|Posted by stonearttraders on June 28, 2009 at 9:57 PM|
Are you a small business, entrepreneur, employed individual without health insurance coverage, or unemployed individual without medical benefits? Have you earnestly sought information on private individual medical plans recently? For the cost of a very healthy mortgage payment you can get catastrophic medical coverage with no doctor visits, very little wellness care, and no prescription coverage. Oh, and did I mention lifetime medical payment caps, preexisting condition waivers and deductibles high enough to buy a good used car? Why is it so seemingly simple to develop a group for a large company that is all inclusive (no pre-existing coverage waivers, exclusions, etc.), but so difficult to develop a group for a state or country? Seriously, do you think the large companies are not getting a tax advantage for the portion of the premiums they are paying for their employee's health coverage? Doesn't that in essence equate to a federal or state subsidy for that company's employees health care? The group coverage issue is not quite so simple I know, but not so difficult that it can't be expanded or changed to include a group of all individuals who wish to participate in affordable health care coverage who are not currently covered. It will definitely take a paradigm shift of national proportions and a convergence of critical mass (societal melt down) to catalyze the change, and I think we're there. Our health care, medical, pharmaceutical, and insurance systems are absolutely and without question totally out of control and in critical need of reform. Hopefully, we'll be able to come to some form of agreement this year that will allow forward momentum. In the meantime, what's available for those who need help right now?
Whatever you may think of the recent administration in office, which likely depends on which side of the employment figures you find yourself today, there is a program in place that can be literally life saving. The American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 provides government assistance for Cobra coverage in the form of a 65% federal subsidy for eligible individuals and families affected by loss of employment and employer sponsored health care coverage. The act provides very affordable continuation coverage (35% of total plan premiums) for a maximum nine month period after employer benefits have ended and can be applied for online. For only slightly more money than the employee was contributing while employed, benefits can be continued very reasonably. For more information on this program click here: COBRA Continuation Coverage Assistance Under The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act.
In 2004, Oklahoma created a program called Oklahoma Employer/Employee Partnership for Insurance Coverage (O-EPIC). While still very limited in scope and access, it's a good model from which to begin. It uses the tax revenues from the sale of tobacco in the state to fund a good portion of the program. A brief excerpt from their website describes the program: Insure Oklahoma is an innovative program Oklahoma has created to bridge the gap in the health care coverage for low-income working adults. Under the Employer-Sponsored Insurance (ESI) program, premium costs are shared by the state (60 percent), the employer (25 percent) and the employee (15 percent). The Individual Plan (IP) allows people who can't access the benefits through their employer, including those who are self employed or may be temporarily unemployed, to buy health insurance directly through the state. Find out more information by visiting www.insureoklahoma.org or by calling 1-888-365-3742.
Other states have most likely developed similar programs to begin bridging the gap of the uninsured as well. If you are seeking immediate assistance, contact your state governor's office for more information on what may be available in your own state.
Whatever your situation, you can't afford to be uninformed. Change is coming, help shape it by understanding the issues and letting your voice be heard. Here are some of the plans on the table today:
Categories: Health Care