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Health insurance agents in St. Louis are needed more than ever!

Thursday, November 04, 2010
Add this to the "unintended consequences" of the new healthcare law:  health insurance agents in St Louis and around the country are getting squeezed out by the federal government.  Thank goodness I am one of the health insurance agents in town that will be around for awhile but not so with many smaller St. Louis agencies who are reeling under the ill effects of health insurance reform. That's a shame because even though I compete with them, we all have the same mission: to lower the cost of health insurance for all our health insurance clients in the St. Louis area.

Ironically our services are needed now more than ever because of all the bewildering changes in the health insurance reform law. People are understandably confused about their options in this new health insurance landscape and a knowledgeable, licensed health insurance agent in St. Louis is their best option to navigate those choppy waters. Health insurance agents in St. Louis and around the country should band together to fight for our profession in the face of overbearing governmental pressure.

Big Companies and Unions getting waivers from New Healthcare Law

Wednesday, November 03, 2010
The unintended consequences of the new health care law keep piling up... about 30 large corporations including McDonald's, and at least two unions, like the United Federation of Teachers, threatened to either raise premiums or drop health insurance  coverage altogether for their workers if they had to comply with it.  So what did the government do?  Exempted them from the new law, that's what! 

It's just another example of the hard truth that the new health care law does nothing to control health care costs and in fact will increase them. Read this article in USA Today to learn more.

Health and Human Services to allow insurers to raise rates

Thursday, October 14, 2010
Looks like the Feds will have to allow major insurance companies to raise rates for kids with pre-existing conditions. That's because the insurance companies had simply dropped their child-only insurance policies in response to the new health care law's mandate to accept all children at any time, no matter what their health condition. Raising rates will allow insurance companies to recoup at least some of the money they spend on sick children, so they can continue to offer insurance to all children.

In addition, Health and Human Services is also pushing for "open enrollment periods."  This is also at the request of the insurance industry, which correctly pointed out the absurdity of  "insuring" kids who are already in the hospital.  Click here for the latest changes to Obamacare, as reported in the New York Times.

Why Health Insurance Companies are not the Villains

Monday, September 27, 2010
A simple fact has been lost in this entire debate over the new health care law: At 3.4 %, the health insurance industry is #87 on a list of industries ranked in order of their profit margins.  The #1 most profitable industry?  Beverages, at 25.9%! Coming in third at 24.6% are healthcare REITs -- essentially landlords for hospitals.

Yet it's health insurance companies which have been singled out as the "problem" with insurance affordability in this country!   Read this U.S. News & World Report article entitled: "Why Health Insurers Make Lousy Villains" and share it with your friends.

First wave of healthcare reforms launch today

Thursday, September 23, 2010
The first wave of reforms under the new health insurance law take effect today, six months after the bill was signed by President Obama. While some changes - like kids staying on their parents' plan until 26 and free wellness visits - may indeed be worthwhile and not raise your premiums much, other reforms will either raise your rates significantly or lead to insurers simply dropping coverage.

The most notable example of that so far is the new stipulation that health insurance companies cover children with pre-existing conditions. As far as I know, most major health insurance companies in Missouri have dropped "child-only" policies because of the new law. (They will still insure kids if Mom and Dad are already customers or will become customers.) Why? The insurance companies will lose money or risk bankruptcy if they "insure" kids who are already seriously ill. After all, that's not insurance any more - it's charity. So simply mandating coverage through the force of law doesn't mean the health insurance companies will comply.  As we have seen, many will just drop that type of coverage.

Many of the media stories on this subject today either downplay the dropping of child-only policies or ignore it altogether, like this New York Times article.

New Law predicted to raise healthcare costs

Friday, September 10, 2010
The new health care law was billed as a way to lower total health care costs in this country over time. Now the government is telling us the opposite is true - total health care spending will actually rise by 2019, as this article points out.  Now, granted, the increase is small - just $265 per American per year - but the trend is ominous.  After all, what will the estimate be next year!?

Only a few dip their toe in Missouri's new high-risk pool

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

When the new health care law was passed earlier this year, much was made about new high-risk health insurance pools, run by individual states, which would offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.  Missouri's plan launched in July but so far it has received just 70 applications and approved 47. That's out of almost 170,000 Missourians who are eligible for the high-risk pool.

Why the low-turnout?  Program officials say they haven't started the "outreach" yet.  Don't you think they should have started to spread the word before the program launched?!  Read more about the Missouri high-risk health insurance pool here.