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3 Things 1-31

1/31/2022 Although MAS is a financial services company, not everything published herein will be about numbers or investing. But no matter the topic, we hope for three things: 1) That you find the time you spend engaged worthwhile. 2) That you’ll reach out to us for help in any of our areas of expertise if something we discuss creates an urging in you to do so. 3) That you’ll share this with somebody new each time you read it. Thing One Learn From His Regret In responding to the World Regret Survey (yes that’s a thing) designed and administered by Daniel Pink, author of The Power Of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward, Jason Dent, the employee relations manager for a large apparel chain, had this to say: “I regret not saving money diligently ever since I started working. It’s nearly crushing every day to think about how hard I’ve worked over the last 25 years or so, but financially I have nothing to show for it. I’m very transparent about being 43 and not having any money. I only wish more 43-year-olds had been more honest with me [when I was younger]” When I first started working almost three decades ago, several people told me that I should start saving in the company’s 401k plan. I didn’t object but I also didn’t fill out the paperwork immediately – for several years actually. Luckily for me, there were constant reminders in those first few years from those same people and I finally signed up. I’m not sure why they cared so much. They really didn’t have any reason to but I’m so glad they did. Maybe you are like Mr. Dent. If so, it’s never too late to start. Or maybe you know younger people who are just starting out. If so, start gently encouraging them to put something aside for old age. In either case, you’ll have one less thing to regret if you start or start encouraging. As always, let us know if we can help.

Thing Two No Panacea, But At Least No Surprises The following is an excerpt from “Starting Jan. 1, 2022, it will be illegal for providers to bill patients for more than the in-network cost-sharing price if the patient did not choose or know that the service would come from an out-of-network provider. In addition, certain nonemergency out-of-network ancillary services may not be billed beyond their in-network cost-sharing amount regardless of whether the patient received notice or consented to the service. This includes the following items and services: anesthesiology, pathology, radiology, neonatology, and laboratory services. Nor can an out-of-network provider use the notice and consent process if there is no in-network provider available to furnish the item or service at the facility. The HHS secretary has the discretion to add or remove items and services through the rulemaking process. In other words, the No Surprises Act requires health plans to treat surprise out-of-network services as if they were in-network when determining the amount they charge patients.” This is a good start. But since there’s simply not enough competition in healthcare services for the cost curve to bend downward, don’t expect this to result in an overall decrease in your routine medical costs. The in-network price can still be whatever is negotiated between the health plan and the provider. And given that both will be keen to avoid losses due to the new rule, there’s a chance that in-network prices will start to creep up as an offset for the out-of-network charges that will have to be eaten by the provider and/or the health plan. All that said, what you should know is that the rule is in effect now. And since one in five adults have received a surprise bill in the last 2 years (according to JAMA) and almost 20% of emergency room visits result in at least one surprise bill, it's good to be aware of this rule. It might help you win an argument with your provider or health plan and save you some money.

Thing Three Just A Thought “Leave everything undefined, including yourself. Befriend uncertainty. Fall in love with mystery. Kneel at the altar of Not Knowing. Give your questions time to breathe. And the answers will find you.” — Jeff Foster


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