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Mental Health Insurance Limitations Could be Costing Lives


Insurance is limited when it comes to covering mental health, and those who need it continue to suffer.

It’s no secret that mental health care in the United States is in a troubling state.  According to a recent report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness don’t receive treatment, and of those who do, only 38% receive care that is considered “minimally adequate.”  One of the major reasons for this is that many people who need mental health care simply can’t afford it.  In fact, a recent study found that nearly 30% of adults with serious mental illness are uninsured.  With insurance limitations, the mental health stigma continues to be seen as a nice-to-have service rather than something that’s necessary and brushing it as something that’s not essential isn’t okay for those who desperately need it.

Jake, for example, needed treatment.  He was a 15-year-old who struggled with severe depression and suicidal ideation.  His parents wanted to help their son, but he was on their insurance and the company didn’t seem to care.  Outpatient services weren’t helping, and Jake was hospitalized twice in one month.  Yet, he was ultimately cut off from further treatment.

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

During his first hospitalization, Jake spent five days there before being admitted to an outpatient program as required by his parents’ insurance company.  The program was not successful.  He was hospitalized again almost immediately where he was kept for another five days.  Then, on January 11, 2015, Jake died by suicide following a letter from the insurance company that it would no longer reimburse for care.  He couldn’t receive it even though this directly contracted the recommendation of his doctors.

The insurer’s reason for cutting plan benefits?  The service was: “Not medically necessary.”  With those three simple words, Jake paid with his life.

In a ruling on February 28, 2019, in the case of Wit v. United Behavioral Health, a judge found that UBH (the biggest insurer in the nation) was wrong to use its internally developed standards for coverage instead of generally accepted clinical standards.  This was the case in Jake’s situation.  Even though outpatient services weren’t helping, the insurer insisted he be treated via this route instead of allowing for further inpatient care.

Wit v. United Behavioral Health was brought by a group of mental health patients who claimed that UBH was illegally denying them coverage for certain treatments.  The court ruled in favor of the patients regarding the insurance limitations, but for Jake (and likely many others), the decision came too late.

Jake’s parents believe that had their son suffered a more “conventional” sickness, such as diabetes or a heart condition, insurance limitations wouldn’t be an issue and UBH wouldn’t have dictated that he be sent home.  His hospitalization would have been prioritized.  In this way, the case drives home the stigmatization that mental health continues to receive and just how far behind insurers are to keeping up with the changing times.

The Wit v. UBH ruling was ultimately reversed by three judges in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the most current decision, as it stands, means that those who need care likely won’t receive it.  There is still time for the judges of the 9th Circuit to revisit this case, and Jake’s family is pushing for them to reconsider.


Our insurance halted our son’s mental health care, and he paid with his life

Health Insurers Still Don’t Adequately Cover Mental Health Treatment

Mental Health Parity and the Wit v. UBH Class Action Lawsuit

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National survey by Erie Insura

Survey also reveals the degree to which financial concerns increased, values changed, and the top reasons people moved during the pandemic

ERIE, Pa., June 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In a national survey of U.S. consumers commissioned by Erie Insurance, two-thirds of respondents said they are more concerned about their financial security than they were before—and many are taking steps to address it. The wide-ranging survey also revealed what people miss most about working from home and like most about returning to the office and, if they moved during the pandemic, why.

As a company that increases people’s financial security by providing life insurance, homeowners insurance and auto insurance, Erie Insurance periodically commissions surveys to stay on top of changes in consumer attitudes and behaviors.

The survey found that nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) value spending quality time with family more today than they did before; more than half (55%) value financial security more, and about the same percentage (54%) value spending quality time with friends more.

In addition:

  • Two-thirds of respondents (66%) said the pandemic made them more concerned about their financial security than they were before.
  • 61% said the pandemic made them more concerned about how their family would be taken care of financially if they became seriously ill, or worse, could no longer provide for them.
  • Half (49%) said the pandemic made them question whether they had the right type and amount of life insurance as part of their overall plan for financial security, and a quarter (25%) contacted their insurance agent about it.

“It’s been said that life insurance is a product you buy with the hope you don’t need it right away, but our survey found that having a policy provides value,” said Louis Colaizzo, senior vice president of Erie Family Life, Erie Insurance. “In fact, 44% of respondents said the pandemic made them appreciate the peace of mind they get from having life insurance even more than they did before.”

People on the move

One in five respondents (21%) said they moved during the pandemic while 79% stayed put.

Topping the list of reasons for moving (36%) was to live in a place with a better quality of life. Living closer to family and having a lower cost of living tied for the second most mentioned reason for moving (26%, respectively), followed by having a larger home so everyone could spread out more (18%) and to live somewhere with a nicer climate (16%). Nine percent of people moved because they got sick of their house after spending so much time in it.

The bitter and the sweet about returning to the office

For many people who worked from home during the pandemic, returning to the office is bittersweet. The survey revealed what they miss or will miss most about working from home and what they like or will like most about going back.

