Tuesday October 21, 2014

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Consumer-Driven Health News



Most Employers to Reject Private Exchanges

Myriad studies have tried to fathom whether major employers will decide to shift their employees to the growing number of private health exchanges. Now comes a study from the National Business Group on Health that suggests large employers don’t have much interest in off-loading coverage to private exchanges.

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Wal-Mart Adds In-Store Program to Help Customers Compare Insurance Offerings

Wal-Mart announced October 6 that it will dive deeper into the health-care market, unveiling an initiative to allow customers to compare and enroll in health insurance plans in thousands of its stores. Wal-Mart is teaming with DirectHealth.com, an online insurance comparison site and independent health insurance agency, to set up counters in its stores where consumers can talk to licensed agents about plan options.

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Why MLR Rules Might Not Work Anymore

The federal government has set minimum MLR rules, and some states have their own MLR rules, as well. In 2012, many health insurance subscribers found small checks in their mailboxes for premium rebates. However, in 2013, MLR rebate checks were much rarer, and they seem to have disappeared altogether from the landscape this year. What’s happened since 2012? Some experts say that health insurance carriers have become savvier about how to portray their earnings.

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Many Save Nothing for Health Care

Not only do more than half of people over 50 say they don’t have enough money set aside for health care when they retire, retirement itself is a goal receding into the distance, with even more saying they’re going to work on past 65. That’s what AARP found in a new survey, revealing that almost four out of every 10 over-50s say they haven’t saved anything at all for healthcare expenses. Not a dime.

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High Deductibles Have Patients Clamoring for Cost Clarity

As workers shoulder a bigger portion of ever-rising health costs, providers and insurers are finally opening up about prices. Employers hope that if health care operates more like a retail business—-with transparent pricing—-patients will then be able to shop for the best-quality care at the lowest cost. Behind the push for more price disclosure is the growth of high-deductible plans.

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