If you do not have access to a group employer plan then the other option you have is to apply for individual health insurance plan. Individual health insurance application require more information from you then group health insurance plans that you might have had through job. The reason for that is that individual, and that applies to family health plans, are medically underwritten. That means that a person called medical underwriter will go over your medical application and decide if you are a good risk for the insurance company. The main reason for medical underwriting is to keep over all cost for every one low. The more insurance company has to pay out in claims the more they have to charge every one for health insurance to keep the average cost down.If you have already had a chance to take a look at individual application then you probably know that it can be long. How much of the application you have to fill out depends on your previous medical history. If you are in perfect health then there is not much that you can write on your application other then some basic information. If you are some one who has been to the doctors for lab work, test or takes prescription medication then you would have to include that on your application. Most individual application require you to provide information of your doctor or the last doctor you have been to. If you are not sure of the name of the doctor you can always include the hospital name, clinic name or doctors practice name. When it comes for the dates of your last doctor office visit or any other dates. If you do not remember exact dates, just put down your best estimate.The most important thing to keep in mind when filling out individual or family application, especially if you do have some medical issues, is to understand this. Until there is a permanent change to health care system and health insurance is not medically underwritten. Insurance company will consider every condition that you have and every medication that you take. The reason for that is that in most states in the US health insurance companies require to cover everything once you are approved. That means that all of your medical conditions and prescription drugs have to be cover by law once you have been approved for coverage. That is if you are approved. I hate to use this analogy because we a talking about human lives, but the simple way to explain health insurance is to compare it to car insurance. For example lets say you get in the minor car accident and you do not have car insurance. Your car is still drivable and it looks like you will need a new bumper and some paint. The next day you go out and purchase car insurance to cover your accident. Well we know it does not work like that. If you could just go out and get car insurance only after you had an accident then no one would pay for car insurance. Why pay if you can just get it after you had an accident. No one would pay for car insurance and car insurance companies would not exist. Then you would be fully responsible for all the damages out of your own pocket. I know I would rather pay that $100 a month just in case something does happen.Most people do not recognize that health insurance works in the same way. Health insurance companies are not going to approve some one who requires immediate medical assistance. That includes pending follow up visits to the doctor, recent surgery (after a surgery a lot of complications can arise), prescription drugs and anything that is known upfront that could potentially be covered expense. Insurance companies use a “actuarial tables” to underwrite individual applications. If based on what you have put down on the application could potentially cost insurance company money, chances are your application will not be approved.If health insurance companies automatically approved all the application then it would be the same scenario as with car insurance example, that no one would pay for health insurance. I know I would not, why pay for insurance if I can get it when I get sick. If no one would pay for insurance then there would no insurance companies to cover us for unforeseen large medical expenses. I am certainly not prepared to pay $400,000 or higher for medical emergency.Getting approved for health insurance could take some preparation. If you are currently taking prescription drugs, find out how to can slowly get off them. I am not a doctor and certainly would never tell anyone to not take drugs that were subscribed by their doctor. I think sometimes great health starts with us, with small daily choice we make. Take care of your body and it will take care of you. When completing application sometimes being too honest can cost you also. That does not mean lying. Going to chiropractor and writing on the application that you have had back pains and you will need to see a specialist. On top of that is that you have not has any health insurance previous is just way to suspicious. It looks like you are trying to get health insurance to get medical care for something that you do not want to pay yourself. Do not make it worse then it is and always phrase everything in the positive. Instead of you writing that you are having back pain, taking Advil and going to chiropractor. Phrase it that you went to chiropractor for maintenance just to realigning your back. I see a lot of people get declined for coverage even though they are in perfect health just because how and what they wrote on the application.Real people will be looking at your application if you are making it worse then it is or you are volunteering too much information then it is only your fault if you get declined. Your answers should be, everything is fine, just a check up, results were normal. Also before you know that you might be looking for health insurance do not go see your doctor until you do have coverage. If you go to the doctor and they find something “wrong” with you then bye, bye health insurance. Now you are stuck. When at the doctors office, again, be careful what you tell your doctor because it will end up in your medical records. When self diagnosing your self do not volunteer that information to your doctor, it is your doctors job to find if there is an issue. If you have been declined for health insurance there are options available to you so is having or not having health insurance. Having any health insurance plan is infinitely better then not having anything at all. It is a know fact that you will get a better treatment if the hospital knows that you have some way to pay for your medical care and that they are not just working for free taking care of you. The one and the most important thing that you can do is to take care of your health. Eat your broccoli.
