The respectibe of Massachusetts health insurance during 6 years

Some years ago in 2006, Mitt Romney broke the mold of health insurance debate by pushing through legislation for a mandate in Massachusetts. If the best solution of a single payer system is politically unacceptable in America, this is the next-best way of bringing insurance to all citizens. The result shows this US state has the lowest number of citizens uninsured. In theory, this was a triumph and, if the political wind had not changed, it should have been followed with ease by the Federal Government. Except what had worked in Massachusetts was, apparently, not what the rest of America wanted. What went wrong and how has Massachusetts reacted?

When the debate was running the first time around, a GOP Governor was introducing a law approved in principle by his party. Indeed, he actively drew on the work of right-wing think tanks when drafting the bill. Since the only opposition likely to this law was going to come from the right, the bipartisan debate was very good-tempered and constructive. As we know, the law passed with some ease. But when President Obama tried to spread the gospel of the mandate to the rest of America, the tone of the rhetoric changed from constructive to aggressively negative. Instead of the President having the same bipartisan support as enjoyed by Governor Romney, he was faced by all-out opposition. This shift in the way the same two laws have been portrayed has left its mark on US politics. Now running in the Presidential race, Mitt Romney has defended the law as it applies in his own state, but campaigned on the basis he will repeal the mandate for all other states.

Why is Mitt Romney being careful? Because the mandate is massively popular in Massachusetts. People appreciate the health insurance benefits and, because of the mandate, the health insurance premium rates have stayed affordable. What’s not to like about a system that buys treatment for almost all citizens at a price everyone can afford? So he cannot reject his own law. He can only say he will not force other states to follow his example.

Will cheap health insurance be possible if the Supreme Court repeals the mandate?

The world is watching for the news of the decision from the Supreme Court on whether Obamacare is constitutional. Whichever side of the debate the pundits are on, one thing is certain. When they appear on television to give their opinions and predictions, the end of the world is upon us. Very few people seem to be relaxed while they wait for the decision. So let’s take the possibilities step-by-step. The most extreme outcome would be for the Court to strike down the entire Act. This would rely on the majority finding that the introduction of the mandate undermines all the other provisions. This seems less likely but, if it happened, we would simply go back to the law as it applied before the Affordable Care Act was signed by the President. This is a known quantity and the only loss would be all the money spent on preparing for the new law to be implemented. The threat, of course, is that angry healthy people like you will simply stop buying any form of health insurance leaving only those who need treatment facing ever larger bills. No one says political protests have to be rational.

But suppose only the mandate is struck down. This would leave insurers bound to accept everyone with pre-existing conditions. When this was tried in Washington, health insurance quotes surged higher. Except, unlike Washington, Obamacare also includes a subsidy which helps those on lower incomes. So those most at risk would find their payments remaining affordable. States pick up the bill for keeping premium rates low. It also gives them an incentive to find ways of reduced medical costs.

But what if the Supreme Court finds Obamacare is constitutional? The mandate was been working well in Massachusetts and there’s no reason to believe it will not work equally well in the rest of the country. If people decide to make a political protest and refuse to buy health insurance plans, they will pay a tax penalty of either $695 or 2.5% of their income whichever is higher.

Health Insurance and Coverage for Allergies

Not many health insurance providers maintain contracts with companies that provide allergy relief. However, it is interesting to note that some health insurance companies pay for the treatment of allergy symptoms but never the treatment of the root cause. One also has to note that if you already have coverage for allergies, consider yourself lucky because there are only very few insurers that provide this kind of coverage.

The question is, why aren’t allergies covered by insurance companies? According to experts, most insurers do not have this kind of coverage because most medications for allergies are OTC drugs and as long as they are available as OTC drugs companies will never cover them.

Having an allergy means the body reacts to certain substances found in food, dust, or mold. There are also seasonal irritants that can cause allergies including pollen that can trigger itchy eyes, rashes and even trouble breathing. Things that can cause allergies include house dust mites, food products such as eggs and milk, pollen from grasses and trees, certain medications, chemicals used in the home for cleaning, insects, dogs, cats and molds.

