What are your options?
Employers will be making some changes to their health-insurance plans for 2011 because of health-care reform -- such as offering coverage to children up to age 26 -- and as a way to help control rising health-care costs. A recent survey of large companies by the National Business Group on Health found that employers estimate their health-care-benefit costs will increase by an average of 8.9% in 2011, compared with an average increase of 7% this past year.
What can you do?
Higher co-pays - If you have a choice of several plans, factor your potential out-of-pocket costs into the equation rather than looking just at premiums. Evaluate the new rules for co-payments carefully when deciding which type of care to use throughout the year.
More high-deductible health plans and health savings accounts - These extra incentives may make a high-deductible plan worthwhile, even if you aren’t in perfect health. Also, most high-deductible plans now cover preventive care without cost sharing before you reach the deductible. Look carefully at the high-deductible plan option this year and consider adding some of your own money to an HSA (if you’re eligible). Contributing to an HSA lowers your taxable income, and your money grows tax-deferred for the future and can be used tax-free for medical expenses in any year -- even after you switch to a new job.
Better deals for primary-care and wellness programs - Employers realized that they needed to provide workers with better incentives to sign up for wellness programs. So if participating in one seemed like a hassle in the past, it may be worth a second look this year. Also, get a list of free preventive-care services and make the most of them throughout the year.
Extra charges for brand-name drugs - If you take medications regularly look carefully at how the drugs are covered and your potential out-of-pocket cost. Switching to generics, when possible, will always save you money, and the cost savings becomes even more pronounced if your employer charges a lower co-pay for the lowest-cost drug. Also reconsider where you buy your medications if your employer provides a higher level of coverage for mail-order pharmacies. And find out about any prior authorization or step-therapy requirements before using a new medication so you don’t get hit with surprise charges if you don’t follow the rules.
If you are not satisfied with your current health insurance or agent, give Scott a call. We represent, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Humana, and United Health Care. We would love to have the opportunity to earn your business.
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Piedmont, OK 73078