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  • Beat the Summer Heat with Food July 29, 2015
    by Adrienne Snavely As we sit in the middle of summer, it seems as if the persistently sweltering heat will never end and the refreshing monsoon rains will never reach our doorstep. While waiting for the cooler days (and months) …
  • Thousands of Taxpayers Overpay Obamacare Tax Penalty July 27, 2015
    Over 300,000 Americans overpaid the IRS after indicating they did not have Obamacare-compatible health insurance. People who have household income below the threshold for the penalty are exempt from the individual mandate and should be refunded the amount, averaging $110, …
  • Eating Nuts Helps Your Heart July 24, 2015
    Nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids, which lower LDL cholesterol levels. Nuts also reduce the risk of developing fatal blood clots and improve the lining of your arteries. The type of nut isn’t that important, as most nuts are full of …
  • “Medjacking” is Real Possible Threat July 22, 2015
    Dr. David Armstrong, a podiatric surgeon and professor in the University of Arizona Department of Surgery, has joined forces with government security agencies to keep patients safe from medjacking. He is part of a cybersecurity committee for diabetes devices, which …
  • Ways to Handle Stress July 20, 2015
    Stress can be caused by many different situations, such as too much work, long lines, or heavy traffic. There are a few simple techniques to help you de-stress and unwind. 1. Positive Self-Talk We talk to ourselves both out loud …
  • A Remedy for Healthcare July 17, 2015
    This video is from a series called “Love Gov”, which personifies the government as an overprotective, possessive boyfriend who thinks he knows best for his dear Alexis. When it comes to healthcare, Gov thinks he needs to be involved in …
  • MediBid: A Free Market Fix – Interview with Ralph Weber at FreedomFest July 15, 2015
    Joe Thomas of WCHV, Charlottesville, VA interviews MediBid CEO Ralph Weber from FreedomFest in Las Vegas, NV July 2015. MediBid has doctors, surgery centers, and hospitals in ten countries. Most patients who use MediBid have employer-based and self-funded health insurance …
  • The American Heroin Epidemic July 13, 2015
    Heroin use in America traces back to the mid-1800s and is becoming more popular among people with historically low drug abuse. Prior addiction to prescription opioid painkillers is the strongest risk factor, making people 40 times more likely to start …
  • The Widowmaker: A Documentary Film July 10, 2015
    Award-winning documentary, The Widowmaker, has just been released on Netflix. It is the result of an Irish patient who discovered how the results of a heart scan saved his life and wondered why the test was not widely available. Cardiologists …
  • Brace Yourself: Large Health Insurance Premium Increases Coming 2016 July 8, 2015
    Health insurance companies want to increase their rates in the amount of 20-40% or more, since new Obamacare customers are sicker than expected. Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans hikes across the country of 23-54%. The insurance companies say that the increased …
  • Crowd-funding Helps with Medical Bills July 6, 2015
    Crowd-funding is growing as people work together to support projects such as charities, movie production, and now, paying medical bills. Indiegogo has seen an increase in personal fundraising for medical costs, so they started Indiegogo Life for personal purposes. Other …
  • A Healthy Body for Everybody – July Lab Specials July 3, 2015
    This is a great way to be proactive and keep up with your health as well as that of your loved ones. Women’s Health Check  $109 (Regular Price $179, Retail $823) This valuable package of laboratory tests is structured with …
  • Colonoscopies: Don’t Flush Your Money Down the Drain July 1, 2015
    Preventative medical procedures, such as colonoscopy, are now required to be covered by Obamacare health insurance plans, as well as the anesthesia it requires. What may be more uncomfortable than the procedure itself is the price of the bowel prep …
  • Taking Control of Your Medical Records June 29, 2015
    Leaving your health records solely in the hands of doctors and hospitals is a big mistake. This gives them too much power over your information and increases possibility for errors. When you are in control of your own records, you …
  • High Deductible Plans are Changing Patient Interaction June 26, 2015
    High deductible plans are changing where patients get medical care and how they pay for it. Once a bill exceeds 5% of household income, patients most likely cannot pay for it themselves. Major employers offer high deductible plans (an average …
  • Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure June 24, 2015
    A small study in London showed that drinking a cup of beetroot juice significantly lowered blood pressure in hypertensive patients within six hours. After 24 hours, their blood pressure remained lower than those in the control group. The benefits come …
  • Supreme Court Decision on Healthcare Subsidies to Come This Week June 22, 2015
    by Jane Orient, MD The Big Lie of ObamaCare is in the title: the Affordable Care Act. Administration officials invoke “affordable” over and over again. The U.S. Supreme Court could well blow the Democrats’ cover in King v. Burwell if …
  • Shopping While Hungry Leads to Poor Eating All Week June 19, 2015
    A study at Cornell University examined the food selections that a group of shoppers put in their virtual online grocery cart. The shoppers that had not eaten four or five hours beforehand selected 23% more processed junk food than those …
  • Long ER Waits Continue in Canada as Budget Cuts Increase June 17, 2015
    Lee Parker of Ottawa had to wait 48 hours in the Emergency Room before being admitted for heart attack complications. He watched other patients come in, but since there was no room for them, they lay on gurneys in the …
  • Health Benefits of Cucumbers June 15, 2015
    There are hundreds of varieties of cucumber and dozens of colors. Cucumbers are a fruit, not a vegetable, as most people think. They are a good source of phytonutrients with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits. The peel and seeds are …