The usual treatment of such allergies of course is the use of drugs that ease the irritation. These drugs are sold over the counter as mentioned before and they only treat the symptoms of allergies.

It is important for someone who suffers from allergic reactions to either avoid the irritant or be ready with a drug that suppresses the symptoms. Since medications for allergies are readily available, those who have a lot of allergies should always be ready with meds. How do these medications work though? Experts say that medications for allergies will not cure the allergy per se but will only ease the irritation caused by symptoms such as sneezing and wheezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and the like. There are different kinds of antihistamines though, some available in cream or liquid form while others available as oral medication.

If you really need health insurance coverage that will shoulder the expenses for your allergy medication, it is best to ask around or go to a comparison website to look for one. Not many health insurance companies provide such coverage so looking for one that does will be a bit difficult.

The changing demographics of cheap health insurance

Health insurance is a hot topic in political circles right now. Whether you consider yourself red or blue there is a lot at stake in the Supreme Court’s decision. Whatever their decision, it will resonate throughout this economy.

In our current economy the healthcare industry is the fastest sector of growth. Baby boomers are aging into what used to be the most expensive population for health care. An average of 10,000 baby boomers a day are reaching age 65. Heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, vascular disease, respiratory diseases like COPD, Cancer of all kinds, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, Cirrhosis of the liver, Parkinson’s and Pneumonia are some of the top killers as well as some of the top long term conditions that require care over months and sometimes years. The costs add up. Because of the numbers marching into old age, the industry is scrambling to keep up. The amount of money for medical coverage that is going to be spent by this generation has never been seen before. The implications for the under insured and uninsured costs being covered by the cost of premiums of the few insured is staggering. It is only dwarfed by the even newer big spender on the block Generation Z or the iGenreation.

The iGeneration (called that because of their constant connection to the internet and devices) is poised to outpace the baby boomers for costs in medical care, a thing never seen before. Throughout the history of this nation each generation had the expectancy to live a longer healthier life due to advances in our medical technology, advances in food production, as well as a steady increase in standard of living. That is no longer true. iGeneration is riddled with childhood obesity, childhood type II Diabetes, increased rates of neurological disorders ranging from ADD, ADHD to Autism spectrum disorders, and showing increased rates of hypertension and heart related stress disorders . iGeneration is already competing with baby boomers for health insurance dollars.

The term cheap health insurance is a relative one. The iGeneration could stand to lose coverage when they age out of the system and coverage will no longer be available due to pre-existing conditions if Obama’s plan for health insurance is struck down by the supreme court. There is no such thing as cheap health insurance, but we can hope that our government will do the right thing and make health care affordable and comprehensive to take care of all of our needs.

Rates depend on your car type

Shopping for auto insurance can be a bit confusing for an inexperienced customer. The large number of variables taken into account when a quote is calculated sure looks very complex. But it doesn’t take a doctor in statistics or insurance pro to grasp the most important rules of auto insurance. In fact, there are simple yet very important things you should learn about insurance before even trying to insure your car. One of these things is the correlation between the type of car you’re trying to insure and the approximate range of auto insurance quotes this particular type will garner. If you wonder why there’s even a relation between these two aspects of insurance, here are some brief explanations on each car type from the insurance perspective:

Small cars

Despite the usual convenience and benefits of small cars, they are typically expensive to insure. This may seem strange, but once you learn the statistics the trend becomes more obvious. Small cars are mostly used in large urban areas with heavy traffic, thus the higher risk of having an accident. Besides, when a small car crashes the cost of repairing it is higher compared to a larger vehicle, since small cars have lower mass and tend to take more damage during the collision. So if you’re looking for very low auto insurance quotes – this is not your car type.

Medium sized vehicles

Medium sized cars usually represent the golden middle of all the factors concerning auto insurance and driver convenience. They are typically cheap to repair, have good safety features, don’t get stolen too often and produce fewer accidents. Of course, this doesn’t concern all vehicles of this type as there can be significant differences across different makes and models. However, if you want affordable auto insurance, it’s most possible to get with this car type.

