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New Model for Estimating Healthcare Costs

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When we ask employees about their financial security, they tell us their number one stressor is not saving enough for retirement. After that, they worry about the economy and after that, their personal health. But when we ask them what defines a good lifestyle once they stop working and what is the most important factor affecting financial security in retirement, they place health at the top of both lists. Meanwhile, as another survey has found, retirees are feeling less confident that they will be able to afford medical care and long-term care.

It’s hard to know how much savings will be needed to cover healthcare expenses in retirement. The conventional approach of estimating a lifetime total cost for healthcare expenses in retirement and targeting savings to cover that amount clearly does not work for everyone, as most people have difficulty saving for retirement at all. We believe that a different approach to planning for healthcare costs may work better for most employees and retirees.

In collaboration with Vanguard, we have developed a new framework that helps pre-retirees and retirees better understand the financial planning implications of annual health care costs and long-term care expenses. Instead of a “big scary number” for the lifetime total cost, this framework considers healthcare costs (other than for long-term care) as annual expenses personalized to an individual’s health status, coverage choices, retirement age, and presence of any employer subsidies. Additionally, the framework allows pre-retirees to compare their healthcare costs in retirement to their cost while working, with the key point being that retiree healthcare costs can be viewed as the incremental cost over what they currently pay. Once an individual understands their costs, they may need to save at higher rates to account for potential future incremental health care spending. Workers with generous employer health care benefits that may not be offered in retirement and those at higher risk of chronic conditions because of their family history or current health status should target higher replacement ratios. Long-term care costs represent a separate planning challenge given the wide distribution of potential outcomes. Half of individuals will incur no long-term care costs—but there is a small but meaningful risk that costly care will be required for multiple years.

The model we have developed with Vanguard takes a fresh look at existing industry data, complements it with new findings, and builds a forecast that more clearly identifies variations in the estimated annual healthcare costs expected in retirement. We think this flexible, actionable approach to framing healthcare cost can lead to better planning and better outcomes for retirees.

Given how important this issue is to employees, consider helping your pre-retirees better understand how their healthcare costs will change in retirement and actions they can take now to save for those costs appropriately (for example, in a 401(k) plan or health savings account).  A particular concern for many employees is being able to retire before age 65 and becoming eligible for Medicare. A good financial wellness program should stress that access to affordable, comprehensive retiree coverage to bridge from the active plan to Medicare is a critical issue in retirement planning.

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AI to help kids struggling with ADHD, Autism, Asperger Syndrome (ASD), PDD-NOS and other ASD’s (autism spectrum disorders)

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Stephane Bourles, CIO at Brain Balance

Left Brain or Right Brain?

In a properly functioning brain, both hemispheres communicate equally and at lightning speed, millions of times per minute. In a poorly functioning brain, the left and right sides of the brain only impart partial information, causing frequent miscommunication. This is called Functional Disconnection and is the root of many types of learning, behavioral and social problems found in children. The Brain Balance program puts the left and right brains back in sync using sensory motor exercises, academic skill building, and nutrition guidelines.

How does the Assessment Work?

The assessment consists of sensory, motor, and academic testing of more than 900 functions. The outcome of this assessment is a highly customized report providing parents with a complete understanding of their child’s behavioral, social, and academic skill levels.

We use AI to determine which brain hemisphere we believe to be stronger or weaker. The Machine Learning algorithm used for the assessment is not always accurate, which we know based on the feedback from our staff—yes we let them disagree with the system, which is intended as a tool to help them support their own assessment, but not to necessarily force them into a decision they don’t agree with.
But as valuable as an individual observation based on years of experience is, it still remains just the view of one individual. That is why we look at Artificial Intelligence as a new solution combining neural network architectures with massive computing power to enable our solution to learn a pattern from large datasets and make statistical predictions based on test results and feedback we already have for tens of thousands of students.

What is next?

Thanks to many product releases with different Machine Learning models we tested, we were able to improve our assessment accuracy and achieve precision, recall and F1 scores over 0.95. The limitation of this AI model is it is not 100% accurate and you don’t know for sure the source of truth. Since AI is a “black box” which can’t explain its prediction for most models, you have to trust your staff first.

Similar to clinical decision support systems helping healthcare practitioners, we believe this fast growing dataset about children, combined with new Artificial Intelligence models such as Explainable AI, will help our staff improve a child’s initial assessment, which will then improve our overall program’s results.

