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Friday, 19 November 2010
New Vision Discount Plan
Topic: Insurance
Pan-American Life’s signature Limited Benefit Medical product, PanaMed, reportedly  will offer a vision discount plan as well as fully insured dental plan. The vision plan,  offered through Avesis National Vision Network, is said to provide members "significant" savings from the retail prices on frames, discounts on eye exams, lenses, contact lenses and discounts on Lasik (refractive surgery) from more than 18,000 providers nationwide. Members interested in dental will be offered discounted fees through Guardian’s DentalGuard Preferred Select Network.

Posted by ct3/opticalceu at 6:32 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 19 November 2010 6:38 AM EST
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Friday, 15 October 2010
New Health Care Affecting Everyone
Topic: Insurance

Every American will feel the impact of the changes in the health care laws. For example, the Heritage Foundation claims that "the outlook for seniors’ Medicare Advantage (MA) plans is grim under the new health care law. Though seniors’ premiums will drop 1 percent in the new year, this will be the exception to the rule over the next decade."

Then a post on NYTimes notes "the biggest changes arrive this year courtesy of the new health care law. The new rules require employers to extend health insurance coverage to uninsured dependents up to age 26, eliminate any lifetime caps on coverage, and pay 100 percent of the cost of annual physicals and some other preventive care. Plans that don’t significantly change their cost and coverage structures will be exempt from the preventive care requirements. But for the most part, rising health costs will force employers to alter their plans, if only to shift more of the burden to employees. The new requirements and complicated new options will make selecting the right insurance plan perhaps more daunting than ever."


Posted by ct3/opticalceu at 8:43 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 15 October 2010 8:52 PM EDT
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Friday, 8 October 2010
Reminder about Changes in Flex Accounts
Topic: Insurance
"Starting Jan. 1, employees will no longer be able to use their health care spending accounts to pay for over-the-counter drugs and medicines without a doctor's prescription, although they will be able to use them for many other drugstore items, such as bandages and contact lens solutions, without a prescription.Also, the law will let many parents use their accounts to pay for medical expenses incurred on behalf of a child through the end of the year in which the child turns 26," according to a great story posted on the website for the San Francisco Chronicle. Therefore, most of the products and services of the eyecare industry will be covered under the new regulations for FSA accounts.

Posted by ct3/opticalceu at 6:02 AM EDT
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Thursday, 7 October 2010
Your Customers Don't Understand Their Flex Plans
Topic: Insurance
According to a WageWorks survey, most Americans don't understand the concepts behind their own flexible spending account (FSA). Eighty-six percent of survey respondents had at least one misconception about FSAs, and 20 percent thought  contributions were taxable.  Additionally, more than half admitted to understanding the least about FSAs compared to other benefits in their workplace. 

Posted by ct3/opticalceu at 7:13 AM EDT
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Monday, 4 October 2010
The New Looks of Medicare and Medicaid
Topic: Insurance

During the next seven  years, government subsidies to Medicare Advantage will disappear. Experts say that as subsidies decline and insurers pick up preventive care, the latter mandated by the new health care law, insurers may cut other benefits, such as dental and vision. That's the word from the NYTimes.

You might find some of your patients confused as well. The article notes that when patients sign up for Medicare during the next few months, they will have to deal with a variety of changes. 

Finally does it seem like you filling more Medicaid orders? You probably are. On average, Medicaid covers one in six Americans because of the economic downturn. "Enrollment in the program, which provides comprehensive coverage to the low-income uninsured, grew by 8.2 percent from December 2008 to December 2009, the second-largest rate of increase in the 10 years that Kaiser has conducted the survey. There were 48.5 million people on Medicaid at the end of 2009, or about one of every six Americans," according to another NYTimes article.

Posted by ct3/opticalceu at 8:29 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 4 October 2010 8:38 AM EDT
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Thursday, 9 September 2010
The Effect of the Upcoming Changes in FSA Regs
Topic: Insurance

Opticians have become accustomed to an end-of-the-year sales rush--not sparked by the holidays. Customers want to spend the remainder of the flex spending (FSA--flexibile spending accounts). With the passage of the recent health care bill, FSA's will change.

OTC meds and devices will require a doctor's note if the patient wants to apply his/her FSA. There are exceptions, such as contact lens supplies and reading glasses.

By  2013, the law limits FSA allocations to $2500 annually tax-free,  down from the current $5000 tax-free. Apparently individuals in the past would use their left over flex spending to go on buying sprees. Click here for more.

Posted by ct3/opticalceu at 8:05 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Humana Vision Expands Retails Providers
Topic: Insurance
HumanaVision Vision Care Plan (VCP) network is expanding its network to include LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, and JCPenney Optical as of the secord quarter next year. That's the report from MarketWatch.

Posted by ct3/opticalceu at 5:38 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 8 September 2010 5:39 AM EDT
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Monday, 9 August 2010
Medicaid Changes May Cause Havoc
Topic: Insurance
Optometrists in Virginia are complaining. A budget measure in the state will bar them from being reimbursed by Medicaid. They note that it would limit eye-care access for the poor and will harm their practices. They are arguing that it also violates Federal law. What will happen in other states such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire? That depends entirely on their legislatures and departments of health.

Posted by ct3/opticalceu at 1:01 AM EDT
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Saturday, 7 August 2010
Medicare Cuts and Advantages to Vary
Topic: Insurance
"For the 11 million people signed up for Medicare Advantage plans, their future with the popular program may depend on where they live.

"To help finance health reform, Congress cut $136 billion over 10 years from the program, in which private insurers provide Medicare health plans for seniors. The private plans, which are paid a flat fee from the government for each enrollee were a likely target: They cost the government much more per beneficiary, on average, than does traditional Medicare, according to Medicare’s advisory commission." That's the start of an article developed by Florida Health News and Kaiser Health News.

Posted by ct3/opticalceu at 8:31 AM EDT
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Thursday, 29 July 2010
Separate Vision Insurances Leads to More Exams
Topic: Insurance
"People who have vision insurance separate from their general health insurance plan are more likely to get their eyes examined, according to a study by the National Association of Vision Care Plans," according to InsuranceCorner.com.

Posted by ct3/opticalceu at 7:21 PM EDT
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