Minivans and SUVs

Large vehicles offer a higher degree of safety and security when compared to smaller vehicles. However, they tend to produce more damage when ending up in a collision, which directly reflects in the average amount of third-party liability payouts by insurance companies. Thus, you will always get higher auto insurance quotes when trying to insure your truck or SUV.

Sports and performance vehicles

Sports and muscle cars can be surprisingly affordable if compared to other vehicle types. However, prepare to pay up for having extra horse powers under the hood since this vehicle type tends to be the most expensive in terms of insurance. Performance vehicles provoke a more aggressive driving style that often results in traffic accidents. Moreover, the damage produced in such accidents can be very severe since it is delivered with high speeds. Besides, fast cars often end up on the lists of car thieves. So you get a perfect combination for the most expensive car to insure.

Luxury and expensive cars

In case you are able to purchase a $100K+ vehicle, hunting for low auto insurance quotes shouldn’t concern you. Nevertheless, it’s not about the value of the car that renders expensive vehicles somewhat costly to insure. These are often very expensive at repair with scarce parts that are sometimes shipped directly from the producer. Besides, these cars represent a particular interest for thieves, especially in large urban areas. Still, if you shop around insuring such a vehicle can be rather affordable.

Collectibles

Classic and vintage vehicles stand in a league of their own when it comes to insurance. They often require special insurance to be purchased with strict limits on yearly mileage and rigorous requirements on their storage. Auto insurance rates may vary significantly depending on the car and the company you’re quoting with.

Looking at health insurance and care over the long term

Unfortunately the world does not come in strict shades of black and white. You cannot be healthy or ill. There are multiple shades in between from minor symptoms to chronic disability through injury or illness. This creates a problem for the insurance industry. If you have a family saloon car and it’s damaged, repairs are authorized if this is economical. Otherwise, you throw the old car away and use the fair market value check to buy a replacement. This allows the insurers to cap their losses and pitch the premium rates to stay within fixed limits. When it comes to health cover this is something that simply doesn’t work.

When a decision needs to be made on what to do after breaking your arm it will not be to cut it off and replace it or to repair but will instead be to pay for drug companies to control the pain, a surgeon to make the necessary repairs and for a physical therapist to work on improving your mobility. In most cases involving a clean break, the costs will be controlled but, when there’s a compound fracture, there’s a risk of long-term problems. Again, the costs are still not too heavy even though there may be continuing use of physical therapy and painkillers. But once you get into more serious injuries or disease, the cost of long-term care can be uncontrolled and open-ended. This includes both medical and non-medical costs to care for those who can no longer look after themselves.

We take it for granted that we can move freely around the home, take a shower when we feel the need, change our clothes to match our mood, and so on. Depending on the nature of the medical problems, none of these routine tasks may be possible without someone to help. This is not skilled nursing care. It’s something more or less anyone can do. Except there’s a limit to what families will do and so paying someone to come in and help becomes necessary. If you move up to skilled nursing care in the home, the costs rise. Now add in the cost of visits by a physician to review the treatment regime and write new prescriptions. If care in the home is no longer possible, the costs just took off like a rocket because care in assisted-living facilities or nursing homes is very expensive. Although Medicaid will pay for some of this care for older seniors both in the community and in nursing homes, Medicare does not cover long-term care.

In the past, we have looked to the private insurance companies to include long-term care in their health plans or as free-standing policies. But the economics have been changing rapidly as for-profit hospitals and nursing homes increase their charges. A large number of insurance companies have now made the decision to not accept new long-term care business as a part of health insurance plans for individuals as everyone is now living much longer lives.

There’s still access to the cover through group plans for now but, unless something is done to control costs, even this may become unaffordable. Although no one wants to see Medicare expanding indefinitely, it may become necessary for more federal aid to be channelled to this sector. As with flood insurance, this aspect of health insurance needs support or it will disappear from private insurance plans.

Will technology cut insurance costs?

