Monday, September 30, 2013

How health reform affects those who already have insurance

Maybe you already have health insurance through your employer, but are concerned that your plan is going to change.

Maybe you work part-time and are not eligible for your employer’s insurance.

Or maybe you’re about to turn 26 and will no longer be eligible to stay on your parents’ insurance plan.

The point is, health care reform means different things to different people depending on their current situation.  In my next few blog posts, I’m going to discuss some different situations that many people may be facing, and some approaches they may want to consider when making decisions about their health care.

Let’s start out with a discussion of some different scenarios for people who already have insurance:
  • My employer offers health insurance, but I want to know my other options.  State marketplaces offer a new way to get insurance.  But if your employer’s plan meets government standards and is affordable, it’s likely that you won’t qualify for government financial assistance – meaning individual marketplaces probably won’t help you save money on a plan.

  • My employer offers me health insurance, but I need coverage for the rest of my family.  If your employer does not offer coverage for spouses or children, your spouse and children can buy coverage separately, directly from an insurance company or agent, or in the Individual Marketplaces.
    Health reform does provide potential government financial help for people to pay toward the premium for a plan purchased in the Individual Marketplaces. Subsidies are based on household income and family size, so you'll want to complete an application for the Individual Marketplace, to determine whether or not you and your family qualify for financial help.
  • I like the plan I have through my employer.  Is my plan going to change?  In most cases, the best choice is to continue getting coverage through your employer. Many employers pay part of the cost for the plan, and this can be a big help to you.
    Under health reform, you can expect your old plan to offer new protections. For example, your plan can't limit the amount it will pay per year or over your lifetime for essential health benefits. And you can't be denied coverage or charged more because of a pre-existing condition.

To help control rising health costs, many employers are choosing high-deductible plans which allow employees to set up an HSA or health savings account to help them pay for health expenses with pre-tax dollars.  For more about these plans review the following video:

If you want to learn more about different approaches to health care for people who may already have insurance, here’s some helpful information.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Health Care Reform: What’s All the Buzz About?

With one of the most visible parts of health care reform set to take effect in less than a week, I feel compelled to share with you some of the resources available right here at UnitedHealthcare to help you better understand what all the buzz is about.

When President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) into law on March 23, 2010, we entered a new era of comprehensive health reform. The act includes several provisions designed to improve the health care delivery system.

The new law is changing how people get health care, how they get health insurance, what it costs and who pays for it. Many people are asking:
  • How will the new law affect me personally?
  • If I need health insurance, how and where do I get it?
  • Should I sign up for a different plan, or keep what I've got?
New laws and new health benefits mean more decisions.  Our goal at UnitedHealthcare is to help you find answers to your questions and get the health care coverage that best suits your needs. From children to seniors, changes are happening and we are with you every step of the way.

Here are some resources that you may find help simplify the complex task of understanding health care reform.

The Facts Behind the Buzz

Keeping it Simple

I will be posting some more information about health care reform in the upcoming weeks.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Injured veterans cycle from Boston to Philadelphia

On Saturday, September 14 more than 200 injured veterans and their supporters rode into Philadelphia, completing the final leg of their 425 mile cycling journey that began in Boston.

The long-distance bike ride is known as the Minuteman Challenge, organized by Ride 2 Recovery and sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.  Ride 2 Recovery is a nonprofit organization that aims to help injured veterans heal and recover from their wounds by getting them involved in the physical and mental challenge of long distance bike riding.  With a variety of training programs ranging from indoor spinning training at military installations to multiday, long-distance rides, Ride 2 Recovery adapts bikes to fit the needs of each veteran, including using hand cycles, recumbents, tandems and traditional road bikes.

Ride 2 Recovery long-distance journeys are not races.  Instead, the focus is on riding together, supporting one another along the ride and fostering camaraderie among the riders. 

For the fourth year in a row UnitedHealthcare has been the title sponsor of the Ride 2 Recovery’s Minuteman Challenge, providing financial, in-kind and volunteer support to help America’s injured veterans. 

Programs like Ride 2 Recovery and others that aid veterans after their service has concluded are essential to helping our nation’s finest live the healthy, active lives they so richly deserve.  Thank you to all the men and women who have served our country!

Bucks County Courier Times also stopped by to cheer on the riders. Check out the article they ran here

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dream bedroom makeover helps Norwood teen with life challenging illness

Children dealing with a serious medical illness often spend countless hours in their bedroom, sometimes after spending days in a hospital or treatment center.

And when hour upon hour is spent in one room, the paint on the walls, decorative style and comfort of the furniture can dramatically influence how they feel.

That’s why the nonprofit organization Special Spaces makes it its mission to give children with life-threatening illnesses the bedrooms of their dreams.  With the help of volunteers and the generosity of donors, Special Spaces coordinates dream bedroom makeovers for sick children so that their rooms are a place of peace and comfort.

On August 27, UnitedHealthcare employees had the pleasure of teaming up with Special Spaces and Bob’s Discount Furniture to give 13-year-old Nicole from Norwood, PA a dream bedroom makeover. 

Volunteers spent the day painting, assembling furniture and decorating Nicole’s bedroom, transforming it from a childhood bedroom to one that fits the needs and style of a young teen girl.  Nicole, who spent the day out of the house with her family, could hardly believe her eyes when she got home.

In addition to the challenges from her illness, Nicole has also struggled with the loss of her father a year and a half ago.  Our volunteers worked to restore her father’s rose garden, and make it a peaceful spot for Nicole to enjoy.

The UnitedHealthcare volunteers were honored to have the chance to make Nicole’s bedroom a happy place where she can rest and dream.  We wish you and your family all the best, Nicole!