What You Need To Know About A Health Savings Account

health savings account

health savings account

If your employer offers health benefits, there is a chance they offer a Health Savings Account compatible plan. You may be familiar with those type of plans, or it may sound like a different language. Don’t fret if you don’t understand. That’s where we come in. Below is a basic breakdown of an HSA.  

What is a Health Savings Account?

Also know as a HSA, a Health Savings Account is a savings account that you can use to pay for medial related expenses. It can be funded by tax-exempt dollars by your employer, by yourself or by anyone else on your behalf. The funds in the HSA account can help pay for eligible medical expenses not covered by an insurance plan. This can include copays, deductible, coinsurance and prescriptions. 

Who is eligible for a Health Savings Account?

In order to open and contribute to a HSA plan there are a few stipulations. You are eligible if you are: 

  • Covered by a high deductible health plan (HDHP)
  • Not covered under another medical plan that is not an HDHP
  • Not entitled to (eligible for AND enrolled in) Medicare benefits
  • Not eligible to be claimed on another person’s tax return

What is a HDHP?

A high deductible health plan is a plan with a minimum annual deductible and a maximum out-of-pocket limit that is set by the IRS. These limits change annually but for 2021 the limits are as follows:

    Type of Coverage         Minimum Annual Deductible       Maximum Annual Out-of-pocket 
Individual $1,400 for 2021 $6,900 for 2021
Family $2,800 for 2021 $13,800 for 2021

So how does it work?

Your high deductible health plan does not provide co-pays when you visit a Dr or pharmacy. That leaves you to pay the total expense of the visit or the prescription. Your claims will still be ran through your insurance company and most will be re-priced at the negotiated price from your insurance company. You can then use the funds in your HSA account to pay for those expenses. Most HSA accounts will offer checks or debit cards to make paying bills easy. The important thing is to make sure you are using those funds for qualified medical expenses. If you use the money for non medical expenses you will be subject to additional taxes and penalties. 

Click here to learn how your HSA works with Retirement.

HSA Contributions

You can make a contribution to your HSA each year that you are eligible. You can contribute no more than:

  • Single coverage: $3,600 for 2021
  • Family coverage: $7,200 for 2021

Individuals ages 55 and older can also make additional “catch-up” contributions of up to $1,000 annually.

A few more things.

Unlike other accounts, a HSA is not one that you have to use or loose by the end of the year. You can contribute money into this account and not touch it for years. It will just stay in the account until you need it. The IRS also puts yearly caps on how much you can contribute each year into your HSA. You can click here to learn more. 

If you have additional questions, we are are happy to help! 

Important Information About Your Health Plan and COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccineOn Dec. 12, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended use of Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the vaccine one day earlier.

The ACIP recommendation triggers the requirement for non-grandfathered group health plans and health insurance issuers to cover the vaccine without cost sharing. Grandfathered plans may choose to cover the vaccine, and could be required to do so under state law or applicable insurance policies.

Coverage of COVID-19 Preventive Care Services

Non-grandfathered group health plans, and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage, must cover coronavirus preventive services, including recommended COVID–19 immunizations, without cost sharing. During the COVID-19 public health emergency, covered services may be provided by in-network or out-of-network providers.

Coverage of these immunizations must be provided, even if not listed for routine use on the CDC’s Immunization Schedules. Plans and issuers subject to Section 2713 of the Public Health Service Act must also cover, without cost sharing, items and services that are integral to the furnishing of recommended preventive services, including immunization administration.

Coverage Effective Date

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), plans and issuers must cover the vaccine within 15 business days. It is widely understood that coverage of the COVID-19 vaccine must begin no later than Jan. 1, 2021. Plans and carriers may choose to cover the vaccine before this date. As additional forms of the vaccine are approved by the FDA and recommended by ACIP, they will be required to be covered as well.

Highlights:

·         Non-grandfathered group health plans and insurance issuers must cover coronavirus preventive services without cost sharing.

·         Preventive care services include recommended immunizations.

·         During the COVID-19 public health emergency, this coverage must be provided for both in-network and out-of-network providers.

Do You Understand The Benefits Offered By Your Job?

Benefits Offered By Your Job

Benefits Offered By Your JobMany employers recognize the hard work their employees do every day. In addition to a pay check, many employers will offer additional benefits to compensate their employees. Whether you are a new employee of the company, or an existing employee that has never enrolled in the benefits, understanding everything an employer has to offer can be difficult. We break this all down and help you understand the benefits offered by your job.

Common Benefits Offered By Employers

When it comes to benefits offered by employers, there is no set guideline to use. As a result, employers build their own benefits packages and can pick and choose what they want to offer. Some of the most common options include:

  • Medical Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)

Click here to learn more about employee benefits.

Employer-paid vs Voluntary benefits

Depending on the size of the company you work for, there may be several packages available. Some may be employer-paid, some may be voluntary and some may be in the middle where you and the employer split the cost. There could be several options for benefits offered by your job.

  • Employer-paid benefits are those that the employer pays 100% of the cost. This typically includes life insurance and disability insurance.
  • Voluntary benefits are those you the employee can choose to elect or not. You will pay 100% of the premium. This typically includes dental and vision insurance
  • Contributory benefits are those that you and the employer both pay for. The employer picks how much they will pay and then you pay the remainder. One example would be medical insurance. The employer may pay 80% of the premium, you pay the remaining 20%

What Coverages Are Included In The Benefits Offered By Employers?

This will vary for each company. They will be able to provide you with a summary of benefits that will show you basic plan information. Deductibles, copay’s, coinsurance and maximum out of pocket is standard on each summary. Employers have HR departments or an insurance agent they work with. They will be able to explain everything to you and help you enroll.

Understanding benefits offered by employers can be overwhelming. Take time to review the information provided to you and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Every individual’s situation is different however employers have specific plans in place to help you.

Have questions? Contact us today, we can help.

Answers To The 7 Most Frequently Asked Benefit Questions

Frequently Asked Benefit Questions

Frequently Asked Benefit QuestionsWhen it comes to benefits, such a health insurance, many can agree that it is confusing. Unless you are involved in health insurance or Human Resources it can be hard to make sense of everything. We have compiled a list of some of the 7 most frequently asked benefit questions and their answers. We hope this makes things a little easier to understand. 

What is a Deductible?

A deductible is the amount of money you or your dependents must pay toward a health claim before your organization’s health plan makes any payments for health care services rendered. For example, lets say you have a $1,000 deductible. You would be required to pay the first $1,000, in total, of any claims during a plan year.

What is Coinsurance?

On top of your deductible, coinsurance is a provision in your health plan that shows what percentage of a medical bill you pay and the percentage a health plan pays. This usually starts after your deductible has been satisfied.

What is an Out-of-pocket Maximum (OOPM)?

An OOPM is the maximum amount (deductible and coinsurance) that you will have to pay for covered expenses under a plan. Once the OOPM is reached the plan will cover eligible expenses at 100 percent.

What is an Explanation of Benefits (EOB)?

An EOB is a description your insurance carrier sends to you. It explains the health care benefits that you received and the services for which your health care provider has requested payment. It will explain what your insurance carrier will pay and an cost your will be responsible for. This would include Deductible, Coinsurance, Copays, etc.

What is a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)?

A PPO is a group of hospitals and physicians that contract on a fee-for-service basis with insurance companies to provide comprehensive medical service. If you have a PPO, your out-of-pocket costs may be lower than in a non-PPO plan.

What is Utilization Management (UM)?

Utilization Management is the process of reviewing the appropriateness and the quality of care provided to patients. UM may occur before (pre-certification), during (concurrent) or after (retrospective) medical services are rendered. 

For example, your health plan may require you to seek prior authorization from your UM company before admitting you to a hospital for nonemergency care. This would be an example of pre-certification. Your medical care provider and a medical professional at the UM company will discuss what is the best course of treatment for you before care is delivered. UM can reduce unnecessary hospitalizations, treatment and costs.

What is a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)?

An HDHP is a type of insurance plan that offers a low premium offset by a high deductible. Because of the low cost of the plan, the insurer will not cover most medical expenses until the deductible is met. As an exception, preventive care services are typically covered before the deductible is met. HDHPs are often designed to be compatible with heath savings accounts (HSAs). HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that can be used to pay for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses before the HDHP’s deductible is met.

We hope you found this list of 7 most frequently asked benefit questions and their answers helpful. If you did, please take a moment to share this post. 

Would you like to know more about health insurance? Click here for Individual or Click here for Employee Benefits. 

5 Strategies You Need To Know To Reduce Benefits Costs In 2021

Reduce Benefits Costs








Reduce Benefits CostsHealth benefits costs are almost certainly going to rise in 2021. They’ve been trending upward for years—over 50% in the last decade, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation—and the current state of economic uncertainty over COVID-19 won’t slow things down. Realistically, after enduring months of business closures and managing exhausted workforces, many employers will be lucky to maintain uninterrupted operations.

That’s why it’s critical for employers to think about reducing health costs right now—figure out cost-effective benefits first so money can be shuffled as needed later. Having a solid plan going into 2021 will better position organizations facing limited budgets.
Here are five strategies employers should explore when looking to reduce benefits costs:

1. Dig Into Health Costs

Employers don’t let themselves overpay for the materials they use during production, so why is health care any different? Employers should look into every health care figure they can, from overall premium costs to individual employee expenditures. Understanding where money goes can help focus cost-cutting efforts.
For instance, if employees are going to the emergency room for every health visit, employers know they must promote more health literacy among their workforce.
Speak with Rinehart, Walters & Danner for details about digging into your health plan cost data.

2. Embrace Technology

The health care landscape of today is starkly different than the one of even a few years ago. Now, the name of the game is virtual health care or “telemedicine.” There are numerous ways for individuals to take charge of their health care without the hassle—and added cost—of in-person consultations.
For example, there is tech that can monitor glucose levels to help diabetic employees without test strips; there are virtual visits available for doctors, psychiatrists and other health professionals; and there are countless wellness apps that can help individuals make proactive health choices.

3. Consider Alternative Plan Options

Not every plan option will work for every organization. For years, PPOs were the standard, but now high deductible health plans with savings options are having their moment. These plans enable greater heath consumerism and put the decision-making power into employees’ hands. Employers should consider offering mechanisms like HSAs, FSAs and HRAs to help shift costs without compromising health care quality.

4. Require Active Enrollment

Some organizations allow employees to passively enroll in their health benefits. This may seem like a nice timesaver, but it can actually hinder employee health literacy. Instead, employers should require active enrollment among employees. This approach would force employees to review all their benefits options each year before making selections. Not only does this make employees consider important life events, it also affords them an opportunity to reevaluate the benefits they’re paying for and potentially not using. Ultimately, active enrollment can make employees wiser health care consumers, improve proactive health care and lower overall health expenditures.

5. Change the Funding Structure

Another, more drastic, cost-cutting strategy is changing how health plans are funded. Most organizations use a fully insured model, where employers pay a set premium to an insurance provider, but that’s not the only option. For some employers, self-funding, level-funding or reference-based pricing models may be more attractive solutions.

Let us help you review your options to reduce benefits costs

Suffice it to say, there are a variety of ways that employers can structure their health plans—even if that means requiring employees to seek insurance in the individual health market.

Whatever your needs, know that Rinehart, Walters & Danner is here to help. Contact us today to discuss your 2021 benefits and ways to reduce benefits costs.








How Confusing A Copay and Coinsurance Can Cost You

Copay and coinsurance








“What’s the difference between a copay and coinsurance?”

This is a question our benefits department receives quite often. For most it can be quite confusing. The short simple answer is a copay is usually a set dollar amount and coinsurance is a percentage of the cost. Let me explain.

Copay

Copay’s or copayment’s are fixed dollar amounts you pay for covered health care. These are usually charged when you receive the service. For example you pay a set $20 when you visit your primary care doctor. 

Coinsurance

Coinsurance is your share of the costs of a covered service. It is calculated as a percent of the allowed amount for the service. For example, if the plans allowed amount for an overnight hospital stay is $1,000, your coinsurance payment of 20% would be $200. This may change if you haven’t met your deductible. 

The below image from a Summary of Benefits and Coverage shows you example of the listings for copay and coinsurance. 

Copay and coinsurance

How Will Confusing Copay and Coinsurance Cost Me?

Depending on your plan, you could find yourself in a situation where you pay extra money because you choose the wrong type of provider. Say your plan has a $100 copay for a Urgent Care visit but if you go to the Emergency Room your plan has a 20% coinsurance cost. You just have strep throat and not a life threatening situation. The Urgent Care will cost you $100 but the Emergency room will be 20% of the total cost. I don’t know if you’ve been to the Emergency Room lately but most of the times just to walk in is about $1000! That alone has you at $200 ($1000 x 20% = $200). Just by choosing a different type of facility you overspent. But by understanding your benefits can help. (The above are strictly fictional numbers, but you get the idea). 

Health Insurance can be confusing especially if your new to handling your own coverage or have never taken the time to read up on the definitions. Copay and coinsurance are just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. But don’t fret, we are available to answer any questions you may have. Give our benefits department a call today with any questions you may have. 

You can also view the below blog post that goes into more detail on other health insurance benefit definitions. 

Do You Understand The Insurance Benefits Offered By Employers?








What All Newlyweds Need To Know About Insurance

newlyweds

newlywedsChoosing insurance may not be as romantic as deciding where to go on your honeymoon, but it is one of the most important things you can do as newlyweds. Although most couples are aware of the need to readdress their insurance needs when they get married, there is a disconnect between that awareness and whether they take action.

Use the considerations in this article as a way to start a discussion about your insurance needs. Rinehart, Walters & Danner can then help you narrow down your options.

Auto Insurance

If you and your spouse have separate auto insurance policies, it may be wise to combine them. Get quotes from each of your carriers, and shop around to see if any others offer multivehicle discounts.

Life Insurance

Newlyweds who both have jobs and are not yet dependent on their spouse’s income may not see the need for life insurance. However, as they build their lives together, that dependency grows. If you’re young and healthy, you can benefit from getting life insurance early in your marriage. Typically, you can lock in better rates than if you were older. Remember that the older you get, the higher the rates, so don’t put it off for too long.

While life insurance is less urgent for young couples who are both working and don’t have children, it is important for newlyweds with only one working spouse or those who have children from a previous marriage to purchase life insurance early in their marriage.

If you already had life insurance prior to tying the knot, don’t forget to add your new spouse as a beneficiary.

Disability Insurance

Young people are more likely to become disabled than die prematurely. In fact, more than half of Americans identified as disabled are in their working years—between ages 18 and 64— according to the Council for Disability Awareness.

Disability insurance is historically inexpensive, and can pay you between 50%-70% of your regular monthly income if an accident, illness or injury prevents you from being able to work. If your employer doesn’t offer disability insurance, you can purchase it on your own. This coverage can be critical for you and your loved ones.

Health Insurance

Don’t make the mistake of declining health insurance, even if you and your spouse are healthy. An illness or emergency can cause newlyweds financial hardship that could have been prevented with health insurance. If you and your spouse both have health insurance through your employers, you can maintain separate plans, but it may be cheaper to be on the same plan. Doing so can help you reach your annual deductible more quickly.

Certain life events, such as marriage, allow you to join your spouse’s plan as long as it is within the required time frame. If you decide to share a plan, compare both employers’ coverage and costs to determine which plan best fits your health needs and finances. Be sure to consider each plan’s deductibles, coinsurance, copayments, coverage limits, prescription coverage and choice of health care providers. Remember that if you have a preferred doctor, you’ll want to make sure he or she is in your network.

Don’t panic if employer-sponsored health insurance is not an option for you. Coverage is available to everyone through the Affordable Care Act. You can visit http://www.HealthCare.gov to review and select a plan through the health insurance marketplace, either during open enrollment or within 60 days of getting married. Or, you can contact one of our health insurance specialist and they can assist you with this process. Timing is restrictive so it is important you check into this promptly. 

Renters Insurance

If you rent your living space, you should consider renters insurance to cover the value of your possessions. If you already have renters insurance, don’t forget that you have more to lose now that you have combined belongings, such as furniture, electronics and jewelry. Consider increasing your limits on personal property coverage, which pays to replace or repair items that are stolen or damaged.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance is similar to renters insurance, but it covers more than just your possessions. It also covers your home in case of fire, theft or other perils. Both renters insurance and homeowners insurance also provide liability coverage.

Shop Around for Coverage

Addressing your insurance needs early provides a solid foundation for your marriage. Review your financial situation and objectives with your spouse. Then contact Rinehart, Walters & Danner to help you find sufficient coverage within your budget.