Monday December 5, 2016

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Consumer-Driven Health News



The Reason for the DOL Fiduciary Rule: IRAs

The real reason for issuance of the fiduciary rule is to mitigate what the DOL regards as the bad effects resulting from the practices of some advisors providing conflicted investment advice and products to unsuspecting IRA owners. Many retirement plan participants and IRA owners today have little ability to assess the value of investment advice or potential conflicts of interest intelligently and are therefore at the mercy of these non-fiduciaries.

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Study Suggests HDHPs Not Working As Intended

Employers like HDHPs because they transfer more of the costs of health care to employees, and many employees choose these plans for the lower premiums. However, a survey commissioned by Insurance.com found that 64 percent of respondents said they delayed care because they didn’t want to pay the high deductible. Health insurers and employers will need to make sure they are implementing plans and programs that actually don’t cost more money in the long run.

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More Than Half of Americans Have Chronic Health Problem: Study

More than half of Americans have at least one chronic disease, mental illness or problem with drugs or alcohol, according to a new study. The study found that nearly 40 percent had at least one chronic medical condition. In addition, about 18 percent had been diagnosed with a mental illness in the past year, and about 9 percent abused drugs or alcohol during that time.

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Some Hospital Systems Pioneer Transparent Pricing, but Industrywide Progress Is Slow

Advocate Health Care recently unveiled flat prices on certain services for self-pay patients at its outpatient centers and urgent-care clinics in the Chicago area. Now Advocate is working on extending the fixed-price policy to diagnostic imaging procedures such as MRIs and CT scans, combining the facility and professional charges into one unified price. But other health systems have yet to embrace the same strategy.

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DOL Releases First Batch of FAQs on Fiduciary Rule

The Labor Department issued its first set of answers to frequently asked questions about the fiduciary rule October 27. The FAQs are based on input received from financial services firms and other stakeholders. In total, there are 34 questions and answers in the first wave of FAQs.

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