7 Tips for Minimizing Auto Repairs

We rely on our vehicles to get us where we need to be. This means long hours on the road and lots of wear and tear on out vehicles – so by rights, auto repair services must be a part of our anticipated expenses. However, these vehicle repairs don't have to a constant part of life. There are a number of proactive things we can do to keep the time spent at the mechanic's shop to a minimum.

If you have never considered being proactive about auto maintenance, then now is the time to do so. Better yet, you don't have to be an auto repair service specialist or have a huge garage full of tools to do these simple tasks. Rather, just some basic knowledge and tools will suffice. Let's get started.

Tips for Minimizing Auto Repairs

1. Read the manual. Your vehicle manual will tell you things like how often to change the oil, what to watch for in how your engine is running and many other useful facts. Knowing and following them will save you a great deal of aggravation.

2. As soon as your engine light comes on, take it in for a diagnostic check. Taking care of small problems will prevent larger more costly ones.

3. Change the oil, add water, maintain the anti-freeze and keep up with any other liquids that need to be added to the car. This will keep its performance better and minimize risk of damage to other parts of the vehicle.

4. Keep your tires at the correct weight and amount of air. This information will be listed in your owner's manual. Also, be sure to get them rotated as recommended. Failing to do any of this can result in a blowout.

5. Pay attention when you drive. Watch out for items on the road that can damage the wheels, or kick up into the workings of your vehicle.

6. Get your transmission serviced. Talk to the people who change the oil to find out how often this is recommended for your particular vehicle.

7. If you notice unusual sounds being made by your vehicle while you are driving, or if it seems to be shaking unnecessarily, take it in for a checkup. It's always best to be told it is nothing to stress over than to ignore the sounds / shaking and find out there was serious problem or repair that could have been prevented.

When you take the time to maintain your vehicles, then you can minimize the time and money spent on auto repair services. To learn additional ways to get more out of your particular vehicle (s) talk to a local auto repair service team today.

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Identity Theft and Your Online Job Search

While identity theft is nothing new, the Web has opened up whole new world of opportunity for identity thieves.

According to the FBI, identity theft is the top online fraud. The US Federal Trade Commission says that identity theft is it's number one source of consumer complaints – 42 percent of all complaints, in 2001.

The thief will use your personal information to open credit card accounts, cell phone accounts, open bank accounts in your name and write bad checks-leaving the victim with the bills and ruined credit ratings. Identity thieves may pose as representatives of banks, Internet service providers and even government agencies to get you to reveal your Social Security number, mother's maiden name, financial account numbers and identifying information.

In a recent article ( http://www.msnbc.com/news/830411.asp ), MSNBC reported the case of a man who fell victim to a fraudulent job listing that was posted at Monster.com. According to the article:

"It was just the job lead Jim needed: a marketing manager position with Arthur Gallagher, a leading international insurance broker. And only days after Jim responded to the job posting on Monster.com, a human resources director sent along a promising e-mail . We're interested in you, the note said. The salary is negotiable, the clients big. In fact, the clients are so valuable and sensitive that you'll have to submit to a background check as part of the interview process. for work, Jim complied- and sent off just about every key to his digital identity, including his age, height, weight, Social Security number, bank account numbers, even his mother's maiden name. "

Jim spent the day canceling his credit cards, checking his balances and contacting the credit bureaus, but he's concerned that his information is now "out there".

There are warning signs that can tip you off to fraudulent job listings. While these items don't necessarily mean that the listing is a scam, they are indications that you should do further checking.

–Incorrect grammar and spelling errors

–Phone or fax number area codes don't match the address given

–Unrealistic salary

Online job databases are not the only places that identity thieves cruise for personal information. In recent indictments across the US, individuals have been charged with obtaining and using personal information through various ways. In Miami, two individuals were indicted for illegally tapping the computer networks of restaurants using the cover of a dummy corporation. A clerical worker at the New York State Insurance Fund pilfered office files and used stolen identities (of people across the country as well as fellow office workers) to obtain goods and services. A phlebotomist at Kaiser Permanente admitted to using the personal information of patients and employees in order to open credit card accounts in various names.

