Punish monster that brutally tortured and killed Sterling just weeks after adoption

The Affordable Alternative to Traditional Individual Health Insurance

As a way to begin let's define what I mean by traditional health insurance. The traditional health insurance policy is composed of:

The deductible - This is the amount that you have to pay for a medical event before your health insurance will start to pay. In today's world that deductible is often $3000 or more.

The coinsurance - After the deductible is met most policies require that the insured pay a percentage of all medical costs up to a maximum. Usually the insured pays anywhere from 20% to as much as 50% of every dollar billed.

The copays - In an attempt to make routine health care accessible many policies include a copay for doctor visits and prescriptions in lieu of having to meet a deductible. An example of this is the $10 office visit copay.

Maximum Out-Of-Pocket Costs - This is the most that an insured can expect to pay regardless of how large the medical bills are. As a general rule the maximum out-of-pocket costs for an individual are limited to around $7000. This can be a very misleading number because it assumes that all of your providers are in your network. If they are out of network your costs can be significantly higher.

And finally the "Network" - Virtually every traditional individual health insurance policy is tied to a network of providers. The narrower the healthcare network, the lower the premium. There is too much wrong with "networks" for this article. Suffice it to say that "networks" are the enemy of the healthcare consumer (you).

The Problem Facing Working Americans

The problem is simple: health insurance premiums are too high for most working Americans in the absence of a subsidy and when combined with extremely high deductible and out of pocket costs, healthcare becomes unaffordable. Let's look at a couple of examples right here in North Carolina.

A non-smoking couple ages 62 and 63 find that their lowest premium option with BCBS of NC is $1999 a month for a $13,300 family deductible with no copays. A plan with a $7000 deductible and $25 office visit copays would cost $2682 per month.

Assuming the least expensive plan the annual cost would be $23,988 annually. And if either person had a medical event such as cancer, the actual cost for healthcare would be $37,288. You have to ask: "Why even have health insurance?"

A non-smoking 30 year old couple found that the least expensive plan would cost $787.84 a month for a $13,300 family deductible with no copays. The least expensive plan that included copays was $1056.88 but had a $7000 deductible and the most restrictive network. Assuming the least expensive plan, should either member of this young couple have a medical event their total annual cost (deductible + premium) would be $16,454.08. That is a devastating amount of money for a young couple.

The simple solution to this problem is a Fixed Benefit Health Insurance. Unlike a major medical policy where the policy pays for all eligible expenses after the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum, a Fixed Benefit Health Insurance Policy states exactly how much will be paid for each specified service. Examples of specified services might include: daily benefit for in-hospital stay of 24 hours, specific dollar benefits for specified surgeries, a specific benefit for doctor visits and other specified charges. A great Fixed Benefit Health Insurance Policy will have very robust benefits, a wide range of specified covered charges, a very comprehensive surgical schedule and more. The most important service that Fixed Benefit Health Insurance Policy can include is medical bill negotiation, a service that can significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses.

What is really great about this type of policy is that empowers the insured to be a better consumer. Knowing how much your policy will pay you for a specified medical service allows you to better shop and negotiate the price. But the really great thing about this policy is the affordable premium.

The couple ages 62 and 63 are an actual client of mine who had been uninsured for 5 years as a result of the high premiums. I was able to put them into a robust Fixed Benefit Health Insurance Policy with a $5,000,000 lifetime benefit for $683 a month. That is an annual savings of $15,792. As I explained to my client the Fixed Benefit Health Insurance Policy will do a great job of covering 70% to 80% of everything that can happen. If they actually saved the $15,792 difference in premium they would have incredible access to healthcare with very little out of their own pocket.

Back in 2014 I was diagnosed with colon cancer and had a partial removal of large intestine (CP44205). Back then I was covered on a traditional major medical policy. My total out-of-pocket costs were more than $7000. Had I had the Fixed Benefit Plan that I sell today not only would my costs have been zero but I would have received a check from the insurance company for $4619. Not every medical event would have resulted in a check and many might have resulted in out-of-pocket costs of several thousand dollars, but in general the savings would have more than offset those costs.

So, before you choose to go without any health insurance I strongly suggest that you take a hard look at a Fixed Benefit Health Insurance Policy.

Fixed Benefit Health Insurance is the affordable alternative to expensive, traditional health insurance. It gives you better access to healthcare and empowers you to get better prices and lower out-of-pocket costs.

Utica Police, the Michigan Humane Society and Crime Stoppers are offering rewards to find the killer of Sterling, a 3-year old pit bull mix.

The dog was stabbed and left to die in Grant Park in Utica last Thursday.

Sterling was traced with a chip back to the Humane Society and the current owner who lives near Utica. The owner, who is not being identified and is not a suspect, says the dog was taken from inside the home the day before.

Elise Ramsey of the Humane Society says they’ve had the dog since it was a puppy born in their care.

Sterling had been adopted out twice before and returned - not because of behavioral problems, but owners who could not take care of the dog.

The current owner took the dog in December. She described the dog as very kind and friendly. She says this case was intentional and thorough with the intent to kill.

Utica Police are seeking tips to find the killer. It could be a felony with up to 4 years in prison if convicted of intentional animal cruelty.

Anthony Jones of Crime Stoppers says his organization is involved because this is a crime and whoever did it might be bragging about it. He also said people start with harming animals and next it is people.

The total reward is $4,500 if a tip to catch the killer is reported before midnight tonight.

The number to call is 1-800-SPEAK-UP.
When reviewing health plans and evaluating cost, keep in mind health insurance wasn't designed to cover every penny related to health care.

Everything under the sun on an open credit card is nice, but not when you are paying the bill. But you are.

The purpose of insurance is to cover sudden very expensive losses. It's about making you whole again and not have the financial responsibility of a ton of money to do it. Somehow we all decided over the last 60 years that the traditional plan should pay for everything.

Health insurance is the only insurance product, for the most part, that pays for first dollar coverage like doctor visits and prescription drugs. The healthcare system gamed the system on the bigger bank account paying the bill, not the small guy. The tables have turned...

Employees are more responsible for their healthcare in paying more for premium dollars out of their check and higher costs. Employers should engage their employees in being more proactive in their healthcare. Here are a few ideas:

Don't run to the ER or the doctor visit for every little thing. What happened to home remedies or waiting to see the doctor instead of running to the ER? This will save you thousands in a year if you have kids.
Try saving money on medication by finding alternatives. Sometimes skipping the drug may not have an impact on your health, but keeps you coming back to the doctor. The other thing you can do is shop around. Just because they are convenient doesn't mean it is the most cost-effective.
Just because your doctor recommends a test, it doesn't mean you have to jump to it and have it done. The doctor went through many years of school, but they are also trying to run tests to protect them and get paid. Ask more questions to see if you feel it's the right thing. Just like you would if your mechanic suggested items. It's your money.
If you are scheduling a procedure, take a look around. Many new facilities are popping up to help reduce cost from outpatient testing to outpatient surgical facilities. The hospital isn't the cheapest. Far from it. This ends up driving the price up for you and the insurance company.
You do not need to go to a state of the art teaching hospital, for most thing. There are a time and place for the advanced care that some of the predominant teaching hospitals bring to the table. However, for most things people go through its overkill and overcharged.
In the end, it will end up costing you more money, either in out-of-pocket expenses or premium. There is no free lunch.


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