Tuesday January 24, 2017

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Consumer-Driven Health News



Trump's Health Savings Accounts May Shift More Costs to Patients

If Donald Trump’s health savings accounts do for Obamacare patients what they’ve done to workers at large employers, Americans can plan on paying more in out-of-pocket costs for their medical care. Trump and some Republicans in Congress see an HSA offered by the government as akin to health savings accounts provided by employers. The government would contribute something toward the deductible like an employer puts money into the worker’s HSA, according to policy analysts.

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High Deductibles Cause Low-Income People with Diabetes to Forego Medical Care

A study published in a major diabetes journal has confirmed what physicians have been sharing in sessions at medical conferences in recent years: the rise of high-deductible plans is changing the behavior of those with diabetes and limited means, causing them to cut corners with some care. Compared to those with no deductible, privately insured persons with diabetes and a high deductible reported 42 percent fewer primary care visits, 65 percent fewer checkups, and 86 percent fewer specialty care visits.

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Price Transparency Is Nice. Just Don't Expect It to Cut Health Costs.

The lack of price transparency in health care has been cited as one of the reasons we spend too much on it. It’s easy to overpay. Health care prices vary tremendously. And there is no established relationship with quality. That’s changing, but improved transparency isn’t working as well as hoped. Health care pricing apps and websites don’t always help patients spend less.

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DOL Scores Third Win in Fiduciary Rule Challenge

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, marking the third legal victory for the agency in the rule’s saga. D.C. Circuit judges refused to issue an injunction pending appeal brought by the National Association for Fixed Annuities, saying that NAFA failed to satisfy requirements for an injunction. The DOL rule has already withstood two legal challenges, although there are still pending lawsuits aimed at killing or delaying it.

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How Republicans Could Unwind the DOL Fiduciary Rule

Years in the making, the Department of Labor’s April 2016 “Fiduciary Rule” augured a sea change in the way investment products and advice are provided to plan fiduciaries and IRA holders. The Rule generated major criticism, challenges by Congressional Republicans, and numerous lawsuits. January 2017 will bring President Donald Trump and Republican majorities in the Senate and the House. Can they jettison the Rule? Both the new Congress and a Trump DOL have options.

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