Tag Archives: Q&A

Q&A with Kyle MeGraw: Consultant at health Insurance by design

By Chloe Finn

Kyle MeGraw is a consultant at Health Insurance by Design in New Albany, IN.

Bagpiper: Why do you think healthcare and health insurance is so expensive nowadays?

Kyle MeGraw: Healthcare reform didn’t work. While healthcare reform originally only affected about 23 million people, it’s had a trickle effect. One of the biggest things in my opinion that’s caused the cost of healthcare to go up for everybody—it’s called the Medical Loss Ratio… What the Medical Loss Ratio is saying is that 80-85 cents of every dollar brought in by a carrier has to be paid out in claims. Every premium dollar going to a company, if 85 cents of that isn’t paid out in claims, then there are companies out there that get rebates. That means that for every 1 dollar brought in, 15 cents on that dollar can be used by the carriers for salaries. And we’re not talking just the CEOs… a lot of them [other employees] are in Medicare, coding, call centers. They’re not making these hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars… 15 cents is the most the carriers can make because of the cap the MLR put on, which started in 2014…. [companies] have to have a certain revenue amount. Another reason the cost of insurance is going up is because those uninsured people, they’re going to the emergency room because they know they have to be seen. Hospitals and doctors don’t work for free. I don’t work for free… if all these uninsured people go to hospitals, they [hospitals] have to be able to reclaim some of these costs. Well, that do that by increasing the price of services to those of us who have insurance.

B: What is the deal with preexisting conditions? How do you know if they’re going to be covered by insurance or not?

KM: It depends on the type of plan. And preexisting conditions, that’s a very touchy subject for some people and a very gray area. When healthcare reform hit, a law said that if you were going to buy a plan through healthcare.gov, preexisting conditions will be covered. Well, what did that do? If the carriers are being forced to cover preexisting conditions—there’s the third component of your price going through the roof… cost is going to rise as utilization rises. People with preexisting conditions have always had an option… they were just on high-risk state plans. Which means that cancers, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and leukemias, and all of these folks—they’re sick. So their utilization is going to be much higher, so they pay a higher premium. But the thought that “Oh, you have a preexisting condition, you can’t get health insurance—“ that’s just wrong. That’s just false. You can, you just pay more for it

On alternatives to traditional insurance plans: Short-term policies are a great alternative to the Marketplace because of the price, and the network of doctors and hospitals… it’s a national network, it’s a PPO, which means that I can go to any doctor in the country. With these Marketplace plans, you cannot. They’re EPOs. Very limited network of doctors, very limited network of hospitals.

A short term policy can last 364 days. There’s 365 days in a year… so the term “short term?” It’s not really short term. 

B: How does the process of enrolling in health insurance work? How does one know what plan is best for them?

KM: There’s different ways to do it. You can do it yourself, or probably the more efficient way, is to make an appointment with somebody like me. 

I help them [clients] decide what’s the best plan for them. Most people can make payments on a 6,000 bill if that’s what their deductible is. But if they don’t have health insurance, that 6,000 dollars is now 125,000 dollars. Let’s say it’s negotiated down to 80 [thousand] by the hospital, well, 80,000 dollars is a lot bigger hole to get out of than this 6 if you would’ve had insurance. But back to how to know what plan, it depends on your demographic makeup. Am I an individual? Do I have a spouse, kids? Am I over 18, am I under 18, am I in school? Am I under 26? That’s really kind of how you decide on what you’ve got going on. 

B: What can teens and young adults do or learn how in order to be more secure in the future when it comes to obtaining insurance and care?

KM: One, is just take care of your health. Because the healthier you are, the easier it’s gonna be… if you’re 26 and coming off your parents’ plan, if you’re not on medications, if you are healthy, if you haven’t been to the hospital in a while, it makes buying health insurance a lot easier, because you don’t have some of the factors or the costs associated with healthcare that you would if, let’s say, you smoked and now you have lung cancer, or you drank entirely too much and now you have liver or kidney problems. One of the biggest ones [conditions] that I see is people with sleep apnea… if the cause is they’re overweight, and the fatty tissue around the flap that goes over your esophagus is keeping it from staying open, lose weight. That sounds super simplistic… but when you really think about it, it’s “if I could lose weight, the fatty tissue goes away, or lessens, that flap could stay open, it doesn’t close, I don’t stop breathing and my heart doesn’t stop.” 

So health is a big thing. The other thing too, is just don’t ever take what somebody says as the gospel that isn’t in the industry. Find a professional. And that’s in anything, that’s not just this. 

Knowledge is power. Learn as much as you can, be cognizant of your sources, just do your homework. 

B: Finally, is there anything else you would like readers to know?

KM: The biggest thing is to understand the information that’s coming in. Especially with this election coming up… you’re gonna hear stuff from both sides. We’re gonna hear so much about healthcare in the next year, and “Medicare for all,” and “Repeal and Replace.” So when you hear that, consider the source. If somebody wants to have an intelligent conversation about healthcare or health insurance, talk to brokers… we have to be able to understand from an unbiased perspective what’s going on with our healthcare industry. Your political stance doesn’t matter when it comes down to understanding what’s really going on.