Top things people MISS most about working
from home

Percentage of people who miss it

1. Not having to commute to work

27 %

2. Not being able to do small chores around the
house during breaks throughout the day (like
unloading dishwasher, folding laundry) (tie)

24 %

2. Not being able to spend as much time with my
kids (tie)

24 %

2. Having less free time (tie)

24 %

3. Not being able to sleep in

23 %

4. Not being able to spend as much time with my

21 %

5. Not being able to spend as much time with my
spouse/significant other

19 %

Top 5 things people will LIKE most about going
back to an office or other workplace

Percentage of people who will like it

1. Socializing with colleagues at work

34 %

2. Not feeling cooped up in the house

33 %

3. Socializing with colleagues after work

27 %

4. Meeting with colleagues in person

24 %

5. Having lunch with colleagues

19 %

Sorry, bosses.

Among a list of 11 things people like or will like most about going back to the workplace, having facetime with the boss came in last, with only 14% saying this. However, men were four times more likely than women to say facetime with the boss is one of the things they’ll like most. Almost a quarter of men (24%) said this compared with only 6% of women.

Slow down!

As national traffic safety organizations sounded the alarm about the speeding crisis intensifying during the pandemic, Erie Insurance wanted to know if people think drivers are still speeding more than usual.

38% of respondents agree that it seems like the number of speeding drivers increased a lot earlier in the pandemic and that hasn’t changed – drivers are still speeding to about the same degree. But when asked about their own speeding habits, only 15% said they found themselves speeding earlier in the pandemic and still do. 69% said they didn’t speed before the pandemic and don’t now.

Additional survey results are available to media upon request.

Survey methodology

This survey was conducted online by Falls & Co. on behalf of Erie Insurance from April 1 through April 8, 2022, among 500 U.S. residents ages 18 and older. Falls established the sampling quotas, designed the questionnaire, tabulated the survey responses, and managed the overall project. Falls used Dynata (Plano, TX) to administer the survey via the internet, including mobile devices, to Dynata’s captive U.S. panels who met the age, gender, and regional demographic criteria.

About Erie Insurance

According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 11th largest homeowners insurer, 13th largest automobile insurer and 13th largest commercial lines insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written. Founded in 1925, Erie Insurance is a Fortune 500 company and the 19th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. Rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best, ERIE has more than 6 million policies in force and operates in 12 states and the District of Columbia. News releases and more information are available on ERIE’s website at www.erieinsurance.com.


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SOURCE Erie Insurance Group

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10 Habits That Drive Your Financial Growth

By John Rampton

Unless you’re in the small percentile of people who have received a large inheritance or trust fund or won the lottery, you need to build your wealth from scratch. And, that’s not the easiest of goals. Between stagnating wages, growing debt, and a considerable increase in the cost of living, this seems futile. However, if you develop the following 10 habits, you will be able to drive your financial growth to the finish line.

1. Establish Life Goals

“What is financial freedom to you?” asks Matt Danielson over at Investopedia. “A general desire for it is too vague a goal, so get specific.” Jot down “how much you should have in your bank account, what the lifestyle entails, and at what age this should be achieved,” he suggests. “The more specific your goals, the higher the likelihood of achieving them.”

“Next, count backward to your current age and establish financial mileposts at regular intervals,” adds Danielson. “Write it all down neatly and put the goal sheet at the very beginning of your financial binder.”

2. Live Within Your Means

Living below your means doesn’t mean being a “cheapskate” or missing out on life experiences. Rather, it “simply means that you’re spending less or equal than you’re making each month,” explains Deanna Ritchie, a financial editor at Due. “As a result, you aren’t putting yourself into debt by living off of plastic. And more importantly, this will help you create a more stable financial future.”

“Of course, living within your means requires discipline and a little sacrifice,” adds Denna. “However, if you stick with it, you’ll reap the following rewards, in addition to avoiding debt.”

  • Less stress and anxiety;
  • It makes you more successful and healthier;
  • You won’t obsess over your credit score;
  • The ability to build wealth;
  • You’ll have more freedom;
  • You’ll have financial security.

That’s all well and good. But, how can you realistically live within your means without depriving yourself? Well, here are a couple of suggestions.

  • Create a budget using the 50/30/20 rule: This is where you spend 50 percent of your take-home income on essentials like food and housing, 30 percent toward wants, and 20 percent into your savings account.
  • Save your money before you spend it by automating your savings: In other words, pay yourself first where a percentage of your paycheck goes directly to a savings or retirement account.
  • Eliminate frivolous spending: This includes the gym membership that you never use.
  • Stop keeping up the Joneses: They may be putting up the facade that they’re financially well-off. But, in reality, they could be in serious debt.
  • Delay gratification: One example would be waiting for a sale or discount instead of paying full price for groceries, clothing, electronics, or travel.
  • Change the nature of your debt: Make paying back debt more convenient for you. Examples could be negotiating a better interest rate with lenders or through debt consolidation.

3. Build a Solid Cash Reserve

While not on the top of most of our minds, having an emergency can pay dividends.

Consider the following scenario. Your work vehicle doesn’t start on you going to leave bright and early in the morning. Turns out that you need a starter. Between the replacement and labor, that’s going to set you back $400.

