PODCAST: Farzad Mostashari MD and “Aledade”Primary Care

By Shahid N Shah

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Our guest on this episode is Dr. Farzad Mostashari. Farzad is the co-founder and CEO of Aledade, a primary care enablement company that partners with independent PCPs to transition to value-based care and, as a result, maintain their independence.

Founded in 2014, Aledade works with 11,000 physicians across 40 states and DC, accounting for 1.7M patients under management in Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Commercial and Medicaid contracts. Farzad previously served as the National Coordinator for Health IT in the Department of Health and Human Services, he completed medical school at the Yale School of Medicine and a Master’s in Population Health from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Earlier this year, Aledade raised a $123M Series E round of funding led by OMERS Growth Equity.

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In this episode, colleague Shahid N. Shah will discuss with Farzad about (1) his journey to starting Aledade and the role policy expertise and evidence have played in the company’s success (2) why he and the company are betting on independent physicians as the drivers of change in value-based care and (3) how Aledade became the rare profitable health tech company.

-Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA

PODCAST: https://soundcloud.com/wharton-pulse-podcast/mostashari-aledade

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PODCAST: Medicare Traditional [A and B] v. Advantage [C] v. Part [D] v. Supplements

By Eric Bricker MD

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CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/082610254

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HEALTHCARE FRAUD: Predatory Senior Medicare Scams

By Staff Reporters

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As you likely know, the US spends much on healthcare ($4.3 trillion in 2021, to be exact). But did you also know that healthcare fraud makes up a not-so-small piece of that pie?

The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA), a national organization that works to prevent health insurance fraud, conservatively estimates that 3% of the US’s total annual healthcare spend—a hearty $129 billion—is lost to healthcare fraud. Some government agencies estimate that percentage to be as high as 10% (that’s $430 billion), according to the NHCAA.

Overall, Medicare fraud costs the US about $60 billion each year, Nicole Liebau, national resource center director for Senior Medicare Patrol, a government-funded organization designed to help prevent Medicare fraud, told Healthcare Brew, though she added that “the exact figure is impossible to measure.”

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/082610254

While Medicare fraud isn’t new, the US saw a rise in one particular tactic during the pandemic: a durable medical equipment (DME) scheme.

How the schemes work.

In a DME scheme, scammers target Medicare patients—often after a procedure or an injury—and cold-call them to offer free equipment, said Jennifer Stewart, senior associate general counsel and senior director of fraud prevention and investigation at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. The scammers offer consumers items like lidocaine, wheelchairs, walkers, or braces.

The scammers have roped in doctors—who are often unaware they’re working with scammers instead of legitimate medical companies—to sign off on prescriptions that are then used to bill Medicare for the equipment, Stewart said. Sometimes patients actually receive the products, and sometimes they don’t.

“It’s really dangerous because [a prescription like lidocaine] could have reactions with other medications. The durable medical equipment isn’t sized for them, and certainly the doctor who treated their injury didn’t prescribe it […] There is a lot of patient harm involved,” Stewart said. Keep reading here.

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MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT INSURANCE: Part G

What is it and How Does it Work?

By Staff Reporters

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Did you know that Medicare Plan G is the most popular Medicare Supplement with Baby Boomer clients? Everyone has heard of Plan F, but what is Medicare Supplement Plan G? What does Plan G cover?

Medicare Plan G coverage is very similar to Plan F, which is no longer available for people new to Medicare on or after January 1st, 2020. Plan G offers great value for beneficiaries willing to pay a small annual deductible. After that, Plan G provides full coverage for all of the gaps in Medicare. It pays for your Medicare Part A hospital deductible, co-pays, and coinsurance. It also covers the 20% that Medicare Part B doesn’t cover. Doctors and other healthcare providers must accept a Medigap Plan G if they accept Original Medicare. Plan G policies can be used across the U.S. since they do not have network limitations, and the premium costs can be very reasonable for the coverage you receive.

As you can see below, Supplement Plan G covers almost everything that F does, except for the Part B deductible.

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Medicare Plan G, also called Medigap Plan G, is an increasingly popular Supplement

Reasons:

First, Plan G covers each of the gaps in Medicare except for the annual Part B deductible. This deductible is only $226 in 2023. In fact, if you have a Plan F that has been in place for years, it can probably help you on premiums by looking at Plan G. When you shop for benefits, you can often find a Supplement Plan G that saves quite a bit in premiums over Plan F, usually substantially more than the $226 deductible that you’ll pay out.

Second, it has great coverage. For hospital stays, it covers all your hospital expenses. Most importantly, it pays the hospital deductible, which is over $1,600 in 2023. It also covers the expensive daily co-pays that you might encounter for a hospital stay that runs longer than 60 days. It provides an additional 365 days in the hospital after your Medicare benefits run out, and it covers your skilled nursing facility co-insurance, too.

What Other Medical Services Does Plan G Cover?

Medicare Supplement Plan G covers your percentage of any medical benefit that Original Medicare covers, except for the outpatient deductible. So, it helps to pay for inpatient hospital costs, such as the first three pints of blood, skilled nursing facility care, and hospice care. It also covers outpatient medical services such as doctor visits, lab work, diabetes supplies, cancer treatment, durable medical equipment, x-rays, ambulance, surgeries and much more. This means Plan G covers the coverage gaps with Original Medicare and all Plan G products must provide you with the exact same coverage.

Medicare pays first, then Plan G pays the remaining amount after you pay the once annual deductible. In addition, Plan G Medicare Supplements offer up to $50,000 in foreign travel emergency benefits (up to plan limits).

