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Telemedicine Benefits and Disadvantages for Patient Primary Care




As the cost of health care premiums increase and out-of-pocket limits in health insurance plans continue to rise, people are left to wonder what can be done about the rising cost of health care. People with High Deductible Health Plans and HSAs are especially hard hit when it comes to the simplest parts of receiving health care. An HSA member can find that a routine visit to a primary care physician is at least $100. Many times, much more than that.

One of the ways to combat this charge is to enroll in telemedicine. With telemedicine you can have a doctor consultation over the phone. Sometimes this is done on a voice call, and sometimes this is done through a face-to-face interaction through a smartphone. Telemedicine is a terrific way to lower the cost of medical services while still receiving quality care. Here are some telemedicine benefits and disadvantages for patient primary care.


 

Telemedicine Benefits

Lower Cost for a Physician Consultation

The typical cost for a doctor visit varies based on the member’s plan design, but even the most generous copays today are $15 per visit. Usually the cost is much more, especially if you are on a bronze plan from the Marketplace. As mentioned above, telemedicine is a great way to lower the cost of HSA out-of-pocket expenses, as an HSA plan could cost you $100-200 just to see a doctor about a sinus infection. That’s ridiculous. If you buy a telemedicine program, the cost to see the doctor is much lower. When all you need is for someone to hear your symptoms and give you a simple antibiotic, do you really want to spend a small fortune? Of course not. The best telemedicine benefit is that the charge to have a doctor see you is lower than what you would pay to see him or her in person.

Less Time Spent Away From Other Things

In addition to too much cash out of your pocket when going to a doctor’s office, a trip to the doctor takes valuable time out of your day. How many of us have employers that will allow us to take half a day off to go see a doctor for something minor? That leaves us either taking vacation or going after-hours to an urgent care or emergency room, where the cost to be seen skyrockets. With telemedicine, you can have a conversation by a doctor in a matter of minutes right from your home, office, car, wherever. And then you can go pick up your prescription at your convenience. Instead of 4 hours away from work, you can get by with just 15 minutes away from work.

Open on Weekends

What do you do if you get a sinus infection on a Saturday and your doctor is closed? Your choices are:

  • Go to an urgent care center (expensive and time consuming)
  • Go to the emergency room (more expensive and more time consuming)
  • Tough it out until Monday (suffer in pain and take off work on Monday)

An even better question is what do you do if your kids get sick on the weekend? Can kids use telemedicine? Of course they can. Another great telemedicine benefit is that you can call them on the weekend. A doctor will always be available. You can start taking a prescription on Saturday and be ready to go by Monday.

Telemedicine Docs Can Call in Prescriptions

Most doctors offices nowadays will call in a prescription for you during your visit. Telemedicine is no different. After your talk with the physician, he or she will send a message to your pharmacy to have your prescription ready. You can simply pick it up after school, after work, or any other time that is convenient for you. Don’t think that just because you did not go to their offices that the doctors can’t get you taken care of as soon as possible.

Can Be Done Over the Phone or Face-to-Face

When telemedicine burst onto the scene, all of the consultations were phone conversations. Today, many of these companies offer both voice and video conferencing. The doctor can look you in the eye and tell if there is something wrong with you. Maybe not as good as a real doctor could see you, but any additional information that the teladoc can have, the better.

The Doctors Take More Time With You

My experience with telemedicine is that the doctors make a great effort to completely understand my situation. While primary care physicians are great at their jobs, they are overbooked. When you have a minor illness you are lucky to get 5 minutes of time with your doctor. With telemedicine, you can have a good conversation with the doctor and feel comfortable that they are diagnosing you correctly. At least in my opinion and experience.



Telemedicine Disadvantages

Can’t Fix “Big Stuff”

Telemedicine is for issues that can be diagnosed and treated quickly and easily. If you suspect something larger, a telemedicine doctor is not for you. You need to see your primary care physician, specialist, or emergency room. Telemedicine is also not a replacement for a relationship with a primary care physician. While telemedicine is great for one-time issues, if there are recurring problems, a primary care physician should be consulted.

Can’t Dispense Narcotics

This goes with the above paragraph. Most states will not allow a telemedicine provider to write a prescription for a narcotic. So if you have something come up that needs the strong stuff, telemedicine will not be able to help you. But they may still charge you for the call. Go see your family doctor.

Won’t Count Toward Out-of-Pocket Expenses

With Obamacare, there are annual limits on the amount of out-of-pocket expenses that individuals can spend on any health insurance plan. So if you have a medical service or get a prescription filled with your health plan, your out-of-pocket expenses count toward this limit. Unless your telemedicine program is through your health insurance plan, and some are, your telemedicine cost will not be counted toward the out-of-pocket maximum. Since a telemedicine consultation is not a huge expense it may not matter, but it is something to keep in mind.

