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Creating Technologies to Help Retirees Choose Their Optimal Health Insurance

10.10.2014 08.42 GMT+0000

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Is My Doctor in the Network?

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As the U.S. health care system continues to change, more Americans are being told “your doctor is not in the network” or “your insurance won’t cover that.” This concern also affects Americans on Medicare. The good news is that most Medicare beneficiaries can use Medicare to pay for 99% of the physicians in America. The bad news is that the system is complicated and can cause unnecessary concerns about coverage. Let’s try to cut through some of the clutter. First, a few key points. If you are on Medicare, your health care is paid for through “traditional” Medicare unless you choose to be covered by a Medicare Advantage (or “MA”) plan. If you choose an MA plan, your health care is paid for...
Open enrollment for Medicare insurance is right now. Everyone eligible for Medicare (usually 65-years-old) automatically gets Part A and needs to sign up for Part B. Because Parts A and B don’t cover everything, people can elect to buy supplemental coverage, often called Medicare Supplement insurance. All of the Medicare Supplement plans, also called Medigap, are standardized in almost every state; yet, there are many options to consider when purchasing additional Medicare insurance from private insurers. (more…)...

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Understanding Medicare Part B

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Today, we’re exploring more about Medicare, and we take a look at Medicare Part B, which covers medical insurance. Other articles in our Understanding Medicare series are accessible here and here. Did you know Part B is optional? But, it’s also “affordable” for most people, so they opt in. It comes at a low premium and has a lower deductible, too. Medicare Part B Coverage While inpatient hospital, skilled nursing facilities and hospice are covered by Part A as hospitalization, Part B is medical insurance. There’s a really long list for what’s covered in Part B, and here are some of the most common services...
Did you know if you’re eligible for Medicare that you’re entitled to receive coverage under Part A at no cost? That’s the good news, but there are costs to you which we cover below. Medicare Part A is your in-patient coverage, including:   Hospital stays Skilled nursing facilities Home health care after being discharged Hospice When you’re in the hospital, Medicare Part A does NOT cover private rooms, private nursing, a telephone or television. Coverage includes what you would expect: Meals in a semi-private room General nursing Operating and recovery rooms
Inpatient drugs Lab tests and X-rays...

30.04.2014 07.33 GMT+0000

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Medicare Advantage: The Basics of Consumer Choice

What is Medicare Advantage (Medicare Plan C)? What do consumers need to know to make informed choices about Medicare Advantage plans? When turning 65, new Medicare beneficiaries are faced with a dizzying array of choices. First, their eligibility for Plan A (hospital) is established. Second, they make the decision to accept Plan B (doctors). At this point in the decision process, there are a host of complex Medicare insurance choices that will have a financial impact on the consumer...

31.03.2014 07.56 GMT+0000

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Healthcare Consumers and the Digital Divide

The narrowing digital divide between older adults and other healthcare consumers is key to understanding how retirees access healthcare information online. The digital divide is defined as unequal access to, or knowledge of information and communication technologies. For example, the Pew Internet and American Life Project describes older healthcare consumers who have never used the Internet and have no access to online information as,"truly disconnected." Anecdotal evidence suggests that older people are sometimes resistant to digital innovations...

10.02.2014 04.16 GMT+0000

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Retiree Health Insurance Shift Mirrors Pensions To 401K

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In my last blog I compared changes in post-retirement health insurance with changes in pension plans. The bottom line from that blog: individuals are now more responsible for selecting, managing and financing their post-retirement health insurance. As noted, we have seen this scenario play out before as employers moved from traditional pensions to 401(k) plans and shifted more responsibility to individuals. When the pension world began to change with the introduction of the 401(k) plan, individuals had to learn how to manage complicated financial decisions...

29.01.2014 08.45 GMT+0000

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Healthcare Consumers’ Online Behavior

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Healthcare.gov -- along with the state health insurance exchanges -- is pushing the landscape of the health insurance market in the direction of the online consumer economy. Online consumer behavior is key. On January 17, 2014 in the Wall Street Journal, a story appeared about online consumer behavior oriented to shopping for products formerly purchased at the shopping mall. According to ShopperTrak (and the Wall Street Journal story), retailers got nearly half the holiday traffic in 2013 as they did three years earlier....

18.12.2013 06.51 GMT+0000

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Growing Consumer Consciousness About Retirement

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In the world of “entitlement” programs, the youngest Boomers just turning 50-years-old this year believe that social security will not be available for them nor will Medicare as we know it. While it would be nice to have research to support this, suffice it to say, survey 50-somethings and they’ll confirm this statement! Many Boomers rarely have the opportunity to work for the same employer long enough to accrue some benefits into retirement...

03.12.2013 08.00 GMT+0000

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Pension To 401(k) Challenges Similar to Current Healthcare Crisis

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Buying health care insurance in the U.S. is confusing, with different insurance carriers, a dizzying array of different types of coverage and a variety of ways that employees paid for a portion of their costs (such as deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket maximums). With the rollout of Obamacare, newspapers and blogs are full of discussions about how confusing the choices are and how difficult it is to select a plan. Well, the truth is that buying health insurance has been confusing for many years, but employers sheltered employees (and, in many cases, retirees) from this confusing mess...