Paying for long-term care can have a major financial impact on families. It’s a big reason why each year more than 65 million Americans provide long-term care to an adult family member. Yet the costs to those family caregivers are still steep.
A recent study found that nearly half of family caregivers spend more than $5,000 a year on out-of-pocket caregiving expenses, and about a third spend more than $10,000. If a loved one requires care in an assisted living or nursing facility, those costs can skyrocket and quickly erase a lifetime of savings.
The true cost of long-term care, however, goes far beyond just the dollars and cents of out-of-pocket costs. The indirect costs can have a drastic impact on a caregiver’s physical and emotional health, career and even their family relationships. This is something I learned firsthand in my experience as a caregiver.
Many caregivers say that you don’t plan on being a caregiver—it often happens to you.
Many caregivers say that you don’t plan on being a caregiver—it often happens to you. That’s how I found myself caring for my mother. We didn’t have a plan in place, and since I was the only one of my siblings still living in the same state, I became her caregiver.
A delicate balance of priorities
The next seven years required a delicate balance of responsibilities, as I continued to work full-time and my husband and I raised our three teenage children. Inevitably priorities changed and sacrifices had to be made to provide my mom with the care that she needed, which impacted all areas of our lives. While I thankfully had a strong support system to help get me through it all, my experience convinced me that long-term care insurance was the right solution for my family so that my children don’t have to go through a similar situation.
But my story is not unique. As many who have cared for a loved one can tell you, this is a common experience for family caregivers. Unfortunately, most families only explore long-term care options when care is needed, which magnifies the impacts of caregiving. Consider that for working caregivers:
• 60% say their duties have had a negative impact on their jobs
• 68% make work accommodations
• 64% arrive late, left early and/or took time off in the middle of the day
• 17% took a leave of absence
• 9% reduced hours or took a less demanding job
• 5% turn down a promotion
• Those who leave the workforce to provide care lose an average of more than $300,000 in income and benefits.
The ripple effect of caregiving can also quickly reach other areas of a caregiver’s life, including health and family relationships. When you’re so focused on caring for a loved one, it’s easy to forget to care for yourself. Sometimes there just may not be enough time in the day, so it’s easy to understand why about one in five family caregivers believes their health has gotten worse as a result of their responsibilities.
Additionally, between 40% and 70% of family caregivers of older adults have significant symptoms of depression. Other common health problems of family caregivers include increased anxiety, heart disease, hypertension, sleep problems and fatigue.
Between 40% and 70% of family caregivers of older adults have significant symptoms of depression.
It changes the family dynamic
When you’re caring for a parent, having less time for yourself also means there is less time for your family. Caregiving changes family dynamics, which can strain your relationship with your spouse and children. It can also create stress and conflict with siblings when it comes to topics like financial support and sharing the caregiving responsibilities.
Planning ahead with solutions like long-term care insurance can lessen the impact by protecting a family’s finances, providing choices for where care is received, supplementing family caregiving, and helping a family to maintain their lifestyles and careers. It can also provide one with peace of mind knowing their care needs will be met without requiring difficult decisions or unthinkable sacrifices from their family.
Long Term Care Insurance Quote
Take the first steps in learning about long-term care planning and find out how solutions like long-term care insurance can protect both you and your family.
When you get a raise at work, you not only feel great because your job performance has not gone unnoticed, but you also get a better sense of job security. Of course, this also means more money in your pocket, which may lead to irresponsible spending instead of taking personal financial responsibility and investing in your future. What you need to focus on is creating good spending habits right away.
First and foremost, you need to prioritize. Ask yourself if those major items you’ve been meaning to buy are really that important. Go ahead and revel in your success conservatively, but plan what you need to do before what you want to do with the additional money.
Here are a few simple tips on what to do when you get a raise at work.
1. Sit on it for a bit.
Before you jump into making new purchases, take some time to get used to the dynamics of your bigger paycheck. One thing you’ll notice is that you’re getting taxed more. The more money you make, the more money the IRS will take. For example, my friend’s sister got a $10,000 salary increase last year, but her bi-weekly paycheck only increased $200. So wait and see how much of that new raise you’ll actually get to take home before making any decisions.
2. Pay off debt.
Do you have credit card debt or student loans? If you have any outstanding, high-interest debt, accelerate your payments. Start with the highest interest debt and pay it off first, or consider a balance transfer promotion with 0% APR. However, this doesn’t mean delay saving for retirement, so remember to consistently contribute to your 401(k) and individual retirement account.
Without debt, you will be able to save more money. Not only will you improve your credit score, which can save you thousands in interest payments when you buy a house or car, but you’ll also reduce stress, improve your physical health and feel a great sense of pride. All of this will motivate you to continue spending responsibly.
3. Adjust your retirement plans.
After you’ve reviewed your debt and liabilities, it’s time to move on to your retirement plan. If you have more disposable income, you can start maxing out your retirement benefits, especially if your employer offers a 401(k) matching plan. By contributing to your retirement, you may not have extra money left over for the newest iPhone or a big screen TV, but you will gain future financial security.
4. Review your insurance policies.
Do you have all the basics of estate planning? Do you own life insurance and disability insurance? If not, are you knowledgeable about all the different types of life insurance available beyond just traditional term, whole or universal policies? Re-assessing your insurance needs to determine whether your current policies adequately cover your family is important anytime you experience a sizeable increase in income.
5. Save for tax season.
If you’re really looking forward to that tax refund, remember that the more you make, the more you’re taxed. Having a higher income means you may be in a new tax bracket and ineligible to take the credits and deductions that you are used to.
6. Celebrate your success—frugally.
The journey to financial independence doesn’t mean you should deny yourself anything beyond the absolute necessities of life. Life is a marathon and constant hard work can lead to burnout. A fun night out can go a long way towards maintaining your sanity.
What’s important is doing so in moderation. Buying a new gadget or planning a vacation should depend on the size of your raise and what you have budgeted for.
Congratulations on your raise! You’ve clearly done a good job and should be proud of yourself. Celebrate modestly and then get back to work building a better future for you and your family.
Have you gotten a big raise at work recently? Let us know what you did with the extra money in your paycheck. Fun and exciting stories are welcome, too!
You may know professional race car driver Danica Patrick for her ground-breaking career on the racetrack. But this September she will also be front and center promoting the power of life insurance as the spokesperson for Life Insurance Awareness Month, which is coordinated by Life Happens.
Here she opens up about life and life insurance.
You’re a consummate—and fierce—racing professional, but everyone has to start somewhere. Do you remember your first race?
Danica Patrick: It’s actually quite unforgettable. My sister and I started to race Go Karts when I was 10 and she was 8. The first time we took them out, it was in the big parking lot behind my parents’ business. We set up cans in a circle so we could do laps. But once out there my brake pedal fell to the floor, and I had no idea what to do. Instead of turning or spinning out, I just went straight, and at the last minute veered to miss a construction trailer and crashed into a concrete wall. I twisted the Go Kart, flew back, got bruised legs—the whole deal. It didn’t scare me away, but by all means my first racing experience did not go well.
When did you first get life insurance—or at least consider it?
Danica Patrick: It was an easy decision for me to get life insurance at a young age. I participate in a risky sport where I drive 200 miles an hour with concrete walls around me. Plus, I’ve been fortunate to have a successful career from the beginning, and I want my family to be looked after if something were to happen to me, especially since my parents sacrificed so much for me to get where I am.
But going a bit deeper, both my parents lost their dads when they were teenagers, and neither had any life insurance. My mom was one of five kids, and remembers that her mom had to sell most of the farm off as a result. When my sister and I came along, my parents got life insurance. They wanted to make sure, based on their experience, that we would be taken care of if something happened to them. That certainly stuck with me.
You’re only as good as your goals and your aspirations. So, shoot for the stars and land on the moon! That’s my plan.
LH: People might be thinking, “Well, I’ll never be racing at Talladega. I don’t need life insurance.”
Danica Patrick: Granted, my situation is unique. Most people don’t drive racecars for a living, so I think it’s probably easy for them to put off getting life insurance. You think you have time. You’re not expecting anything to happen, but it can. A good friend of mine in racing just lost his car chief to a heart attack at 34 years old. That’s crazy. Bad things can happen. That’s just life. And that’s why life insurance is just an easy and smart way to eliminate a risk from your life.
