Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Morning News

The medical loss ratio rules allow states to apply for exemptions, at least in the short term, if they feel that the rules would destabilize the insurance market in their state. They're also one of the best ways to make sure consumers are getting bang for their buck -- the medical loss ratio is the percentage of each premium dollar that goes to pay for health care, so the higher that is, the less insurers are spending on administrative costs. Small insurers say this will put them out of business, and in some states where only a few insurers dominate the market, that could be a problem. However, the more waivers are granted, the fewer teeth the law really has. How to strike the right balance. (And by the way, I'm 71 pages into the 308 pages of MLR regulations so I'm not ready to say what I think yet, except I like what I'm reading a lot.)

And in a mess only the Congress of the United States could make, the Senate is failing to fix a really concerning provision of the health reform law. To raise some revenue to pay for the bill, Congress said that businesses have to file a form 1099 for every vendor to whom they pay more than $600. Right now, that rule only applies to services rendered. Now, it would apply to the office supply store, the printer -- every transaction over $600. As a small business owner, this makes me cringe. So if the Republicans hate health reform, why won't they agree to get rid of this? Because it will make people hate health reform even more come tax time. But in good news, it looks like the food safety bill will be passed today.

This is a really nice article about a doctor who treats chronic kidney disease and suffers with diabetes, so he gets what it means to live with chronic illness.

Flu shot or supplement or both to ward off the flu?

An entirely different type of health insurance, value based insurance. If it's valuable to your health, you pay more.

The use of CT scans is booming in emergency rooms -- increasing costs, and not necessarily making a difference in health care.

An increase in eating disorders in kids? Really?

California seven largest health plans are fined for not paying claims.

Do you take enough Vitamin D? Too much? I am a firm believer in the link between my Crohn's disease and vitamin D. I take a ton of it an can barely maintain low normal readings. If you have an autoimmune disease, have you looked into it?

Do you have a mini-med insurance plan? Is a plan that provides a very small benefit every year -- under $10,000 -- worth having, or does it cause a false sense of security?

Do your legs ache when you walk? You may have peripheral artery disease, and it needs to be taken seriously.

Here's to your health! Jennifer

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