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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Post-Katrina health insurance

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: I recently returned to my home in Louisiana where I planned to have some medical procedures that have been put off for awhile. I found that my doctor no longer accepts the health plan and that his office expects cash at the time of the visit. Is this legal?

A: Health care in post-Katrina Louisiana is likely to be unsettled for some time. The best three points to keep in mind are: a) Make sure you health plan provides benefits for treatment from any health care provider anywhere in the U.S. regardless of their network affiliation. It is not reasonable to expect that you will have immediate access to all of the care you may need in your former LA community. b) Make sure your health plan pays "prevailing charges" and not benefits based on a pre-set schedule. Most commercial "Indemnity" type plans include this provision but most HMOs do not. c) If you have trouble getting coverage that will pay for treatment for small pre-existing medical conditions then change your insurance to lower the premium and pay for the medical care yourself out of the savings in insurance cost. The Louisiana benefit plan page at offers a handful of options. All of the health insurance policies listed there meet the criteria listed above. OnlineAdviser service has allocated extra resources to those affected by Katrina so mention this if you need to call or write for additional personal help.


More resources:

Louisiana Benefit Plan Listings