Not Available in All States

Lastly, telemedicine is available in almost all states, but not every one of them. And some that do allow telemedicine only allow it through face-to-face smartphone calls. So if you are interested, check out the states that your potential plan operates in.

Telemedicine Benefits Outweigh the Disadvantages

The cost of telemedicine is low, and you save time by enrolling in a telemedicine plan. Why not take advantage? Usually all it takes is about 2 calls to make it financially worthwhile. If you have a family, you could go to the doctor twice by the time January is over each year. So take a look at telemedicine benefits and disadvantages and see if it is something that you want to participate in.



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Stethoscope and a calulator. Calculators are sometimes needed to determine an embedded deductible for health insurance

Best Ways To Get Health Insurance Between Jobs




Changing jobs is a hassle. Even when the change is your decision and you are excited about making a move, there is a lot of uneasiness that comes with finding new work. When you are between jobs due to a termination of some sort, it is not uneasiness you deal with, it is piles of stress. One of the biggest issues during a change of employment is finding good health insurance between jobs. Fortunately, there are a few ways to make sure that you and your family are covered in the event you find yourself without employer sponsored health insurance.

Before you start looking at your options, there are a couple of things you will need to understand.

  • First, make sure you have a firm understanding of when your coverage will begin at the new place. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) limits, for the most part, waiting periods to less than 90 days. Still, you will need to know if you will be covered on your new date of hire, first of the month following date of hire, first of the month following 60 days of employment, etc.
  • Second, know going in that some of these options will be more costly than what you were paying at the old place. Your employer was most likely subsidizing a large portion of your premium. The amount varies by the employer, and some do not pay much, but some do.
  • Third, a new plan will most likely have a different provider network, meaning your old doctor may not be in the network and you will pay more to visit him/her. Or you may not be able to visit that person at all. Check the networks of the plans you are considering.

Having said all that, here are the best ways you can get health insurance between jobs.




Health Insurance Marketplace

The health insurance marketplaces set up under PPACA are a great place to start when you find yourself looking for medical insurance at any point, especially if you are between jobs. The marketplaces, also called exchanges, have an annual enrollment period during which everyone can enroll, but if you have certain qualifying events, you may enroll at any time during the year. A loss of coverage is considered a qualifying event, so if you lose your insurance coverage when you leave a former employer, you can purchase a plan on the marketplace.

On the marketplace you will be able to easily explore and compare insurance options available in your area. Marketplace plans can be more expensive than what you were paying at your job, but you might also be eligible for a subsidy to help pay the premium. If the price is right, the marketplace might be the best option for finding health insurance between jobs.

COBRA

Employers that employ 20 or more people are usually required to offer COBRA. COBRA allows employs to continue to be on their former employer’s health insurance plans. The catch is that the employee is required to pay the full cost of the premium plus a fee, usually an additional 2%. For a family plan, this can be upwards of $2,000 per month or even more. An individual plan might be around $500 per month, but compared to what the employee was most likely paying out of a paycheck, $500 is a big jump.

COBRA guarantees that your plan will stay the same, and your doctors will still be available. But it is costly, so make sure this is absolutely the best option for you when you need health insurance between jobs.

Short-Term Health Insurance

Another option is to get a short-term health insurance plan, or temporary health insurance. As the name implies, short-term health insurance is when you only will need the insurance for a small amount of time. It is not full coverage medical care, and it will not keep you from the PPACA individual mandate penalty. In fact, short-term health insurance is not subject to most of the PPACA provisions.

Companies offering short-term health insurance can deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, and they are not required to renew coverage.

Still, temporary insurance can be a great cost-effective way to get the medical care you need.

Want to know how to get a Short-Term Health Insurance Plan? We’ve got your covered! Check out your options and a great quote here.

Coverage Through a Spouse’s Plan

For married couples, if both people work, the person that is between jobs can jump on their spouse’s plan if one is offered through that person’s employer. There probably was a good reason why both people were not on the remaining plan to begin with, so there is a good chance that the coverage or price may not be as good as the coverage that was lost. But the plan may still be better and cheaper than what is available through the marketplace and COBRA. And the plan will definitely cover more than what short-term insurance covers. If this option is available to you, it is probably your best bet when you need health insurance between jobs.


Joining a Parent’s Plan

For people under age 26, enrolling in a parent’s employer-sponsored plan is a terrific option. Many employers do not charge much additional for children, and if another child is already on the plan, there is a good chance that the monthly cost will not increase at all. The plan still probably passes all the tests to avoid the mandate penalty, so it keeps you out of trouble with the IRS.