Obviously, this should be considered a financial emergency. After all, you need this vehicle to bring home bacon. The problem? You don’t have the cash on hand to handle this expense. As such, you have to put this on your credit card—which means you now also have to pay back the high interest on the card.

Having a cash reserve for these types of emergencies gives you peace of mind. And, more importantly, it helps prevent you from getting buried under debt.

In a perfect world, you should have three to six months’ worth of your living expenses stashed away. But, having any amount set aside is better than nothing. For instance, if you have $300 in a rainy-day fund, you only have to put $100 on your card.

4. Use Debt Strategically

A lot of financial experts will advise you to avoid debt at all costs. But, not all debt is bad. For example, if you plan on buying a car or home you’ll need good credit. So, applying for a credit card and using it responsibly can achieve this goal.

You can also use debt to your advantage to further your education, acquire property, or start and/or grow your business. An example of not using debt strategically? Well, maxing out your credit card, when you can’t pay off the balance, on VIP tickets to a music festival is when you need to avoid debt.

5. Have an Investment Plan

After you’ve built an emergency fund to handle the unexpected, it’s time to get your investing game on.

“There are many, many different investment account options out there,” notes Alicia Dion, a personal finance expert. However, all of the different accounts you see can really boil down into two categories: retirement and non-retirement.

“One big mistake beginners make with investing is thinking they are too young to worry about saving for retirement,” adds Alicia. “But investing and retirement planning actually go hand-in-hand! Investing is a tool to build wealth. Retirement is an inevitable phase of life that requires wealth.”

If you want to get “the most out of your investing experience, you should start saving for both short and long-term goals,” she advises. “While retirement is a crucial thing to be saving for, it’s not normally your only financial goal. There are inevitable expenses in the short to medium term that investing can also help fund.”

“Understanding the type of account that will best fit your goals is key,” says Alicia. “Then, knowing that life will throw you all types of expenses, put your investments to work to help fund them.”

Retirement accounts come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most common types of retirement accounts include 401(k) and IRAs. Often, these are plans that your employer will match. But, there are retirement plans tailored for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

After matching these retirement plans, you should also consider contributing to an annuity. This can supplement your other retirement accounts while also providing a guaranteed lifetime income.

As for non-retirement accounts, consider investing in stocks, bonds, or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). To get your feet wet, you can also use robo-advisors who will do the legwork for you. If you’re married, you should look into a joint brokerage account. And, if you have kids, explore options like 529 plans and UGMA/UTMA accounts,

The most important takeaway is that you have a diversified investment portfolio to mitigate risk, while also maximizing your investments.

6. Get More Bang for Your Buck

Your mileage may vary on this, but, this is nothing more than buying for value. For example, you need a near pair of flip-flops for the summer. Instead of dishing out the $50 for a decent pair, you buy a cheap pair from the dollar store.

I’m not disrespecting dollar stores here. The point is that those flip-flops might make it through the summer. In turn, you’ll have to keep replacing them. The cost of replacing shoddy footwear is probably more than if you just coughed up the $50 from the onset.

At the same time, you don’t need to shelve out a $200 pair of flips flops. That just sounds excessive. And you may be sacrificing quality for an expensive brand name.

7. Leverage Your Employer Benefits

You can skip this if you’re self-employed. If not, make sure that you go over your employer’s benefits plan with a fine comb. Not only may you be missing out on free money, but your employer may also offer benefits that go beyond retirement plans.

Here’s what you should be looking for:

  • Retirement match
  • Life or disability insurance
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • Employee Stock Purchase Plans (ESPP)
  • Legal services

8. Expand Your Financial Knowledge

It can be intimidating and overwhelming when entering the realm of finance. But, if you want to become more financially stable and master money, then you need to continuously educate yourself on topics ranging from tax deductions to investing to retirement planning.

How you go about this is totally up to you. But, you can’t go wrong with reading financial books, following authority figures online, or taking online courses. You should also sit down and pick your financial advisor’s brain.

9. Seek Out Other Income Streams

Having several different income streams can be extremely beneficial. For starters, if you lost one source of income you can fall back on the others. Another perk is that you can use the additional cash flow to pay off your debt or put it toward your savings.

A side hustle is what immediately springs to my mind. This would be when you freelance or pick up a second job when you have the availability. That might work temporarily, like if you want to earn some quick cash for a vacation. But this can get exhausting.

The answer? Pursuing a passive income. You’ll still have to put some work in upfront, but eventually, you will earn money without putting in too much effort. Some ideas would be renting out a spare bedroom, selling an information product, annuities, or launching an eCommerce site.

10. Make Your Health a Priority

“Finances and health are nearly impossible to separate,” writes Kate Underwood in another Due post. “After all, health care costs money, and making money is a lot simpler when you’re healthy. You may be thinking you just don’t have time to focus on healthy habits like a balanced diet, exercise, or sleep.” However, “you might change your mind if you consider the many financial reasons to prioritize your health.”

To begin with, when you’re healthy, you’re less likely to get sick and miss work. I know that’s a big deal when you’re a freelancer. If you skip a day of work, you’re not making any money. If you’re employed by someone else, missing too many days of work could prevent you from landing a raise or promotion.

