Monday December 29, 2014

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Consumer-Driven Health News

Insurers Go for the Bronze Buyers

The 2015 individual exchange plan price increases might be as much about efforts to attract healthier insureds as they are about moves to boost total premium revenue. A HealthPocket analysis of the new 2015 individual exchange plan rates indicates that rates for nonsmokers will fall an average of 12 percent for bronze plans, to an average of about $232 for a 30-year-old, and increase about 20 percent for the platinum plans, to an average of about $415.

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Cost of Coverage Under Affordable Care Act to Increase in 2015

The Obama administration unveiled data November 14 showing that many Americans with Obamacare health insurance could face substantial price increases next year unless they switch plans. The data became available just hours before the health insurance marketplace was to open to buyers seeking insurance for 2015. An analysis by The New York Times suggests that although consumers will often be able to find new health plans with prices comparable to those they now pay, the situation varies greatly from state to state and even among counties in the same state.

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Why Obamacare Won’t Stop the Health-Care Cost Crisis

Obamacare has a number of cost-control measures built into it, including limits on Medicare payments, penalties for hospital readmissions and an emphasis on lower-priced preventive care to avoid higher-priced chronic-disease care. But health-spending watchers say it’ll take more than those to get costs truly under control in the sprawling health-care system. They also make an important distinction: Obamacare’s main thrust is to improve access to care for the previously uninsured, which is likely to bring costs up.

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The HSA Crystal Ball: Time to Invest

As HSAs mature and moneys accumulate, accountholders need to seriously consider their plans for those funds. The long-term investment opportunity with an HSA is tremendous. Many HSA providers now offer multiple investment options, including money market funds, self-directed accounts for mutual funds or individual stocks and FDIC-insured accounts for cash needs. While many factors will determine the actual returns these investments make, the bottom line is that regardless of the level of risk, investment options are currently underutilized.

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Opportunities for Financial Institutions to Increase HSA Adoption

Financial institutions offering HSAs have a momentous opportunity to increase business in the form of new customers and more assets under management. Although the market for HSA programs continues to expand, millions of people are seeing only half of the picture—they’re purchasing HSA-eligible HDHPs coverage but failing to open an HSA. HSA providers can step in and help people see the value in setting up an HSA, picking up where the health plan or employer leaves off. Here are some ideas to encourage HSA business.

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