An innovative answer to the high cost of health-care plans



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Many of us hear about the different kinds of health-care plans being offered: HDHP, MSA, HSA, HRA, alongside the traditional HMO, POS, PPO or Indemnity plans. How does an employer sort through these alphabet plans while keeping in mind what is best for their employees, as well for their bottom line? Consumer-driven health care supported by a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) and a tax-exempt health savings account (HSA) work in combination to create relief for the employer’s bottom line as well as to the employee’s paycheck and their long-term financial security. It may sound complicated but it’s not. A HDHP is offered at a lower premium and provides 100 percent coverage for preventative care, while all other covered medical expenses apply against the annual deductible. Deductibles typically range from $1,200 to $5,000 per employee and $2,400 to $10,000 per family. The HSA works in tandem with the HDHP and is similar to a 401(k) plan, funded with pre-tax dollars and accessed without tax or penalty as long as it is used to pay for qualified medical expenses. HSA funds are owned by the employee and roll over each year, accruing interest on selected investments. At age 65, the employee can use the funds for any purpose without penalty. A major benefit of a HDHP is that it is consumer-driven and encourages everyone to think about how they are spending their health dollars. It is proactive, encouraging preventive care with 100 percent coverage for routine physical exams, associated lab tests and child well-care visits. If you think back before the HMOs were created and before everyone was conditioned to think that a visit to the doctor’s office only cost $10, most people purchased indemnity-type plans that carried annual deductibles. Everyone had a better understanding and knowledge of the cost of health care. The HDHP brings it all back into focus and makes everyone more informed and responsible for a portion of the cost. You will be hearing and learning much more about consumer-driven health care, high-deductible health plans and health savings accounts since the insurance industry is moving in that direction and the New Hampshire business community is embracing this new concept. The New Hampshire High Technology Council is the first business organization to develop and promote this type of program. In conjunction with Patriot Healthcare, the council is bringing its members lower premiums with a HDHP combined with an HSA, and even further discounts with enrollment in a certified wellness program that is administered through the Sadler Insurance Agency. The wellness program includes a comprehensive online health risk assessment and individually tailored on-line health education programs. The program also includes community and workplace seminars and programs addressing the group’s most prevalent health risks. For more information, call Sadler Insurance at 800-698-0511 or visit sadlerinsurance.com.

 

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