You love art and want art – but don’t know where to start! As a first time collector, you want to make the right decision. When first starting a collection, it can be pretty intimidating to go into a gallery or speak to a dealer when you don’t know what kind of art you like. With the proliferation of the use of the Internet, it’s easier and easier to purchase art online. Traditionally, gallery dealers and art agents would have control over the art world making art a very inaccessible to the masses. That has all changed with the Internet and some amazing online sites to purchase art. One of my favourite sites to research and buy art online is Artsy when you don’t have a gallery, art dealer or art agent or consultant to help you.Artsy is a highly reputable site to find amazing artwork. It has over 300,000 artworks, architecture and design by close to 40,000 artists. Artsy has a wide range of artworks such as contemporary artwork all the way to the old masters. Artists include Damien Hirst, Gary Taxali, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mark Rothko, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Damian Ortega, Anish Kapoor and many others, The artwork is from leading galleries, museums and private collections. In fact, Artsty’s own mission is “to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. We are a resource for art collecting and education.” Artsy claims to be the largest online database of contemporary art. Further, Artsy has an “Artsy specialist” that can help you when deciding what to collect.When you first sign up for Artsy as a collector, they will ask you a series of questions to personalize your profile so that they can recommend artists to you. First, you will be asked the price range of artworks you are interested in: under $500, $2500, $5,000, $10,000, $25,000, $50,000, $100,00 and $100,00+.Second, you are then asked what category of artwork you are interested in: Contemporary Art, Photography, Old Masters, Graffiti/Street Art, Post-War American Art, Contemporary African Art, Latin American art, Contemporary Asian Art, Emerging Art, Design, Modern/Impressionist Art, Ancient Art and Artifacts. You can follow any of these categories to help Artsy help with recommendations.Artsy then suggests a few artists and artwork you like where you can mark your favourites. Based on your selections, the Artsy software then makes recommendations of artists you may enjoy following.For instance, since I said that I like graffiti/street art, Artsy recommended that I follow Blek Le Rat, Shepard Fairey, Ravi Zupa, Finok and Keith Haring – all artists which I love! Artsy all has great art news stories and features artists which also helps make it easier to decide on an artwork to safely purchase online.I highly recommend starting with Artsy to help you with your collection. Once you feel confident enough and learned about other artists, you can then venture out and go to galleries, art fairs and artists studios directly.
My name is John Ross and I have spent my entire 40 + year career in health care. Specifically, my background and experience is in developing and managing evidence planning, reimbursement applications, and health economics strategies for a number of fortune 500 health care technology businesses. In short, my job was to help the companies that I worked for to understand the health care market place from three important perspectives. The first was to answer the question; “What can we expect to be paid for the medical technologies we are developing and planning to market? The second question; “will the results and/or lower costs associated with the use of these medical technologies justify the payment level we think they deserve? Finally, what product development, marketing and sales strategies do we need to employ to insure that our future medical technologies are quickly accepted by hospitals, physicians, payers and patients? Obviously with such a focus I had to deal with Medicare (health insurance for folks over age 65 and the disabled), Medicaid (state-run insurance programs for the less fortunate) and commercial health insurance companies (the companies that insure and administer employer-based health insurance plans). I also spent a lot of time assessing the needs of physicians, hospitals and large integrated health care delivery networks that purchase and use a wide array of medical technologies.From a funding standpoint I have seen America’s health care system go from almost “anything goes” to today’s increasing focus on cost and outcomes. Outcomes, is just another way of asking the question; “for the dollars we are spending nationally or on a particular patient’s disease or injury are we getting a good value in return? In other words, is the price of the drug, medical device, procedure, diagnostic or surgical intervention worth the cost in terms of better results and lower costs compared to how we would traditionally manage this patient’s condition?This blog is a forum for talking “honestly” about:1. Where health care in America is going?2. Why it is going there?3. What can we expect from tomorrow’s health care system compared to what we have become used to?4. What we can do to the best of our ability to use less of it (think preventive health strategies)?5. How we should think about and help those unfortunate individuals, young and old, who need more of it than we do?6. How can we help to make sure those who need health care get access to good health care when they need it?7. What can we do to increase the chances that state of the art health care will be there when we need it and at a price we can afford?I will also provide education as to how the health care system works from the various perspectives of the stakeholders. It is vital that we understand these perspectives, what drives them and the many conflicts that exist. Areas to cover will be:1. What is happening to hospitals and physicians in this changing health care landscape?2. What is happening to the development of innovative future medical technologies and pharmaceuticals?3. Where is Medicare policy going with regard to payments to physicians and hospitals and other care settings?4. What is the future of employer-sponsored health insurance plans?5. Where is changing with regard to private health care insurance companies?6. What will happen to patient costs?7. What can I do to avoid premature, unnecessary or unproven health care interventions?8. What role will “evidence and data” play in the future in giving us more information from