Keeping Your Health Insurance Premiums Low

Health Savings Accounts offer tax deductions for medical expenses, and the opportunity to set up an additional retirement account. But regardless of any other positive benefit of HSAs, lower premiums are the primary reason that thousands of Americans have chosen Health Savings Accounts as the best way to protect their family’s health and assets. Here are some key suggestions on how to keep your health insurance premiums low.

1. Choose an HSA-qualified plan for lower rate increases.

Average group health insurance premiums rose by 9.6% last year and rose over 10% for each of the previous six years. Individual plans went up even more. Yet it is expected most HSA plans will experience much lower rate increases. A very large study was recently published showing that rate increases over the past year for consumer-driven plans such as HSA plans was only 3.4%. Blue Cross of Minnesota has reported that its HSA customers spent 8% less than their traditional insurance clients. Humana has reported claims’ costs of 4.9% for consumer-driven plans, versus a 19.2% increase in claims for other plans. In fact, average HSA premiums for individuals have actually dropped 19.5% over the last two years.

The reason these plans have lower rate increases is that people who have HSA-qualifying high-deductible health plans are likely to pay closer attention to costs, and take better care of their health. For instance, an HSA owner offered a statin drug to lower her cholesterol may be more likely to request a generic version, or ask her doctor if inexpensive nutritional supplements such as niacin or fish oil may be a solution. These actions save the insurance company money and should result in lower rate increases.

2. Raise your deductible as your HSA account grows.

When you fund your account you build up a financial “cushion” which allows you to raise your deductible as your account grows. Every time you raise your deductible, your premium should go down.

By the way, don’t forget that every time you fund your account you get an instant tax-deduction. When you offset the tax savings against your premiums, you’ll find your net cost for an HSA plan can be very low.

The maximum allowable contribution goes up every year with the rise of the Consumer Price Index. Currently, the individual contribution limit is $2,700, and the family limit is $5,450. So each year you can deposit greater amounts into your HSA and continue to raise your deductible, if you choose.

3. Stay healthy, so you can switch plans.

All health insurance plans have rate increases, and we’ve even seen premiums jump on some HSA plans. If a rate increase happens to you, you can switch to a different insurance company – but only if you pass their underwriting requirements. If chronic disease develops, you may be stuck with your current plan, and its accompanying rate increases, for eternity. Or at least it may seem that long…

If you pay attention to the pharmaceutical commercials, you learn lifestyle really has nothing to do with disease, and it is natural and healthy to be on many medications for the rest of your life, which will then solve your health problems.

If you pay attention to the science, you know the truth is quite different. It appears lifestyle is probably 95% of the picture, and we know the occurrence of degenerative disease can be dramatically reduced and even prevented.

Fortunately, most HSA owners are interested in health, wellness, and disease prevention. After all, they’re paying for their own doctor visits if they do get sick. HSA owners are also “forward thinking” people, and like to plan for their future – both financial and physical. You can improve your odds of excellent health with just a few key habits:

– Eat very high quantities of fresh vegetables and fruits. Shoot for 35% of your calories. This will lower your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and much more.

– Limit your intake of sugar and starchy carbohydrates like bread and pasta. The majority of health problems in the U.S. are related to metabolic diseases that involve insulin resistance.

– Exercise and lift weights. Exercise guru Jack La Lanne turns 93 on September 26, and he says if you have muscles you never feel old.

4. Compare your plan to other available plans at least once a year, or whenever you get a rate increase.

Often-times people keep their plan much longer than they should, and end up paying too much. If your rates go up, you should compare a wide variety of plans to determine if you are in the right plan for your needs and budget.

By using these four strategies, the typical family can save thousands of dollars in health insurance premiums and still protect themselves against unexpected major medical expenses.

Deciding On Elementary Programs Of Getting Medicare Supplement Insurance

Seniors Pay High Price for Gap in Benefits Coverage. Since the Medicare Part D medication benefit ended up being revealed, it offers proven to be more confusing and ineffective than its experts predicted. Also seniors who’ve been able to sign up for the program must still struggle with a $3,000 space in benefits coverage and a hefty monthly premium.

