Archive for the ‘Health Insurance’ Category
While there was once a standard age for retirement in this country and people could count on their company pension plans or retirement funds to get them through their twilight years we are finding that people are often living longer than their funds intended and that their quality of life in these years is much better than in decades past. In fact, we are seeing a growing number of retirees that are dedicated to health and good, clean, fun living. This is something almost unprecedented throughout history and yet our retirees are younger in many ways than ever before.
This is where the problem kicks in for most. If you haven’t heard, social security, which was meant to secure our golden years is in serious financial trouble. Part of the reason for this is because people are living longer than was intended when this program was invented. For this reason, we are seeing more and more young people taking their financial retirement planning into their own hands-particularly as we are witnessing more and more retirees coming out of retirement in order to put food on their tables because their retirement funds aren’t enough to make ends meet.
It’s really sad to see those that must return to work in those years where they should be watching their grandchildren playing rather than going into work day after day. If you don’t want this to be you then action needs to be taken. You cannot depend on social security for your retirement and chances are that social services will be a long forgotten thing of the past by the time we reach retirement age. There are several things you can do that will help you when it comes to setting aside and investing money for your retirement.
The earlier in life you begin socking away money for your retirement the better. This of course does not mean that there is no hope if you wait until later in life only that you will need to make more substantial investments and save more aggressively if you choose to wait until a later date.
One thing you should carefully consider when planning for your retirement and setting aside funds for that end is how much money you feel you will need in order to have the quality of life you hope to have upon retirement. Many people are working longer than in the past in order prolong their investment period. It helps if you set specific goals so that you have a number to work towards. You should discuss your plans and goals with a financial advisor from the very beginning in order to get the most accurate advice that is customized for your individual needs.
Just as there are very few things in life that are one size fits all, the same holds true when it comes to planning for your financial retirement. We all have goals for our golden years. Some of these goals include jet setting around the world while others of us seek little more than a modest existence, a garden to call our own, and a steady supply of good books to on our nightstands. There are all kinds of retirement plans and they will each require their own unique and individual means of funding.
One important thing you need to keep in mind is that while saving is great, investing is often the wiser option for increasing your funds and netting larger earnings upon which to retire. There is risk involved in investing and you need to be aware of those risks before choosing to do so, however, there are many times where the rewards far outweigh the risks that are associated with investing.
You should always discuss your retirement plans and goals with a qualified financial planner. He or she can offer advice and guidance that could make a huge impact on the scope of your retirement and your lifestyle upon retiring. Choose your planner with as much care as you choose the plan for your financial retirement and you should be in good hands.
Health insurance often requires a mountain of paperwork that has a lot of fine print. Unfortunately, this means that few people read their plans thoroughly nor do they fully understand what their plan covers or does not cover. Here are some common limitations in health insurance coverage that you should know.
Some of the most shocking health insurance limitations are found in the the fine print holes in the insurance policy. For instance, many people have found that their health insurance did not cover a routine or necessary medical procedure because they did not receive an authorization code prior to the procedure or the hospital did not correctly fill out the paperwork. Your medical claim can be denied simply because the hospital used odd codes for your treatment. While any claims denied by the insurance company can be disputed, this process is not only tedious, but time-consuming and draining, especially for someone who is already ill. There is also little success in winning disputed claims, which makes this option rather limiting.
Another surprising health insurance limitation happens more often than people realize. Imagine this situation: you are diagnosed with a medical condition and need an operation. You research surgeons and hospitals within your plan. You understand your plan’s coverage of hospital care. You have your operation and then you find a massive medical bill in the mail. Apparently your health insurance did not cover the anesthesiologist or other specialists that may have consulted in your operation. Thus, you have to pay these specialists for their services, even though you were under the impression that your plan would cover these costs associated with the surgery. Such a bill can be in the thousands of dollars, and there is little you can do to dispute the charges. The only way to avoid these charges is to make sure that you ask before the operation who will be involved and ensure that they are covered in your health insurance plans.
Other limitations are put on a number of treatments. For instance, you may need physical therapy or visits to a psychiatrist. Many health insurance plans will put a limit on the number of covered visits for such medical treatment. Without realizing it, you may surpass the maximum visits allowed by your health insurance and end up racking up huge bills.
Many people think that buying health insurance will cover them medically, but this is only correct to a point. When securing insurance, you should read through your health insurance package carefully, and when you are about to undergo any expensive medical procedure, be sure to consult your health insurance plan first.
Your visit to the doctor now contains a page where you sign that you acknowledge that the physician’s office has notified you about their compliance with HIPAA laws. More often than not, you probably read through quickly or barely skim the authorization form before signing it. However, HIPAA laws are important, and they are in place to protect you from identity theft, being denied care, and/or health insurance coverage.
