Friday, January 27, 2012

Advantages Of An HSA For Pre-Medicare Years

What do I mean by pre-Medicare?
Most Americans qualify for Medicare health insurance benefits at age sixty-five. But medical insurance rates really tend to rise after we reach our fiftieth birthday.
A new term has been coined to describe older folks who are still too young for these government health benefits, but feel the pinch of rising medical plan premiums. In case you are wondering, the term has no official meaning that I know of, but it might mean something to millions of people in that age group who need to find their own health benefits.
Is there a way to find inexpensive medical coverage from age fifty to sixty-four?
Actually, if you need to purchase your policy on the private market, and you are over fifty, you are probably not going to find "cheap" rates. You may find an affordable and sensible medical plan that you can live with.
What Are Health Savings Accounts (HSA)?
The medical plans actually come in two parts that work together to help people control their medical costs.
  • The first part is a real savings account. This account is used to save money to use for out of pocket health costs. Some examples of these costs are deductibles, copayments, and qualified expenses that are not covered by major medical. Some of these will give you a debit card that can be used with the account whenever you need to pay for qualified services.
  • The second part of the plan is a real major medical health insurance policy. These policies may have higher deductibles. This also helps control costs because, all things being equal, a higher deductible policy should be cheaper and easier to get accepted for.
How does this plan account help people control costs?
  • Contributions to your account are tax deductible within limits set by the Internal Revenue Service. This means you can pay for your expenses with pre-tax money.
  • Some of these accounts actually pay out interest on the unused balance.
  • The balance can roll over from year to year. You do not lose your money if you do not spend it.
  • At retirement, you can withdraw unused money without penalty. If you do not have high expenses, and you saved more than you spent, you are free to use the money for your retirement years.
What are some advantages for your pre-retirement years of this type of medical plan?
Hopefully, after reading my outline, you can understand why HSA plans are good for many older people. They can help you reduce your taxes, control your health costs, and maybe even save money for retirement.
That is not to say that these plans are the perfect solution for everybody. As you have probably already figured out, the savings account will not do you any good if you never put any money in. If you are concerned about your ability to actually save money, and would rather pay a bill, another type of policy may be better for you. If you cannot really use an extra tax deduction, those benefits may not help you much either.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Importance of Private Medical Insurance

Private medical insurance is an insurance arrangement that offers individuals an alternative from the normal NHS treatment. It is an insurance medical policy that is personalized to suit the different needs that people have as far as their health is concerned. This arrangement has continued to attract great numbers of people because it has proved to be very important in ensuring that they get the much needed healthcare.
NHS is normally associated with too much waiting that can be costly and there are people who will also complain about the cleanliness standards. With the private medical insurance, one can be sure to get the very best of healthcare when the need calls. This insurance cover comes in different forms based on the different ailments and situations that could easily lead to the need to have instant medical care.
The insurance does not completely replace NHS services but is designed as a back plan for individuals to ensure that they are well taken care of when they need help the most. There are various insurance providers out there offering the insurance. The covers are therefore quite in plenty and come in all kinds and forms. You will need to ensure that you settle for the very best company as well as the right private medical insurance which is bound to come in handy during those critical times.
Fortunately, there are independent insurance websites out there offering impartial advice to those looking for the medical cover as well as expose them to the different covers suitable for their situations. The services make it easier for individuals to find the best private medical cover to go for suitable enough to meet with their needs as well as budgets. With so many options made available by the insurance companies, there is something for everyone in this regard.
You will normally get the help of the brokers whose role is to search the market for the best deals hence making it easier for you to make the best choice. Most of the sites will offer the services free of charge and you do not therefore have to feel obligated to select the quotes offered. The best thing about such sites is that they have access to some of the best private medical insurance deals in the market and you will manage to get everything that you need at once.
In most cases, they will require you to fill an application form with details on what you are looking for and they will get out there to find the most suitable deals for you.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Management of Information Under HIPAA Laws - 4 Things

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is concerned mainly with individuals and information concerning their health and insurance. It has enacted several laws to control the different situations where such information or individuals come in contact with certain parties called covered entities for particular purposes.
The following points will tell you more about the information involved and the provisions in the HIPAA laws for effective management of the same.
• Information: Information of a person includes all data that can identify the particular individual. Personal information will comprise of the name address, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, social security number and date of birth. In addition all physical and mental health information from the past, present and future will be included. Furthermore data related to the health insurance, payment for any treatment received and other billing details will be incorporated. Such information is required by certain entities for administering proper treatment and processing your insurance. The information can be written, or be stored in an electronic format on a computer or may also be communicated verbally.
• Entities: Every individual will like to keep sensitive information to themselves; however you will be required to divulge such information to a handful of entities. These will mainly consist of healthcare providers like hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and professionals like doctors and psychologists who will need the data if they are to provide you with proper treatment. Similarly a health plan which includes insurance companies, company health plans or even government plans will require such information for managing your insurance and settling any claims. HIPAA has listed all such covered entities that access your data and requires them to follow a stringent set of rules so that only the bare minimum data is collected for the purposes that are specified beforehand.
• Communication: HIPAA laws further protect your information by asking the covered entities to take a number of precautions when storing and transacting such data. This includes allowing only the concerned personnel or entities to access sensitive information and taking the necessary safeguards against any unauthorized access during transmission. The law not only covers data in physical and electronic format but also what is conveyed verbally. Thus personnel like nurses, doctors and other hospital staff has to be equally careful when sharing such information.
• Personal Understanding: Educating yourself about the relevant HIPAA laws that affect you is the most effective way to protect personal information. You must ask the covered entity for a copy of the Notice of Privacy Practices (NOPP) which will tell you how your data will be managed and used. Also you will understand the scenarios where such information can be disclosed without your authorization and when your consent will be needed. In this way you will know if any violation has taken place and can approach the entity or higher authority to rectify the situation.
If you find it difficult to understand the HIPAA laws you can approach the entity and seek clarification, either way ensure that you keep track on how your data is being managed.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Protecting Your Employees' Health: A Must-Know Guide to Business Medical Insurance

