All Treats No Tricks Cavalcade of Risk

Welcome to the Halloween edition of the Cavalcade of Risk!  It’s the 220th Cav that’s been posted since the series began in 2006, and there’s always lots of good stuff to read.

Technology is awesome

IMG_20141027_103513Let’s start things off with an update on a new use for drones (they’re going to be everywhere sooner or later, so if you’ve got an idea for how to use them, better get to work on branding it soon!)  Hank Stern of InsureBlog describes how drones can potentially be used by P&C carriers to get aerial images of disaster areas, particularly when there’s a significant area involved and compromised infrastructure makes it difficult to send in enough boots-on-the-ground adjusters.

At Health Business Blog, David Williams interviews Covidien’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Mike Tarnoff, about minimally invasive surgery (MIS).  MIS has been being perfected over the last several years, and yet reliance on it is still low in some areas and open surgeries still dominate in some areas where MIS has proven to be effective.  Tarnoff discusses some of the reasons for this, including the fact that some surgeons warn their patients away from MIS because of potential risks.  But as with any medical procedure, risk is minimized when skilled professionals are involved.

Workers’ Comp

IMG_20141028_144454At Workers’ Comp Insider, Julie Ferguson brings us a comprehensive review of the intersection of workers’ comp and Ebola.  Her post is jam-packed with information and links, and is a great resource for anyone curious about how workers’ comp is and could be impacted by Ebola.  Although the likelihood of an outbreak of any significant size here in the US is extremely low, and Julie noted in an email that “any quarantines should start with the media who are creating hysteria! Situation is bad enough without irresponsible media and pre-election fear mongering!”  I couldn’t agree more Julie!

Continuing with the workers’ comp theme, Michael Stack of Workers Comp Resource Center explains what to do – and what not to do – when filling out a claim form.  Michael uses real examples of claims that have been submitted and points out how much more useful they would be to everyone involved if they included more detail.  The more information you can provide to the adjustor in the initial report, the better.  Plus, it’s better to get everything reported as soon as possible, while everyone involved is still present and has a clear memory of what happened.  Don’t be vague on worker’s comp forms!

Regulations – they keep on coming

IMG_20141027_104037Russell Hutchinson of Chatswood Consulting explains why there is still a need for financial advisers.  Although some see the future of finance heading in more of an online, DIY direction, Russell notes that even though online services are increasingly available and high quality, things like life insurance are increasingly regulated and complex, creating a very real need for knowledgeable financial advisers.  We’ve seen the same thing here in the US with health insurance.  Although the ACA has done a tremendous amount to regulate the insurance industry and create numerous consumer protections, our clients have just as many questions as ever – maybe even more.  Although people can complete the process of enrolling through the exchange on their own, personal assistance is still a very popular service that brokers provide (and there’s no cost to use a broker!)

The Healthcare Economist, Jason Shafrin, explains the regulatory tsunami that is impacting physicians’ reimbursements rates with Medicare.  There are a lot of new regulations aimed at making the system more efficient, producing better outcomes for patients, and saving money.  I have no doubt that once everyone gets through the learning curves associated with the new regulations, most of them will prove to be beneficial.  But for doctors currently in the thick of figuring out the various reporting they need to do and the regulations to which they need to conform, I’m sure it can seem like their entire day revolves around policy adaptations.

Our own entry for this edition of the Cavalcade is all about the upcoming health insurance policy cancellations in Colorado.  There are about 22,000 people whose coverage will be ending, although they’re all eligible to purchase any plan they want  – through the exchange or off-exchange – during the open enrollment that runs from November 15 to February 15.  The policy cancellations are mostly from Humana, since the carrier opted not to renew grandmothered plans again for 2015.  There’s another significant chunk from SeeChange, because that carrier has become financially insolvent.  And almost all of the remaining policies that are being cancelled are limited benefit plans – they were never a good substitute for real health insurance in the first place, and most of their policy-holders will qualify for significant subsidies to offset the cost of coverage purchased in the exchange.

That’s it for this edition.  Have a happy and safe Halloween!

About Louise Norris

Louise Norris has been writing about health insurance and healthcare reform since 2006. In addition to the Colorado Health Insurance Insider, she also writes for healthinsurance.org, medicareresources.org, Verywell, Spark by ADP, and Boost by ADP. Follow on twitter and facebook.

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