Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Insurance news: Hospital visit leads to Bankruptcy court, and WA one of 14 states where insurers compete

The NY Times' Kevin Sack reports on a plight all too common today -- the rise in personal bankruptcies due to illness. It's one of the most compelling arguments today for national health care reform - that many of us are one diagnosis away from financial disaster.

One fellow interviewed for the story resorted to credit cards to pay his medical bills after he lost his job. "I tell my wife that we beat the economy," he said,
"but health care beat us."

The Wall Street Journal says both sides of the reform debate are playing chicken -- debating the trigger point for when a state would have to offer a public option. The opt out/ opt in provision appeals to both sides - one side says it'll never happen, and the other can point to the inevitability. Much of the debate centers on whether insurers are competing in your state. According to the American Medical Association, Washington state is one of 14 states where health insurers still compete. Check it out.

Free credit report - really?

Have you seen those goofy ads with the annoying rock band touting free credit reports? They're a good reminder to get your annual free credit report -- especially now that insurance companies are looking more closely at your credit history. But make sure you click on the real free credit report site.

Experian, one of the major credit bureaus, is behind the catchy ads. But watch out - there's a hidden fee. Many who thought they were signing up for the free annual credit report were actually charged $14.95 for monthly credit monitoring services. Experian has paid more than a $1 million over the last five years to settle FTC charges that it misled consumers.

Read the full story here.

Want a FREE credit report? Here you go.