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, enacted in 1996. HIPAA laws created a new national standard in protecting your health information. As you see different physicians or become admitted to different hospitals, your health information should follow you. HIPAA delineates the need to properly protect your health information as it flows through to these different channels. As more and more transactions are completed electronically these days, HIPAA laws focus on the protection of your health information specifically through these channels.
So what does HIPAA protect? For you, HIPAA protects personally identifiable health information, such as your Social Security number, birth date, address, etc., as well as current, past, or even future physical and/or mental conditions or treatment. Such information may not be disclosed except for specific uses. Information that HIPAA does not cover must specifically be personally non-identifiable. In protecting this sort of information, there is more protection against identity theft and more recourse if such a thing should happen.
HIPAA also protects how health insurance providers may use your health information. These entities may use your information without your authorization only if they are sending you information, using this information to provide the best treatment or health care, or collecting payment on medical expenses, among other things. If disclosure of your health information does not fall under these categories, you must authorize the transfer of information in writing. Furthermore, because the government understands that highly technical language can be a barrier in understanding your health information privacy rights, any authorization must be in plain language.
This may all seem like unnecessary paperwork, but beyond identity theft, HIPAA laws also help those looking for health insurance coverage. Title 1 of the HIPAA laws oversees the availability and range of health insurance plans for those without perfect health. It outlaws any health insurance plan from creating discriminatory rules to create premium rates or deny coverage. HIPAA laws are quite extensive, but this gives you a look at how your health information is being protected and used. Your department of health should be able to give you further information, or you can search the government’s Web site for the entire HIPAA law.
When it comes to health insurance, many people don’t exactly know everything that there is to know about the subject. That only stands to reason, it is not something that is easily understood because of its complexity. For instance, when you visit the doctor you may be asked to pay something that is called the “co-pay”, and other times you may not have to do anything at all depending on your plan. Let’s look at some of the ways that health insurance is paid for.
Often times, your employer will sponsor your insurance and you only have to pay what is known as a “co-pay” or co payment. The co-pay is a set amount that is determined by your insurance company when you receive covered services. This is a significantly smaller fee than you would be paying without the co-pay. Many companies offer this type of payment option because it is easier on the employee to pay this way.
You may consider opening what is known as a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA). This will assure that you always have a location in which to retrieve payments for various medical expenses. The HSA is a pre-tax savings account where a portion of your pre-tax income, determined by you, is deposited into an account automatically. Since this account comes from your paycheck pre-tax, that means it will lower your overall taxable income. This means you are saving money in terms of taxes and saving lots of money towards your overall health care costs.
For certain disabled individuals and those above the age of 65, Medicare is also another way to pay for health insurance. While they will not pay all of your healthcare expenses, they will pay for most of them. Medicare, however, doesn’t cover prescription drugs and nursing homes. It is important that you check the different types of restrictions that may apply. There are low-cost prescription discount cards that have been proven to save people who require costly medications on a regular basis over 50% of what they would have been paying without any health care.
Paying for health insurance doesn’t have to be complicated as long as you understand just what is going on in terms of where you stand with your plan. Discuss any questions you may have about the plan before committing to one. While one plan may be right for many people, it does not always mean that it will fit your specific needs.
Many feel that health insurance is a waste of money. These people are often quite healthy and have no need to see their physician beyond yearly check-ups. However, health insurance is extremely important because it not only offers you protection from harmful illnesses or diseases and creates a better quality of life, but it can protect you from financial devastation in the case of an emergency.
One of the most crucial reasons to have health insurance is to cover the costs of medical bills – emergency or non-emergency. Without health insurance, you may be tempted to not see a doctor about medical issues you have, or you may assume that they are not serious. Both of these options are harmful and unwise as medical issues will often progress and become worse over time.
Insurance is often about ensuring you are covered in an emergency situation. For instance, you carry automobile insurance so that if you ever get into an accident, you will not be responsible financially. Health insurance works in much the same way, but it is also used to cover basic medical expenses and sometimes even preventative care depending upon your insurance provider. This can increase or improve your quality of life by allowing you to be proactive in your health care instead of simply reacting to medical issues that may arise.
Furthermore, the costs of medical procedures and consultations have increased with time. Even a routine outpatient procedure, like the removal of gall bladder stones, can be a costly medical expense. Even a short visit to a specialist for diagnosis can be extremely expensive. Emergency medical issues or the development of possibly fatal or debilitating illnesses are one reason to have health insurance. The expenses to treat these medical issues can cost hundreds of thousands dollars and pull you into a financially disastrous situation. With late fees and minimum payments, you may never be able to pay off your medical bills, and hospitals and doctors will often send collection agencies after you. This is not only inconvenient, but can also can ruin your credit and make it impossible to rent an apartment or buy a car.
As you can see, health insurance is very important. It will not only improve your quality of life and ensure that you are in top-notch health, but it can save you money in the long-run. When you consider what in your life is most important, your health has to be on the top of the list. If you protect your possessions or your home with insurance because of their value, then you should insure your health as well. After all, isn’t your health valuable too?