Ryan McCostlin

Recent Posts

3 questions to ask when you're looking for a health partner

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 @ 07:01

Check out this column in ThinkAdvisor!

As health care costs continue to rise, financial advisors are increasingly building health care consulting services into their value proposition to clients. The issue is material to wealth management — health care costs in retirement are estimated at $275,000 for a couple retiring this year, according to Fidelity Benefits Consulting.

More financial advisors are recognizing that strategically evaluating health care and insurance costs is key to an effective retirement strategy. But most financial planners and wealth managers aren’t insurance experts themselves, which has led to a partnership between two industries — health care and benefits advisors and wealth management experts.

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Tags: Medicare, healthcare advice, Individual Plans, financial advisors, healthcare extension, wealth managers

How Bernard Health helps individuals through financial advisors & employers

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 @ 08:10

A note to our friends and clients

Bernard Health is now offering health insurance advice and assistance to individuals and families exclusively through our partnerships with financial advisors and employers.

What does this mean?

If your employer is a client of Bernard Health, you can continue to work with our team of licensed, noncommissioned advisors for free. We support hundreds of employers including businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities.

Also, if you have a relationship with a financial advisor who partners with Bernard Health, you can access our advisory services for free. We began partnering with financial advisors in mid-2017, and several financial advisors who help clients all over the country have already made an investment to make Bernard Health's services free to their clients. If you have a relationship with a financial advisor, please ask them if they're already working with Bernard Health. If they are, we may be able to provide your family with unlimited healthcare advisory services for free! If they're not, you can encourage them to consider partnering with us, and you start by sharing this link with them

Due to changes in health insurance, we will not be offering fee-based consulting services in our stores this year. If you're one of thousands of individuals or families who has counted on Bernard Health in the past and was hoping to work with us again this year, please know that we're just as disappointed as you are that we're no longer able to help the general public. We know people still need guidance. While we are not able to offer specific advice to individual consumers, here is general information about what to expect during this year’s open enrollment and links to a few other resources. 

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, obamacare, aca, Medicare, Individual health insurance, nashville, Nashville health insurance, Individual Plans, individual health insurance questions, individual digest, financial planner, financial advisors, individuals

Bernard Health announces strengthened partnership model with financial advisors

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Thu, Jul 06, 2017 @ 08:07

Strengthening relationships with financial planners in face of increasingly expensive, complicated healthcare environment

Bernard Health, Nashville-based health insurance advisory firm and developer of BerniePortal and BernieHR, is strengthening its partnership model with financial advisors to help individuals navigate their healthcare options.

“Our firm was built with the mission to be the world's most trusted advisor when it comes to helping people plan for their healthcare,” said Alex Tolbert, founder of Bernard Health. “Through strengthened partnerships with financial planners, we’re furthering that mission at a time when consumers need guidance more than ever before.”

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Tags: health insurance, employer health benefits, group benefits, healthcare costs, employer digest, benefits administration

Smart financial planners step up to fill gaps in healthcare advice

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Mon, May 08, 2017 @ 12:05

A 'healthcare extension' gives clients the expert advice they need

I used to be really boring at cocktail parties. When a new friend would ask me about what I do for a living, I talked about solving problems in health insurance. Our team at Bernard Health has helped thousands of people make better decisions around health insurance and Medicare. But who wants to hear about that at a cocktail party? My social skills could have been better.But two things happened that made me more interesting. Or at least less boring. 
  1. The Affordable Care Act and subsequent policy debates made health insurance sexy (sort of) for maybe the first time ever.

  2. I learned to stop talking about healthcare. I started asking questions about healthcare instead, and I was surprised by what I observed. The same people whose eyes glazed over when I brought it up became animated when they had space to talk about their own healthcare experiences and concerns.
My unscientific cocktail party research revealed that most people care deeply about healthcare. They don't necessarily want to talk about wonky topics like population health or cost sharing reduction subsidies, but they have strong opinions and some anxiety around physician networks and prescription coverage. It turns out that healthcare - how to plan for it, how to maintain it, how to pay for it - isn't just a conversation for analysts and journalists. As long as they're given the space, everyday Americans want to discuss it.