Office space, check. Computers, check. Stationery, check. When you start up a business, sometimes there can be so many things to think about that important aspects can get overlooked. Like business medical insurance for example.
Business medical insurance, or group health insurance can help to protect your employees in the event of injury or illness. From an employer's point of view, the benefits of keeping your employees healthy are clear. The average annual sickness costs equate to £692 per employee which is undoubtedly a significant hit to businesses especially SMEs.
Many companies opt for business healthcare plans in order to counteract costs to the business incurred by staff absences due to sickness. It can also help to eliminate the issue of NHS waiting lists. If you are considering insuring your business' health, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons.
The advantages:
  • It can work as an appealing employee benefit. Many other businesses offer medical insurance as part of their benefits package therefore it can help to boost staff morale and potentially improve staff retention.

  • Employees often have the option to choose the specialist that treats them and where they receive their treatment, with hospital choices often spreading nationwide which can enhance the convenience factor.

  • The treatments are often carried out in the ambient surroundings with private rooms, internet access, a television and a high standard of service throughout.

  • A good medical insurance package for your employees can help to reduce absenteeism due to sickness as health issues are often treated faster than they would be on the NHS.

  • Most providers offer a range of different packages and additional options for example, you could opt for alternative therapies or psychiatric care as a supplementary offering or you could make savings by looking at 'six week wait options' - packages that will offer treatments privately if the NHS waiting time is longer than 6 weeks.

  • You can also choose 'excess' options where your employee pays a contribution per claim or per year in order to reduce costs and lessen the risk of idle claims being made.
The disadvantages:
  • Employees may not be covered for all treatments or medical issues therefore it is important to fully review the policies before agreement and also to reiterate this to employees.

  • Essentially with medical insurance, you get what you pay for. Therefore typically the higher level of package you choose, the better covered you will be. With some of the cheaper packages, you may find that you are only covered for a limited number of health issues.

  • It can be costly. Some medical insurance packages are very costly, others are more reasonable. It is important that you review and compare the market effectively in order to find the best option to suit your business' needs.

  • There are hundreds of different packages on the market from hundreds of different providers. It could prove beneficial to seek independent financial advice to assist you in making the right choice.
How to obtain
As with buying any product, you will want purchase the best option for your circumstances which provides the greatest value for money. With ample offerings on the market from many different private medical insurance providers, finding the best option can prove challenging. Seeking advice from a firm of medical insurance brokers could offer you the required information and provide you with a quote for your needs.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pre-Existing Conditions and Health Insurance

One concern that many Americans have when applying for health insurance is whether they will be penalized for having a pre-existing condition. Unfortunately, many Americans do not have perfect health histories, and this can greatly affect the coverage they can receive. Health insurance companies are businesses, and an already at-risk patient can negatively affect their bottom line. This can make it very difficult for individuals with certain illnesses or issues to get adequate insurance without paying significantly more. Healthcare reforms have passed to make this less of a concern for individuals seeking insurance in the future, but the bulk of those reforms have not gone into law yet.
What Is It Exactly?
A pre-existing condition is a health condition that was known to exist before you applied for insurance coverage. They can be as serious as a life-threatening disease like cancer or heart disease, or they can be as common as allergies or asthma. The definition of exactly what a pre-existing condition is can vary by insurance company or by state, so it is important to check with your provider about their restrictions before signing up.
Why Does It Matter?
From an insurance company's point of view, a pre-existing condition can mean that the patient is more likely to seek out treatment, especially for that condition, than a healthy person would. That automatically means that the insurance company will have to pay more for that patient. From a business standpoint, it makes more sense to either offer insurance only to healthy individuals or to place restrictions on individuals with less-than-perfect health to ensure that they're worth the extra money.
How Can It Affect My Coverage?
Unfortunately, having a pre-existing condition can negatively affect your coverage for now. Depending on the company and your health issue, you may be denied coverage, have to undergo a waiting period before your coverage will start, pay higher premiums, or have a higher deductible. Your insurance company can also place restrictions on your care received for your condition, including not covering any healthcare concerning the health issue for a period of time (up to 18 months).
Healthcare Reform
For individuals with pre-existing conditions, the healthcare reforms signed into law in 2010 have a major impact on your ability to both get insurance and avoid the current pre-existing condition clauses. In 2014, laws go into effect that prohibit insurance companies from denying service and denying claims based on health issues that were already present. The law will also prohibit insurers from implementing special conditions like higher premiums and higher payments for individuals who have pre-existing conditions. Some aspects of these laws have already gone into effect for children who were under age 19 in 2010. Children can no longer be denied coverage on their parents' insurance based on pre-existing condition.