Hospitals acquire reputations, just as all companies (and people) do. But there are so many different ways a hospital can be perceived. Some consider them a place where people go to die and should thus be avoided — a commonly held belief of Ebola victims in West Africa.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Are Hospitals Part of the Ebola Problem? Charity Wants New Strategy,” from NBC News, Sept. 15 2014.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Too Many People Die in Hospital Instead Of Home. Here’s Why,” from Kaiser Health News, Sept. 22, 2014.]
Recently, there’s been press about how hospitals are saving money thanks to Medicaid expansion in some states, citing a reduction in uninsured admissions by 30 percent. As a result, the tab for uncompensated hospital care will be approximately $5.7 billion less in 2014.
On the other hand, individual patients may not benefit from these savings. Because hospital charges are not as transparent as in other industries, even the most diligent of health care consumers can get hit with outrageous bills they weren’t expecting.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Report: Admission of Uninsured at Hospitals Dips,” from The Memphis Daily News, Sept. 25, 2014.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “After Surgery, Surprise $117,000 Medical Bill From Doctor He Didn’t Know,” from The New York Times, Sept. 20, 2014.]
But there are signs of improvement where quality is concerned — particularly with doctors. One recent study found that a surgeon’s desire to perform well surpassed the desire for financial gain by a significant margin. The research also revealed that while physician report cards are largely ignored by patients, the competitive comparison has done much to improve physician awareness and focus on quality.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How Physician Report Cards Can Improve Health Care,” from Knowledge@Wharton, Aug. 28, 2014.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Hospitals Focus on Patient Experience Through Design,” from U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 25, 2014.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Clues to How People Bounce Back from Surgery,” from Detroit News, Sept. 24, 2014.]
Meanwhile, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues to be scrutinized, most recently with regard to whether mandated hospital benefits are required to be offered by large, self-insured employers.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Debate Grows Over Employer Health Plans Without Hospital Benefits,” from NPR, Sept. 26, 2014.]
A new study estimates that people retiring today will need more than $318,000 to pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses over a 30-year retirement, not including the cost of retirement living expenses or long-term care.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Easy Way to Beat the High Cost of Health Care in Retirement,” from Time magazine, Sept. 12, 2014.]
Addressing both the cost and quality of health care delivery in this country is an ongoing and daunting task. But each of us needs to address it within our own financial and retirement income plans. If we can help you with strategies to help pay for health care both now and in the future, please give us a call.
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