Posts Tagged - ‘co-payments’

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Boeing’s Health Insurance Plans Becoming Less Attractive To Employees

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Image: X-Ray Delta One under CC 3.0

In order to combat continually rising health care costs, many companies are changing their benefits packages to transfer more of the expense onto employees. Boeing is no different.

According to human resources senior VP Rick Stephens, co-payments, co-insurance percentages, and deductibles will go up next year. One of their health insurance plans will have its co-insurance percentages soar to 20% from 10% in 2012. About 90,000 employees will be affected.

Union employees are exempt, because they have their own negotiated contract. Many are speculating that the healthcare reform law has something to do with it, which the aircraft manufacturer denies.

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Employer-Based Health Insurance Plans Providing Less Care for More Money

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Image: RangerRick under CC 3.0

When employees look at their health insurance plans today, they see more responsibility (and cost) on their end with fewer benefits. That’s according to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

In a struggling economy, companies look for different methods of saving money. One of them is shifting the cost of health coverage to employees. Unfortunately, workers must pay for those costs with the same or even smaller (for those who have taken pay cuts) incomes! Wages have not grown with the cost of health insurance for several decades now.

The average employee is paying 14% more for health care in 2010.

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Co-Payments Vs. Co-Insurance

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Image: db*Photography under CC 3.0

When trying to find affordable health insurance, it can be difficult to find the right policy. One of the most confusing aspects is the out-of-pocket cost you are expected to pay, above and beyond the monthly premium.

Most health coverage options include co-payments, co-insurance, or both. What’s the difference?

  • Co-insurance is a percentage of the fee charged for an item or service. For example, if you have a 30% co-insurance percentage under your policy and a doctor normally charges $100 per visit, you will be responsible for paying $30 upfront. In many cases, this is the more expensive option. However, it is becoming more common among group health insurance plans, due to employers trying to reduce their cost burden.
  • On the other hand, co-payments are a fixed amount. If your insurance company specifies a $15 co-payment for prescription medications, that is the amount you’ll pay the pharmacy each time you fill the prescription–regardless of how much the medicine actually costs. Sometimes, insurers have multiple tiers of co-payments: depending on the type of medication, doctor visit, or hospitalization, the copayment will be higher or lower.
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Monday, June 14th, 2010

Co-payments are an important part of the cost of any health insurance plan. A co-payment is the fixed amount you will pay for a particular service.

Co-payments can be charged for the following:

  • Filling a prescription
  • Visiting a doctor
  • Having a blood or other medical test done

These amounts can vary from as little as $5 or $10, to as much as $40. In most cases, a lower monthly premium comes with more expensive co-payments.

In addition, most co-payments only apply when you are in-network. If you choose to go outside of the provider network for health care, you may instead be responsible for a percentage of the bill.

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Should Health Insurance Plans Fully Cover Contraception?

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Image: manymeez under CC 3.0

For the most part, health insurance plans do cover contraception, such as birth control pills. However, they are usually subject to co-payments like other medications. In some cases, they are put on a higher, less-essential tier: meaning that the insurer picks up a higher percentage of the cost–for example, a woman may have to pay $25 or $30 to fill the prescription instead of $5 or $10 that she’d be charged for other medications. For people with health savings accounts or other high-deductible plans, the full cost often rests on their shoulders.

Now, doctors and activists are calling for birth control to be fully covered as part of health care plans. After all, paying for those prescriptions is far less expensive than providing prenatal care (which is often sought later when unplanned), and less controversial than abortion. Some believe that the health insurance reform legislation can be interpreted as mandating such coverage by the Department of Health and Human Services, due to an added amendment to the healthcare reform bill.

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Health Insurance Reform Brings Free Screening

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Image: quinn.anya under CC 3.0

One of the main tenets of affordable health insurance reform is the promotion of preventative care services. To that end, you will no longer be responsible for a co-payment on annual physicals, immunizations, or mammograms. Some people avoid them, either because they are uninsured or cannot afford steadily increasing co-pays.

If you buy a new health insurance plan after this September, the expanded wellness benefits will be included. However, existing plans won’t be upgraded until they make significant changes to their cost structure or other major elements.

This increase in services is expected to result in an eventual decrease in health insurance costs, because preventative care is cheaper than treating an expensive, chronic disease. With more people insured, they will be better able to afford regular checkups.

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Higher Co-Pays Save Money Now, Cost More Later?

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Nowadays, more companies are moving towards offering group health insurance plans with higher co-payments and deductibles. The idea behind such a move is that it saves the firm money by encouraging its employees to take better care of their health. Passing a higher percentage of health insurance costs onto the consumer should make him or her think twice before neglecting their health and waiting for their health insurance plan to deal with it. Unfortunately, evidence from Medicare patients seems to suggest that this strategy can backfire.

It turns out that the patients who saw their co-payments rise actually cost their health insurance plans more in the long run. How is that possible? While they did make fewer outpatient visits, that savings was offset by the increase in hospitalizations and in-patient treatment days. Hospital stays cost health insurance companies more than healthy patients who use regular preventative care services. Higher co-payments discourage patients from visiting doctors and having any illnesses treated earlier and cheaper. It is possible that these findings may also apply to individual health insurance plans.

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