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Practical Cost Reduction - The Many Ways How to Not Waste Money
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Practical Cost Reduction - The Many Ways How to Not Waste Money

We show consumers how not to waste the money they have on buying over priced or misrepresented items or services. This includes all areas including medical. Big profitable businesses know how to stop wasting money. We have saved businesses and consumers combined over $50 Million dollars over the last few years.
  • Many Types of Cost Savings for the Older Population

    There are multiple ways for the aging population to save money to make their financial situation easier and less stressful. One area most people miss is saving on bundled services. Bundled services fall into different areas. One area is for telephone services for the home phone, cable and/or the internet. While many older people may not be computer savvy, they may have these services available if their children or grandchildren visit. Discounts are given if more than one service is used by one company. A second area of bundled services is in the insurance service industry. Make sure if you have a car and a home bundle these with the same company for a bigger discount. If money is available in savings request a higher deductable to repair your car and home in an accident or incident. If bundled services are not used, ask for the best price to save money. If a couple has more than one car are both necessary. Areas to focus on about keeping more than one car are the maintenance cost (changing the oil and fixing any problems), license plates, and insurance costs. In the past having the car dealership work on changing the oil or fixing your car the deal was the most expense. For the automotive dealer to remain cost competitive they have lowered their cost. If the consumer needs bigger buttons to see there is a cell phone called Jitterbug that offers such an option.


    With grocery shopping coupons can save money if there is a product you really want to use or combine with a sale.  Many grocery stores offer double price list on a coupon up to a specified dollar amount. Keep in mind stores like Walgreens Drug Store, that offer weekly store coupons, the consumer can add a manufacturer coupon (states on the top of the coupon) additionally to save twice (store coupon and manufacturer coupon) on the same item purchased. When using cleaning products to clean your home go back to the basics like baking soda and vinegar. These worked years ago, so why spend money on expensive products. On the grocery store shelf below the product, there is a price tag. On the price tag there is a cost per ounce or unit. Make sure the cost per ounce or unit is the least expensive cost. There is an assumption that the bigger the product size or number of items in a package the less expensive it is, which is not always true.  At home consolidate your recipes, if you use them, and determine what will be made to eat for each meal. This will help with a grocery list of what is needed to purchase each week. When purchasing anything ask for senior citizen (and/or veteran) discount. This can help lower your cost at department stores, drug stores, thrift stores, and even restaurants. An unusual discount I overheard was a senior discount for a children’s happy meal at McDonalds and that size meal was the perfect size for that individual. Individuals should sign up for a store purchase discount card to get free coupons mailed to your address based on what you buy, even if you do have an email address the store or restaurant can mail coupons. If puzzles and games are enjoyed go to your dollar store to obtain these items as a lower cost than stores like Wal-Mart or the grocery store. If the consumer has trouble fixing all of their meals, there is a service called Angel Food Ministries that has premade meals that can just be heated up.


    If you have your own home, where you have to keep up the maintenance like cutting grass to caulking the windows to slow air loss to cut down on heating and cooling cost, hire a handyman or neighbor who can help instead of hiring a company that just focuses on one area, which will cost a higher amount. How to find a handyman is looking in the newspaper in the classified ads, ask friends or neighbors, or watch for yard signs.


    Many older citizens still have to work into their later years due to their financial situation. If the employer has disability insurance forserious illness or injury consider taking this option if the income is required to pay your bills. If the employer does not offer this option check out an Aflac company policy for that guaranteed income if  a serious injury or serious illness occurs.   If your health is good check into long-term care insurance that can help with costs for both nursing home care and treatment by nurses at home when you need this option.


    If reading books is enjoyable use your library to check out books. They have large print books also if poor eyesight is a problem. Many libraries also have movies that can be checked out for free. The library also offers many basic computer classes for those not familiar with how to use a basic computer A different option is purchasing a book reader. One version is called the Kindle, available through many electronic stores (like Best Buy and Wal-mart) or Amazon.com. The Kindle has several options that allow the book to be read out loud and the size of the print can be enlarged. There are many free book downloads to read for many topics. If you have children, grandchildren, or younger neighbors many can help with the computer, book readers, household related issues if we ask for help from those you trust as this can save the most money of all.



  • Do you understand the language used by your insurance company?

    Here is a guide for understanding the language used:

    Premium – This is a dollar amount owed by the patient or employer or a combination of both that must be paid to have any insurance coverage and is paid to the insurance company.

    HMO – Health Maintenance Organization

    In a Hmo the patient is assigned to a specific physician called a gatekeeper. The gatekeeper is the one who typically decides what services you can and cannot have based on your policy and what the physician or hospital will be paid. The HMO Company can override any decision made by the gatekeeper if they feel the cost is too high.  HMO’s work on the premise of basic/preventative type of care. Patients with chronic illnesses or accidents cost the HMO a high dollar amount out of their profit. If your gatekeeper keeps the cost below a certain dollar level, in many cases, the HMO will give the gatekeeper a financial bonus at the end of the physical year (December) or the end of their fiscal year (which is based on the month when they started the company).

