Tag Archives: Affordable Care Act

5 Simple Ways to Save on Health Care Costs

save money health care medical bills health insuranceEvery year health care costs seem to raise higher and higher. Whether it’s copays and premiums, doctor’s visits, or prescription drugs, medical costs can eat up your pay check pretty quickly.

High deductible plans are becoming more popular in employer-provided plans, which means you pay more cash out of your pocket upfront. Health insurance plans are choosing not to cover prescription drugs more often than not. Doctor’s fees are going up because they have to pay their growing bills too.


Even though medical costs are rising and there is no perfect health insurance policy to ease the pain, you can still save money on health care by following these 5 simple steps.


Know what your health insurance plan covers

Knowing what your health insurance plan covers can save you hundreds. If you know that your plan covers a certain amount for an emergency room visit but covers even more for a clinic visit, that will help you make the best decision for your bank account. Find out what your plan offers for preapprovals, doctor visit copays, emergency room visits, and medical procedures. Also be familiar and take advantage of any preventative tests and procedures that are 100% covered.


Need more information on health insurance plans? Have questions about yours or curious if you can get a cheaper plan? JR Carnahan Insurance would be happy to help find the best solution for your specific needs!


Shop around for medical prescriptions

Always ask your doctor if there is a generic version of a medication as those are usually cheaper than the brand name. In addition, don’t just settle for the closest CVS, call different pharmacies to see what prices they can offer. Another option is to shop online for your ongoing prescription drugs.


Double check your bills and negotiate big ones

insurance companies and doctor offices are run by people, which means mistakes happen. Read your bills very carefully and check for errors. Make sure the math is correct and the procedures listed are what you actually received. If you end up in the hospital or undergoing an expensive procedure, always ask for an itemized bill to check for errors. Also talk with the billing department to see if they offer discounts for paying in cash, payment plans, or financial aid.


Use a flexible spending account

Using a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) allows you to contribute pretax dollars to an account to be used for medical expenses only. Some employers might even match or contribute to the account also. This deduction not only lowers your taxable income, but it can also be used on things like toothpaste, band aids, shampoo, and over the counter medications. Check with your employer or the bank to see what can be purchased with your account.


Prevent, Prevent, Prevent!

The best way to save on medical costs is to stay healthy. Eating right, exercising, drinking water, and getting enough sleep can contribute to a healthier future and thus, a deeper pocket. Visit your primary care physician annually to stay on top of rising conditions that could be prevented with a few simple lifestyle changes.
Even with the rising health care costs, you don’t have to pay and arm and a leg for your medical needs. Taking the time to shop around, save up, and live a healthy lifestyle is worth it!

Do I Really Need Health Insurance as a Young, Healthy Adult?

young healthy adult health insurance The last thing on the mind of a young, healthy 20 or 30-something is health insurance. Deemed the “young invincibles”, young adults who have no serious or ongoing medical concerns often try to justify not paying for health insurance.

It might seem like a waste of money to pay a monthly insurance premium when you only visit the doctor 1-2 times a year for a head cold or stomach bug. However, most people don’t realize the risk they are taking by not carrying a health insurance policy.

Here is why you should purchase health insurance coverage even if you are a young, healthy adult:

1. It’s the Law

With new Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, everyone is now required by law to carry health insurance. If you choose not to, you will be penalized and required to pay fines when you file your annual income tax. In 2015, the fine is $325/adult and $162.50 for each child or 2% of your family’s yearly taxable income. In 2016, these fines double.

2. It’s Financially Smart

There are countless stories of young adults who do not have health insurance being financially devastated by one little injury or illness. It doesn’t take much to rack up the costs. For example, a ride in an ambulance can cost up to $3,000, a single night in the hospital might be near $10,000, and an MRI up to $4,000. Even a quick trip to a doc-in-the-box can be upwards of $100. Not to mention the doctors fees, medicine, and income you’ll miss from not being at work.

3. No One is Invincible

At some point, everyone needs health insurance. Whether it’s the flu, a sprained ankle, or something more serious, health insurance can go a long way to cover some hefty bills.
If you have no significant, ongoing medical concerns, then it’s easy to feel invincible and justify not carrying a health insurance policy. But the truth is that life is unpredictable. You might be healthy and strong one day and bed-ridden the next.

In summary, don’t ever, ever, ever take the risk of not carrying health insurance.

As frustrating as it is to pay a monthly premium when you are young and healthy, it is financially, emotionally, and legally well worth it in the long run.

There are plenty of affordable health insurance plans available if you know where to look. Let us know if you need any guidance on a health insurance plan that’s right for you. We’ve helped countless young adults purchase low cost health insurance policies.

Health Care Reform and Your Small Business

Do you own or work for a small business?

Then you probably know that there have been significant changes as a result of the new Health Care Reform.

Depending on the size of the business, the requirements and benefits change.

Small businesses with less than 25 full-time employees have the advantage of receiving tax credits to help pay for employee premiums. Additionally, they will be able to offer their employees a small business insurancerange of plans from different insurers like larger companies do, while still receiving a single bill and writing a single check.

Businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees are exempt from penalties and might also qualify for employer health care tax credits. However, they are encouraged to closely monitor their workforce so they don’t breach the threshold of 50 full-time employees and acquire steep penalties.

Larger companies, businesses with more than 50 full-time employees, will see the brunt of the changes the Affordable Care Act has brought. As of Jan. 2016, all companies with 50 or more full-time employees will be required to make some potentially costly adjustments.

Many large companies are struggling to comply with the regulations because they don’t have the personnel or budget to fulfill requirements. They are cutting employee hours, reducing hiring, or passing costs onto consumers or shareholders to meet the new regulations.

health care reform small businessThe first mandate is that they must track worker’s hours and absences. They will also be required to report to the IRS on the employee health care offered or not offered and how much they spend on health insurance. With this increased amount of record keeping and reporting, small businesses might have to hire more employees or spend more on human resource providers.

Secondly, companies with 50 or more full-time employees and will be required to offer employee health care coverage to their employees, or pay a penalty.

Lastly, these larger companies, as well as higher income employees, might be affected by some new taxes.

While we can speculate how the Affordable Care Act will affect small and large businesses alike, the only way to be sure of these changes and their affects is to let it play out.

Because the new Health Care Reform can be complicated, if you own a small business it would be worth your time to seek the advice of an insurance agent in order to make sure you are in compliance.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding the new Health Care Laws or your small business!