Serving over 200 companies and more than 2000 families since 1988

2882 Sand Hill Rd. Ste. 119 - Menlo Park, CA 94025 - (650) 854-8963 - (800) 564-4476

Posts made in August, 2016

As Health Insurance premiums continue to rise, you might want to consider a switch to a lower cost plan. In an effort to keep expenses manageable, many employers move to Silver or Bronze tier plans in order to access more affordable premiums. Or, perhaps you already made that move last year. Either way, your employees might experience an uncomfortable sticker shock when they realize that their new deductible has now risen. Bronze and Silver tier plans can be more affordable for employers, because they offer lower premiums. But the trade-off for these lower premiums is a higher deductible, usually ranging between 1,000 and 6,000 dollars. It can be difficult for many workers to afford these high deductibles, and they will often experience frustration as they must pay for many healthcare services out of pocket before their insurance kicks in to help them afford the rest. For Bronze or Silver tier plans, your employees will pay 40 or 30 percent of their own healthcare costs, respectively, with the health insurance company picking up the remaining tab. That might not be such a bad deal for those who are lucky, and don’t experience serious health crises. But for those who experience accidents or hospitalizations, the cost can become a significant burden. If you’re considering a switch to a lower-tier plan in order to save money on premiums, you might be concerned about your employees’ reactions to your decision. And of course, you are concerned with whether they can cover their out-of-pocket expenses in the event of a serious illness or accident. You might consider offering voluntary accident or hospital insurance as an extra add-on, to help your employees manage expenses in the event of high medical bills. These plans can bridge the gap if your workers experience a costly medical emergency, by offering cash payments to help your employees pay for copayments, deductibles, transportation expenses, and even childcare costs during their recovery period. For more information on accident or hospital insurance plans, give us a call. We can help you identify the solutions that work for your business, and provide you with information that you can pass on to your...

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If you’re like most Californians, you’re pleased with your new ability to research and enroll in your own healthcare plan through Covered California. The aim of the Affordable Care Act was to make health insurance affordable for everyone, and they’re doing a good job at meeting that goal through widespread subsidies for health insurance premiums based upon income. But even though premiums are affordable for nearly everyone, you might still feel frustrated by your plan’s deductible. Depending upon which tier of plan you chose – Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze – you deductible might range from 0 dollars all the way up to 6,000 dollars. And many of us just don’t have thousands of dollars sitting in a bank account, ready to be used for medical bills. The whole point of health insurance is to help everyone access necessary medical treatment, so of course we don’t want you go avoid care due to high deductibles. The following options can help you manage this expense, while still seeking the medical treatments you need. Negotiate with your doctor’s office. Your physician can’t waive your deductible, due to plan rules, but often they will allow you to make payments on your portion of the bill. Look for cheaper options. Choosing a less expensive treatment option won’t lower your deductible, but it will help spread out your payments toward that deductible. For example, if you need a treatment that currently costs 800 dollars per month, locating an option that costs 400 per month can reduce the financial pressure. Investigate community health centers. Community health centers offer care based on a sliding scale, according to your income, and might even accept your health insurance company’s payment as the full payment. Call your human resources department. Some employers offer assistance programs to help lower-income employees, but these programs often are not widely advertised. Call your human resources department at work to inquire whether your employer offers such a program. Borrow. No one wants to go into debt, but borrowing the cash to cover your deductible doesn’t have to mean using a high-interest credit card. Other options are available, such as a home equity line of credit, or taking a personal loan from a credit union or even a family member. If your high medical bills are the result of a one-time incident, rather than a recurring illness or condition, this might be a reasonable option for you. Open a Health Savings Account. You might be eligible to open and fund an HSA, which allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars, directly from your paychecks, for use toward qualified medical expenses later. Call us for more...

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