Health Care News February 2018

Health care continues to be in the news daily. Mergers, in many forms, are under discussion: CVS and Aetna Insurance, Albertson’s and Rite Aid, Walgreens and Rite Aid, Advocate Health System in Illinois merging with Aurora Health System in Wisconsin, etc. And, of course, the news about Amazon; currently providing medical supplies to health systems but considering entering the pharmacy dispensing arena. This has everyone conjecturing and trying to decide how they will compete with Amazon. I don’t think this activity is going to slow down any time soon; at least until we have a better idea of how health care coverage is going to be dealt with on both a federal and state level.

higher costs for medical care

You have probably seen a health care professional or filled a prescription since your medical insurance coverage took effect January 1. Remember: your insurance plan will not begin to pay for services until you have met your annual deductible.

You have also most likely been surprised at the higher costs for the services you obtained. While individuals have enrolled in health care coverage, I don’t think everyone fully understands their financial obligations beyond paying the monthly premiums. Hospitals and health care providers are finding that their billed services are not being paid in full, if at all. And, the insurance companies are also not always paying for services which you would assume are covered. The result: the rest of us are seeing higher costs to cover this shortfall. The decisions which were made in Washington DC about the Affordable Care Act also influenced the pricing decisions for both insurance companies and health care providers this year.

You have the right to appeal the decision of the insurance provider as well as question your health provider about the charges. Sometimes you can even negotiate a lower bill. You need to take responsibility for knowing what is covered in your medical insurance plan for this year. I also strongly urge you to review any bills you receive line by line. I am finding double billing errors with the clients I am assisting. Ask questions and don’t hesitate to ask for help in resolving these billing disputes. It is usually very cost effective to have an advocate assist you with these problems.

lifestyle decisions which impact our communities

As our population continues to age and retire, increasingly seniors are choosing to stay in their own homes for a longer period than has previously been experienced. Here is an article about considerations which communities are experiencing because of this phenomenon.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwi17Py7iezYAhVJRqwKHRefDP8QFggnMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdigitaledition.chicagotribune.com%2Ftribune%2Farticle_popover.aspx%3Fguid%3D54cc0374-5f24-4d47-b02b-b173b147646d&usg=AOvVaw1Fjg3qzt78rUfa7bqMeOwu

recommended Reading

I highly recommend you read: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. Beautifully written and thought provoking, this neurosurgeon explores our current system: how it has evolved, how we culturally deal with illness and death, and challenges us to consider making some changes in our own lives and how we experience the health care system as patients and family.

health care and immigration

While DACA is making the headlines right now, here is some information on how changes in our immigration policies will impact health care: both today and in the long term . https://shar.es/1N9xNG

conclusion

It appears that 2018 is going to be one of major changes in health care. I hope that this information helps you understand some of what is currently being considered.

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