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708, 2020

The History of Medicare: An Origin Story

By |August 7th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Health insurance is a subject with a long history of debate in this country. The history of Medicare, in particular, is fraught with arguments and people on both sides of the political aisle have strong opinions. Read on to learn about the long history of Medicare and how the United States eventually reaches a (tenuous) agreement on the healthcare debate.

How Did We Get Medicare?

The Great Depression in the late 1920s and early 1930s revealed a gap in America’s health care. The need for health care is obvious, but experts argue on how to solve this problem even today. As unemployment skyrockets, people get more unwell. However, less Americans than ever have healthcare coverage. This is the first time the country considers healthcare as a national issue.

Truman Takes A Stand

In 1945, President Harry Truman proposes a national health insurance that he intends to cover the entire country. The proposal is for “health security for all, regardless of residence, station, or race – everywhere in the United States.”

When advocating for his legislation, Truman poses a question to the American people: “I put it to you, is it un-American to visit the sick, aid the afflicted or comfort the dying? I thought that was simple Christianity.”

Truman’s national healthcare plan has five goals.

  1. Look at the and attempt to solve the lack of healthcare professionals in certain communities.
  2. Improve and expand public health services.
  3. Put more money toward medical research and medical education.
  4. Reduce the cost of individuals’ medical care.
  5. Promote awareness of the economic impact of severe and chronic illnesses.

Ultimately, Truman emphasizes that health insurance coverage for America would shift from covering 33% of the national population to 90% of the population with his plan in place.

How Truman’s Plan Works

Truman’s intention to finance this plan works through monthly payments from Americans. Each person pays a certain amount of taxes and fees every month. His intention is to adjust the amount to fit what individuals can afford.

However, Republicans in Congress label this plan as “Communist”, a very unpopular label in the 1940s. After the general public buys into the label, it quickly falls through.

The Johnson Administration

After two decades of public and Congressional debate, President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Medicare Act of 1965. This act establishes Medicare, providing healthcare to U.S. citizens who are 65 years of age or older.

Johnson invites President Truman and his wife to the signing. At the time of the signing, Johnson recognizes Truman’s work, dubbing him the “real daddy of healthcare”.

The Obama Administration

President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010. The act further expands health insurance coverage for all Americans.

3107, 2020

Telemedicine: How It Works & The Benefits It Provides

By |July 31st, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

With the current pandemic still hindering the mobility of many Americans, it is no surprise that telemedicine is growing. For many people though, it is a brave new world that has a ton of question marks. This week we are exploring the wide world of telemedicine. Read on to learn what telemedicine is exactly and how it works to benefit patients.

What Is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is how medical professionals use technology to help maintain remote healthcare. This is an available option for certain appointments, but the growth of telemedicine is currently exponential. The growth is so exponential due to medical professionals attempts to uphold social distancing measures.

Obviously, there are limits to telemedicine, but it is beneficial in a variety of situations.

  • Diagnosis of medical issues that are fairly common or easy to self-identify.
  • Follow up appointments or chronic care appointments.
  • Prescription refill appointments
  • Urgent care triage, then directing them to a specialist, urgent care center, or an ER.

Teletherapy

In addition to helping with physical health, telemedicine also extends to mental health. Teletherapy is a viable option for many individuals. This is particularly effective for older adults or people with limited mobility. Those individuals have unique mental health problems that need attention. However, they are also less likely to have the ability to leave their house. Additionally, teletherapy is a great benefit to people who have other mental health conditions that leave them unmotivated or anxious to leave the house.

Benefits

Teletherapy has a wide range of benefits that are clearly displayed in feedback from both medical staff and patients.

Efficient

One of the top benefits of telemedicine is the increased efficiency it provides. Instead of patients driving to an office, filling out paperwork, and waiting around, they simply log onto their laptop or phone. It provides immediate and efficient communication between the doctor and patient.

It also increases efficiency for doctors. In the modern medical system in America it is not unusual for doctors to work at several different locations of the same healthcare provider. Telemedicine allows doctors to schedule patients who truly need to be seen.

Telemedicine even allows people with chronic health issues to consult multiple medical professionals at once. It allows doctors to collaborate and problem solve while also consulting their patient. This efficiency also increases quality of patient care.

Accessible

In addition to efficiency, telemedicine provides accessibility. Take, for example, an older couple. Both people take prescription medicines that occasionally need refills. However, neither of them drives. It is difficult on those individuals and their caregivers to load up and go to the office every month. On the other hand, telemedicine allows them to discuss what they need to with their doctor and get their prescriptions renewed from homes.

