Sunday, July 22. 2012
Those who work in the state government of Oregon will see health insurance rates rise starting next year, according to figures from the Public Employees' Benefit Board.
Health insurance premiums are expected to increase between $1.45 to $4.80 more per month during that time. At present, state employees pay approximately 5 percent of their own premiums, the report notes. In 2012, employees paid between $43.51 and $67.84 for premiums.
When looking at next year's figures, premium amounts will range from $935 to $1,452, the report said. The reason for the healthcare rate increase was in part due to more workers taking advantage of health insurance through the state employment program. Total healthcare services costs have increased, which also reportedly was a factor.
The report added that those state employees who use dental plans experienced a jump in costs between 14 and 21 cents on average.
If a state worker is not satisfied with the increases in health insurance rates, they may want to look for an alternative option. By going online and examining multiple health insurance quotes, an inexpensive plan may be able to be obtained.
The Affordable Care Act has allowed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to give the federal government ways to aid states in designing more affordable healthcare systems through a new program, the agency noted.
The initiative will give state governments a chance to improve both delivery methods and payment structures to increase healthcare affordability and overall quality. In addition, the program aims to work with insurance companies, healthcare companies, employers and others affected by health insurance changes in order to make more informed decisions.
"As a former governor, I've seen states in action and know what great laboratories they are for innovations we can put into practice nationwide," said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of HHS.
While HHS created the initiative to improve the healthcare situation, some states have already begun efforts in this vein. This includes implementing care networks that try to streamline communication between healthcare providers, hospitals and medical specialists.
Continued work between federal and state governments to lower costs of healthcare may help lower health insurance rates for consumers, which could make it easier on those looking for a private plan but may be concerned about costs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study which showed that one in 13 women drink while pregnant.
The study explained that of the women who do drink alcohol while pregnant, approximately 25 percent binge drink. Consuming alcohol while pregnant has the potential to severely impair the child's development.
"Pregnant and nonpregnant women of childbearing age who misuse alcohol might benefit from public health interventions … such as increased alcohol excise taxes and limiting alcohol outlet density," the study said.
Approximately half of women who are not pregnant do drink, the study found, while nearly 15 percent of pregnant women between the ages of 35 and 44 drank the most. Those who have jobs or are employed drank at a rate of approximately 10 percent while pregnant.
Women who are pregnant, or are considering it, may want to speak with their doctor for a full list of habits they should not do during childbearing. If they want a stronger healthcare policy before taking this step, it may be wise to compare health insurance quotes online to find the right option.