Organizations, such as the Mayo Clinic and Intermountain Healthcare, provide the best quality health care at the lowest cost. America’s health-care problems could be eased and even solved if high-quality, low cost medical care was universal.Unfortunately, providing the best health care services is not contagious, like a virus. There is a wide variation in quality and cost, even with examples of providers who work hard at providing the best quality and lowest cost. Culture, economics, and commitment are a few of the reasons for the wide variety in health care.Six of the best healthcare organizations are researching the best strategies for the most common and costly medical conditions. They are working together to compile data on the best strategies, then will share that information and encourage other providers to adopt the best strategies system.James Weinstein, director of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice is heading the new project. The project participants are Mayo, Intermountain, Cleveland Clinic, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Geisinger Health System and Denver Health. Weinstein states, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. That’s not very good and we can’t afford to do it any more.”The six organizations involved in the project serve over 10 million people and are sharing data on the medical conditions they are researching. The data involves clinical protocols which will help in determining the treatment strategies that are the most cost-effective. These organizations will then send their findings to other health care systems throughout the U.S. There are other organizations who are considering joining in the research.The first of eight medical condition treatments to be studied is total knee replacement surgery. There are approximately 300,000 knee replacements done each year. The cost of this surgery can range from $16,000 to $24,000. There is a wide variety in the rates of the number of people who have the procedure, in complications and readmissions. The data on total knee replacements is expected to be ready in February 2011.Diabetes, heart failure, asthma, weight loss surgery, labor and delivery, spine surgery and depression are the other seven to be studied after knee replacement.The cost and results of treatment for the medical conditions is not the only information that will be gathered. The project is also looking at patient preference regarding the different treatment optionsThe Dartmouth Atlas is a collection of data that has been compiled from Medicare claims which document the variation in cost and delivery of care. This data was collected from every region in the U.S. Regarding the current project data, Weinstein stated, “We’ll collect the data at Dartmouth and we can benchmark it against the Dartmouth Atlas. We’ll look at what the best outcomes are at the lowest cost. We’ll share that data with each other and publish the recommendations for others around the country to consider.”The new health care law combined with the interest from employers in controlling health costs should increase the interest in and use of the recommendations created by this project. Weinstein says, “The more we make this public and share this, the better off we’ll be as a nation.”
What is health insurance?Health insurance, or medical insurance, is an agreement between the insured and the insurance company. The insured will pay an amount of premium and in return the insurance company agrees to pay for the medical cost of the insured if he admitted to hospital due to accident or illness.This policy helps to pay off medical expenses; it is also used to cover disability or long-term nursing care, it helps to protect the insured from high expensive medical care costs.The policy lists the kinds of services of medical benefits such as examination, drugs, operation and treatment services. It also lists the kinds of services that are not covered by the insurance company; the insured will have to pay for any uncovered medical treatment.In practice, normally the applicant will receive a medical card. Anytime if he admits to the hospital, he just needs to produce the card, the hospital will provide him with treatment and bill the insurance company later. The card is renewable annually or every two to three years. The premium needs to pay annually or half yearly. If no premium receives the due date, the medical will be void.Individual and family health insuranceFamily health insurance is you, your spouse and your children are all included on the policy, and it is referred to as an individual health plan. Anyone who is self-employed also can purchase this policy.Group health insuranceThis is normally purchase for the employees by an employer, a company or organization. The premium of this type may be fully paid by the employer or partially paid by the employer and partially paid by the employee.Many people would rather get group than individual policy, because it is cheaper and offers more benefits, but for those who are self-employed or work in a small company may not have the opportunity to obtain the former type.
If you’re uninsured under the new health care reform act, called the Affordable Care Act, now is the time to change that. In fact, by 2014, if you’re not insured, you will face penalties from the IRS. Yes, that’s right. The IRS will begin keeping track of whether or not people are insured through tax codes filed by your employer, your insurance company, or anyone else responsible for keeping track of your insurance status.So, I know this sounds bad. But in reality, it’s not. Americans pay millions in taxes every year to fund the health care costs for people who are uninsured. Under the new health care reform act, we won’t be paying for other people’s medical bills.The health care reform act also has many provisions in place to help people afford better coverage – which is part of the reason it is called the Affordable Care Act. The government will offer tax credits and subsidies to both individuals and small businesses so they can better afford health insurance. Plans will also begin providing more coverage, which means better bang for you buck.Other benefits for getting insured as soon as possible:-Children will be able to stay on their parent’s plans until they are 26 years old-Children can no longer be turned down for preexisting conditions-Coverage can’t be cancelled for people who become sick-Temporary risk pools are set up for people with preexisting conditions-Insurance companies can’t raise premiums without giving the government a really good reason why they are doing so-The government will also offer financial help for early retireesHere are some tips to finding insurance under the new health care reform act:-Make sure the plans you are looking into reflect the new changes. If they don’t, look elsewhere.-If you work for a small company, urge them to offer group health insurance for employees now while they can take advantage of tax credits.-If you have a child with a preexisting condition, go for the family health insurance you want; they can’t turn you down anymore.-If you have retiree health benefits, urge your former employer to look into “reinsurance” programs so they can get help paying your largest expenses.