What Was The Tone Of The Letter?
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The tone of the letter was desperate.The couple had health insurance, the man said in his letter, but they were being denied the coverage for a surgery the doctors said was necessary for his wife to survive.What was he supposed to do?How would he get his wife the care she needed if the insurance they bought to protect them in just these circumstances wouldn’t pay for her medical care?We can treat and manage illnesses today that years ago would have killed us.But without the ability to pay for care, and a traveler’s guide of sorts to help us navigate the fragmented American healthcare system, all the medical advances can’t help us.In the United States of America, healthcare and money are inextricably linked.Others I hear from are in less dire straits, but struggling nonetheless with issues that can have a dramatic impact on their health and finances.Many people try in vain to get a copy of their medical records, for instance, and face a doctor or hospital that refuses to cooperate with their request.People also write to me because they are confused about their Medicare options or how to choose the right health plan among a host of choices being offered by their employer at open enrollment time.I talk to people all the time who say they need help cutting through the red tape that comes with paying for medical care, understanding the fine print of insurance, and knowing where to turn for help when things go wrong.But our health and our financial security are no game, and they’re no laughing matter.Understanding how the system operates, how to get the care you need, and knowing what your insurance policy will or won’t pay for are critical to both your physical and financial health.Healthcare, Insurance, and You simplifies the many confusing details about the new healthcare law and our healthcare system so you can make informed decisions and protect yourself and your family.I’ll work to give you an understanding of how things operate behind the scenes, so you’ll know how and where to get the care you and your family need without breaking the bank.How does the Affordable Care Act impact my own and my family’s healthcare and finances?How can I take advantage of the new health insurance marketplaces and tax credits?How do I choose a health plan that best meets my medical and financial needs?How do I fight billing errors and denied claims, and know where to turn for help when I need it?How will health reform affect my business?Will health reform reduce my healthcare costs?Rather, you can use it as a reference to turn to at moments when you need answers.I know of so many other situations in which applying pressure at just the right points achieved results, in some cases, as in this one, saving a person’s life.Here, I’m going to show you those leverage points to help you get the best healthcare possible.Millions of people will gain new access to health insurance coverage and go about shopping for and buying a health plan in new ways.Operating Below CapacityTo understand the changes coming, it’s helpful to know where we are today and how that’s led us down the path to health reform.The United States stands alone when it comes to healthcare.Many of us have come to believe that we have the best system in the world.And, no doubt, the United States is home to some of the most advanced medicine the world has to offer.But we also fall short, horribly so in fact, in some key areas.Trips to the doctor’s office or the hospital have gotten pricier too.And, for millions of Americans, it seems accessing health insurance benefits has become a complicated maze you have to wend your way through without a road map.Jargon alert A Premium is the cost of a health insurance policy.Often paid on a monthly basis, these are the payments you make to keep an insurance policy in place.What are we getting for the high price we pay?In America, we spend more on healthcare than any other industrialized country, and we get less for our money.In the United States, we spend more than $8,300 per person annually.Compare that to the $5,000 the world’s second and third biggest healthcare spenders, Norway and Switzerland, spend per person.Despite the higher price we pay, Americans actually see the doctor and are admitted to the hospital less frequently than citizens of other countries.Another main reason cited for our poor health has to do with our healthcare system.Unlike other countries, we have millions of people without health insurance and much more limited access to primary care.We are the only industrialized country that doesn’t guarantee healthcare and some kind of insurance coverage to our citizens.We have been on an unsustainable path.Fewer people are being offered health insurance at work, and employers are struggling to keep up with the cost of making health benefits available to their employees.What’s more, those among us who don’t get health benefits at work and buy insurance on our own are faced with a host of challenges around getting the coverage we need to help pay for medical care, including high insurance costs and fewer benefits in exchange for the high price we pay.Health Reform Is Changing Your HealthcareThese, and other forces, led to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as health reform and Obamacare.Many people have called the law a government takeover of healthcare.But it is true that through the new law, insurers, healthcare providers, and employers will all face new requirements in the interest of expanding health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.Healthcare costs in this country have continued to rise at rates that far outstrip our earnings, and there is considerable fear that without finding ways to curb how much we spend on healthcare in the United States, we’re going to face serious trouble.Likewise, efforts to improve the quality of the care we’re paying for are underway and offer some hope for improving the inadequate level of care that comes in the form of poor coordination, a lack of preventive medicine, and medical errors that result in needless deaths each year.Part of the price we pay for our health insurance includes paying for the costs resulting from medical care that goes unpaid for because some people don’t have coverage.The health reform law takes aim at our country’s growing number of uninsured and makes an effort to keep future healthcare spending down.It does this largely by making changes to the way insurers and healthcare providers operate and get paid.The biggest changes, at least early on, will be in store for people who have middle or low incomes.Starting in 2014, these groups will be eligible for financial help to pay for their insurance coverage.Again, this changes starting in 2014, when insurers will be prohibited from turning away anyone interested in buying a health plan.


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