Health Care

Dealing with Medical Billing Issues

 
Dealing with Medical Billing IssuesIt’s a common occurrence these days–you receive a sky-high medical bill in the mail. Maybe the bill is for medical services or treatments that you thought were covered by your insurance. Or perhaps you have difficulty understanding exactly which medical procedures you’re being charged for, or what the medical billing codes on your hospital bill mean.

The fact is, due to the complex nature of today’s medical billing industry, it’s difficult for many consumers to know exactly what they will end up having to pay for medical services or treatments. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make it easier to deal with any medical billing issues that may arise.

 
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How do I compare my health insurance options during open enrollment?

 
How do I compare my health insurance options during open enrollment?The decisions you make during open enrollment season regarding health insurance are especially important, since you generally must stick with the options you choose until the next open enrollment season, unless you experience a “qualifying” event such as marriage or the birth of a child. As a result, you should take the time to carefully review the types of plans offered by your employer and consider all the costs associated with each plan.

 
With most health insurance plans, your employer will pay a portion of the premium and require you to pay the remainder through payroll deductions. When comparing different plans, keep in mind that even though a plan with a lower premium may seem like the most attractive option, it could have higher potential out-of-pocket costs.

 
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Will I have to pay a penalty tax if I don’t have qualifying health insurance?

 

Will I have to pay a penalty tax if I don't have qualifying health insurance?It depends. One of the main objectives of the health-care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), is to encourage uninsured individuals to obtain health-care coverage. As a result of the ACA, everyone must have qualifying health insurance coverage, qualify for an exemption, or pay a penalty tax. This requirement is generally referred to as the individual insurance or individual shared responsibility mandate.

 

Health insurance plans that meet the requirements of the ACA generally include employer-sponsored health plans, government health plans, and health insurance purchased through state-based or federal health insurance exchange marketplaces.

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Healthy Resolutions Can Pay Off (Literally)

 
Healthy Resolutions Can Pay Off (Literally)If you made a New Year’s Resolution to get healthy, you may get more bang for your resolution buck than you bargained for. That’s because healthy habits can benefit your wallet as well as your body.

 

 

The link between health and money

 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic conditions–including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer–account for more than 75% of all health-care costs nationwide. Nearly half of all Americans have a chronic disease, which can lead to other problems that are devastating not just to health but also to a family’s finances. People with a chronic condition pay five times more for health care each year, on average, as those without a chronic disease.*

 
Many chronic diseases can be linked to four behaviors: tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, poor eating habits, and inactivity.* A closer look at each of these behaviors demonstrates the health-money connection.

 
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Happy Healthday! HSAs Turn 10

HSACreated 10 years ago as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act of 2003, health savings accounts (HSAs) have gained in popularity over the past decade. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), more employers and employees have been contributing to HSAs in recent years, and the amount contributed to HSAs has generally been on the rise. For example, the percentage of individuals in employee-only HSAs contributing $1,500 or more rose from 21% in 2006 to 42% in 2012, while the percentage of employees contributing nothing decreased from 28% to 15% over that same period. (Sources: “HRA/HSA Health Plan Contributions Continue to Grow,” EBRI, February 20, 2013, and EBRI Notes, February 2013.) If you are eligible to contribute to an HSA, you may want to take another look at these savings plans, which could benefit your financial situation both now and in the future.

 

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