2407, 2020

COVID Prevention In Doctor’s Offices

By |July 24th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , , |0 Comments

COVID Prevention is everywhere, particularly in doctor’s offices. It is important for doctors to develop and plan and share it with patients. It is equally important for patients to adhere to these guidelines. This process reinforces the safety of both staff and patients. Read on to learn the common COVID prevention measures that doctor’s offices take.

Why Doctors Need To Have A Plan

Doctors need to have a plan for COVID prevention in order to stop their office from becoming an epicenter for COVID transmission. One of the things that makes COVID so difficult to fight is that it has a 14-day incubation period and some people are asymptomatic.

If a medical office has a plan in place, it prevents contacts and puts protections in place.

Office Space

It is unlikely that transmissions occur in the individual rooms where there is only a single patient and a medical provider. However, spaces with more people or people in close proximity are more likely culprits. This makes waiting rooms and tight hallways particularly treacherous. However, there are a few things that doctor’s offices do to reduce the risk.

First and foremost is to determine the flow of patients through the office. Avoid patients entering and exiting from the same door. Move them through the office in one direction and keep multiple patients from entering the hallway at once.

Other than the hallways, waiting rooms are where patients are most likely to expose one another. One way to avoid that is by spacing the seating in the waiting room. Guaranteeing that thy are six feet apart keeps people apart naturally.

Another solution to the situation is to remove people from the waiting room entirely. Many doctors are having their patients do paperwork digitally and wait in their cars. It is nearly impossible for COVID to transfer between people if they are never in the same room.

Patient Requirements

In addition to changes to their office, doctors ask patients to follow certain rules to ensure COVID prevention.

Firstly, patients need to wear a face mask. This is the top suggestion in the CDC guidelines for public spaces. Additionally, nearly every office scans their patients’ forehead in order to temperature check. The office often combines this temperature check with COVID screening paperwork. It ensures that patients do not have any symptoms of COVID at the time of their appointment.

Finally, most offices are saying that patients are not to have guests with them unless the patient is a minor or someone else who requires assistance.

Stay Knowledgeable

Above all, the best way to ensure COVID prevention is to stay as knowledgeable as possible. If doctors keep their staff and their patients aware of CDC guideline updates as well as aware of any state, county, or city COVID prevention efforts.

1407, 2020

Group Health Insurance: The Basics

By |July 14th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

Group health insurance is how many people in Florida get health insurance. It is one of the main types of insurance plans that many insurance agencies offer. This week we are covering the basics of group health insurance. Read on to learn what group health insurance is and the benefits it offers.

What Is Group Health Insurance?

Group health insurance is the type of insurance that people earn through their work. Businesses with one or more employees are eligible to purchase health insurance. It helps cover the cost of medical insurance for all of the people in the business.

How It Works

The group plans are purchased by the businesses and then they offer those plans to their employees. Most plans require at least 70% participation for validity. The health insurance premium is split between the organization and its’ members. Oftentimes, the members have the option to extend the coverage to their family as well.

The ACA & Group Health Insurance

The Affordable Care Act requires businesses to carry group health plans that meet a certain set of requirements. Specific plans (such as dental or vision) are not sufficient for ACA requirements. Employers must offer general health care in order to meet the ACA rules.

Small businesses (with less than 25 employees) who pay at least half of their employees’ premiums earn tax credits for that action. They are eligible for up to 50% back of the amount they paid in tax credits.

Florida Blue Group Insurance Options

Florida Blue offers a wide variety of plans for business owners in Florida. The goal of Florida Blue plans is to balance the cost of insurance properly to avoid taxing either the employees or the business too much.

BlueOptions

BlueOptions is a very flexible plan option with an ability to meet diverse needs. There are a variety of benefits and affordable premium options. This includes Health Savings Account (HSA)-compatible plans.

BlueCare

BlueCare offers predictable copayments. This is the best way to ley employees know their medical costs up-front.

BlueSelect

BlueSelect plans have a wide range of different plan options. The premiums are lower, alongside a community-focused network. This is specifically for keeping costs down.