Secondly, there are long-term ramifications. With the rising cost of healthcare, taking care of yourself today can reduce these expenses tomorrow. Therefore, make getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, and doing regular exercise a priority.

The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are only those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.

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Despite recession fears, employers look to enhance benefits in 2023 – InsuranceNewsNet


Employers are caught between wanting to attract and retain employees while staring down a possible recession.

That was the word from Tracy Watts, national leader for health care policy with Mercer, at a webinar on Wednesday.

“Employers are fighting a war for talent plus facing the risk of recession – it’s as though they’re planning for growth in the morning and planning for recession in the afternoon,” she said. “We all have to be thoughtful and specific about what we want to do when it comes to providing benefits – these cost real money.”

Despite the fear of recession, two-thirds of employers surveyed said they plan to enhance their workplace health and benefit offerings in 2023.

“If you’re going to invest in benefits, you must be 100% sure you will get the return you are looking for,” Watts said.

Employers are taking a look beyond traditional insurance benefits to support employee work/life balance in 2023, Watts said. More than three-quarters of employers surveyed (78%) plan to offer their workers the option to work from home regularly. Two-thirds said they will offer flexible work schedules, 45% said they would offer paid time off to volunteer, 15% will offer unlimited paid time off, and 12% will fund lifestyle accounts that workers can access for a variety of purposes.

Despite looking at nontraditional benefits, employers also are looking at ways to make their workplace health benefits more affordable, Watts said. More than half of employers surveyed (52%) said they either have in place or plan to offer a plan with no or low deductibles, 41% said they already have or plan to offer a narrow network plan with low cost-sharing and 29% said they already have or plan to offer telehealth coverage for employees who are not eligible for the company health plan.

The employers surveyed said they either offer or plan to offer several enhancements to their company plans in 2023. These enhancements include:

  • Inclusive family planning support for LGBT workers (63%).
  • Provider search to support racial health gaps and disparities (51%).
  • Virtual behavioral health care (52%).
  • Specialized resources for women’s reproductive health (37%).

Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents’ association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.

© Entire contents copyright 2022 by InsuranceNewsNet.com Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted without the expressed written consent from InsuranceNewsNet.com.

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Where Does Hanover Insurance Group Inc (THG) Stock Fall in the Insurance

Hanover Insurance Group Inc (THG) leads the Insurance – Property & Casualty industry with an overall score of 76. THG is up 6.66% so far this year after the company closed yesterday at $146.25. The overall score measures the company’s performance based-off both short and long term indicators and means that THG scores better than 76% of the overall market.

THG has an Overall Score of 76. Find out what this means to you and get the rest of the rankings on THG!

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How to avoid costly medical bills and get out of medical debt : Shots


Patients and the consumer advocates say there are things people should do to try to avoid, or navigate, the medical debt trap. Financial assistance is available, but it all requires self-advocacy.

Lori Mangum was 32 when apple-sized tumors sprouted on her head. Now — six years and 10 surgeries later — the skin cancer is gone. But her pain lives on, in the form of medical debt.

Even with insurance, Mangum paid $36,000 out-of-pocket, charges that stemmed from the hospital, the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the pharmacy, and follow-up care. And she still has about $7,000 more to pay.

While she was trying to manage her treatment and medical costs, Mangum remembers thinking, “I should be able to figure this out. I should be able to do this for myself.”

But medical billing and health insurance systems in the U.S. are complex, and many patients have difficulty navigating them.

“It’s incredibly humbling — and sometimes even to the point of humiliating — to feel like you have no idea what to do,” Mangum said.

If you’re worried about incurring debt during a health crisis or are struggling to deal with bills you already have, you’re not alone. Some 100 million people — including 41% of U.S. adults — have health care debt, according to a recent survey by KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation).

But you can inform and protect yourself. NPR and KHN spoke with patients, consumer advocates, and researchers to glean their hard-won insights on how to avoid or manage medical debt.

“It shouldn’t be on the patients who are experiencing the medical issues to navigate this complicated system,” said Nicolas Cordova, a health care lawyer with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. But consumers who inform themselves have a better chance of avoiding debt traps.

That means knowing the ins and outs of various policies — whether it’s your insurance coverage, or a hospital’s financial assistance program, or a state’s consumer protection laws. Ask a lot of questions and persist. “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” said Cordova, “because sometimes you might get a ‘yes’.”

Even people with health insurance can land in debt; indeed, one of the biggest problems, consumer advocates said, is that so many people are underinsured, which means they can get hit with huge out-of-pocket costs from coinsurance and high deductibles.

Here is some practical advice about facing down medical debt, at every stage of care and after.

Before You Get Care

Get familiar with your insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs

Get the best insurance coverage you can afford — even when you’re healthy. Make sure you know what the copays, coinsurance, and deductibles will be. Don’t hesitate to call the insurer and ask someone to walk you through all the potential out-of-pocket costs. Keep in mind that you cannot make changes to your policy except during certain windows of time, such as open enrollment (typically in the fall or early winter) or after a major life event.

