Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Memorial Day 2017

Friday, May 26th, 2017

 rusreberg

Lt. Col. E. Rusteberg – West Point 1934 – Two Silver Stars, One Bronze Star, Presidential Unit Citation (Battle of Hatten), Purple Heart. American hero.

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Army Vet Hero of Manchester

Friday, May 26th, 2017

manchester

“I’m giving up my hospital bed on my ward for somebody who needs it…………….”

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Reference Based Webinar Invitation

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

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Moonbeam Leads Left Coast Towards Single Payer System

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

moonbeam2

Single payer system’s projected total health care costs is an estimated $50 billion to $100 billion a year. That’s a massive sum in a state where the entire general fund budget is $125 billion…………

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Fifth Circuit Holds That ERISA Preempts Provider’s Promissory Estoppel Claims

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

LIED

This case offers insight into how promissory estoppel may play a role where a provider seeks reimbursement from an ERISA plan.

Houston Metro alleges that before it provided medical services to any patient, it sought and “received verification by telephone from Defendants that each patient was covered by a health benefit plan,” and “that the particular procedures were covered by the health benefit plans and would be paid in accordance with the health benefit plan.”  Houston Metro alleges that it would not have provided the services if the defendants had not made these statements.

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“Your Day of Reckoning Is Fast Upon You”

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

mulebriar

An inner demon has been bothering me for the past 15 months….the demon screams to be released

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21 Things To Know About Balance Billing

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

smile

Reference Based Pricing Rocks!

The following article is entitled “20 Things To Know About Balance Billing.”

We added one more.

There is only one market strategy that protects consumers against balance billing – Reference Based Pricing (RBP) plans. Traditional managed care plans provide absolutely no protection against balance billing – consumers are on their own when they get one. Not so under RBP plans.

“In 2015, a nationwide study from Consumers Union found nearly one third of privately insured Americans received an unanticipated bill when their health plan paid less than expected for medical services within the past two years.”

Consumer Union also reported 57 percent of patients who encountered balance billing from contracted physicians within the last two years paid in full because they didn’t know their rights to fight the bills.

“So many times, people just give up [in surprise billing disputes],” Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president of health initiatives with Community Service Society of New York, told NPR.

Which plan would you rather have? A traditional managed care plan with limited provider choice, ever increasing costs and balance billing liability. Or a Reference Based Pricing plan with lower cost, better benefits, unlimited choice of providers and balance billing protection? The choice has never been more clear………………..

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A.J. Lester & Associates

Friday, May 19th, 2017

ajl

Direct contracting isn’t for everyone. Employers who are satisfied with their insurance carrier’s excuses that blame increased health plan rates on rising medical costs may not be inter (more…)

Convicted Insurance Consultant Sentencing Postponed Again

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

haff111

Will Haff

The wheels of justice turn ever so slowly. Will Haff, a San Antonio insurance consultant and convicted felon now has a new August 9 date for sentencing.

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Refried Beans

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

refriedbeans

Why do Mexicans make refried beans? Because they didn’t make them right the first time. Same holds true for refried health care legislation………..

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What!……….I’m Going Back To Sleep!

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

ripvan

Waking up is hard to do. I’ve been trying for years. Even nightmares couldn’t wake me up until yesterday when I had a horrible one that lit me up like a Roman Candle. I shot out of my hiding place, raced to the library and found the 2017 Milliman Medical Index report. “Its true, its true, this is not another nightmarish dream, its true!” assured the sweet librarian.

“But it can’t be” I screamed. When I went to sleep in 1973 health insurance rates of $17 for individuals and $35 per month for family coverage were considered competitive! What the hell happened?”

“Government got involved, managed care contracts memorialized collaborative schemes to defraud consumers into thinking they were getting great “discounts” when in fact they were assured of paying more year after year, hospitals took lessons from used car salesman and invented something called a Charge Master, and health care supply chain managers (insurance brokers, agents and consultants) were tasked, and they accepted their role to make sure the new status quo remained forever” said the librarian with head hanging low and slumped shoulders.