Currently the us government has received to alter the program: The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services reversed an earlier decision prohibiting new Medicare prescription drug plan recipients from playing free or subsidized drug programs sponsored by pharmaceutical manufacturers.

But we can not stop here. The reversal doesn’t count the full value of these prescriptions toward seniors’ $3,000 obligation, an expense that could place many inside poorhouse.

The Bush administration claims that its new benefit is a good deal for folks who aren’t entitled to Medicaid. Yet most people can pay not just a $250 deductible, and 25 percent co-insurance regarding the next $2,000 in covered medication expenses. And include approximately $32 a month per individual for a month-to-month premium.

In addition, the new Medicare plan calls for each senior to pay for completely of the expenses over $2,000 until catastrophic coverage kicks in at $5,100.

We are able to and must close the holes which will destroy seniors’ fiscal wellness as they make an effort to preserve their real health.

Private businesses are already taking action. A group of pharmaceutical companies announced an agenda called “Bridge Rx,” which can only help seniors caught in the $3,000 hole afford their medicines. Seniors can get medication discounts of at least 50 per cent in return for a 15 per cent co-pay.

Washington also needs to work by letting people who be eligible for subsidized pharmaceutical maker programs like Bridge Rx – but who concurrently pay a month-to-month Part D premium – count the entire value of the medications’ formulary price toward the $3,000 gap.

The objective of the Medicare prescription drug system would be to help seniors, perhaps not generate income for insurers and pharmacy benefit supervisors. It is time to deliver regarding the claims that were made.

Initial Pharmacy Travel

Below are some tips people with Medicare could utilize to make sure their initial trip to the pharmacy goes efficiently:

• • When you first join a Medicare medicine strategy, you’ll acquire an acknowledgement letter in the mail concerning a week after you join. Your strategy ID card must show up three to 5 weeks later.

• • If you should visit the drug store just before your ID card arrives, bring the acknowledgement letter from your plan, your Medicare and/or Medicaid card, and also a photo ID.

• • Save the invoices from your pharmacist.

• • For added aid, call 1-800-MEDICARE, 1 Day a day, 7 days a week.

People with Medicare and also Medicaid

If your pharmacist is having problem verifying exactly what plan you’re in or whether you additionally get Medicaid, he can also call an unique toll-free number that Medicare set up for pharmacists to get aid. People with Medicare which likewise acquire Medicaid ought to be able to obtain their prescriptions filled with marginal copayments and also no deductibles.

New To Medicare Or Need A Refresher? Here Are The Abcs-and D

You may have learned the alphabet in first grade, but now, if you or someone you love is a senior citizen, it may be time to learn the Medicare alphabet. Medicare has several different parts. Knowing how they work could save you or someone you love money-and could even help you get better care.

Medicare Parts A and B have been around since the beginning of Medicare in the 1960s. Part A covers hospital visits, skilled nursing facilities and some home health care. Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient visits and durable medical equipment. Together, Parts A and B are referred to as “traditional” fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare, or sometimes as “Original Medicare.” It is estimated that FFS Medicare only covers about 50 percent of the health care costs incurred by beneficiaries. That is why some people who choose FFS Medicare also obtain a Medicare Supplemental plan. This type of health insurance is also known as Medigap coverage. Medigap plans do just that-cover the “gaps” that FFS Medicare does not cover. However, Medigap plans can be extremely costly. As a result, many seniors are attracted to the broader coverage and more predictable costs of Medicare Part C, commonly called Medicare Advantage.

Extra Benefits

Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits such as vision coverage, annual physicals and chiropractic, and many also include coverage for medications. These plans help with your coordination of care across the provider spectrum. A newer type of Medicare Advantage plan, the private fee-for-service plan, gives members the freedom to obtain care from any doctor or hospital that accepts payment from Medicare, with no network restrictions and no need for referrals.

