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Health insurance companies are no longer allowed to turn away patients because of their pre-existing conditions or charge them more because of those conditions. But some health policy experts say insurers may be doing so in a more subtle way: by forcing people with a variety of illnesses — including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and epilepsy — to pay more for their drugs.

Insurers have long tried to steer their members away from more expensive brand name drugs, labeling them as “non-preferred” and charging higher co-payments. But according to an editorial published Wednesday in the American Journal of Managed Care, several prominent health plans have taken it a step further, applying that same concept even to generic drugs.

The Affordable Care Act bans insurance companies from discriminating against patients with health problems, but that hasn’t stopped them from seeking new and creative ways to shift costs to consumers.

http://www.propublica.org/article/a-new-way-insurers-are-shifting-costs-to-the-sick

“Although I was a poor student, I rented a car in order to visit places that would hire me. However, I got a bit distracted and got into a car accident. Unfortunately I crashed into two expensive cars; I didn’t know what to do. The two men that got out of their cars looked to be about my father’s age. Probably because I was about their son’s age they pretended not to be hurt, and instead they gave me some advice about what to do after getting into a car accident. Because of them, everything went smoothly with the insurance company. The only problem was that after insurance I still had to pay 200,000 won for the accident. I’m a student on a tight budget, so I thought of how I could deal with the situation…I decided to ask my parents for my academy fee money and used it to pay the insurance company.”

“학생이라 돈이 없어도 일을 알아보러 다녀야 해서 렌트카로 운전을 했는데, 잠깐 한눈 판 사이에 교통사고를 냈어요. 근데 하필이면 비싼 차를 두 대나 받아버려서 어쩌지 했는데, 두 차에서 모두 아버지뻘 되시는 분들이 내리시더라구요. 근데 제가 아들뻘이라 아픈 티 안내시고 오히려 저한테 교통사고 처리 방법에 대해서 조언을 해주셨어요. 그래서 보험은 처리 잘 됐는데, 문제는 제 차 보험에서 자기부담금이 20만원이나 나왔어요. 제가 학생이고 요즘 빠듯한 상황이라 어쩌지 하다가 결국 생각해낸 방법이…부모님한테 학원비 달라고 하고 그 돈으로 보험료 냈어요.”

even-stevens said:

What's your view on universal health care if there's an option of private insurance for those who can afford it?

Have you looked at my blog for more than a few minutes? 

Everyone says insurance is expensive—that health care is expensive. It’s expensive to pay doctors, nurses, and assistants. 

To which I agree with basically everyone. 

But when someone talks about universal health care, they are saying that paying doctors, nurses, assistants, and government bureaucrats is somehow cheaper. 

That is a complete disregard for common sense. 

If you go back in time to the early 1900s, the problem with “health care” was that it was too cheap.  Health care didn’t become expensive until the government intervened. 

Mutual aid societies kept health care extremely cheap.  It would take a day or two’s wages to pay for the entire year with unlimited visits to the doctor. 

But like most “problems” the government tries to solve, the consumers aren’t the ones complaining; it’s other people in the industry or other competitors. 

The ranks of the uninsured plummeted in early 2014, as millions gained health insurance coverage through Obamacare, new government data released Tuesday found.

There were 41 million Americans lacking coverage in early 2014, down from 44.8 million last year, according to the National Health Interview Survey, the first official government look at the uninsured after Obamacare policies kicked in on January 1. The uninsured rate fell to 13.1%, from 14.4%.

The survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, interviewed more than 27,600 people from January through March and asked them their coverage status. It also detailed whether they have private policies or participate in government programs.

While the report does not attribute the decline to Obamacare, it does show the health reform is meeting its prime directive — reducing the number of uninsured. Some 3.7 million respondents, or 1.4%, said they were covered by policies bought on the federal or state-based health insurance exchanges.

"This is probably one of the largest decreases we’ve seen," said Robin Cohen, a statistician at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

FLOATING DUTCH HOMES

Floods happen. Pipes burst. Attics leak. Whatever the case may be, preventing water damage to homes is particularly important. As it so happens, the Netherlands are preparing their homes and population for the worst- and investing in the ultimate “climate change insurance”.

Although estimates for the timeframe and extent of global sea level rise are varied, with 26% of the country below sea level, the Netherlands are expected to be one of the most susceptible countries in the EU to sea level rise, with an additional 29% also greatly susceptible to additional river flooding(1). So, with the increase in the number and severity of floods that is expected to be intertwined with climate change predictions, the Dutch decided to get creative.

The current plan is to build communities and neighborhoods of floating homes with foundations that would simply bob upwards in the event of a flood, and with a certain amount of slack built into electricity and water cables, the home may remain entirely connected. The idea is catching on, as large numbers of architects as well as citizens are jumping on the idea and moving into flood-prone areas, instead of away from them.

Houseboats are not a new idea, but more often provide temporary residence, such as a vacation home or temporary rental. The Netherlands’ floating homes would provide all of the same luxuries and amenities that a typical home provides, and some are even advertised with pools attached. Although many currently run a hefty price tag, they are in high demand, and are expected to become even more popular as climate change and sea level rise predictions move into the future. The pictured model is the plan for a floating apartment complex by an architectural company called Waterstudio in the Netherlands.

