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Two solutions for today's high medical insurance costs!

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are a very effective approach for employee medical benefits. Individuals enrolled in a traditional plan often have the perception - my plan pays for everything, which results in excess tests and treatments. HSAs help employees get involved in their treatment and see that a better lifestyle can be achieved. 70% or more individuals are not aware of existing health issues thus involvement is an important step.

How does a HSA work? A person receiving medical treatment shows the provider their medical plan's ID card. The provider bills the insurance company, which then sends the person a benefit statement a few days later. It shows the provider's billed amount and their plan's contracted rate for the treatment received. The provider can then be paid the contracted rate using the special bank based HSA debit card. The insurance company combines all covered medical treatment and prescription expenses toward the HSAs up front deductible major cost situation insurance plan.

Contributions into the special bank account part of a HSA can be made by the employer, employee, or both up to the annual IRS limit. In 2013 it's $3,250 for single coverage and $6,450 for two person or family coverage. Individuals 55 or older can contribute an extra $1,000. Contributions become before tax; grow tax free in some bank based accounts; and are tax free when withdrawn for any IRS approved medical expenses.

Each year a high percent (70%) of the population has limited medical expenses. When enrolled in a HSA trips to the MDs office, only have to be paid when not feeling well vs having to pay extra premium each month just in case it's needed. HSA's are a very effective way to build up financial protection for future medical expenses.

If a person has a significant medical situation or many treatments the major cost insurance part of a HSA usually pays 100%, or in some plans 90%, of medical expenses above the up front deductible. When the plans maximum out of pocket is reached all medical and prescription expenses are paid at 100%. In other words it's a return to the real purpose of insurance - financial protection for major medical situations. The premium for this major cost situation coverage is lower than a co-pay based plan.

People enrolled in a HSA are encouraged to ask their MD about treatment options when discussing a medical situation. A Employee Benefit Research Institute survey found people with HSAs pay more attention to the services they consume. HealthcareBlueBook.com may be a useful resource to get a general idea of the cost of treatment options. Just type in the treatment you are considering and your zip code.

Lets chat to answer your questions about HSAs. We can also meet for a free consultation on how the HSA approach can help your organization and employees. Call (860) 451-9793 or send a note to .

Wellness programs improve employee well being, help with creativity, and help them better handle day to day stress. The result - they are more productive.

First and foremost an effective wellness program must have the full commitment plus personal involvement of the organizations chief executive.

Background:

One positive thing today employees are much more interested in a healthy lifestyle than just a few years ago. 69%, in a recent survey, want to improve health; 65% want to feel better; and 62% want to live longer.

On the other hand employers face a problem: The poor health of many employees impacts absenteeism and productivity. Research tells us poor health choices result in significant medical expenses, which are often unnecessary! What to do? A great step toward fixing this is to Implement a wellness program, which can also result in a reduction in workers compensation and disability claims.

Education focused programs, which  bring out the advantages for employees are an effective step. However, this is not easy since considerable effort is needed to increase understanding and gain the willpower to act. Then too, the steps involved will vary from one employee to another.

One important step is to help employees gain awareness of the value gained by eating better. Why? 90% or more of weight loss comes from changes in diet. Focusing on - looking for low fat food is not the answer. Why? The problem is to much sugar!

Another step is to provide time for physical activity. Why? Studies have found employers that do have more effective organizations.

Some other points about poor employee health:

  • 70% or more of medical treatment expenses are connected to an individuals lifestyle.
  • 2/3 of employees are over weight.
         Note: A study by Harvard University found the ROI was $3.27 in lower medical cost for every $1 invested in wellness plus the cost of absenteeism dropped.

The Education Foundation of the National Association of Health Underwirters, in which I am an active member, has three informative wellness program summaries:

  • One out of four people in every workplace still smokes. But quitting is not easy.
  • Over half of prescriptions are not taken as prescribed in the United States and approximately one third are never filled! Primary care physicians report the health of one in five patients is compromised by non-adherence.
  • Two in three adults in the United States are either obese or overweight and one in five children suffer from the same condition.

Want to discuss these important steps? Call (860) 451-9793 or send a note to .

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Medical insurance costs and treatment resources

Learn more about why medical insurance is expensive on this page. It also includes some resources to review on making treatment decisions.

 

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