Friday November 21, 2014

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Consumer-Driven Health News

The Cadillac Tax and Employer HSA Programs

Now that some of the bigger issues related to health care reform have simmered down, attention is turning to the “Cadillac Tax”. It appears likely that HSA-qualifying health plans are not going to trigger this tax, given that they are relatively low-cost plans. However, there is still uncertainty about the effect of HSA contributions on the tax. This article provides a general overview of the Cadillac Tax, explains its potential impact on employer HSA programs and discusses some of the open questions surrounding the tax.

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Health Savings Accounts: Spender vs. Saver

With their newfound fame, many have wondered how to classify HSAs: are they a spending account or a savings account? Health savings accounts possess characteristics of both a checking and savings account. As we look at this conundrum from a data perspective utilizing our recent survey of HSA providers, it doesn’t get any easier to clearly delineate one way or another.

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Where Health Care Consumerism Is Headed

As consumers take on more of the cost of their annual health care bill, they’re demanding better information, better processes and better insight into what they get for those dollars. We call that health care consumerism. Consumers are beginning to bring a perspective from interactions they have in other facets of their lives. With the advent of consumerism, brokers must change elements of their solutions to provide value in this dynamic market. Here are five factors that make being a “consumer” or “shopper” possible.

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This App Will Raise or Lower Your Insurance Deductible Based on Physical Activity

If you're a regular gym-goer who can resist the temptation to ditch the free weights every time you're feeling lazy, Pact Health has a proposition for you: If you keep your gym commitments, you'll get money off your health insurance deductible. Miss a planned gym trip, and your deductible gets bigger.

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Price Transparency's Early Adopters

While some health systems are reluctant to publish prices without reforms of insurance practices and proper context for patients, some are trying to embrace transparency as a new model. Washington State’s Everett Clinic is the Pacific Northwest’s first health system to post prices online for its most frequently used procedures as of November 1st. The prices show the self-pay rates, what would be charged without any adjustments by a patient’s health plans, as well as the 25 percent discounted rate for prompt payment.

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