“They say the only way to fix this is more government control through a single payer system. Go figure!” she continued. “I’m moving to Communist China where the free market in health care is alive and well!”

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Pittsburgh Teachers Thwart Healthcare Stealing From Education

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Branson

“Don’t bother doing something unless you’re radically different from the competition” – Richard Branson (Basic tenet of RiskManagers.us )

At long last, forward-looking school and union leaders recognize they share the same goals and are proving that it’s not that difficult to slay the healthcare cost beast even in an expensive and contentious healthcare market.” – David Chase

Editor’s Note: As Texas school districts struggle to maintain affordable health care for their employees, Pittsburgh and other school districts around the country are actually achieving health care cost reductions while improving benefits at the same same time. Instead of trying the same old strategies of the past, these districts are applying common sense solutions that work. Everyone wins; the consumer, medical providers and plan sponsors…………………….

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Attention Insurance Producers: Join Us And Earn Millions!

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

omg This beats this! – BCBS To Pay $50,000 Broker Sales Incentive Each Fully Insured Group Sold

We have previously executed a similar strategy with a prescription benefit management company, Partners Rx (PRx), which we sold for $100,000,000 to Magellan Health in 2013.  That sale resulted in many producers receiving $1 million to over $4 million.  We anticipate that this opportunity will be even more lucrative.

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Tell Us Your Outrageous Health Care Stories

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

 klepper

By Brian Klepper

Dave Chase, who has been our most eloquent teller of health care craziness stories in recent years, sent out a request the other day for alarming stories from the broker/consultant sector. He wrote:

Benefit brokers get paid more for doing a bad job (i.e., allowing healthcare costs to go up pays them more since they make a % of costs in many compensation schemes). They can get rewards for driving up spending such as trips or other undisclosed compensation. Tell us some of the most outrageous compensation schemes that help fuel hyperinflation in healthcare.

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UHC Pulls Plug On No-Charge Primary Care Plans

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

actuary1111

A stunning failure of Relationship-Based Primary Care – Value-Based Benefit Plans?

UnitedHealth Group is shutting down its health plan experiment featuring staff providers offering unlimited primary and behavioral care at no charge………….Relationship-Based Primary Care – value-based benefit designs

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Patients Are Flocking To Urgent Care Clinics – Now Hospitals Are Too

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

urgent12

The clinic business model is straightforward and attractive: Treat as many patients with minor injuries and illnesses as quickly as possible—usually in 30 minutes or less………..A typical immediate-care center sees 294 patients each week, a number Kalorama predicts will grow for the next four years. Per-site revenue is expected to increase to nearly $1.7 million by 2021……….

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Will State Employee Health Care Fix Hurt Texas Medical Schools?

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

medicalschool Medical School Students

Raise your hand. Which one of  you wants to treat Trooper Jones? He’s in the lounge with a cold………………..

Inserted in the nearly 900 page Senate budget bill are three paragraphs that would force the medical schools to treat members of the Employees Retirement System of Texas at a discounted rate.

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“ERISA Fiduciary Largest Undisclosed Risk I’ve Seen in My Career”

Friday, May 12th, 2017

davidchase 

Another Excellent Article By David Chase

Employer/union provided health benefits likely represent over two-thirds of industry profits as they wildly overpay for healthcare services due to the misperception that PPOs help save them money. In reality, PPO networks cost employers/unions dearly.

Increased outside scrutiny on how ERISA-regulated health plans spend their dollars could create immense potential liability for both company directors and health insurers across the country. 

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Implementing RBR “Done Right”…Begin with Diligence

Friday, May 12th, 2017

mcs

“It is my belief that any TPA or Advisor using this list of questions as a tool to evaluate options will be able to easily differentiate the pretenders, professional marketers and conscientious vendors offering a well-designed, well-supported offering.  Such differentiation is critical to the continued development of the RBR approach and disruption of traditional PPO use.” Glenn McLellan

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Dark Horse TRS ActiveCare Bill Gains Traction?