Recently, an FTC investigation into a work-at-home scheme spawned an incredible "scam-within-a-scam" when a man pretending to be an FTC employee emailed hundreds of the scam's victims. He requested personal information stating that it was to be used as evidence in the case.

While it's impossible to completely eliminate the chances of becoming a victim, you can minimize the risk by putting the following to practice:

– If a would-be employer asks you for any personal information you should ask them for their contact information and then separately look up the company information and contact them to verify that they actually exist. While it's not unusual for an employer to ask for certain work-related information (like your work history and former employers), it is not appropriate for them to ask for personal information (like a social security number) unless you are actually being hired ( and you've checked them out to make sure they're legitimate). Even then, you should never be asked for financial information such as a credit card number.

–On online resumes, never include your social security number and keep even your work history brief.

–Check your credit card statements often. Believe it or not, many people never even check them!

–Be sure to follow up with creditors if your bill doesn't arrive on time. A missing credit card bill may mean that an identity thief has changed your billing address to cover their tracks.

–Order your credit report from one of the major credit bureaus each year and verify that everything is correct.

What to do if you've been a victim of identity theft:

The FTC maintains Consumer Sentinels Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse, the nations repository for identity theft complaints. The FTC established the Identity Theft Toll-Free Hotline, 1.877.IDTHEFT (1.877.438.4338) and the ID Theft Website (www.consumer.gov/idtheft) to give identity theft victims a central place to report their problems and receive helpful information.

The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). You can use their online system to file a complaint.

[http://www1.ifccfbi.gov/index.asp]

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The Importance of Employment Tests

It is a known fact that the success of an employer and a company as a whole depends largely on the quality and reliability of its employees. This is the reason why employers must invest time and even money in the recruitment and interview process. Doing so would ensure that only the best possible candidate will be considered for a particular job.

When it comes to screening of potential employees, no other tool does it better than employment tests. These tests can measure what is called the KSA – knowledge, skills and abilities of the job candidates. Employment tests in this context are generally written or automated tests, but also include interviews, personality tests, skill tests, psychological tests, performance tests, medical examinations, agility tests, and so on.

A hiring process that is poorly designed is much like a recruitment process based on flipping a coin. Employers are well-aware that the impact of inefficient recruitment decisions can have costly and detrimental results, which may include expensive training costs, decrease in overall productivity, increase in employee replacement, and increase in legal exposure.

Benefits of Efficient Assessments Incorporating assessment tests ensure that your company is making better hiring decisions. It can determine whether or not an employee can meet your criterion for maintaining high productivity. Consequently, pre-employment tests can reduce expensive and time-consuming recruitment steps by straightforwardly narrowing down the choices that will include only candidates who are best fit for the job. Because job fitting is greatly improved, this scenario can also increase the chances of retaining your employees for far longer periods of time. Furthermore, a well-developed pre-employment testing program can present a professional and positive image for your company, and will decrease the risk of hiring complaints.

Although pre-employment tests are basically a tool that protects employers, it can be just as important for them as for the applicant. It would be a shameful waste of time, effort, and even money to prepare for the responsibilities and challenges of a new job, yet find out later on that one is not capable of performing the tasks on hand and is bound for failure.

The benefits of pre-employment testing are endless. However, employers must know that these tests have certain limitations. For one, written tests must only measure skills that are important for the job description that a candidate is applying for. For this, employers must carefully design their pre-employment testing program. Pre-employment tests not properly designed may create an impression of being discriminatory, and this is something employers must avoid at all times.

