During my final weeks of college, I was too busy cramming for exams, writing endless papers, enjoying the spring weather, oh yes, and searching for a job to worry about my health insurance. But my parents were certainly worrying about it, and I should have been too.
Imagine this: You've been a hard-working employee for years. Then, all of a sudden, your company goes under. Now you have to say goodbye to your salary-and your health insurance. It could happen to anyone. So what do you do now?
One option is to find a new job that provides health care benefits, but thanks to the recession, that's easier said than done. Another option is to find insurance through the private individual market-but as many Americans have found out, it's a jungle out there.
While most of the health reform debate has focused on expanding coverage, eliminating pre-existing conditions exclusions, or reducing costs, there are myriad ways that health reform will also improve the quality of your care. It will do this through rewarding quality of care over quantity, promoting better information-sharing, and investing in preventive care.
The health reform debate produced a lot of misinformation about how the health reform bill would change Medicare. Much of it focused on false claims of cuts to benefits, the infamous death panels, or hurting granny. Now that the reform bill has been signed by President Obama, it's time to set the record straight on how reform will really affect Medicare and its beneficiaries.
In the last few months, we have seen insurance companies from across the country announce drastic increases in their premium rates. A February report from the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius revealed that rate increases ranged from 24 percent in Connecticut and 39 percent in California to 56 percent in Michigan.
For those of us not lucky enough to be insured by our employers, having to face the daunting task of navigating the private insurance market can cause heart palpitations. The current insurance market is confusing and overwhelming; there is no one state or federal entity that regulates all markets nor is there much regulation on what information insurers must provide to consumers. Therefore it is often difficult for consumers to know what exactly they are getting under each plan, until it's too late.
A common misconception about health insurance is that if you are covered, you don't have to worry about skyrocketing health care costs. We pay insurance companies premiums every month so we won't have to shell out tons of money when we get sick, right? In theory that's true, but in practice it doesn't always work out that way.
Small businesses fuel the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, small businesses are struggling due to the financial burden of providing health care for their employees during tough economic times. But with health reform, some of this financial burden will be lifted, and employers will be able to help their employees get the care they need.
The passage of health reform will provide immediate and long-term help for businesses. So, as many business owners would say: Let's talk about the numbers.
Insurance company abuses have been a central part of the debate on health reform-they represent some of the worst parts of our current health care system. The policy to drop people from coverage when they get sick or even to retroactively revoke their coverage, called rescission, is especially troublesome and goes against the very nature of health insurance.
Andrew Ondrejcak, 24, was attempting to live out his dream. He moved from a small town to New York City to start a career in fashion. To make ends-meet, Andrew worked at a local bakery. He could barely afford rent and health insurance was out of the question.