What health insurance consumers need to know about cost-sharing

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 10:10

Understanding out-of-pocket costs

From deductibles to coinsurance, cost-sharing is a key feature of health insurance plans today. Cost-sharing refers to out-of-pocket costs, and it is important to understand what you will be expected to pay. Understanding cost-sharing is necessary to compare different health insurance plans.

Some consumers may remember the days of full health insurance coverage, sometimes also called “first dollar coverage,” where out-of-pocket costs were minimal or non-existent. Today, this is extremely rare. Almost every health insurance plan will include some level of cost-sharing.

Here’s what consumers need to know.

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Tags: coinsurance, deductible, High Deductible Health Plan, out of pocket maximum, health insurance deductible, Individual health insurance, high deductibles, paying out of pocket, individual digest, out-of-pocket costs

How Bernard Health helps individuals through financial advisors & employers

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 @ 08:10

A note to our Nashville friends and clients

Bernard Health is now offering health insurance advice and assistance to individuals and families in the Nashville area exclusively through our partnerships with financial advisors and employers.

What does this mean?

If your employer is a client of Bernard Health, you can continue to work with our team of licensed, noncommissioned advisors for free. We support hundreds of employers in Middle Tennessee, including businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities.

Also, if you have a relationship with a financial advisor who partners with Bernard Health, you can access our advising services for free. We began partnering with financial advisors in mid-2017, and the list of Nashville-area advisors currently includes:

Morgan Stanley  
Sexton & Associates (Ameriprise) 
Retirement Planning Services
Decker Wealth Management

(Have a different financial advisor? We’re adding more financial advisor partners all the time. Let them know you need healthcare or health insurance assistance and have them contact us here.)

Due to regulatory changes, we will not be offering fee-based consulting services in our stores this year. While we are not able to offer specific advice to individual consumers, here is general information about what to expect during this year’s open enrollment.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, obamacare, aca, Medicare, Individual health insurance, nashville, Nashville health insurance, Individual Plans, individual health insurance questions, individual digest, financial planner, financial advisors, individuals

Medicare open enrollment is here

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 @ 09:10

Want to change plans? We can help.

Medicare open enrollment begins October 15. Until December 7, Medicare beneficiaries make changes to their Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans.

You won’t be able to make changes to your plan until next year’s open enrollment period, so be sure to evaluate your current strategy.

What are your options?

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Tags: health insurance, Medicare, individual digest, medicare open enrollment

How Bernard Health extends financial advising firms’ value proposition

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 @ 09:10

Healthcare planning services needed as costs continue to rise

Making the right healthcare decision is critical for consumers, both medically and financially. However, there is a lack of good advice available, which puts consumers at risk for overspending, inflated bills and additional stress around medical decisions.

Financial planners are recognizing this as an opportunity not only to protect their clients’ financial interests, but to also differentiate themselves from the competition. Those who offer healthcare advising services to clients can position themselves as comprehensive wealth managers and advisors, broadening the scope of their practice.

But most don’t want to, or aren’t able to, provide these service in-house. This is where partnering with licensed, experienced healthcare advisors can be beneficial. Here are the services Bernard Health offers to financial advisors through our Healthcare Extension.

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Tags: Bernard Health, retirement, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension

Vanderbilt now in-network with Cigna

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 @ 11:10

Late-hour negotiation reached

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, aca, Individual health insurance, marketplace, Nashville health insurance, open enrollment, Individual Plans, cigna, individual digest, vanderbilt university medical center

How to prepare for open enrollment

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Oct 09, 2017 @ 07:10

Get ready to sign up for coverage

Consider this your official notice – open enrollment is less than one month away. Beginning Nov. 1, individual health insurance consumers will be able to compare and select 2018 health coverage.

That might seem far away now, but don’t procrastinate this year. Open enrollment will be shorter this year than ever before. You have just 45 days to sign up for 2018 coverage. The final deadline is Dec. 15. In years past, open enrollment has extended through January, so be aware that this will not be the case this year. You will have just six weeks to sign up once open enrollment begins, and Healthcare.gov will also be down for maintenance every Sunday morning, with the exception of Dec. 10.

The takeaway for consumers is that you will want to do as much independent preparation as you can, so that you have plenty of time to review your options before the deadline.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, aca, open enrollment, The Tennessean, individual market, federal exchanges, individual digest

Five things to know about Nashville’s 2018 ACA plans

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Oct 06, 2017 @ 09:10

What consumers need to know

(This article has been updated to reflect that Vanderbilt is now in-network with Cigna. Learn more here.) 

Open enrollment is right around the corner, which means individual health insurance consumers will soon be able to select their coverage plan for 2018.

In Nashville, there are two carrier options for ACA-compliant health insurance in 2018—Cigna and Oscar Health. Cigna told navigators and state insurance commission representatives that their plans are focused on affordability, while Oscar Health provides a tech-oriented insurance experience, including 24/7 free access to telemedicine.

Here are five things Nashville consumers need to know.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, aca, Individual health insurance, marketplace, open enrollment, Individual Plans, individual digest

Moderate increases for employer-based premiums

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Oct 04, 2017 @ 10:10

Rates still rising faster than inflation

Premium increases for employer-sponsored health plans rose moderately in 2017, by 4 percent for individuals and 3 percent for families.

Still, years of steady, annual increases have boosted the rate of premiums by 55 percent since 2007 and 19 percent since 2012, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey.

The annual average premiums in 2017 were $6,690 for a single employee, and $18,764 for a family.

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Tags: employer health benefits, employer health plans, health insurance premiums, employer digest

Consumers missing HSA investment opportunity

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Oct 02, 2017 @ 07:10

Most using HSA as a specialized checking account 

According to a study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the vast majority of Health Savings Account holders are not taking advantage of the investment potential of their accounts.

The study reported that most account holders use their HSAs as “specialized checking accounts,” using the funds to cover deductibles, coinsurance and copayments. But they aren’t taking advantage of the investment opportunity of HSAs, nor are they maximizing their contributions.

The report found that just 4 percent of account holders invested their HSA balance, and the average total contribution in 2016 was $2,922, less than one half of the allowable maximum for family coverage.

While using HSAs for healthcare expenses is valuable, maximizing contributions and investing funds can be the most effective way to benefit from the accounts.

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Tags: deductible, HSA, HSAs, health savings account, health savings, High Deductible Health Plan, health insurance deductible, Individual health insurance, high deductibles, health savings accounts, HSA Advice, individual digest

Moving out of the Medicaid gap

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Sep 29, 2017 @ 07:09

A qualifying event for those in non-Medicaid expansion states

Have you experienced a change in income and live in a state that hasn’t expanded Medicaid? You may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

Consumers are supposed to sign up for coverage during Open Enrollment, which runs from November to February each year. But consumers who experience “qualifying events,” or life events that result in new insurance needs, can sign up outside of Open Enrollment.

The most common qualifying events are getting married, moving, or having a baby. But a few “complex” qualifying events can benefit consumers in specific situations.

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Tags: Medicaid, Bernard Health, special enrollment period, medicaid gap

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