For individuals transitioning into Medicare in 2019 they will see a higher Part B premium. The new Part B premium will be $135.50, up from $134.00. Many Medicare beneficiaries already in Medicare will not pay the full Part B premium because certain provisions limit the Part B premium increase to be no greater than the increase in their Social Security benefits.
Forcing either the health plans or the providers to post a list of costs for routine services is a very low impact way of adding consumer information to the health care market. The government is not telling the providers what they should charge. The government is not telling the health insurance companies what they should pay the providers. A law mandating a simple fee schedule like Kaiser Permanente has published will create price transparency and allow consumers to compare valuable health care cost information across a variety of health plans and providers. This will ultimately slow down the rate increases as providers compete not only on patient satisfaction, but on price as well.
However, I still don’t understand why the costs for services for Southern California Kaiser members are so much lower than prices for Northern California members. Does Kaiser just have more members in Southern California to spread the fixed costs of supplying the services over? Kaiser charges 29% more for a colonoscopy in Northern California than Southern California. Are more people getting colonoscopies in Southern California so the volumes of patients help drive down the costs?
Even with the Obamacare subsidies, many individuals and families still opt for the least expensive Bronze high deductible health plans. The high deductible health plans require the consumer to spend $4,500 to $6,500 in a medical deductible before any real cost sharing with the health insurance company starts. As more consumers opt for these least expensive Bronze plans more insurance companies are creating insurance products to help cover the high deductible of these plans. But are these indemnity plans worth the money and will they actually pay when you need the money?
One of the most baffling health plan descriptions is the 2016 Bronze 60 health plan that states that the member is responsible for 100% coinsurance after the deductible. Most people who read this immediately shake their head and think, “I have to pay for all of my health care services EVEN AFTER I meet the deductible?” There really is no reason to buy health insurance if it never helps with the costs. The second part of the equation, not always referenced, is the calendar year maximum out-of-pocket amount of the Bronze plan which does limit a health plan members health care expenses.
A little known provision of health plans that also are designated as being a Health Savings Account (HSA) require a single member of a family to meet double the deductible amount of an individual before coinsurance is applied to health care services. Unlike traditional family plans where any one member of the household can transition […]
The confusion over the colonoscopy billing is detailed in a new report Coverage of Colonoscopies Under the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention Benefit.
Once you set up a HSA in coordination with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), the contributions you make to the HSA are deducted from your Federal taxes. You are then reimbursed for your qualified medical expenses from the HSA.