By Dorothy York, President and CEO of North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS)
Health insurance providers have responded in a variety of ways to the COVID19 crisis, according to AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans), whose members provide coverage for health care and related services to hundreds of millions of Americans every day. They are committed to market-based solutions and public-private partnerships that improve affordability, value, access and well-being for consumers.
According to Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 170 million people in the U. S. are covered by many different group and individually purchased health plans and people cannot take for granted that every plan covers the same benefits, applies the same cost sharing and utilization review standards or offers access to the same providers.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was an important first step in addressing the issue of providing free testing to uninsured workers. This will go a long way to help the 27.5 million uninsured Americans.
Communicating the answers to new questions about what is covered and debunking common myths about coverage is going to be an agile process as circumstances change rapidly over time. Consumer awareness campaigns are needed for building trust and satisfying concerns in a timely manner, which will help drive revenues, reduce costs and may save lives.
To help our clients choose formats that are getting the best results, North American Precis Syndicate ranks the top feature news stories of the year by the highest number of placements in media outlets nationwide. We have compiled the results to show the top feature news stories of the decade, those that have performed brilliantly, way above and beyond what is typically expected.
The most successful stories included attractive color photos or infographics, helpful advice from experts, celebrity spokespeople, the latest statistics, results from surveys, trends, time-saving tips, money saving ideas and other helpful information. The stories targeted people across various demographic groups and related to safe, enjoyable and prosperous experiences, protecting the health, and assets, of the readers, their friends and family members.
We are passionate about working on the kinds of stories that help millions of people nationwide with the news that is potentially life saving or can improve the quality of their lives.
To name a few, here are examples of the top health insurance stories of the decade. These are from some of the best and brightest health communications professionals for some of the most demanding management teams at leading organizations:
1- Federal Long Term Care Insurance (FLTCIP): “Enjoying The Holidays With Family/ Home For The Holidays”
Readers were encouraged to view the lifestyle of their loved ones to determine if they need help. Tips were given for considering whether a loved one is having difficulty performing every day activities, such as cleanliness of the home, personal hygiene and care, level of independence, social interaction, whether bills are piling up, and mental sharpness. Eligibility requirements for FLTCIP were included.
2- eHealth: “Spotlight On Health/ 10 Tips To Pick Your Best Plan In The Last Days Of ACA Open Enrollment”
Readers who were buying individual family health insurance on their own were alerted that nationwide open enrollment under the ACA was coming to an end at the end of the year. Ten insurance shopping tips were offered, including knowing if you qualify for subsidies, shopping beyond government websites, knowing if your prescriptions are covered and knowing your deductible and maximum out-of-pocket costs.
3- Transamerica Institute: “Insurance Matters/ What To Do If You Lose Your Health Insurance”
Reader were alerted that, because of recent changes, they may have more options than they realized if they lost their health insurance. Results of a survey revealed that one in three insured adults acquired new health insurance in the past 12 months and 61% of uninsured respondents said cost prevented them from obtaining health coverage. Options were offered, including joining your parents’ or spouse’s plan, shopping the exchange, determining eligibility for Medicaid, buying direct, and considering gap and short-term insurance
4- Walgreens: “Understanding Medicare/ Debunking Common Medicare Part D Myths”
Readers were informed that they may be able to save money by using a preferred pharmacy in their Medicare plan’s network. The importance of evaluating your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan every year was emphasized and the company expert debunked five common myths about Medicare Part D, including the myths that costs are the same at all pharmacies, or that changing your plan means you must change your pharmacy.
5- New York Life/AARP: “Planning A More Secure Future/ As The Cost Of Long-Term Care Increases, It Pays To Know Your Options”
AARP statistics indicated that there are 10,000 people turning 65 every day and that about seven in ten people turning 65 will need some kind of long term-care services. Several options were offered, by a New York Life expert, to ensure they have more control over how and where they age, including long-term care planning options, self-funding, Medicaid, and private insurance. Readers were encouraged to lock their insurability in at a younger age and a lower rate to get the most bang for their buck.
6- Mutual of Omaha: “Managing Your Money/ Six Questions About Long-Term Care”
Expert advice is given by a company spokesperson about objections to buying long-term care insurance, including the notion that you can pay for services yourself, if and when those are needed. To explain why self insuring may not be in their best interest, answers to six questions are included for “What about your spouse?”, “Have you considered the tax implications?”, “Are you prepared to invade your plan?”, “Have you thought about the cost of the lost opportunity?”, “Can you really save enough?” and “Can you really get the care you need?”
7- Humana: “Health Awareness/ Medicare Encourages Preventive Care”
As a flood of boomers approached 65, they were encouraged to get ready for a healthier future by learning about their health options, including preventive care, and regular exercise so they could prepare for many more healthy and fulfilling years. Advice of the company doctor was offered, that “it pays to learn what Medicare and Medicare Advantage deliver and how to access these benefits.” Tips were offered to help people choose.
8- WellPoint (Now BCBS): “Health Bulletin/ WellPoint Provides Tips For Playing It Safe”
Readers were encouraged to ask their doctors or pharmacists about the medication they take, to prevent drug mishaps and related incidents. The company expert offered tips for playing it safe, including knowing your drugs, being aware of interactions, following instructions, never taking anyone else’s medicine for any reason, and getting help if people need it. Readers were informed about the company sponsorship of a program by National Council on Aging, to connect people with help for medicine, rent, utilities and meals.
9- United-Healthcare: “Tips For Navigating This Year’s Health Insurance Open Enrollment Season”
Tips were offered from a company expert to help people with the newly created state health insurance exchanges, known as “marketplaces,” which were a component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Readers were informed about timing and eligibility requirements for a subsidy.
10- American Association For Homecare: “ “Competitive” Bidding May Hurt Seniors”
Americans were encouraged to call Congress to ask their representatives what was being done about Medicare’s bidding program for durable medical equipment and services, including oxygen, hospital beds and wheelchairs to help keep people safe. Results of a study were revealed, indicating a concern that the system “fails to generate competitive prices of goods and fails to satisfy demands.”
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