Employees blame insurers for surprise medical bills

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Sep 17, 2018 @ 08:09

How employers can help

A majority of Americans have received a surprise medical bill in the last year, and a new study provides some insight into how consumers feel about medical billing — and where they place the blame for unexpected costs.

According to the study, published by research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, the majority of respondents named insurance companies as very responsible for surprise billing, followed next by hospitals. Most of the surprise charges were for a physician’s service, followed by lab tests.

The study illustrates that despite years of conversations around price transparency and consumer-directed healthcare, the industry is still struggling to effectively educate employees about their benefits and care costs.

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Tags: group benefits, group plan, broker, self-funded, self-insurance, stop-loss coverage

What is telecommuting?

Posted by Gretchen Smitson on Fri, Sep 14, 2018 @ 06:09

Definition: telecommuting

The past decade has seen a 115% increase in telecommuting. So what exactly is telecommuting and why is it so popular?

Telecommuting is the ability for employees to work from a location other than the office. Telecommuting is often marked by a large reliance on technology for communication and collaboration purposes, as employee teams are scattered in different locations. 

Types of telecommuters:

  • Remote employees
  • Virtual employees
  • Mobile employees
  • Digital nomads
  • Employees who work from home

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Tags: BerniePortal, hiring, recruitment

How financial advisors can help retirees get Medicare right

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 09:09

Four tips for financial advising clients

Healthcare costs in retirement are expensive —  Fidelity Benefits Consulting estimates a 65-year-old couple retiring this year will spend $275,000 on healthcare, not including long-term care expenses.

One of the reasons Medicare can be so costly is that there are 18 different options for retirees. With more choice comes more complexity, and consumers often don’t pick the right or most cost-effective strategy for their needs.

However, financial advisors can assist retirees in both planning ahead for healthcare costs in retirement as well as finding the right strategy. To learn more about this, click here to check out the webinar, “Medicare Open Enrollment: Top Four Ways Financial Advisors Can Help Clients Get Healthcare Right,” or read on for more.

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Tags: Bernard Health, retirement, healthcare costs, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension, medicare costs

How to make sense of a medical bill

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Sep 10, 2018 @ 11:09

How to review your medical bill for inaccuracies

Medical bills can be really confusing. Anyone who has had a healthcare experience is probably familiar with receiving several documents from different providers and insurance companies, and struggling to understand whether they are correct.

Often, the more acute the healthcare experience, the more complicated the billing. On top of this, many medical bills contain errors.

Industry groups estimate as many as 80 percent of medical bills contain inaccuracies. In these instances, consumers often end up overpaying. Some people have even argued medical bills are overly complicated on purpose to keep most consumers from noticing when they have been overbilled.

The whole process can cause a lot of anxiety, especially after a medical scenario. So how can consumers ensure their bills are correct?

Below are some tips to help consumers feel more comfortable reviewing their medical bills.

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Tags: healthcare, The Tennessean, healthcare costs

How to help clients optimize Health Savings Accounts for retirement

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Fri, Sep 07, 2018 @ 09:09

Check out this article on healthcare costs in Financial Advisor:

As financial advisors and wealth managers know, there are lots of ways to help clients plan for retirement. Different strategies work better for some Americans than others, but most advisors agree that the most obvious strategies are maximizing investments in traditional retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and Roth or Traditional IRAs.

If your clients have the means, maximizing investments in these accounts is a smart strategy. However, there is another kind of retirement account that many consumers aren’t yet taking advantage of—health savings accounts (HSAs).

Much has been written about how these accounts can be used to pay for health-care expenditures tax-free, but savvy consumers are increasingly seeing the opportunity to use these accounts primarily as a tax-advantaged retirement vehicle.

Financial advisors are in a position to help clients better understand this option and how it can serve as another tool in their retirement strategy. Below are a few things advisors should know—and can help clients understand—about using HSAs as a retirement account.