Q&A with junior Lexie Stites: Miss Harvest Homecoming’s Outstanding Teen 2019

By Mary Ficker

What does winning the title of Miss Harvest Homecoming’s Outstanding Teen mean to you?

LS: “It means that I have an incredible opportunity to connect and make an impact in my own community! With this title I am a spokesperson for New Albany and Floyd County and hope to do everything thing I can do with that responsibility.”

How has the Miss America Organization impacted your life?

LS: “The Miss America Organization has taught me the importance of service, skills that will help me in my future life, such as interview tactics, and has also given me the opportunity to meet so many new people and create lifelong friendships!”

What do you plan to do during your year as Miss Harvest Homecoming’s Outstanding Teen?

LS: “During my year I plan to share my platform Dance Across Borders as much as possible and inspire others to join me in benefiting their communities as well.”

What are you looking forward to most during the Harvest Homecoming Festival?

LS: “Everything! Pumpkin Chucking, booth days, and all the food! I can’t wait for the nonstop fun I know I am going to have!”

What do you hope to achieve with your platform this year?

LS: “I will continue to donate and share opportunities for dance with underprivileged children and keep raising money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by using the ties I have in the local arts centers to share our talents to benefit those who may not be able to themselves.”

What is your main goal this year when you compete for the title of Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen in June of 2020? 

LS: “I want to have a good time, that’s for sure number one on my list! Last year I won an interview preliminary so repeating that along with a talent preliminary award are my two set goals!”

Continued Q&A with Diversity club

By Annalise Bassett and Destiny Love

Senior Sydney Palmer – Member of Diversity Club

The Bagpiper: How does diversity club bring students together?

Sydney Palmer: Diversity brings students together because we are able to recognize our differences and how they make us ourselves.  

BP: What does a typical meeting of this club look like?

SP: We have meetings in Mrs. Waiz’s class during fourth period, and it includes the council talking about current issues in the school, reading survey responses, and discussing experiences that have occurred at FCHS involving discrimination.

BP: How does Diversity Club bring students together?

SP: This club brings minorities together so they have a place to talk about their concerns but also connect on another level. The diversity advisory council was not meant to exclude anyone, and we just want everyone to know that it was created to educate everyone on the importance of diversity!

BP: What is your favorite celebration/event?

SP: We don’t really have events.

BP: Why is this club important to you?

SP: This club is important to me because I want to show that our school is accepting of everyone and defeats the stereotypes.

BP: How does this club affect your life?

SP: It affects my life because I’m able to empathize with the struggles minorities have gone through and understand what I can do to help.

BP: What do you like about the club?

SP: I like that it’s a place for everyone to talk about anything they need to discuss.

BP: Why did you originally join the club?

SP: I joined the club because I wanted to promote diversity in our school

BP: What other clubs are you a member of?

SP: I am in Diversity advisory council, student council, renaissance club, and interact club.

 

Junior Nicole Holland- Member of Diversity Club

The Bagpiper: How does diversity club bring students together?

Nicole Holland: The Diversity Advisory Council brings people together by bringing in all kinds of people. we all have different hobbies but share one end goal and that’s spreading awareness of other cultures in our school, whether you’re white or colored.

BP: What does a typical meeting of diversity club look like?

NH: A typical meeting is us gathered in a classroom, typically ms. waiz’s room and we throw out ideas of how we can grow and improve. we discuss problems in our school and how we improve them.

BP: What do you like about this club?

NH: This club makes me feel like my opinion is heard and cared about, and i know a lot of the other members feel that way as well. there are many students who felt like they were different from everyone else and this is a place where we can all relate and understand we aren’t alone in our experiences.

BP: What are your goals for next year?

NH: The Diversity Advisory Council has already experienced a lot of backlash in it’s opening stages, but we’re all fully prepared to go through it and we’ll continue until our message is heard. we’ll be expanding our council and it’s influence as time continues.

BP: What does this club mean to you?

NH: To me this council means a chance for me to make an impact. it’s been too long that my voice and opinion has been shut down, and this is my chance to help someone else experiencing discrimination.

BP: How has the club affected your life?

NH: The Diversity Advisory Council has positively affected my life. it makes me really happy to see such a diverse group of people working together to make a change.

BP: What is your favorite thing about the club?

NH: My favorite thing about it is hearing everyone else’s opinions. meeting new people and being able to share experiences without being afraid of judgement feels really nice as well.

BP: What is your favorite event?

NH: My favorite event is in the esports club. next year we’re planning for a LAN party where people outside the esports club can come join us for games and win prizes. hopefully we’ll get more members that way as well.

