For many individuals and some small business owners, the Supreme Court upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act means you will be looking into securing your health insurance through a health insurance exchange set up in your state.
If your state opts out of setting up its own exchange, you will be able to utilize a multistate exchange. Multi-state exchanges will be operated by the Department of Health and Human Services.
What is a Health Insurance Exchange? A HIX (Health Insurance Exchange) is a state based competitive market for consumers to purchase private health insurance from companies licensed by the state. The Exchange will regulate the insures to make sure coverage complies with the laws mandated by the Affordable Care Act, and offers affordable rates for individuals as well as qualified small businesses. The state requires that plans are easy to read and compare, ensuring purchasers can choose based on their needs.
Individuals whose insurance would cost less than 8% of their income are mandated to buy their own healthcare and are eligible to join a HIX. HIX aggregates small businesses along with the eligible individuals. The sheer numbers of participants allows for insures to offer plans with premiums that before could only be provided to large-scale purchasers like large businesses. If you are an employer with fewer than 100 employees, you will be allowed to participate in a HIX starting in 2014. This means your premiums and choices of plans are comparable to plans offered to multimillion-dollar national companies. Depending upon the size of your small company, you may be eligible for a tax credit. For instance, a small business with 25 or fewer employees earning under on average of 50 thousand dollars or less will get a tax credit for up to 35% of the cost of your insurance plan.
You may be asking, “How is this going to affect my cost?” “Will I still be able to get cheap health insurance?” The answer is yes and no. Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) show the cost of healthcare rising approximately 5.7% a year for the next 10 years. Nevertheless, the CBO says that prediction is lower than if the Affordable Care Act did not pass. It breaks down this way. Individual premiums will rise a little bit, large companies will see a minimal drop in their premiums, and small business will remain at the same relative rate of change.
Let’s look into a case of individual injustice. In June 2010, Kaitlynn Fisher went through stop lights on green. Halfway across the junction, an SUV came through the red light and smashed into her car. She was killed. The driver of the SUV was underinsured. Kaitlynn was insured by Progressive and one of the terms was a duty to pay up to $100,000 if an uninsured or underinsured driver caused injury or death. Except the law of Maryland is a nightmare. The insurance company is not obliged to pay out if its insured was in any way to blame for the accident. Hence, if a court was to find one driver 99% to blame, the 1% fault attached to the other driver would defeat her claim. This is an amazing law. To make it worse, there’s no right to sue the insurance company directly. The relatives of the deceased has to sue the other driver and get a ruling the deceased was not even 1% to blame for the accident. So that’s just what they did.
What makes this story remarkable is that Progressive sent a lawyer to the trial who addressed the judge and jury, and sat beside the defendant, offering advice. According to Progressive, this lawyer was protecting its interests and not representing the defendant. The fact the lawyer was protecting Progressive’s interests by arguing Progressive’s policyholder was to blame is irrelevant.
Not surprisingly given the adverse publicity, Progressive has now reached a settlement with the family of the deceased. However, consider the potential effects of this publicity. Progressive was able to provide cheap auto insurance as it used every possible trick in the book to avoid paying out. If it now feels the glare of the public’s attention, it may well change that business model. This would mean more generous settlements to avoid going to court and, if court action cannot be avoided, always arguing in favor of its policyholders. This means paying out a lot more money to all those insured and represents the end of cheap auto insurance rates . A mildly ironic outcome for those fighting an injustice.
In some states, the level of car insurance fraud is reaching epidemic proportions and this is forcing up the auto insurance quotes for all. Nationally, it’s estimated several billion dollars is being stolen from insurance companies by staged accidents supported by paid witnesses, and corrupt attorneys and medical advisors. No matter how much taxpayers money is diverted from budgets in deficit to law enforcement, it all comes down to the insurance companies to report every suspected case of fraud to the police for investigation, and for all innocent drivers to take a few simple steps whenever they are caught in an accident.
We need to begin with a general word of reassurance. The vast majority of collisions are genuine accidents but some criminal gangs are now using staged crashes as a way of extracting money from the insurance industry. In the safe version, vehicles driven by gang members will collide with each other at a high visibility location where there are many independent witnesses. But some involve innocent motorists who are put in situations where rear-end collisions are likely to occur, e.g. a spotter in a gang vehicle watches for the driver behind to look away from the road and tells his driver to make a panic stop.
There’s an assumption you’re the driver at fault if you hit the vehicle in front of you. Don’t tailgate. Always drive sufficiently far behind the vehicle in front you can always stop in an emergency. More importantly, if you’re caught in an accident, call the local law enforcement to the scene and immediately begin documenting the damage to the vehicles and who is in the other vehicle. If anyone tries to direct you to an attorney or doctor, this is suspicious. Should a tow truck appear on the scene without anyone apparently calling it for you, do not allow it to take your vehicle. If an attorney or doctor suggests you make a claim even though you are not injured, this is a crime and should be reported to the police. Indeed notifying the police and your own insurers is the sure way to expose fraud and keep everyone’s auto insurance quotes low.
