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. Apparently, shoppers are skipping the mall and seeking online deals with best-price scenarios AND surfing until they find them. This Forbes piece” echoes the current trend; shoppers are unlikely to return to old mall-shopping habits.
Best Buy, a major consumer electronics retailer, just posted weak holiday results, and it’s not the only big-box retailer to have fallen short of end-of-the-year sales goals. Consumers are popping over to Best Buy to the sales “showroom” floor chock full of displays for cameras, tablets, e-readers, and phones, browsing, and then going online for better deals. Read the rest of this entry »
As the consumer healthcare market shifts, more scrutiny is being placed on cost of consumption of services. In a recent New York Times article Nov. 8, 2013, Good Deals on Pills? It’s Anyone’s Guess, Elisabeth Rosenthal reviews cost chaos with drugs.
For example, two popular medications for asthma and allergies, Advair and Rhinocort AQ, used by tens of thousands of Americans are no longer going to be covered by many benefit plans served by Medco/Express Scripts.
Shocked consumers will need to pay $300 and $150 respectively monthly for the brands they’re accustomed to, or find generics. In many cases, no approved generics are available.
Consumer Healthcare Cost Burden Shifting
In the past, consumers of healthcare have not been cognizant of the high cost of health care services or drugs. They presented an insurance card and rarely cared about the actual bill paid by the employer’s benefit plan.
This tradition is over, and the sticker shock over unsubsidized cost of medical and pharmaceutical prices is causing much anxiety.
A new burden is being placed on the consumer, and along with it, confusion. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »
Retirees have an opportunity to consider Medicare plans and ensure they have selected the best plan for their needs.
An online consumer website is offering people a way to review and compare Medicare Supplement plans. Read the rest of this entry »
Retiree Health Choices is a Chicago technology company that helps retirees and Boomers navigate the often-complex Medicare sector. Recently, Retiree Health Choices launched EasyMedicareChoices.com to put retirees in the drivers’ seat with retirement insurance choices.
Before anyone enrolls in Medicare, however, they need to better understand the lexicon of the retirement insurance system.
More 65-year-old Americans are electing to stay in the workforce, and if they’re fortunate to have benefits that accompany full-time employment, then full dependence on Medicare can be postponed.
Most workers, however, are not so lucky when it comes to employer-provided health care. When an employee hits 65-years-old, the customary retirement age, then companies prefer health insurance benefits to be paid by Medicare.
Anyone still working through their ‘60s, needs to be fully aware of details about group health insurance coverage and Medicare plans. Often, it’s a gray area; there isn’t a benefits department in a workplace to assist 64-year-olds with insurance choices or which path to take and when.
It used to be that when retirees were fortunate to have had lengthy service in corporate America, there was often a small pot at the end of the rainbow to pay for healthcare in retirement. Or retiree health insurance could be paid for with a pension.
Today? Not so much. Those fast approaching retirement age, 64-years-old, need to address the albatross of retiree health costs directly and lighten the load.
The annual Fidelity study of health costs estimates, “that a couple retiring at 65 will need $240,000 to cover health costs in retirement.”
The Employee Benefits Research Institute said the same couple needs $227,000 for a 75 percent chance to cover health costs in retirement. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s no surprise the Medicare market is in flux. After all, there’s a tsunami of change in the sector, from aging Baby Boomers converging onto Medicare, changing employer benefits, and the digital revolution.
Retiree Health Choices has written a white paper offered free to readers and is available here.
Retiree Health Choices is a Chicago-based technology company founded by a team of health care professionals. Its mission is to create innovative online technologies to make Medicare decisions more consumer friendly. Read the rest of this entry »
When you compare Medicare insurance with that of health insurance for the working population, it’s an alphabet soup.
Most in the workplace have the benefit of human resources assistance to decipher insurance plans, whereas retirees navigating Medicare often have to go it alone.
Some of the key decisions retirees need to consider when preparing to buy Medicare include:
• How much is it going to cost each month?
• What is my out-of-pocket exposure?
• What do I pay when seeing a doctor?
• Where do I have to go to get my care? Read the rest of this entry »