Saturday February 13, 2016

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Consumer-Driven Health News

Make Your High-Deductible Health Plan Work for You

High-deductibles are becoming more common, which isn't the same as being popular. Health Affairs reports that 24 percent of workers in 2015 were on HDHPs, compared to 8 percent in 2009. Nearly half of employees have deductibles of more than $1,000. The start of a new insurance year is a good time to get the newcomers up to speed. Here's a primer to make the plan work for you.

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Cadillac Tax Delay Buys Time for IRS to Retrench on Divisive Issue

The last major congressional action of 2015 could delay government regulators issuing the last major rule under the health care reform law. While it had been widely expected that federal regulators would propose Cadillac tax rules during the first half of 2016, the two-year delay has eased the pressure on regulators and led some to say the excise tax may ultimately be repealed.

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"Critical Illness" Coverage Grows as Out-of-Pocket Health Costs Jump

"Critical illness" insurance can pay for things conventional plans don't. It typically pays a lump sum to policy holders hit with specific serious ailments, such as cancer or a stroke. It can fill an important cost gap for people with high-deductible plans who'd struggle to pay up-front, out-of-pocket costs for immediate health care. Some of the nation's largest insurers report double-digit annual growth of critical illness plans the past few years.

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Are Health Plans that Pay a Lump Sum for Critical Illnesses Worth It?

Insurance policies that pay a lump sum if workers get cancer or another serious illness are being offered in growing numbers by employers. Companies say they want to help protect their workers against the financial pain of increasingly high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. But it's important to understand the limitations of these plans before buying.

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10 Things You Absolutely Need to Know About Employee Benefits

Maybe I obsess over employee benefits, but I figure my obsession has saved my family thousands of dollars a year. By enrolling in my health insurance plan, which has a tiered structure so lower-paid employees pay lower premiums, we pay less than we would on my husband’s employer’s plan. And I go to the doctor for an annual physical–that triggers a 4th quarter $625 employer contribution into my health savings account. It’s up to your employer to design a benefits package; it’s up to you to find out what’s offered and take full advantage of it.

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