Sign up for public insurance if you qualify

If you’re uninsured but need health care, you might qualify for public insurance like Medicaid or Medicare. Ask the provider or hospital if they can help you check your eligibility before you commit to a care plan — and then stay with providers who participate in those programs.

Check whether the specifics of your care are covered

After your doctors map out your treatment plan, check whether all the providers you need to see are in-network and whether any part of the treatment needs to be preauthorized. Ask lots of questions of your insurance provider, doctor’s office, or hospital, especially for planned procedures, said Joy Dockter, a lawyer at Central California Legal Services, a public interest law firm. “Are my authorizations in place? What are my copays going to be? Find all that out beforehand, if you can,” she said.

Additionally, said Mark Rukavina, a program director at health equity advocacy group Community Catalyst, if the drug you want isn’t covered by your insurance, ask whether the drugmaker has a patient assistance program; many do, though eligibility requirements vary.

Get a cost estimate

If you’re uninsured, ask for a cost estimate in advance. Rukavina noted that the federal No Surprises Act, which took effect in January, requires providers to give uninsured patients “good faith” estimates of what planned care will cost.

Find out whether you’re eligible for financial assistance — and come prepared to make your case

Almost every hospital offers some form of financial assistance, or “charity care.” Each hospital sets its own eligibility requirements but typically will waive or discount bills for patients earning less than two to three times the federal poverty level. (Three times the federal poverty level for a household of four in 2022 would be $83,250.)

People who are employed often still qualify for a discount, if not for free care, said Jared Walker, founder of Dollar For, a nonprofit group that helps patients secure charity care. His group developed a database of hospital charity care policies and has an online tool that allows patients to check their eligibility.

Even if you’re not sure whether you qualify, it’s worth trying. Gather up documents such as pay stubs or income tax returns. Do not expect this to be an easy process. For example, Walker said, health care providers often require documentation to be faxed. “One of the most common refrains I heard from experts: Persistence pays,” Walker said.

If you’ve already qualified for government benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, that may streamline applying for a hospital’s financial aid.

If you’re not a U.S. citizen or legal resident, check whether your state bars the hospital from considering immigration status, as is the case in New Mexico and Maryland.

Check for other forms of financial assistance

Ambulance services, which can lead to huge bills, might offer charity care programs, so ask whether you qualify. Also ask your medical providers if they know of other charitable programs that would cover costs for things like rides to medical appointments.

During Treatment or Soon After

Ask for line items of the costs for every service, prescription, or treatment you receive

Keep an eye on costs as they come up, said Louisville cancer patient Lori Mangum, who is now chief operating officer of Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana, a cancer support group she relied on. Ask a family member or a support group to help you keep track, she said. And never assume that just because insurance covers one part of your treatment, that goes for everything else.

Scrutinizing your care can help you avoid costs. Mangum said she realized too late that she could’ve taken her own Tylenol, instead of paying “exorbitant” markups on the same medicine at the hospital. She said self-advocacy begins with pressing for answers about how much each service, treatment, and medication will cost — in advance, if possible.

Check whether providers are in-network

Consumer protections in the No Surprises Act should help limit out-of-network charges. That law bans “surprise” billing for most emergency care, as well as for some routine care with out-of-network providers. It also limits what providers can bill for out-of-network doctors, Rukavina said, and gives patients greater ability to dispute charges.

Make sure all your providers — including an anesthesiologist, for example — are in-network for your insurance. If it wasn’t disclosed to you in advance, that charge may be worth appealing.

Rukavina noted that if you are not insured or not using your insurance and asked for an estimate in advance, you can dispute bills that exceed the estimates by $400. For patients seeking more information about the No Surprises Act and what it covers, Rukavina recommended calling the government’s No Surprises Help Desk at 800-985-3059. For patients with complaints, he recommended filing an online complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Check for double billing

Go through each item on your bill. Mangum said that “it’s not infrequent for something to be double-billed.” Even if you’ve already been discharged and gotten behind on payments, it is worth checking to make sure you weren’t overcharged.

Negotiate with the hospital directly

Consumer advocates said people mistakenly think medical costs are fixed and nonnegotiable. That was the case for John DeAnda, who fainted while working as a cleaner at a New Mexico hospital. Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him after four days of tests, but the hospital billed him for $8,000, which he’s still trying to pay off, with interest, nine years later.

“I actually didn’t realize you could negotiate,” said DeAnda. “What I would’ve done differently is I would’ve talked to the hospital first, to see if they could work out a deal with me” before the bills were sent to collections.

If you know you cannot pay the bill, negotiate with the hospital administration or billing department. “That’s almost always possible” because hospitals want to avoid the costly administrative burden of sending bills to collections, said Ge Bai, a professor of accounting and health care policy at Johns Hopkins University.

Ask repeatedly about any other forms of financial assistance the hospital might offer. Negotiate the terms of payment to a monthly level that is affordable for you. This also saves the hospital the administrative headaches of unpaid bills, and it might help you avoid having bills sent to collections.

