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This Week in Health Care Reform : EasyToInsureME Health Insurance

This Week in Health Reform

Republican Scott Brown’s victory over Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) in the January 19 special election to fill the seat of the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D) might prove to be a game-changer for the health care reform debate. The loss of the 60th Democratic vote now robs Senate Democrats of a filibuster-proof majority. Last week, Democrats were rushing to wrap up a House/Senate agreement on the bill, likely due to reports that Coakley’s lead had diminished.

Congressional leaders are still aiming to have the controversial points in the health care reform bill settled as soon as possible, so they can send the compromised bill to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for scoring. The CBO will then need 12 days to analyze the legislation.

In addition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), lawmakers participating in the White House meetings include: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA), Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT).

A main point of contention between the two houses of Congress pertained to the
40 percent excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans passed by the Senate. Since many labor union members would be affected by the tax on high-cost health insurance plans, the House of Representatives was not supportive of this provision in the Senate bill. Union leaders have also been included in key negotiations on this provision, and on January 14, signaled that they are ready to support the merged legislation with the compromised provision.

The main revenue source for the Senate’s health care reform bill (H.R. 3590) would be from an excise tax – beginning in 2013 – on employer-provided, high-cost health insurance plans costing more than ,500 for individuals and ,000 for a family. The reported compromise on the legislation now makes the tax kick-in on policies costing ,900 for individuals and ,000 for families. The tax threshold would still rise at inflation plus one percentage point, as is currently written in the Senate bill. Additionally, dental and vision benefits would be removed from the calculation of threshold costs, and plans offered by state and local governments, as well as plans covered by collective bargaining agreements, would be exempted from the excise tax until 2018. This would allow current agreements to expire and allow for negotiation of new contracts.

In an effort to make up the lack of revenue from the modification of the excise tax provision, leadership will have to come up with new funding to finance the merged bill. Some reports have mentioned that the pharmaceutical industry has agreed to provide more money than the billion they have already negotiated with the White House. Medical device companies could also face additional fees. Portions of the main revenue source in the House bill – a Medicare payroll tax on wealthy U.S. residents – could be added as well.

On January 14, Richard Trumpka, president of the AFL-CIO, said, “Union leaders approached negotiations with the White House and congressional leaders with one overriding goal in mind – getting a bill signed into law.” Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said, “We do like the way it’s shaping up, but it’s still not finished. We’ve got to see a final product.”

There also has been significant discussion – but no resolution so far – about the question of whether to establish a single national health insurance exchange or allow each state to operate its own exchange. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas continues to support a state-based approach to exchanges.

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Cheaper life insurance rates? Stand and read this

For the best life insurance rate quotes, save money by losing weight.

If you smoke, quit. If you drink too much, cut down your consumption or don’t drink at all.Get at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week like the American Heart Association recommends. It’s not just good for your health—your insurance will cost less.

Smokers, for example, can pay up to three times the life insurance premiums nonsmokers do, and it isn’t enough to be enrolled in a smoking cessation program—you may have to prove you are not a smoker with a blood test. Even if you quit, it may take anywhere from one to five years before your insurance company considers you a non-smoker. Some life insurance companies may offer to reduce your rate once you have quit for some period of time, but this varies by individual company.

As for drinkers, consuming more than two drinks a day disqualifies you for the cheapest preferred rates—more than four and you disqualify for standard rates. Similarly, obese and overweight people fall into a high-risk category because a high BMI, cholesterol or blood pressure reduces life expectancy, according to Jim Toole, Managing Director of Life & Health at MBA Actuaries, Inc. in Winston-Salem, N.C.Whether you choose term life insurance, which typically has the cheapest beginning rates or whole life insurance, which has fixed rates, your rates will increase based on age, gender and lifestyle. Since you cannot get any younger or change genders, cut costs on your insurance with a healthier lifestyle.

To get the best insurance rate quotes, aim for a healthy BMI (body mass index), cholesterol levels and blood pressure—by maintaining a healthy weight. Your life insurance company may be interested to learn of any wellness, fitness or counseling programs you are enrolled in, but they will only give you lower insurance rates when they see the results.

This article was originally published at Life Quotes, Inc.

Originally founded in 1984 as Quotesmith Corporation, Life Quotes, Inc. owns and operates www.consumerinsuranceguide.com and www.lifequotes.com, two online consumer insurance information services that cater to the needs of self-directed personal and corporate insurance shoppers.

Life Quotes provides access to comparative quotes for auto, life, health and business insurance quotes so that busy consumers and business owners can save time and money. Life Quotes is dedicated to providing impartial insurance information.

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Related Life Insurance Articles

Small Business Insurance:”Policies For This, Policies For That. As If I Haven’t Got Enough To Think About.”

It’s there somewhere on your master check list. You know you need to do something about it. But somehow, with all the other urgently pressing, day to day activities going on, the whole question of insurance probably seems a bit abstract. After all, insurance is all about what might happen, and you’ve got enough to worry about with what is happening, right here and now.

And if you do get around to thinking about it, it just seems to be a maze of policies for this and policies for that and people wanting money for something you’re not even sure you need.

Well, organising your small business insurance really needn’t be like that at all. It really is possible to arrange all the small business insurance cover you need in just a matter of minutes and at highly competitive rates.

How is that possible? Because there are some clever, online insurance brokers who have already thought through all the problems that small business owners face. They recognised that all small businesses need a portfolio of policies. But they don’t all need the same portfolio. The insurance needs of a restaurant are not the same as the insurance needs of a cleaning contractor whose insurance needs are not the same as those of a small manufacturing company. And so on.

So why not make life easy by arranging small business insurance packages tailored specifically for a whole range of different types of business. All of the policies that each business does need (and none of the ones it doesn’t) in one place.

And because it’s an online service, offer instant access to a small business insurance quote, easy payment arrangements and downloadable policy documentation, And again, because it’s an online service (with lower overheads) offer a discount as well. Make the idea of cheap business insurance a reality.

I am a content writer and writing insurance articles for past 4 years..

Ammenda Michle

For further information on Business Insurance and Small Business Insurance for UK contractors and professionals please contact Coulson Pritchard Associates directly on 0161 833 2100  ,0870 752 5455 , 01480 470220 or visit at www.companyinsurance.co.uk/

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