I also think there’s a misconception that only the primary breadwinner needs life insurance. The other partner may be doing the cooking and cleaning, running the kids around and all sorts of things that help the family operate. If something happens to them, those things still need to be done, and there might not be enough time in the day for the other half to take care of those things or the money hire someone to do it. So it’s smart for both to have life insurance.
LH: What’s it like to be a woman in a male-dominated sport?
Danica Patrick: It’s challenging to answer that because that’s all I’ve ever been, but what does it mean? It means anything is possible. It means you’re only as good as your goals and your aspirations. So, shoot for the stars and land on the moon! That’s my plan.
LH: We all want to know what you’re like behind the wheel when you’re just driving down the road.
Danica Patrick: Well, I have to admit, I’m pretty aggressive on the regular road. I’ve been told I need to take that aggression from the road to the racetrack more often. So I’m practicing that! It’ll pay off a lot better in my job.
LH: Any parting advice?
Danica Patrick: When it comes to life insurance, think about it this way: If you were to pass away, it’s going to be awful for those left behind. There are people who are going to mourn and suffer—perhaps financially as well, and whatever you can do to make that transition as easy as possible is the kind thing to do, the unselfish thing to do.
To get your Life Insurance Quote to protect those you love click here!
Many people make the assumption that life insurance is for married couples and those with kids. While it is true that not all single people need life insurance, there are a number of reasons when it can make (really) good sense.
1. You have student loan debt. Many people assume that your debt dies with you, but that’s not always the case. While the loans through the federal government are discharged (aka forgiven) if you were to die, personal loans that have a cosigner are generally not. That means if your parents, for example, co-signed your student loan through a bank, they would be responsible for paying the rest of the loan if something happened to you. There are instances when the bank has called for the loan to be paid in full immediately following a death. You don’t want to leave your parents dealing with grief and loan payments.
2. You’re living with your significant other. When you’re living together, a lot becomes shared financial responsibility. Consider this example: You need both your incomes to meet the mortgage or rent where you’re living. Have you thought about what happens if one of you dies prematurely? Would the other partner have to sell up? Find a new place to live immediately? And this is just one example of many shared financial responsibilities couple have. Adequate life insurance is an easy answer to those questions.
If your parents co-signed your student loan through a bank, they’d be responsible for paying the rest of the loan if something happened to you.
3. You plan on having kids … someday. It may not be now, but when kids do come, so do the expenses and bills. According the USDA, it costs $245,340 to raise a child to age 18, and that’s without factoring in the cost of college. Getting life insurance in place now means you have coverage in place for when you do have a child. Plus, you protect your insurability for the future. … and that leads us to the next reason.
4. You’re young and healthy. Age and health are two major drivers of how much you’ll be paying for life insurance. Why not lock in a low price if you have both of those working for you? Did you know that a health 30-year-old can get a 20-year $250,000 term life insurance policy for about $13 a month? Doable, right? Don’t wait until a health issue or age puts life insurance out of your reach.
5. You know you’ll be taking care of family members in the future. This may mean aging parents or perhaps you have a special-needs sibling that you help care for and support financially. What would happen to them if something happened to you and your support disappeared? Life insurance can ensure that there is money in place to fund those needs into the future. This is where it might be wise to consider a permanent life insurance policy (one that’s there for your lifetime, as long as you pay your premiums).
6. It will pay for your funeral. No one likes to think about such things, but the truth is if you die, someone will have to pay for your funeral. You wouldn’t want to leave your parents, partner or other family members struggling with grief as well as paying for a funeral and burial, which can cost an average of $7,100.
Getting life insurance doesn’t have to be a daunting task. A life insurance agent can walk you through your options—free of charge. If you don’t have an agent to work with, click here to get a quote today!
Many people in their 40s are facing an uncomfortable fact: They simply aren’t where they’d hoped to be financially. Fortunately, all their life experience can help correct for past mistakes.
