This year as we approach the Affordable Care Act, a new question we will be asking when you are signing up for health insurance is about how much you earn. The reason to ask this now is that the Health Insurance Exchange starting in October 2013 for signup will have subsidies to help you pay for health insurance. If you earn less than 400% of the poverty level, you will qualify for assistance. The affordable care act has also increased the limits for qualifying for Medicaid. The question will as well be important for you if you decided not to have health insurance as it will be used to calculate your penalty. The times are changing, so do not be surprised if your insurance agent asks about your earnings. They are looking to ensure you can save on your health insurance premium. I found this story in the LA Times.
Affordable Care Act not looking so affordable. For employers it is less attractive to pay for insurance, most will opt to pay the penalty. Obamacare will cost the government $1.165 trillion over the next decade. Found this interesting article in the CFO Daily News.
I found this interesting article in Businessweek on the Broken-Down Boomer Generation and how our health now is worse than the previous generation. It makes me wonder why we are in worse shape than before. Is it our food or have we really changed our lifestyle to be better or worse? I think we need to look at making some changes to live healthier.
Health care reform now is covering breast pumps. See the NPR post below. Check to see if your policy will cover your breast pump to take advantage of the health care reform. All plans are expected to cover them in 2014 when the full reform policies are releases. We will know how affordable the affordable care act really is when rates are released in October 2013. Brace yourself, there is a cost for offering free items and services, that will cost everyone.
Dental Insurance options for Texans to consider. Individual dental insurance for Texas is a question I always get asked about what options. Most people really become interested in dental insurance when they have dental issues – cavities, crowns, or are in pain. Being in need of assistance when you are in pain limits your choices to a few plans such as HMO’s and PPO plans with a increasing benefit year over year. We have discount plans as well, I am sure we can find a plan that can meet your needs.
Most basic dental plans have have no waiting periods for preventive cleaning/x-rays but do have waiting periods of 6-months for minor work – fillings, and 12-month waiting period for major work. If you are leaving a group plan dental, we have one company that waves the waiting periods if you transition to their plan within 30-days of leaving the group coverage. The company offers benefits similar to group plans with a 100/80/50 with $1500 in annual benefit.
When considering a dental plan, I always suggest looking at the annual premium outlay to ensure it makes sense for your specific situation. If you just need cleanings usually, we have some plans that keep premiums low that offer preventative and minor coverage after 6-months. The major coverage on this plan turns to a discount plan.
If you need assistance finding a plan for your specific needs, give us a call and we can share with you what is available on the market.
I found this interesting article on Aspartame and their side effects. Aspartame-containing product that actually makes you crave carbohydrates and gain weight. The side effects of aspartame poisoning are causing even worse issues for people. If you are having some issues that your doctor and you do not have a clue to the cause, it may be time to try removing the artificial sweetener from your diet, especially diet sodas. There is no nutritional value in drinking these beverages and can be linked to many side affects of aspartame. Try making a healthy switch to water instead of reaching for the sugar free soft drink. This change could bring your health back in balance.
Health Insurance reducing premiums using supplemental insurance coverage is a different approach than your parents may have used. Insurance premiums have increased forcing people to accept higher deductibles than they would be used to with a large group insurance policy. When you look at ways to lower your individual health insurance premiums you have 4 methods to do so, Increase Deductible, Reduce Coinsurance (100/0, 90/10, 80/20, 70/30, 60/40, or 50/50) , Increase the Prescription Deductible, or Change the Number of Office Visit Copay’s (Unlimited, 2-6 visits or none). All post reform plans will cover your annual wellness at no cost – this will cover all the government required preventative tests. So these are the areas that we can use to change the premium. There is no one plan that can meets every specific situation.
Moving the deductible up can feel more uncomfortable for someone who has a lower deductible. If the premiums are forcing you to consider dropping insurance coverage, it is better to increase your deductible and add some supplemental coverages for Accidents and Critical Illnesses to reduce the financial risk of the deductible and coinsurance. The most risky thing you could consider is not having health insurance coverage, if you really need help diagnosing a condition or situation, without the insurance card, no service in many places. With the supplemental policies that cover accidents, they can offer coverage up to $10,000 per accident with a deductible of $0-$500 per accident for as little at $24/mo for an individual. This can protect 50% of the reason you may visit a hospital and be forced to pay out of pocket. It is such a relief when you are going to the ER for a broken are or some other accident knowing the event will cost you only $0-$500 depending on the coverage you select. You would always show your health ID card, and file a claim with the accident company. Many companies will pay the bill directly or pay you. You should walk out paying only the deductible of the accident plan and defer billing for the rest of the bill through the insurance company. It is a smart approach to the being forced to higher deductibles. These accident plans can work with Individual and Group Health Plans to protect you and your family.
