How Does a Pre-Existing Medical Condition Affect My Ability to Get Health Insurance?

Don’t we all have some pre-existing condition? To quote from an unknown author, “No one is prefect…that’s why pencils have erasers.”So what is a pre-existing condition?Imagine you contact a car insurance agent on a Monday morning to tell him you need car insurance to pay for repairs on your car that is currently in the shop being fixed because of an accident you had on Friday night. Your agent tells you that he would be happy to help you take out car insurance for future accidents–after the vehicle is fixed and drivable. Even car insurance companies look at pre-existing conditions as a huge concern. Why? Simply put–we all “follow the money.”Think about it, if insurance companies would cover all pre-existing conditions, then we would not purchase car insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, or any other type of insurance until we “needed it.” By the time of our accident, it is too late to purchase insurance.A pre-existing condition then is exactly what it sounds like. In the case of health insurance, it is a health condition which the person already has when applying for health insurance. Whether it has been diagnosed by a doctor or known only by you, whether it is untreated, being treated or under control…. It is all the same.Here’s where we need to be reminded of what insurance actually is and does for us: (1) “A contract whereby an insurer promises to pay the insured a sum of money or some other benefit upon the happening of one or more uncertain events in exchange for the payment of a premium. There must be uncertainty as to whether the relevant event(s) may happen at all or, if they will occur (e.g., death) as to their timing.”(2) “A system to protect persons, groups, or businesses against the risks of financial loss by transferring the risks to a large group who agree to share the financial losses in exchange for premium payments.”So who is the authority on whether or not we have a pre-existing condition?Easy–medical doctors! Every time your medical doctor writes information on your medical chart, that becomes “gospel,” and only that doctor or another doctor can change it. So it is vital to get copies of all your medical information when you visit your doctor. You need to read over them and file them away for future needs. If you have taken prescriptions for medical reasons, than those medical issues can also be classified as pre-existing conditions.How can I keep pre-existing issues at a minimum when purchasing health insurance?(1) Buy group insurance through your employer, because most of the time pre-existing conditions are not an issue. But this will make your group insurance more expensive.(2) Purchase a strong “top of the line” individual insurance plan. Good insurance companies will have solid plans where you will not need to be changing every year or so for another plan. It is important to stick with one insurance plan for five to six years, and then research other options to see if you can find a better plan for a lower premium.(3) Purchase health insurance when you are young, before you get a debilitating pre-existing condition. If you are a parent reading this, please help your adult children (ones that are no longer under your health insurance) get affordable health insurance. Remember, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium.(4) Negotiate with the insurance company. They may reject you for health coverage, but then they may not. You may have to pay higher premiums, or you may have to “waive” away your right to be treated for the pre-ex, while still getting health coverage for everything else. Remember, some health insurance is better than no health insurance.As an insurance agent/broker, I hope that our government will eradicate pre-existing conditions on all individual and group health insurance plans. Yes, we realize the premiums will increase a bit because of that; but if we force everyone to have health insurance, than it can help keep health insurance premiums lower. The more people insured means the risk is shared across the board– which helps keep the premiums lower.So the good news is that we have choices to fit our individual needs. So to keep pre-existing insurance issues at bay, purchase a good solid insurance plan before medical problems happen to you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off

What Is Art? An Approach to This Subjective Question

This article will cover the basic question about the nature of art, just what is it? Does art record beauty or truth? Does it imitate reality or does it express more than nature itself? Does it create fantasy? Does one need to be skilled to create art? French artist Marcel Duchamp’s “ready-made” series was neither the first nor the last time that supposed art would cause controversy and stir debate on what constitutes the criteria by which an object can be called “art.” As this is but a short article I can only touch on the definition of art, and hopefully not oversimplify it.All through the centuries art includes human agency. After all keep in mind that the word art is related to artificial, which means produced by humans. From the days of cave-dwelling prehistoric people art has been an integral part of our lives. Though we may need art to enhance the enjoyment and meaning in our lives, we do not use it to survive physically.The 11-12th century definition of art according to Oxford English Dictionary is: “Skill at doing anything as a result of knowledge and practice”. This means that the painter who embellished the Book of Kells would have the notion that an artist and craftsman were one and the same. It was not until the Age of Enlightenment, 1700-1800, where the attitude about art started to change. Art started to be considered as the use of skills to produce beauty. New standards of taste and elegance were introduced and the status of the artist was thus elevated.By the 19th century people started to embrace the idea that art was not just meant to please but to aspire towards perfection. While this was a clear reaffirmation of the importance of skill in the creation of beautiful works of art, ideals were also being established imbuing artists as prophetic conduits of new cultural concepts. This ideal is known as the Avant Garde movement in which the artist was considered a member of a sublime class with the power to shape the minds of people with their art. This added to the creative powers of artists to allow them their own answer to “What is art?” The artist was now allowed, even expected, to take liberties with established techniques, subjects and ideas of the role art plays.With the rise of democracy and the middle class art became accessible to more people and so those that had not much exposure before were learning of art and becoming patrons. Modernism in the later 19th century brought forth such movements as impressionism, expressionism and symbolism. The visual language of Modernism is a product of the industrial revolution. The urge to embrace the new realities and materials of the industrial age was a common urge of the masses and through literature, art and design these feelings were expressed. Much of the modernist movements have been attempts to adjust the mind of society at large to the industrial innovations taking place all around.In keeping with human nature there is present then and now a resistance to change and a tendency towards nostalgia and tradition. In visual arts there is a taste for classic decorative details, realism in painting, and a general preference for the elaborate. This is a stark contrast with the modernist simplicity and retreat from realism. The emphasis on form also resulted in attention to the materials used, and the visual qualities they offer.Since then many types of artistic expression previously deemed unconventional have entered into culture. This would explain why things are considered art even though artists’ intentions are very different and materials used are without any discernible expectations or limitations. What motivates artists could be any of the following: to beautify, express, illustrate, mediate, persuade, record, re-define reality and redefine art. And still yet there are those that make it just because they feel the urge to make art and the process makes them happy, a sort of self-therapy.Competing answers are typically given to the inquiry of “What is Art?”, indeed, as the title of this article announces forthright it is a subjective matter. There is disunity in the classes of artworks not to mention the differing concepts of Universal versus Western traditions and institutions. Answering the question of what makes art art is always flawed and incomplete due to such factors. However definitive responses stand on their own as earnest attempts to explain as much as possible and capture what unity that there is to capture.