The world has been changing faster than we care to realize. The Model T first rolled out on to our roads in 1908, only just over one-hundred years ago. In those days, the noise really did frighten the horses. You could hear them coming from a considerable distance. Today, whispering death can roll up behind you without you noticing anything. The modern engine is a miracle of silence. Ironically, we have almost arrived at the level of noiseless travel where the old Rolls Royce promise would come true. In the good old days, the ads said the loudest thing you would hear was the clock ticking. Today, we have digital clocks and no ticks to disturb the peace. Indeed, wherever you look, there’s evidence of advancing technology. It can be in the design of the suspension and braking systems to produce safer handling. Or it can be in the way the body crumples in a collision to absorb the impact and reduce the injuries to those inside.

It would be nice to think the investment of all this intelligence into the design of our vehicles could produce cheap auto insurance rates. Well, in one sense, this is already happening. The insurers work with the government in agreeing the standards for crash-testing the current range of makes and models. Those which do the best are awarded lower rates. There’s a safety premium if you follow the government recommendations on the safest vehicles. There’s just one problem. This new technology is not yet really cheap. Some of the safest vehicles are actually more expensive to insure because of the cost of maintenance and repairs. It’s a wonderful idea to absorb the force of an impact by having body panels crumple. Except, of course, after even a relatively minor collision, it can require the replacement of more bodywork at higher prices than the old-fashioned piece of metal. Of course the cost will gradually fall as the size of the market increases and mass manufacturing reduces the cost of spares. But, until then, you may not see the benefit of cheaper rates.

Another aspect of all this new technology is the ability for the vehicle to drive itself. Many vehicles come with radar systems that sound a warning if we get too close to an object when reversing. The Japanese have gone one step further with the Lexus LS 460L that will take all the pain out of parallel parking. The wholly automated system will park it for you and never hit any other vehicle in the process. Manufacturers are looking to apply technology to freeway driving. All it would take is a wire running down the center of each lane and you could have hands-free journeys. Although it would require us to trust the technology not to crash us into any of the other vehicles around us, it could significantly reduce the risk of accidents on long journeys.

In the face of such advances, there will be cheap car insurance tomorrow as we are slowly replaced as the drivers and computers take over. Until tomorrow comes, focus on buying the safest makes and models you can afford. The auto insurance quotes will come in lower and keep you happy.

Credit ratings and auto insurance

Car owners are often not aware about that their insurance rates are affected by a factor that seems to have little to do with auto insurance at all. This is credit rating. Actually, it is used by almost all insurance companies to calculate rates. And while this may seem as lacking any logic from the customer’s point of view the insurance companies have a perfect explanation to using your credit score when determining your rates. Moreover, they aren’t breaking the law in any way by using your credit information without your consent and knowledge. Let’s learn how is that possible and what consequences your credit score may have with respect to insurance.

Insurance companies have the right to access your personal information including the insurance record until they agree to not disclose this information to any third parties. And you will have to start thinking as an insurer in order to grasp the importance of credit score from this perspective.

The most important thing for insurers is assessing the risk of covering each client that opts for insurance. If the risk is low then they can offer lower rates as to reward the low probability of a claim from such a client. If the risk is high then they will charge higher rates as to cope with the costs involved with a higher probability of a claim. And the insurers will use any piece of information that will help them evaluate their risks no matter how strange it may sound for consumers. Statistically people with lower credit scores file more insurance claims whereas customers with higher scores file less claims than the average. So it’s logic that the insurance companies will adjust their rates according to this observation and use customers’ credit scores. But if a client is nothappy with how your score may affect your rates – what then?

There are two ways here. The first is to improve your credit rating by reviewing your report and eliminating any unused credit lines and debts if possible. It is more time-consuming time but the effect will be more profound as there are more benefits to a good credit score than just affordable auto insurance. The second option is finding a company that doesn’t use credit scores when calculating their rates. Though the majority of insurers do, there are still plenty of company that don’t, so you would want to stick to those providers.

Additional auto coverage options

There are some additianal coverage options that you may find interesting when looking for the right auto insurance plan. Insurance is all about minimizing the financial impact of a particular peril and for many circumstances that may damage your car there are special coverage option available. Of course, by adding additional coverage options to your policy the price of it rises. However, for some situations it really pays to get an expensive policy in the first place rather than having to pay for the damage done out of own pocket simply you skipped that coverage type. So what are the most interesting additional coverage types one should look into?

