Wednesday April 23, 2014

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Consumer-Driven Health News



Health Plan Premiums Are Skyrocketing According to New Survey of 148 Insurance Brokers

Health insurance premiums are showing the sharpest increases perhaps ever according to a survey of brokers who sell coverage in the individual and small group market. The April survey by Morgan Stanley shows the largest acceleration in small and individual group rates in any of the 12 prior quarterly periods when it has been conducted.

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Health Care Reform Prompts Surge of New Walk-In Clinics

An increase in the number of walk-in clinics is one of the outcomes of new national health care reforms, according Angela Mattie, chairwoman of the Health Care Management and Organizational Leadership program at Quinnipiac University’s Business School. Mattie said that while the number of people who have health insurance has increased under Obamacare, the number of doctors available to treat them has not.

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Money Matters: Using a HSA or FSA to Help Manage Health Care Costs

Worried about rising health care costs? According to a study done by AON Hewitt, out-of-pocket costs such as co-payments, coinsurance, and deductibles, rose 12.8 percent from 2012 to 2013. However, your employer could be offering you access to either of two types of savings plans -- HSAs or FSAs to help you cope with these increases. These accounts allow you to make tax-free contributions to an account to help pay for medical expenses. Here is a brief summary of both choices.

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An Overlooked Post-Retirement Healthcare Strategy

Funding post-retirement medical expenses in today’s marketplace is no small task, especially for the early retiree who has yet to qualify for Medicare coverage and may be reliant on an exchange-purchased health plan with a high deductible. By putting a traditional retirement account to work with a health savings account (HSA), your clients can take advantage of a novel and tax-preferred funding approach at a time when more arcane funding structures may be going by the wayside.

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Small Slice of Doctors Account for Big Chunk of Medicare Costs

A tiny sliver of doctors and other medical providers accounted for an outsize portion of Medicare's 2012 costs, according to an analysis of federal data that lays out details of physicians' billings. The top 1% of 825,000 individual medical providers accounted for 14% of the $77 billion in billing recorded in the data.

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