Five tech tools to help manage your health in the new year

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Dec 18, 2017 @ 09:12


If your New Year’s Resolution is to get fit or better manage your health, you aren’t alone — staying fit and healthy always tops the list of most popular resolutions.

But as we all know, following through can be tough. In the new year, consider using one or more of the many tech tools that have been created to help consumers improve their health. 

There’s a financial incentive in it for you, too. As most of us know, the U.S. healthcare system is the most expensive in the world, and every year it seems like costs get higher and higher. According to the Center for Disease Control, chronic diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity, are among the most common, costly and preventable of all health problems.

Whether you are trying to manage or prevent a chronic condition, or just trying to pick up a few new healthy habits, using new tech tools to keep you on track in 2018 could benefit your health and your wallet.

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Tags: healthcare, The Tennessean, health tech, wearables

Five HR reminders to send employees before the end of the year

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Dec 15, 2017 @ 09:12

Reduce future headaches with these steps

As the end of the year approaches, it’s easy for many organizations to go into autopilot. But for HR departments, this is actually a key time to set your workplace up for success in 2018.

Sending these reminders to employees will reduce administrative headaches come January 1st, and will set everyone up for success in the new year. Software can make these steps even easier, and Bernard Health clients have access to BerniePortal, a leading benefits and HR platform.

Here are five HR reminders to be sure you send before employees take off for the holidays.

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Tags: HR, employer digest, BernieHR

Change to TriStar/BlueCross agreement to affect out-of-network emergency care

Posted by Brian Tolbert on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 @ 14:12

A notice to Bernard Health clients with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Network S

You might be surprised to know that HCA TriStar hospitals have had an agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee to provide emergency care at in-network copay, coinsurance and deductible benefit amounts. This might be a surprise because HCA TriStar hospitals are  not in-network facilities to employers and members enrolled in BCBST plans on their S Network.

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Tags: BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee, tristar, hca, network s

Open enrollment ends Friday, Dec. 15

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 @ 08:12

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Sign up before the deadline for 2018 coverage

The deadline to sign up for 2018 individual health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges is this Friday, Dec. 15.

Consumers who need insurance should sign up before midnight on Friday. If you miss the deadline, you won’t be able to sign up without experiencing a qualifying event for special enrollment, like having a baby.

Here are a few things consumers should know.

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

How risky is it not to have coverage at Vanderbilt?

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Dec 11, 2017 @ 08:12


Nashville consumers have two carrier options for individual ACA plans in 2018 — Cigna and Oscar Health — but only Cigna offers coverage at Vanderbilt. Does every consumer need to be covered at the city’s academic medical center?

Realistically, no. Some consumers may have no healthcare needs next year, or only very basic needs that do not require going to Vanderbilt.

But the decision does carry some risk. There are some services that only Vanderbilt provides, and if you choose an Oscar plan without coverage at the hospital, some say that you would be effectively uninsured for that care.

Technically, however, if what you needed was truly only offered at Vanderbilt, you could have some coverage because of a concept referred to as “network adequacy.”

When would network adequacy come into play?

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Tags: healthcare, The Tennessean, insurance network, vanderbilt university medical center

Three health insurance landmines to avoid

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Dec 08, 2017 @ 09:12

And how to help your employees or clients avoid them

Most consumers know how confusing the U.S. healthcare system can be. From choosing the right plan to avoiding surprise medical bills, most consumers benefit from having an insurance advisor to assist in decision-making.

But health insurance resources are limited. For consumers on a group plan, employees typically consult HR, but HR leaders aren’t usually health insurance experts. Further, not all benefits brokers are willing or able to take questions from individual employees, let alone answer questions about health insurance outside of the group plan—like what to do with a 26-year-old aging off their parent’s coverage.

When it comes to individuals, there are even fewer resources, which can have a material impact on consumers’ financial well being, investment planning and wealth management.

For these reasons, Bernard Health works with employers and financial advisors to provide expert health insurance to employees and clients.

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Tags: Medicare, Bernard Health, retirement, employer health benefits, open enrollment, employer digest, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension

Three tips for recruitment and retention

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Dec 06, 2017 @ 10:12

How to find and keep talent

What are HR leaders most concerned about? With unemployment rates at record lows, finding and keeping talent is the biggest concern HR departments face right now.

According to the HR Trendcast published by Paycor, 45 percent of HR leaders are worried about recruiting and retention.

As your organization gears up for 2018, here are three tips for taking your recruitment and retention strategy to the next level in the coming year.

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Tags: HR, employers, health insurance small employers, hr software, employer digest, recruitment, employee benefit adviser, retention

The doctor will see you now — via Skype

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Dec 04, 2017 @ 08:12

Will 2018 be the year telemedicine takes off?

Telemedicine has been a healthcare buzzword for years, but 2018 may be the year Nashville consumers start to use it. 

What is telemedicine? It refers to the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients via technology. In other words, it’s a doctor’s visit by phone or webcam. 

Why will telemedicine take off in Tennessee next year? Both carriers on Nashville’s individual market cover the service. In fact, it’s a key piece of newcomer Oscar Health’s value proposition to consumers. 

It isn’t just the individual market, either. Most carriers now cover telemedicine, and 30 states, including Tennessee, require private insurers to reimburse for the service. 

Even so, more consumers are interested in using telemedicine than have actually used it. According to a survey by Deloitte, half of consumers would be willing to use telemedicine, but tech consulting company Accenture reports just 21 percent of Americans have actually received care via telemedicine.

So what’s keeping consumers from calling up the doctor? Some consumers have concerns over quality and security, but most just aren’t sure how it works. 

Here’s what consumers in Nashville need to know about telemedicine — why it’s rising in popularity and how Nashville consumers can use it. 

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Tags: healthcare, The Tennessean, telemedicine

Three ways healthcare can affect clients’ finances

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Dec 01, 2017 @ 10:12

How financial advisors can help

According to a 2017 Gallup poll, the cost of healthcare is the top financial concern for Americans. While many Americans have limited savings and would struggle to pay their deductibles or other medical bills, rapidly increasing insurance costs affect the financial well being of consumers with higher incomes, too.

For financial advisors, there are three particular areas that may affect your clients’ finances and wealth management—Medicare, under-65 insurance costs, and medical billing for high severity healthcare experiences.

This is why more financial advisors are integrating healthcare and health insurance advising into their practices, either in-house or through partnerships with noncommissioned advisors like Bernard Health.

Here’s what financial advisors should know.

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

How much do employees spend out-of-pocket?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 @ 09:11

Consumer spending on the rise

Families spent an average of $714 on out-of-pocket healthcare costs in 2016, a figure which is growing at an annual rate of 4.3 percent.

According to JPMorgan Chase, for every dollar spent on healthcare, families paid 11 cents out-of-pocket and 28 cents after insurance costs, according to a new study by JPMorgan Chase.

Where are consumers paying the most out-of-pocket? The study found average out-of-pocket dental costs are the highest, at $465. Doctor, dental and hospital spending accounted for more than half of all out-of-pocket costs.

The rise in out-of-pocket spending has a significant impact on consumers’ financial well-being. ‘Extraordinary’ medical payments are associated with 9 percent higher credit card debt a year later, the report found. Further, roughly 52 percent of all debts in collection are medical debts.

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Tags: employers, health insurance small employers, hr software, employer digest, employee benefit adviser, out-of-pocket costs

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