Plenty of changes are coming to your healthcare plan in 2015, but the changes that you are about to experience will be more significant than the changes you have experienced in this past year of 2014. The main changes to healthcare plans dwell in financial avenues, meaning that some of the costs will go up for healthcare subscribers.

Let’s review some of the changes that were made to healthcare plans in this year of 2014 first. Some of the changes included a guaranteed issuance of coverage. Health plans had to sell coverage, regardless of pre-existing conditions, and health plans couldn’t charge consumers more based on their health or gender. 2014 also saw the establishment of health insurance marketplaces. Every state in America was mandated to have insurance exchanges, organized marketplaces where individuals and small business owners could select from all the qualified private health plans that were made available in their area. Consumers were allowed to make any changes to their health plans via online, through brokers, on the phone, or with the help of Navigators who serve as personal assistants.

An individual mandate was put in place in 2014. Everyone had to own some form of health insurance by registering for one of the available programs, which varied from Medicare and Medicaid to Veterans Affairs, Tricare and Indian Health Service. If an individual did not own any form of health insurance by a certain deadline then they would be forced to pay a penalty. Another change was the act of establishing premium rebates. Insurers were ordered to spend at least 80% of premiums on medical care for their individual and small group (under 50 employees) plans. The cut-off was 85% for large group plans and if insurers were unable to reach this mandate, then they were to refund the difference to consumers by way of direct refunds or reduced costs to their plans.

2014 also experienced the inclusion of standard disclosure forms. All health plans were required to use a standardized consumer-friendly form to provide a uniform summary of benefits and coverage, such as information on copayments, deductibles and out-of-pocket limits. This made it easier to compare plans. Insurers could calculate and disclose a patient’s out-of-pocket cost when it specifically related to issues like having a baby or treating Type 2 Diabetes.

Caps were also placed on flexible spending accounts. Employers could previously set limits on their FSAs at any level they chose (mainly from $2,500 to $5,000), which could be set aside tax-free for expenses (mainly around $2,500), with the cap increasing by the annual inflation rate in following years. Patients could not use FSAs to pay for over-the-counter drugs unless they had prescriptions from their doctors. Lastly, a new Medicare tax for high earners was implemented in 2014, which featured individuals who earned more than $200,000 (or $250,000 for couples), the Medicare payroll tax increased from 1.45% to 2.35%. Individuals also paid a new 3.8% Medicare tax on unearned income, which included investments, interest, dividends, veteran’s benefits, and qualified retirement plan distributions such as those from 401 (k) and IRA.

Now what about the year that is ahead of us? What changes will be made to healthcare in 2015? For starters, there will be a change in payment rates. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced an increase of 1.7% in Medicare reimbursements to hospital outpatient departments (HOPD). Reimbursements for inpatient payment rates will also increase by 1.4% with an opportunity to increase by an additional 2.2% depending on individual hospital standards. All of these increases are intended to translate into a $1 Billion increase in hospital revenues.

Another change coming to healthcare in 2015 would be the Employer Mandate. Full implementation of this mandate will not occur until January 1, 2016, but partial implementation of this mandate is set to begin on January 1, 2015. This mandate mainly affects employers that have over 100 active employees and the healthcare coverage’s that they have for that company.

There are requirements that employers must meet in order to avoid penalties. They first need to offer coverage to 70% of full-time employees, and secondly, the coverage must meet the minimum value and the affordability guidelines. Employees working 30 hours per week are considered to be full-time workers and 60% actuarial value is along the lines of the minimum value. Maximum penalties include $2,000 a year per employee if fewer than 70% of full-time employees are offered coverage, and $3,000 a year per employee if the coverage doesn’t provide the minimum value.

When it comes to coverage affordability, employees will pay no more than 9.5% of wages for self-only coverage for the lowest possible cost plan. There are time periods to look at when reviewing financial statistics and health plans. The Measurement (or Look Back) Period involves employers checking on health insurance availability on a 6 to 12 month time period to evaluate which employees must be offered health insurance in 2015. This must be done to avoid potential financial penalties. The Administrative Period is an up to 90 day time period to evaluate the data collected by the Measurement Period. The Stability Period is the length of time health insurance must be offered to employees that are deemed full-time to avoid penalties. This must be at least of the duration used for the Measurement Period.