Prioritize paying for food and shelter over medical bills

Financial institutions and lenders treat medical debt differently than unpaid consumer bills. People choose to take a loan to buy a car; they don’t choose to get ill or injured. So just because people have medical debt does not mean they are unreliable or less likely to pay their bills in general. The three major credit-rating agencies recently agreed that unpaid medical bills will not affect people’s credit scores for a year. Once a bill is paid, it should come off your credit report immediately. Starting in 2023, unpaid medical debt under $500 should not appear on reports either.

That means you should focus first on paying for life necessities — rent or mortgage, gas to get to work, and food, said Marceline White, executive director of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition.

Do not sign up for credit cards that offer to pay medical bills for you

Experts warn against using credit cards offered by dentists, hospitals, and doctors’ offices to pay medical charges. Once you take out credit cards, personal loans, or second mortgages, the debt will get lumped in with any other form of consumer debt — the same as if you overspent on clothes or a luxury SUV. That’s one reason medical debt is often underreported; a lot of it masquerades as other forms of debt. Once you convert a medical bill to a credit card or personal loan, it’s more likely to hurt your credit score and therefore your ability to borrow in the future.

If you are already in debt or in collections

Try to qualify, even after the fact, for charity care

Hospitals sometimes overlook or fail to screen patients eligible for their financial assistance programs. Nonprofit hospitals are required by law to offer charity care and other community benefits. This is where self-advocacy can make the biggest difference. Sometimes hospitals will retroactively qualify patients and write off their debts. Volunteers at Dollar For will help patients push for that.

Dispute your bill if it is inaccurate

Rukavina said that under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors are required to provide a written notice, within five days of contacting a patient, detailing the amount owed, the name of the creditor, and how to dispute the bill. Patients can dispute inaccurate bills if they respond within 30 days. Rukavina said even patients whose bills are in collections can tell bill collectors they wish to apply for financial assistance if they haven’t already. If the patient qualifies, the collector cannot charge more than what the patient would’ve had to pay.

Contact free legal aid services

Lawyers around the country will represent consumers free of charge to resolve legal cases, including medical debt cases. They often have experience dealing with hospitals and third-party collections companies and might be able to argue your case on your behalf, especially if one or both have violated your state’s consumer protection laws.

Do not ignore the issue

The impulse is understandable, but it will not help and will likely make the debt even more complicated to address, said Rukavina. As daunting as it might be, try to keep advocating for yourself and your family and get help.

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Hopes high but expectations realistic as Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People launches

A new era for health and advocacy has arrived for people with disabilities with the launch of Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People at Parliament on Friday.

The launch opened with a lively performance by dancers with disabilities at the Banquet Hall with invited guests from across the disability sector.

It was described as a “historic day” by event co-MC and disabled community member Pati Umaga.

But those in the community have been told that while change is afoot, it won’t happen overnight.

* New Ministry for Disabled People first ministry to have a name in three languages
* Disabled people make up most of Community Steering Group guiding the establishment of new Ministry for Disabled People
* New Ministry for Disabled People needs a relevant Māori lens, advocates say

Whaikaha establishment governance group co-chair Gerri Pomeroy said the new ministry gave the disability community greater reach.

“The new ministry presents a unique opportunity, because its role is to both listen to and empower the voices of all disabled people in disability policy across government – and to deliver services,” she said.

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People launches at the Banquet Hall at Parliament.


Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People launches at the Banquet Hall at Parliament.

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People is the first government ministry in New Zealand to have three official names – one in English, one in Te Reo Māori and one in New Zealand Sign Language.

With the establishment of the new ministry, disability support services were moving from the Ministry of Health to Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People, but there would be no changes to funding or personal budgets and disabled people didn’t need to do anything on July 1 to continue receiving support.

The ministry would also roll out the Enabling Good Lives approach to disability support services across the country, giving disabled people more choice and control over their funding.

Former Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced the new ministry in October 2021, saying at the time that the disability system was “broken”.

Minister Carmel Sepuloni at the official launch of Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People.


Minister Carmel Sepuloni at the official launch of Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People.

She said the name Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People was chosen because “it was very strongly felt by disabled people that they didn’t want a ministry that was doing stuff for them. They wanted a ministry that was of them”.

The New Zealand Sign Language name of the new ministry hadn’t been decided yet because the Deaf community needed time to “ascertain how this ministry feels” before determining what the most appropriate name would be, Sepuloni said.

There was also a delay in finalising the appointment of the permanent chief executive however the Public Service Commission confirmed it was a disabled person.

Geraldine Woods has been appointed acting chief executive of Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People.


Geraldine Woods has been appointed acting chief executive of Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People.

Geraldine Woods has been appointed acting chief executive for a limited time and described the “unexpected” appointment as “emotional”.

Woods was the co-chair of the Establishment Governance Group which was responsible for ensuring the effective establishment of the Ministry of Disabled People.

Woods has previously worked as a public servant with responsibility for funding vocational services with the Ministry of Social Development and also funding disability support services under the Ministry of Health. She also worked in Australia on the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Queensland.

Although she doesn’t identify as someone with lived-experience of disability, she said her role as “temporary guardian” was to put the new ministry on the right path and she gave her commitment to work in partnership with disabled people.