Friday, May 12th, 2017

 

trsactivecare

While we have been focusing on Senate Bill 789 we failed to notice the introduction of House Bill 1998 introduced back in February by the same representative who tried and failed to open the gates of freedom for school districts wanting out of TRS ActiveCare two years ago.

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Telemedicine Payment

Friday, May 12th, 2017

telephone123

In 2017 you CAN get paid for telehealth (non-face-to-face) services by both Medicare and Private Payers………….32 states now have laws requiring private payers to pay for telehealth services…………

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Spring Cleaning – Let’s Start With Supply Chain Managers

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

cleaningrefridge

By Bill Rusteberg

This is a preview of an upcoming blog posting that will address worst practices in the brokerage and TPA industry in this country. These practices are some of the best kept secrets rivaling the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster.

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David Contorno – Status Quo’s Worst Nightmare

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

david111q

“Trusting carriers to manage your healthcare spend is like trusting American Express to manage your corporate expenses. We all know Amex gets a percentage of all charges, so if they had their way, employees would charge anything and everything on it. After all, the employer pays the bill. Wait, same with health insurance. They make a vig (the interest on a shark’s loan) on every claim and the employer pays the bill…..” – David Contorno

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High Performance Health Care – Facts & Ideas

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Yesterday, as I was keynoting the final day of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, the conference had an artist from Maestro Health drawing what she heard in real time. The fun and interesting result is below. A particularly nice touch to the conference.

07_High_Performance_Healthcare_InkFactory_Large

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Patients Go Public With Bills, Hospitals Respond

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

angryman

As patients take hospital bill issues public, hospitals take stock of their practice……

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LevelFunded Health

Monday, May 8th, 2017

levelfundedh

LevelFunded Health is a national, direct to employer distribution platform focused on level and self-insured benefit programs for small to mid-size employer groups. For businesses with employees ranging from 50 to 1,000; it can help to immediately save these businesses anywhere from $50,000 to $2 million per year on healthcare costs, while simultaneously improving benefits.

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Austin Chapter of the Free Market Medical Association May Meeting

Monday, May 8th, 2017

freemarketmedical

Join the Austin Chapter of the Free Market Medical Association for our May Meeting on Wednesday,May 10th at 11:30a-1:00p at Independent Bankers Assoc of Texas 1700 Rio Grande St, Third Floor Third Floor – Doyle Conference Room Austin 78701.

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South Texas Physician Becomes TMA President

Monday, May 8th, 2017

cardenas

He helped lead TMA’s fight for medical liability reform, which became Texas law in 2003.

“When you get shot at all the time, when 70 percent or more of your colleagues are named in a lawsuit or a party to a lawsuit and you can no longer recruit, retain or attract [physicians] to your community to do what needed to be done for the health of your community, something had to change,” Cardenas said. “That was something that drove me and others in our community to stand up and say, ‘No more.’ We came together and organized.” – Carlos J. Cardenas, M.D.

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GOP’s Bill Is Still Government-Run Health Care

Monday, May 8th, 2017

bride

Remember in 1966 when Medicare was passed into law? Republicans stood by their principles and were united against this move to “socialized medicine.” They fought hard to stop the measure. Now you can’t find one Republican against Medicare. One’s principles go by the wayside with the absence of term limits. The same will hold true in America’s irreversible move to a single payer system.

“The only difference between Republicans and Democrats is Republicans take just a little bit longer to get there” – Bill Rusteberg

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UHC “Overpayment” Offset Practice Dealt Deathblow

Monday, May 8th, 2017

flores Mark Flores

Several internal United documents emphasize this point and gush about how cross-plan offsetting will allow United to take money for itself out of the pockets of the self-insured plans…”

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Texas Clarifies Status of Texas Captives

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

captives

With these clarifications, it is now clear that Texas captives can play a significant role in employee benefit plans for health benefits……………

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Association Health Plans

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

novel

The rising cost of health insurance remains a major problem for small business owners. In 2015, 25 percent fewer small businesses offered health insurance than when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010, a significant drop in small business coverage.