If a patient’s plan no longer exists in 2015, the patient will be enrolled in another product offered by the same insurer whenever it becomes available. Even if patients have the same plan, 1,700 of 2,800 healthcare plans of 2014 will exist in the same form in 2015. However, patients will not be guaranteed to receive the same benefits with these stable plans. Insurers cannot increase all charges since that would make general spending on health plans completely unbalanced. Some plans have changed the wording of their benefits, such as adding a newly made term called “Copay After Deductible”, which means that insurers will not pay for any portion of an ER visit until customers meet their deductible, which would be thousands of dollars.

There are 3 tiers of health plans that people need to be aware of. Bronze health plans account for 60% of their members’ overall health services, whereas silver plans account for 70% and gold plans account for 80%. For example, the Coventry Health Care silver plan in the Kansas City, Kansas region is decreasing costs of primary care visits from $10 to $5, however on the flip side, medical deductibles have been increased from $2,000 to $2,750, out-of-pocket minimum payments have been increased from $6,350 to $6,600, and the cost of generic drugs have been increased from $10 to $15. Premiums are also slated to increase in 2015.

There is controversy surrounding emergency department operations, and particularly when it involves HCA Holdings. HCA experienced such controversy and according to an investigation held by the Tampa Bay Times newspaper, HCA Holdings has been overcharging its patients in the 6 Level II trauma centers in the state of Florida. The company charges an average of $40,000 more per patient than the average at other trauma centers. The Tampa Bay Times also claims that the hospital overcharges for services like scans, lab tests and drugs. These charges specifically fall under the description of “trauma response fees”.

Despite this controversy, HCA Holdings has established 160 Urgent Care Clinics in California, 100 clinics in both Florida and Indiana, 85 clinics in Texas and 80 in Georgia and has captured the market share in the $15 Billion urgent care clinic market field by focusing on acquiring or establishing standalone urgent care clinics.
Most of the issues regarding healthcare are reliant on adjusting financial figures and it’s important for everyone who has health plans to stay up to date on the changes that are made to their health plans. Some health plans cease to exist from one year to the next, and more significant changes need to be made to acquire a stable health plan in this scenario. Properly calculating payments will go a long way in determining which coverage is best suited for various kinds of patients and consumers. It depends largely on how much a consumer is willing to spend in order to get the kind of coverage that fits their needs.

There are a number of metrics to use when grading the quality of a physician.  Whether it is comprehensive knowledge of medical expertise, technical skill in surgery or bedside manner, there are a number of qualitative standards to use when determining what constitutes one of the Leading Physicians in the World.  While few physicians can boast superlative ratings in every category, the members of LPW are among the most respected and trusted figures in their fields because of broad professional excellence.

One of the primary bases for determining excellence is academic achievement.  While all physicians are academically superior to the majority of their educational counterparts, Leading Physicians of the World boasts members from the most prestigious universities in the world including Harvard University, Cambridge, the Sorbonne and many others. Many of LPW’s members continued their medical education through prestigious internships and fellowships at the most celebrated hospitals and research institutions including the National Institutions of Health, Massachusetts General and the Mayo Clinic.

Following formal education and training, members of LPW have made pioneering contributions to medical body of knowledge through teaching, publishing and speaking.  Many of these doctors serve as lecturers and professors at educational institutions, sharing their hard earned expertise with new generations of medical students.  Many of LPW’s members also are eager to dispense their knowledge to the medical community and the general public through keynote addresses at major conferences and published articles in esteemed publications like the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Many of these articles are available at http://www.lpwonline.com as well as the website of its parent organization, the International Association of Healthcare Professionals.

Perhaps one of the most important metrics for medical excellence is the ability to utilize this expertise within a clinical setting.  Most LWP members diagnose illnesses and injuries, identify health issues, provide preventive health advice and implement the latest technologies and healthcare products to remedy health issues.  While some of these activities occur at world renowned medical facilities, others happen within the settings of private clinics which are owned and operated by these successful doctors.  Most members of the Leading Physicians of the World are in high demand with patients traveling enormous distances to receive their advice.  Needless to say, almost all members receive impeccable reviews from patients, medical associates and professional organizations.