Related Article: Medicare Costs for 2023

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/082610254

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MEDICARE: Part “C” Plans = Double Standard

By Anonymous

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The HHS OIG Fall 2022 report was recently released to Congress. On page 20, there are many referrals to seven inappropriate payments to a variety of Medicare “Advantage” Plans. Topping the list is Humana. The OIG claims that Humana in the time period studied falsified records to receive $34.4M worth of payments they received from CMS for risk diagnosis code risk assessments. If even half this amount is true, it is unconscionable that Humana is not severely fined, their executives terminated and subjected to criminal proceedings, and they should be banned from the Medicare program for ten years. This is no different from how other healthcare providers are criminalized, so the question is, why is the insurance industry treated different and preferentially when they commit fraud?

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/082610254

These OIG studies are great reads, but up until now, they have done nothing to stop the insurance industry’s abusive practices of denying “clean claims”, denying claims after prior authorization, ignoring CCI edits, “losing” charts sent for review and then claiming higher error rates to Congress, paying providers often less than 50% of Medicare, and this the last draw… falsifying data so they can be paid more from CMS. When will this madness stop? When will providers have the gumption to actually act out the famous quote, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going take it anymore!” (from the movie Network), and Peter Finch it!

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PODCAST: Healthcare is Great for People with Medicare.

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Greater than 90% of Medicare Beneficiaries Are Satisfied with Their Care

By Eric Bricker MD

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CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

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ORGANIZATIONS: https://www.amazon.com/Financial-Management-Strategies-Healthcare-Organizations/dp/1466558733/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1380743521&sr=8-3&keywords=david+marcinko

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PODCAST: CMS Over-Payments to Medicare Advantage [Part C] Plans

By Eric Bricker MD

RISK ADJUSTMENTS EXPLAINED

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ORDER: https://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Health-Insurance-Managed-Care/dp/0826149944/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275315485&sr=1-4

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PODCAST[s]: Medicare Re-Admission Penalties

UPDATE 83% Penalized!

By Eric Bricker MD

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HRRP PODCAST: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwRrKM83CVQ

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MEDICARE: “Dis” Advantage Plan Marketing

CMS Cracks Down on Medicare Advantage TV Marketing

Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA

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CMS is cracking down on deceptive marketing practices and will no longer allow Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plans to advertise on television without agency approval first. The new policy is effective Jan. 1st and was discussed in an Oct. 19th memo from CMS to MA and Part D providers. The agency said it issued the new policy after reviewing thousands of beneficiary complaints regarding confusing, misleading or inaccurate information from plans — plan sponsors are also responsible for all marketing activities from brokers and third-party agencies.

“CMS has conducted so-called ‘secret shopping’ by calling numbers associated with television advertisements, mailings, newspaper advertisements and internet searches to monitor the experience beneficiaries have engaging these entities,” the agency wrote.

“Our secret shopping activities have discovered that some agents were not complying with current regulation and unduly pressuring beneficiaries, as well as failing to provide accurate or enough information to assist a beneficiary in making an informed enrollment decision.”

Source: Jakob Emerson, Becker’s Payer Issues [10/27/22]

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OIG: https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/OEI-09-18-00260.asp

RELATED: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2021/05/21/podcast-medicare-advantage-plans-insurance-company-goldmine

MORE: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2022/04/29/probe-medicare-advantage-part-c-plans-deny-needed-care-to-tens-of-thousands-of-patients/

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MEDICARE: Expanding Dentistry?

By Staff Reporters

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Dental coverage under Medicare could soon start expanding for seniors under a new proposal from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Still, the proposed rules would not provide full coverage for regular dental care, which has been explicitly excluded from Medicare since the program’s founding in 1965.

“Traditional Medicare doesn’t cover routine preventive dental services, such as exams, cleanings, X-rays, nor more expensive services such as fillings, crowns or dentures,” said Meredith Freed, a Medicare expert with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

However, the new proposal would effectively open the door to Medicare potentially covering a wider array of dental services if medical science can demonstrate that oral health substantially improves the

READ: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-07-29/pdf/2022-14562.pdf

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HEALTH INSURANCE: https://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Health-Insurance-Managed-Care/dp/0826149944/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275315485&sr=1-4

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PODCAST: See the Future of Healthcare?

By Eric Bricker MD

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HOSPITALS: https://www.amazon.com/Financial-Management-Strategies-Healthcare-Organizations/dp/1466558733/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1380743521&sr=8-3&keywords=david+marcinko

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Understanding the Mental Healthcare Regulatory Environment

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Appreciating the Rules

[By Carol Miller; RN, MBA]

Carol S. MillerLocal counties and municipalities are the primary providers of state mental healthcare for patients who lack private insurance coverage for such care.

Both children and adults may be eligible to receive assistance.

These counties provide a wide range of psychiatric and counseling services to the residents in their community as well as other types of assistance such as:

  • treatment services related to substance abuse;
  • housing;
  • employment services;
  • information and education service;
  • referrals;
  • consultative services to schools, courts and other agencies;
  • after-care services; and other related activities.

mental

Rules and Regulations

Accordingly, regulations from federal, state, and county governments have an impact on the day-to-day operations, procedures and processes of a county mental health center. Traditionally, there are three main types of regulations.

Federal Regulations — The United States healthcare system is guided by programs such as those established under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (in the case of county mental health programs, Medicaid is especially important), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and others.

State Regulations — These include general legislative guidelines, state management of benefits and reimbursement of the Medicaid program, and state allocations of budgets, which impact the centers’ operations.

County Regulations — Each county defines its own County Mental Health Program and decides which services will be provided or excluded.

