According to the annual survey conducted by the National Business Group on Health, employers are expecting their health insurance cost to increase by an average of seven percent in 2013. More than half of the employers who participated in the survey said that they’d be forced to pass on more of the cost to their employees in the form of higher premiums to continue providing health care benefits. Employees might expect a premium increase of less than five percent next year through their employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
If you have an employer-sponsored plan, expect that your out-of-pocket expenses will increase next year. Depending on your employer, he or she can increase in-network deductibles, out-of-network deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, co-pay for prescription drugs, and co-insurance charges for specialist and primary doctor care. Since you already have an idea on the possible areas that will increase your out-of-pocket costs, make sure that you check if you can handle the overall cost of the plan you select. Also, if you’re taking medications, make sure that the drugs you are taking are covered by your plan to minimize your out-of-pocket costs.
The survey also revealed that more than half of the employers plan to offer high-deductible health plans that can be paired with a Health Savings Account (HSA) by 2013. If employees have an HSA, employers can contribute to it. If the employee makes contributions, those can be deducted from his or her adjusted gross income. Both employer and employee can deposit into the HSA. To avoid getting a penalty, make sure that the total amount contributed does not exceed the maximum annual HSA contribution set by the IRS. Even though employers can contribute to an HSA, the owner of the HSA is the employee. If the employee loses the job, the HSA money is hers or his to keep.
Health Savings Accounts are a great tool to make people more involved in their own health care decisions. HSA plan holders can decide when to use the HSA funds to pay for qualified health care costs or when to let the balance grow with tax-free earnings. Funds can be invested in bonds, mutual funds, or stocks. To really make the most out of your health care coverage, know your options. You are free to talk to one of our personal advisors to help you get the most coverage without paying too much.