 

Q&A with School Nurse Melissa Eldridge

By Natalie Clare

  1. Why are vaccinations important?
    1. Vaccinations are important because they keep us from getting sick.  The diseases that we have vaccinations for can ultimately kill people. They’re deadly and fatal and very contagious. They can spread and wipe out certain groups of people. Vaccinations are important ultimately to keep our population going, to keep the human race going.
  2. Do you believe vaccinations are necessary? Why or why not?
    1. I do. I’m definitely for vaccinations. I understand that some people have allergies or medical conditions where it’s not supportive that they have vaccines. I understand religious objections, those are very personal and individualized. But, I think if you are physically able to get vaccinated and it doesn’t go strongly against your beliefs, then I believe everybody should get vaccinated. In the long run, that’s what is keeping people healthy and at their optimum level.
  3. Why are students required to get vaccinations in order to come to school?
    1. Currently, there is a mumps outbreak and meningitis is coming back. They said on the news this morning that Indiana University of Bloomington has a mumps outbreak. Because we are all in such close quarters, you have to think that they are almost 2000 people in this building that are coming in contact every single day. Things spread very easily in this environment because we are all very close. Same thing with colleges, you’ve got dorms and other close quarters. So, if one person were to get a contagious disease, it’s going to be no time at all and the majority of us are probably going to have because we come in contact one way or another. If it’s not direct contact, it’s airborne or continental contact, like touching the same desks and door knobs.
  4. Can parents request to not have their child vaccinated? How? Why?
    1. Absolutely. Parents can fill out regions objection forms or they can go to a doctor and get a medical objection form. If it is against their beliefs or they have some type of medical reason that they can’t get a vaccine. They always have the option to object. But, according to our school policy, if we were to have an outbreak of something and a student wasn’t vaccinated, we would have the right to exclude them. More than anything, for their safety. It’s kind of a risk if you choose to not be vaccinated. Be aware of the risks that your are putting yourself at a chance at getting a contagious disease. Although, chicken pox isn’t necessarily a deadly disease, but you have more serious diseases like polio or meningitis.
  5. Can you really become sick by getting vaccinated? Or is that just a myth?
    1. I think it depends. I know that there are a lot of people that are anti-vaccine and talk about how they increase your risk for autism or other things. There is a small chance. You occasionally hear of somebody having an adverse reaction to a vaccine, especially if it’s a live vaccine. Which is where they do inject a small amount of the virus in you. But again, they take precautions. They always take precautions when giving vaccines, like if you’ve been sick or have recently had the flu, you’re doctor should say that this is not the right time to get a vaccine because you might be putting yourself at risk for getting sick. It’s very rare for someone to get sick after having a vaccine or contracting autism. I’ve never seen a huge amount of evidence to say that vaccines cause this, this, and this. Vaccines are here to prevent, not to cause other things. People talk about getting sick after having a vaccine, or contracting something. This is rare, it’s the exception not the rule.
  6. Are there any vaccinations that aren’t required but recommended?
    1. Right now, the CDC has recommended meningitis B, which protects against another strand of meningitis. You’re required to have your two meningitis vaccines. Because you have all of these kids that are going off to college, their going to new environments, they’re living in dorm rooms, and in close contact, you’re putting yourself at a greater risk at picking up a communicable disease. So Men. B is recommended and HPV is recommended based on research.
  7. Will the school be having a vaccination clinic? When? Where?
    1. Our vaccination clinic is Tuesday, April 23rd. It’s offered to juniors becoming seniors. This gives them an opportunity to get up to date on the required vaccines for their senior year, like the second dose of meningitis and the two Hep. A vaccines.

Interview with IDOE Press Secretary Adam Baker

Story by Annalise Bassett

What qualifies a bullying incident for reporting to the IDOE?

Bullying as defined by Indiana Code 20-33-8-0.2 means overt, unwanted, repeated acts or gestures including verbal or written communications or images transmitted in any manner (including digitally or electronically), physical acts committed, aggression, or any other behaviors, that are committed by a student or group of students against another student with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate, or harm the targeted student and create for the targeted student an objectively hostile school environment that:
– places the targeted student in reasonable fear of harm to the targeted student’s person or property;
– has a substantially detrimental effect on the targeted student’s physical or mental health;
– has the effect of substantially interfering with the targeted student’s academic performance; or
– has the effect of substantially interfering with the targeted student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, and privileges provided by the school.

How does the IDOE follow up with schools reporting zero incidents of bullying, and does it actually sound reasonable for big schools to report zero incidents of bullying?
Per Indiana Code 20-34-6-2, the Indiana Department of Education may conduct an audit of a school corporation to ensure accurate reporting of bullying incidents, and all discrepancies in reporting will also be posted on the IDOE website. Following the 2018 legislative session , parents can now “kickstart” the audit process if they too feel their school’s numbers are inaccurate.
I do not want to speculate on the reasonability of data as we know over the years schools have instituted conflict resolution classes to help education students on how to better handle and respond to situations as to curb bullying within their schools.

Are there any consequences for schools not reporting or falsely reporting bullying incidents, and what are they if so?
The department performs an audit and finds a school’s numbers to not be accurate, the data for that school will be updated and reflected in the annual bullying report.

How does the IDOE investigate and confirm that schools reporting zero incidents are being truthful with their reports?
Per statute, the Indiana Department of Education does not have authority to investigate rates of bullying. This is a manner that falls under the jurisdiction of local school boards.