Last year, California was granted the power to scrutinize proposed health insurance rate increases by insurance companies. Insurance companies planning to increase their plan premiums by more than 10 percent are subject to rate reviews. Excessive premium increases would necessitate insurers to publicly justify the unjust rate hikes.Despite the implementation of rate reviews, little help is seen by millions of consumers. California health insurance premiums continue to skyrocket making it hard for Californians to afford health care coverage.Even though California can publicly shame and persuade insurers to prevent proposed increases, it still lacks the power to reject the proposed excessive rates by insurance companies. The state couldn’t even stop Anthem Blue Cross from increasing one of its coverage rates by 16.1 percent even though it was publicly declared that the planned rates were excessive.Consumers Demand California Health Insurance Rate RegulationsSince 2002, Californians have seen a 153 percent increase in employer health insurance. Because of this, the desire to regulate California health insurance premiums increased more than ever. Consumer groups want regulators to do more than embarrass and persuade. They want to put an end to excessive premium increases. A consumer advocate group even stated that they will begin gathering signatures from people to help set up real rate control.Even though the Department of Insurance was able to reduce, postpone and withdraw 50 out of the 300 rate changes last year, it’s not enough. According to Deputy Commissioner Janice Rocco, in order to adequately protect consumers, having the authority to reject excessive California health insurance premium increases is necessary. However, there are still ways that consumers can afford health coverage despite increasing premiums.How Can Consumers Afford California Health Insurance Plans?If you are living on a tight budget, you might be pondering whether to get health care coverage or not with premiums on the rise. There are still ways to help people afford the health coverage they need.A high-deductible health plan is an option for people who are in good health. Compared to co-pay plans, high-deductible plans offer lower premiums by as much as 40 to 50 percent. With the passage of the health care reform law, high-deductible plans are appealing more than ever. Preventive care services are 100 percent covered with no out-of-pocket costs even before meeting your deductible. Meaning, annual physical exams and screening procedures for health conditions can be enjoyed without worrying about co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles.You can use this added free benefit as long as you go with in-network providers. Constantly monitoring your health can help keep money in your pocket. Early detection of illness can significantly decrease your out-of-pocket medical expenses. As we all know, developing a chronic illness is harder to treat resulting in expensive medical bills.Now is the time to get a California health insurance plan. Once you have a pre-existing condition, insurance companies can charge you higher premiums or even deny you coverage. Without health coverage, you are financially exposed to huge medical bills when illness strikes. Luckily, insurers cannot deny children with pre-existing conditions health coverage due to the Affordable Care Act mandate. As for adults, you need to wait until 2014 when health care reform fully takes its course.While your health is good, get coverage now to keep rates low. You should also do some comparison shopping every year to get the most affordable health insurance rates from insurance companies in your area.
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A few years ago, when we were children, and received a chocolate, as a pat on our back, we felt extremely happy. Today, patting on the back of a good student, we cannot think of offering a chocolate, when their expectation is in line with MP3 players, iPod, Laptop etc. With time human needs, human thinking has changed drastically, especially over the past few years.
Recently we, a small group of 9, students of social sciences, went into 9 different villages of Bangalore and lived there for about a month. During this month long exposure we met people, learnt their lives, their faith and belief systems, their dreams and aspirations, their pains and struggles and their needs and frustrations in life. Mahatma Gandhi, once while answering a question on developing India, stressed on the importance of developing the villages. Having come back after a month and reflecting together on – living in a village, we unanimously came to the conclusion that, only thing that could help these backward and downtrodden, to change their lives is-Education, the same age old answer. But not the same age old concept of education; Education with a difference and education for transformation.
An educator plays a vital role in the whole system of education. I repeat again, not an old fashioned educator who gives yesterdays, readymade answers to today’s problems but a dynamic educator who thinks ahead of time and is able to give new meaning and creative responses to the present issues.
Michael Angelo, the world renowned artist was able to see a beautiful angel even within a crooked piece of stone, when others belittled it, thinking useless. If Mahatma Gandhi, Abdul Kalam, Nelson Mandela were formed in the classrooms, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin too were formed in the same classrooms.
Reflecting back at my experience in the village, I remember; One day when I asked my fourth standard students, ‘what would they offer me when I visit their families?’, among the many other, one small boy stood up with all his honesty and innocence saying, “Sir, I shall get you Ganja(Drug), which gives such pleasant feeling, nothing else can give.” There are hundreds of such cases in our primary schools itself today, leave alone the others. One could already sense how many of these students who are in the bud now, may turn out to be criminals in the near future if not guided properly. Unfortunately the teachers, who deal with such issues, are dealing more often with the symptoms than treating the root cause. The age old practice of training the students, with a stick in the hand, holds no good anymore. Thus we realize the need for well trained educators in the early schooling as the character of a child is formed there within those four walls of a school.
We often come across 2 kinds of educators. The first one-for whom teaching is a mere profession and the second one- for whom teaching is a passion, it’s their life. Unfortunately we have many of our educators falling into the first category. It’s also sad to see the quality of students, doing their D.Ed education in our country. Most of them have scored very low in their studies and get into the field without any other choice. No doubt, we need best and competitive teachers for the early schooling.
Quite often we fail to distinguish between education and literacy. Literacy could be given by anybody but not education. Education could be imparted only by a person with a noble vision and depth. Thus they need to be trained. Then can any one specify a particular training for these teachers? One would be wrong, if he tries to do that.
A student comes to a teacher, not only to learn alphabets but also to learn -LIFE. A student is like a chunk of clay, need to be moulded and thus need potters of class and calibre. An educator needs to be like a seer constantly searching for light and truth in his own life. A student learns more from the life of a teacher than his/her words.
By Nature every person is wounded in one or the other way. An educator needs to be a person who is healed and only then he will be able to form and help the students to heal themselves.
A good teacher also needs to be inspiring, creative, and motivating. Participating in various workshops, training programmes, taking initiatives for some noble cause and basing one’s life on certain values would definitely motivate and inspire the students towards them. A student feels in the company of a good teacher, that s/he, too wants to be like his/her teacher. And the teachers needs to be careful, not to produce their own photo copies, rather to mould every student in their potentials, guiding them towards noble values and help them to live a life, fully human and fully alive.
An educator also needs to be a person having deep insights into human nature and behaviour. Each student is different as a person and in patterns of learning. An excellent educator finds ways and means to get the best out of his/her students.