A recent article from NPR by Elisabeth Rosenthal titled 'How U.S. Health Care Became Big Business' came to our attention this week because it highlights how tricky the health care industry has become in order to get the consumer to pay higher costs than expected. We recommend reading the full article to get the reality picture but here are some highlights:
- "Hospital consolidation.' This started as a good idea where hospitals came together to share efficiencies but it has now become a monopoly in some cities where there is now only one hospital. What can you do if you live in a consolidated hospital zone? Not much unless you are willing to move or drive to a less expensive hospital.
- It is now a well-accepted fact that the healthcare industry profits more from lifetime treatment than from curing you.
- Before you see a doctor ask them if they're affiliated with a hospital. If so, you will be paying a hospital fee. Ask them if they will send your lab work to an in-network provider before you get the lab work done.
- Sticky pricing: A term used by the medical industry that means getting away with surging the price of a procedure or medicine as soon as a drug maker, hospital or doctor was able to charge a higher than normal rate and set a new standard.
- Decipher medical codes on your bill by googling them. Oftentimes you are being charged for a procedure you did not have. Knowledge is power.
- Drive-by doctors. This is a doctor brought in by the hospital or your doctor who might not be contracted with your insurance policy and visits your hospital room. You have to be pro-active and ask them, "Who are you? Who called you? Am I going to be billed for this?" It is tragic that in recovery you have to do this, but being proactive will save you from getting an unexpected doctor fee.
The best line of defense in dealing with the healthcare industry is a strong offense. This means educating yourself about the whole picture and drilling down to the details of your specific plan and healthcare needs. It's about having the protocol down before you should need it so that you are not caught off-guard in the moment, but rather have done your research ahead of time and know what you are getting involved with. If the sudden need arises for care--as it so often does--it comes down to asking the right questions and advocating for yourself or family as needed. As your broker, we are always here to help.
TWP Financial Now Offering Free Analysis on Social Security and Retirement Planning
Optimizing Social Security
As you approach 62 or 66, when is the best time to take social security? Most people crunch the numbers and consider longevity and taxes as the only variables. You might be surprised how much a free analysis can help you maximize your check. For example, do you qualify for some special strategies like "file and suspend" or a "restricted filing" on half of your spouse's benefit? Baby boomers are increasing the social security benefit by $10,000-$30,000 by utilizing these strategies. Contact us today for your free evaluation.
Creating A Financial Plan
TWP Financial also offers financial planning. In an overview meeting, we use cutting edge software to analyze your financial picture and help create a comprehensive plan for you and your family. We help address questions such as:
- Can I continue my present standard of living into my retirement years?
- When can I retire without running out of money?
- How could my situation change during challenging economic times?
- How would it affect my family if I die prematurely?
- How would it affect my family if I enter a nursing facility?
- What are the possible solutions if my situation changes?
We highly recommend you come in and take advantage of this financial consultation so that you have a clear picture of your financial goals. We are on your team and will work with you every step of the way.
Get Set Up On Medicare
Are you turning 65 soon?
If so, you have probably received a mountain of mail from the insurance companies and brokers wanting your business.
Call us for a comprehensive consideration so we can go over Part A, B, C, D, or Medi-Gap Plans F or high deductible plan F. Schedule an appointment with us at www.twpfinancial.com/schedule.
TWP Financial is here to be your financial sherpa. We work with Horter Investments in Ohio to guide you through this oftentimes confusing part of life. It is our pleasure to help you with your planning and protecting.
To Your Health and Wellness,