Designing testing tools take time and experience. If these two are something your company does not have, you can easily find pre-employment testing software packages on the market. These pre-employment tests have been designed by professionals with expertise and experience in the field of recruitment, and thus can efficiently evaluate the general knowledge, office skills, personality, and so on, of a potential job candidate. There are various types of pre-employment test to choose from, and there will surely be one that best fits your needs as an employer.

Clearly, organizations that have a carefully well-developed testing program that best meets their exact needs will have competitive advantage. Employment tests allow employers to make the best hiring decisions and will consequently improve business revenue, productivity, and overall business outcomes.

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Nursing and Our Senses

As nurses, we are grateful for monitoring equipment. The equipment tells us what we need to know at the touch of a button. But, we also know that relying on these machines alone can take the skill out of nursing. In the absence of monitoring equipment, there is no need to panic. The human body possesses what we need to carry out a basic if not advanced nursing, life-saving assessment / judgement should things go wrong – our senses! A nurse needs to be able to tell if something is 'off' just by using their eyes, ears and hands. The following are some tips on how we can utilize these senses and act promptly, thus also being able to save lives.

1. The eyes.
There is no greater tool to a nurse than the eyes. You can tell a lot just by casting a glance at your patient. Straight away you can understand how critical they are only by observing their color, the rhythm of their breathing, chest movement or lack of it, a bleeding wound, a swollen leg, urine color and any other physical signs of distress you can think of. Once you've noticed an abnormality, you can proceed with caution.

2. The ears
If a patient is unstable, they will make abnormal sounds – sounds that indicate something is wrong with, perhaps, their airways such as wheezing, gurgling, stridor, etc. At other times, there are no sounds at all, which would also indicate a complete airway obstruction in some cases. So, using your ears, you will be able to ascertain whether your patient is making the right kind of sounds. If it is not breathing, they may cry / scream, or try to tell you something. Gather the facts with your ears, and from then on, you will be able to act accordingly.

3. The hands
If anything, nursing is a hands-on job. You cannot be a nurse and not get your hands dirty. When faced with a sticky situation, take the time to feel your patient. Feel their pulse, their breath and skin. Are they warm enough, too warm, cold or clammy? That alone can tell you all you need to know about your suffering patient.

4. Smell
There is a lot that a nurse can tell just by using their sense of smell. Be it the smell of your patient's urine, an infected wound or stools. Once you've established something doesn't smell right; a nurse can proceed with confidence.

5. Taste
In 1674, Thomas Willis described the taste of urine in diabetic patients as 'wonderfully sweet as if it were imbued with honey or sugar.' I know what you're thinking. Yacky right? Well, not according to those who nursed in the olden days. Before technology was developed, the way it has, doctors and nurses, in some parts, used to taste urine for infection. Thank goodness we do not have to do that anymore. We have advanced technology now, and we can diagnose at the press of a button.

6. Trust your instinct
Nurses have an uncanny way of using their gut to determine if / when something is not quite right with their patients. This, in my view, is what makes a nurse a bit special. Nurses can achieve this because they are the ones who spend the most amount of time with the patient and offer hands-on care, so, they can tell when a characteristic is out of the ordinary, even without medical evidence at first. So if you're a nurse like me and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach, that something isn't quite right, then it probably isn't. Go with your gut and tell the doctor what you think and let them know what your concerns are. The worst thing that could happen is you'll annoy the hell out of the on-call doctor who was getting ready to take a nap after a long day at work. Better to be safe than sorry!

Although machines have made nursing somewhat 'easy' these days, I reckon we have all the tools, the machines we need to do a reasonably sound nursing assessment. Our eyes, ears, noses, mouths (okay maybe not so much now) and gut instinct provide us with all the information we need to prevent danger from occurring to our patient. Let's use them. Done enough times, the confidence and skill you gain from practicing with your senses are indispensable. You will feel satisfied and glad, and so will your patient!

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Real Estate Investment Outlook

Although it appears to have been mainly technical factors that triggered the correction in the stock market, inflation concerns have been the major cause for plummeting stock market prices. We have outlined such a scenario of inflation and its impact on real estate investments.