Assessment

County facilities generally include outpatient clinics, county mental health programs, short-term psychiatric facilities, day-care centers, de-toxification centers, residential rehabilitation centers for substance abuse, long-term care psychiatric facilities, and Veterans Affairs (VA) psychiatric centers. The county centers may be co-located with other county services such as social services, occupational rehabilitation services, information technology services, human resources, maintenance services, and others or may be independently located.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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LAW: Introduced to Stop Medicare Physician Pay Cuts

By Health Capital Consultants, LLC

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Law Introduced to Stop Medicare Physician Pay Cuts

On September 13, 2022, Representatives Ami Berra (D-CA-7) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN-8) introduced the Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2022 (H.R. 8800), which aims to infuse the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) with a 4.42% funding increase for 2023. With a bipartisan coalition of 12 co-sponsors, the bill would have the practical effect of negating the impending 4.42% cut to the MPFS conversion factor. This Health Capital Topics article will review the bill, discuss its support, and examine its potential implications. (Read more…)

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Medicare Part C [Advantage Plan] Allegations & Investigations

By Office of Inspector General and the HHS

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READ REPORT: https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/OEI-09-18-00260.asp

OIG: https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/OEI-09-18-00260.pdf

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Medicare Cuts by Physician Specialty

Medicare cuts by specialty 1/1/2021

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Product DetailsProduct Details

MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS: TV Ads are Deceiving?

By Dr. Keith L. Gurnick, DPM

[Los Angeles, CA via PM Online]

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Paid spokespersons consisting exclusively of older celebrities, including William Shatner, George Forman, Joe Namath, and Jimmie “J.J.” Walker read similar, if not exact, scripts in an attempt to induce the elderly to phone and check their “zip code” to see if they are eligible. I can’t figure out what the zip code has to do with anything, but maybe someone can help me to understand this fish hook?

As of November 2021, 42% of all Medicare eligible patients are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Does the viewing public not wonder why there is never any mention at all during these commercials that changing to a Medicare Advantage plan means switching their traditional Medicare over to an HMO, and that most likely they will lose their network of doctors and possibly hospitals as well? 

Why don’t they just tell the truth?

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A Doctor – Economist’s Solution for Health Reform

My Laundry Wish List for all US Healthcare Stakeholders

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]Fox News

As President Obama spoke, prodded and cajoled for Congress to pass HR 3200-3400 in 2008, I believe that for any healthcare reform effort to work successfully for the American people – for the long term – we need to consider the following in no particular prioritized order:

  • Insurance portability uncoupled from patient employment
  • Health insurance regional exchanges with inter-state purchase competition
  • Doctor, drug, DME and hospital pricing and payment transparency for HSAs, and all of us
  • Modifying or eliminating AMA owned CPT Codes®; a huge money maker for them
  • Abandoning ala’ carte medicine for values-based outcomes
  • Reduce JCAHO influence; encourage competition from Norwegian Det Norske Veritas [DNV]
  • Reduce big-pharma influence thru-out the entire medical education, career and care pipeline
  • End DTC advertising from big-pharma
  • Promote wholesale drug purchase competition, MC bidding and generic drugs
  • Encourage evidence-based medicine, not expert-based medicine
  • Less pay for medical specialists with a  re-evaluation of the hospitalist concept
  • Advance the dying art of physical diagnosis, teach and embrace Paretto’s 80/20 rule for clinic issues
  • Reduce lab test, diagnostic imaging and testing
  • Encourage private 24/7/365 medical offices and clinics; and on-site and retail clinics
  • Abandon P4P, medical homes and disease management ideas
  • Give more economic skin-in-game to patients relative to health benchmarks
  • Concretize the “never-event” prohibitions and include a list of patient health responsibilities
  • More pay for primary care docs and internists
  • Adopt digital records and cloud computing for patients
  • Phase in true eHRs incrementally; and abandon CCHIT for open source SaaS
  • Promote Health 2.0 social media.
  • Augmented scope of practice, numbers and pay for NPs and DNPs, etc
  • Reduce pay for CRNAs and increase it for staff RNs
  • Develop step down triage and treatment units to reduce the number of full service ERs
  • Increase medical, osteopathic, dental, optometric and podiatric medical school classes
  • Increased practice scope for dentists, podiatrists and optometrists
  • Make some sort of catastrophic HI mandatory, much like auto insurance for all
  • End pre-existing conditon health insurance contract clauses
  • More choice  and end of life control for the terminally ill patient
  • Increase marketplace competition with fewer political and financial “externalities”.
  • Teach basic healthcare topics in school and encourage physical exercise
  • Health and insurance education should be, but is not, the “answer” for Americans
  • Protect borders and discourage undocumented illegals
  • Adopt medical malpractice tort reform
  • Make all stakeholders fiduciaries
  • No public “option” unless you like food stamps, Section 8 housing, public transportation and schools
  • Budget deficit neutrality
  • Slow down!

Assessment

Recently, while in the Baltimore/Washing area, I was asked by several reporters to opine on the healthcare debate; which I did so freely having never been known as the shy type. And, regular readers will note that many of these items have been used as posts or comments on this ME-P. Unfortunately, my “laundry list” interview was pre-empted by two local but boisterous town-hall meetings with respective passionate politicians. It was redacted no doubt, but never broadcast. Thus, I missed the potential for my “five minutes” of fame. C’est la vive!

Conclusion

There you have it; direct and straight forward. And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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INTERVIEW: A Healthcare Financing Solution for Entrepreneurs?

Former: CEO and Founder
Superior Consultant Company, Inc.
[SUPC-NASD]

EDITOR’S NOTE: I first met Rich in B-school, when I was a student, back in the day. He was the Founder and CEO of Superior Consultant Holdings Corp. Rich graciously wrote the Foreword to one of my first textbooks on financial planning for physicians and healthcare professionals. Today, Rich is a successful entrepreneur in the technology, health and finance space.

-Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA CMP®

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Staff & Contributors - CHAMPIONS OF WAYNE

By Richard Helppie

Today for your consideration – How to fix the healthcare financing methods in the United States?

