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  • 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 …
  • Should a Business Offer Healthcare Benefits? June 12, 2015
    Offering healthcare benefits is optional for small businesses, but is important to an employee as one of the most popular benefits in a compensation package. An employer who wishes to stay competitive with other businesses in the community will most …
  • Study Shows Some Hospitals Inflate Prices 1000% June 10, 2015
    A study published recently in Health Affairs shows that hospitals mark up their prices, often 10 times the actual cost. The 50 most expensive hospitals in the US are for-profit and have an average markup of 1010%. Out of network …
  • How to Keep Mosquitos Away June 3, 2015
    by Adrienne Snavely In the summer, spending more time outdoors means spending more time out with mosquitos, of which 200 species can be found in the US. It seems to be hard to escape their itchy bites, but protecting yourself …
  • Buying Real Health Insurance is a Crime June 1, 2015
    It’s illegal to sell true health insurance in America. With true insurance, such as auto insurance, we pool our risks to reduce the financial burdens brought on with unforeseen accidents or illness. Insurance originated with churches and labor unions, then …
  • Coffee Bean Extract Lowers Blood Sugar May 29, 2015
    Manufacturers of green coffee extract in Austin, TX conducted a study in India on the effects of unroasted coffee beans on blood glucose. All participants were normal weight with normal blood sugar. All of them had results of lowered blood …
  • Implanted Heart Devices Affected by iPads May 27, 2015
    A new study has found that the magnetic interference from iPads could alter the settings or even deactivate implanted defibrillators. This interference comes from the magnets imbedded in the iPad 2 and its Smart Cover. Magnets in the heart devices …
  • Canadian Cancer Patient Says Korean Surgery Saved His Life May 22, 2015
    Gerd Trubenbach of British Columbia was diagnosed with cancer, as a huge tumor was growing in his neck. His family doctor suggested that the tumor could not be removed and there was nothing else that could be done. The wait …
  • How to Prevent Hemorrhoids May 20, 2015
    Many people have hemorrhoids at some time, and they are a common problem. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal, which can be painful but not usually serious. They are caused from too much pressure on the veins in …
  • Emergency Room Visits Increase with Obamacare May 15, 2015
    Obamacare predicted that expanding health insurance coverage for the poor would reduce costly emergency room visits. A new study has found that newly insured people are actually visiting the ER more often, 40% more often than those who are uninsured. …
  • Transparency: Changing the US Healthcare System May 13, 2015
    Ralph Weber, President and CEO of MediBid, is interviewed by David Saltzman of ShiftShapers. Mr. Weber has been in the benefits business since the mid 1990s, serving clients in the US, Canada, and around the globe. A lack of information …
  • Appalachia Sees Increased Cases of Hepatitis C May 11, 2015
    Infections of Hepatitis C, a contagious liver infection spread by blood contact, has more than tripled in Appalachia – Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia – fueled by prescription drug abuse in rural areas. About 73% of patients are under …
  • An American Response to Losing ObamaCare Subsidies May 8, 2015
    by Jane Orient, MD This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court could, in King v. Burwell, uninsure 8 million Americans by finding that subsidies are illegal outside State Exchanges. Some Republicans are saying “Let it burn.” For Democrats, it’s “ObamaCare or nothing.” Can …

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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