Indeed, the difference between current and trend economic growth is moving close to zero, rising labor demand is putting upward pressure on wages and salaries, but it is still far from a strong acceleration in inflation rates. Meanwhile, the recommendation by the US Department of Commerce in its investigation to restrict aluminum and steel imports on national security grounds is a reminder that the risk of escalating trade tension has a significant impact on real estate investments.

We are not suggesting that the probabilities of risks have risen substantially in light of these events. However, we argue that higher volatility combined with uncertainties about the future uncertain outlook for US trade policy is not an environment where we should risk everything on one endeavor, but rather seek returns by pursuing opportunities in the real estate market.

It would be more than natural that unjustified price appreciations will be corrected over time. Some teams believe that rising inflation may have played a prominent role in the recent stock market sell-off. However, higher inflation points to an overheating economy and rising wages could lower profit margins. Neither case obviously applies at the current time. However, historical evidence shows that periods when inflation begins to rise often create volatility in real estate markets and, on average, returns are meager. Finally yet importantly, higher interest rates could hit real estate prices if they reflect rising risk. Higher interest rates should be less relevant if they result from higher growth.

For now, we expect the implications of rising interest rates on the real estate outlook to be limited. A more persistent significant decline in real estate prices could, however, be associated with somewhat slower growth, either because the economy anticipates a slowdown, or because economic decline itself dampens growth.

The impact of rising interest rates on growth also depends on the factors that pushed up interest rates. The rise in interest rates could be the consequence of stronger growth momentum, in which case the economic fallout is understandably limited. However, if higher interest rates reflect rising risks, for instance, then growth may well suffer more significantly. Financial conditions remain very loose and interest rates relatively low. This should continue to support economic growth.

Therefore, we are keeping our scenario of sustained economic growth: (1) higher world economic activity, (2) rising fixed capital formation, (3) a very gradual adjustment of monetary policy in the US. We acknowledge the risks from higher protectionism, as recent announcements are a reminder that trade frictions could escalate significantly. At this point, it remains to be seen what action the US will take and how other countries may respond.

Since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008, most have averted the specter of deflation by deploying conventional and – even more importantly – unconventional measures of monetary policy. Inflation in the US averaged around 1.5%, with a dispersion of -2% in mid 2009 to approximately 3.8% in late 2011. Currently, US consumer price inflation stands at 2.1%.

In the US, the government is embarking on a path of fiscal stimulus, and more trade tariffs and trade friction may push inflation higher. However, several factors are keeping underlying inflationary pressure contained for now, including still-cautious wage bargaining behavior by households, price setting by firms and compositional changes in the labor market. In addition, the recent readings have likely overstated current price trends, (the surprising weakness in inflation in 2017). Outside the US, wage and price trends have not changed much in recent months.

Against this backdrop, we do not foresee any surprises over the course of 2018. The Fed is expected to gradually lift rates with caution depending on the tightness of the US labor market, the evidence of accelerating wage dynamics and the potential impact of higher financial market volatility on economic growth.

In addition, a tax policy that fosters the competitiveness of Corporate America and attracts direct foreign investments, helping to raise the potential growth rate of US, should also be supportive for the greenback. At the same time, there are as many factors pointing to a glorious future for real estate markets

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the current probability of recession for the US economy stands at around 4%, moving to approximately 10% at the end of 2018. In our view, the gradual tightening of monetary policy, limited inflation expectations and cautious investment demand, will keep real interest rates relatively low. Therefore, we prefer real estate investments in 2018.

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Auto Transport & Car Shipping Industry Exposed

Auto transport industry is run by 90% by the brokers! The majority of auto transport companies don't own car trailers. They don't have the staff or budget to market themselves to the public or the customer service team to provide support to their clients. They typically rely on word of mouth or local advertising to get the business. Carriers deeply rely on the brokers to fill up their trucks and keep them moving.

