Monday July 25, 2016

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Consumer-Driven Health News

Consumer Healthcare Spending Trends Show Uptick in Engagement

What are the biggest healthcare spending trends among consumers? Are they able to save funds in order to pay for future medical bills? These are some of the questions that a survey from Alegeus called the 2016 Healthcare Consumerism Index attempted to uncover. The report outlined consumer behaviors with regard to healthcare spending trends as well as consumers’ ability to save money for medical care.

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Filling a Prescription? You Might Be Better Off Paying Cash

Some consumers who use health insurance copays to buy prescription drugs are paying far more than they should be and would be better off paying with cash, especially for generics. The added cost runs as high as $30 or more per prescription, say pharmacists, and the money is largely being pocketed by middlemen who collect the added profit from local pharmacies. As copays have risen and high-deductible insurance plans become more common, more consumers are now affected.

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Cutting Healthcare Costs Shouldn't Be This Painful

There are numerous examples of the lack of transparency in medical pricing, and the fact that hospital charges for routine tests and procedures can be orders of magnitude more expensive than those of specialized clinics – although patients typically will find that out only after they’ve paid their bill and realize they’ve been fleeced. High-deductible health plans give patients an incentive to find the best price, but the reality is that it’s very hard to shop around.

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How to Become a Savvier Health Care Consumer

Making decisions about health insurance is complicated and potentially very costly. It's no surprise that Americans don't do a great job of it. We are, however, getting better. Alegeus Healthcare compiles an annual Healthcare Consumerism Index that measures the "degree of engagement ... exhibited during healthcare spending and saving decisions." It reports that the index this year jumped to 54.4 from 48.3.

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House Upholds Obama "Fiduciary Rule" on Retirement Savings

President Obama's Democratic allies in the House have blocked a GOP attempt to derail new administration rules that require financial professionals to put their clients' best interest first when giving advice on retirement investments like individual retirement accounts. Democrats held together to deny Republicans the two-thirds margin required to overcome a veto of GOP legislation to overturn the new rules.

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