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A New Blog for Employer and Union Benefits Managers and Their Advisors

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

klepper Brian Klepper

Reading yet another excellent post on an important topic – PPOs in this case, see below – by South Texas broker Bill Rusteberg  the other day, I was struck that there are few go-to sites dedicated to the very significant challenges faced by health benefits managers, consultants and other health benefits professionals…………………

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Plan Sponsors Beware – Lawyers Preparing Lawsuits

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

sued

Employers who fail to prudently manage health plan assets creates a lucrative opportunity for plaintiff’s attorneys………Significant liability for companies and plan trustees…………..

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An Electrical Physical? How Much Is That?

Friday, May 5th, 2017

dayandnightclinic

“No, I am not doing an electrical physical, I’m here for a cold and I don’t need that test!” ……“But sir, your Blue Cross will cover it” came her soothing reply.

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Deep Throat & Cheap Vasectomies in New Orleans

Friday, May 5th, 2017

deepWe have more wannabe Deep Throats than we can count. We have providers calling to trash their competitors — some anonymously, some not. We have been a topic of jokes at a school fundraiser where one of the auction gifts was a … vasectomy, cheap!

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70 Year Old Snow Flake Masks Love For Trump

Friday, May 5th, 2017

loveIn an effort to mask her deep love and affection for President Trump, famous tabloid figure calls The Donald the “mad King George III.”

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List of Obamacare Taxes Repealed

Friday, May 5th, 2017

obamasmile

The American Health Care Act (HR 1628) passed by the House today reduces taxes on the American people by over $1 trillion. The bill abolishes the following taxes imposed by Obama and the Democrat party in 2010 as part of Obamacare:

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Direct Descendant of Nostradamus Predicts Single Payer System Imminent

Friday, May 5th, 2017

believeitornot

“In less than seven years, we’ll be in a single-payer system.”

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Weslaco ISD Hires New Insurance Consultant

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

recordbreakerFor the past eight years Valley Risk Management has provided valuable risk management oversight for the district. An eight year tenure with a South Texas school district has to be one for the record books …………………

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HB 3976 Passes Out Of Texas House

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

surpriseHouse Bill 3976 passed out of the Texas House in a 143-0 vote this afternoon (May 3). The bill relates to making dramatic changes to TRS-Care, including providing $633 million towards continuing the state-run retiree health insurance program.
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Off The Record

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

hay adams

By Bill Rusteberg

While visiting Washington DC this week I ended each day with a short visit to Off The Record, a bar located at the Hay Adams Hotel across the street from the White House. This place is always packed with interesting people and I had occasion to meet a few of them. 

Sitting at the bar one evening I struck up a conversation with a fellow to my left. His name was Johnathon Moulton, son of the late R.E. Moulton, one of the nation’s leading stop loss insurance intermediaries of his time. To the right of me was Mike………………

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What Do Indians & Insurance Companies Have In Common?

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

indiangiver

The U.S. House of Representatives has weighed in on a high-stakes legal battle over whether the federal government owes health insurance companies billions of dollars under an Affordable Care Act program designed to encourage participation in the public exchanges. It isn’t siding with the insurers.

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HCA To Change Its Name – Again

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

otra vez

HCA has reworked its name several times over the years……………..

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Republicans Rejoice – New Medical Cure For Democrats?

Friday, April 28th, 2017

elephant

Republicans are ecstatic over news Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero has a potential solution for Republican efforts to influence minds and souls through a new medical break through….. 

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Health Rosetta Outlines Difference Between Status Quo Broker & New Age Broker

Friday, April 28th, 2017

rosetta

Does this describe your broker? If so, you probably need to look for another one:

  • “Shops” the insurance every year
  • Facilitates insurance 1 year at a time
  • Believes costs are dependent on the best offer of the carrier
  • Gives limited data on where your money is going
  • Provides limited ways to control underlying costs
  • Doesn’t talk about their compensation or worse, is solely paid on commission, meaning more income the more rates go up
  • Advocates cost shifting in the form of increased deductibles and copays to lower the employer impact of premium increases
  • Blames costs exclusively on employee behavior and poor health

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Stricter Chargemaster Regulations Needed To Rein In Healthcare Costs

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

trumpeeeee

“It’s Not My Fault They Read My Book!”

