Category Health Insurance

Feds: Switch Plans, Save on Health Insurance

The HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 6,  2015. Premiums are expected to rise in many parts of the country as a new sign-up season under President Barack Obama�s health care law starts Nov. 1. But consumers have options if they�re willing to shop, and an upgraded government website will help them compare. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Andrew Harnik/AP

CHICAGO — “It pays to shop” is the message from the government, two days before the start of the third sign-up season under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The Department of Health and Human Services released data Friday on next year’s prices in the insurance markets established by the law. Returning customers to HealthCare.gov can save, on average, $51 a month if they switch to the lowest-cost plan within their coverage level, according to the report. Most can find a plan for $100 a month or less, after financial help from a tax credit.

To hear the administration tell it, there are deals galore. But experts say the monthly premium is only part of the story...

Read More

10 Ways to Get Your Medications for Up to 50% Off

#fivemin-widget-blogsmith-image-806408{display:none}.cke_show_borders #fivemin-widget-blogsmith-image-806408,#postcontentcontainer #fivemin-widget-blogsmith-image-806408{width:570px;display:block}
Things You Didntry{document.getElementById(“fivemin-widget-blogsmith-image-806408″).style.display=”none”;}catch(e){}

I was raised by a doctor — who is also board-certified in pharmacology — and by a medical office manager. I also worked in a doctor’s office for about a decade before going into journalism. What I learned from those experiences shapes my life, from what I eat to how I purchase medications. Below are prescription purchasing tips many people overlook, even though they can cut costs by much more than 50 percent.

1. Consider Over-the-Counter Options

Few types of prescription medications have over-th...

Read More

How to Avoid the Big Hike in Medicare Premiums

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Senior woman reading letter

Getty Images

A. Only about 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries would be on the hook for higher premiums of $159.30 a month for Part B. This includes people who don’t have their Medicare premiums deducted from their Social Security benefits (because they aren’t collecting Social Security benefits yet) and people who enroll in Medicare in 2016.

However, if your Medicare premiums are withheld from your Social Security benefits and Social Security does not have a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, for 2016 because of low inflation, you will continue to pay $104.90 a month for Part B. That’s because the “hold harmless” provision prohibits Social Security benefits from being reduced because of an increase in Medicare premiums...

Read More

Obama Slams Staples on Health Care: ‘Shame on Them’

Retail Signs

Moment Editorial/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Barack Obama singled out office supply giant Staples (SPLS) as undercutting his health care reform law and said large corporations shouldn’t use the health insurance issue as an excuse for cutting wages, the news website BuzzFeed reported.

“It’s one thing when you’ve got a mom-and-pop store who can’t afford to provide paid sick leave or health insurance or minimum wage to workers … but when I hear large corporations that make billions of dollars in profits trying to blame our interest in providing health insurance as an excuse for cutting back workers’ wages, shame on them,” Obama said in an interview with BuzzFeed.

The Affordable Care Act requires companies with more than 50 employees to pay for health insurance for people who wo...

Read More

How to Select Health Insurance If You Travel Frequently

Zipline adventure in Ecuadorian rainforest, Banos de Agua Santa

shutterstock

Of the factors to consider when choosing health insurance, your lifestyle is one of the most important. For the modern-day explorer or business road warrior, your frequent travel should be top of mind.

Learning about new cultures and unexpected adventures are part of the thrill of travel, but they also come with risks. Sometimes your destination is not medically equipped, and the unexpected can turn into illness or injury in just the place where you don’t have coverage. If you travel frequently for business, getting caught in an unfamiliar city with a medical issue can leave you with a huge bill. Here’s how to prevent that by shopping smart during insurance season.

Domestic Travelers

One of the most important considerations for travelers is the insurance network, or group of...

Read More

Money Minute: Busiest U.S. Airport Finally Gets Free Wi-Fi

The busiest airport in the country finally offers free Wi-Fi connections.

The new network at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport can handle up to 15,000 users at a time. More than 94 million travelers pass through the airport each year, and officials say the lack of free Wi-Fi was one of their biggest complaints. Up until now, the airport charged $4.95 to connect.

Of course, you can fly from Atlanta to London, and now your plane can land at Heathrow’s new terminal. The $4 billion facility is designed to handle 20 million passengers a year. Queen Elizabeth will be there for an official opening ceremony next week. The terminal is named in her honor.

And one more note for air travelers: airlines are doing a much better job of handling our bags...

Read More

Walmart Plans One-Stop Health Coverage Shopping

A Wal-Mart retail location in suburban Maryland.

Kristoffer Tripplaar/Alamy

NEW YORK — Walmart (WMT) is taking one-stop shopping to another area: health insurance.

The world’s largest retailer plans to work with DirectHealth.com, an online health insurance comparison site and agency, to allow shoppers to compare coverage options and enroll in Medicare plans or the public exchange plans created under the Affordable Care Act.

The strategy is another step into insurance marketing as the retailer tries to use its mammoth size to expand beyond food and other basics at a time of sluggish traffic and sales. It also could help Walmart compete with drugstore chains such as Walgreen (WAG) and CVS (CVS), which are rapidly adding health care services.

Customers can enroll online, by phone or at 2,700 of Walmart’s more than 4,000 stores, starting O...

Read More

What Young Americans Should Look For In a Heath Care Plan

doctor with male patient

Getty Images

NEW YORK — For Americans 30 and under choosing a health care plan — many for the first time — there is no shortage of moving parts to consider.

For keeping costs low for younger consumers who habitually make the lowest incomes, accepting a high-deductible plan in exchange for lower monthly premiums (or payments) might be the way to go. After all, the 30-and-under demographic isn’t only the youngest section of the workforce, it’s also the healthiest, and accepting some elevated risk of using high health care plan deductibles can make good sense.

To find the best option, Harley Gordon, co-founder of Agent Review, a Bellevue, Washington, online insurance agent reviewer, advises the younger generation to focus on the “three H’s”:

Measure your current health. Do you get sick a lo...

Read More

Obamacare Bumps Up Tax Refunds for Some, Others Take Hit

Health Overhaul Tax Refunds

Steve Nesius/APWilliam Preus was covered by Obamacare for part of last year before transitioning to Medicare, creating a major tax headache for him.

WASHINGTON — As the April 15 tax deadline nears, people who got help paying for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s law are seeing the direct effect on their refunds — hundreds of dollars, for better or worse.

The law offers tax credits so people without access to job-based health insurance can buy private coverage. Because these subsidies are tied to income, consumers must accurately estimate what they will make for the coming year.

That’s been a challenge for millions of people.

“I was expecting to get dinged a little bit, but I was actually kind of surprised when it came down that much.


Guess on the low side, get more help n...

Read More