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Tags: short-term health insurance, healthcare advice, financial advisors, healthcare extension, wealth managers, retirees

Where can consumers find help with health insurance?

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Wed, Sep 05, 2018 @ 09:09

What to do if you lose coverage

Many consumers have anxiety about getting health insurance right. There are several different strategies available for health coverage, but few comprehensive resources to help consumers evaluate their options.

Further, the Tennessee Health Care Campaign, one of the groups in Tennessee that helps consumers with health insurance, announced earlier this month that it won’t apply for federal funding to help consumers find coverage in 2019.

Through the Affordable Care Act, groups could apply for federal funding to train “navigators” to help consumers find, compare and enroll in health insurance. Funding for the program has been reduced, and the Tennessee Health Care Campaign said it would not compete with another navigator group in the state — Family and Children’s Services — for the funding.

As a result, already low resources for consumers will be further reduced. At the same time, many consumers in Tennessee will have more options than in previous years, including Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) plans, short-term plans, and non-ACA options.

This means more consumers will be in a position to make decisions between different kinds of coverage and will likely be looking for good advice. Despite a reduction in navigator services, there are still some places where consumers can find help.

Here are a few of these options.

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Tags: healthcare, The Tennessean, healthcare costs

How much does healthcare cost in retirement?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Aug 31, 2018 @ 08:08

Questions to ask to help project healthcare spending

According to Fidelity Benefits Consulting, a 65-year-old couple retiring this year will spend $275,000 on healthcare, not including long-term care expenses. This number continues to rise every year, leading even affluent Americans to say they are “terrified” of what healthcare costs may do to their retirement plans.

Fortunately, good planning can help retirees ensure they have the right healthcare strategy into retirement and throughout their lives.

Financial advisors are playing an increased role in helping clients develop these strategies.

Here are four questions advisors and wealth managers can ask their clients to help project care spending:

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Tags: Bernard Health, retirement, healthcare costs, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension, medicare costs

Culture of health reduces turnover by a third

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Aug 29, 2018 @ 06:08

What employers can do

A new study by Mercer found employers’ turnover rate dropped by a third when comparing companies doing the most to help employees thrive, versus those doing the least.

Employees stay longer when the culture of health is stronger, the study found. Further, employers engaging in more “wellbeing practices,” also bend the cost curve more substantially.

What are the well-being practices? The study broke them down into three categories, “basic,” “culture of health,” and “quality and value.” Here are a few of these solutions for cost containment and employee well-being.

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Tags: group benefits, group plan, offer health insurance, small group market

Congress considers dueling parental leave policies

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Aug 27, 2018 @ 06:08

What employers should know

Congress is working on a solution for paid parental leave, with options currently under consideration on both sides of the aisle.

Most recently, Sen. Marco Rubio released the “Economic Security Act for New Parents,” which would allow parents to withdraw early Social Security benefits to use after the birth or adoption of a child. Parents who took advantage of this bill would then delay the collection of those benefits in retirement

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Tags: group benefits, group plan, offer health insurance, broker, parental leave, small group market

How new short-term health plan rules could affect employees

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Aug 24, 2018 @ 06:08

New rules could create more options for employees

New rules from the Trump administration will expand the reach of short-term insurance plans, which could result in additional options for consumers, including employees.

The new rules extend the duration of short-term health plans from three months to 364 days, and would also allow the plans to be renewed. These regulations make short-term plans more like other types of insurance.

While these plans are generally cheaper than other types of coverage, they do not cover as many services as traditional health plans, such as preventive care or prescriptions.

Still, many anticipate that consumers looking for lower-cost alternatives may forgo comprehensive coverage and elect these plans, especially as the individual mandate penalty no longer applies next year.

Why does this matter to employers? In a few circumstances, employees could choose these new options instead of workplace options. Here are a few scenarios where this could apply.

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Tags: short-term health insurance, short-term health plan, short term plan, group benefits, group plan, offer health insurance, broker, small group market

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