Hospitals use fairy tale chargemaster pricing — which are shrouded in secrecy — to negotiate with third-party payers and generate revenue, yet Hospitals Dismiss Significance Of Chargemaster Prices?. A good negotiator, seeking maximum profits, always starts out high……Hospitals know the Art of The Deal…………..
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Will California Health Insurance Brokers Become Extinct?

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

beggar

Former Health Insurance Broker 

California single-payer healthcare bill passes first committee test…………………

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Plan Sponsors May Face A Perry Mason Moment?

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

perrymason

Perry Mason Has Never Lost A Case

If an ERISA Plan Sponsor has irrefutable evidence the plan is overpaying for health care, can a plan participant sue the Plan Sponsor and it’s trustees, jointly and individually, for wantonly squandering plan assets and win?

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Asking the Right Questions about Health Care

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

“Health insurance is a classic example of the Law of Subsidy in action”

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How Late Will Late Adopters Be Late?

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

sand

It’s been eight years since I wrote Health Care Strategies for Texas Political Subdivisions: costplusinsurance.com/articles/Health%20Care%20Strategies%20for%20Texas%20Political%20Subdivisions.pdf

Since then there have been early adopters who have blazed the trail for others to follow. But most Texas political subdivisions still have their heads in the sand.

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Health Insurance is NOT Health Care

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

evans

I’ve said for years that one of the main reasons ObamaCare passed was because they did a great job of confusing Health Insurance with Healthcare financing, or Healthcare.  I recently ran across the attached article that does a great job of addressing this point and wanted to share it.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Have a great day!   Jeff Evans, Director, Benefit Services jevans@healthplan.org

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Craig Lack – “The Most Effective Consultant You Never Heard Of”

Monday, April 24th, 2017

coolaid

Craig Lack is “the most effective consultant you’ve never heard of,” according to Inc. magazine. He consults nationwide with C-suites and independent healthcare broker consultants to eliminate employee out-of-pocket expenses, predictably lower healthcare claims and drive substantial revenue.

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5 Biggest Mistakes CFOs Make When Buying Healthcare

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

ifix

Most CFOs don’t know whether their company’s medical plan pays retail, wholesale or institutional charges.

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AMPS Announces Investment to Continue Rapid Growth

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

AMPS_Blue111

“Last year AMPS grew by over 70% and we are on a financial track to do the same this year,” said Dendy.  “However, beyond financing, we also see the new investors as an opportunity to build and expand our leadership footprint in healthcare cost management services for employers, health care plans, and government entities.”

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Price Transparency App For Diminishing Middle Class

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

transparencyiiii“Household salaries have remained flat over the past 20-plus years as every potential salary raise is applied to feed the healthcare beast…………”

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Beating Medical Trend

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

arrow

Medical inflation continues to rise at a rate above the growth rate in the economy. Facing rate increases year after year, plan sponsors, with their financial backs to the wall, have historically resorted to cost shifting. These continued failed attempts to control costs have […]

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Robbing Peter To Pay Paul

Friday, April 21st, 2017

peter

The risk-adjustment program program is supposed to protect plans from covering more than their fair share of sick enrollees. Program managers at CCIIO take cash from plans with low-risk enrollees and send the cash to plans with high-risk enrollees.

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TPA Lesson 101 – How To Be Sneaky & Always Be”Lowest Bidder”

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

mulebriar

Our website (www.mollymulebriar.orggets emails from time to time through our Tip Line exposing industry secrets……

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How Drug-Company ‘Benevolence’ Silences the Sick

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

outrageous12

For decades, the price of Syprine was $1 per 250-milligram tablet, or about $1,460 a year………. Today, Valeant charges around $300,000 for a year’s worth of Syprine…………

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Is Direct Contracting the Right Strategy for Your Organization?