I use the term “methods” because calling what we do now a “system” is inaccurate. I also focus on healthcare financing, because in terms of healthcare delivery, there is no better place in the world than the USA in terms of supply and innovation for medical diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, I use the term healthcare financing to differentiate from healthcare insurance – because insurance without supply is an empty promise.

This is a straightforward, 4-part plan. It is uniquely American and will at last extend coverage to every US citizen while not hampering the innovation and robust supply that we have today. As this is about a Common Bridge and not about ideology or dogma, there will no doubt be aspects of this proposal that every individual will have difficulty with. However, on balance, I believe it is the most fair and equitable way to resolve the impasse on healthcare funding . . . .

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

Let me start in an area sure to raise the ire of a few. And that is, we have to start with eliminating the methods that are in place today. The first is the outdated notion that healthcare insurance is tied to one’s work, and the second is that there are overlapping and competing tax-supported bureaucracies to administer that area of healthcare finance.

Step 1 is to break the link between employment and health insurance. Fastest way to do that is simply tax the cost of benefits for the compensation that it is. This is how company cars, big life insurance policies and other fringe benefits were trimmed. Eliminating the tax-favored treatment of employer-provided healthcare is the single most important change that should be made.

Yes, you will hear arguments that this is an efficient market with satisfied customers. However, upon examination, it is highly risky, unfair, and frankly out of step with today’s job market.

Employer provided health insurance is an artifact from the 1940’s as an answer to wage freezes – an employer could not give a wage increase, but could offer benefits that weren’t taxed. It makes no sense today for a variety of reasons. Here are a few:

1. Its patently unfair. Two people living in the same apartment building, each making the same income and each have employer provided health insurance. Chris in unit 21 has a generous health plan that would be worth $25,000 each year. Pays zero tax on that compensation. Pat, in unit 42 has a skimpy plan with a narrow network, big deductibles and hefty co-pays. The play is worth $9,000 each year. Pat pays zero tax.

3. The insurance pools kick out the aged. Once one becomes too old to work, they are out of the employer plan and on to the retirement plan or over to the taxpayers (Medicare).

4. The structure is a bad fit. Health insurance and healthy living are longitudinal needs over a long period of time. In a time when people change careers and jobs frequently, or are in the gig economy, they are not any one place long enough for the insurance to work like insurance.

5. Creates perverse incentives. The incentives are weighted to have employers not have their work force meet the standards of employees so they don’t have to pay for the health insurance. Witness latest news in California with Uber and Lyft.

6. Incentives to deny claims abound. There is little incentive to serve the subscriber/patient since the likelihood the employer will shop the plan or the employee will change jobs means that stringing out a claim approval is a profitable exercise.

7. Employers have difficulty as purchasers. An employer large enough to supply health insurance has a diverse set of health insurance needs in their work force. They pay a lot of money and their work force is still not 100% happy.

Net of it, health insurance tied to work has outlived its usefulness. Time to end the tax-favored treatment of employer-based insurance. If an employer wants to provide health insurance, they can do it, but the value of that insurance is reflected in the taxable W-2 wages – now Pat and Chris will be treated equally.

Step 2 is to consolidate the multiple tax-supported bureaus that supply healthcare. Relieve the citizens from having to prove they are old enough, disabled enough, impoverished enough, young enough. Combine Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, Tricare and even possibly the VA into a single bureaucracy. Every American Citizen gets this broad coverage at some level. Everyone pays something into the system – start at $20 a year, and then perhaps an income-adjusted escalator that would charge the most wealthy up to $75,000. Collect the money with a line on Form 1040.

I have not done the exact math. However, removing the process to prove eligibility and having one versus many bureaucracies has to generate savings. Are you a US Citizen? Yes, then here is your base insurance. Like every other nationalized system, one can expect longer waits, fewer referrals to a specialist, and less innovation. These centralized systems all squeeze supply of healthcare services to keep their spend down. The reports extolling their efficiencies come from the people whose livelihoods depend on the centralized system. However, at least everyone gets something. And, for life threatening health conditions, by and large the centralized systems do a decent job. With everyone covered, the fear of medical bankruptcy evaporates. The fear of being out of work and losing healthcare when one needs it most is gone.

So if you are a free market absolutist, then the reduction of vast bureaucracies should be attractive – no need for eligibility requirements (old enough, etc.) and a single administration which is both more efficient, more equitable (everyone gets the same thing). And there remains a private market (more on this in step 3) For those who detest private insurance companies a portion of that market just went away. There is less incentive to purchase a private plan. And for everyone’s sense of fairness, the national plan is funded on ability to pay. Bearing in mind that everyone has to pay something. Less bureaucracies. Everyone in it together. Funded on ability to pay.

Step 3 is to allow and even encourage a robust market for health insurance above and beyond the national plan – If people want to purchase more health insurance, then they have the ability to do so. Which increases supply, relieves burden on the tax-supported system, aligns the US with other countries, provides an alternative to medical tourism (and the associated health spend in our country) and offers a bit of competition to the otherwise monopolistic government plan.

Its not a new concept, in many respects it is like the widely popular Medigap plans that supplement what Medicare does not cover.

No one is forced to make that purchase. Other counties’ experience shows that those who choose to purchase private coverage over and above a national plan often cite faster access, more choice, innovation, or services outside the universal system, e.g., a woman who chooses to have mammography at an early age or with more frequency than the national plan might allow.  If the insurance provider can offer a good value to the price, then they will sell insurance. If they can deliver that value for more than their costs, then they create a profit. Owners of the company, who risk their capital in creating the business may earn a return.