Part D is prescription drug coverage, which started in early 2006 and has turned out to be more popular than expected. Both Part D and Medicare Advantage plans are offered through private health care companies, either as separate options or together in one plan. Some of the plans do not have premiums while others do have monthly premiums. Those plans can vary depending on where you live and the services covered.

“It all sounds confusing at first,” said Mark El-Tawil, chief Medicare officer of Health Net, Inc. “But you don’t need to be an expert to figure out what’s best for you. The important thing is to understand your personal options, and to choose the one that will provide you with the most comprehensive benefits at the lowest cost.”

Dates To Keep In mind

In addition to the Medicare alphabet, there are some numbers you should keep in mind as well. You are eligible to join Medicare on the first day of the month in which you turn 65-so if your birthday is June 24, you can start on June 1. Most people will automatically get a Medicare card in the mail a few months beforehand.

Once you are on Medicare, you can change your Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan each year during the Annual Election Period, which runs from November 15 to December 31. During this period, you can pick any plan that is offered in your area. Most beneficiaries can choose between dozens of plans. To see your options, go to www.medicare.gov.

The dates from January 1 to March 31 are called the Open Enrollment Period. During this time, you can make one “lateral move” to a different plan of the same type. For example, if you have a plan with drug coverage, you can switch to a different plan that also has drug coverage.

“With the wide array of Medicare options, you have the ability to customize your coverage to really meet your needs,” said Health Net’s El-Tawil. He recommends one other alphabetical aid, saying, “In reviewing your options, the most important factors are often the 4 Cs-Cost, Customer Service, Convenience and Coverage.”

Start by looking for reasonable costs for monthly premiums and deductibles, along with low co-payments for your particular prescriptions. Look at customer service. Are the people at the plan helpful? Do they understand your personal needs? Then think about convenience. If your plan does not have an agreement with your favorite pharmacy, you will spend time traveling to different drugstores. Coverage is one of “the 4 Cs” because every Medicare plan does not cover every medication. If there are prescription drugs you currently take or expect to take, make sure they are covered. Otherwise, you could be enrolled in a plan that does not pay for the medications you need.

Medigap Plans

“Medicare insurance only covers a certain amount, and for those who really want an extra security, a Medigap plan can really augment the financial medical requirements that were not covered. This is especially true today because of our economic problems. We simply can’t afford to have added expenses anymore. Prices of commodities are soaring everywhere and this unfortunately includes even medical treatment and the cost of medicines. This may not be a problem for those who are fortunate in life, people who belong to the average class clearly are greatly affected. Some would stay home and try to self medicate just to avoid medical and hospital bills. But with a Medicare supplement plan to bridge one’s Medicare coverage and actual hospital bills, the problem is eliminated.

However, although the promise of a Medigap policy can be a true lifesaver, choosing the right plan is not something one can do indiscriminately, especially in terms of the provisions on medicines. Though there are no intentions of misinforming, many are simply misled by what insurance providers may offer. As a matter of fact, examining a lot of pharmaceutical related factors is very important in these kinds of plans.

One of the most common pitfalls that people find themselves in concern actual drug prices which may be offered in a sometimes deceptive way. To be able to avoid this, looking into the prices of drugs, the average price, throughout the entire year as individual costs can vary depending on how the plan is designed to compute such prices. One more thing to look at are the actual coverage of a drug that is being offered as part of the plan. Sometimes, insurance providers advertise drugs as included in a plan package but there is actually another requirement that has to be fulfilled before those drugs can actually be covered such as the purchase of other drugs or getting a physician’s authorization beforehand. Yet another possible source of confusion could be the cost of mail-order drug delivery whose cost varies greatly from plan to plan. It will also be ideal to check what pharmacies work with what plans to make sure that you can avail of the certain benefits that are claimed to be part of the plan you are considering to buy.

Like other things, there is a plan that suits the needs of someone, though the concept of Medigap sounds great for all. Medicines play a great role in our lives so we must put great consideration when we look for the best plan that suits us.

