Sunday August 28, 2016

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Consumer-Driven Health News

Top 5 Ways HR Can Bolster Workers' FSA Participation

Whether you offer the grace period or the rollover method, employees have to do some planning to use their FSA funds effectively. Otherwise, they could easily be left forfeiting some hard-earned money. And research shows most FSA accountholders aren’t aware of the many ways in which they can use their accounts. To help employees get the most out of their FSAs, make sure they’re aware of the following features.

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Apps for Rx Sticker Shock

For many patients, especially those with high-deductible insurance plans, the price of filling a prescription is largely unknown until they get to the pharmacy. That can leave some patients shocked at the register, sometimes unable or unwilling to pay. A number of insurers, pharmacy benefit managers and technology companies are developing smartphone and computer apps to provide that information for patients and physicians.

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Doctors Caught in the Middle as More Patients Move to High-Deductible Plans

With the emergence of low-premium, high-deductible health plans, physician office managers are seeing patients caught off guard when the bill arrives. Few, if any, physicians went to medical school to learn about billing and collections, but the matter of getting paid is requiring more and more of their attention, particularly for small, independent practices. As a rule, physicians want to treat ill or injured patients, regardless of their ability to pay, but they still need to keep the office on stable financial footing.

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How Not to Get Blindsided by Costs in Retirement

Health care expenses are one of the biggest wild cards in retirement. Even with insurance, you’ll have to bridge other health care gaps in retirement. Moreover, dental work, hearing aids, and vision care aren’t usually covered. You can ballpark those extra medical costs and save accordingly. An ideal place to save, if you’re still working and have a high-deductible health plan, is your health savings account.

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How Common Procedures Became 20 Percent Cheaper for Many Californians

At a time when health care spending seems only to go up, an initiative in California has slashed the prices of many common procedures. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System started paying hospitals differently for 450,000 of its members beginning in 2011. Under the new approach, called reference pricing, patients who wished to get a procedure at a higher-priced hospital paid the difference themselves.

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