Auto transport brokers have access to hundreds of transporters and can generally accommodate you on any location you may need to get your car picked up or delivered to. Working with a reputable broker may help you get a better price or find a company you wouldn't otherwise find on your own. The broker may also provide you with a more competitive price quote and offer you better support. Many of the drivers are one man operations or are under-staffed to provide you with quality customer service.

How the auto transport industry works?

When you get a quote from different companies / brokers – they all compete for your business. But the reality is you are actually bidding for the drivers to move your car. If your quote is too low, you car will not be picked or it may take a few weeks for the delivery.

Here is an example on how this works: let's say the route is (NJ to FL). There is usually 20-40 cars waiting to be picked up on the dispatch board which is used by all truckers in the industry. They are all priced from high to low. The drivers will be more attracted to loads that are paying more. So if you picked the lowest quote and there are 10 cars all quoted higher on the list, your car will be sitting at your driveway for awhile. Your load will be the last to get picked up, or you simply may never get a driver assigned while a dishonest broker promises you the world and takes your money.

How to get the right auto transport quote?

In the industry where money talks – your budget will determine the price to get your vehicle picked up and delivered. Choosing the lowest car transport rates is not always recommended. We constantly hear complaints from consumers who first dealt with low balled quotes and than went with a higher quote – got their vehicles picked up with 2-4 business days.

Search Google for "auto transport quotes", "car transport rates", or "car shipping quotes" and checkout various auto transport company websites. Get quotes from individual companies, or comparison sites and compare rates. You can check the company's track record on sites like Transport Reviews.

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What is a Career Survivalist?

To answer the question, what is a career survivalist, we have to move backwards in time, when species on earth started evolving. It was a time which best manifested the inherent quality of every living and breathing organism to survive all odds and the fittest of them all survived. Our careers too present a lot of volatility and demands struggle at almost every point. In such a scenario, the person who had foreseen the change and has prepared oneself accordingly, endures till things get back to normal. They are a rare breed of people and are called career survivalists.

What are they?

Perhaps the most striking feature of career survivalists is their understanding of and adaptability to change. They are the kind of people who, without relying on anyone else, carve their career completely based on their own effort. Hence whenever there is any volatile situation they know their way around and can acclimatize to the changing conditions. A career survivalist is a kind of person who is extremely skilled in whatever he / she does and instead of focusing on any single matter, concentrates on honing his / her skills in every field related to the job.

Why Are They a Rare Breed?

When you ask someone what is a career survivalist, the first and obvious answer would be that they are people who can sustain in all kinds of working conditions and are almost indispensable for any organization. There indeed are a very few of them, who work as a survivalist, in a particular position. The basic reason behind this is that it takes a lot to make ones career as a survivalist. Things like relentless efforts, always looking ahead and continuous contingency planning are some of the traits of a successful career survivalist.

Be one of them

To be one of them the first thing you have to keep in mind is that change and survival are circular processes. There's no start or end to the process. A continuous and never ending effort is required to take yourself to that level. Always remember that there are no survivalist jobs, but survivalists on jobs. What is a career survivalist may be a difficult question to answer, what is more difficult is to be one. Always evolving, always trying, always walking the extra mile, attending every single meeting or presentation, continuously networking are just some of the ways to be like one of them.

There are a number of books, blogs and articles written which try to find out what is a career survivalist or how one can become like them. Many case studies have been published in journals which talks about their personality traits. It is noticed that they follow very basic principles of focusing on honing their skills and learning from every possible source. They don't have any secret formula. What they have is a dedication to go to great lengths to acquire every possible knowledge that would not only keep them ahead of time bout would also make them completely indispensable.

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Invest or Pay Off Debt?

The one financial question that everyone wants to know the answer to is: Am I better off investing my money or paying off debt? The answer is not as hard as one would assume. Although, it can get murky, depending on how comfortable you are with debt.