You can easily get a Medigap supplement quote online. Many citizens find these plans confusing. Often times, people think they are all the same, but they’re not. An advantage is a Medicare contract in order to provide you with benefits while a supplement policy is the one paying the bills beyond what Medicare cannot take care of.

When you know that you could have greater medical needs, this type of insurance will prove to be very useful. Most of us cannot predict what type of medical emergency we may experience in the future, so it is always wise to secure ourselves. After all, security cannot be halfway. When you talk of security, it has to come full circle in order for it to be truly helpful and appreciated.

A medical supplement plan is going to provide for your extra medical needs so enjoy that extra security. If you’re looking for a Texas medicare supplement provider, there are many companies online that offer you great advantages at a price suitable to your means.”

Finding Affordable Senior Medical Insurance

Many seniors think that affordable senior medical insurance is just a dream, something that simply does not exist. Ironically as we age we need a health insurance plan more than ever and it is at this time when we are dropped from our employer’s policies and the cost of insurance keeps drastically rising.

This may sound quite negative, but there are options available.

Medicare does help. The federal Medicare program helps cover medical expenses for those people in the country that are over the age of 65. Some of the things that Medicare covers include:

Part A: This form of senior medical insurance covers any type of hospital stay that is necessary. Also known as hospital insurance Medicare Part A will help pay for all costs associated for being in the hospital and for some of the follow up costs after a hospital stay as well. Follow up costs include things such as physical therapy, equipment and supplies for home related to the hospital stay. Part A does not normally require a person to pay a premium to be covered. This coverage will just require a person to apply.

Part B: This is the optional form of the Medicare plan. This plan will require an individual to pay a premium and also has a yearly deductible. Medicare Part B will pay for medical treatment, doctor’s visits, testing, and treatments performed out of the hospital.

Part C: offers a more comprehensive health care plan and Part D will help cover some of the costs of prescription medicine.

Medigap Coverage

Medicare offers seniors basic health care coverage. However, many seniors find that they will also need some other form of senior medical insurance as well. This is to help cover the gap in the amount that Medicare will pay. These medigap plans are offered through private insurers and will cover procedures that may not be covered by Medicare.

Medicare Supplement Insurance: Help To Find The Best Price In Your State?

Medicare Supplement plans (also known as Medigap Insurance) have been standardized into plans designated by letters since 1992. In 2010, 10 different Medicare Supplement plans are available. These plans are labeled Plan A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. The missing letters represent plans that are no longer available.

Each type of plan offers different combinations of benefits, ranging from the basic coverage of Medigap Plan A to the comprehensive coverage of Medigap Plan F. Every other plan includes the basic benefits of Plan A along with other combinations of additional benefits.

Standardization guarantees that every Plan A, for instance, will give you the same coverage regardless of which insurance company sells it. While that makes it much easier to decide which plan fits your needs best, it does not help to clarify premium pricing.

Is Comparison-shopping Necessary To Get A Good Price On Medigap Insurance?

Medigap policies that have the same benefits are being sold for strikingly different premium prices, according to the country’s leading independent provider of analyses and ratings, Weiss Ratings, Inc. While insurers are required to offer the standardized benefits for Plan F, for example, insurers are not regulated regarding how much they charge for that Plan F.

To analyze differences in pricing, Weiss looked at the premium rates from 117 insurers out of 159 insurance companies offering Medicare Supplement Insurance across the country. Wide variations in price were seen for all Medigap plans.

In 2005, the national average price that a 65-year-old woman was paying for Medigap Insurance ranged from $1,159 to $3,443. When Weiss analyzed variations in pricing for specific Medigap plans, the range bordered on the unbelievable. For example, Medigap Plan C was being sold for anywhere from just $651 to over $9,000!

The difference in price for Medigap Plan F, which has been the most popular of the plans possibly because it offers the most complete coverage, was even greater. The prices ranged from a mere $516 to a whopping $10,788.80! Huge price fluctuations were also seen among the other Medigap plans.

Different pricing methodologies and underwriting standards, regional health care costs and population health status as well as state regulation policies were all seen to influence the surprising difference in price for the exact same coverage.