Medicare Alternatives

by Tess St. Clair

People ask me all of the time about alternatives to Medicare. With the $700 billion dollars in Medicare cuts looming on the horizon as a result of PPACA, seniors are legitimately concerned.   Do yourself a favor, BEFORE you become Medicare eligible and fall victim to the system, and read the Medicare doctrine!

Once you are eligible for Medicare, your premium for Part A (Hospital coverage) is taken right out of your Social Security Benefit. Part B (Doctors’ Office Coverage), however, is voluntary. On the surface, one would think that Plan B covers less risk, but in a case of Chemotherapy, the risk covered by Plan B is substantial.

There are GAP policies available to cover excess charges to a set limit, which can help as well.  However, more and more, these policies are getting so expensive, makes you wonder why you should feel compelled to buy one, if Medicare is so great.  I mean, in a traditional PPO with 80/20 co-insurance, do we buy GAP policies to pay for the additional 20%?

Insurance brokers are required to take the course on Medicare, and believe me, I’m glad I did.  What I learned is that Medicare does not resemble the same Medicare from 1980’s.  It looks more like Canada Health, under which it is illegal for patients to pay a doctor!  Doctors’ hands are tied under Medicare, and they are not allowed to discuss medical options that are not covered by Medicare.  So, if you find a lump in your breast, get ready for a mastectomy because lumpectomy may not be covered!  Furthermore, with reimbursement levels so low, many doctors have stopped taking new Medicare patients and are slowly getting out of their contracts.  I can’t say I blame them.  It’s not just about how little they’re being paid, it’s that they can’t do their jobs and focus on true healing.  It is about being a government servant, not even a public servant, but a government servant!  They cannot be real doctors; they can only do what the government tells them they can, and face the consequences if they dare do otherwise!

By FAR, the best alternative to Medicare is to have private coverage, but not all private plans are “first payers” before Medicare. Generally your employer health plan must have 20 or more employees on it, and your employer must have chosen to have the plan as first payer before Medicare.

If you belong to a professional association that offers members the luxury of an Association Health Plan (AHP), they can design the plan so that it is the first payer, and Medicare is second.  I say “luxury” because AHPs allow bundling of many small employers with large employers of the same profession, and so you all get the benefit of large group rates and a great deal of financial freedom because these plans are not administered by third-party payers like Blue Cross, Aetna, and UHC.  Rather, the claims are managed by Third Party Administrators (TPAs). These plans almost always have substantially lower administrative costs.  By substantially, I mean 7% compared to 20% for small group plans.  Additionally, they are not governed by the State Department of Insurance; they are governed by ERISA, a Federal law, because these plans may cross state lines.  WOW!  Talk about buying insurance across state lines!

If you belong to a professional trade association, and they don’t offer you the luxury of a multi-employer, refund-of-premium plan as one of the member benefits, it could be because of the state that the association is located in or because the association is not a Federal 501 non-profit organization (state not for profit doesn’t count) that has been in existence for more than 3 years.  Other than that, there’s hardly any reason for your association not to have an AHP, or at least to look into it.

These plans are true insurance, not these pre-paid health plans that most people are familiar with.  The formula looks like this:

Pure cost of insurance + administration + commission = premium

At the end of the year, whatever is left in the Pure Cost of Insurance fund is reimbursed or rolled into the next year to pay premiums.

Tess St. Clair is the VP of Benefits Administration at Route Three Life Health Disability, Inc.



At MediBid, we restore market forces to medical care. Doctors get to set their own rates based on their training, experience, and outcomes, and patients get to shop for medical care across state lines and international borders. Many times with MediBid, you will find procedures that are more effective than procedures allowed, or covered by health plans. Transparency and competition are the only way to achieve reasonable costs. Many of our employer clients offering group health insurance through MediBid save $5,000 per employee per year. Those are substantial savings. Patients are saving an average of 48% vs. insurance discounted rates, or 80% vs. retail. Contact us for more information.
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