Have you talked to your doctor over the computer yet? If not directly, likely your doctor has consulted with other physicians when needed. Telemedicine allows patients and doctors to offer virtual consultations and receive payment. The trend is growing rapidly. There are several health plans that pay for these services, even Medicare. YOU have the option to use these services. It offers an alternative to an office visit, when available.
Telemedicine started years ago, but recently had a surge in popularity. Most large hospitals have telemedicine programs. Currently, there are approximately 800,000 consultations each year. (more…)
Most expecting parents wonder what the healthcare costs are for a baby. There is a simple approach to guide you. There have been a number of changes to health insurance in the past few years, mandating more benefits for maternity coverage. Our step by step insurance explanation will provide a little insight into the complicated healthcare system. In addition, give you an estimate on the amount that you will need to be set aside for the pending bundle of joy. (more…)
The best tip to save at the pharmacy is to know your insurance benefits might not be the best price available. Most insurance plans have a “tier” drug pricing structure. Basically, costs start low for generic and commonly used prescriptions. However, brand names or new drugs will cost much more.
The best advice is to shop before you buy, even if you have insurance.
- Each pharmacy has different retail costs, meaning prices vary drastically. Based on the latest Consumer Reports, CVS and Walgreens were some of the more costly options. Costco and Walmart are much better options. Look for deals, such as $4 for generics and $10 for brands. Specials on brand drugs save you the most. In order to locate better options, here are a few helpful sources to get you started.
- Savings programs are very prevalent now. Most savings programs send you a card to use in place of your insurance card. However, there are a few options that take additional savings after your insurance. This drastically lowers your cost, providing a double discount. The best incentive is a number of savings programs are free. It cost you nothing to join.
- Drug Manufacturers Discounts are the best kept secret. Drug manufacturer discounts allow you to obtain brand or new drugs at substantially lower costs. These types of savings are not widely publicized; however, usually are the cheapest option. Unfortunately, this is not a continuous benefit. The discounts usually have an expiration date, 3 to 24 months. Savings plans often are a flat fee, much like a co-pay. For top tier drugs, this could be a savings of hundreds. Manufacturers want consumers using their prescription, so offering a discount is a great marketing method.
- Drug Manufacturer discounts can be found directly on their websites.
Take the time to shop around, especially if you are filling prescriptions each month. The costs might not seem substantial, but over time these costs add up quickly. Use the savings for something more exciting than prescriptions, like band aids and nail polish.
Need more ways to save, email us directly on our website.
It’s denial season! A denial is a confirmation from a health insurance company that payment will not be made for a particular service or visit. Basically, you are paying most, if not all of the cost. If you used your health insurance already this year, you are at risk. (more…)
Are you ready for the New Year? Let us ask another way, are you ready for your deductible? Most health insurance plans have high payment requirements that must be met before your insurance really starts. This is the trend right now for health coverage, whether or not it’s affordable. Most deductibles, which must be met every, single year are over $1,000 dollars per person and even higher for family plans. If you bought health insurance through healthcare.gov your deductible could be as much as $6,500.
How many people does this affect? In 2011, 1 in 5 Americans already had high deductible plans. Now, nearly 46% of Americans have plans with deductibles over $1,000. These types of plans are growing in popularity among employers. Why? Simply stated these are the cheapest health plan options.
Why is there an issue? Companies are saving money, while you are incurring more of the costs. Insurance companies do not pay until you meet your annual requirement. Your first few health services will count towards the deductible, meaning you are basically paying out of pocket for your care. You will continue to pay until you’ve spent the required $1,500, $3,000, or even $10,000 dollars.
There is an upside, most office visits are a flat fee (co-payment) and are not counted into the deductible. If you have co-payments for office visits, the insurance pays a good portion of the costs. Also, preventative services are covered in full. This is a government regulation, so you are not liable for these costs. If you are particularly lucky, your deductible only counts towards hospital visits. Likely, this is not the case.
On the downside, if you have an insurance plan where everything applies to the deductible, you might want to start setting aside savings for your health services. When you pick up your prescription, you are at the most risk. For a multitude of plans there is either a separate Rx deductible or it applies to the overall plan deductible. Either way, costs will likely be higher in January, even throughout the first quarter. You will be paying for services yourself until the financial requirement is met. The best advice would be to start saving, a few months in advance.
There are a few tips and tricks to save for annual healthcare costs, which will be in our next blog. Take a look to avoid unexpected surprises this New Year. There are 2 ways to avoid financial impact, save up for it or pick a plan without a deductible, which are virtually nonexistent.
Happy New Year!
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