How Can You Find The Best Medicare Supplement Price In Your State?

First, review what you’ve been paying for health care recently. Are you spending more for doctors or hospitals? Take your largest medical expense and see which Medicare Supplement plans can pay those bills for you.

Next, do the same for your second largest health care cost. When you’ve narrowed your choices down to one or two Medigap plans that can take the biggest bite out of your medical bills, you’re ready for phase two of your search.

Comparing what different insurers are charging for your preferred plan(s) is essential to help you get the best value in Medigap Insurance. The easiest way to do that is to review plans from different insurers online where an independent agency specializing in Medicare Supplement Insurance lists the plans that are available in your state from different insurance companies.

Yes, it does take a lot of time, but certain independent agencies also provide free consultations to help you compare Medigap policies from different insurance companies. As independent agents, their commissions are paid regardless of which company you decide to purchase from so there’s no incentive for them to push you toward any one insurer’s plans.

With the dramatic differences in cost of the exact same Medigap plan, you can literally save hundreds or thousands of dollars with smart comparison-shopping. If comparing the plans or the insurers’ pricing gets too overwhelming, get some professional assistance without paying anything extra for that expert advice.

Deciding On Elementary Programs Of Getting Medicare Supplement Insurance

Seniors Pay High Price for Gap in Benefits Coverage. Since the Medicare Part D medication benefit ended up being revealed, it offers proven to be more confusing and ineffective than its experts predicted. Also seniors who’ve been able to sign up for the program must still struggle with a $3,000 space in benefits coverage and a hefty monthly premium.

Currently the us government has received to alter the program: The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services reversed an earlier decision prohibiting new Medicare prescription drug plan recipients from playing free or subsidized drug programs sponsored by pharmaceutical manufacturers.

But we can not stop here. The reversal doesn’t count the full value of these prescriptions toward seniors’ $3,000 obligation, an expense that could place many inside poorhouse.

The Bush administration claims that its new benefit is a good deal for folks who aren’t entitled to Medicaid. Yet most people can pay not just a $250 deductible, and 25 percent co-insurance regarding the next $2,000 in covered medication expenses. And include approximately $32 a month per individual for a month-to-month premium.

In addition, the new Medicare plan calls for each senior to pay for completely of the expenses over $2,000 until catastrophic coverage kicks in at $5,100.

We are able to and must close the holes which will destroy seniors’ fiscal wellness as they make an effort to preserve their real health.

Private businesses are already taking action. A group of pharmaceutical companies announced an agenda called “Bridge Rx,” which can only help seniors caught in the $3,000 hole afford their medicines. Seniors can get medication discounts of at least 50 per cent in return for a 15 per cent co-pay.

Washington also needs to work by letting people who be eligible for subsidized pharmaceutical maker programs like Bridge Rx – but who concurrently pay a month-to-month Part D premium – count the entire value of the medications’ formulary price toward the $3,000 gap.

The objective of the Medicare prescription drug system would be to help seniors, perhaps not generate income for insurers and pharmacy benefit supervisors. It is time to deliver regarding the claims that were made.

Initial Pharmacy Travel

Below are some tips people with Medicare could utilize to make sure their initial trip to the pharmacy goes efficiently:

• • When you first join a Medicare medicine strategy, you’ll acquire an acknowledgement letter in the mail concerning a week after you join. Your strategy ID card must show up three to 5 weeks later.

• • If you should visit the drug store just before your ID card arrives, bring the acknowledgement letter from your plan, your Medicare and/or Medicaid card, and also a photo ID.

• • Save the invoices from your pharmacist.

• • For added aid, call 1-800-MEDICARE, 1 Day a day, 7 days a week.

People with Medicare and also Medicaid

If your pharmacist is having problem verifying exactly what plan you’re in or whether you additionally get Medicaid, he can also call an unique toll-free number that Medicare set up for pharmacists to get aid. People with Medicare which likewise acquire Medicaid ought to be able to obtain their prescriptions filled with marginal copayments and also no deductibles.