Volunteer Abroad Victims Of Crime
An individual will never be a hundred percent safe from crime or targets for a crime. Some places are safer than others but crime is present everywhere. The perpetrators of the crimes could be the local people or fellow volunteers and sometimes the victims themselves. Crime against people is equal to both men and women in that they are both attacked. Unfortunately in some places women are found to be easier and sympathetic targets, as such they are targeted more. Travelling abroad has its risks and one of them is crime. Sooner or later international volunteers become victims of crime. There will be a point in time that some volunteers will fall victim and this article is to help you handle with certain situations and to avoid being victim of a crime. There are basic tips to avoid being a victim like avoid being too trusting, the volunteers putting them self at risk; over consumption of alcohol, avoid high risk areas and countries; and provoking other people. Here is how to avoid being a victim and what to do if it has already happened:
Robbery is one of the most common crimes that international volunteers could face. Most international volunteers are robbed in airports, trains busses and crowded areas. The volunteers are robbed of their luggage, purses, passports, jewelry, cameras, wallets and watches. The thieves rob the volunteers through snatching, at gun point, knife point, distract the volunteers, cut a hole on the purses or jackets, and steal while the volunteers are asleep. To avoid being robbed the volunteers who are abroad, could take better care of their belonging, get a money bag or purse and put it in their clothes, stitch a pocket on to their clothes to hide their valuables, make copies of their valuables and to leave their valuables in a safe place. After the international volunteer has been robbed, there are various way of handling the issue: inform the authorities, inform the banks and credit companies, inform relatives and loved ones to send help, and go to their embassies to report the matter.
This is whereby the volunteer is lied to about the price of an object or a service. It also occurs when the volunteer is cheated in to believing to invest in a business transaction. The most common scam are taxi scams whereby the driver overcharges the volunteer; drives the volunteer in circles to get a better deal, threatens the volunteer. To avoid this, the volunteers should call the official taxi service numbers to get help; they should have a common driver with whom they have used before, get a local person to travel with them. To handle this, the volunteer should report the driver to his superiors and before paying s/he should inquire about the price of the service. Business scams are whereby the volunteers are duped into investing into a business idea or proposal. This is common especially if the idea involves investing in local jewelry, gems, and mined resources (gold, diamond, etc). As the truth cant be determined even if the volunteer has seen the gems or mined resources they should avoid such transactions. The deal could be too good to be true and should be avoid. Its hard to handle such crimes as this will end up in court and it could drag on for months.
This is rare most parts of the world, but it is common in certain parts of the world. For examples US citizens are targeted by some Muslim organizations like AL Qaeda. Some countries in South America like Chile are not fond of Americans. In countries like Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand dont like foreigners because some of them have bad habits that conflict with their cultures for example drinking, sleeping with prostitutes and smoking. In such places, the volunteers should be extra cautious about their behavior and habits in front of the locals. The best way to handle this problem is by going to the volunteers National embassy to solve the issue.
In some rare occasions the volunteers are the perpetrators of the crimes. The volunteers could be the ones who break the laws by for example taking photos of security related institutions, purchasing some antiques (some of the locals may seem them as national relics or treasures, possessions of fire arms, and drug violations( the volunteers are caught in possession of illegal drugs). To avoid such scenarios the international volunteers should acquaint themselves with the rules and regulations. Also they should ask for permission to do certain things.
Family Volunteering Abroad Tips
Families who take vacations together are added meaning to their holidays by adding volunteering to the vacation. The family volunteering abroad could be made up of children, teens, young adults and grandparents. Family volunteer abroad work includes: construction projects, orphanage programs, conservation projects and mentorship programs. The advantages of family volunteering overseas are great rewarding experience; forming the childrens world view; empower the kids to see they can change the world; expands the childrens insight; gives families time to bond; and exciting travel opportunities. Volunteers who want to go abroad with their families should look for organizations that can accommodate everyones needs and wants. Family volunteers should look into the following when planning their volunteer abroad trip:
If the volunteer family has young children between the ages of 6 to 14 years extra precautions should be taken. Before leaving home, the parents should explain to the children what they are going to do abroad and inform them of safety precautions. With older kids, they should inform their parents where they are going and what time they are coming back. As parents, they should: get bright colored clothes for their kids for them to be noticeable in a crowd; stitch the names of the children on the inside of the clothes; keep a recent photo of the kids; one parent should always keep an eye on the kids while the other parent is doing something else; know what to do in case of an emergency; and keep medicines and other harmful objects away from kids.
Attitude is like expectations, explain to the children what they are going to do and what to expect. The volunteer parents should not give the kids false expectations and hopes; they should be honest with their kids. Also parents should find ways to change the attitude of their children. When the parent sees the child is developing a negative attitude they should try and improve it as quickly as possible. When the child gets a negative attitude, it will affect everyone elses mood and make the work twice as hard. The parents should find way to make the volunteer work more engaging or stop working when they see the child has become too uncomfortable. During long flights parents should buy extra toys that would distract their kids. If there is something that is stressing the parents they should find ways of hiding their frustration from the kids. One way to change the childrens attitude is by engaging them in the planning process making them feel more important in the vacation.
The volunteer family should choose a volunteer program that suits the needs of ever member of the family. There are various programs available to choose from for example: conservation, orphanage, mentorship programs, sports, building and construction and agricultural programs. Depending on the age and desires of the family members they should choose programs that will work for everyone. For example grandparents may enjoy orphanage work more to sports activities, while the children could prefer the opposite. The family members capabilities should be put into consideration when choosing a program. Take note that overly physical jobs will be hard for the younger and older family members. Parents should involve their children when picking volunteer work in which everyone can enjoy them. Another option will be to different family members involved in different programs but in the same location.
Lastly, when planning for family volunteering abroad the volunteers should look into where they are going to stay. The options available to volunteers are hostels, hotels, dorms, homestay and couch surfing. The different accommodations are suitable for different type of travelers. Younger children will require more private accommodation while older kids would be better placed in less private accommodation like hostels. When volunteering as a family the accommodation options are homestays, hotels and hostels. If the volunteers have very young kids they should pick a place which has few potential hazards. When the parents arrive at the hotel or hostel, they should try to make the place child proof. They should teach the kids of emergency procedures just in case something happens and the children should be supervised throughout the stay.