How to save on your health-care costs

Health Care Costs
Affordable health insurance: How to save on your health-care costs

Health-care costs continue to rise, but there are things you can do to help make your health insurance more affordable.

With unemployment high and overall wealth down, it can be tempting to cut your health insurance in an effort to save money. Don’t. According to a recent study from Harvard University, 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies are due to medical expenses.

The good news is that there are a number of steps you can take to make your health insurance more affordable.

Shop around
Even if you have group health insurance through your employer, you may find an individual health insurance plan to be less expensive. Group plans provide a broad range of coverage because they are covering a diverse set of consumers. With an individual health insurance plan, you have more flexibility in selecting a plan that best fits your health-care needs.

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Featured Community: Camelot NA, Garland, TX

The Camelot neighborhood is comprised of nearly 1600 homes within the boundaries of Shiloh Road, Jupiter Road, Arapaho Road and Campbell Road in Garland, Texas.

The Camelot Neighborhood Association is a group of people who truly care about the neighborhood where they live.

CNA was formed in 1980 as the Camelot Homeowners Association. The Association’s name was changed to Camelot Neighborhood Association in April 1992, to encourage both homeowners and renters to join and become involved.

One of the first issues with which the Association was confronted was the lack of personnel to man the ambulance parked at the fire station that served and still serves this neighborhood (Station #6, located on Holford Road). The situation was discussed with City staff, and I believe that personnel was provided for the ambulance in the next budget year.

A later issue involved electric rates being paid by Camelot residents served by what was then Texas Utilities (TU Electric). At the conclusion of a presentation he was making concerning the reduction of electric bills, a TU representative pointed out that Camelot residents were paying Garland Power & Light (GP&L) rates, which were considerably higher than TU rates. It was learned that the paying of GP&L rates by Garland residents served by TU was the result of a state sanctioned agreement reached many years earlier between the City of Garland and TU. Getting state approval to permit those residents to pay TU rates turned out to be a many-month process. Then Garland Mayor Ruth Nicholson worked long and hard to bring about that approval.

Read More About: The Camelot Neighborhood Association in Garland, TX

Purchasing Individual Health Insurance: What To Know

Health Insurance
Purchasing Individual Health Insurance: What you need to know

Approximately 20 million Americans will be purchasing individual health insurance in 2010 thanks to lost jobs and benefit cuts. Learn more to find a plan that fits your health-care needs.

You can find individual insurance plans through a broker, one of the many online sites, or by going directly to an insurer. In all cases, you’ll need to do some research to ensure you select the best health-care coverage for you. Provisions of the health-care reform will help make this process easier in the future, but for now it’s up to you to carefully review your options.

It’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of health insurance before you begin comparing different individual insurance plans. Sites such as healthinsuranceinfo.net and healthcarecoach.com can provide you with a good knowledge base.

Individual health insurance plan options
Essentially there are three types of plan options for you to choose from: fee-for-service, HMOs, and PPOs.
  • With fee-for-service plans , the insurer will pay for part or all of your care according to the policy you purchase. You get to choose your doctor and medical facility. Fee-for-service plans are typically the most expensive option.
  • Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) require you to pay for your health care in advance through a monthly fee. Deductibles and copays are usually less expensive, but you must use a provider and clinic within the plan.
  • With prefered provider organiztions (PPOs) , you pay a deductible and copay (or coinsurance), but only when health care is received. You can utilize a network of providers and clinics for a discounted, negotiated rate. You can still see a doctor outside of your network, but it will cost more.

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What Is a Health Insurance Exchange?

Health Insurance Exchange
What Is a Health Insurance Exchange?

As part of the recent health-care reform bill, health insurance exchanges will become available in 2014. Learn what a health insurance exchange is, and how it might benefit you.

Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act
With the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 come many changes to the way health insurance is provided, purchased, and paid for. The Act will touch just about every American in one way or another at some point in time—some provisions of the bill are immediate and others take effect in the coming years. One of the changes that will take place in 2014 is also one of the most controversial: the requirement for citizens to purchase health insurance. To help accomplish this, health insurance exchanges will be established. But what is a health insurance exchange, who runs it, and who benefits from it?

Health Insurance Exchange Explained
The concept of health insurance exchanges isn’t new—two states (Utah and Massachusetts) already have them. But beginning January 1, 2014, all Americans will have access to an exchange. Health insurance exchanges are a place to comparison shop for private health insurance plans. Essentially, they are meant to be cooperatives that enable purchasers to band together, spread their risk pool, and have a choice of a variety of plans.

Exchanges do not offer their own health insurance plans, but instead review policies offered on the exchange to determine if they meet government standards and are “in the interest” of potential buyers. They do not set premiums, but can help keep costs low by removing plans from the exchange due to rate hikes.

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What Does Health Care Reform Mean For Me?

Health Care Reform
What Does Health Care Reform Mean For Me?

The passage of the recent health-care reform bill has left many Americans confused about how it will affect them. Learn what immediate changes of health-care reform could affect you.

Many Questions!
Will I loose my health insurance coverage through my employer? Will my insurance costs increase? Will the government dictate what type of health insurance policy I have?

These are just a few of the questions Americans have had since President Obama signed into law the $938 billion Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 on March 23. And after a year-long debate about reform and a bill that’s over 2,000 pages long, it’s no wonder people are confused.

So how will the new health-care reform bill affect you? As with any matter this complicated, it all depends—on your age, your income, and other factors. Following is a brief overview of some of the most-talked-about changes that could affect you in the immediate future.

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