The nation is abuzz with talk of the proposed healthcare bill, which may be signed into place in 2009 – and may be signed as soon as Christmas Eve. As it stands now, the proposed bill will cost the nation at least $871 billion and change the way Americans receive and pay for their healthcare. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the proposed national healthcare bill will ensure health insurance for an additional 31 million Americans while, simultaneously, cutting the federal deficit by a whopping $132 by 2019.
According to the most current draft of the healthcare reform bill, every American will be required to buy health insurance. However, Medicaid programs will also be expanded to provide more healthcare coverage to the poor. Moderate income individuals will receive a federal subsidy to help them afford health insurance or health care.
For Florida residents, this means that health insurance rolls in the state will increase by 2.4 million by 2019. Additionally, nearly one million Florida seniors will be blocked from the proposed budget cuts to the popular Medicare Advantage program. But that’s not all – health care providers and recipients will be affected by the proposed national health care bill in many more ways.
The impact of the proposed health care bill on Florida residents and health care providers
In addition to the new mandate that all Florida residents will have to have health insurance or another form of health care coverage (such as federally subsidized coverage), many Florida residents can expect their healthcare expenses to increase in response to the passage of the health care bill.
While the proposed cosmetic surgery tax was eliminated from the bill, there is a new ten percent tax on indoor tanning services. From this ten percent tax alone, the government expects to raise about $2.7 billion over the next decade. While the government stands to benefit from the increase revenue, tanning salons may be hard-pressed to maintain their businesses. “This is really going to be tough for these businesses – they’re already struggling,” said John Overstreet, executive director of the Indoor Tanning Association.
Additionally, individuals making more than $200,000 per year and families making more than $250,000 will have to pay a 2.35 percent tax for Medicare. This figure represents a 0.9 percent tax increase for these high-earners.
However, Florida Senator Bill Nelson was able to secure an amendment to the health care bill that would protect about 800,000 Medicare Advantage policy holders from cuts to Medicare Advantage plans. While existing Medicare Advantage participants will be grandfathered in, new Medicare beneficiaries will have to deal with the program cuts.
The good news for many Florida residents is that Florida community health centers will receive an additional $10 billion in the most current version of the bill.
Additionally, the proposed five percent tax on elective cosmetic procedures was also eliminated from the most current version of the health care bill. That’s good news for health care providers offering elective procedures said Dr. Kent V. Hasen, a board-certified area plastic surgeon. “In general, cosmetic surgeries are down 30 to 40 percent because of the recession. You tack that on and it will be the death knell for the practices.” That five percent tax would, however, have generated about $6 billion in taxes.
The proposed health care bill has been hotly debated in the Senate since November and is expected to be signed into action as soon as Christmas Eve of this year. Once the bill is in place, Americans will want to reevaluate their current health insurance plans, as the bill proposes many changes to the health care and health insurance industries that will affect every American in some regard.
When evaluating their health insurance plans and health care needs, many individuals will find it beneficial to speak with a qualified health insurance advisor for specific information about which health insurance plans suit their unique needs, budgets, and lifestyles – especially in light of the many changes that will soon take effect.
When your child, ages 0 to 18, needs medical coverage and you live in Florida, the Charlie Crist program, KidsCare, is a tailor-made health care program just for your family. With one of the health insurance options made possible by this program, you, the parent or guardian, can have peace of mind that your child is going to be covered if a medical emergency arises or when their well child checkups are due. There is the option for families who make over the median income to buy a reduced cost health insurance as well as plans for families who are low income that include reduced prices of 15 or 20 dollar a month plans and completely free plans.
With the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, the Agency for Healthcare Administration, the Department of Children and family and the Department of Health a great team has been built to ensure that all uninsured children will be well cared for. All you have to do as a parent or guardian is apply to the Charlie Crist program by way of KidsCare. This program has multiple extensions that gives individualized care to the special children they cover. These extensions are Children’s Medical Services Network (children with special needs 0 to 18 years old), Healthy Kids (children 5 to 18 years old), MediKids (children 1 to 4 years old) and Medicaid (children 0 to18 years old). Your child will be placed with correct care extension after you apply to the program.
All of the departments and administrations involved in the Charlie Crist program have specific purposes and care for specific needs of the program. This can range anywhere from assisting families with children who have special health concerns to low income families who need complete coverage to managing the money and customer service centers or even working closely with the federal government to ensure that all the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted.