Another measure of professional excellence is the honors and awards that members receive.  Almost all of LPW’s members have distinguished themselves well enough to receive recognition from the medical community.  These honors come from regional, national and international associations that are aware of the latest contributions by leaders in the field.  These include Nobel prizes, Lasker awards, and the AMA Foundation Excellence in Medicine awards.  These accolades often provide generous monetary awards and enormous publicity on the scientific and clinical achievements of deserving members.

The International Association of Healthcare Professionals (IAHCP) has long stood by the tenet that a healthy community is a happy community.  This is why IAHCP has maintained the utmost vigilance in dedicating themselves to community outreach.  Especially within the healthcare community, outreach is a way for doctors and physicians and other allied healthcare professionals to come together and begin to treat their local community’s healthcare needs.  It’s also an excellent way for charities to contribute and learn about ways in which they can positively affect society.

In order to keep healthcare professionals, charity organizers, and all the support branches that go into outreach all on the same page, the International Association of Healthcare Professionals sends out regular e-mail newsletters.  These simple reminders and informative brochures help keep doctors and healthcare professionals abreast of current issues while also facilitating discussion with other adjacent practices and organizations.  The IAHCP tries to begin the conversation about health initiatives in order to better make that initiative a reality.

Finding out about what initiatives are active in a particular healthcare professional’s area is as simple as going over to the International Association of Healthcare Professionals’ website (www.iahcp.org) and joining.  Simply joining IAHCP is a first step to helping hundreds of global efforts to eradicate diseases, organize local community healthcare services, and even participate in larger charity events.  Global initiatives are taking place every single day to spread awareness, join discussions in treatment options, and actively treat diseases and conditions.

The greater healthcare and medical community has a vested interest in seeking out and participating in local community efforts.  The International Association of Healthcare Professionals (IAHCP) values this initiative and seeks to promote it through aggressive communication efforts.  The internet has allowed a great body of medical knowledge to be pooled for the benefit of medical practitioners operating in remote communities.  This is a great facet that the IAHCP seeks to promote and make others aware of.

Local community medical efforts are also a great way to inform the community about the services your practice has to offer them.  Preventative medicine and diagnostics are some of the easiest ways to capture a potentially life-threatening ailment before it becomes a major problem.  Successful treatment options usually begin before a medical condition becomes readily apparent.  This is why the IAHCP strongly encourages practices to network and maintain an active awareness about events and effort going on in their respective areas.  This function serves to both strengthen the health of your neighbors as well as strengthen the standing of your business.

The added bonus of working with an organization like the International Association of Healthcare Professionals is that you are also extending out your expertise to areas farther than your normal patient reach.  This helps promote your services and also accentuates your expertise in a particular field.  Whether that field is oncology or epidemiology, the IAHCP stands ready to support you in your endeavors.  Let the community know that you are a trusted voice in their medical concerns!

And as we all know, healthcare is a team effort and no one can do everything alone.  Join a growing global team of networked medical professionals and find out more about how you can help at www.iahcp.org.

If you’re a seasoned healthcare professional with specialized experience in a particular field, it’s time you used that experience to your benefit.  With an ever-growing body of scientific and medical literature emerging online in the form of electronic publications, there has never been a greater time to use your experience to its fullest.  The International Association of Healthcare Professionals (IAHCP) specializes in providing an online gateway for doctors and physicians: The Waiting Room Magazine. 

Whether it’s a complex topic such as Nuclear Radiology or an interrogative look at Human Sexuality, IAHCP always stands ready to ensure your contribution is acknowledged and received by the larger scientific community.  The Waiting Room is also an excellent way to stay connected to your patients while they wait to see you.  This magazine lets you explore topics ranging from humorous to informative.

Don’t let your work be left in the dark!

Over seventy-five publications are already being vigorously distributed to their target audiences in the healthcare community and even more doctors and physicians are submitting written articles to The Waiting Room Magazine.  With other regular publications also coming out, such as The Leading Physicians of the World, there has never been a better time than now to feature your written work through the IAHCP.

The International Association of Healthcare Professionals actively participates with online distributors and printed publishers to find the audience that would best benefit from your medical work – whether it be in the form of a regularly printed magazine, such as The Waiting Room Magazine, or through intuitive and in-depth literature such as The Leading Physicians of the World.  Many of IAHCP’s members have gone on to write their very own books and have them distributed through our extensive network of medical practices and institutions.

You have already put your time, effort, and research into writing a good piece of medical literature – now enjoy the revenue and the pride of knowing the rest of the healthcare community is noticing your accomplishments.

With topics ranging from epidemiology to psychology, IAHCP (www.iahcp.org) has become a growing online space for medical scientists and practitioners to exchange notes, research, and book ideas.  The International Association of Healthcare Professionals values your contributions to healthcare and wants to promote your work to healthcare professionals who can benefit most by it.

The Advantage of Publishing through IAHCP

Who better understands the value of your research than the healthcare community?  Allied healthcare workers, from all over the world, benefit in the exchange of ideas and research to improve the lives of the people they serve.  IAHCP takes your finished literature and broadcasts it to healthcare communities that may most benefit from it.  Through a variety of channels, such as the Waiting Room Magazine and The Leading Physicians of the World publication, IAHCP ensures that no matter where a medical practice is located, they have access to cutting-edge medical research and literature.

Normally, when you have placed the finishing touches on your medical literature, it is up to you to correctly identify which healthcare professionals would most greatly benefit from it in the international community.  This can be a time-intensive process and laboriously expensive if done incorrectly.  The International Association of Healthcare Professionals (www.iahcp.org) is an already established online medium for ensuring that doctors and physicians can release their medical literature onto the internet without worrying about piracy, networking, and finding an interested audience.

It’s also a great tool to point your colleagues to when you wish to point them in the direction of your work!

Because the International Association of Healthcare Professionals is committed to assisting the medical community at large, there has never been a better time to publish your medical literature with us.

Saving Smiles in Sacramento, California Area
10 Apr 2014

Maintaining a private dental practice in the Sacramento area of California is just a small glimpse at Dr. DiTomasso’s career of giving back to her community.

In the beginning, Dr. DiTomasso served for two years as a Commissioned Officer in the Public Health Service and served on the California State Board of Dental Examiners, as an expert examiner for licensing.

Currently she works as an educator with the Spear Academy, offering her skill and knowledge to up-and-coming dentists. Spear Academy boasts possessing seminar experiences that create a core-shifting change in their students’ perspective of dentistry and practice management. As an experienced instructor within the system, Dr. DiTomasso conducts comprehensive sessions that provide dental theory on the latest treatments for restoration and esthetics and live presentations that demonstrate how to successfully apply each technique in practice.

Dr. DiTomasso acts as a mentor for the St. Francis Girl’s High School in her spare time, and is supporter and participant of the Wellspring Women’s Center. The Center is a non-profit establishment that nurtures the innate goodness and personal self esteem of women and their children. Dr. DiTomasso also performs outreach to local high schools for health fairs, and volunteers for “Smiles for Kids”.  “Smiles for Kids” is a blossoming organization that provides pediatric dentistry to children in the Sacramento area that cannot afford dental care.

Not only giving her providing education and care to those in need, Dr. DiTomasso on the 3M ESPE Council for Innovative Dentistry. The council tests, reports, and advises on innovative products in the dental industry, and is comprised of 20 dentists throughout the United States and Canada.

To learn more about Dr. Di Tomasso and her dental expertise, visit www.ditomassodental.com.

Rachel’s Kids—Giving Back to Cornwall, Ontario’s Children
10 Apr 2014

Neglect.  Abuse.  Poverty.  These are harsh realities, and no corner of this world remains unscathed.  However, thanks to the efforts of Rachel Navaneelan, a dentist from Cornwall, Ontario, we are making strides.

Originally, Rachel’s Kids was developed to help the children and people of Sri Lanka, who were devastated by a 9.1-9.3 undersea earthquake and tsunami.  It was one of the largest amounts of casualties for an earthquake, ranking in the top 10 in history.  Dr. Navaneelan arranged a charity auction and garden party in her own backyard to raise both money and awareness of this tragedy and others.  Being a native Sri Lankan herself, this was a cause very dear to Dr. Navaneelan’s heart. http://rachelskids.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/IMG_0030.jpg

Rachel’s Kids is now a thriving organization, dedicated to giving back to children who may be orphaned by tragedy, who have no medical benefits or legacy from their parents to take over.  Thanks to the efforts of the Cornwall community, the garden party has now become an annual event, with half the contributions being made to local charities, mainly to benefit children in the community, and the remainder going towards projects initiated overseas.

In addition to the garden party, Rachel’s Kids also hosts an Annual Have a Heart Gala, the Sponsor A Child Program, and most recently a New York City Bus Tour.  Over the years, Rachel’s Kids and the efforts of Dr. Navaneelan have had no shortage of success; also helping to renovate the Cornwall Community Hospital’s pediatric ward (with phase 2 in preparation for this project).  The 8th annual garden party, held in 2012, raised over $100,000 in funds to help the children. Since 2009, Rachel’s Kids has also partnered with Mt. Carmel and other churches in Sri Lanka to create the Foster Parents Plan, with children of Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian descent. Through this program, children get bicycles, school kits, and of course, the gift of a shelter.

IMG_0023

Through the efforts, contributions, and love of many, Rachel’s Kids has planted a seed of hope in the heart of Sri Lanka’s children, and helps sustain the lives of this beautiful island nation.

To find out more about Rachel’s Kids, please visit www.rachelskids.com.

 

Dr. Crandall’s Heart Healthy Advice
10 Apr 2014

In honor of his loving son, Dr. Crandall has established The Chadwick Foundation. The Foundation is a vital ministry that supports people who otherwise would be without hope, and lost without a vision that help is on the way. Through Dr. Crandall’s passion and efforts, The Foundation offers aid to poverty-stricken areas around the world.

Alongside his heart clinics, Dr. Crandall’s mission is to spread the word on heart health as well as the benefits of incorporating Christ to help you fight your medical battles. He encourages his patients to be in prayer with him as they move forward to fulfill the mission God: to reach the lost and hurting with a message of hope and healing. The Chadwick Foundation makes this possible by traveling to places like Haiti, Papau New Guinea, Mexico, Finland, and Norway.

Dr. Crandall is currently operating La Clinica Chad, which serves as a treatment facility to the poor and broken. La Clinica Chad is fully staffed by Christ-believing medical personnel, located in the heart of Medellin, Columbia building clinics and orphanages. In addition to La Clinica Chad, Dr. Crandall and his team help and support numerous other foundations and regions in need, while spreading the message of Jesus Christ.

With great fervor and a commitment for touching as many lives as he can, Dr. Crandall also spreads the word of health and faith through international public lectures and his publications. He also maintains the position on the Board of Directors for Palm Beach County Youth for Christ; Palm Beach County Youth for Christ; an organization that encourages building healthy relationships amongst the youth and introducing them to the work of Jesus. Having performed over 40,000 heart procedures during his career, Dr. Crandall is a top physician in his field offering a groundbreaking approach to preventing and reversing heart disease.

If you are inspired by Dr. Crandall’s mission, please visit chadwickfoundation.com for more information.

Anba Abraam Coptic Charity –Helping Egypt’s Children
10 Apr 2014

Dr. Shezad A. Saeed is a pediatrician based out of Cincinnati, Ohio’s Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.  Dr. Saeed is also founder and President of a very important organization, helping children who are often looked over in a third world nation.

Anba Abraam Coptic Charity (AAC) , founded in 1993, is dedicated to providing social and financial support to impoverished Egyptian, Sudan, and African communities. They provide food banks, a training and skills development centre, a dental clinic, and community service centres.  The goal is to help people in these countries around the world overcome this devastating poverty.