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Telemedicine holds out the potential lower cost and more effective health care

Telemedicine is rapidly growing

Telemedicine—the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide health care at a distance—is rapidly growing. And, projections are for more growth—estimated at 18.5% per year for the next few years.

Telemedicine is becoming more widely accepted, in part, because it holds out the promise of significant cost savings. But telemedicine is promising for other reasons—monitoring individuals to reduce the rate of readmission following a hospitalization, providing better care to individuals with limited mobility, monitoring key clinical measures for patients with certain chronic conditions, and the longer term potential to help reduce the projected shortage of physicians.

To date, there has been very limited focus on the potential impact of telemedicine on Medicare. Medicare allows telemedicine only for those in rural areas and only in specific situations.

However, this may be changing. A new report, written by Retiree Health Choices’ president, Dale Yamamoto, assesses the potential savings to Medicare from telemedicine. The report, “Assessment of the Feasibility and Cost of Replacing In-Person Care with Acute Care Telehealth Services” was sponsored by The Alliance for Connected Care, an advocacy group formed to expand the use of telemedicine. Based on this report, telemedicine may offer savings of between $21-$64 per “visit.” The range reflects a variety of different assumptions, such as whether the ease of access will increase utilization of services. Although these savings may not seem significant, when applied to 40 million Medicare beneficiaries, the savings could be in the billions of dollars (or, stated differently, could reduce the cost of Medicare Part B by around two percent.)

Medicare should not embrace this technology simply to save money. The impact of telemedicine on quality must also be assessed. This study should get some attention for a very promising new way of delivering care to Medicare beneficiaries.

Retiree Health Insurance Shift Mirrors Pensions To 401K

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. Many of the lessons we have learned over these years will help people better manage post-retirement health insurance needs, too. Read the rest of this entry »

11 Medicare Words Boomers Should Understand

 

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.

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Health Care Cost Contributes To Retirement Location

In many national magazines of late, there are special retirement features showcasing everything from places to live, the best this and the best that.

In Money magazine’s 2013 Retirement Guide, it details the top 20 places to live when retired.

The locations were selected via survey response from people 55+ interested in finding a great location to live it up after working for four decades. Imagine all the factors that contribute to making a choice of where to live when considering retirement! Read the rest of this entry »

Retiree Health Choices Offers Medicare Market White Paper

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 »

Retiree Health Choices Plans To Launch Personal Health Calculator

When Retiree Health Choices’ new site EasyMedicareChoices.com launches in the next several months, there will be an innovative personal health calculator driving the engine of that website.

What that means is consumers interested in comparing Medicare Supplement plans can use the personal health calculator to better understand total estimated annual cost of plans, premiums and more.

Retiree Health Choices, a Chicago-based technology company, is creating new online tools to help Medicare-eligible adults make more informed decisions about their future health care and insurance needs.

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