Overall, the Charlie Crist program is there to make life better for all who live in Florida. It is available to make sure that no matter if a child is at school, at home or playing little league baseball they will be covered if and when an emergency or accident happens. Health insurance for all children is the goal of this Florida healthcare program. As always, make sure that you research all of the details before agreeing to any contract or program.
According to a report released recently, approximately 4,000 of Florida’s sickest uninsured residents have enrolled and started receiving benefits in the new health insurance program of the federal government.
What Is This Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan All About?
Nationwide, approximately 49,000 people are enjoying the benefits of this new health insurance program sponsored by the federal government. This new health insurance program was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to help people who have been without any form of health insurance coverage for at least six months or have been denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. This federal health insurance program is called the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan or PCIP for short.
This is a temporary program created to give assistance to people with health problems. It allows them to get the health coverage they deserve while they wait for the full implementation of the health care reform law in 2014. Beginning in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to charge higher rates or deny a person health coverage due to a pre-existing condition as mandated by law. People with pre-existing conditions can also join the state-based health insurance exchange for individuals and small businesses to get affordable Florida health insurance premiums.
The health care reform act gave the states the authority to create their own pre-existing condition plans. However, since Florida and 22 other states did not establish their own PCIP, these states are now part of a federal plan. The PCIP program was allotted $5 billion in federal funds. But, this is not enough so individuals will still have to pay hefty premiums.
What Florida Health Insurance PCIP Means For Those Who Joined The Federal Program?
For some people who enrolled in a PCIP plan like Kathleen Watson, 50, who runs a small medical transport business in Lake City, the plan meant that she now got “excellent insurance.” After her husband became disabled in 2004, she lost her health care coverage because she could not stay under her husband’s employer-provided Florida health plan. She couldn’t get any individual Florida healthcare policy because she has a series of health problem that includes non-Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). Watson said she attempted to pay off her medical bills. However, this only resulted in their finances hitting rock-bottom.
It is common for Florida insurance companies to reject the application of people with medical problems. Because of the fact they pose a greater financial risk.
When the PCIP program started two years ago, she couldn’t afford to pay the $700-plus monthly premiums that come along with it. Fortunately, the federal government cut premiums by 50 percent last year. That was the reason why she was able to afford it. In July, she paid $363 per month for her PCIP that allowed her to get the medical treatments she needed and couldn’t have afforded on her own.
As of December 31, 2011 in Florida, 3,736 people are covered by this plan. This number represents less than one-tenth of the one percent of the 3.8 million uninsured residents in Florida. According to Steve Larsen, a deputy administrator with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, he said that the national participation of uninsured Americans in the PCIP program increased by 400 percent from the first to the second year. He is expecting that numbers will keep on rising.
Aside from the monthly premium paid by Watson, she also has to pay an in-network $1,000 deductible for medical services, another $500 deductible for preferred list prescriptions and a $750 deductible for prescriptions that are not included on the list.
She also must pay a co-insurance charge of 20 percent for most in-network healthcare costs. In order for her Florida health insurance PCIP to cover all in-network costs, she needs to spend an out-of-pocket cost of $4,000. For out-of-network providers, she has a $1,500 deductible and maximum $7,000 out-of-pocket.
Unlike other Florida health insurance plans, the PCIP does not have a waiting period to get treatment. This is how the new health program helped people with medical issues get their much needed healthcare.
Residents of Florida can choose from many Health Insurance Plans in Florida to get the right coverage for their individual or family needs, and several of these providers are making news with innovative programs to help their members.
Aetna and Anthem Offer Mail-order Prescription Medications
Two the largest providers of Health Insurance for Florida — Aetna and Anthem — are offering at-home delivery for many of the most popular medications, including maintenance medications that are used to treat diabetes and heart disease. Their members can receive 30-, 60-, and 90-day prescriptions for many commonly used medications.
Members who enroll in mail-order prescription programs may also receive a discount for the first time they fill a prescription. Many programs offer additional coupons, free shipping, and other perks to make filling prescriptions affordable and convenient. Some programs even offer reminders when it’s time to refill a prescription.
