conditions right in the comfort of their own homes, added Slome.
“People do require long-term care services at younger ages typically as a result of accidents or illnesses,” noted Slone. As a matter of fact, a large majority (90.7 percent) of long-term care insurance claims start at age 70. Among women below 64 years, about 20 percent received care for seven days a week, while 40 percent required care five days each week. A mere 25.3 percent of women aged 82 required care for five days a week or even more.
According to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, about 7.6 m people are recipients of home-based care today, usually as a consequence of an acute illness, long-term health condition, permanent disability or terminal illness. Annually, the federal government spends $60 billion for home health care.…

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What’s Wrong With ObamaCare – Better Question is What Isn’t Wrong With It?

The other day an acquaintance from England contacted me and didn’t understand the issues concerning ObamaCare and wondered what was the controversy all about, and he asks; “President Obama’s health care proposals – from this side of the Atlantic, I say ‘what’s all the fuss’?”
Simple, our constitution will not allow the government to make us purchase something from a business or set of businesses, or allow the government to create a monopolistic relationship with business. In this case “health insurance” companies and the government is using the “commerce clause” ruling to pretend it’s okay, but that excuse or debating point holds no water.
One of the reasons this is even is even an issue or in the Constitution is due to the East India Trading Company and how the colonists were made to pay taxes and other duties and East India Trading Company was exempted, this undercut the local tea merchants, then there was a boycott, as the East India Trading Company had a clear advantage.
When the colonists boycotted, the King figured out other ways to collect tax, which led to the Townsend Act, “Boston tea party event” and eventually the Revolutionary War, where your ancestors and mine fought and died over it. This is why the framers in our constitution put things like that in there to prevent a mandated causation for citizens to buy something. That is one of the issues.
There are many others, such as corporate lobbyists are racking in billions – Big Pharma, medical equipment, health insurance, etc. And the problem is that Health Care costs have risen 5% year-over-year for a decade, it is a runaway cost situation due to several issues, one of which is litigation – thus malpractice insurance costs have increased for doctors, this is passed onto the patients and insurance companies.
The doctors trying to avoid lawsuits are ordering more unnecessary tests, procedures (defensive medicine from lawsuits) just in case, and all those increased costs are indeed billed to the tax payer. Obama is a lawyer, and a democrat, and they purposely didn’t fix the runaway litigation costs issues. We have a very strong trial lawyers lobby. And they protect their interests, and sue in case they think they aren’t going to have these lucrative malpractice cases, which they are now receiving insanely high monetary awards.
And, businesses cannot afford to cover their workers, so they’ve stopped hiring, stopped expanding, and we have high-unemployment because of it now, with no end in sight. Small Businesses can’t afford it, now health insurance has skyrocketed due to the above issues I mentioned, up 40% for me since ObamaCare plan came into play.
Also Obama’s Administration along with the democrats fudged the OMD, CAO, GAO accounting numbers, pretended it was fiscally viable, it’s not, not even a little bit, and we are seeing the increases, it’s killing the middle class, and if we keep all this up, we’ll be just like you are in England; super high taxes, crappy medical care, waiting lines, and lower quality of life and standard of living. Besides that, the whole concept is socialist driven, and it doesn’t fit with America’s ideals.
It’s a bad plan, it has to be scrapped, it won’t work, period.
The Democrats also cheated the system when they rushed through the legislation, they lied to the people, and most of those who voted for the bill, didn’t know what was in it. It’s garbage, complete nonsense, so ObamaCare Needs to go.
And to top it all off the states will go broke under the ObamaCare provisions, they can’t afford it. In fact, there was an interesting article (an op-ed piece) on that fact the other day in the Wall Street Journal titled “The States Can’t Afford ObamaCare – Their Budgets will be Crushed by the Medicaid Expansions that the Feds are Forcing on Them,” by George Mellon, published on February 4, 2011. It’s worth reading. Well, I hope you will please consider all this.…