Top Health Insurance Companies

Buying a good and affordable health insurance plan in today’s world seems like a tough task. The cost of health insurance is increasing day by day due to the rise in the cost of health care in the US. A simple visit to the doctor’s clinic can cost around $200 to $300 and if the matter is serious, the patient can expect a large medical bill if he/she doesn’t have health insurance. The best way to be safe is to get an affordable health insurance plan that suits the investor’s profile, but for that the investor has to select a good health insurance company first.

Top Health Insurance Companies in USA

There are many health insurance companies in the US, but not all of them can be called the best choice for people. Today, people don’t need expensive plans, they need plans which can fit in their budget and protect them from uncertain situations. The following names stand out because they understand the thinking of an average American and make sure that he/she gets a plan that they can fit in their portfolio. Here are some great options.

Aetna International
I think most readers wouldn’t be surprised to find Aetna’s name on the top, after all it is the most popular health care service provider in the US. The company offers medical, dental, vision and life, disability and special insurance plans for students, pets, overall wellness, behavioral health care and pharmaceuticals and so on. Majority of the plans offered by the company are targeted towards serving individuals and their families, and some plans are focused towards various types of businesses in which employers offer health coverage plans for individuals.

BlueCross BlueShield Association
The BlueCross BlueShield Association is the parent company of 39 different companies which are independent, community based and locally operated for the benefit of American citizens. This company originated in the year 1929 in the land of Texas and was started especially for teachers as a non-profit health insurance plan. Almost 99 million people in the US are members of the BlueCross BlueShield Association and the company boasts an excellent track record for providing quality and affordable health insurance plans to its members. The company offers dental and medical coverage everywhere in the nation and some of their best plans are Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) and Health Savings Account (HAS). The company has its operation in all the 50 states of the country including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. 97% of the hospitals and 90% physicians in the country are signed with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. All the 39 operating companies under the BlueCross BlueShield Association are independent, which means that there is no A.M. Best Company Rating for the entire company. However, every independent company of the BlueCross BlueShield Association has always bagged A Rating when it comes to customer service.

UnitedHealthcare
Founded in 1977, UnitedHealthcare today is one of the biggest names in the business of health insurance. Since the inception of the company, their main goal has remained the same; providing affordable and quality health insurance to US citizens. Today, UnitedHealthcare and its sister concern, Uprise Incorporated, serves more than 20 million people in the United States. They have tie ups with more than 5000 hospitals and over 4000 physicians. Their network has spread in all the 50 states and the company has received excellent reviews from many critics for its constant effort to bring in new and improved plans for its members. They offer disability, health, life, vision, dental and pharmacy plans for US citizens.

CIGNA Corporation
Another big player in the market of health care, CIGNA serves more than 10 million people in the US. CIGNA is an acronym used for a joint venture between two companies, INA (Insurance Company of North America) and CG (Connecticut General). These companies were formed in the year 1700 and 1800 respectively, which makes this joint venture one of the oldest companies in the US. They provide some excellent dental, medical, vision, behavioral, life and disability plans for clients. More than 15 million people are members of this company and the company has a large fan following in Canada as well.

Humana Health Insurance
Another name in the list of the top health insurance companies of the US. The working style of this company is very different from all the other health insurance companies. Humana has a very different approach and its health insurance plans are especially designed and fall into four categories; Group Health Insurance, Medicare Plans, Individual Health Insurance and Specialty Benefits. The company also provides consumer focused health plans which are aimed to provide maximum benefit to the members. They offer their services in 27 states mostly in the Eastern part of the US. They have an excellent rating from critics and the company is gearing up for some international expansion plans as well.

Well Point, Inc.
Well Point, Inc. is another big player in the world of health insurance. It provides affordable health insurance plans to more than 35 million people in the US. The company very well follows their motto, ‘Improving lives of the people we serve and the health of our community.’ They have a long history of providing affordable health insurance plans for people who can’t afford a big cover for their health. The company is one of the few privileged ones who give the best returns to its customers. Due to their excellent working style and a genuine effort to provide the best health insurance to America, Well Point, Inc. stands tall in this list.

