Health costs for retirees could top $100,000

I’ll be honest that I am quite skeptical that I will ever get back that money taken out of my paycheck for social security. I have heard that there will not be enough money for social security. I found this graph interesting from the Strengthen Social Security Campaign. It has different possibilities of the amount people could get in social security according to certain situations. You would look at the year you would turn 65 and see what your benefit would be. It seems that no matter what, the benefit will definitely be dropping from where it is now.

The future of social security in one graph

It seems that it is going to be tough for future generations to stay healthy in retirement, considering medical costs are so expensive. The future of social security is very uncertain. Personally, I would suggest putting more money into prevention of certain medical issues such as heart disease and weight reduction. If we education people on these issues now, it can save individuals money in the future. Research has found that 65 year-olds who retire this year could still need $100,000 to cover co-pays, premiums, and other non-reimbursed expenses. According to the report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the costs will most likely be higher for women than for men because women usually live longer.

If you are comfortable with having a 50% chance of having enough money saved for health expenses, the report states that a man retiring in 2010 at age 65 with average health care expenditures would need $65,000 in savings compared to a woman with the same circumstances who would need $93,000. If you want to be more cautious and have a 90% chance of having enough money to cover your out-of-pocket expenses, the reports suggests that men with average health care expenditures should have $124,000 set aside and women would need $152,000. This almost seems a little unrealistic to me that people would even have that much money to save. The future is definitely uncertain on this topic. I think the main lesson in this is that we should try to save as much as we can for the future, since we do not know what medical circumstances we will each be facing.

For many Americans, just scraping together enough money to pay for daily expenses in retirement is a burden enough. A report released in October found that four in 10 Americans plan to delay retirement because they can’t afford to stop working. This is so sad to me because people have worked most of their lives and when they should have the opportunity to retire and have all their hard work pay off, they do not have that option.

This video states that Social Security is only in danger because of people who want to steal our money, like Wall Street Bankers and it advocates strengthening social security and not cutting it.

California’s largest insurers fined nearly $5 million

When anyone mentions insurance companies, people seem to groan. There are always so many problems! I am from California and I was really not surprised when I read this article about insurance companies getting fined. At the doctors office I used to work at, we always seemed to have trouble with insurance. There are so many rules and they are so stingy about what they will pay for. There were many times when we should submit a claim and the insurance companies would not pay for months, or they would just ignore us. I remember once when a man came in to the office with a nail stuck in his eye and we could not do surgery until we had an authorization from the worker’s compensation. The insurance company was so slow and was not helpful at all. I have had so many phone calls to them where the person on the other end told us wrong information and it becomes very frustrating to both the staff and the patients. Many times we would just happen to get “disconnected” with them and when we called back, they acted like they had no idea what we were talking about.

These insurance companies have been fined because they failed to property pay medical claims submitted by thousands of doctors and hospitals over the last three years. I am glad that action has been taken because doctors offices deserve to be paid. Insurance regulators said the companies would pay ‘tens of millions of dollars’ in restitution to medical providers whose claims have been underpaid or incorrectly rejected.

Popular insurance companies

This has been an ongoing 18 month investigation by the California Department of Managed Health Care into the Aetna Inc., Anthem Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California, Cigna Corp., Health Net Inc., Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and UnitedHealthcare/PacifiCare”. I have definitely heard of all these companies and have dealt with a number of them. The San Francisco Chronicle states that the investigation found that about 80 percent of claims were paid correctly, and legally it is supposed to be 95 percent. Insurance companies, such as UnitedHealth, are worried about what will happen with the new Obama health reform. If you have a choice, I would always recommend choosing a PPO plan instead of an HMO so you have more options of which doctors to see. talks about how HMOs are not as good a bargain as PPOs. How have you been affected by insurance companies? Here is a chart from the NYTimes that portrays the costs of HMOs compared to PPOs:

Genesis HealthCare System Secures Access to Electronic Medical Record with Bio-key Fingerprint

Biokey International is a very prominent leader in finger-based biometric identification solutions. Biometric identification deals with methods for uniquely recognizing humans based upon one or more intrinsic physical or behavioral traits. Biokey International develops and delivers advanced identification solutions to commercial and government enterprises, integrators, and custom application developers. In this case, it has to do with fingerprint identification. The Genesis HealthCare System, which a not-for-profit organization that operates two hospital sites, is based in Ohio and they just successfully secured deployment for this system. This is an easy way for staff to quickly and conveniently establish their identify when they order, verify, or administer medications, which is required by Ohio law.

