Taming the Cost of Health Care – How the Health Insurance Industry Fights High Costs

For many families, finding affordable health insurance is a task akin to the search for the Holy Grail. Depending on where in the country you live, a family health insurance plan can cost as much as $800-$1000 per month. Even when you split that cost between employee and employer, that’s a major chunk of nearly anyone’s monthly budget. And while it’s popular to swear under your breath at the greed of the health insurance industry, a look at the cost of medical care is an eye-opening shock for many people. The expenses associated with a broken arm, for instance, can easily mount into several thousands of dollars.The Health Industry has a stake in keeping people healthy.The high cost of health insurance is the direct result of the high cost of medical care. It’s a simple matter of economics. The more it costs to take care of each subscriber, the more the insurance companies have to charge all their subscribers. This cost/expense ratio is what has made most insurance companies embrace the idea of providing preventive care to their subscribers. It’s a simple matter of business sense – healthy people don’t cost the insurance companies a lot of money.Accidents may be the first type of medical need that springs to mind when people consider buying health insurance, the major insurance companies all agree that accidents aren’t the major cost drain on medical resources. That place is reserved for chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. Because of this, it makes good business sense for major players in the insurance industry to encourage their subscribers to adopt preventive health strategies. That pays off in special benefits for health conscious consumers. Preventive Health Benefits Help Keep Costs LowAmong the benefits that have become commonplace for major health insurance providers are routine physicals, medical screenings for all subscribers, discounts on health club and gym memberships, payment of dues for weight loss groups and lowered subscription fees for non-smokers.Some health insurance companies and HMO’s go even further in their preventive efforts. Because of the high risk of serious injury or fatality for infants in automobile accidents, Fallon Community Health Plan of Massachusetts has for years teamed with local organizations to provide free infant car seats to families with newborns. In the same spirit of prevention, many HMOs offer free stress management and stress reduction workshops to all subscribers because stress has been identified as a leading risk factor in nearly every major illness. Seeking a CureThe quest for affordable health care has also prompted health insurers and HMOs to help fun research and health initiatives all over the country. The industry underwrites millions of dollars of medical research annually in an effort to lower the costs of health care. Their dollars fund grants to enroll low income and other hard to insure populations, and to offer eye, dental and health care to inner city and poor rural populations. They estimate that routine preventive eye and dental care, as well as routine medical screenings and physicals can identify illnesses at early stages and prevent conditions and costs from escalating out of reach. Get the Most from Your Health InsuranceYou pay for it – you should certainly get the most possible benefit from your health plan. Here are some suggestions for ways that you can make your insurance plan work for you:
Join a gym.
Check the benefits that your HMO or health insurer offers. Chances are good that one of them is a discount good on membership at a local gym or health club. Get fit – it saves THEM money… but it saves YOUR life.

Lose weight.
Take advantage of nutritional counseling and memberships in weight loss support groups to get down to your ideal weight. Added bonus? Many insurance plans offer a lower tier cost for subscribers who are at healthy weights.

Quit smoking.
Non-smokers are another group that often enjoy lower insurance premiums. Many HMOs and health providers offer free smoking cessation programs to help you get smoke free and healthy.

Attend medical screenings and health fairs.
Many insurance providers sponsor ‘wellness fairs’ where you can have your blood pressure tested, get free medical screenings and learn about alternative medical techniques like massage therapy, acupuncture and yoga. Take advantage of special events to learn more and get healthy.
It may be popular to demonize the insurance industry, but today more than ever, these companies have a stake in keeping you healthy. Find out what your inusrance company has to offer you by visiting their web site, or calling customer service.

