Consumer Directed Health Plans
Most of you have heard about "consumer directed health plans". The Bush administration has been a strong supporter of this concept as a way to get a handle on soaring healthcare costs. The recent inaugeration of Mr. Bush signals that consumer directed health plans will increasingly make up a larger percentage of group medical plans over the next several years. In the past, consumer directed plan designs have taken on many forms: Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
Many experts consider HRAs and HSAs to be the first generation of viable consumer directed health care products. HRAs are typically paired with a high-deductible health plan and are employer-funded Section 105 defined contribution plans. HSAs are the latest version of consumer directed health care plans. The core components of HSAs include a high deductible insurance product and a cash spending account. HSAs combine the pre-tax treatment of a FSA, the portability and roll-over characteristics of a 401(k), and the tax-free distributions of a Roth IRA.
One of the main goals of any consumer directed health plan should be to get the consumer more involved in both the cost and statistical outcomes of certain healthcare procedures. Informed healthcare consumers will make wise healthcare decisions and typically these decisions will result in both lower costs and improved quality.
Although the advantages of HRAs and HSAs can be substantial, employers will want to do their homework prior to setting them up. Effective implementation will require a clear understanding of the consumer directed healthcare plan that best fits your organization as well as the administrative requirements. Employee education will be essential. Companies will also need to look into how the creation of a HSA or HRA may affect their HIPAA medical privacy compliance requirements.
Just like most endeavors, the successful implementation of a HSA or HRA will greatly depend on how much research your organization does on the pro's and con's of each alternative. The type of consumer directed health plan that best fits your company will depend on a combination of your corporate structure as well as the overall objectives of your group health insurance plan.
Although consumer directed healthcare plans are becoming very familiar to human resource managers and other benefit professionals, remember that your employees and their dependents will need a substantial amount of education and communication.
Michael Ertel is the President of Ertel & Company ( http://www.ertelandcompany.com ) and has over 15 years of experience in the health insurance business. He is the founder of http://www.MedicalInsuranceNow.com which is an internet based service that assists individuals, families, and small business owners by providing side by side comparisons of health insurance alternatives and the convenience of applying for health coverage online.
Choosing Long-term Care Insurance
A little over sixty percent of the folks who reach 65 years of age will need some long-term care. The average nursing home stay ranges from 2-5 years and costs on average of $135.00 per day currently in the United States. These averages and costs are going up little by little each year? Can you afford to be without long term-care insurance? Y...(related: Insurance)
Motor Insurance With Pass Plus
Is pass plus really worth it? What motor insurance discounts are available to people who have passed the course? Is it easy?In the UK, pass plus is run by the driving standards agency who administer the course. Pass plus was set up by the DSA in conjunction with isnurance companies who wanted to reward young drivers who took a responsible attitude towards tehir safety on the road.The course consists of six varied one hour lessons. You can only take the course once you have passed your driving test. Your driving instructor has to be recognised to be able to instruct on the course.The process is that you take six lessons. Each lesson is designed to educate newly qualified drivers in ...(related: Insurance)
Discount Car Insurance Brokers - Get Amazing Comparisons
To get the cheapest possible quote for your car insurance, your best bet is an online discount car insurance broker. A broker does not deal with one specific car insurance company, but rather searches through every available company to find you the best possible quote. When you contact a discount car insurance broker online, you just supply the information about the make and model of the car, your age and driving record to get the discount ...(related: Insurance)
Does An Hsa Cover Alternative Medicine?
A Health Savings Account (HSA) does not really cover alternative medicine. However, there is a bit more to it.A person using an HSA can withdraw money from this special type of savings account for any type of "approved medical expense." Approved by whom? The IRS.So, the IRS pretty much thinks that proper medical expenses are any types of Western medicine ? pharmaceutical drugs, surgery, doctor visits, etc.However, there are a few things on the list that are alternative medical options. Chiropractors are on the list. So is acupuncture.With acupuncture, it must be considered "medically necessary." That means that a doctor (MD or DO) must say that h...(related: Insurance)
Understanding How Your Credit History May Affect Your Car Insurance Coverage
Many personal auto insurance companies consider your credit information when determining how much premium to charge for your insurance. So if you are calling around for new insurance, keep in mind that many insu...(related: Insurance)
Canadian Funeral Insurance: Our Final Gift To Those We Love
Most of us don't like thinking about our own funerals, but no matter how much we ignore the inevitable, the truth is that when the time comes someone will be responsible for those expenses. The question is will it be our grieving loved ones who f...(related: Insurance)
Individual Health Insurance Plans - How To Find The Best Provider Online
Whether you are self-employed or a small business owner, finding an affordable individual health insurance plan has gotten easy with online health insurance providers. By comparing quotes and coverage plans, individuals are able to choose a provider that best meets their needs. Before you pick the plan with the low...(related: Insurance)
Mortgage Life Insurance
Owning a home is a dream for most of us, although it is an expensive one. The monthly payments usually take up a big slice of our monthly income, and the sudden loss in the event of you or your spouse's early death may leave your survivors unable to make payments. To make your family is protected from financial hardship, consider Pick-a-Term Mortgage Protection insurance.Pick-a-Term M...(related: Insurance)
Auto Insurance In Texas
If you are looking for auto insurance in texas, you might want to check out golden rule insurance company who offers cheap auto insurance online. Of course there are plenty of other companies that also offer affordable rates, but first you should understand Texas auto insurance requirements.Texas is a tort state, which means that the driver is financially responsible for any damage and injury they ca...(related: Insurance)
Gain An Advantage Over Your Competition By Controlling The Cost Of Your Health Insurance
As many of us expect, the New Year will bring both tremendous challenges and opportunities for all of us both personally and professionally. Employers continue to face the major challenge of controlling the cost of their health insurance and other employee benefit programs. Organizations that can best get a handle on the cost of their employee benefit programs have an excellent opportunity to gain an advantage over their competition.What are some practical ways to control the cost of your health insurance? Here are a few suggestions:1) Investigate all of your traditional and consumer directed health plan options. Many companies are easing into consumer directed plans by offering them as part of a "dual cho...(related: Insurance)
How Do I Lower My Auto Insurance Premiums?
It seems as though the price of everything is on the rise. The amount a house may have cost in...(related: Insurance)