Telemedicine

While not health insurance, another way to get inexpensive health care while between jobs is to utilize telemedicine.  With telemedicine you can talk to a doctor anywhere, anytime, 24/7.  The cost is much lower than if you went to a doctor’s office and paid for the full charge of the visit, especially if you are not getting a network discount due to having no health insurance between jobs. Check out the link above and see if telemedicine is for you.

Health Insurance Between Jobs is Available

Being between employers is not always a fun thing to go through. Making sure you and your family are covered for medical expenses is a big priority. Fortunately, there are several ways to make sure everyone has quality and inexpensive health insurance between jobs.

How I Supplemented My Income Between Jobs

One of the reasons I began this site was to find a way to supplement my income between jobs. But I didn’t know anything about creating a website.

That all changed when I stumbled upon Affilorama. This site changed my life. I learned a valuable skill set that has allowed me to be more valuable in my career since I now know something that most of my colleagues don’t….how to build profitable websites from home.

The membership is free, and you will learn an easy way to make passive income from the comfort of your living room. And while it won’t help you get health insurance, I wanted to give them a shout out since what they taught me got me out of a tight spot once upon a time.

It’s an easy skill to learn. Go visit Affilorama today to find out how you can make ends meet between jobs.

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Coins representing the cheapest health insurance options available.

5 Ideas for Cheap Health Insurance for Young Adults





Finding the cheapest health insurance options available can seem like an overwhelming task.  There are numerous insurance companies to search through as well as a long list of plan types to enroll in.  What can make the task harder is finding the time to research and sign up for the plans.  At the end of the day, though, you need to have good coverage at an affordable price.  Here are the best ways to find low cost medical insurance and the cheapest health insurance for young adults.

Short-Term Health Insurance

Between jobs, or just need to make sure you have some low-cost health coverage during a certain point in your life?  Short-term health insurance may be the best thing for you.

Short-term health insurance plans are generally less expensive than qualified major medical health plans, but they do not offer the same level of coverage and usually do not cover pre-existing conditions. They also do not cover the minimum essential coverage of Obamacare, so a short-term plan will not get you off the hook for paying the individual mandate penalty.

Having said all that, short-term plans are a really good idea if you want an inexpensive plan for a short period. Just make sure you understand – and are ok with – the fine print.

Need help finding a great short-term plan? Get a quick and easy quote here.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a government program that helps people with low incomes receive medical services.  Medicaid is administered by the states, and eligibility varies depending on where you live.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare as it is commonly known, expanded Medicaid, making it easier to enroll.  If Medicaid is something you think you might qualify for, check out your state’s Medicaid website.  Medicaid isn’t the cheapest health insurance, because it is not technically insurance, but it helps pay for the cost of health care needs.

Health Insurance Marketplaces

The health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges as they were first labeled, will not be the cheapest health insurance for everyone, but it can be for some people.  The Affordable Care Act provides tax credits for individuals that makes less than 400% of the federal poverty level.  The credits are graded based on income, and if you are eligible for the subsidy, the marketplaces can be great places to find cheap medical insurance.

Like Medicaid, the marketplaces are administered by the states.  However, not every state participates.  In that case, residents can use the federal exchange.  You can find your state’s exchange here.

To enroll in a Marketplace plan, go here.



Your Parent’s Medical Plan

Another benefit of the Affordable Care Act is that young adults are able to be enrolled in their parent’s medical insurance plan until age 26.  This can be advantageous because many times there is not a huge rate increase to add a child.  If your parent(s) already have another child enrolled in the plan, you can probably be added with no additional cost.  Many group plans have an Employee + Child(ren) rate tier, meaning that a subscriber can add multiple children for the same rate.  The same goes if your parent is in an Employee + Family rate tier.

Not only could this be the cheapest health insurance option, it can also be a free health insurance option.

Catastrophic Health Insurance

You have to be careful with catastrophic health insurance.  On one hand, the premiums will be lower than a plan with lower deductibles and copays.  However, if you have a claim, you will be required to pay more out of pocket expenses.  But if you are looking to at least have some coverage, and you are lucky enough to not have many claims, catastrophic coverage might be the cheapest health insurance available.

Your Employer’s Plan

This option is not available to anyone, but if you are offered a health insurance plan by your employer, it might be the cheapest health insurance that you can get.  Employers that offer group coverage will usually subsidize the cost of the employee’s health insurance premium, many times paying 100% of the cost.  What they pay for dependents, though, is usually a much higher amount.

In addition, PPACA caps the most a company can charge a worker for the employee portion of the premium at 9.5% of the employee’s salary.  This equates to about $89 per month for a minimum wage worker that works 30 hours per week.

Health insurance costs continue to increase, but these options will help you find cheap health insurance for young adults.



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