The resulting programme is profession-based: all people working are required to pay a portion of their income to a not-for-profit health insurance fund, which mutualises the risk of illness, and which reimburses medical expenses at varying rates. Children and spouses of insured people are eligible for benefits, as well. Each fund is free to manage its own budget, and used to reimburse medical expenses at the rate it saw fit, however following a number of reforms in recent years, the majority of funds provide the same level of reimbursement and benefits.
100 percent of qualified expenses (including pharmacy prescriptions) are paid by the employee until the employee deductible is met. Once the deductible is met, the employee will pay 20 percent co-insurance until the employee out-of-pocket maximum is reached. At that point, the Choice CDHP plan pays 100 percent of qualified expenses for the remainder of the plan year.
Through the 1990s, managed care insurance schemes including health maintenance organizations (HMO), preferred provider organizations, or point of service plans grew from about 25% US employees with employer-sponsored coverage to the vast majority. With managed care, insurers use various techniques to address costs and improve quality, including negotiation of prices ("in-network" providers), utilization management, and requirements for quality assurance such as being accredited by accreditation schemes such as the Joint Commission and the American Accreditation Healthcare Commission.
Background: Aim of study was to assess impact of deformable registration of diagnostic MRI to planning CT upon gross tumour volume (GTV) delineation of oropharyngeal carcinoma in routine practice. Methods: 22 consecutive patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma treated with definitive (chemo)radiotherapy between 2015 and 2016, for whom primary GTV delineation had been performed by a single radiation oncologist using deformable registration of diagnostic MRI to planning CT, were identified. Separate GTVs were delineated as part of routine clinical practice (all diagnostic imaging available side-by-side for each delineation) using: CT (GTVCT), MRI (GTVMR), and CT and MRI (GTVCTMR). Volumetric and positional metric analyses were undertaken using contour comparison metrics (Dice conformity index, centre of gravity distance, mean distance to conformity). Results: Median GTV volumes were 13.7 cm3 (range 3.5–41.7), 15.9 cm3 (range 1.6–38.3), 19.9 cm3 (range 5.5–44.5) for GTVCT, GTVMR and GTVCTMR respectively. There was no significant difference in GTVCT and GTVMR volumes; GTVCTMR was found to be significantly larger than both GTVMR and GTVCT. Based on positional metrics, GTVCT and GTVMR were the least similar (mean Dice similarity coefficient (DSC) 0.71, 0.84, 0.82 for GTVCT–GTVMR, GTVCTMR–GTVCT and GTVCTMR–GTVMR respectively). Conclusions: These data suggest a complementary role of MRI to CT to reduce the risk of geographical misses, although they highlight the potential for larger target volumes and hence toxicity. Full article
Out-of-pocket maxima: Similar to coverage limits, except that in this case, the insured person's payment obligation ends when they reach the out-of-pocket maximum, and health insurance pays all further covered costs. Out-of-pocket maxima can be limited to a specific benefit category (such as prescription drugs) or can apply to all coverage provided during a specific benefit year.
Some, if not most, health care providers in the United States will agree to bill the insurance company if patients are willing to sign an agreement that they will be responsible for the amount that the insurance company doesn't pay. The insurance company pays out of network providers according to "reasonable and customary" charges, which may be less than the provider's usual fee. The provider may also have a separate contract with the insurer to accept what amounts to a discounted rate or capitation to the provider's standard charges. It generally costs the patient less to use an in-network provider.
That's all great news. But the average benchmark premium is decreasing by quite a bit more than the average overall premium. That means subsidy amounts will fall by more than the average premium amounts, and people who don't shop carefully during open enrollment could find that their coverage, after their subsidy is applied, is more expensive in 2019 than it was in 2018.