Minister for Disability Issues Poto Williams speaks about the future of the new ministry.

Recently appointed Minister for Disability Issues Poto Williams said there was a clear strategy to ensure that the new ministry has an oversight role to ensure processes throughout all government agencies were fit for purpose.

“So it will be our role as a ministry to support them to do that,” she said.

Sepuloni said issues regarding inclusive education and the lack of affordable housing would not be lumped on the new ministry.

She said the new chief executive’s role will be to ensure that disabled people are involved in the decision-making process when it came to policy work.

In setting up the new ministry, Sepuloni said a governance and steering group including members from the disability community, had been closely involved in the process, including the recruitment of a new chief executive.

Poto Williams is the new Minister for Disability Issues.


Poto Williams is the new Minister for Disability Issues.

Williams said having voices from the community to shape the ministry was imperative.

“Having disabled people at the heart of those conversations and being very critical about what their expectations are, I think these are important aspects to ensuring that,” she said.

Williams said the day-to-day lives of disabled people probably wouldn’t look too different immediately, but once the ministry was fully established it would change the lives of 1.1 million New Zealanders.

Disability advocate and lawyer Dr Huhana Hickey was on the governance board of the new ministry.

She said disabled people needed to be realistic about their expectations for the new ministry because changes won’t happen straight away.

“My dream would be that it will be all that we hope it to be, the reality is that I know it won’t be,” she said.

“You can only do so much that fast and the reality is that, while we’re opening [today], it won’t be ready for 12 months at least to try and get everything in place so that we have a ministry that truly reflects disabled.”

Disability advocate and lawyer Dr Huhana Hickey was on the governance board of the ministry.


Disability advocate and lawyer Dr Huhana Hickey was on the governance board of the ministry.

Disability Connect chief executive Mike Potter said changes would not be implemented immediately.

“There’s a lot of hopes and dreams, but the reality is that Government is always slow,” he said.

“It’s about breaking down some of those silos for ministries, across education, across health, across housing, across justice as well. All those areas where [disability support] assessments are being taken, we’d like to see some consistency in that.”

He said the Government also needed to recognise that disabled people were living longer and outliving their parents. He said the current systems in place do not take that into account.

“We need the Government to be held to account, to be up to speed and across the whole of life for disabled people and their families and their whanau.”

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People came into effect on the same day as Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority.

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Internet Insurance Market Size, Share, Future Growth and Opportunity Assessment 2021-2027 – InsuranceNewsNet


New Jersey, USA — (SBWIRE) — 06/30/2022 — Advance Market Analytics published a new research publication on “Internet Insurance Market Insights, to 2027” with 232 pages and enriched with self-explained Tables and charts in presentable format. In the Study you will find new evolving Trends, Drivers, Restraints, Opportunities generated by targeting market associated stakeholders. The Internet Insurance market study covers significant research data and proofs to be a handy resource document for managers, analysts, industry experts and other key people to have ready-to-access and self-analyzed study to help understand market trends, growth drivers, opportunities and upcoming challenges and about the competitors.

Key Players in This Report Include:
Lifenet Insurance (Japan), Allstate (United States), Inweb (United Kingdom), Money Super Market (United Kingdom), PICC Group (United States), Ping An Group (China), AIG (United States), Zhongmin (China), Huize (China), China Life (China),

Download Sample Report PDF (Including Full TOC, Table & Figures) @ https://www.advancemarketanalytics.com/sample-report/113093-global-internet-insurance-market

Internet insurance is the protection plan which can enhance the vitality of the business and give the security needed to make correct decisions in the midst of internet communication problems. When the company relies on many different online components it is important to have the protection which is available to tackle major issues that wouldna€™t be ordinarily encountered. In other words, the Internet insurance policy provides companies with specific coverage for legal liability as a result of online crimes, which includes unauthorized access of customer information, and website, network, or server interruptions.

Market Trends:
– Increasing Penetration of Internet is Fueling the Market Growth

Market Drivers:
– Increasing Security Concerns is Fuelling the Market
– Growing E commerce Industry

Market Opportunities:
– Regulatory Supports from the Governments Globally
– Short Term Operational Issues due to Operational Issues

The Global Internet Insurance Market segments and Market Data Break Down are illuminated below:
by Type (Life Insurance, Property Insurance, Comparison of Insurance), Application (Personal, Group), End users (Individuals, Enterprises), Duration (Long term, Short term)

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Geographically, the detailed analysis of consumption, revenue, market share, and growth rate of the following regions:
– The Middle East and Africa (South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel, Egypt, etc.)
North America (United States, Mexico & Canada)
South America (Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, etc.)
Europe (Turkey, Spain, Turkey, Netherlands Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Russia UK, Italy, France, etc.)
Asia-Pacific (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Korea, Thailand, India, Indonesia, and Australia).

