Posted on: April 8, 2013
Without Coverage, Access to Quality Healthcare is Extremely Limited
By Joel Seligman, President & CEO, Northern Westchester Hospital
The new Insurance Exchanges that go live January 1, 2014 are critical to achieving the most important benefit of the Affordable Care Act. They are the vehicle to extend health coverage to many millions of uninsured Americans, small businesses and others for whom good health insurance remains a dream. Make no mistake about the importance of being insured – without coverage one’s access to quality healthcare – especially specialty care is extremely limited. At any point during the year as many as 70 million Americans find themselves in this potentially desperate situation.
It follows that this must be good for our neighbors and good for our communities. By standardizing health plans, eliminating restrictions on pre-existing conditions and providing subsidies and incentives, the Federal Government is enabling millions of uninsured Americans to find coverage that they can afford.
Isn’t this also a good thing for hospitals and physicians?
With a greater number of patients having coverage, won’t doctors and hospitals be in a better financial position? Not necessarily. Depending on how this plays out, the Insurance Exchanges could lead to the downfall of many hospitals, especially those serving the poor, because those hospitals are the most vulnerable economically and politically.
Posted on: April 5, 2013
Are You Ready for Health Insurance Exchanges?
Some 2.7 million New Yorkers lack health insurance, according to New York government data. Without insurance, a serious medical problem can spell financial disaster for a family. Costs for treating the insured can quickly escalate as a result: People who lack coverage are less likely to seek preventive care and more likely to end up in emergency rooms once their condition worsens. The insured bear the brunt in the form of rising premiums and charges for medical care. According to a study led by Cathy J. Bradley, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, the cost of caring for the uninsured can be cut in half. Bradley and colleagues tracked more than 26,000 patients for seven years and found that their yearly healthcare costs dropped from nearly $9,000 on average to about $4,500 once they attained health coverage.
Insuring more Americans and reining in healthcare costs is the goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And one of the primary ways the ACA will accomplish its goal is through health insurance exchanges — also known as health benefit exchanges. The exchanges are basically a marketplace where consumers and small businesses can comparison shop for health insurance. States have until January 1, 2014 to set up an exchange, after which the federal government will do it for them.
Posted on: January 4, 2013
Corralling Your Medical Costs
…What you can do to keep the bills from mounting
Health care reform is continually in the news. The efforts by national and local government to rein in costs are having mixed success at best. Instead of waiting for bureaucrats to wrestle this problem to the ground, why not take steps on your own to control your own costs? With just a little effort, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Posted on: September 24, 2012
Healthcare Reform Summit
by Joel Seligman
On Thursday, September 27, I will join my healthcare colleagues at the Healthcare Reform Summit. The topic of healthcare reform is one of great interest and much deserved conversation. I have the privilege of discussing ways in which employers can reduce healthcare costs—a very timely and important topic for all employers throughout the greater Westchester region. I’ll be joining panelists from IBM, Greenberg Traurig and UnitedHealthcare.