Coverage for an uninsured or underinsured motorist

This may seem exotic to some drivers but it sure is useful for those who live in an area with many vehicles on the roads. It is estimated that there are thousands and even hundreds of thousands motorist driving without any at any given moment in our country. Either their term has expired and they didn’t manage to renew the policy or have chosen to drive without coverage at all, the outcome of an accident with such a driver will be the same – lack of other party’s insurance to cover your damage. Uninsured motorist coverage acts as the other party’s insurance company and pays for the damage inflicted to your car in case the other driver was at fault. It is most effective in cases of hit-and-run accidents, which unfortunately got more often these days.

A comprehensive type of coverage

Comprehensive coverage is not to mix up with collision since they are very complimentary in terms of financial protection. The second one pays in cases of collision with other vehicles or objects, while comprehensive coverage is much more diverse. It covers damage caused by circumstances other than collision including fire, theft, vandalism, earthquake wind, rain, explosions and many others. And while all these perils can be a very common cause for car damage it is a sound idea to get comprehensive coverage. Remember you should better take your time and read the contents of the policy in order to understand what’s included and what’s not. Otherwise you risk being uninsured in a situation you will need the coverage.

Special peril coverage

Always look for pecialized coverage designed particular situations. For example, your area is largely affected by tornadoes and the local auto insurance companies do not offer tornado coverage as part of comprehensive coverage. This means that you will have to buy tornado coverage separately. The situations which may require specialized coverage vary from area to area and you’ll have to buy the one that is relevant to your needs. Make sure to keep the coverage as relevant to your needs as possible tp get an insurance policy to be both adequate and affordable.

The distrcted-driver problem and auto insurance

As to the data of the opinion polls, more than half the drivers in America are angry they have to share the roads with drivers who text while they should be watching the road. Unfortunately, this anger dos not translate into effective action to get control of the problem. Yes, there are distracted-driver laws coming on to statute books across America but, so far, there’s little enthusiasm in the law enforcement community for enforcing them. For example, the maximum fine for texting while driving in Oregon is $142. The problem for the police is whether they should increase the number of vehicles on patrol. It might be better if these were unmarked and equipped with cameras providing clear evidence the offense was committed. So, at a time when state and city budgets are under pressure, is harassing texting drivers a high priority, or should the increasingly limited resources be dedicated to responding to reports of violent incidents?

When it comes to budgets, law enforcement becomes a difficult topic. The Republican Party is generally supportive of policing strategies that improve public safety through zero-tolerance plans to lock up repeat offenders. This focuses attention on the cost of maintaining the prison service and a fast-response approach to picking up people involved in violent incidents. Given many senior law positions are elected, the police chiefs do not want to be seen upsetting the electorate, most of whom drive. This leads to low priorities in identifying drivers without insurance or a valid driving license, and even lower priority to catching those driving without wearing seat belts or while talking on their cells, texting, and so on. These are considered a “natural” part of driving and most officers turn a blind eye to offenses.

This is frustrating because the evidence of falling safety standards due to distraction is just as clear as the injury reductions when seat belt laws are properly enforced. In part, this more casual approach to safety is due to the enhanced design of modern vehicles. Drivers and passengers feel more safe so they care less about driving while distracted. Ironically, the people who care the most are the auto insurance companies. They are seeing the number of claims rise and it’s all down to the negligence of their drivers. That’s why there are some interesting new proposals on offer.

What about auto insurance quotes and discounts?

For teen drivers, some insurers are offering discounts if there’s a camera fitted inside the vehicle showing a continuous record of driver behavior. With both parents and insurers allowed to view in real time, this allows enforcement of simple rules like no texting, no distracting passengers in the back seat, and so on. If the rules are broken, the driving privileges can be withdrawn. The evidence now emerging from these insurer initiatives is encouraging with the general standard of driving improving. So, when you are getting the next round of car insurance quotes, remember to check out what discounts are on offer if you allow technology to be fitted to your vehicles to monitor the way they are driven. Keep thinking, auto insurance quotes, discounts and safer driving for all. That’s worth sacrificing a little of your privacy.