Objectives of the Report
– To carefully analyze and forecast the size of the Internet Insurance market by value and volume.
– To estimate the market shares of major segments of the Internet Insurance
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– To offer precise and useful details about factors affecting the growth of the Internet Insurance
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Major highlights from Table of Contents:

Internet Insurance Market Study Coverage:
– It includes major manufacturers, emerging player’s growth story, and major business segments of Internet Insurance market, years considered, and research objectives. Additionally, segmentation on the basis of the type of product, application, and technology.
– Internet Insurance Market Executive Summary: It gives a summary of overall studies, growth rate, available market, competitive landscape, market drivers, trends, and issues, and macroscopic indicators.
– Internet Insurance Market Production by Region Internet Insurance Market Profile of Manufacturers-players are studied on the basis of SWOT, their products, production, value, financials, and other vital factors.
– Key Points Covered in Internet Insurance Market Report:
– Internet Insurance Overview, Definition and Classification Market drivers and barriers
Internet Insurance Market Competition by Manufacturers
– Impact Analysis of COVID-19 on Internet Insurance Market
– Internet Insurance Capacity, Production, Revenue (Value) by Region (2021-2026)
– Internet Insurance Supply (Production), Consumption, Export, Import by Region (2021-2026)
– Internet Insurance Manufacturers Profiles/Analysis Internet Insurance Manufacturing Cost Analysis, Industrial/Supply Chain Analysis, Sourcing Strategy and Downstream Buyers, Marketing
– Strategy by Key Manufacturers/Players, Connected Distributors/Traders Standardization, Regulatory and collaborative initiatives, Industry road map and value chain Market Effect Factors Analysis.

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Key questions answered
– How feasible is Internet Insurance market for long-term investment?
– What are influencing factors driving the demand for Internet Insurance near future?
– What is the impact analysis of various factors in the Global Internet Insurance market growth?
– What are the recent trends in the regional market and how successful they are?
About Author:
Advance Market Analytics is Global leaders of Market Research Industry provides the quantified B2B research to Fortune 500 companies on high growth emerging opportunities which will impact more than 80% of worldwide companies’ revenues.
Our Analyst is tracking high growth study with detailed statistical and in-depth analysis of market trends & dynamics that provide a complete overview of the industry. We follow an extensive research methodology coupled with critical insights related industry factors and market forces to generate the best value for our clients. We Provides reliable primary and secondary data sources, our analysts and consultants derive informative and usable data suited for our clients business needs. The research study enable clients to meet varied market objectives a from global footprint expansion to supply chain optimization and from competitor profiling to M&As.

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/internet-insurance-market-to-show-strong-growth-picc-group-zhongmin-huize-china-life-1358269.htm

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Nidhi BhawsarPR & Marketing Manager
AMA Research & Media LLP
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People on the move in the P&C insurance industry: July 1, 2022

“It’s an honor to join NFP, work with Vilma and contribute to the growth of our Energy practice,” said James Debenport. “We share the same vision in becoming the most dynamic, innovative, and responsive energy brokerage team in today’s evolving insurance market. It’s clear there is a deep commitment to shaping an exceptional culture within NFP. To say I’m excited would be an understatement.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Serena as our in-house counsel and chief risk officer in the US,” said Lisa Davis, chief executive, Canopius U.S. and Bermuda. “Serena will be an important part of our Leadership as US operations continue to grow at a rapid pace and we strengthen and broaden our offerings.”

“Joe is an outstanding addition to the global distribution team. He is highly regarded in the industry with a deep relationship network and proven record of driving transformational broker distribution strategies,” said Anthony Izzo, global head of facultative and distribution. “I look forward to partnering with Joe as we continue to enhance our growing global distribution network. Joe’s experience and leadership will support all aspects of Everest’s distribution – from strategy and marketing to driving best-in-class customer solutions.”

“Sandy’s knowledge of our industry, strategic mindset and collaborative nature make her the right leader for IMA Select,” said IMA President of Retail Operations Kyle Orndorff. “We see unlimited possibilities for the team and have no doubt Sandy will build on our customer-centric approach to develop IMA Select into the premier advisor for individuals, families and small businesses in the U.S.”

NFP appointed James Debenport as vice president, energy and marine, to the energy practice within NFP’s Specialty business. He served as vice president of a boutique wholesale brokerage firm specializing in the energy casualty business.

Canopius Group appointed Serena Lee as its general council and chief risk officer. She served as vice president, senior council – corporate and litigation at Ambridge Partners, LLC.

Everest Reinsurance announced that Joe Stuhl joined as senior vice president of Global Distribution. He served as an executive vice president and broker executive at Munich Re U.S.

IMA Select announced that Sandy Harvath joined as its president. She served as construction account manager at IMA.

WTW appointed Sudhir Modhvadia as head of structured risk. He served at RenaissanceRe as experienced property underwriter.

BMS announced that Ian Gormley joined as U.K. CEO. He previously served as managing director of global risks at BMS.

Liberty Company Insurance Brokers announced that John Bella joined as producer. He worked with various property management companies in the private real estate industry.

Convex Group Limited announced that Paul Brand joined as group CEO.

Everest Insurance announced the following appointments:

  • Chris Curtin – head of U.S. property
  • Patrick Hagerty – VP, division underwriting officer
  • Maria Grace – chief underwriting officer

Related: People on the move in the P&C insurance industry: June 24, 2022

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