For those of you who favor a free market, the choices are available. There will be necessary regulation to prevent discrimination on genetics, pre-existing conditions, and the like. Buy the type of plan that makes you feel secure – just as one purchases automobile and life insurance.For those who are supremely confident in the absolute performance of a centralized system to support 300+ million Americans in the way each would want, they should like this plan as well – because if the national plan is meeting all needs and no one wants perhaps faster services, then few will purchase the private insurance and the issuers will not have a business. Free choice. More health insurance for those who want it. Competition keeps both national and private plans seeking to better themselves.

Step 4 would be to Permit Access to Medicare Part D to every US Citizen, Immediately

One of the bright spots in the US Healthcare Financing Method is Medicare Part D, which provides prescription drug coverage to seniors. It is running at 95% subscriber satisfaction and about 40% below cost projections.

Subscribers choose from a wide variety of plans offered by private insurance companies. There are differences in formularies, co-pays, deductibles and premiums.

So there you have it, a four part plan that would maintain or increase the supply of healthcare services, universal insurance coverage, market competition, and lower costs. Its not perfect but I believe a vast improvement over what exists today. To recap:

1. Break the link between employment and healthcare insurance coverage, by taxing the benefits as the compensation they are.

2. Establish a single, universal plan that covers all US citizens paid for via personal income taxes on an ability-to-pay basis.  Eliminate all the other tax-funded plans in favor of this new one.

3. For those who want it, private, supplemental insurance to the national system, ala major industrialized nations.

4. Open Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) to every US citizen. Today.

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HOSPITALS: https://www.amazon.com/Financial-Management-Strategies-Healthcare-Organizations/dp/1466558733/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1380743521&sr=8-3&keywords=david+marcinko

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HEALTHCARE: https://www.amazon.com/Hospitals-Healthcare-Organizations-Management-Operational/dp/1439879907/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334193619&sr=1-4

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Medicare for All?

OR

Worse Care for All?

THE CBO OPINES

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Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has announced that as early as next week, his committee will hold a hearing “on the need to pass a Medicare for All single-payer program.”  

Sanders gets an “A” for passion, but an “F” in compassion.  

But, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has cautioned that Sanders’ Medicare for All bill would create “a shortage of providers, longer wait times, and changes in the quality of care.” 

MORE: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/medicare-for-all-would-mean-worse-care-for-all/ar-AAWVDo6?li=BBnb7Kz

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

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MEDICARE Fraud and Abuse Scams

REPORTING SCAMS

By Staff Reporters

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LINK: https://www.medicare.gov/basics/reporting-medicare-fraud-and-abuse

BLOG: https://www.medicare.gov/blog/how-to-protect-medicare-card

SPOOFS: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=medicare+phone+scams&&view=detail&mid=147902000F772B221DC9147902000F772B221DC9&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dmedicare%2Bphone%2Bscams%26FORM%3DHDRSC3

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RISK MANAGEMENT: https://www.amazon.com/Management-Liability-Insurance-Protection-Strategies-ebook/dp/B01A8TCDES/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=david+marcinko&qid=1652959760&sr=8-1

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The GAP between Medicare and Commercial Hospital Prices

THE GAP INCREASES!

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By Health Capital Consultants, LLC

Gap between Medicare and Commercial Hospital Prices Increases

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A recent study examined the growth in hospital prices paid by commercial health insurance companies compared to Medicare over a seven-year period and found that commercial health plan rates were, on average, 180% higher than Medicare rates as of 2019.

While the national ratio between commercial and Medicare hospital payment growth rates remained relatively stable during the seven-year study period, ratios varied widely on a regional basis. This Health Capital Topics article will discuss this recent study and its implications. (Read more…)

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Can Doctors Afford to Retire Early – TODAY?

By Staff Reporters

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You’ve got a sense of your ideal retirement age. And you’ve probably made certain plans based on that timeline. But what if you’re forced to retire sooner than you expect? Aging baby-boomers, corporate medicine, the medical practice great resignation and/or the pandemic, etc?

RESIGNATION: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2021/12/12/healthcare-industry-hit-with-the-great-resignation-retirement/

Early retirement is nothing new, but it’s clear how much the COVID-19 pandemic has affected an aging workforce. Whether due to downsizing, objections to vaccine mandates, concerns about exposure risks, other health issues, or the desire for more leisure time, the retired general population grew by 3.5 million over the past two years—compared to an annual average of 1 million between 2008 and 2019—according to the Pew Research Center.1 At the same time, a survey conducted by the National Institute on Retirement Security revealed that more than half of Americans are concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their ability to achieve a secure retirement.2

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There’s no need to panic, but those numbers make one thing clear, says Rob Williams, managing director of financial planning, retirement income, and wealth management for the Schwab Center for Financial Research. Flexible and personalized financial planning that addresses how you’d cope if you had to retire early can help you make the best use of all your resources. 

So – Here are six steps to follow. We’ll use as an example a person who’s seeing if they could retire five years early, but the steps remain the same regardless of your individual time frame.

Step 1: Think strategically about pension and Social Security benefits

For most retirees, Social Security and (to a lesser degree) pensions are the two primary sources of regular income in retirement. You usually can collect these payments early—at age 62 for Social Security and sometimes as early as age 55 with a pension. However, taking benefits early will mean that you get smaller monthly benefits for the rest of your life. That can matter to your bottom line, even if you expect Social Security to be merely the icing on your retirement cake.

On the Social Security website, you can find a projection of what your benefits would be if you were pushed to claim them several years early. But if you’re part of a two-income couple, you may want to make an appointment at a Social Security office or with a financial professional to weigh the potential options.

For example, when you die, your spouse is eligible to receive your monthly benefit if it’s higher than his or her own. But if you claim your benefits early, thus receiving a reduced amount, you’re likewise limiting your spouse’s potential survivor benefit.

If you have a pension, your employer’s pension administrator can help estimate your monthly pension payments at various ages. Once you have these estimates, you’ll have a good idea of how much monthly income you can count on at any given point in time.

