What’s Going on with Health Care Reform, and What You Can Do About It Now
August 19, 2010
Vol. 6, Issue 6
There’s an ancient Chinese curse that goes like this:
“May you live in interesting times.”
Ha, lucky us!
As long-time readers know, the purpose of this newsletter is to provide information that can help you end up with more money in your pocket, and less in the pockets of the insurance companies, the government, and the medical establishment.
Currently the government sucks up 45 percent of GDP, and the health care sector takes up 16 percent. And in both of these arenas there is a ton of bloat, waste, and corruption. The best way to solve those problems is, and has always been, transparency and free competition.
Fortunately, there is still progress being made in these areas. More people than ever are choosing HSA-qualified health insurance plans. Because those plans have high deductibles, the consumer tends to become more involved in asking about costs and comparing prices, thus increasing the need for providers to actually compete for the business. This is a great thing!
We can also expect to see more websites and resources available to help you compare prices and shop for medical services. I’ll be reporting on the best of these in a future issue.
The new health care law is still in the process of being implemented, and to get the most for your money there are certain provisions you should be aware of.
Guaranteed Coverage for Minors
On September 23, all new plans will cover children without any underwriting. Anyone under age 19 who has been unable to get coverage due to pre-existing health problems will now qualify for any available plan, without waivers or rate-ups.
If you have a child who has not been able to qualify for coverage, or if you know anyone in this situation, please contact us immediately. We cannot sign the child up yet, but we are expecting quite a rush and it will help us to organize ahead of time.
If you have a policy that was in force on March 23 or later, you can also add your child without underwriting, on September 23. However, it appears that most insurers will no longer be offering child-only policies.
Plans that were in force prior to March 23 of this year are considered “grandfathered”. This means that many of the provisions of the new health care law do not apply to these plans.
Any plan effective on or after March 23 is subject to additional requirements once you have reached your one-year anniversary date. In addition to the new rule on covering children, plans will also have to cover preventive care 100%, and cannot have lifetime limits.
These rules, particularly the requirement to cover preventive care, will cause a great increase in usage of these benefits, and, unfortunately, we are predicting that these plans will have pretty large rate increases.
Thus if you have a plan that went into effect prior to March 23, you may want to consider staying with that plan, rather than changing to a new plan that is not grandfathered. It even appears that raising your deductible could cause you to lose your grandfathered status.
All new plans that went into effect after March 23 will cover preventive services, such as certain vaccines or mammograms, with no co-pay or deductible. There may be a rush on the doctors and subsequent waiting lines, so you may want to schedule your appointment now.
If you are in a grandfathered plan, your coverage will not change. Once again, if you switch plans it could be good to get this benefit, but it will probably also result in higher rates and bigger increases going forward, depending how many people rush off to get medical tests done that they may have been putting off.
Get the Most for your Money
It remains our belief that the best way for most people to insure themselves is with a high deductible HSA plan, along with a $100 Deductible Accident Plan. Most of our clients also carry coverage that can provide additional money if a catastrophe hits – either with a Critical Illness policy, or disability insurance that provides an income when you can’t work. Let us know how we can help you get the protection you need, at the lowest cost available.
It’s Not What You Make That Matters…It’s What You Keep
Regardless of age, there are certain financial threats that we all face. Things like market volatility, rising taxes, rising cost of living, sickness or injury, lawsuits, emergencies, and the possibility of outliving our money should all be considered in a comprehensive plan. But how many people really take the time to evaluate their financial state of affairs and stress test their financial decisions with all of those factors (and more) simultaneously considered?
The obvious answer to that question is that very few people make coordinated financial decisions with clarity and the confidence of knowing that these risks have been mitigated.
I have asked Sean Rogers, our resident Personal Benefits Consultant to provide you with relevant, timely, and sometimes contrary information that will help you make the best “big picture” decisions over time. Sean has really helped me to shift my thinking and simply have a better understanding of financial fundamentals and principles that very few people in the financial industry are talking about.
One area that has had a big impact on me is around what Sean calls “Distribution Planning”. Don’t you find that just about every Personal Benefits Consultant out there would be happy to help you manage and grow your assets? They talk about things like asset allocation, average rates of return, and staying invested for the “long haul”. That probably sounds very familiar.
But how many of those same Personal Benefits Consultants are talking about your “exit strategy” and how you can most efficiently access your hard earned retirement money when you need it most? My guess is that no one has talked to you about it because Sean was the first person that brought it to my attention. After all, isn’t that the reason that we work hard and save our money? The idea is to spend it or pass it on, right?
So if you want to get some great tips and ideas on taking the money that you have, taking less risk with it, and still generating as much income from it possible, you are going to want to register for Sean’s upcoming webinar. It will be held on August 26th at 9 p.m. EST. To register for this session, just Click Here.
I guarantee you will be very glad you did.
As always, we are constantly looking for ways to provide the tools, resources, and expertise you need to help you manage your money in a way that is most beneficial to you. Let us know if you have any questions, and how we can bring even more value to you during these “Interesting Times”.
To your health and wealth!
P.S. - Next month I’ll introduce a new resource that will save some people a bundle on their prescription drugs, and make you aware of a coming change that may affect your experience in the health care arena.