February 15, 2015 |
Lou Franzini is a patient but persistent man. For most of the last year, the 64-year-old retired banker from Exton has been trying to get the Affordable Care Act website to correct his online account to show that he had coverage in 2014. Yet no matter with whom he speaks or what proof he shows, the error remains. Franzini's proof of insurance is pretty solid: a paid hospital bill to the tune of roughly $500,000. That's what he estimates Independence Blue Cross doled out for his cancer care last year, less, of course, his monthly premium and $6,350 maximum out-of-pocket cost.
February 1, 2015 |
Last year, Jimmy and Angela Clark bought Independence Blue Cross' best-selling silver Proactive plan. For the first time in five years, the Germantown couple had health insurance. And they loved it. Having coverage was especially important to Jimmy Clark, 62, who needs blood tests every six months to track high cholesterol. He also needs a colonoscopy every three years - something that, until last year, he pretty much had to forgo. "I got back on [a plan], and colonoscopies are free," said Clark, who got a clean bill of health.
December 29, 2014 |
The words bold and premium have attained prominent places in autodom's marketing mantra. Wherever you turn, there's an emphasis on bold exteriors and premium interiors. At the moment, Toyota is running a big ad campaign that extols the bold persona of the new Camry. Nissan is underscoring for car writers the more premium nature of the new Murano crossover's cabin. Not to be outdone, Kia keyed on both qualities when it showed its redesigned 2016 Sorento crossover at a recent press introduction.
November 16, 2014 |
After five days of window-shopping, the Affordable Care Act marketplace went live Saturday for its second year, sporting a shorter application form and new players, plans, and premium rates. Competition for business is keener this year with UnitedHealthcare and Assurant Health joining ACA veterans Independence Blue Cross and Aetna in the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania marketplace. UnitedHealthcare also opened for business in New Jersey along with Oscar Health Insurance.
October 31, 2014
THIS YEAR, I'm celebrating 23 years of marriage. In addition to the joy of being wed to my best friend, our relationship has economically lifted my life and that of my nuclear and extended family. Being married has netted results that neither of us could have dreamed of coming from low-income households. And so I readily embrace the findings of a new report that makes the case that the retreat from marriage - especially among lower-income Americans, and the resulting change in family structures - is a major factor contributing to the economic inequality in the U.S. It may seem old-fashioned, but marriage matters.
October 19, 2014 |
Deborah Fasoline quit smoking. The 57-year-old Bensalem truck driver had tried twice before to stop but failed. This time was different. This time she squashed her lifelong habit like a spent cigarette butt under foot. Fasoline says she has gone seven straight months without lighting up. That's one month more than the Affordable Care Act demands to expunge the up-to-50 percent tobacco surcharge on smokers' monthly premiums. So you can understand why Fasoline can't wait for the marketplace to reopen next month.
October 12, 2014 |
In June, Anthony Capone said he liked his AmeriHealth Medicare Advantage plan so much he persuaded his 89-year-old mother and aunt to make the switch. Things were going along fine until recently, when the Mount Laurel businessman's renewal notice arrived in the mail. He opened the package and was taken aback. His monthly premium had spiked to $62 a month, a $23 rise. Other fees - in-hospital co-pay (up to $175), Part D deductible ($25), and ambulance ($100) - have also risen.
July 25, 2014
YOU SAY you'd love premium seats for "The Book of Mormon," the Broadway smasheroo musical comedy that Tuesday begins a seven-week run at the Forrest Theater, but you simply can't swing (or justify) paying hundreds of dollars for a perch near the stage? Well, how does $27 sound? That's right, $27. Total. Heck, that's usually what you fork over for the laughably larcenous "fees" that are usually extorted from live entertainment consumers by ticketing agencies. And, no, they aren't counterfeit.
June 25, 2014 |
The Obama administration has given employers a reprieve from the mandate that they offer their workers insurance at low employee premiums or pay a penalty. The enforcement is postponed until 2016. But should the mandate ever come back? Even strong supporters of the Affordable Care Act are divided. David Blumenthal, of the Commonwealth Fund, says the mandate on employers is needed to compel them to honor their "shared responsibility" to pay their workers' premiums. Tim Jost, a professor at Washington and Lee University and a leading backer and interpreter of the complex ACA rules, says the mandate has too many adverse side effects and should be "repealed and replaced" by something else.
June 9, 2014 |
When it comes to health insurance, Anthony Capone considers himself "on top of this stuff. " So in 2013 when the Mount Laurel businessman turned 65, he pored over Medicare Advantage plans, even visiting a Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield store to talk details. He eventually bought a Horizon no-premium Medicare Advantage plan. He liked the policy so much he persuaded his then-89-year-old mother to ditch her plan and go with Horizon. So in the fall, Capone was primed to renew during open enrollment until he saw that his no-premium insurance had removed the "no. " The 2014 version of the plan came with a monthly premium of $153.70.