This is an example of using fingerprint technology

I think this is a great idea because it can help prevent unauthorized people from getting a hold of medicine that they should not be ordering. I know that when I worked for an eye doctor, we had to have a password when calling contact lens companies because there was one lady who would call in and pretend to be a health care professional when she ordered lenses. I think it would be pretty hard to forge a fingerprint. This new fingerprint identification software complies with the new DEA e-prescription,  which is where you can order prescriptions online.

An example of a finger-print device that could be used

The CEO of Bio-key International, Mike DePasquale, claims that this  system should be used across the whole nation to protect access to electronic medical records. There will be 2,000 clinicians and staff using fingerprint biometrics to establish their identity to order, verify, or administer medications. They are also going to work with a Microsoft company to help give them faster access to the systems they are authorized to use.Another reason this is a great system is because caregivers can spend more time interacting with patients and less time trying to get the authorization they need. The basic purpose is to improve security, guarantee identity, and help reduce identity theft. I think it is a great use of technology if health care professionals can afford it. Have you heard about anything like this before, and if so was it successful?

Americans Optimistic About Health Care Quality, Not Cost

I think it is definitely promising to hear some good news about health care. Americans are satisfied with health care quality. There was a Gallup poll conducted November 4-7 of this year and Americans’ assessments of healthcare quality and coverage in the U.S. are the most positive Gallup has measured in the last 10 years. Here is a graph to show the ratings for each year of quality and coverage based on the Gallup health poll:

2001-2010 Trend: Ratings of Quality and Coverage of Healthcare in the United States

This survey shows some of the first updates on how people view healthcare since the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress passed major healthcare legislation earlier in 2010. Some things have taken effect, but many will not take place until later. I am glad to hear that Americans are happy with how health care is going so far, but I am afraid that the Obama administration may ruin it for them.

These are the highest results that the healthcare system has gotten since 2001. There are 62% of Americans that rate the quality of healthcare in the U.s. as excellent or good. This almost surprises me because I hear so much complaining from people about having to wait at the doctor for extended periods of time or how doctors do not listen to them. In 2005-2006, about 53% viewed health care positively. I know that when I worked for an ophthalmologist, some people expected to get in right away. However when we had two doctors working at once, things could be quite busy. I do not mind waiting for a doctor a little longer than usual if I am assured that I will get quality treatment. The times I have been upset have been when the doctor has spent a maximum of one minute with me and did not even try to diagnose my condition, but just put me on medicine that did not work. These positive ratings may be attributed to the Democratic efforts to expand healthcare coverage to more Americans.

Unfortunately, the poll also found that Americans are quite concerned about cost. There were 76% dissatisfied with costs and only 23% satisfied. There are 72% of Americans that think the healthcare system is in a state of crisis or has major problems.

The health insurers just received their final spending rules and their purpose is to make sure that more customer dollars go to medical care. The healthcare law requires large group health plans to allocate at least 85 cents per premium dollar to medical care and not administrative costs or profit.

If plans do not spend that much on care, policyholders get a rebate. HHS said on Monday up to 9 million Americans could be eligible for up to $1.4 billion in rebates starting in 2012.

The healthcare law requires large group health plans to allocate at least 85 cents per premium dollar to medical care, not administrative costs or profit. Plans for individuals or small groups must spend 80 cents per dollar.

If plans do not spend that much on care, policyholders get a rebate. HHS said on Monday up to 9 million Americans could be eligible for up to $1.4 billion in rebates starting in 2012.

We know that the new law is supposed to expand coverage for healthcare, but we are not sure what it is going to do to the costs. How do you feel about the quality and cost of healthcare now?

ObamaCare’s Effects Start to Show

I found an article that relays the opinions of two practicing physicians, Tom Coburn, MD and John Barrasso, MD. They say that before the healthcare overhaul became a law, many people thought that it would become more popular after it passed Congress. However, many Americans are still divided about the reform. Most Americans are opposed to the law or just are not sure of the effects of it. I feel as though there are so many rumors regarding the law and what it actually entails. Americans are deeply concerned about the future of our health care system. I found a comic that I think is entertaining because it really seems to relay how people feel about the new healthcare law.

How the Grinch Stole Health Care

It has been said that people who are happy with their current healthcare plans would be able to keep them, but in June the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set out rules that employers can make regarding changing their health insurance plans and more than half of companies will have to give up their plans by 2013. The Administration predicts that 8 in 10 companies will have to give up their health care plans.

Also, it is unsure what will happen to Medicare. The Medicare trustees examined there budget and concluded that “there is a strong likelihood” that the Medicare changes under the new law “will not be viable” which means that promised savings from Medicare cuts are not realistic and future changes could increase spending and deficit. Health care experts believe that nationally, health care accounts for about $800 billion a year, which is about a third of all health care spending. This system does not seem like something that is going to last, especially with our federal budget deficit, which is predicted to be $1.3 trillion this year.

I am not sure how the government is going to please everyone in this situation. Everyone seemed to vote for Obama because they wanted “Change” but now this change seems to be taking a turn for the worse. As Americans, I feel as though we need to stay updated and informed on this topic so we are able to raise our opinions and make our voices heard on the matter.

Obama advocated change and now most Americans are not happy with it.

Electronic Medical Records

Electronic medical records seem to be the new thing in healthcare technology. I used to work for an opthalmologist at Insight Vision Center and we only used paper charts. However, it is only a matter of time until they will be switching to electronic medical records. Paper charts work just fine, but it can sometimes be a problem when charts get lost. There were times when I would spend a large amount of time looking around the office for charts when we needed the patient’s information right away.If we would have had the patient’s information in the computer, we would have been able to respond to their questions right away.

It is important for businesses to keep up with the technology so patients do not deviate to other practices with the new and latest technology. Electronic Medical Records are computerized medical records created in organizations that deliver care, such as hospital and doctor’s surgery. Paper records are still the preferred method of recording patients’ information, but most doctor’s find their ease of data entry and low cost hard to give up. As of October 19, 2010, only about 30% of physicians currently utilize an EMR (Electronic Medical Record) system. In 2009, Congress offered incentives of up to $44,000 for physicians to switch over to the system. According to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, there will be penalties like decreased Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for physicians who fail to adopt this system by 2015.

An example of features of electronic medical records

Shortage of Doctors Expected

Everyone seems to be talking about the new health care reform and wondering what it will do to the nation. I will definitely be reading more about this topic. I found an article from the Wall Street Journal explaining how a shortage of doctors is being predicted. This health-care overhaul law will take place in 2014 and there are about 33 million currently uninsured Americans that are expected to health care system because of the new law.

More primary care doctors will be needed

This boosts the projected shortfall of doctors by 50% to 62,900 from a previous estimate of 39,600. This deficit occurs in primary care and specialties. However, the projected shortfall will not differ dramatically from what it currently is which is 130,000 by 2025 because many people who are new to the health-care system will move onto Medicare. Something that would help with the shortfall would be to increase the number of slots available for residency training. I believe that if they are going to pass this new health-care reform, they need to be prepared. We cannot have a shortage of doctors because this would just create a disaster. People with serious medical issues may not be able to get the care they need before the issues become out of hand. There may be more limited access to health-care and longer wait times for patients. Unfortunately, the number of medical-school students entering family medicine fell more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007.

With the new health-care bill, there will be a shortage of doctors

Doctors trained in other countries could potentially help the shortage but they still need to complete a U.S. residency. It is important that it is portrayed that primary care is a respeted specialty to go into because those are the doctors we will need the most of. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is an example of a school that is trying to boost the number of primary-care doctors. They raised their class size by 24 students last year and opened a satellite medical campus to allow for more clinical-training opportunities. I think it would be a great and secure career to start looking into being a primary care doctor, considering we will be needing many more of them. It is scary to think that we may not be able to get the medical care that we need.