Health Care Column


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 Health Care 
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Concierge medicine provides options ahead of Obamacare deadline

Concierge medicine may help young people get more bang for their buckThere are just over 2 months to go until the March 31 deadline to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare, and not everyone is sold on purchasing the kind of comprehensive and often pricey plans offered in the insurance exchanges set up under the law.

One alternative that may hold some appeal, especially for those under 30, is concierge medicine. With concierge medicine, you pay a regular retainer monthly or annually for the right to have a doctor manage your health care and perform basic procedures such as checkups and tests.

Paired with a high-deductible health insurance plan, it can meet a broad variety of health care needs without having to do the messy insurance dance for most of your medical care. Certain concierge practices, including AtlasMD, even offer house calls as a membership benefit.
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 Health Care 
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Employers hope healthier habits are among your New Year’s resolutions, may fine you if they aren’t

Employee wellness programs set to pack a bigger punch in 2014You may not think your health is any of your employer’s business. But when it comes to employee wellness programs, you’d be wrong.

Lots of companies — nearly 90 percent, according to a 2013 survey by Fidelity Investments — are looking to cut their health insurance costs through “wellness programs,” many of which incorporate both financial rewards and penalties.

For employees, that can mean failing to do things like lose weight or stop smoking could mean you end up paying much more for health insurance than coworkers deemed healthier. How much more depends on the company, but employers’ ability to reward healthy workers may be getting a big boost in 2014.
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 Health Care 
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5 steps to punch a denied health insurance claim in the face

Health insurers are in business to make money, and one way they can increase profits is denying claims. And they do. A lot.

About 200 million health insurance claims are denied annually, according to the AARP. While that might be great for insurers’ shareholders, it sucks for patients.

The good news is, when a consumer appeals their insurance company’s decision, the denial is reversed about half the time. It’s worth it to appeal a denial, but it’s not typically easy. Here’s what you can do to fight back against a denied health insurance claim.
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 Health Care 
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How to use up Flexible Spending Account money by the end of the year

You don't have to buy medicine to use up Flexible Spending Account money.If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you’re probably familiar with the dreaded “use it or lose it” rule. If unused by the end of the year, any money that remains in your account could be forfeited. So if you need to use up Flexible Spending Account money before the end of the year, what are your options?
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 Health Care 
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4 annoying things about the Obamacare rollout and how to deal

Just days after finally getting a stopgap budget passed and turning the lights back on at the federal government, Washington politicians woke up to an ugly reality: There have been some rather large and nasty bugs in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

Here are some of the biggest Obamacare issues stressing out consumers, and how you can deal with them.
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 Health Care, Insurance 
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How Much Will Obamacare Cost You?

ObamacareThe year 2014 is fast approaching. And with the new year, you will be required to purchase health insurance if you don’t already have it. If you can’t get insurance through your work, you’ll be able to purchase a plan on the health insurance exchanges that should be offered starting in 2014.

How much you end up paying on the exchanges depends on where you live, your age, the number of people covered by the plan, and whether or not anyone covered uses tobacco.


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 Health Care, Insurance 
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Are You Ready for Obamacare in 2014?

ObamacareBack in 2010, Congress passed, and President Obama signed into law, the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act (PPACA). In spite of the fact that the legislation ended up being passed without a key feature that President Obama wanted — a public option that would have allowed Americans access to the same plan Congresspeople have — the measure is popularly known as Obamacare.

After clearing the Supreme Court last year, mostly intact, Obamacare is getting ready to roll out in full force in 2014. Some of the provisions have been phasing in gradually, but 2014 marks the year that the provision to buy coverage or face a fine goes into effect.

Are you ready for Obamacare? Here are a few things that you need to know before January 1, 2014:
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 Health Care, Insurance 
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Get the Best Health Insurance Plan for You

best health insuranceAccording to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, health care expenditures in the United States approached $2.6 trillion in 2010. On top of that, between 2002 and 2010, employer-sponsored health  care  premiums (many Americans still rely on the workplace for coverage) rose 97%.

Health care costs continue to rise, and families find that an increasing chunk of their budgets go toward paying for health insurance. If you want to use your health care dollar to best effect, you need to be careful about getting the right health insurance plan for your situation.

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