On the illness side, I have not found anything to cover across the board illnesses like the accident plan. I did find a way to reduce the illness exposure by coverage for Critical Illnesses. These plans pay a lump sum for invasive cancer, heart attack, stroke, major burns. They have lower payouts for other critical illnesses, you will need to review the coverage to know exactly what the plan will cover. This can reduce you financial exposure for Critical Illnesses with a lump sum payouts the amount of coverage you can match your deductible and coinsurance or event go higher some plans offer simplified issue up to $50,000. I sometimes use the larger amounts to provide a cushion to cover expenses while your recovering from the critical illness. These plans rates vary by age and face amount.
We would love to share with you some options in each of these categories to help you see a complete health insurance package that can offer you piece of mind for protecting your family while keeping premiums affordable with all three policies. Give us a call for any questions or assistance.
HSA and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) can offer some great benefits to small business owners while protecting the family with a major medical policy. The HDHP offer some benefits they are usually have 100/0 coinsurance, and they have one deductible for an individual or a family (usually 2x individual deductible). With a family deductible when the families medical expenses reach the deductible (single member or shared among a few family members) the insurance company will cover over that amount in network. The one thing that is different on HDHP they do not have a set copay, or set prescription copay. All the doctors visit expenses and prescriptions count towards your deductible. Some people really like knowing that they have a cap annually on the plans out of pocket.
HSA – (Health Saving Account) is a separate bank account for medical, dental, prescription, and vision expenses to be paid through. The HSA account the any money placed in the account will roll over year to year. You can fund it annually or fund it as you need it. In 2013, an individual can place up to $3,250 into the account, and a family can place up to $6,450 annually. The money placed in there is similar to a contribution to an IRA, where it reduces your income by that amount. The money grows tax free and can be used for valid HSA expenses. Many people and CPA’s like these types of accounts. Check with your CPA/Tax person to see if this makes sense for your specific situation.
Life insurance – personal policy outside of work policies are important. Many times we run into client that have employers that provide life insurance. Many times these life insurance policies are not portable. Portable mean that the employee can opt to take the policy with them when they leave a company for another job or retire. If your policy is not portable you should consider obtaining an individual life insurance policy on you and your spouse. When you change jobs, you are not only between jobs, you are between life insurance protection. Do not leave your family exposed during the transistion. Another reason to do this is that we never know if we will become sick or diagnosed with a condition that a life insurance company may consider a high risk or refuse to offer coverage to you. At that point you are not able to obtain additional insurance. If you are healthy and only have a work provided policy, I would get an individual policy while you are healthy that can offer you the lowest premiums. Try not to procrastinate, get it in place today.
There are many types of policies to consider such as Term, Universal Life, or Whole Life. No matter what policy you obtain, you can protect your future ability to be insured and will be covered for you and your family no matter what your employment situation is. Today with the number of people that get let go from their employer, when they are released, their life coverage ends. This really leaves you and your family exposed. Talk with a licenses insurance agent to help you find the best options for your specific situation and protect you and your families future.
Are looking for individual maternity insurance options in Texas if you are already pregnant? We get asked all the by our client what options do they have if they have become pregnant and are currently uninsured. How do I find maternity insurance now that I am pregnant, or insurance that can cover complications of pregnancy? We have a few options to help them in Texas get coverage. If their income level is low enough they should look into coverage through Texas Medicaid in the first trimester. If you cannot qualify for Medicaid, we have two additional options for coverage the Texas Health Insurance Pool (BCBS of TX managed) or if they have been uninsured for 6-months the government plan – Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan – www.PCIP.gov. Both these plans want to cover people with conditions who do not have access to group health insurance or COBRA. We can help you identify the best options for you and help you get it in place. Give us a call. We want our customer to be able to focus on their family not worry about how they will pay for health coverage.