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Consumers will have fewer brokers to guide insurance enrollment
Many insurance companies are reducing or eliminating commissions for health insurance brokersto cut overhead costs. The change has prompted some brokers to stop offering support for the exchanges. This poses a challenge to consumers who rely on broker advice to navigate an increasingly complex health care marketplace, writes Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News. While the move will hamper private brokerage, government-supported advisors are still available for consultation.
Medical industry lacks consensus on how to address physician burnout
Health care industry experts are struggling to address physician fatigue and burnout. A Mayo Clinic survey finds almost 60 percent of physicians are suffering from burnout. Proposals range from systemic changes that would allow nurse practitioners to prescribe medication to reductions in paperwork requirements. Most suggestions have proven controversial, and no consensus has emerged on how to deal with the widespread issue, according to Elizabeth Whitman of Modern Healthcare.
High-deductible plans leave consumers with tough choices
When choosing between high premiums and high deductibles, many consumers are opting to pay less each month and risk high medical bills in the future. The share of employees signed up for high-deductible plans has doubled in the past five years, according to a survey of employers by consulting firm Mercer. Reed Abelson of The New York Times explains high-deductible plans can lead to poor medical decisions and financial difficulties, as consumers face choices about which procedures are worth the expenseand high out-of-pocket costs.
Court overturns merger ruling
Reversing a lower court’s decision, a federal appeals court has ruled against a merger between Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University HealthSystem in Illinois. According to the three-judge panel, the district court did not correctly define the hospitals’ market.. If the hospitals continue to seek a merger, the case will return to a lower court. Lisa Schencker of the Chicago Tribune has the story.