RSS Articles and Information
  • Few Patients Use Quality, Price Information To Make Health Decisions April 24, 2015
    by Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News Despite the government’s push to make health information more available, few people use concrete information about doctors or hospitals to obtain better care at lower prices, according to a poll released Tuesday. Prices for …
  • Shopping Tools Save Patients Cash on Medical Care April 22, 2015
    Vicki Burns of New Mexico needed a total hip replacement in 2012, but could not afford the hospital’s non-negotiable cash estimate of $79,000. Within two days of placing a patient request on MediBid, she received two bids. She chose a …
  • Hysteria’s History Episode 3 April 21, 2015
  • 20th Century Experiment Attempts to Turn Back Time April 20, 2015
    Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychologist, conducted a radical experiment in 1979 – the results of which were never published. Last fall, this study was featured in the New York Times. The study examined how aging’s effects could be altered or …
  • https://youtube.com/devicesupport April 17, 2015
  • Make Spring Cleaning a Workout April 17, 2015
    Chores you do around the house and garden can burn calories and stretch and tone muscles if done correctly. Short episodes of mild exercise can improve your fitness level if done with intensity and speed. Adding 30 minutes of chores …
  • Provisioning for the Opt Out Journey April 17, 2015
    Ophthalmologist David Richardson, MD on how to prepare for opting out of Medicare. From AAPS 70th Annual Meeting, September 2013, Denver, Colorado.
  • What America’s Decline in Economic Freedom Means for Entrepreneurship and Prosperity April 16, 2015
    The United States was once considered the land of opportunity where entrepreneurs such as Henry Ford, Ray Kroc and Steve Jobs contributed to a flourishing economy by providing new products and services at prices people were happy to pay.Today America’s …
  • Obamacare Fines Debut This Tax Season April 15, 2015
    Taxes for 2014 are due this week, and your tax bill could be affected by your health insurance. If you had insurance during the entire calendar year of 2014 through an employer, a state exchange, or Medicare Part A, you …
  • Blood Transfusions: Less is More April 13, 2015
    The most common inpatient medical procedure in 2011 was the blood transfusion, with 12% of all hospitalized patients receiving one. The accrediting nonprofit Joint Commission reports transfusions as one of the five most overused hospital procedures. Now, there is a …
  • Health “Coverage” is Just a Distraction April 10, 2015
    by G. Keith Smith, MD I think it is good to be alert to any discussions that are “downstream of a flawed premise.” Let me explain. When I hear, for instance, that the “flat tax” is preferable to the current income …
  • Text Neck – Your Phone is Causing You Pain April 8, 2015
    In the last few years, more and more young people have come in for chiropractic care with symptoms of neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, or numbness and tingling in their arms. This condition has been named “text neck”. A study …
  • Fat-Burning Foods Help with Weight Loss April 3, 2015
    Many people include losing weight as one of their personal goals. The benefits of losing weight go beyond the outward appearance. Fat-burning foods can help you lose weight, reverse diabetes and risk of obesity, and boost energy levels. Certain foods …
  • Monitoring Patient Compliance with Mobile Devices April 1, 2015
    Company iGetBetter hopes that remote patient monitoring with phone apps and wearables will reduce hospital admissions and increase patient compliance after procedures. The platform allows patients to access post-op directions on a mobile device, ask questions, and send data directly …
  • Americans Can’t Afford to Use Insurance They Own March 30, 2015
    One in three Americans have delayed medical treatment for themselves or a family member because of cost. Many patients, 25% of the non-elderly, don’t have enough cash to cover a mid-range deductible of $1,200-$2,400. These patients need to shop around …
  • Third Party Free Medical Practice Case Studies March 28, 2015
    Dr. Kathy Brown, Jack Brown, and Dr. Keith Smith speak at the 69th Annual Meeting of AAPS, September 2013. http://www.oregonderm.com/ & http://surgerycenterok.com
  • A Tale of 2 Prices…or 3?‏ March 27, 2015
    by Ralph Weber About a year and a half ago, Perry Hunt needed a hip replacement. He had been in constant pain for years and owned a construction company, and could not afford to take the 6 months off that …
  • Tisha Casida interviews Ralph Weber: Free Market Solutions to Healthcare March 25, 2015
    Tisha Casida with Rebellion.life interviews CEO of MediBid, Ralph Weber, about his work educating the public and the government about common sense health care solutions. MediBid is an online marketplace with true transparency, listing not only prices, but qualities and …
  • Small Business Coverage Uncertain Future with Association Health Plans March 23, 2015
    For the last 20 years, small businesses in Washington state have relied heavily on associations and trusts to provide healthcare insurance for their workers at lower cost than in the open market. The system is popular and works well, a …
  • Outpatient Surgery Saves Patients Time and Money March 20, 2015
    The death of Joan Rivers after a routine procedure has some asking about the safety of outpatient surgical centers. First off, it is important to make sure to know if you are a good candidate for surgery and what to …

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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