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Step 2: Pressure-test your 401(k)

In addition to weighing different strategies to maximize your Social Security and/or pension, evaluate how much income you could potentially derive from your personal retirement savings—and there’s a silver lining here if you’re forced to retire early. 

Rule of 55

Let’s say you leave your job at any time during or after the calendar year you turn 55 (or age 50 if you’re a public safety employee with a government defined-benefit plan). Under a little-known separation-of-service provision, often referred to as the “rule of 55,” you may be able take distributions (though some plans may allow only one lump-sum withdrawal) from your 401(k), 403(b), or other qualified retirement plan free of the usual 10% early-withdrawal penalties. However, be aware that you’ll still owe ordinary income taxes on the amount distributed. 

This exception applies only to the plan (including any consolidated accounts) that you were contributing to when you separated from service. It does not extend to IRAs. 

4% rule

There’s also a simple rule of thumb suggesting that if you spend 4% or less of your savings in your first year of retirement and then adjust for inflation each year following, your savings are likely to last for at least 30 years—given that you make no other changes to your withdrawals, such as a lump sum withdrawal for a one-time expense or a slight reduction in withdrawals during a down market. 

To see how much monthly income you could count on if you retired as expected in five years, multiply your current savings by 4% and divide by 12. For example, $1 million x .04 = $40,000. Divide that by 12 to get $3,333 per month in year one of retirement. (Again, you could increase that amount with inflation each year thereafter.) Then do the same calculation based on your current savings to see how much you’d have to live on if you retired today. Keep in mind that your money will have to last five years longer in this instance.

Knowing the monthly amount your current savings can generate will give you a clearer sense of whether you’ll have a shortfall—and how large or small it might be. Use our retirement savings calculator to test different saving amounts and time frames.

Step 3: Don’t forget about health insurance, doctor!

Nobody wants to spend down a big chunk of their retirement savings on unanticipated healthcare costs in the years between early retirement and Medicare eligibility at age 65. If you lose your employer-sponsored health insurance, you’ll want to find some coverage until you can apply for Medicare. 

Your options may include continuing employer-sponsored coverage through COBRA, insurance enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov, or joining your spouse’s health insurance plan. You may also find discounted coverage through organizations you belong to—for example, the AARP. 

Step 4: Create a post-retirement budget

To make sure your retirement savings will cover your expenses, add up the monthly income you could get from pensions, Social Security, and your savings. Then, compare the total to your anticipated monthly expenses (including income taxes) if you were to retire five years early and are eligible, and choose to file, for Social Security and pension benefits earlier. 

Take into account various life events and expenditures you may encounter. You may not pay off your mortgage by the date you’d planned. Your spouse might still be working (which can add income but also prolong certain expenses). Or your children might not be out of college yet. 

You’re probably fine if you anticipate that your monthly expenses will be lower than your income. But if you think your expenses would be higher than your early-retirement income, some suggest that you take one or more of these measures:

  • Retire later; practice longer.
  • Save more now to fill some of the potential gap.
  • Trim your budget so there’s less of a gap down the road.
  • Consider options for medical consulting or part-time work—and begin to explore some of those opportunities now.

To the last point, finding a physician job later in life can be challenging, but certain employment agencies specialize in this area. If you can find work you like that covers a portion of your expenses, you’ll have the option of delaying Social Security and your company pension to get higher payments later—and you can avoid dipping into your retirement savings prematurely. 

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

ORDER: https://www.routledge.com/Risk-Management-Liability-Insurance-and-Asset-Protection-Strategies-for/Marcinko-Hetico/p/book/9781498725989

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Step 5: Protect your portfolio

When you retire early, you have to walk a fine line with your portfolio’s asset allocation—investing aggressively enough that your money has the potential to grow over a long retirement, but also conservatively enough to minimize the chance of big losses, particularly at the outset.

“Risk management is especially important during the first few years of retirement or if you retire early,” Rob notes, because it can be difficult to bounce back from a loss when you’re drawing down income from your portfolio and reducing the overall number of shares you own.  

To strike a balance between growth and security, start by making sure you have enough money stashed in relatively liquid, relatively stable investments—such as money market accounts, CDs, or high-quality short-term bonds—to cover at least a year or two of living expenses. Divide the rest of your portfolio among stocks, bonds, and other fixed-income investments. And don’t hesitate to seek professional help to arrive at the right mix. 

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CMP logo

SPONSOR: http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

Many people are unaccustomed to thinking about their expenses because they simply spend what they make when working, Rob says. But one of the most valuable decisions you can make about your life in retirement is to reevaluate where your money is going now.

This serves two aims. First, it’s a reality check on the spending plan you’ve envisioned for retirement, which may be idealized (e.g., “I’ll do all the home maintenance and repairs!”). Second, it enables you to adjust your spending habits ahead of schedule—whichever schedule you end up following. This gives you more control and potentially more income. 

Step 6: Reevaluate your current spending

For example, if you’re not averse to downsizing, moving to a less expensive home could reduce your monthly mortgage, property tax, and insurance payments while freeing up equity that could also be invested to provide additional monthly income.

“When you are saving for retirement, time is on your side”. You lose that advantage when you’re forced to retire early, but having a backup plan that anticipates the possibility of an early retirement can make the unknowns you face a lot less daunting.

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/082610254

References:

1Richard Fry, “Amid the Pandemic, A Rising Share Of Older U.S. Adults Are Now Retired”, Pew Research Center, 11/04/2021, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/11/04/amid-the-pandemic-a-rising-share-of-older-u-s-adults-are-now-retired/.