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Tags: Medicare, Medicare Advice, healthcare advice, Individual Plans, financial advisors, healthcare extension, wealth managers

Tools to slow healthcare spending represent $8.6 billion in revenue for providers in ‘17

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 @ 11:03

Check out this column on Becker's Hospital Review

Americans are prudent, resourceful, and productive. We're responsible for Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Hollywood, the iPhone and the Internet. We have the largest economy in the world, and our individual states generate more economic output than other leading global national economies. California's GDP is similar to Brazil's. Kentucky looks like New Zealand.

But somehow (and I say this respectfully as a guy who pays taxes and flies an American flag on his front porch), we're undisputed morons when it comes to healthcare spending.

There's no shortage of ideas for how Americans can spend healthcare dollars more efficiently. Some argue this is the biggest opportunity of our generation. Victor Fuchs, Stanford University emeritus professor of economics and policy, is famously quoted as saying "If we solve our healthcare spending, practically all of our fiscal problems go away." And if we don't, "Then almost anything else we do will not solve our fiscal problems."1 Smart Americans are currently testing ideas around pricing transparency, payment innovation, and population health.

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Tags: heath insurance, healthcare costs, advance care plan, advance care directive, advance care planning, insurance nashville, tennesseee

3 tips for choosing health insurance in Nashville for '17

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Sun, Oct 30, 2016 @ 15:10

Your options in Tennessee for 2017

Over 70,000 Nashville-area Tennesseans have individual health insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. In early October, Blue Cross sent out letters notifying these members that they're no longer offering health insurance in this market next year. 

While this is frustrating news and the transition may not be easy, the good news is that there are still options. The rest of this post will outline (A) the options available and (B) how to choose the right health plan for 2017 and sign up.

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Tags: heath insurance, healthcare costs, insurance competition, insurance nashville, tennesseee

How one hospital helped the uninsured by partnering with Bernard Health

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 @ 07:03

25-bed Critical Access Hospital helps 480 patients find health insurance in first year of partnership

Macon County General Hospital (MCGH) is a 25-bed critical access hospital in Lafayette, TN. In December, 2014 they partnered with Bernard Health to place a licensed, noncommissioned Bernard Health advisor in their emergency department five days a week. 

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, affordable health insurance, health care advice

How to verify your income on HealthCare.gov

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 @ 05:07

HealthCare.gov: Reader Q+A 

I received a letter from the marketplace saying that I need to verify my income. How do I do that?

If you chose a health plan on HealthCare.gov, a.k.a. the marketplace, and you are receiving a subsidy, you may be required to prove that the income you listed on your application is accurate. 

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Tags: obamacare, marketplace, HealthCare.gov, Healthcare.gov signups, health insurance advice

How Bernard is partnering with one hospital to help the uninsured

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Tue, Jul 14, 2015 @ 05:07

(Update: In the first year of this partnership, Bernard Health and MCGH helped 480 patients find health insurance. Click here for our updated post.) 

25-bed Critical Access Hospital helps 150 patients find health insurance in just 4 months

Macon County General Hospital (MCGH) is a 25-bed critical access hospital in Lafayette, TN. In December, 2014 they partnered with Bernard Health to place a licensed, noncommissioned Bernard Health advisor in their emergency department five days a week. 

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, affordable health insurance, health care advice

Bernard helps patients at Macon County General Hospital

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 @ 05:04

How one hospital is partnering with Bernard to help their patients

Up to six million Americans are expected to pay a tax penalty this year for not having health insurance coverage in 2014. To help families avoid future penalties, a special enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace opened on March 15, 2015, and will close April 30, 2015.

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Tags: marketplace, ACA tax penalty, HealthCare.gov, open enrollment

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