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March 2010 Archives

Health Insurance Consumer Protection

I will leave the politics of health insurance reform to others. Whatever your political persuasion there are important consumer protections provided by the new legislation that all Americans ought to know about. According to the White House's own website...Under the law the following consumer protections will begin this year:(1) Uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions will have the choice of quality, affordable insurance through a new insurance pool;
(2) Small business owners will be eligible for billions in tax credits to help offer insurance coverage to employees;
(3) New plans will have to offer preventive care and immunizations at no cost;
(4) New plans and certain existing plans that offer dependent coverage will have to cover an enrollee's dependent children until age 26;
(5) A re-insurance program for employers that offer health insurance to their early retirees will save as much as $1,200 for every family enrolled;
(6) A new website to help consumers compare different insurance coverage options along with state-by-state health care consumer assistance and ombudsman for any of their health insurance questions;
(7) A new independent appeals process for new plans so consumers and patients can appeal insurance company decisions;
(8) Prohibits new plans and existing group health plans from denying coverage for children because of a pre-existing medical condition;
(9) Review of requested insurance premium increases -- health insurers with a pattern of excessive rate increases can be blocked from selling through new insurance exchanges;
(10) Remove arbitrary lifetime limits on coverage in all plans, and remove restrictive annual limits on benefits in all new plans and existing group health plans so people know that all of the care they need will be paid for;
(11) Prevent insurance companies from dropping insurance coverage when a person gets sick and needs it most.Additionally, the Kaiser Family Foundation has an excellent outline which summarizes the timeline for health reform implementation here.

Scary Data for the Parents of Teenagers

My wife and I only have one teenager left in our home. Our other children have theoretically grown up. But, very few things are more frightening then being the parent of a teenager with a car. And, the data backs up these concerns. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers. The crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is 4 times the risk as compared to older drivers. Not surprisingly, risk is highest at age 16. The crash rate per mile driven is twice as high for 16 year-olds as it is for 18-19 year-olds.Browsing the web today, I found these ten safety tips that as the father of former and current teenagers make a lot of sense to me.1. Pay for extra driver training if you can afford it.2. Have your child drive you everywhere possible once they receive a learner's permit.3. Talk to your child as you drive, communicate with your child as you travel together.4. Don't Rant, Yell, Scream or Shout -- Until You Get Home.5. Review your driving session once you return home as gently and calmly as possible.6. Meet your child's traveling companions.7. Remind your child frequently of the inherent dangers of operating a motor vehicle with anything less than 100 percent concentration. 8. Choose a Safe Car.9. Ride periodically with your teen even after they obtain their license.10. Have your child share insurance and other costs.Not everyone can afford extra driving instruction. But, parents can ill afford to not take the time to make sure their teenager is safe behind the wheel. My instincts tell me that this begins by being safe drivers ourselves. Make sure your children see you being a cautious driver. If your child sees you talking on your cell phone while you drive, they will be much less likely to listen when you instruct them not to do the same.

Purvis Gray, LLP -- 25 years helping people

Today is 25th anniversary of 1st day of business for the law firm I call home - Purvis Gray, LLP. Congratulations to John Purvis and Bill Gray! This law firm has helped an awful lot of people over the years. I am very proud to be part of this great organization.

Picture above my desk/computer

My wife, who shares a birthday with my law firm, gave me a picture years ago that sits above my desk. It reads:

Time to Live: Life grants us the opportunity to write our own destiny. Our fate is not a matter of chance; it is how we decide to spend our lives. Let us choose to give our lives to something that will outlast us.
Seems to be a pretty good statement about what I am trying to do for a living here at Purvis Gray, LLP. It certainly pertains to the work this firm has done for the last 25 years.

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