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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Catastrophic health insurance

How the government can help with health care - by limiting health care coverage provided by the government to the purchase of catastrophic health insurance for legal U.S. residents who need it and allowing tax deductible health savings accounts for money to pay for routine care (which can be taken as a payroll deduction):
Catastrophic health insurance carries a high deductible and a low premium. It is designed for patients who are generally healthy and don’t necessarily need to visit their physician regularly. The plan usually does not cover regular doctor visits (check ups, etc.) but it does provide major hospital and medical expenses coverage. If you are in good health and simply want to be covered in case of a major illness or accident, then a catastrophic health plan might be the best option for you.

Catastrophic health plans usually cover hospital stays, x-rays, and surgical expenses, but do not normally cover mental health care or maternity care.
States can create funds for people with pre-existing health conditions.

Having catastrophic coverage would ease the worry of people going bankrupt when a major health event occurs.

UPDATE: Medicaid for dummies:
Many groups of people are covered by Medicaid. Even within these groups, though, certain requirements must be met. These may include your age, whether you are pregnant, disabled, blind, or aged; your income and resources (like bank accounts, real property, or other items that can be sold for cash); and whether you are a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted immigrant. The rules for counting your income and resources vary from state to state and from group to group. There are special rules for those who live in nursing homes and for disabled children living at home.

Your child may be eligible for coverage if he or she is a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted immigrant, even if you are not (however, there is a 5-year limit that applies to lawful permanent residents). Eligibility for children is based on the child's status, not the parent's. Also, if someone else's child lives with you, the child may be eligible even if you are not because your income and resources will not count for the child.

In general, you should apply for Medicaid if you have limited income and resources. You must match one of the descriptions below. (Even if you are not sure whether you qualify, if you or someone in your family needs health care, you should apply for Medicaid and have a qualified caseworker in your state evaluate your situation.)

Pregnant Women

Apply for Medicaid if you think you are pregnant. You may be eligible if you are married or single. If you are on Medicaid when your child is born, both you and your child will be covered.

Children and Teenagers

Apply for Medicaid if you are the parent or guardian of a child who is 18 years old or younger and your family's income is limited, or if your child is sick enough to need nursing home care, but could stay home with good quality care at home. If you are a teenager living on your own, the state may allow you to apply for Medicaid on your own behalf or any adult may apply for you. Many states also cover children up to age 21.

Person who is Aged, Blind, and/or Disabled

Apply if you are aged (65 years old or older), blind, or disabled and have limited income and resources. Apply if you are terminally ill and want to get hospice services. Apply if you are aged, blind, or disabled; live in a nursing home; and have limited income and resources. Apply if you are aged, blind, or disabled and need nursing home care, but can stay at home with special community care services. Apply if you are eligible for Medicare and have limited income and resources.

Other Situations

Apply if you are leaving welfare and need health coverage. Apply if you are a family with children under age 18 and have limited income and resources. (You do not need to be receiving a welfare check.) Apply if you have very high medical bills, which you cannot pay (and you are pregnant, under age 18 or over age 65, blind, or disabled).
Medicare is a health insurance program for:

* people age 65 or older,
* people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and
* people of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).

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