Assurant
Assurant Heath, founded in 1982, is a subsidiary of Assurant Insurance Company founded in 1969. The company is based in New York and has international operations in Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark, United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and Argentina. Assurant Health provides short term health insurance policies to people as well as students. Over 1 million people are covered by Assurant health insurance policies and the company has more than 200,000 agents throughout the country to provide the best service to its customers.

UniCare
UniCare is also a very familiar name in the health insurance market and now it is owned by Well Point Inc. This organization is focused on delivering quality products to its customers which are more than 13 million in number. They offer various health services such as health, life, pharmacy, dental and disability which are specially designed to satisfy customers from all walks of life. The company uses all its resources in making low-cost plans which an average man can afford.

GroupHealth Cooperative
GroupHealth Cooperative is a non-profit consumer driven health care organization which has been catering to the needs of people in Idaho and Washington since 1947. The company is considered a leader in delivering scientific driven health care products to people. GroupHealth Cooperative offers health plans for senior citizens, kids, parents, teenagers and government employees. They also have a very impressive task force which is appointed to make sure that the customers don’t face any difficulty in understanding the plans.

Mega Life and Health Insurance Company
This company is based in Oklahoma and caters to the needs of the American people. It also offers various health insurance to families and individuals through their special plans which are designed to make life comfortable. Its special plans aim at dental, vision and disability.

The US is one of the biggest countries in the world and it would be quite unfair to name just 10 health insurance companies. Here’s a list of some more big players of the health insurance market.

  • Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare
  • TUFTS Health Plan
  • Health New England
  • ConnectiCare
  • Kaiser Group Incorporated
  • HCSC Group
  • Coventry Health Care
  • The Regence Group
  • Health Net
  • Universal American Health Corporation
  • The Lifetime HealthCare Companies
  • WellCare Health Plans, Inc
  • Metropolitan Health Group
  • Green Valley Health Care
  • Geisinger Health Plan
  • HealthPartners

The Importance of Health Ethics

89987128The health concerns such as excessive drinking, smoking or obesity demand a responsible action on the part of the governments around the world, which may result in restrictions on human freedom to some extent. Therein comes our role of adhering to the ethical standards and following the rules laid down to nurture a healthy society. Initially, people thought that government initiatives such as pasteurization of milk was an ‘interference’ in the public choices of food. The contention slowly faded away. Now, in the 21st century, there is a need to act more responsibly on the individual level to overcome ‘lifestyle’ diseases. How far is a society willing to accept certain amount of responsibility for public health is an ethical issue.

Understanding Health Ethics
Public health is a broad term and includes the efforts of a society to prevent any form of illness and improve the health of the populace. It plays an important role in determining the effects of an initiative or a measure, in prevention of an illness. It focuses on inculcating healthful lifestyle in the society at large, than dealing with individual health issues. Medical ethics is a term related with health ethics, which primarily deals with keeping track of growing biomedical technology, research and medical care. The term ‘health’ is a generic one, and includes both medicine and health concerns. They treat the issues of justice, equality, and human rights as an integral part of health practices. It is important to keep these ideals in mind while providing a health care service.

Related Concerns
The practitioners of health services have a set of guiding principles which ensure certain standards and public trust in health care. The ethical code of conduct laid down ascertains a patient’s welfare. There are many situations in health care that have legal and social implications, for both the medical practitioner and the patient. For example, the confidentiality of a patient’s health records is the ethical responsibility of the physician handling the case. Another issue is the relevance of euthanasia or mercy killing. The question of ‘freeing’ a person from suffering is as much of an issue of morality as it is of medicine. In these contexts, ethical judgment and a guiding framework to deal with the issues becomes very important.

The importance of health ethics is a very relative concept in case of many individuals. A lady was about to deliver a baby, and medical complications required that blood transfusion be performed in order to save the mother. However, the lady was a strong adherent of some religious principle, and had already stated not to perform the transfusion even if that resulted in her death. Now, her husband gave the go-ahead for the procedure, and both the baby and the mother were saved. But, the mother filed a case against the concerned doctors, stating violation of her rights. Ethically, it may seem that saving her life was the right thing to do. But, the same can also be regarded as an infringement of the lady’s rights, which makes it unethical.