“There’s a different trigger moment for everybody,” says Jay Howard, financial advisor and partner at MHD Financial in San Antonio, Texas. “But regardless of when it comes, people find themselves looking down the barrel of a gun as they consider retirement.”
One challenge is that it’s impossible to advise 40-somethings based on tidy “life stage” demographics. Some are just starting families, while others are sending offspring to college. They’re married, single, divorced, and just about everything in between.
But for those still grappling with financial instability, these four principles can help in moving forward with confidence:
1. Acknowledge what you’ve done right.
It could be one great decision sandwiched in between some fails, or just a single good habit that can mitigate the impact of a host of wrongs.
Take the example of Kiera Starboard, a 46-year-old controller at a San Diego software firm. A mom to two adult sons and a teenage stepson, she always made having sufficient life insurance—both term and permanent—a priority, the result of her previous training as a financial advisor. “Even if it was tight, I made the payments,” she says. “It was a priority for my family’s sake, and for my own peace of mind.”
Unlike the 40% of Americans who have no life insurance, Starboard was protected when the unthinkable happened last August. Less than two years into her marriage, her husband, Steve, was killed while riding his motorcycle to work—one month after they purchased a small, additional life insurance policy to supplement his employer coverage.
“To have had to deal with financial stress on top of everything else, it would have been unbearable, incapacitating,” says Starboard. “My stepson and I are certainly in a much better position today than we would have been, had Steve and I not followed the advice I used to give to others.”
2. Take action to shore up the decades ahead.
For many, the hardest part can be learning to put your own long-term future first—sometimes for the first time in your life.
“I see people focusing on their kids’ college savings, and not enough on retirement or an emergency fund for themselves,” says Starboard. Many advisors point out that kids can borrow for college if necessary, but no one can borrow for retirement.
The most important step is clear, says Howard: “You must have a written financial plan, period. Because that plan will dictate what you must do to be successful for the entirely of your life.
“The financial plan is your road map,” he continues. “In it will be your portfolio requirements, your savings goals, and your insurance-related needs.”
Finally, make sure your plan takes inflation into account, commonly estimated at 3% a year. Says Howard, “Inflation is the silent assassin that eats away at your nest egg.”
3. Apply the hard-fought wisdom you’ve gained.
“Treat the numbers determined by your plan—such as monthly savings—as bills that need to be paid,” advises Howard. When money comes in, it’s easy to start thinking of a new kitchen or a trip to Tulum. “Just be patient and keep the bills paid.”
Using that wisdom also applies to the big stuff. As the executor to her husband’s estate, Starboard has held back making any major decisions. “In a prior loss, I committed to real estate transactions and other things prematurely. At the time, it really felt like the right thing to do but my grief clouded my perception. I had a painful, expensive learning lesson.”
4. Focus on your shining future—really.
Forward thinking is an essential part of your financial plan, says Howard. “Get help really envisioning what kind of retirement you want. For each aspect, really drill down. For instance, where do you want to live? Do you want to be near your grandkids? Will you have the money to go see them? How often? It’s not just financial planning, it’s life planning.”
If all that forward thinking feels presumptuous, Howard recalls the eminently quotable Yogi Berra, who once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.”
And finally, remember the simple refrain: it’s never too late.
At 26, Michael Sizemore was living two of his dreams. Ever the athlete, he was training to participate in his first marathon. And he was enjoying his new position advocating for the unemployed and disadvantaged in his community through the nonprofit organization where he worked. After years of study and earning his master’s degree in public administration, he felt prepared to start his life’s mission of helping others.
Both those dreams came crashing down around him one night while he was out with friends. As they were walking across the street, a drunk driver ran a red light at high speed and hit Michael.
His injuries were so severe, including major head trauma, that doctors were unsure if he would survive. He was placed in an induced coma and his parents rushed to his side. There were countless surgeries to treat his head injuries, repair his shattered legs and address the multitude of other injuries he suffered.
Disability Insurance Makes the Difference
Through strength, determination and a lot of rehabilitation, Michael is improving every day, including being able to walk again. But during the three years it has taken, he has been unable to return to work. Instead, he has relied on the long-term disability insurance he had through work, which agent Jimmy Jacobs had helped his employer put in place. With it, he’s been able to pay his rent and utilities, and afford to keep his truck.
