Why You May Not Need Those Tests

It’s important to monitor your health regularly, with the help and support of a medical professional, but can you always be sure that some of the tests or scans that are being offered – including those that come via mailbox solicitations – are necessary? Indeed, could they even cause you harm?

These questions underlie a campaign called “Choosing Wisely” prompted by concerns expressed by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. Supported by a number of leading consumer organizations, such as AARP and Consumer Reports, the campaign aims to get both patients and healthcare providers to question the need for certain tests and treatment, from antibiotics to vitamin tests.

In a recent report, AARP quoted Consumer Reports medical director John Santa warning that many screening tests often show false positive results that lead to unnecessary prescriptions and even surgery. For example, someone at low risk for heart disease would be 10 times more likely to get a false result. PSA blood tests for prostate cancer often identify slow-growing tumors that would be non-fatal if left.

To learn more about this ongoing campaign, visit: www.choosingwisely.org

What's taking so long?

We’re an insurance company. You need insurance. We want to help you! You call us. We take your information and say we’ll get back to you as soon as we get a quote. Twenty minutes pass and you’ve heard nothing. What on earth are we doing?!

With the whole “fifteen minutes could save you…” and now the “fifteen minutes is an eternity; how about seven-and-a-half minutes?” we understand. You want options, and you want them now.

If you are looking for an automobile policy, and in your household you have a 2005 Chevy Malibu and a 2008 Toyota Corolla, we can probably get back to you within the hour with several options. However, it gets trickier if you have a one-ton truck. Or a vehicle with expensive modifications.

The same applies to homeowner’s insurance. You live in town in a 1986 Ranch home that is a lot like the neighbors’ houses? We should have numbers for you today. But if your house is underground? Or a Quonset hut? Or a boathouse? It might take us a while.

Here’s why: Insurance rates are based on risk. An insurance company assesses risk based largely on comparison with similar items or properties. A late model fifth wheel RV has a lot to be compared to, but an old school bus retrofitted as a recreational vehicle is going to be more difficult to price.

At Hejny Insurance Agency, we don’t write insurance. We connect clients with the best insurance providers to meet their individual needs. So while it might seem like sometimes it’s taking an unreasonably long time to put together a quote, the odds are that we’re putting out feelers and waiting for answers. Even if you have a very specialized business for which none of our providers have a market, they might have another lead… And while we’re investigating those leads, you can be working your day job, or Skyping your mom, or reading a book on the back porch.

It doesn’t stop there. Once you have insurance through us, you can always call us or stop by with concerns or questions, and if we can’t help you, we’ll be the ones to wait on hold for forty-five minutes while you head home to start dinner.

That’s the whole reason we’re here: We do the leg work so you can get on with your life. And we appreciate that you’ve let us do so for the past 28 years.

SCOTUS Upholds Obamacare

Today the Supreme Court found Obamacare’s individual coverage mandate to be constitutional. What does this mean for you?

  • Most Americans will be required to have insurance coverage by the beginning of 2014 or face penalties.
  • Young adults up to age 26 may stay on their parents’ policies.
  • Starting in 2014, insurers may not use pre-existing conditions to exclude, limit, or set unrealistic rates on coverage.
  • In 2014, small firms with more than 50 employees will be forced to provide coverage for employees or face fines.

For more information, check out Obamacare coverage from CNN and Fox News.

Get health care options and quotes from Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Cigna.

What's New In Health Reform?

Last year it was a political hot potato and no doubt, with an election on the horizon, it’ll grab a few headlines again, but in the meanwhile the controversial health reforms program, under the Affordable Care Act, continues to move forward in 2012.  Although many of the changes don’t take effect until 2014, it’s worth taking stock of current and upcoming changes in your entitlements. These include:

  • Young people up to age 26 can now remain on their parents’ health insurance. Some 2.5 million have so far opted to do so.
  • En route to closing the “donut hole” prescription coverage gap for Medicare recipients, seniors now qualify for a 50% discount on Part D brand-name drugs when they reach the gap.
  • The Independent Payment Advisory Board has been established and, from next year, will be able to intervene if Medicare costs rise too much.
  • States are now allowed to offer home-based services to disabled people through Medicaid instead of institutional care in nursing homes.
  • From the start of this year, new rules encourage physicians to set up “Accountable Care Organizations” by working together to improve the standards of care and reduce costs.
  • From March 1, federal health care programs have to collect racial, ethnic and language data about patients to identify inequality of treatment.
  • From October, health records will have to be stored electronically – with new rules in place to make sure they’re secure and confidential.
  • Also from October, hospitals will have to publicly report on performance for a range of treatments, and reveal comments from patients.

The official Government site has also launched an easy-to-use action page to help individuals identify which public, private and community programs meet their needs. Check it out at
finder.healthcare.gov.