Have you ever been without health insurance, found yourself under-insured or worried about the rising cost of healthcare? The Doctors and a panel of experts give you real solutions to your healthcare and insurance problems!
Forty-six million people in America are uninsured 14 million by choice and one out of every three people under the age of 65 were uninsured at some point during 2007-08. “The problem is, people don’t think about healthcare or their insurance until a problem happens,” Dr. Travis says.
“A lot of times, they’re younger people and think, ‘Oh, I’ll be healthy, I’ll be fine,’ until the car accident, or until the cancer is found,” Dr. Travis continues. “But, in a country where there are over 120 million visits to the E.R. each and every year, in a country where, wonderfully, no matter who you are, you can go get treatment if you need it, that’s a great thing. But once you go home from the hospital after that tragic accident, and all of a sudden you get that first bill, and it’s $50,000 your whole life, you’ve paid your bills on time, have wonderful credit, but you decide that, ‘I’m young, healthy. I don’t need health insurance.’ For the rest of your life you’re going to be trying to catch up from that one accident because you didn’t have insurance.”
TV news correspondent and documentarian SuChin Pak joins The Doctors to discuss the healthcare situation in America. SuChin travelled across the country for a documentary about healthcare issues, learning firsthand what they are. “What I’m learning through this experience, because it’s the first time I’m having to go out and get individual healthcare insurance myself, is that if you do the homework, it is a myth that health insurance is unaffordable,” SuChin says. “There are solutions out there; it’s just overwhelming and really confusing for the average consumer.” Q: I was recently laid off and am investigating COBRA as an option, but am transitioning into a career where I will be self-employed. What are my best long-term and short-term options for health insurance?
Bestselling author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki, and CEO of ehealthinsurance.com, Gary Lauer, join The Doctors to answer your most pressing financial and insurance questions and offer tips for saving on healthcare.
“This whole health insurance area is so confusing and daunting to people,” Gary says. “I often tell people, ‘Pick up the phone and talk to the insurer. The worst thing you can hear, and people hear it a lot, is no. But force them to say no, and then when they do, challenge that. Keep pushing.’ There are human beings on the other side, as well.”
Tips to Save on Healthcare
• Bypass brand names when filling prescriptions.
• Ask your doctor for drug samples to save on prescriptions.
• Appeal denied claims. In general, insurance appeal success rates are between 70 and 80 percent.
• Ask about a payment plan from your doctors and hospitals. If you are uninsured, ask for the rate charged to people who are covered.
• Know your rights as a medical consumer. Learn what is offered for any situation.
• Commit to recovery. Follow your doctors’ plans, because even though it may cost more now, in the long-run, it can save you a lot of money by preventing bigger health problems from occurring later.
Aimee and Adam Freeman’s daughter, Kayleigh Anne, was born 12-weeks early on June 23, 2008, weighing slightly more than 1 pound. Kayleigh underwent 248 procedures and seven major surgeries, and was the smallest person to undergo open-heart surgery. On May 11, Kayleigh lost her battle for life. For more on Kayleigh’s story, click here.
The struggles and sacrifices Aimee and Adam underwent left them and their family with significant financial debt. They ask Robert and Gary for help managing their finances.
Q: Our credit is shot and we are facing foreclosure. Would it be better to foreclose on our house, or would it be better to just go bankrupt?
Robert Kiyosaki: Foreclosure is against your house and bankruptcy is against you personally. Both are very complex. You should contact your local state bar association. There is legal aid, and you should really get legal advice. Sometimes when you declare bankruptcy, it protects your house in certain states. A mortgage is a contract and a legal document. This is why it is imperative that they consult a lawyer.
Q: We each have a $5 million lifetime max on our insurance. We are close to that maximum. What happens to us if we reach that maximum benefit?
Gary Lauer: If a member has a $5 million policy and he or she exhausts the $5 million policy limit, that member will be dropped. Similar rules apply to auto and life insurance. Now having said that, if during the course of treatment, one is also deemed permanently disabled, then the next step is to get that individual on Medicare.
If they are not deemed permanently disabled, then they would get on their state’s risk pool plan not all states have a high risk pool. Once the family member who has reached his or her limit moves to another program, his or her past claims would not impact the rest of the family’s chances of qualifying for another plan.
Web Exclusive: More Health Insurance Q&A
Q: I was recently laid off and am investigating COBRA as an option, but am transitioning into a career where I will be self-employed. What are my best long-term and short-term options for health insurance?
Gary: The first thing you should do is make sure you’re covered don’t let your coverage lapse.
Your COBRA package will have information on how you can get retroactive coverage, so you don’t have a lapse. You typically have 60 days to make this decision.
Meanwhile, compare what you get through COBRA with what is available in the individual market, because an individual health insurance plan may be your best long-term option. eHealthInsurance has a “COBRA calculator” on its COBRA Learning Center site that lets you compare the cost of both options.
Think about the benefits you'll want and that you may need in the coming year. Think about what level of deductible and out-of-pocket expenses, like doctor visit co-pays and co-insurance, fit your budget. If you're looking to stay self-employed, an individual plan may be a better option for you as it is not tied to a job it is your own plan.
If you're not sure if you'll qualify for individual health insurance based on certain health conditions, it's probably best to talk to a licensed agent and understand your options.
Q: My premium is very high on my health insurance. What are some areas of my life where I can save and use that money to pay for my high premium? I can't afford a bookkeeper, but I'm not very good at keeping track of my spending. What do you suggest?
Ft. Myers, FL
Robert Kiyosaki: I wish there was an easy answer. Health and wealth present the same problems it is discipline. Health is diet and exercise. Wealth is money and budgeting. I don't like keeping track of my spending, but it doesn't mean that I don't do it. If you don't discipline yourself, the world will discipline you. Being poor is an example of the world punishing you. This is happening, especially, to the Baby Boomer generation. If you can't control your emotions, you can't control your money. It's the same with your health! I don't go to a trainer because I want to; I go because I need discipline.
Many doctors are asked to solve discipline problems, which become health problems and lead to high costs for health insurance. If you keep track of your money through self-discipline, then you will soon see ways of not wasting your money, so you can afford health insurance.
You can purchase a software program that will track your spending, or you can hire a bookkeeper. Money management and budgeting are the keys to wealth, just as diet and exercise are the keys to health.