Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Anthem and AllClear ID

I just received notice from Anthem about the expiration of the AllClear ID protection that was provided after they were hacked:

Identity Protection Services due to expire soon

January 13, 2017 As you know, individuals impacted by the 2015 cyber attack against Anthem were offered two years of AllClear ID Credit and Identity Theft Monitoring Services (called PRO). That two-year time frame is coming to a close. 

We’re writing to let you know that beginning in the next day or so, individuals who chose to enroll in these services will receive a courtesy AllClear ID email 30 days prior to the expiration of those services. ONLY those individuals who chose to enroll in these services will receive a courtesy AllClear ID email. The email will inform them that their AllClear ID services are set to expire and provide renewal options for the individual. Note that enrollment and expiration dates vary, but the earliest expiration date will be in February, and the latest expirations will be in August 2017.

It's nice to know that the Chinese have erased all the stolen data and that ID protection is no longer required.  If that's not the case, might I suggest that they pay for the renewal?  It is, after all, a byproduct of their IT department's incredible incompetence.

Times are tough all over

In places like England and Hong Kong (to name but two), private insurance is available (indeed, mandatory) for any number of folks, including ex-pats and the like. And just like here, the cost of care continues to increase, even (especially?) in places with "Universal" (ie government-run) health care schemes.

But it's the cost of these medical insurance plans that caught my attention in this article at LifeHealthPro:

"The cost of international private medical insurance is climbing globally, with an inflation rate of 9.2 percent reported for 2016."

In fact, the author's company ("a global insurance advisor") recently concluded a study of almost 100 different countries to see if they could ascertain the primary factors driving these increases. And they seem to have found them:

"[A]n increase in the demand for international quality private care, increases in the cost of health care, new regulations, and fraud."

Regular IB readers will remain nonplussed at this revelation, but it's still interesting. And note, too, that this is different than medical tourism, which involves leaving one's home country specifically for a particular health issue.

The more you know...

Monday, January 16, 2017

Everything old is new again

Pretty much everyone's heard of universal, whole and term life. These are usually bought to replace income that would be lost at one's death, or to pay off the mortgage, those kinds of things. And they generally cover one person at a time (although one can buy spouse and children's riders, these usually come with an expiration date).

When the estate tax was a big deal, one often saw Second-to-Die plans that covered a couple; the plan paid off at the death of the remaining spouse, when the (bulk of) the estate tax was due.

What I haven't seen in a while are First-to-Die plans. As the name basically states, these plans insure two (perhaps more) lives and pays off at the first death. They can be handy for buy-sell agreements, or if a couple has a specific need for one. They're also budget-friendly, in that your insuring two folks for a little bit more than one. They can also be helpful savings vehicles for college funds and the like.

Nothing really ground-breaking, of course, just interesting to see a resurgence.

[Hat Tip: Donna S]

Friday, January 13, 2017

ObamaCare in a nutshell

Actually, it's a license you're required to buy for the privilege of then paying for your own health care.


[Hat Tip: FoIB Rich W]

Thursday, January 12, 2017

#ACA_Fail: Laurie Ann's story

For all of the sob stories about what may happen under Repeal/Replace, there's the reality of the very real, very human cost of the ObamaTax's implementation:
[click to embiggen]

Click here for the full (tragic) story.

[Hat Tip: @DaveinTexas]

Words Matter: Health Wonk Review is up!

HWR co-founder and all-around good egg Julie Ferguson hosts this week's eclectic round-up, focusing (natch) on the upcoming Repeal/Replace/Repeat(?) efforts now underway in DC. But there's plenty of other posts, as well, including one from David Harlow on Big Data, and a terrific video from (our favorite economist) Jason Shafrin on health care spending.


Uninsured as Medicaid Failure

Every time I see something like this:

It reminds me of this

Ten years later.  No solution.  Same problem worse.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Even *More* Flatlining

The other day, Patrick posted an excellent piece laying bare the unmitigated failure that marks the current Open Enrollment season. In it, he notes that enrollment was waaay off expectations (and goals), and explains why that's important.

Today, FoIB Allison Bell, writing from her familiar perch at LifeHealthPro, alerts us that the overwhelming majority of folks who did sign up for individual health insurance plans had "either a major health problem, such as cancer, or a serious but less severe health problem, such as high blood pressure or depression."

This, of course, is what happens when you make what used to be an insurance plan into a guaranteed issue one with no exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

To reiterate: this is exactly the same thing as buying a car, wrecking it, and then calling up your agent to insure it and pay the claim. No one thinks that makes sense when dealing with auto or home insurance; I've never understood why folks think it makes sense for health insurance (since they're all based on the same underlying insurance principle of indemnity).


(Un?)Intended Consequences, ObamaTax style

Truth bomb:

[Click here for original article]

And then there were 5

The dictionary defines attrition as "a reduction in size, numbers, or strength." And that certainly applies in spades to the ObamaCare Co-Op program. What began as a promising healthcare financing option has gradually, relentlessly gone downhill:

"Eighteen of the original 23 Obamacare CO-OPs have failed at a total cost to taxpayers of more than $1.8 billion."

But hey, it's only (your) money, right?

[Hat Tip: John Goodman]

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

MVNHS©: Dodging Bullets

With the incoming administration ostensibly Repeal-bound, perhaps we may avoid our own full-blown version of the Much Vaunted National Health System©:

"Nearly a quarter of patients waited longer than four hours at A&E last week with just one hospital hitting its target."

[ed: A&E being "accident and Emergency" care facility]

On top of that, there were almost 20,000 "trolley waits" (how long patients must wait for a hospital bed after being admitted in an emergency) of over 4 hours. The "target" is 4 hour (maximum), but only one hospital even ht that.

But hey, free!

[Hat Tip: FoIB Holly R]

Monday, January 09, 2017

About that $2500 Savings... [UPDATED]

Funny how I don't recall hearing this from 2008-2016.
-President Obama on January 6th, 2017 during an interview with Vox.com's Sarah Kliff and Ezra Klein

[Update from HGS]: