Thursday, December 9, 2010

Insurance Changes for 2011

Due to healthcare reform, employers will be making changes that will directly affect you to help control rising health care cost. On average, expect your premium to increase approximately 8-9% for the same coverage.
You will have to take a careful look at your current coverage and modify benefits if you cannot afford to maintain existing coverage with your current benefit package. Your employer will provide choices for your review.

Changes that will passed on to you:  higher premiums and co-pays. If you choose a higher deductible in your plans, this will help offset the increase in premium. The deductible is the portion of medical care cost you are responsible before your co-insurance kicks in. If you do not visit the doctor often, perhaps a high deductible plan would be a better option for you. You also must consider the increase in co-pays. When deciding which plan to go with, you need to plan for out-of-pocket costs. The out-of-pocket costs has the real potential of eating up any savings you may have. Do you have at least 3 months of savings?  In this case, consider supplemental insurance policies i.e. AFLAC. You can purchase these plans on an individual basis. Finding the right supplemental policy will ease the financial burden of medically related out-of-pocket costs.

If you smoke or are overweight, keep in mind this will hike your premium as much as 25%.  The best decision in this scenario is to quit smoking and lose weight. Not only are you financially paying more for the same coverage as a non-smoker, of healthy weight, but there are well-known associated health risks with these behaviors. Additionally, in a group policy, you are contributing to an increase in everyone's premium as the risk is spread out. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, most likely so is your co-worker.
There are plenty of at-your-finger-tips educational resources, be pro-active and take accountability to your self. By doing so, you are part of positive solution.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN