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Chipping Away at Health Care Problems

The Supreme Court recently said it wouldn’t fast-track a
hearing to discuss the end of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka
“Obamacare”), which means it’s unlikely a ruling will come before the 2020

Instead, Congress is engaged in a slow-moving discussion of
health care issues with varying degrees of potential impact. In late 2019,
Congress approved an appropriations bill that didn’t include long-debated
provisions to address the issue of surprise billing.2

Surprise billing refers to when patients are billed for
services from providers that aren’t contracted with their insurance plan’s
network and therefore not covered. This often happens with anesthesiologists
and other specialists the patient doesn’t meet prior to a scheduled or
emergency surgery. In lieu of federal legislation, states are trying out
localized solutions, with some success. Thanks to a New York law passed in
2015, patients have saved more than $400 million in emergency services that
would have resulted in surprise billing.3

One thing to consider when planning for retirement is how you
will pay for possible increased health care expenses. If you’re interested in
exploring insurance options to help pay for health care and other expenses in
retirement, we can help you with that.

Whether it becomes a personal issue or a national one, the U.S.
still has a lot of health care issues it needs to address, such as:

  • U.S. prescription
    drug spending grew an average of 3.6% each year from 2008 to 2017 — much
    faster than in other developed nations.4
  • The rise in
    chronic conditions among millennials could result in up to a 33% increase in
    health care costs compared to previous generations.5
  • The U.S. has a
    woeful and abundant shortage of mental health providers, particularly in rural
    areas, during a time when adolescent suicide is on the rise.6 It won’t
    matter if a family has adequate health care coverage if there are no providers
    to be found.

As we continue through 2020, it’s likely health care
insurance and expenses will be a priority issue decided at election time,
whether the U.S. engages in comprehensive health care reform or continues to
develop solutions on an issue-by-issue basis.

Content prepared by Kara Stefan

1 Associated Press. Jan. 21, 2020. “Supreme
Court rejects fast-track review of Obamacare lawsuit.” Accessed Jan. 24, 2020.

2 Rachel Cohrs. Modern Healthcare. Dec. 23, 2019. “How Congress’
surprise billing compromise fell short.” Accessed Jan. 24, 2020.

3 Linda A. Lacewell. New York State Department of
Financial Services. September 2019. “What Investors Need to Watch for in 2020.” Accessed Jan. 24, 2020.

4 Marc A. Rodwin. Commonwealth Fund. Nov. 11, 2019. “What
Can the United States Learn from Pharmaceutical Spending Controls in France?” Accessed Jan. 24, 2020.

5 Emma Court. Time. Nov. 6, 2019. “Millennials’ Chronic
Health Problems Will Limit Their Lifetime Earnings, Report Says.” Accessed Jan. 24, 2020.

6 Catherine Pearson. Huffington Post. Nov. 4, 2019. “There
Aren’t Enough Mental Health Providers. And Kids Are Paying The Price.” Accessed Jan. 24, 2020.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement
strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and
objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help
you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed
as financial advice.

The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable,
but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be
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