Pages Navigation Menu

New Insurance Option in Illinois

One big piece of health insurance reform is now in place in Illinois: a new high-risk insurance pool for Illinoisans who are otherwise uninsurable. The new plan goes by the sub-euphonious moniker, Illinois Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, or IPXP. We can’t fathom why the program’s acronym isn’t IPCIP, or even IPXCP, but who are we to question the wisdom of government bureaucrats? EIEIO. Anyway, to qualify for IPXP a person has to have been uninsured for at least six months, have a pre-existing condition, be a U.S. citizen or legal resident, and be unable to obtain health insurance from any other source. The premiums are considerably lower than Illinois’s other high-risk insurance pool, ICHIP. But unfortunately folks currently enrolled in ICHIP are not eligible for IPXP — which is a bit like being barred from buying a cheaper toaster...

Read More

Wrapping Our Brains Around Health Care Reform

Quick! According to the new, massive health care reform law, when must employers begin to report the value of employees’ health insurance benefits on their W-2s? When will Health and Human Services establish a process to review unreasonable insurance premium increases? When must insurance companies start selling individual insurance policies to anyone, regardless of pres-existing condition? If you know the answers to any of these questions, you are a bigger wonk than us. But if you’d like a concise timeline for the implementation of the various aspects of health care reform, click on this lovely link and read to your wonky heart’s...

Read More

More Health Insurance Reform Specifics

Yesterday’s Chicago Tribune featured an interesting interview with Michael McRaith, director of the Illinois Department of Insurance, about the effects of the new health insurance laws on Illinoisans. Here’s something McRaith said that jumped out out at us: “Effective immediately, the secretary of (the U.S. Department of) Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the states, has authority to review and challenge unreasonable health insurance rate increases. Right now, insurance companies report premium increases in the individual market, but we (in Illinois) do not have the authority to approve or deny rate changes. In the small-employer market, we don’t even get informed of rate increases or premiums charged. We will establish a protocol (for reporting data) as soon as possible. … It is absolutely certain that if there is an unreasonable rate increase, we will examine that and we...

Read More

President Obama signed health insurance reform into law just a few minutes ago. Here are some important highlights from the new law. Effective in 2010: Employment-based and individual insurance policies will have to end pre-exisiting condition exclusions for children. Individual and group plans will not be able to rescind coverage except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation. Policies can have annual caps on benefits only if allowed by the secretary of Health and Human Services. Children up to age 26 can stay on their parents insurance (yeah, yeah, we know that 26-year-olds aren’t children, but you get the point). Small employers (under 25 employees, average salary under $50,000) who offer insurance get a tax credit. A new national high-risk insurance pool will be available to people with pre-existing medical conditions who have been uninsured for at least six...

Read More

More COBRA Help

Perhaps you recall that last spring President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which among other things provides a 65% subsidy for COBRA premiums for those who become COBRA eligible between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009. If you don’t recall this momentous event, then clearly you have not been reading our blog regularly, like all good people should, since we blogged about it back then. We even included a link to the IRS regulations that govern the program. Gosh, we are marvelous, not to mention thorough. Well, now there’s news that the program will be extended to February 28, 2010. The extension is included as part of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which the President signed into law on December 19. Here’s an important thing to know about this extension: your COBRA coverage doesn’t...

Read More

Health Care Reform? How About Health INSURANCE Reform?

A recent case out of South Carolina’s Supreme Court gives a glimpse of just how unfair, unreasonable and downright cold-hearted at least one insurance company can be when dealing with a person with HIV. Here’s what happened, according the court’s ruling. On May 15, 2001, Jerome Mitchell, Jr. of Florence, South Carolina, applied for health insurance through Fortis Insurance Company. Jerome was 17 years old at the time and no longer covered under his mother’s health insurance policy. The application for the insurance included a health questionnaire. Among other things the application asked if he had been diagnosed or treated “for any immune deficiency disorder by a member of the medical profession.” Jerome answered “no.” A little over a year later Jerome donated blood, and on May 13, 2002 he received a letter from the Red Cross informing him...

Read More