    PPO – Preferred Provider Organization

    In a PPO the patient is not automatically assigned to a physician. The patients (or policyholders) are given access to a list of physicians, hospitals, and any other medical provider that the PPO has a contract with for a negotiated dollar amount. Since this dollar amount is typically lower than what the full dollar amount is the patient/policyholder will save money. The patient/policyholder has the right to have care from any physician or at any facility. In this case the medical claims will be paid as out of network and higher costs are sent to the patient/policy holder.

    Deductable – This can be either an annual amount or a monthly amount that the patient/policyholder is required to pay before services will be paid. Usually the only time you will see a monthly deductable is for Medicaid, when the patient has more financial assets than typically allowed. This allows a patient, for example, who owns a house or car to keep them. Yet due to the value of these items the patient may have to pay more out of pocket.

    Co-Insurance – This is a percentage of the total allowed dollar amount the insurance states they will pay that the patient/policyholder will be responsible. For example, Medicare pays 80% of an allowed dollar amount and the patient will owe the remaining 20%. If Medicare states they covered $100 on a service, then Medicare would pay $80 and the patient would owe $20.

    Co-Pay – This is a set dollar amount the patient/policyholder owes according to the medical service provided. The typically amounts usually are $10, $15, $20, $30, $35. It can be higher or lower than these amounts listed.

    Medicare Part A – Medicare Part A is paid for out of your time spent working in a job when Medicare benefits were taken out of your paycheck. This typically covers your hospitalizations, skilled nursing home confinement, and some home health benefits. There are other services than can be covered also. Keep in mind there are extensive requirements with Medicare in the number of days Medicare will pay for services rendered to a patient. There is a high out of pocket cost the patient has to pay if there is not a second insurance to pay for this cost.

    Medicare Part B – The patient has to pay a monthly premium to have access to Medicare Part B. There is also an annual deductable and a 20% co-insurance amount. Medicare Part B covers physician services, laboratory and radiology outpatient services, and some home health benefits.

    Medicare Part C – This is a Medicare HMO that replaces traditional Medicare Part A and B. It can have more services covered than traditional Medicare A and B. It also has more restrictions since the patient is assigned to a gatekeeper.

    Medicare Part D – Medicare Drug Program is there is help covered the cost of pharmacy expenses. It does not pay all expenses and there is a separate deductable.

    The biggest tip to keep in mind with Medicare is that it is there to help with expenses not cover all expenses.

     

    Secondary Insurance if Medicare is primary has two major types available.

    Medigap – This only covers Medicare’s annual deductable and co-insurance for items Medicare covers. If Medicare does not covered a service or medical item then the Medigap policy will not either.

    Fee-for-service type of policy will have its own set of coverage requirements. Many cover services Medicare does not cover. Watch their coverage guidelines.

    The more you understand about your insurance company and the language they use the more you will be prepared when services are needed and know what you have to pay.

     

     

  • Monitoring Your Medical Bills

    There are millions of dollars of incorrect claims filed to insurance companies on an hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly basis.  Medical billing and coding is not a simple process.  Common types of errors include: spelling errors, use of nicknames instead of legal names, sending claims to wrong addresses, medical coding errors where the procedure does not match the diagnosis,or  the diagnosis is totally incorrect for multiple reasons. The problem of unpaid bills is not always the fault of the medical provider.

     Under the Federal False Claims act in 2007 $2 billion dollars was returned to the Medicare Trust Fund after providers were identified as billing fraudulently to the Medicare program. There will likely be fraud on a daily basis in some aspect of billing from some unscrupulous provider, which not from the majority of providers.  It has been suggested by Economists that for every $1 the consumers spend that $15 can be saved  on stopping claims from being paid by an insurance provider or from dollars being inappropriately placed on a specific consumer, when the consumer understands what they are looking at specifically on their bills.  From 1987 to 2007 the total amount of established federal fraud that has been detected is $13,169,408,511. One of my first clients was being billing approximately $8,000. The insurance company requested the medical records and unfortunately an error occurred and the records were not sent. Therefore, since the records were not sent to the insurance company, the insurance company  would not pay the claims. The medical office placed the balance on the patient to pay.  Accidents like these are unfortunate, yet can be very common.  It can depend on the number of billing/coding staff available in a facility (are they understaffed) and their training.

    Do not pay a medical bill outright if you have insurance from a traditional medical provider as in a physician, laboratory (blood work), radiology (x-ray, CT, MRI), or hospital. You want to compare the medical bill against the explanation from the insurance company prior to making any payment. Unfortunately the consumer has to keep track of what the insurance company explanations state. There are massive amounts of paperwork that your medical facilites receive from insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid. It is very possible for mistakes to happen. Many larger facilities give each patient one medical records number and a separate billing number for every visit or service date. If the payment poster is not extremely careful, the payment can be posted to the wrong billing account number. This would cause the consumer to be possibly "stuck" with a bill to pay, unless the consumer was monitoring this with their insurance explanations.

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