NP Business and Trade Tip: Ideas to Diversify Your Practice Income

Many practices are being squeezed in the middle these days. Reimbursement is being reduced (or rules are being made to reduce it) and overhead is rising. It is simple economics when it comes to having a profitable practice…more money has to come in than go out.There are many ways a practice can increase their income — seeing more patients and reducing overhead are just two of the ways you can achieve this. Another is income diversification — increasing the products and services you offer to your patients and clients.When exploring your options you will want to me familiar with the Stark Laws (basically, you cannot refer only to your services), and you need to make sure the product/service is congruent with your practice model. For example offering Botox makes no sense if your practice is pediatrics or mental health. With that said, here are just a few ideas to help you brainstorm what you can add on to your practice to generate more in revenue.If you are not getting enough visits, consider changing your services to offer walk-in/ a-la-cart type services in an after-hours format. Your own patients will then come to your office rather than the urgent care down the road and you’ll attract more clients who may become your primary patients.Pharmaceutical Dispensing. This will depend on your own state laws, so be sure to check your practice act first. You can order and dispense medications and supplies at a profit to your clinic. consider other oral and injectable medications. You’ll need adequate storage and be familiar with dispensing guidelines.
Business Services. Offer services to local businesses. Perhaps they need pre-employment physicals, drug screens, wellness program or available for quick appointments for on the job injuries. You’ll be able to set up contracts with many of these companies and become their go-to office for services.
Leasing/Subleasing. If you own a building or lease a large office, consider leasing/subleasing out space to compatible services. Think mental health, nutrition or massage therapy.
Specialty Procedures. Consider various procedures such as filling lap bands, cosmetic procedures and tattoo removals. All of have the benefit of being generating cash revenue, eliminating additional cost of billing insurance.
Laboratory Services. If you are sending all of your patients to an outside laboratory for needed lab work, consider bringing it in house. You can negotiate a contract with your lab service, draw the labs in house and bill the patient for the services. You’ll often be able to increase your own revenue while offering patients a significant savings.
Weight loss Programs. There are a variety of weight loss programs you can take advantage of, that offer tremendous benefit to your patients while increasing your bottom line.These are just a few of the ways you can think outside the box and offer valuable services to your patients while you increase your revenues. When evaluating any of these services, be sure to weigh your patients needs and of course, add value to their lives and experiences.Your Actions Steps: Assessment: Sit down and look at your practice income. Where does your income come from? Which payers are paying what percentage of your gross income? Additionally, if you have not already looked at your overhead do so now. How efficient is your office running? Where is the waste (which is in almost every office)?
Brainstorm with your partners and staff different ways you can add services and/or products that make sense. Put all ideas on the table even if they feel like they don’t fit.
List the pros and cons of each idea to get a sense of what really might work. You’ll want everyone involved in this process. If you don’t feel like you have enough ideas, start asking your clients what they would like to see in your practice. Consider adding a suggestion box — you’ll be amazed at the feedback you get — especially when it’s anonymous.
Read your state practice act to be clear on any rules/regulations that may interfere with your plan.
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Raise Capital With Private Investors

If you have launched your own startup, your first biggest challenge is to raise capital. Fortunately, you choose from a lot of options to raise the funds your business needs. Among all the sources, crowdfunding is one of the best ones as it helps redefine how startups can get off the ground. In this article, we are going to help you know the benefits of raising capital with private investors through a crowdfunding platform. Read on to find out more.

Benefits of raising capital with private investors

1. Funding is not equity-based

First of all, crowdfunding is not necessarily equity-based. Although startups have the liberty to use the equity in order to catch the attention of potential investors, It’s not required to give up ownership to collect capital.

The good news is that some platforms allow their members to apply a reward-oriented approach in order to raise capital. For instance, if your business deals in a specific product, make sure you hand over a few units to your prospective investors before you roll it out for the ultimate users.

2. Attracting potential investors is easy

With crowdfunding, you can attract a lot of potential investors without putting in a lot of effort. Although you can try for angel investors, keep in mind that this process can cost you a lot of time. The reason is that you will have to pitch your small business concept several times.

On the other hand, if you use a crowdfunding platform, you will have to post your business pitch in only one place. And this page will be ready by hundreds of investors from across the globe.

These platforms have a lot of useful features that may help startups collect funds from investors. So, attracting potential investors and raising capital will be much easier using crowdfunding platforms.

3. Higher visibility

Crowdfunding can help you make your startup more visible. Since marketing may consume a large chunk of your budget, it makes sense to use a crowdfunding platform instead. For potential investors, it’s easy to fund a crowdfunding campaign.
And these activities can help boost the visibility of your brand. Plus, you can also attract investors for your next funding rounds.

The Bottom Line

If you want to raise funds for your startup, crowdfunding can be the best choice. All you need to do is become part of a crowdfunding platform and you will be able to tap into the pool of potential investors. And this will help you kick start your business and make it a success in the industry.