Anthem Offers Members Full Coverage for H1N1 Vaccination
As a major provider of Florida Health Insurance Plans, Anthem is providing full coverage for H1N1 vaccination for its members. On its Website, Anthem has stated that it is offering the no-cost vaccination coverage to support public health agencies, including the Center for Disease Control, in efforts to stop the spread of H1N1.
Anthem members can receive the vaccination by injection, or nasal spray. To make the cost of vaccination free to members, Anthem is waiving any coinsurance, co-pays, and deductible associated with the vaccination, including a doctor’s office co-pay. To receive the free vaccination, members must obtain it from a participating provider.
Anthem is also offering fully-insured members low-cost flu-related treatments, such as Relenza and Tamiflu.
Anthem Partners with WebMD to Offer Online Health Assessment
In addition, Anthem has also partnered with a leading online resource for health-related information — WebMD — to provide members with helpful health assessment tools through the MyHealth Anthem online portal.
These tools are interactive to help members assess their overall health with a blood alcohol estimator, body fat calculator, body mass index calculator, ideal weight calculator, interactive personal trainer, nutrition toolbox, sleep disorder assessment tool, smoking cost calculator, and target heart rate calculator. The online tools are designed to help members understand their current health, and take steps to improve their own well being.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Launches Physician Recognition Program
Leading Florida Health Insurance provider — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida — has launched a program to recognize high-quality healthcare providers in Florida. Their Recognizing Physician Excellence program rewards physicians who deliver high-quality care, and service to patients.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida has opened the program up to many different healthcare providers, including family practice, general practice, geriatrics, gynecology, internal medicine, obstetrics, and pediatrics physicians who participate in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield NetworkBlue health insurance program.
NetworkBlue is for all BlueOptions PPO point-of-service health insurance plans in Florida. More than 4,000 Florida physicians (more than half of the eligible physicians and healthcare providers for 52 percent of Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s members) participated in the NetworkBlue program in 2008. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida serves more than 8.3 million members across the state.
If you’re looking for a job in healthcare, you are sure to have plenty of options in Jacksonville, Florida. There are several major medical centers in the heart of the city as well as the surrounding areas. Private offices and clinics also make up a large portion of the overall healthcare industry of Jacksonville, so be sure not to count them out.
Some of the major hospitals include:
Baptist Medical Center – This medical facility includes four branches including the very large downtown center plus: Baptist Beaches, Baptist Nassau, and Baptist South. Baptist Medical Center is almost always on Jacksonville’s “Most Preferred Healthcare Provider” list, and was recently named on the “100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare in the U.S.” by Modern Healthcare.
Wolfson Children’s Hospital is also a part of Baptist Medical and is one of the top children’s hospitals for all of Florida. If you enjoy working with children this might be the perfect place for you as it is a very child and family friendly hospital. Wolfson is currently expanding to add three more floors of pediatric space, along with doubling the clinical research area.
St. Vincent’s – This hospital sits right on the St. Johns River, so the views are always beautiful. It’s a faith-based not for profit health center. It was opened in 1916, so it has served the people of Jacksonville for almost one hundred years! St. Vincent’s also has a fantastic continuing education program for employees that want to take their career to higher levels.
Shands, Jacksonville- Located in the historic downtown neighborhood of Springfield, this hospital employs over 3,300 workers. Shands is an academic medical center and works closely with the University of Florida. Being an academic hospital, Shands, Jacksonville helps to conduct clinical trials and pioneer new advancements in the medical industry.
Mayo Clinic and Hospital – World-renowned, The Mayo Clinic provides care in 35 medical and surgical specialties. It has 22 operating rooms and 214 beds. It also has an Emergency Department that is open to everyone. The Mayo Clinic has an excellent reputation for providing top quality care, and provides care services for people who come to Jacksonville from all over the country!
When you’re job hunting in the medical field, it’s always good to go directly to the hospitals webpage and see if they list job opportunities. It is usually better to apply directly to the hospital rather than going through one of the major job boards. A quick Internet search will easily bring up any of the above named hospitals where you can check for open opportunities. Dropping a resume directly to the Human Resources department is always worthwhile if it’s a place that you really want to work for.
Along with all the major hospitals, there are also healthcare jobs available in local doctor’s offices, rehabilitation clinics, senior care centers, home health care agencies, and urgent care centers.