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

mulebriarConnect with employer and provider peers who are actually developing and strengthening direct contracting relationships to discuss the pros and cons of direct contracting at the 3rd Annual Employer-Health System Direct Contracting & Partnership Strategies Summit on July 25 in Boston.  Gain insights into such questions as:

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Amazing: Nostradamus Predicts TRS ActiveCare Future

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

nostr

An amazing discovery, an ancient manuscript found yesterday by Waring, Texas Girl Scout Troop 34, buried near an oak tree on the grounds of the Texas state capitol is purported to be one of the missing chapters in famed Nostradamus book “The Future of Government Health Care in Tejas.”

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How Does Your Stop Loss Premiums Compare To The Market?

Monday, April 17th, 2017

stoplossinsuranceHow does your current stop loss policy premiums compare to the market? Aegis Risk’s premium survey provides average industry benchmarks…………………..

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Do Fee Based Consultants Earn Kickbacks From Carriers They Recommend?

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

dontt

One of the best kept secrets of the insurance industry is the practice of paying kickbacks to insurance consultants which are never disclosed to clients who pay them.

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RiskManagers.us Offers Post Graduate Course For Plan Sponsors

Friday, April 14th, 2017

classroom

If you wish to continue operating your self-funded plan the old fashion way this advanced course will not be of interest to you – Homer G. Farnsworth, PHD

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Protection Money In Health Care

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

godfather

Paying protection money (PPO access fees) for the promise of no balance billing against egregious, arbitrary sticker pricing that has no relationship to costs whatsoever, and agreeing to provider reimbursement levels based upon secretive contracts you cannot see or audit, violates fiduciary duties and is contrary to basic, common American business practices.

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Games Brokers Play – A True Story

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

mulebriar

“Those who have data win. Those who have good data win a lot. Those who have real time data win all the time” 

 

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Texas Feeding Frenzy Begins…………

Monday, April 10th, 2017

sharkfeeding

Texas Senate Bill 789, which will gut the TRS ActiveCare health plan for Texas school districts, will pass according to our sources in Austin. (The Coming Implosion of TRS ActiveCare?The next 14 days will tell the story.

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AMPS

Monday, April 10th, 2017

AMPS_Blue111“Over the last 3 years, AMPS average reimbursement level on hospital claims has averaged 156% of Medicare or approximately 37% less than PPO reimbursement levels. For every 1,000 employees on an employers’ health plan, this 37% decrease in cost equates to approximately $2,550,000 in savings.” 

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Klepper’s Blog – A Resource Center For Employer & Union Purchasers

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

klepper

Brian Klepper

I’ve decided to reconstitute my blog, Care & Cost, to be more inclusive again of other writers, and to focus on purchaser issues.

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Question for Hospital Administrators

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

question1

It is no secret in our industry what plan sponsors pay towards patient advocacy, balance billing defense and legal defense. I am positive you know too.

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Second Opinion From Doctor Nets Different Diagnosis 88% Of Time, Study Finds

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

ohno

A new study finds that 88% of people who go for a second opinion after seeing a doctor wind up receiving a refined or new diagnosis.

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Stop Overpaying For Healthcare

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

pricetoohigh

“We are building an army of volunteer attorneys prepared to represent people when the time comes. In fact, when communicating with providers and bill collectors, we’ve been asking them to sue the patient. Thus far, none have.” – David Silverstein

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Hospital Knows How To Play The System – Turning Cost Sharing Plans Into 100% Plans

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

winkHospital system knows how to turn cost sharing health plans into 100% plans, much to the delight of plan members…………….

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House Passes Stop-Loss Definition Bill by Huge Margin

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

wowThe bill, H.R. 1304, would block federal efforts to regulate small stop-loss plans as health insurance by excluding the plans from the federal definition of “health insurance coverage.”

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