Thus, the importance and adherence to these should be clearly laid down as a set of legal principles. Health is a community issue as much as an individual concern. Hence, a clear set of policies governing the importance of health ethics is highly essential to support healthy living in the 21st century.

Lifelong Bone Health

images-2In our first few years of life, our bones are growing at an exceptional rate. They develop to allow us to crawl, walk, jump, run and everything else along the way. This continues throughout childhood and adolescence. However, many people take for granted that once we become adults our bone health begins to deteriorate. This is even more true for women. Not taking steps to ensure strong healthy bones can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis. But there are a few things you can do to help maintain and even improve your bone health for the rest of your life.

Embed from Getty Images

To promote bone health, you need to implement healthy nutrition and exercise habits. These can be the key to strong bones. You need to make the most of every opportunity to add strength.

By starting the right dietary and fitness strategies you can ensure you have all the right things going forward to not only improve your current bone health but prevent further deterioration and the risk of further health issues.

Calcium

Calcium is the foundation of strong bones. Not only this, but calcium is also responsible for healthy teeth, the secretion of some hormones, muscle contractions and nerve signalling. Being deficient in calcium can lead to a whole host of health issues from loss of appetite to heart palpitations.

With that said, too much calcium can also cause serious issues and over supplementing with calcium should be avoided. Excess calcium can lead to kidney stones and even stroke.

Calcium Rich Foods

Calcium rich foods are the best way to ensure you get enough calcium to keep your calcium stores at an adequate level. There are many foods that are high in calcium and ensuring at least some of these into your daily diet can help you maintain the right level of calcium. Some calcium packed foods include:

  • Dark Leafy Greens (Broccoli, Bok Choy)
  • Low Fat Cheeses (Mozzarella)
  • Low Fat Milk and Yogurt
  • Soy (Tofu, seitan)
  • Beans (Kidney Beans, Green Snap Beans)
  • Nuts (Almonds)

Calcium Supplements

If you do not get enough dietary calcium one way to top up your supply is through supplementation. There are many supplements available to choose from, however, the two best absorbed by the human body are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.

Vitamin D

Many people don’t appreciate how important vitamin D is in regards to bone health. Vitamin D is essential for us to be able to absorb calcium. Lack of vitamin D can lead to rickets and a weakened immune system. Therefore, getting enough is imperative.

Sun Exposure and Vitamin D

The best way to get vitamin D is through exposure to the sun. Unfortunately for many people, their geographical location alone prevents them for even seeing the sun for the majority of the year. Furthermore, skin pigmentation and the use of sunscreen can also inhibit you getting enough vitamin D from the sun.

Mental Health Day

images-1October 10th is World Mental Health Day (WMHD). This day is specially set by the World Federation for Mental Health and aims to increase awareness of mental health and wellbeing needs around the world. This is a perfect opportunity to connect with others and potentially make a difference in their day. This can be from a simple “How are you?” to a full blown awareness campaign, but the smallest of things can make a difference. Here are seven things you can do this coming World Mental Health Day that can make a difference.

 The Simple “How are you?”

When was the last time you spent the time asking “How are you?” and actually listening to the response? Especially in the UK, this simple three word question is actually used as a greeting rather than a pure question. WMHD is the perfect opportunity to ask this question of somebody and take the time to really listen to them. It is also the opportunity for you to respond with more when this question is asked of you. Sharing a problem with someone may help to ease the stress you may be under.

The British believe that tea solves everything. So instead of rushing here there and everywhere, find some time on 10th October to invite someone for a cuppa. Whether it is on a break at work, or just after you’ve rushed about on the school run, this simple British ritual may be just the thing that you or a friend might need, especially on a Monday! If you’re feeling rather chatty, you could always throw in a slice of cake too. It’s a perfect time to ask “how are you?” and in between the cake crumbs and comforting slurps of tea, you might make a difference to each other’s day.

Offer to help

Many of us feel overwhelmed at times but rarely do we ask for help. This is particularly prevalent in workplaces, where there is pressure to keep mental health and wellbeing under the radar. If you see someone with that ‘head in hands’ vibe about them, ask them if they need some help. They may not necessarily take you up on your offer, but knowing that help is available and out there can make the world seem a little less daunting. This leads quite nicely to: