Your Clients Need to Know These Tips for National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, a time for your clients to prep for and practice how to handle disasters. This year’s theme: Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.

When disaster strikes, time is of the essence. That’s why it’s crucial for your clients to not only have a plan of action but to also have materials they may need gathered in a safe location and to practice their plan before it’s too late.

From wildfires to hurricanes to tornados to earthquakes, your clients may face a wide range of hazardous conditions. Protecting their families can include learning life-saving skills such as first aid and CPR, collecting provisions such as food and water, securing cash and important documents such as insurance policies, and taking practical steps such as shutting off water and gas.

The Department of Homeland Security’s yearly awareness campaign invites your clients to get a plan of action ready, and we ask you as their agents to do the same.

Here are the month’s weekly themes:

Week 1 September 1-8: Make and Practice Your Plan

Talk to your clients about:

  • Making an emergency plan
  • Signing up for alerts and warnings in their areas
  • Learning their evacuation zones
  • Practicing their plan
Week 2: September 9-15: Learn Life-Saving Skills

Talk to your clients about:

  • Knowing basic home maintenance
  • Learning how to turn off utilities
  • Testing smoke alarms throughout their homes
  • Learning life-saving skills such as CPR
Week 3: September 16-22: Check Your Insurance Coverage

Talk to your clients about:

  • Checking their insurance policies for adequate coverage
  • Learning about other types of insurance they may need for their loved ones and their homes
Week 4: September 23-29: Save For an Emergency

Talk to your clients about:

  • Planning their finances for possible disasters
  • Maintain emergency savings

In times of disaster, quality health insurance may help your clients face challenges brought about by hazardous conditions. Help them make proper preparations for themselves and their loved ones. Make sure they know about:

 

Visit the National Preparedness Month campaign website for more information on this significant opportunity to raise awareness.

 

Note that STM and limited benefit insurance do not count as minimum essential coverage required by the Affordable Care Act. They are not sufficient forms of coverage to avoid facing a tax penalty. They are not suitable to serve as sole medical coverage. Review any policy terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions, and/or restrictions with your clients prior to making any product recommendations.

 

Are you ready to learn more about helping your clients choose quality and affordable coverage today?

Learn more by:

Calling 1.877.376.5831 and selecting option 3

Emailing salessupport@hiiquote.com

 

Click here to like us on Facebook for important industry updates, tips, and articles!

 

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. (HIIQ) – (NASDAQ: HIIQ), is a market leading cloud-based technology platform and distributor of innovative health insurance products that are affordable and meet the consumer’s needs. 

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

Your Clients Need These Tips for Contact Lens Health Week

From August 20-24 this year, the Centers for Disease Control’s Contact Lens Health Week highlights awareness about proper wear and care of contact lenses. This year’s message has a simple and direct message your clients need to hear: cover your butt and take care of your eyes.

According to the CDC, contact lenses are much like underwear: to avoid infections, your clients shouldn’t over-wear, they should avoid a sketchy pair, and they should carry a spare1. Sounds like common sense advice, right? When they have questions about their vision care needs, take the opportunity to remind them just how to put this advice to work1:

Don’t over-wear

Advise your clients to avoid wearing contacts longer than their eye doctors instruct them to. Also, remind them to not sleep in them (unless their eye doctors say otherwise).

Avoid that sketchy pair

Remind your clients that when a contact comes out and they can’t disinfect it with fresh solution (never water or spit) right away that they should throw it out. Also, it’s important for them to remember to not buy contacts from costume shops or anywhere that doesn’t require a prescription.

Carry a spare pair (of glasses)

Recommend that your clients have a pair of glasses with them in case an unexpected late night or trip to the pool arises.

Many carriers are now packaging vision insurance – as well as dental insurance – with healthcare insurance because they recognize the value of providing a “well-rounded offering” that focuses on preventive care2. As an insurance professional, remind your clients that vision care and preventive care can be essential to their healthcare routine and they should consider having benefits in place to help them manage costs associated with care.

Consider this:

  • Almost 90% of Americans with vision coverage will get an eye exam within the next 12 months
  • Less than 70% without vision coverage will get an eye exam
  • Almost 70% of those with coverage will also get new eyewear
  • Less than 35% of those without vision coverage will get eyewear
  • Vision care is linked to overall preventive and wellness care, but Americans only use preventive services at half the rate recommended by the CDC4.

Talk to your clients about their eye health and help the CDC increase awareness about healthy contact lens habits. Remind them that vision coverage can offer:

  • Eye exam every 12 months
  • Lenses every 24 months
  • Frames every 24 months
  • Contact lenses and fitting every 24 months
  • Low copays for exams
  • In-network savings

Are you ready to offer quality, affordable vision care to your clients?

Learn more today by:

 

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products.

We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

 

Sources:

1: “Contact Lenses are Like Underwear.” The Centers for Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/pdf/8-5×11-contact-lenses-underwear.pdf

2: “Popular vision benefits moving beyond commodity product label.” Employee Benefit Adviser. https://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/news/popular-vision-benefits-moving-beyond-commodity-product-label

 

3: “Evidence Links Vision Benefits to Healthy Vision Habits, NAVCP Reports.” Vision Monday. http://www.visionmonday.com/latest-news/article/evidence-links-vision-benefits-to-healthy-vision-habits-navcp-reports-1/

 

4: “Dental and vision trends focus on preventive care.” BenefitsPro. https://www.benefitspro.com/2018/06/11/dental-and-vision-trends-focus-on-preventive-healt/?slreturn=20180714110145

 

4 Common Misconceptions to Clear Up for Your Clients About Health Benefit Insurance

Your clients come to you with a broad range of health concerns and ask for a personalized approach to help them manage those concerns.  It’s crucial to your success that you listen to and understand those needs and that you have a variety of coverage options to offer them.

One of those options often prompts questions and discussions of myths and misconceptions: health benefit insurance plans – also known as limited benefit medical plans or fixed cash plans. HBI plans provide a fixed benefit payment for specific covered services. They can provide a range of benefits to help meet your clients’ needs, but they have distinct differences from the major medical policies.

Healthcare costs are undoubtedly rising. Your assistance in providing your clients coverage that fits their needs can impact how they are able to manage their healthcare spending. This type of coverage can often be misunderstood, prompting your clients to ask questions about how the plans work and how they can benefit from such a plan. HBI coverage can be a viable option, but it’s imperative to understand your clients’ needs and to make sure they understand how the coverage works before enrolling them.

Let’s take a look at some common misconceptions about health benefit insurance coverage:

Misconception #1: Health benefit insurance plans work the same way as major medical or short-term medical insurance.

HBI plans have some significant differences from major medical policies. Helping your clients understand these differences can allow them to decide if this type of coverage will be helpful as they consider their healthcare realities.

These plans pay fixed indemnity benefits towards covered procedures as well as offer discounted rates for using in-network providers. They can provide flexibility for those who need to supplement their major medical coverage.

When discussing health benefit insurance plans with your clients, remind them that they have no deductibles or copays to satisfy, and let them know that their fixed cash benefits and in-network discounts can combine to bring them additional savings. Clients must also understand the plans are not a replacement for major medical insurance. Policies do have limitations, restrictions, and exclusions to consider.

Misconception #2: Health benefit insurance plans don’t provide quality benefits and have a small network of doctors.

HBI plans often have lower premiums than major medical plans since they are not providing comprehensive coverage. That said, they may still provide members with a host of benefits to help with their medical needs.

The core benefits offered by health benefit insurance plans can include fixed benefit payments for the following services:

  • Hospitalization*
  • Emergency care*
  • Doctor’s office visits
  • Surgery*
  • Diagnostics and labs
  • Wellness

*Typically not covered for pre-existing conditions

This level of coverage can also come with a wide network of doctors nationwide. If the doctor your client chooses does not accept the insurance, your client can opt to pay upfront and then submit her own claims for reimbursement. Remind her though she may be subject to higher out-of-pocket costs if she goes this route.

When your clients enroll in HBI plans, they may also have the option to take advantage of other non-insurance healthcare features as well.

These may include:

  • Prescription savings program on generic and brand-name medications
  • Ability to speak to a licensed doctor over the phone or mobile app to diagnose common illnesses
  • Patient advocacy service that can help your clients find procedures for the lowest cost and can negotiate medical bills

Keep in mind that there are often exclusions with health benefit insurance plans that are important for your clients to consider before they enroll.

Exclusions may include:

  • Pre-existing conditions (12-month waiting period)
  • Prescription benefits
  • Maternity benefits

Make sure your clients are aware of how to leverage our online Member Portal. This includes knowing how to log into the portal, where to access their ID cards, and how to reach out to the different parties who can help them with questions about benefits, billing, claims, etc.

Misconception #3: Health benefit insurance plans are only beneficial for young people or as supplementary insurance.

HBI plans can benefit clients of all ages with varying medical needs.

While this level of coverage is designed to be supplementary to major medical policies, members can use them in a variety of circumstances.

This type of coverage may fit the needs of those who:

  • Are priced out of major medical coverage, but seek a limited level of coverage for basic healthcare needs
  • Want additional benefits to help cover deductibles and copays of a major medical policy
  • Are seeking limited coverage until they are eligible for a major medical policy during Open Enrollment or through their employer

Note: Health benefit insurance plans are not intended to be a replacement or alternative to ACA or other major medical plans nor does it provide the minimum essential health benefits that are required, and it won’t help to avoid the fee for not carrying health insurance. These plans can have exclusions and limitations, which may not make them a valid option for some clients.

Misconception #4: Health benefit insurance plans can satisfy ACA requirements.

These plans do not meet the minimum essential coverage required under the Affordable Care Act, so your clients would likely be subject to a tax penalty. Because they do not have to follow the guidelines for the ACA, premiums tend to be lower as more limited and/or restricted benefits are being offered. Still, these plans can be useful solutions for some who may need to supplement a high-deductible plan or who may otherwise go completely uninsured.

 

Are you ready to help your clients learn more about health benefit insurance plans?

Learn more by:

Click here to like us on Facebook for important industry updates, tips, and articles!

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

Source:

“The Rising Cost of Health Care by Year and Its Causes.” The Balance. https://www.thebalance.com/causes-of-rising-healthcare-costs-4064878

 

Help Your Clients Get the Care They Deserve During National Health Center Week

National Health Center Week celebrates the contributions of health centers to their communities and raises awareness about their mission and accomplishments – something your clients are likely to find valuable as they face their health realities.

This year’s observance from August 12th – August 18th focuses on the mission of health centers across the country and their ability to “provide access to high quality, cost-effective healthcare services to everyone, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.” These centers could be beneficial for your clients looking for creative solutions to healthcare problems, as they work to serve special patient populations.

Consider these facts:

  • Health centers serve 27 million patients, and that number continues to grow.
  • There are health center locations in all 50 states and the District of Colombia.
  • Health centers serve everyone – even those who are uninsured or underinsured.
  • Your client could receive primary and preventive care services at health centers.

In addition to medical services, health centers offer a number of enabling services such as transportation, translation, case management, and health education. These types of assistance help all patients receive equal and high-quality care.

Offer your clients coverage to help them take advantage of health center benefits

Short-term medical (STM) coverage could be a coverage option for your clients to benefit from health centers. This type of coverage can be a great option for those in life-altering transition periods such as being between jobs, graduating college, or being unable to obtain major medical plans. Your clients may also likely to benefit from local health centers, as they can provide access to medical care that may not be affordable elsewhere.

These policies can offer your clients benefits for much-needed services such as:

  • Doctor visits
  • Emergency care
  • Surgical and hospital care
  • Wellness and preventative care

However, there are limitations. For example, STM plans do not cover pre-existing conditions and currently have a maximum duration of 3 months. That will change in October when your clients will have the opportunity to purchase STM coverage in increments of up to 364 days. This level of coverage is not a replacement for major medical insurance.

STM policies can add to the benefits your client could receive at their health center by providing them with supplemental non-insurance features that may include:

  • Prescription savings program that help them save on generic and brand-name medications
  • Ability to speak to a licensed doctor over the phone or mobile app to diagnose common illnesses
  • Patient advocacy service that can help your client find procedures for the lowest cost and negotiate large bills

The benefits of an STM plan could combine with health center services to create broader protection and more affordable healthcare for your client.

*STM plans do not count as minimum essential coverage required by the Affordable Care Act and are not suitable to serve as sole medical coverage. They are not sufficient forms of coverage to avoid facing a tax penalty. Review all terms, conditions, limitations, and/or restrictions with your clients prior to any recommendations.

Talk to your clients about how health centers could revolutionize their healthcare needs

Health centers are an essential part of communities nationwide that help meet the serious need for cost-effective healthcare.

Take this week as an opportunity to remind your clients about these centers and help them find more information about health centers in their area. https://www.findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/

Visit the Health Center Week website to learn more about the centers or how you can get involved in spreading the word. https://healthcenterweek.org/about-nhcw/

Learn more by:

Calling 1.877.376.5831 and selecting option 3

Emailing salessupport@hiiquote.com

Click here to like us on Facebook for important industry updates, tips, and articles!

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. (HIIQ) – (NASDAQ: HIIQ), is a market leading cloud-based technology platform and distributor of innovative health insurance products that are affordable and meet the consumer’s needs. 

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

 

Sources:

“National Health Center Week”  https://healthcenterweek.org/about-nhcw/

“Focus Days” https://healthcenterweek.org/focus-days/

“Fact Sheets” https://healthcenterweek.org/fact-sheets-2/

“Find a Health Center” https://www.findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/

health-insurance-innovations-social-media-accounts

3 Reasons to Follow Health Insurance Innovations on Social Media

Health Insurance Innovations has been fortunate to experience a lot of growth this year – growth that informs the content we produce and share on our social media accounts.

Our approach is simple: to provide our agent network with actionable information and resources to empower relationships with clients.

Building a successful health insurance business takes time, effort, and diligence. No one else understands that more than us; we’ve grown exponentially over the last few years to become a market leading cloud-based technology platform and distributor of innovative health insurance products such as short-term health insurance, and we couldn’t have done it without our agent and broker partners!

Here are three different subjects we regularly share on social media that help our agents build their brands and provide value to clients:

1. Healthcare Information and Technology

Information has played a vital role to our success. We believe in sharing what we know with our agents to help them expand their business and provide value to their clients. Our informative content ranges from different insurance options to offer clients, such as those that include preventive care like immunizations to advancing healthcare technologies likes telemedicine.

2. Health Tips For Clients

Each month we focus on something in healthcare. We diligently research the best statistics and tools for your clients to achieve and maintain good health. Healthy clients are happy clients, and happy clients make strong businesses!

3. Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period Preparation

In October, we begin posting Open Enrollment Period-related content to empower agents with the knowledge needed to not only meet but also exceed the needs of the many new clients you’ll acquire during this timeframe. While we’re on the subject, take note: the 2019 Open Enrollment Period begins November 1, 2018, and ends December 15, 2018.

We share these resources on all the social platform listed below so go ahead and follow us, share your thoughts, and get the most you can out of your journey with HIIQ:

Facebook
Youtube
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
Vimeo
Instagram
Pinterest
Crunchbase

health-insurance-innovations-vaccinations

For National Immunization Awareness Month, Make Sure Your Clients Have Access to Preventive Care

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), an annual initiative sponsored by the National Public Health Information Council (NPHIC) to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations recommended for them. Vaccinations can serve as a preventive step to help your clients protect their health as well as the health of their communities.

Remember that vaccines are important for all of us. Here’s why:

  • The same germs that caused diseases such as whooping cough, measles, and polio still exist today, but vaccines now protect children against these diseases
  • Immunization of children helps the overall community by protecting those who are too young or are medically unable to be vaccinated
  • Adults are at risk for different diseases than children, and it is important to keep up with vaccinations, as they can wear off over time

Offer immunization care to your clients

Offer your clients coverage that includes preventive and wellness benefits. Plans that encourage yearly wellness exams promote a convenient time for members to get vaccines. ACA plans are required to include vaccines among covered preventive services. You may be able to offer the following plans to also assist your clients.

  • Short-term medical: STM plans provide benefits similar to major medical for a limited period of time. They’re typically used during times of transition, such as graduating from college, waiting for employer insurance to begin, or waiting for Medicare coverage to begin. The plans can provide members with a choice of provider and facility, a range of deductibles, co-pays, and cost sharing options to fit your client’s budget needs. These plans are useful for members who have a gap in coverage and can be used to take advantage of preventive services such as vaccination. Note: they do not typically cover pre-existing conditions.
  • Health benefit insurance: HBI plans (otherwise known as limited medical benefit plans) can be useful for clients who are looking to supplement their major medical coverage or those who are not able to afford major medical insurance. These plans provide pre-determined cash benefits based on a covered service. They may also provide little to no waiting periods, which may be useful for a loved one who is need of benefits sooner rather than later. They are not comprehensive medical plans and are not intended to replace a major medical plan.

Note: STM and HBI plans do not count as minimum essential coverage required by the Affordable Care Act and are not suitable to serve as sole medical coverage. They are not sufficient forms of coverage to avoid facing a tax penalty. Review any terms, conditions, limitations, and/or restrictions carefully prior to any purchasing decision.

Set your clients up for healthcare success

Many plans have additional features that can assist your clients in other areas of their healthcare needs.

These benefits can include:

  • Prescription savings program that help them save on generic and brand-name medications.
  • Ability to speak to a licensed doctor over the phone or mobile app to diagnose common illnesses
  • Patient advocacy service that can help your client find procedures for the lowest cost and negotiate large bills

Learn more about helping your clients with their vaccination and preventive care needs by:

Click here to like us on Facebook for important industry updates, tips, and articles!

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

 

 

Sources:

“Vaccines & Immunizations” https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/howvpd.htm.

“Vaccine Safety: The Facts” https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/immunizations/Pages/Vaccine-Safety-The-Facts.aspx.

health-insurance-innovations-healthcare-1

Guidance Finalized Allowing Extended Duration of Short-Term Medical Coverage

The Trump administration has finalized guidance to extend short-term medical coverage options, creating an opportunity for you to offer a more competitive option to your clients.

The new ruling will give consumers the opportunity to purchase this level of coverage in increments of up to 364 days (or 12 months). It also allows this type of insurance to be renewable for up to 36 months.

This move reverses guidance that limited short-term medical plans to a maximum of 3 months coverage.

However, “states remain free to adopt a definition with a shorter maximum initial contract term or shorter maximum duration (including renewals and extensions) for a policy to meet their specific market needs,” according to the final rule documentation.

While carriers may choose to not cover certain types of services including maternity and mental healthcare, short-term medical plans routinely cost less than major medical plans. In the wake of ACA, major medical premiums have skyrocketed as much as 105% 1. Almost 1/5 of the country’s economy is spent on healthcare, a “far larger share than in any other large, wealthy country in the world,” and the price of healthcare services is “pushing up the nation’s health spending over time” 2. Consumers are certainly feeling the impact: the average cost of deductibles has increased over 295% while wages have only increased by 29% 3. Short-term medical plan may make better financial sense for healthier consumers, those who are priced out of ACA coverage, and those who need an affordable option during a period of transition.

This guidance is expected to lead to increased short-term medical enrollment, which may lead to even lower premiums due to a healthier pool of enrollees who don’t need a comprehensive spectrum of benefits.

Here are some important points to remember:

1. You’ll be able to provide a more secure bridge for your clients who are in between plans.

Before this guidance, short-term medical plans were only available for 90 days. Now you can enroll your clients in coverage for up to 364 days and provide them with the option to renew it for up to 36 months.

This level of coverage may fit the needs of your clients who are:

  • Transitioning between jobs
  • Waiting for employer insurance to begin
  • Graduating from college
  • Rolling off parents’ coverage
  • Waiting for Medicare coverage to become effective

Also, you can enroll your clients in plans that offer next-day coverage is available.

2. You’ll be able to sell these extended duration plans in October. 

The new rule is set to take effect just before the 2019 Open Enrollment Period that will run from November 1, 2018 – December 15, 2018.

3. You’ll have an additional tool in your portfolio that provides a wide range of benefits.

Short-term medical plans do not offer minimum essential benefits as defined by ACA, but they can offer benefits and features such as:

  • Wellness options
  • Benefits paid like traditional major medical plans
  • Flexible options for coverage cost and length
  • Open network of physicians, specialists, and hospitals
  • Lower rates than traditional health plans
  • Competitive individual and family coverage
  • Coverage of certain pre-existing conditions
  • Low copay options
  • Variety of deductible and coinsurance options
  • Ability to cancel at any time without penalty

While ACA plans have created “unstable risk pools and unaffordable premiums,” short-term medical plans will offer healthy consumers an affordable option and may motivate those who would have opted to remain uninsured to select a coverage option that makes sense for their budget and their lifestyle4.

 

We work with highly rated carrier partners that provide competitive, quality options for short-term medical coverage.
Expand your book of business with this level of coverage and meet your clients where they are in their healthcare and lifestyle realities.

 

Learn more by:

 

Click here to view the final rule in full courtesy of the CMS. Stay tuned for more updates.

 

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

For agent use only – not for use with the general public.

 

Sources:

1: “HHS Secretary: Short-term health insurance plans are an affordable option.” Alex Azar. https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/23/opinions/short-term-health-insurance-opinion-azar/index.html

2: “Why Are Healthcare Prices So High, and What Can Be Done About Them?” Kaiser Family Foundation. https://www.kff.org/health-costs/event/may-9-forum-why-are-healthcare-prices-so-high-and-what-can-be-done-about-them/

3: “Increases in Cost-Sharing Payments Continue to Outpace Wage Growth.” Kaiser Family Foundation. https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/brief/increases-in-cost-sharing-payments-have-far-outpaced-wage-growth/#item-start

4: “Should States Allow Insurers to Offer Bare-Bones Health Plans With Fewer Mandated Benefits?” Doug Badger. https://www.wsj.com/articles/should-states-allow-insurers-to-offer-bare-bones-health-plans-with-fewer-mandated-benefits-1529892240

 

What is Telemedicine?

4 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Telemedicine

Telemedicine is an emerging service in healthcare technology positioned to skyrocket in popularity through 2018 and beyond. With a market value climbing from $14.3 billion in 2014 to a projected $36.2 billion by 20201, telemedicine is poised to transform the way millions of American receive healthcare in the not-so-distant future.

So, what is telemedicine and how can it help your clients?

“The remote delivery of health care services and clinical information using telecommunications technology. This includes a wide array of clinical services using internet, wireless, satellite and telephone media,” according to the American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) telemedicine definition2.

“Telehealth” and “telecare” are often used to describe this service, so if you’re wondering “what is telehealth?”, the ATA considers the telehealth definition to be the same as the telemedicine defintion2.

As healthcare costs continue to rise in the U.S.3, tech services like telehealth can save your clients time and money, especially when it comes to those in need of non-emergency medical services. These services are often available on-demand and can range from video consultations with a certified physician to counseling with a licensed psychotherapist via smartphone, tablet or computer.

In fact, more than 70% of urgent illness conditions—colds, flus and skin infections, for example—can be treated with the help of telemedicine4.

We’re only scratching the surface when it comes to the history, applications and benefits of telemedicine for you and your clients.

Did you know…

  1. Demand for telemedicine growing—fast

Looking at the statistics, it’s easy to see why providers and consumers are using telemedicine more and more every year: convenience and cost.

The average consumer in a U.S. city spends 18.4 days between making an appointment and actually visiting their doctor’s office5. The average in-office visit takes 121 minutes—20 of which are spent actually seeing the doctor, while the rest spent traveling to/from the office and sitting in the waiting room5.

In contrast, consumers who opt for video visits spend about five minutes waiting and eight to 10 minutes seeing their doctor according to a case study on Southwest Medical Associates, one of Nevada’s largest multi-specialty medical groups6.

Providers seem to be in favor of telemedicine’s cost-reducing services as well. Over 70% of healthcare providers are currently using telemedicine solutions or services—a drastic rise from 51% in 20147.

Telemedicine can help to reduce costs8 by use of remote analysis services like physician video visits and specialized fields like telepathology (the study of diseases) and teleradiology (the transmission of radiological images like x-rays MRIs and CTs).

Furthermore, telemedicine companies often utilize a pool of healthcare providers across the country that work as one resource for the consumer. This gives consumers, especially ones in rural areas9, the freedom to receive care on their own schedule, opposed to the restrictive business hours of the brick-and-mortar healthcare facilities in their area.

  1. The history of telemedicine dates back to the 1920s

 Oftentimes, it’s amusing to look back at old media predictions of a retro-future with flying cars and robot butlers. Sometimes, they’re not far off. In 1925, Radio News published a speculative cover story by Hugo Gernsback, an American inventor who hypothesized that physicians would soon be able to hear, see, and examine their patients by way of a machine he deemed the Teladactyl with a two-way video screen and other diagnostic features10.

While Gernsback’s machine never made it to production, the seeds of telemedicine had been planted in the minds of doctors and scientists across the nation.

The American scientific community quickly built off Gernsback’s dream, culminating in 1959 when clinicians at the University of Nebraska used a two-way television system to disperse neurological examinations and related information to medical students across campus—widely considered the first medical use of video communication in the U.S.11.

Advances in telemedicine remained constant through the latter half of the century, but public interest was generally limited to residents in rural areas with small medical facilities that relied on telemedicine services like teleradiology to send and receive x-rays to radiology specialists, who could now analyze and advise doctors on the patient’s condition faster than ever before.

  1. Future applications of telemedicine could be absolutely game-changing

Just as researchers did in the 1920’s, today’s medical science and technology researchers are looking to the future of telemedicine and its’ potential applications.

The use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices has gigantic disruptive potential, which could change the way healthcare providers offer their services and receive continuing training throughout their careers.

AR mobile devices and apps have already given consumers the power to self-monitor health data points like heart rate, amount of daily physical activity, and more. Further advancements include contact lenses that provide visual prompts to diabetics when their glucose levels start fluctuating to wearables like the Apple Watch that uses near-field communication to remind users to take their prescription medications when they’re nearby12.

While VR technology is currently used for laparoscopic surgery and colonoscopy training, many hope it will eventually give medical students more opportunities to virtually perform invasive procedures and emergency resuscitations, all before they can do so on real-life patients. A number of U.S. medical school have made big changes to their anatomy curriculum by incorporating VR glasses and displays to allow realistic rotation and manipulation of anatomic models13.

This hope extends to robotic laparoscopic surgery as well, which would allow surgeons to go from monitoring a 2-D video screen before using their hands/tools to viewing live 3-D video, allowing them to perform surgery without ever diverting their gaze from these 3-D consoles14.

  1. As an HIIQ-contracted agent, you can gain a unique advantage by offering telemedicine to your clients

Naturally, we pride ourselves on innovation here at Health Insurance Innovations. So it should come as no surprise that we’ve partnered with a longstanding leading provider of telehealth services. While insurance plans vary by company and state in the extent of coverage for telemedicine services, there are many available that can come with telemedicine features. Talk to your clients about how these features can save them time and money as they face their health realities.

 

Learn more about offering products with telemedicine features to your clients by:

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

Sources

1: “Five Telemedicine Trends Transforming Health Care in 2016.” Nathaniel M. Lacktman. Foley.com. https://www.foley.com/five-telemedicine-trends-transforming-health-care-in-2016/

2: American Telemedicine Association. “About Telemedicine.” AmericanTelemed.org. http://www.americantelemed.org/main/about/about-telemedicine/telemedicine-faqs

3: “U.S. healthcare spending to climb 5.3 tin 2018: agency.” Yasmeen Abutaleb. Reuters.com. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare-spending/u-s-healthcare-spending-to-climb-5-3-percent-in-2018-agency-idUSKCN1FY2ZD

4: “The Importance and Value of Telemedicine.” Karandeep Virdi. ElectronicHealthReporter.comhttp://electronichealthreporter.com/importance-value-telemedicine/

5: “Paying for Health Care with Time.” Jake Miller. Harvard Medical School. https://hms.harvard.edu/news/paying-health-care-time

6: “Case Study: Southwest Medical’s winning strategy for telehealth.” Beth Principi. American Well. https://www.americanwell.com/case-study-southwest-medicals-winning-strategy-for-telehealth/

7: “71% of Healthcare Providers Use Telehealth, Telemedicine Tools.” Thomas Beaton. MHealthIntelligence.com. https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/71-of-healthcare-providers-use-telehealth-telemedicine-tools

8: “5 ways telemedicine is driving down healthcare costs.” Steff Denches. Healthcare IT News. https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/5-ways-telemedicine-driving-down-healthcare-costs

9: “Telehealth Use in Rural Healthcare.” Rural Health Information Hub. https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/topics/telehealth

10: “Telemedicine Predicted in 1925.” Matt Novak. Smithsonian.com. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/telemedicine-predicted-in-1925-124140942/

11: “Telognosis.” J. Gershon-Cohen, A.G. Cooley. RSNA.org. https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/10.1148/55.4.582?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed

12: “How augmented reality and virtual reality devices are boosting medicine.” Chris Newmarker. Medical Design and Outsourcing. https://www.medicaldesignandoutsourcing.com/how-ar-vr-devices-boosting-medicine/

13: “Virtual Reality Check.” Nicholas Genes, MD, PhD. Telemed Magazine. http://www.telemedmag.com/article/2016715ub73avh975fjs43o8ixcivxd304uag/

14: “VIRTUAL REALITY AND THE FUTURE OF TELEMEDICINE.” Tim Edlund. Synoptec Blog. https://www.softworksgroup.com/synoptec-blog/virtual-reality-and-the-future-of-telemedicine/

 

 

 

Healthcare solutions for college students

Meet College Students and Recent Grads at the Coverage Table with These Health Care Solutions

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”

–Charles Bowden

Ah, the sand, the sun, the memories made, and the fun. Summer has settled in across the country, and we’re all finding ways to celebrate. But the lull between semesters and before graduation can see the celebration for some to come to a screeching halt: 72% of college students and recent grads are struggling to find affordable health insurance.

With 40% of this demographic mostly concerned about the cost of premiums and 20% concerned about high out-of-pocket costs, these prospective clients will undoubtedly have questions for you this summer. They may be coming off their student coverage through their universities or their parents’ health plans or they may be waiting for coverage sponsored by their new employers to begin. They may also be priced out of traditional major medical coverage as well. Short-term medical plans may be just what they need.

STM plans can include benefits and features such as:

  • Flexibility in cost depending on benefits selected
  • Variety of deductible and coinsurance options
  • Benefits that are paid in a similar manner to traditional major medical plans
  • Wellness options
  • Little to no waiting periods
  • Next day coverage for some carriers
  • Relatively inexpensive premiums due to lower and more restricted benefits
  • Low-cost doctor and specialist copays depending on plan selected
  • Open network of physicians, specialists, and hospital depending on plan selected

It’s not just the college students and recent grads who are concerned. Their families may have questions about what makes sense as well. It’s important to make sure all those concerned understand what benefits STM plans may offer as well as their limitations. This level of coverage is available at any time in the year and can be cancelled at any time. It can also offer access to providers of their choice, including providers they visited through their parents’ health coverage. If they need to change providers, STM plans provide them the opportunity to file their own claim and submit for reimbursement if needed.

However, STM coverage does not provide the minimum essential health benefits required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and will not help them avoid the penalty for not carrying health insurance. At this time, STM plans also have a maximum duration of 3 months. Continuation of coverage requires re-application and there are also limits on how many times someone can re-apply. In addition, pre-existing conditions may not be covered. Benefits vary by plan and state and may not include those that are listed above. Make sure your clients review any plans they’re considering carefully.

If these clients aren’t eligible for STM coverage and priced out of ACA coverage, they may find health benefit insurance plans (commonly known as limited benefit medical plans) to fit their healthcare needs.

Health benefit insurance plans are designed to provide a wide variety of expenses for accidental injuries, sickness, inpatient surgical care, outpatient care, and even pre-existing conditions. Plans vary as to which specific expenses they cover, but often times, this level of coverage may provide little to no waiting periods, access to doctors nationwide, and benefits for critical illness and/or accidental death.

HBI coverage can also offer benefits and features such as:

  • Freedom to choose any doctor or hospital of their choice
  • Guaranteed issue coverage with $50-$100 paid toward doctor and specialist visits
  • Next day coverage or little to no waiting periods for accidental injuries or sickness
  • 12 month waiting period for pre-existing conditions
  • Ability to supplement existing coverage
  • Access to non-insurance benefits such as a prescription savings program, 24/7/365 video and phone access to quality physicians, and a patient advocacy service

Before enrolling your clients into this level of coverage, please make sure they understand that it does not count as minimum essential coverage required by the Affordable Care Act and is not suitable to serve as their only medical coverage. Although the premiums may be lower than a major medical plan, the benefits are also lower and more restricted.

Benefits offered vary by plan and states. Not available in all states.

Are you ready to help college students and recent grads enroll in the coverage they need today?

Learn more today by:

Calling 1.877.376.5831 and selecting option 3

Emailing salessupport@hiiquote.com

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

Debunking short term medical insurance myths for clients

Debunk These Misconceptions About Short-Term Medical Plans

Misconceptions about short-term medical plans are common. While STM plans can provide quality benefits that meet a variety of budget needs, they fall outside of traditional healthcare coverage options, prompting your clients to have questions. The cost of healthcare continues to rise, and political scrutiny and legislative updates continue to impact the industry and your clients’ wallets. There is no better time to make sure your clients have a thorough understanding of their options so they can help to protect their health as well as the health of their loved ones and their finances.

STM plans, also called temporary health insurance, are medical plans that have a limited duration. They are designed to bridge gaps in healthcare coverage during a period of transition such as graduating from college or starting a new job. Here are 4 common misconceptions about short-term medical plans:

Misconception #1: Only a limited number of doctors accept short-term medical plans.

STM plans are accepted by many providers and facilities across the nation. If a client chooses to see an out-of-network provider, it could result in higher out-of-pocket costs. Some STM plans may provide for the services to be covered (depending on the plan) via a reimbursement, but the policyholder will pay upfront for and submit her/his own claim.

These plans often feature provider networks that ensure lower rates than providers who are outside of the network, but that doesn’t preclude your clients from choosing providers of their choice.

Just like with traditional major medical plans, clients with short-term medical coverage who choose to receive medical services outside of the featured network may incur higher out-of-pocket costs.

Help your clients know how to make the most of their benefits. This includes knowing how and where to access their member ID card, who to call with questions about benefits, who to call with questions about claims, and where to access their provider directory and pertinent details of their coverage.

Misconception #2: Only those who are young and in good health are good candidates for short-term medical coverage.  

This level of coverage may fit the needs of clients who are:

  • Transitioning between jobs
  • Waiting for employer insurance to begin
  • Graduating from college
  • Rolling off parents’ coverage
  • Waiting for Medicare coverage to become effective

You may have clients who are looking for healthcare options outside of Open Enrollment. Or you may have a client who is looking for coverage that includes preventive care for herself and her family before her new policy through her employer starts. While benefits may be limited, this level of coverage may suit such clients’ needs and help them tackle their healthcare realities. There are a variety of plans available, some of which may even be a good fit for clients who want to see providers of their choice.

Disclaimer: Short-term medical coverage is not intended to be a replacement or alternative to ACA or other major medical plans nor does it provide the minimum essential health benefits that are required and it won’t help to avoid the fee for not carrying health insurance. They can have exclusions and limitations, which may not make them a valid option for some clients.

Misconception #3: Short-term medical coverage is expensive and doesn’t provide quality coverage.

STM premiums are often lower than major medical premiums because they offer more limited and/or restricted benefits. The coverage provided by STM plans can provide a range of valuable insurance benefits for individuals and families such as:

  • Preventive care and routine doctor visits
  • Emergency care*
  • Inpatient and outpatient surgery and hospital care*

Similar to major medical, your clients can enjoy added non-insurance benefits as well such as:

  • Mobile access to board-certified doctors who can treat many common illnesses
  • Patient advocacy service that can help navigate the world of healthcare and negotiate medical bills
  • Prescription savings membership that can lower out-of-pocket costs
  • Digital fitness tool to help track your wellness journey

However, the coverage provided by short-term medical plans does not include:

  • Immediate benefits for hospital stays, surgery or anesthesia for conditions you already have
  • Benefits for prescription drugs

STM plans do not have coverage requirements, so plans vary in what is covered. Review any plan details with a client prior to purchase. Additionally, STM does not cover pre-existing conditions. Applicants are subject to underwriting approval based on answers to medical questions. Coverage is limited to a time period of no longer than three months.

*Typically not covered for pre-existing conditions

Misconception #4: Short-term medical plans can help those enrolled avoid the Affordable Care Act’s tax penalty.

While STM coverage can be an affordable and quality option for your clients who are looking to help bridge the gap in their health coverage, it does not qualify as minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act. That means that they are likely to face tax penalties. Your clients who are without minimum essential coverage for less than 3 months within a year and those who belong to certain groups are exempt from the penalty.

Because STM plans don’t have to adhere to ACA regulations, your clients have a range of plan options to choose from, including some with lower monthly rates than major medical plans. Current legislative reform attempts are expected to make room for more STM plan options.

 

Are you ready to expand your client offerings with short-term medical options?

Learn more today by:

Calling 877.376.5831 and selecting option 3

Emailing salessupport@hiiquote.com

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