More employers penalize smokers with higher insurance premiums

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Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest employer, recently sought the higher payments from some smokers, as much as $2000 more than non-smokers.

Employers are making  a shift toward penalizing employees with unhealthy lifestyles rather than rewarding employees with good habits as more employers are demanding that workers who smoke, are overweight or have high cholesterol shoulder a greater share of their health care costs.

 

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As health premiums rise even the insured are spending less on care

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More money is spent on health insurance but less money is spent on care.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show more money is being spent on health insurance but less on care.  Americans are spending more money on insurance premiums, and they’re spending less out of pocket on health services. The trend doesn’t reflect patients getting more health coverage for their insurance money, experts say. It reflects patients, even those with insurance, avoiding spending cash on health care they think can be put off.

 

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Health Insurers Make Huge Profits While Many Americans Postpone Care

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Health insurers propose double-digit increases in their rates, citing a need for protection against any sudden uptick in demand once people have more money to spend on their health.

Major health insurers in the U.S. are heading into a third year of record profits.  Their earnings have been enriched in recent months by a lingering recessionary mind-set among Americans.  Many who are postponing or forgoing medical care.

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Study: 129 Million Americans Under 65 Have Pre-Existing Health Conditions

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Health problems could prevent Americans from obtaining health insurance.

As many as 129 million Americans under age 65 have health problems that could hurt their ability to obtain health insurance or force them to pay higher premiums, a U.S. government study said on Tuesday.

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Percentage of Families with Life Insurance is at It’s Lowest in 50 Years

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Consumers have had troubles keeping up paying their premiums during the economic downturn.

The percentage of U.S. households with life insurance coverage is at its lowest in 50 years, leaving millions of families without a safety net, industry experts say.Only 44% of households have an individual life insurance policy, and 30% have no individual or employer-provided life insurance, according to a recent survey by LIMRA, an industry-sponsored group. Some 11 million households with children younger than 18 — viewed as families with the greatest need for coverage — have no life insurance.

 

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The High Cost of Earthquake Insurance – Most Homeowners In California Are Not Covered

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A house damaged in the 1994 Northridge quake.  Most homeowner are not covered by quake insurance.

Yves Didier has been a strong believer in earthquake insurance since the 1994 Northridge quake, when his apartment building was severely damaged and some of his neighbors lost their lives.  He didn’t hesitate to pay as much as $2,500 a year for coverage after he purchased a three-bedroom house in Reseda in 1999. He said he’s never missed a payment and (thankfully) never had to make a claim.

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