All Articles Tagged "healthcare costs"
Health insurance is a necessary expense. But it doesn’t have to be quite as expensive as a lot of workers make it out to be.
Research from the Aflac WorkForces Report shows that 56 percent of workers waste as much as $750 per year on health benefits. Among the problems, 47 percent of workers say they rarely, if ever, exceed the deductible and only 16 percent choose the right amount for their flexible spending accounts.
Experts recommend that workers pay closer attention to what they’re signing up for. We’ll go a step further and recommend that you take full advantage of the help that your HR exec and the health insurance company itself is offering. Let them walk you through the options step by step until you fully understand what you’re purchasing. Don’t guess.
It’s also important that you keep an eye out for the changes that are happening in the health insurance industry. We have the Affordable Healthcare Act that will be going into effect and already there’s talk about the impact on small businesses and the options that will be available to more Americans. Moreover, there have been a wave of changes in the health insurance industry that may lead to changes in policies and coverage. Make sure you stay on top of those shifts. It may put more money in your pocket.
More on Madame Noire Business!
- The Number of Black-Owned Businesses, and the Need for Resources, Is Growing
- The Rules About Licensing for Hair Braiding Are Shifting Across the U.S.
- Women, Minority Businesses Face an Added Burden of Proof
- Brandy, Pick It Up: Old Content Strategies Don’t Cut It Anymore
- Here are the Five Highest Paying Jobs You Don’t Need a Bachelor’s Degree to Do
(Chicago News Cooperative) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration and labor unions representing the majority of the city’s workforce were close to reaching a deal Wednesday to start a program that Emanuel hopes will help slash the cash-starved city’s annual $500 million tab for employee health care costs. City employees would be required to participate in a wellness program involving frequent health screenings or pay $50 a month more for medical insurance coverage, sources close to the negotiations told the Chicago News Cooperative. A team of Emanuel aides led by Deputy Mayor Mark Angelson have negotiated the agreement with leaders of virtually every major city labor group except for the police officers’ union, the sources said. Kathleen Strand, a spokeswoman for Angelson, declined comment on the negotiations. Since before taking office in May, Emanuel has promised to institute a wellness program, saying it could cut the city’s health care bill.
(New York Times) — New York State’s prestigious teaching hospitals could lose more than $1 billion a year as part of plans under negotiation in Washington to reduce the federal deficit that the hospitals say will lead to drastic service reductions. The cuts would reduce the Medicare subsidy for training doctors and for providing intensive medical services like trauma centers and burn units and sophisticated equipment that the teaching hospitals offer. The plan would apply to teaching hospitals nationwide but would have its most profound impact in cities like New York and Boston, where medical schools and their affiliated hospitals have a significant presence. Dating to the 1960s, the subsidy has helped make New York State the world capital of medical education, training about 16,000 doctors a year, or 14.5 percent of the nation’s total, more than any other state.
(Inc.) –John Charles Schmitt II, who heads up Plans for Professionals, a 300-person life insurance firm in Orange,Connecticut, used to work with Connecticut Blue Cross and Blue Shield to cover his employee health insurance costs. But as premiums rose and new healthcare guidelines started to come into effect, even Schmitt—who played ten football seasons with the Jets, won the 1969 Super Bowlwith quarterback Joe Namath and had 16 operations due to football injuries—became nervous. “Our experience was tough. I didn’t like it. We were just a number,” he says.
(Smart Money) — Michael Foley had a feeling it would be difficult to get a bargain price for an endoscopy, but just getting a quote from his local hospital turned out to be a surprising hurdle. According to the 49-year-old contractor from Freeland, Wash., the hospital declined to discuss specific prices on the phone. It did agree to send a range in writing, and quite a range it was: from $2,360 to $22,290, excluding physician charges. “If we all billed like that, we’d be millionaires,” Foley says. (A Whidbey General spokesperson says the hospital gives a broad price range for surgeries to cover complications that may occur.)
(Chicago Sun Times) — Across Illinois in 2010, requests for financial assistance at hospitals swelled as jobs and health insurance benefits shriveled, leaving fewer people able to pay their medical bills. “We’re hearing from hospitals that they’re having record numbers of people needing charity and record numbers of people on Medicaid,” said Howard Peters, executive vice president of the Illinois Hospital Association. A report the organization released in mid-December found the 109 Illinois hospitals that filed community benefit reports for their 2008-09 fiscal years (a little more than half its 200 hospital members) together dispensed $492 million in free and discounted care that year — $72 million more than the previous year.
(The Network Journal) — As the new GOP-lead Congress examines possible repeal of President Obama’s health insurance policy, many citizens are faced with yet another hurdle regarding health care. Americaswire.org recently published an article which stated that a growing number of hospitals are closing or moving out of minority neighborhoods, leaving huge voids in health care services, especially trauma treatment, for residents of these communities. Award-winning reporter, Marjorie Valbrun, reports that hospitals have closed or face closure in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, St. Louis, New York, Washington and parts of New Jersey. In fact, Detroit has lost more than 1,200 hospital beds since 1998 because of closures and has no public hospital.
(Time) — In a Q&A in the NY Times, Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren, an internist at the University of Pennsylvania who is researching consumer issues as they related to health care, offers a range of ways patients with or without health insurance can cut costs. Nearly all of the tips start with this simple step: Ask your doctor if there’s any way you can pay less. That goes for any of his services, as well as prescription drugs, tests, and treatments.
(The Network Journal) — President Barack Obama’s historic health care overhaul hit its first major legal roadblock Monday, thrown into doubt by a federal judge’s declaration that the heart of the sweeping legislation is unconstitutional. The decision handed Republican foes ammunition for their repeal effort next year as the law heads for almost certain eventual judgment by the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, a Republican appointee in Richmond, Va., marked the first successful court challenge to any portion of the new law, following two earlier rulings in its favor by Democratic-appointed judges.
(AJC) — Carlton Garey owes The Medical Center of Central Georgia almost $6,000, and he can’t pay. The 45-year-old construction worker lost his job in July. Though he didn’t have health insurance before, it wasn’t a problem because he never had to go to the doctor. But recent health trouble sent him to the emergency room twice, most recently in October. Garey is one of almost two million people in Georgia without health insurance, a figure that has been exacerbated by the poor economy. Unemployment in the state has remained near 10 percent during the past year, and about 20 percent of Georgians were uninsured in 2009 — the most without any health care coverage during the past decade.