2Tyler Bond, Don Doonan and Kelly Kenneally, “Retirement Insecurity 2021: Americans’ Views of Retirement”, Nirsonline.Org, 02/2021, https://www.nirsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/FINAL-Retirement-Insecurity-2021-.pdf.

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Valuation of Home Health Agencies [The Reimbursement Environment]

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By Health Capital Consultants, LLC

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Valuation of Home Health Agencies: Reimbursement Environment

The U.S. government is the largest payor of medical costs, through Medicare and Medicaid, and has a strong influence on reimbursement for home healthcare services. In 2020, Medicare and Medicaid accounted for an estimated $829.5 billion and $671.2 billion in healthcare spending, respectively. The outsized prevalence of these public payors in the healthcare marketplace often results in their acting as a price setter, and being used as a benchmark for private reimbursement rates. This effect may be even stronger in the home health industry.

The third installment of this home health valuation series will discuss the reimbursement environment in which these organizations operate. (Read more…) 

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CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

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Update on COVID-19 Booster Shots

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Update on COVID-19 booster shots
In case you missed it: If you or a loved one are 50 or older, or are moderately or severely immunocompromised, you can get an additional Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 booster shot at no cost to you.

The CDC recommends an additional booster shot for certain individuals to increase protection from severe disease from COVID-19. People over the age of 50, or who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, can get an additional booster of Pfizer or Moderna 4 months after their last dose.

This is especially important for those 65 and older who are at higher risk from severe disease and most likely to benefit from getting an additional booster.

Learn More: Remember: Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine, including booster shots, at no cost to you. Find a COVID-19 vaccine location near you.

Sincerely
The Medicare Team

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MORE: https://www.medicare.gov/medicare-coronavirus?utm_campaign=20220406_cvd_prv_gal&utm_content=english&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

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PODCASTS: All You Need to Know About Government Healthcare

By Eric Bricker MD

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1) Traditional Medicare: Health Insurance for Seniors 65 and older. Medicare Part A is coverage for hospital services. Medicare Part B is coverage for doctor, physical therapist and other provider services and for outpatient services such as labs and imaging.

2) Medicare Advantage: Health Insurance for Seniors 65 and older administered through a private health insurance company. It is sometimes referred to as Medicare Part C. It can be chosen instead of Traditional Medicare and often includes Dental Insurance, Vision Insurance, Hearing Aid Insurance and Prescription Drug Coverage.

3) Medicare Part D Prescription Coverage: Additional insurance for people on Traditional Medicare to cover their prescription medications as well. Medicare Part D is administered by private insurance companies.

4) Medicare Supplement Plans: Insurance that can be purchased in addition to Traditional Medicare to cover the expenses that Traditional Medicare does not cover, such as hospitalization deductibles and Medicare Part B co-insurance.

5) Medicaid: The health insurance program administered by each state for it’s economically disadvantaged residents. It is funded in part by the Federal Government and in part by each state. It is administered by private health insurance companies.

6) Affordable Care Act (ACA) Exchange Plans: Health insurance for people under 65 who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but do not received health insurance through their employer. ACA Exchange Plans are subsidized by the Federal Government and administered by private insurance companies.

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PODCAST: Hospital “Out-Patient” Department Pricing Explained

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Hospitals Are Paid More for SAME SERVICE in Outpatient Department Than Doctors Are Paid in Office.

For Example, the SAME Echocardiogram Costs $600 in a Hospital Outpatient Department and $250 in a Doctor’s Office.

By Dr. Eric Bricker MD

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PODCAST: Medicare Outsources Paying Claims

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The US Federal Government Does NOT Process Medicare Claims.

By Eric Bricker MD

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CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/082610254

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Average Annual Healthcare Growth Rates of Spending, Utilization and Price

By Staff Reporters

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Average Annual Growth Rates of Spending, Utilization, and Prices

 •  Spending per person: commercial insurers (3.2% per year); Medicare fee for service (1.8% per year)
 •  Utilization per person: commercial insurers (0.4% per year); Medicare fee for service (0.5% per year)
 •  Prices paid to providers: commercial insurers (2.7% per year); Medicare fee for service (1.3% per year).

Notes: For hospitals and physicians’ services, 2013-2018
Source: Congressional Budget Office – January 2022

“The Prices That Commercial Health Insurers and Medicare Pay for Hospitals’ and Physicians’ Services”
 

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PODCAST: Medicare Provider Payment Changes

By Eric Bricker MD

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Announce Changes to Doctor and Healthcare Provider Payments

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/082610254

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PODCAST Related Medical Payments: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2021/10/01/podcast-on-medicare-payments-to-doctors/

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PODCASTS: Medicare Cost Reports Explained

By Eric Bricker MD

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PODCAST: Medicare Bad Debt Reimbursement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMa4at0wlRU

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New Study Compares Medicare-Commercial Payment Gaps by Specialty

New Study Compares Medicare-Commercial Payment Gaps by Specialty

BY HEALTH CAPITAL CONSULTANTS


Utilizing data from FAIR Health, the Urban Institute conducted an October 2021 study which reviewed commercial insurance claims across the U.S. (for approximately 60 insurers and third-party administrators covering over 150 million Americans under age 65) from March 2019 through February 2020.

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

This study assessed the gap between commercial insurance payments and Medicare payments for professional physician services to determine whether the payment gap between Medicare and commercial insurance differs by specialty. (Read more…)

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PODCAST: The RAND Corporation Found that Commercial Health Insurance Plans Pay Hospitals 241% What Medicare Pays

The RAND Corporation Found that Commercial Health Insurance Plans Pay Hospitals 241% What Medicare Pays.

But Also That It Varies from 150% to 400%.

Dr. Boram (Kim) Park, MD - Dallas, TX | Internal Medicine

BY ERIC BRICKER MD

Health Insurance Companies Paid for Hospital Outpatient Services at an Even Higher Average Rate of 293% of Medicare.