-BN

Sketch Credit: Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio, as hosted onhttp://inhabitat.com/inhabitat-interview-water-architect-koen-olthuis-on-floating-buildings-hydro-cities/drijvend-floating-apartment/

Further Resources:
(1) http://www.pbl.nl/en/dossiers/Climatechange/content/correction-wording-flood-risks
http://waterstudio.nl/
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18480769
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6405359.stm

Watch on redbloodedamerica.tumblr.com

Looks like I may need to get myself some “political risk” insurance just in case some nujob leftist decides to sue me or something worse.

700,000 Obamacare Sign-ups Already Dropped Their Coverage

Obamacare administrator Marilyn Tavenner admitted that several months after the open enrollment period ended, the number of paying customers has dropped precipitously. 

By August 15, over 700,000 of the administration’s initial “sign-ups” had dropped their Obamacare coverage, Tavenner said in testimony to the House Oversight Committee. The administration has been advertising 8 million sign-ups since the first enrollment period ended in April.

Upon questioning, Tavenner had no details about the reason for the sharp drop, but presumably a large number of the sign-ups failed to ever pay their premiums, as many experts had predicted.

By August, that number does not include the several hundred-thousand-strong that had eligibility problems and will only be dumped from their health coverage on September 30. The Obama administration only just finished verifying the citizenship and immigration statuses of first year Obamacare sign-ups.

The administration will kick another 115,000 customers off their coverage on September 30, after those ineligible customers have been receiving benefits, and possibly tax credits, for up to nine full months. That brings the total number of paying Obamacare customers down to less than 7.2 million at the end of the month.

The vast amount of nonpaying customers presents a serious problem to doctors and other health care providers. The Affordable Care Act requires that Obamacare sign-ups be able to receive health care for at least 90 days, even if they haven’t paid. For the first 60 days, the insurance company is required to eat the cost of the unpaid coverage; for the final 30 days, doctors are forced to provide the free health care.

“The system we have today is an incredibly easily-gamed system,” Rep. Issa said. “700,000 people got a free ride.”

Tavenner said she had no detailed information on the number of people who never paid or received taxpayer subsidies for their coverage and would not provide a time-frame to the Oversight Committee for when CMS would be able to release detailed information.

Privatization and donations, assuming a complete dissolution of the central government and its tax regime, of course.

The history of firefighting is instructive. After the traumas of the Great Fire of London in 1666, a fledging market for fire insurance developed there. Those insurers, seeking to lessen their payouts, organized their own fire brigades to minimize any fire damage to their insured parties’ homes. However, to prevent fires spreading to insured homes, the brigades responded to every fire regardless of whether a house was insured or not, so the business also benefited free riders. By 1862, only one-third of London property was insured. After much cajoling by the insurers, the municipal government agreed to pay for universal fire services in 1866. Soon after, municipalities all over the world were providing fire services as a public good.

Consider this: we live in an age where thousands of people rally to donate over $55,000 dollars to a man making a bowl of potato salad. Michael Brown’s memorial fund crowdfunded $174,000 in nine days. In support of the cop who shot him, Darren Wilson, people managed to raise even more money in even less time. With legitimate payments coming directly from the patrons of the services provided by the fire department and volunteer donations, it is not unreasonable to think a well-managed firefighting company could survive without government subsidies.

Crowdfunding is the future! Between peer-to-peer lending models and equity finance models, we have the power to make every spent dollar a vote for a product or service we support. We’re not just dictating who is getting money, we’re actually throwing money down on ideas we want to see become reality. Reading Rainbow closed its funding campaign after it pulled in $5.4 million, well beyond its intended target. Countless video games have been created this way. Even before formal platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo came into the mix, people were paying producers for games as an investment in the final product—Minecraft being a prime example.

Platforms like Kickstarter, which let you create tiered rewards, allow you to provide incentives for larger donations. As a [volunteer] fire department, you could set it up in such a way as to attract people into supporting you. Donate $5, get a bowl of the Firehouse Chef’s Flamin’ Chili; donate $10, get a t-shirt. At $50, get a ride in the truck/tour of the station/slide down the fire pole…etc. If multiple documentaries about fire fighting in Detroit can reach their target goals, I have no doubt that a department could fund themselves effectively.

Waiting for a #dose of the finest #radiation our #insurance can buy at PENRAD imaging in #ColoradoSprings, #Colorado. Get microwaved for testing or your insurance finds you in noncompliance of Dr’s orders & they don’t pay for anything! Have to love our corporate health care system & pharmaceutical companies. We don’t cure. We test & treat. No money in a cure!

[…] federal law prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender people, and it bars insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. That makes it possible for more transgender people to purchase private plans. And in states that expanded their Medicaid programs, those with low incomes may get free coverage. 

The federal anti-discrimination regulations have yet to be written, but California insurance regulators have said that companies must treat transgender patients the same as other patients. For example, if plans cover hormones for post-menopausal women, they must also cover them for transgender women. Medicare, the program for the elderly and disabled, lifted its ban on covering sex reassignment surgery earlier this year. 

“The law and policy are on a transgender person’s side for the first time,” said Anand Kalra, program administrator at the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center. 

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