Posted in Arts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Technology And Leaders Who Understand It

Leadership, as I often like to say, is the number 1 factor bar none that accounts for organisational success. Even if everything else is set-up to work, to be effective and to be efficient, a bad leader can screw up every advantage, natural or contrived. Nowadays we talk about the big three things driving organisations: People, Processes and Technology, and clearly leadership is in the first category.My own company relies heavily on technology for its outcomes and its success. It would be true to say that even 15 years ago it would be difficult to conceive of how my company could have worked and functioned without the outstanding technological innovations of the last twenty years. So do I like technology? You bet! And yet I feel too that technology is becoming far too widely accepted without the scrutiny and critical analysis that properly belongs to a leader’s function (or one that the leader would and should commission). Put another way: there are at least three major problems with technology that leaders – in their rush to be successful – seem to conveniently ignore, and I would like to outline them here.First, that technology has a dreadful habit of sponsoring co-dependence and ultimately servitude. We see this in the street or on the train: the men and women who cannot stop barking into a mobile phone; and those who cannot prevent themselves accessing their emails wherever they are, including at family socials. The great French writer Proust magisterially foresaw this as early as the late Nineteenth Century when a friend asked him to acquire a telephone and Proust asked what a telephone was. The friend patiently explained – it sat on your wall, it rang, you picked it up, you spoke with somebody miles away. But for Proust it was enough to know it rang – ‘I am the servant of that!’ he exclaimed. When bells rang, servants were summoned. He had no intention of being a servant to a bell ringing on his wall; he realised the essential infringement of his liberty that was contained in the very concept of a phone.Which leads to the second point: the law of unintended consequences. We see technology as being a solution; but always with the solution there seems to be an accompanying deeper problem. After all, only thirty years ago the new technology was supposed to liberate us; we were only going to be working 2 or 3 day weeks as the technology and the robots took the strain. (Not much talk of that now, though, is there? – all conveniently shelved). But of course the precise opposite has happened. Now, with all this technology abounding, both partners HAVE to work, hours of work are massively extended, Sundays or days or rest barely exist in some sectors, and so it goes on. The technology that sets us free has enslaved us (and it has done other things as well when we consider the state of the Earth). What has the leader to say about this?Finally, technology has subtly led to a belief system that is almost certainly false: the belief in ‘progress’, and in the utopia just round the corner. Just around the corner people will live to 150, just around the corner cancer will be cured, just around the corner there will be a better world in which everyone can chat on Facebook and they won’t need to fight anymore. Yea, just around the corner. As I said before, this belief has been going on for two hundred years, and it is a ‘belief’ – in the sense that it has no more substance than a dream. In many respects the Twentieth Century was the most horrific century in the whole history of the world – it’s difficult now to imagine it perhaps in the comfort of our Western armchairs – and technology played its full part in making it so horrific: the guns of World War One, the gas chambers of World War 2, the atomic bombs, the napalm and so it goes on.Thus it is that leadership is about discrimination: the discrimination of ideas; of not accepting the prevailing wisdom and contemporary cant that passes for thought but is merely magazine fodder; of challenging the powers of orthodoxy who are bit by bit (and one may say, byte by byte) enslaving the world. We need leaders who harness technology on behalf of the people to empower them. So we are back to a fundamental distinction that many overlook who see technology as being an unlimited ‘good’: technology is good when it genuinely serves the interest of all the people, and technology is bad when it does the opposite – when dictators, plutocrats, oligarchs, ego-driven CEOs and MDs use it to exploit the last farthing out of people.We need leaders who understand this.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off