A Detailed Look at the RAND Analysis Reveals that the ‘Basket’ of Services at Each Hospital Had Very Little Data.

For Example, the RAND Study’s Data for the Baylor Scott & White Hospital System in Dallas – Fort Worth Represented Only 0.4% of the Hospital’s Total Revenue.

For the Texas Health Hospital System Also in Dallas – Fort Worth, the RAND Study’s Data Only Represented 0.96% of the Hospital’s Total Revenue.

That Sample Size Is Likely Too Small to Make Accurate Comparisons from One Hospital System to Another Regarding their Commercial Insurance Prices Relative to Medicare.

ASSESSMENT: Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

THANK YOU

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PODCAST: Medicare Hospital Re-Admission Penalties

EXPLAINED!

BY ERIC BRICKER MD

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CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

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The Health Economic Costs Moving from Adult EMPLOYER Sponsored Health Insurance to MEDICARE Coverage

Impact of Moving Older Adults from Employer Coverage to Medicare

Peterson-KFF’s recent brief “How Lowering the Medicare Eligibility Age Might Affect Employer-Sponsored Insurance Costs” explores potential percent reduction in employer health plan spending if all enrollees in age group leave large employer-sponsored coverage.

The brief found:

 •  Ages 60-64 would cause a 15% reduction
 •  Ages 55-64 would cause a 30% reduction
 •  Ages 50-64 would cause a 43% reduction

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

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Understanding Medicare options to help make confident ...

Source: Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, “How Lowering the Medicare Eligibility Age Might Affect Employer-Sponsored Insurance Costs”

Your thoughts are appreciated.

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COVID-19 UPDATE: Vaccine Booster Shots

BY MEDICARE TEAM

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Important update on COVID-19 vaccine booster shots
If you previously got 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, you can get a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine if you fall into one of these groups:

You’re 65 and older,You’re 18+ and have certain underlying medical conditions, or
You’re 18+ and work or live in a high-risk setting.

You can get your booster shot at least 6 months after you complete your second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
The booster shot can help strengthen and prolong your protection against COVID-19.

Learn More: Visit CDC.gov for more information on other groups already vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine that may be eligible for a booster shot.

Remember: Medicare covers a Pfizer vaccine booster shot at no cost to you.

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Oregon says it's ready to provide COVID-19 booster shots to those eligible,  but asks for patience - KTVZ

Sincerely,
The Medicare Team
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PODCAST: APPEALS of Medicare Advantage [Part C] Plans

BY CMS

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PODCAST: Medicare Financial Matters

WHAT COUNTS AS INCOME SOURCES?

BY CMS

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CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors : Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™ book cover

RISK MANAGEMENT: https://www.routledge.com/Risk-Management-Liability-Insurance-and-Asset-Protection-Strategies-for/Marcinko-Hetico/p/book/9781498725989

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Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

FINANCIAL PLANNING: https://www.routledge.com/Comprehensive-Financial-Planning-Strategies-for-Doctors-and-Advisors-Best/Marcinko-Hetico/p/book/9781482240283

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Benefits of Healthcare Participation in Multiple Medical Payment Models

BY HEALTH CAPITAL CONSULTANTS, LLC

New Research Explores Benefits of Participation in Multiple Payment Models


An August 2021 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) analyzed medical and surgical episodes of care in U.S. hospitals to determine whether outcomes differed in hospitals that participated in Medicare’s Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Initiative depending on whether the patient being treated was attributed to a Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) accountable care organization (ACO).

This Health Capital Topics article will discuss the study’s findings and potential policy implications. (Read more…)

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Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

ORE: https://www.routledge.com/Comprehensive-Financial-Planning-Strategies-for-Doctors-and-Advisors-Best/Marcinko-Hetico/p/book/9781482240283

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PODCAST: On Medicare PAYMENTS to Doctors

TO SPECIFIC PHYSICIANS

BY ERIC BRICKER MD

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MORE: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2014/04/13/how-much-your-doctor-received-from-medicare/

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https://www.amazon.com/Financial-Management-Strategies-Healthcare-Organizations/dp/1466558733/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1380743521&sr=8-3&keywords=david+marcinko

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

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PODCAST: Medicare and Nursing Home / Long Term Care

By CMS

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

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PODCAST: Why Insurance Carriers Want MEDICARE-FOR-ALL

WHY M-4-A?

BY ERIC BRICKER MD

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CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

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PODCAST: Understanding Your Medicare Choices

ORIGINAL MEDICARE, PART C, MEDIGAP AND YOU

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

BY MEDICARE – CMS

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PODCAST: The Four [4] Parts of Medicare

UNDERSTAND AND KNOW THE DIFFERENCE: A, B C & D

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

BY MEDICARE – CMS

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What’s the Latest on MEDICARE DRUG PRICE Negotiations?

BY KFF

Prescription drug costs are a major concern for consumers and a fiscal challenge for public and private payers, representing 10% of national health spending and nearly 20% of health benefit costs for large employers and Medicare.

In response, lawmakers are considering a broad range of policy options, including one that would allow the federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries and people enrolled in private plans, a proposal that has strong bipartisan public support.

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

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Could Negotiating Medicare Drug Prices Save $300 Billion Per Year? |  Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

This brief describes the current status of drug price negotiation proposals, looks back at the history of proposals to give the federal government the authority to negotiate drug prices in Medicare, describes the negotiation provisions in key legislation (H.R. 3), and discusses the potential spending effects for the federal government and individuals.

READ: https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/whats-the-latest-on-medicare-drug-price-negotiations/

UPDATE: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/medicare-trustees-sound-alarm-but-progressives-press-ahead-with-irresponsible-medicare-expansion/ar-AAOh6EA?li=BBnb7Kz

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