What Florida Blue Plans Include

  • Preventative care services. This includes annual checkups as well as preventative screenings and tests.
  • Prescription drug coverage, both generic and name brand.
  • A website and app that allows employees to gain access to plan details. That includes coverage, health resources, and tools to save money on health costs.
1007, 2020

COVID Testing In The State Of Florida

By |July 10th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , , |0 Comments

One of the best ways to combat the spread of COVID is to do proper testing. However, many people are confused about testing procedures and where to seek testing. This week we are covering COVID testing procedures in various counties central Florida. Read on to learn COVID testing procedures in your county.

Before Getting A Test

  • Do not eat or drink anything two hours prior to the test. Water is acceptable. Avoid coffee in particular.
  • Avoid chewing gum for two hours beforehand as well.
  • Finally, do not take any non-prescription oral medication before the test.

State Of Florida

The state of Florida suggests getting tested if you have possibly been exposed to COVID. Monitor yourself for COVID symptoms, particularly the most common ones.

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever

Call the county health department or your doctor, and they will help determine where you need to go for testing. Look at the testing sites ahead of time to help determine which are closest to your home.

The only thing left to do at that point is to wait for results.

Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County currently requires residents to pre-register online or by phone at (888) 513-6321. All Hillsborough County testing centers are free and do not require an individual to have insurance.

There are six testing sites in the county, and one has extended evening and weekend hours. The best way to arrive at the testing center is in a vehicle. On the other hand, certain testing centers  do accommodate pedestrians. Every person receiving a test must have a photo ID with their name and date of birth. There is some additional information required.

  • Full name
  • Current address
  • Best contact information to reach you out
  • Confirmation code provided when scheduling the interview

Manatee County

Contact Manatee County at (941) 242-6649. There are three free testing sites in Manatee County. Two of the sites are walk-up and the third is drive-thru. Each testing location has a limited number of tests each day, so it is important to phone ahead or arrive early. There is no way for the county to guarantee testing.

There are also two paid testing centers for the county in combination with MCR health. The centers determine the price of testing once patients arrive and they look at the insurance.

Pasco County

The state has a list of testing centers available in Pasco County. There are 16 testing centers, one of which is a walk-up.

Pinellas County

Call the Department of Health – Pinellas at (727) 824-6900 to schedule an appointment. There are many other options for testing with different types of testing.

Polk County

View the state Department of Health list for available testing centers in Polk County. Call the department at (863) 519-7900 for more information.

2606, 2020

Health Insurance Stocks

By |June 26th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , |0 Comments

COVID-19 brought about massive changes to a lot of people. Also notable is the changes it brought to businesses. Due the declining business, many businesses have resorted to lay offs in order to stay afloat. One result of these layoffs is the loss decline of the employer sponsored health insurance plan. As unemployment rises, more and more people find themselves without health insurance. But what does this mean for the health insurance company stocks?

Unemployment

The COVID-19 shutdown began in the US on March 16. Many businesses that were not considered essential had to close their doors not knowing when they would reopen. And as the shutdowns were extended, businesses felt the squeeze. As the bills kept coming in without any revenue to offset them, they sadly had to resort to layoffs. 20.5 million people lost their jobs in April alone. That is 20.5 million people without an employer sponsored health insurance plan (ESP). Even more sadly is that not all these jobs will be recovered as states and businesses begin to reopen.

Medicaid

With all the ESPs lost recently, more and more people need programs like Medicaid to receive health insurance coverage when they need it most. Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides coverage to people who are low-income, pregnant, children, elderly, or have disabilities. Medicaid helps those eligible to afford the costs of health insurance and other medical costs. So while more and more people are losing their ESPs, enrollment in Medicaid enrollment is on the rise. This means that while other financial sectors are seeing their stocks plummet, the health insurance sector has not fallen nearly as rapidly. In some cases, they have barely fallen at all. And since COVID-19 is far from over, health insurance companies’ stocks are poised to recover faster than other sectors as well.

Final Thoughts

There is hope amidst this pandemic. What COVID-19 has taught us is that the American spirit is resilient. We as a nation will not be struck down for good.

The virus shut down our businesses, but we stood strong.

It collapsed our economy, but we stood strong.

In the face of fear and turmoil, death and disease, we have proven that we can stand strong.

We have seen our friends and neighbors struggle. But we have banded together to help one another. We have purchase groceries for those who cannot, care for those who are alone, supported each other in ways previously unimaginable, and push for financial assistance for those who need it most. Remember there are options out there even when it doesn’t seem like it. There are people willing to go the extra mile. There is health insurance coverage available outside of an employer. And there are programs in place to help you afford them.

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