which to make personal or family member health care decisions?I would like this to be the place that you can visit when you hear politicians or anyone else for that matter promising something from health care that just doesn’t make sense. We all know the feeling we get when we hear an “it’s too good to be true” story. When we hear such fantastic promises, we better check it out and this will be a place where you can do that. So, bring your concerns and questions and I will do my best to help you to check them out!Have you heard this one; “under my health plan, you need not to worry. Your costs will remain reasonable, you can keep your doctor and you will have access to state of the art health care”. Or, “it is every ones right to access the very best in health care, young and old, rich and poor no matter your ability to pay.” This would be nice but it is simply not reality and it is time that we talk about these things and deal with them with our rose-colored glasses removed. So, no matter what your point of view on this subject I encourage you to visit ask and comment. We need a grass-roots effort aimed at understanding health care and in particular we need to talk about its funding limits and what we can do to assure that those who need it – get it, and at a level of quality and at a manageable cost such that we can afford it as a nation. If we don’t do this it is highly likely that health care as we have known it America will not be available when we face our own or a family members serious and costly illness.The fundamental flaw in our individual approach to health care is the notion that we have no responsibility for it except to expect it to be there, with no delay, and at state of the art levels of care. And that for the most part it should be paid for by someone else. Most politicians right now are not leveling with us. They don’t want to address the areas that I have addressed even in this my first edition health care blog. Well, I think that we are better than that! I think with the right information we can manage through the changes that are coming. We want to do the right thing but to do so we have to be informed as to how stretched the health care system is and what we can do to unburden this precious resource.First, we can stretch health care dollars and resources by taking better care of ourselves. The goal is to do what “we” can do in terms of learning about and practicing preventive disease strategies, thereby reducing the amount and cost of health care interventions we need. By behaving this way we free up our local health care systems funding and limited physical capacity to treat those who are truly in need. Every one of us that invests in preventive disease strategies will find that the beneficiary is you, your family, and your finances. Pretty tangible benefits wouldn’t you say? Perhaps bigger than that is what this behavior and better health for yourself and the avoidance of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, pulmonary (breathing) conditions, diabetes and a host of other conditions can do to unburden the nation’s health care system. We need to preserve it, both in terms of resources and dollars, for those who are less fortunate and have to access the system for serious health problems. How good would that feel?Some would say that America is a scary place to be these days. The events of 9/11, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, continued threats from terrorism, the housing and subsequent financial meltdowns, the political infighting that gets us nowhere, and yes the health care crisis. These all create the tendency to make us want to “wring our hands” instead of “wringing the necks of politicians” that refuse to provide the leadership that we need.I have come to a conclusion. I have seen enough to know that the leadership we need has to come from us, the individuals who make up the electorate. Waiting around for politicians to act means we don’t understand the world of politics. Politicians only move in one direction or another when an exercised and voting electorate (that’s us) frames the issues and leads the way to a solution. It is almost never the other way around.Bringing it back to health care and the question of what one individual can do to improve things, it starts with one individual and another until we have millions pulling in the same direction. If we manage our health to the best of our ability (and I want to emphasize, truly to the best of our ability) and access the health care system only when we need it, paying a little more out-of-pocket for the incidental and non-life threatening ills and spills we all experience, the system could accommodate us all when we really need it.So there it is in a nut shell – I have spelled out what I believe is our responsibility; that if we all pulled in the same direction as described above (think of disease prevention and what this can do for you and those who do need to access the health care system) we would dramatically and permanently free up this precious and finite resource and it would be there for others in need and, when we need it and in most cases at far less cost. We are all in this together folks, rich and poor, the older among us and the younger and if we just act responsibly and for the good of others in this matter, we would solve the problem. And then, we could work on the next challenge and the next one after that until we see clearly the power of teamwork – “all for one and one for all”. That kind of thinking and behavior can work wonders. We all know it deep down – so let’s just do it!Look for a weekly newsletter and articles that will deal with everything about health care in America. Look for weekly newsletters that discuss changes coming to employer sponsored health care benefits, changes coming to Medicare and Medicaid plans, new technologies that should be of interest, and articles and commentary with regard to state and national healthcare policies as they develop in the months and years to come. Any kind of question you have about health care I can help to point you to resources that will answer these questions. The specifics about your employer sponsored insurance plan, Medicare, Medicaid and how you can incorporate disease prevention strategies into your life with their big benefits. Ask away and if I don’t know or can’t find the answer, maybe one of this blogs participant’s will know. We are all in this together and as long as we believe that and look out for each other – everything will be alright!