The 6% Rule

To make this analysis as simple as possible, be sure to follow this rule: If your debt costs you (meaning the interest rate you pay is) 6% or more, you should always pay off the debt before investing. A 6% return is a conservative number to expect from the stock market. Many experts will say that historically the market has returned 8-10% per year. While I do not disagree with those experts, no one can predict the future. We do not know what the market will do going forward. As a result, I will be conservative and use 6% as the average market return per year.

Now, what do you do with any debt that you have that is less than 6%? This answer can be easy as well. You must ask yourself this: how comfortable are you in carrying your debt? This question does not simply ask if you are able to make your monthly debt payment, although that is part of the question. The bigger part of the question is asking yourself if you are able to handle carrying debt emotionally. Does the debt load keep you up at night? If you answered yes, then you are not comfortable with your debt and you should pay it off. If you worry at random times about your debt, again, you are not comfortable with your debt and should pay it off. If neither of these scenarios describes you, then you may want to take a step further and truly analyze if you are better off investing or paying off your debt.

The Deciding Formula

To determine which is right for you, you will have to do a little math. But don't worry, the math is not difficult. The first step is to take your debt (in this case you will calculate each debt you have separately) and compare that to your after tax return on investing. In this first example, we will assume you have $ 5,000 in credit card debt at 4%. Since you cannot write off the interest you pay on your taxes, we do not need to calculate your after-tax cost for the debt. For all debt that you cannot write off the interest, the rate you pay is your after-tax cost. In this case, 4%. Next, we will assume that you are in the 25% tax bracket. You can determine your tax bracket by looking at last year tax return. Take the 6% investment return assumed above and multiply it by 1 minus 25%. The formula looks like this: .06 (1-.25). The answer is 4.5%. In English, this means that after-tax, you earned a 4.5% return on your investments. Compare that to the 4% you pay in credit card interest. Mathematically, you are better off investing your money since you earn a higher return.

But, the greater return that you earn is only of a percent. Is that worth it? Here is where we go back to what matters to you more? Technically speaking, in this example, the difference is not material, meaning it is too small to matter. Whichever option you choose, it's the right choice for you. After all, personal finance is just that, personal. You decide what is best for you and your situation.

Now let us assume you have a mortgage at 6.50%. Since the interest you pay on this debt is tax deductible, we have to complete the calculation for both the after-tax cost of the debt and the after-tax cost of the investments. We will assume the same facts as above regarding the 25% tax bracket. Here, you will take the 6.50% interest from your mortgage and multiply it by 1 minus your tax bracket. The formula is.065 (1-.25). The answer is 4.88%. Effectively, your after-tax cost of you mortgage is 4.88%. By investing, you will earn 4.5% (as seen in the after-tax investment example above). In this case, you should pay off your mortgage rather than invest.

If you go through this process and the answer you come to is to invest and after a few months you are having second thoughts, then by all means, stop investing and pay off your debt. That uneasiness you feel is your gut telling you this isn't right. Listen to your gut.

If you have multiple sources of debt, simply perform this calculation for each one that has an interest rate under 6%. You can then see which debts you should pay off and which ones you should pay the minimum and invest instead.

Conclusion

To recap, if any of your debt is over 6%, there is no math involved. You are better off paying the off your debt. On the opposite end, any debt that is 2% or less, you should invest your money. You can easily earn more than 2%, even in bond funds. You would be better off investing rather than paying down the debt. Of course, this also goes back to the earlier point that personal finance is personal. If you would still rather pay off the 2% debt, go for it.

For any debt that is between 2-6%, you need to do the quick math above to come to your conclusion.

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The Entrepreneurial Ability – One of Society's Scarce Resources

Have you ever wondered what the 4 most important resources in any given economy are?

They go as follows:

1. Land – which includes all the natural resources that go along with it.

2. Labor- people have to work to get anything done, right?

3. Capital- probably not what you're thinking; this category isn't money! It includes tools and machinery, and any other productive item.

4. Entrepreneurial Ability- something unique and specific to people! Not everybody has this! Do you?

Isn't interesting that any given economy must have entrepreneurs! All the resources in the world, including land, lumber, minerals, food, labor, and tools will create nothing without the entrepreneur. Those innovative minds create many of the luxuries that we enjoy today; Without them, we'd be without everything!

So what exactly does an entrepreneur do?

An entrepreneur, by simple definition, takes the initiative in combining resources like land, labor, tools, and other items to produce some sort of service or product. They are the ones that start everything! If you don't have an entrepreneur, no advances in society take place; thus, making it difficult for an economy to grow and improve.

An entrepreneur is also an innovator; or, in other words, somebody who creates from given resources. They collect what is available, and put it together to form something useful for all. If you have no creativity, you may not be fit for entrepreneurial tasks.

Also, one of the reasons why the entrepreneurial ability is such a scare resource is because the entrepreneur assumes ALL of the risk. What happens if the idea flops? What then? Does his or her family end up without means to survive? The greater the risk, the greater the reward! Look at people like Bill Gates, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford- these are some of the greatest entrepreneurs and in order to bring us so many great things, these men had to risk everything!

It's clear that society could not have an effective economy unless the entrepreneurial ability existed within its people.

If you have those qualities and have some ideas, don't hesitate to create! Your contributions will promote change and improvement in an ever growing economy!

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Credit Balance in Medical Billing

As the name implies, a Credit Balance occurs when excess money is collected compared to the Charges for a service rendered by the Provider. This could be due to many reasons and has to be fixed while the final steps of medical claims processing are done. The Credit Balance could be due to an excess patient payment in the form of Co-insurance or Deductible; or it could be due to over-payments from the Insurance Payers. Let us analyze some scenarios and why it is important to be handled promptly:

Patient Credit Balance:

Patients might have paid an amount up front based on the assumption of what their Payers would cover. Once the medical claims processing is completed and the Payer pays in full, then the Patient's payment is in excess. The physician billing solution can also call the patient and give the option of adjusting this excess against future visits or sending a check. But in either scenario, the Patient's consent has to be obtained and is mandatory.

Payer Credit Balance:

Many a times the Credit Balance happens because of Over-payments by the Payers. Even the Patient's Credit Balance is usually because the Payer paid more than anticipated. In medical claims processing, it is very important to handle the payments from Payers on priority. This not only projects the correct Cash flow as a result of the physician billing solution, but also prevents inflated AR. Some scenarios on Payer Credit Balances:

1) Both Primary and Secondary Payer pay as Primary
2) Payer pays more than Allowed amount by error
3) Cross-over errors, especially between Medicare and Medicaid
4) Privately purchased Plans – always pay as Primary, though there could be another Primary

Rules:

In all these instances, there are very strict guidelines and time frames within which the excess money has to be returned either to the Payer or to the Patient, as the case may be. In case of Payer errors, the Payer has to be notified of the error within 30-120 days depending on the Payer. Failure to notify within the timeframe could be viewed as 'Fraud' by the Payer and the State with stiff penalties. If the Payers refuse the refund (as in the case of privately purchased Plans), then that money belongs to the Patient and the Patient has to be notified. The medical claims processing and physician billing solution providers have to keep these requirements in mind and process the Credit Balances on a daily / weekly basis to avoid any trouble for the Provider and the Practice.

Recoupments and Offsets:

Some payers would adjust the payments for current and future claims against Credit Balances owed to other Payers which are Recoupments. When the Payers adjust the payments for current and future claims against the over-payments made in the past in their own Plans, these are called Offsets.

The best option to handle the Credit Balances is to outsource medical billing to a professional medical claims processing company.

Log on to http://www.mgsionline.com/medical-claims-billing.html to know more about medical Claims billing and processing.

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