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All About Breast Tightening and Liposuction

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Women with overly large breasts can face a number of difficulties on a physiological and psychological level, such as being unable to find clothes that fit properly, permanent indentations left behind by their bras from carrying the immense weight of their bosoms, or suffering from chronic pain in regions like their back, neck, and shoulders that can affect their day-to-day living.

In these cases, breast tightening and liposuction procedures like Breast-Tite—a form of radiofrequency-assisted (RFA) liposuction designed to perform what is known as a scar-less breast lift—can improve your daily life. If you haven’t heard of this innovative procedure before, you may want to take notes, as it provides a fantastic alternative to traditional breast lift and breast reduction surgeries! Learn more about breast tightening and liposuction down below!

How Does Breast-Tite Work?

Breast-Tite uses a form of liposuction that relies on a small cannula and a set of probes that emit radiowave energy in a fashion similar to the opposite poles on a battery. A local anesthetic is applied to the area to be treated, and then the radiowave energy (or radiofrequency) melts away unwanted deposits of breast fat in the subcutaneous layer while tightening the skin above the fat at the same time.

The temperature and flow of the radiowave energy are controlled by the surgeon as they expertly sculpt a patient’s breast to a desirable and realistic size and shape, resulting in a subtle yet remarkable breast lift with no signs of the procedure other than a single small puncture wound that heals with minimal scarring.

Achieve a Natural-Looking Breast Lift with Breast-Tite

One of the best things about undergoing a Breast-Tite procedure is that no one will be able to tell you’ve had a breast lift done. Your breasts just end up looking naturally perkier as a byproduct of your breasts being freed of extraneous fat and extra weight, resulting in a moderate lift of one to two inches in height on average for a more natural aesthetic than you’d experience with traditional breast lifts and breast reductions.

Additionally, patients who opt for a Breast-Tite procedure won’t experience the same troublesome problems that afflict those who undergo traditional breast liposuction—namely, severely loosened skin and noticeable scarring that often require additional lifts and tucks in order to hide. Instead, with Breast-Tite, patients will notice that their skin feels firmer and tighter, molding perfectly to their newly lightened breasts.

However, breast tightening and liposuction procedures like Breast-Tite may not work out for every patient. A good way to tell if you’ll be a proper candidate for Breast-Tite is to examine your breasts for extreme drooping or sagging. If your breasts fall below your rib cage or inframammary line, traditional breast lift and breast reduction procedures may produce better results for your body.

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Defining Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2018

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  1. The healthcare industry tackles the opioid crisis

Opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death for US adults younger than 50. This is a phenomenon too big to solve by only one player – there is a role for everyone across the healthcare landscape, from prescribers, to payers, to the pharmaceutical industry, in order to reverse this trend.

  1. Social determinants come to the forefront

The US spends more on healthcare per capita per year than any other nation, but lags in outcomes. To improve health while saving money, the industry needs to expand the borders of healthcare. This means thinking beyond the four walls of the hospital and looking holistically at the full profile of a patient, beyond their specific health issue.

  1. Price transparency moves to the statehouse

With no clear legislative path for federal action on health reform, states are starting to take matters into their own hands. Over 30 states are now considering legislation that would directly control drug prices and shine a light on cost changes. It is important to watch what happens at the state level, as past state healthcare reform efforts have been brought to the national stage.

  1. Natural disasters create devastation that lasts long after the event passes

Natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires can wreak havoc on health systems, manufacturing supply chains, and financial operations both in the short and long-term. Health systems and pharmaceutical companies who conduct proactive scenario planning can increase the pace of recovery and avoid making premature decisions that could do harm in the long-term.

  1. Medicare Advantage swells in 2018

Medicare Advantage is projected to cover nearly 21 million people in 2018, a 5% increase over 2017, providing a new competitive opportunity for health insurers. However, many eligible consumers don’t know these plans exist, so insurers must work to raise awareness of options, and tailor those options to best meet patient needs.

  1. Health reform isn’t over, it’s just more complicated

While the chance to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a single piece of legislation may be dead, the Republican party will likely continue to pursue health reform in 2018 through a more fragmented approach. 2018 will likely bring continued efforts to reduce and cap federal Medicaid spending, expand access to lower-premium health insurance, loosen ACA consumer protections, soften the employer and individual mandates and repeal ACA taxes and fees.

  1. Securing the internet of things

Following a year marked by major, industry wide cybersecurity breaches and a 525% increase in medical device cybersecurity vulnerabilities reported by the government, hospitals must take quick, decisive action to maintain data privacy, secure the thousands of connected medical devices on their networks and protect patients. Companies should treat cybersecurity incidents as a “non-natural” disaster, and invest more in planning, defensive measures and personnel.

 

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