Wednesday March 4, 2015

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Consumer-Driven Health News

High Deductibles: Why Physicians Must Adjust How They Practice

Accelerated by the Affordable Care Act, high-deductible health plans have emerged as a major trend in healthcare. Placing more financial responsibility on patients for medical services has a direct impact on physician practices. Rising out-of-pocket costs are changing the way patients use medical services, so physicians must evolve their billing and communication practices to keep up.

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Should Paid Sick Leave Be Mandatory? Why Not Liberate Health Savings Accounts Instead?

President Obama wants to require employers to provide their employees with up to 7 days per year of paid sick time, which they could use to care for themselves or for a sick family member. Is this a good idea? Instead of requiring employers to give their employees paid sick leave why not allow employees to draw from a Health Savings Account to replace any lost income? The idea is so good, I want to expand on it.

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Hard-to-Find Prices Stop Insured Patients from Comparison Shopping

What patients with health insurance spend out-of-pocket for a handful of common medical services varies greatly, according to a new analysis that suggests patients can benefit from shopping around but often don't because of the entrenched lack of price transparency in healthcare. On average, what an insured patient spends for a trip to the doctor for the first time varies by just $19 across the U.S. But the difference is $444 for cataract removal and $342 for an MRI, according to a new analysis by the Health Care Cost Institute.

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Blue Cross North Carolina’s Price Tool Could Shake Up Medical Industry

Until recently the cost of medical care had been a closely guarded trade secret and patients had little reason to care when health insurance covered most of the expense. Now, however, as patients become responsible for more of their medical costs, such information is seeping out through online tools. How that will play out in the medical marketplace remains to be seen, but Blue Cross’ North Carolina disclosure is creating national buzz.

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Employers Turn to CDHC Plans to Control Costs

Consumer-driven health plans are increasingly helping control costs at companies that provide employee health insurance. A wide-ranging SHRM study, found that 19 percent of respondents that offer employee coverage said consumer-driven plans were the most effective means of controlling the rising cost of health coverage.

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