While his life will never be as it was before, Michael is hopeful that he’ll be able to work again soon. And he credits his disability insurance with helping him get there. “I’m still rebuilding my life and myself,” he says. “My disability insurance has been key. I wouldn’t be where I am without it.”
Let’s get straight to the point: Buying insurance is frustrating. Even with all of the technological advancements we’ve made in the past 20 years, the process of getting and managing insurance hasn’t gotten much easier, especially for small to medium-size businesses who don’t get the same service as their larger counterparts.
However, as some industry players make progress on underwriting, pricing and distribution and venture capitalists start backing startups, who are ready to transform and disrupt the insurance industry, we’re starting to see a shift in the way businesses are choosing to buy and manage their insurance.
So, what exactly is the problem?
While the Internet has been an incredibly useful tool for finding information on the product or service we are considering, this has not translated to the insurance industry. There is plenty of information about certain insurance types and policies, but more often than not, the content is missing the mark. To truly understand what coverage they might need for their company, business owners usually have to reach out to brokers or insurers for answers.
Prolonged quoting periods.
Right now, in order to get insurance, business owners must either get in touch with a broker or the insurance provider specifically. Even the process of getting a quote, or pricing information for insurance, can take two to four weeks, and none of it exists online.
Online management of business insurance policies is something that has been slow to adapt to the 21st century. After a company buys an insurance policy, they are sent a 200-plus-page PDF, promising that their business is covered should anything bad happen. The length isn’t really the issue here, rather the limits around the document. Business owners have no easy way to access, search or remember when their policies are up for renewal. This isn’t ideal if you’re a business owner
Business owners are busy.
Business owners have a million and one things to worry about outside of their insurance policies. After jumping through hoops with an insurer or broker to get a quote, in addition to the lack of education and transparency in pricing online, you can almost guarantee that these business owners will buy the first policy they’re offered. It’s not that business owners don’t see the importance of insurance; they simply don’t have the time to really deal with it.
They don’t get what they pay for.
Have a quick question about your policy? Not so fast. Insurance companies are met with some of the worst net promoter scores out there. In turn, business owners get some of the worst customer service and should expect a long wait when dialing in for an answer.
Let’s not forget about the inability for business owners to manage their policies digitally, which means even more time on the phone when a policy is up for renewal. Technology is helping
We know how important insurance is to running a successful business, but it’s clear that some serious changes need to be made. According to CBInsights, investors poured $2.65 billion into insurance startups globally in 2015, compared with only $740 million in 2014. This has a lot to do with the loosening of regulatory laws around insurance, which allows these investors to put their money into insurance technology startups that are hoping to change a broken industry, desperate for innovation.
Companies such as Oscar and MetroMile have already seen great success revolutionizing personal insurance types, but unfortunately the same cannot be said for those looking to buy business insurance, especially when it comes to small to medium-size businesses.
When you’re just starting out as a business or if you’re outgrowing your small-business status and becoming a medium-size business, purchasing and managing the right insurance is a harrowing process, to say the least.
The best way forward is by constantly getting feedback and working hard to improve the options for small and mid-size businesses based on that data. There is an enormous opportunity in this untapped market to use technology, data and design to make the entire process much easier for business owners.
Startups and venture capitalists taking on this challenge means the writing’s on the wall for the insurance industry: Innovate or get left behind.
In today’s world, the customer is all about finding something faster and easier, and if that option exists, trust us, they’ll take it. Bringing insurance online does not necessarily mean a complete reinvention; it just means a warm welcome to the 21st century, and we’re waiting with open arms.
While the debates over Obamacare have faded into the rear view mirror of public discourse, another major crossroads lies ahead as health insurance giant Anthem has unveiled plans to merge with Cigna in a $54 billion deal. Health care industry specialists cannot agree on whether bigger is better when it comes to this pending health care merger.
This month, Denver Post health care reporter David Olinger laid out the debate around the Anthem-Cigna merger. Insurance Commissioners and Attorney Generals across the country are reviewing this merger, along with another merger of Aetna and Humana, according to state laws that govern the consumer protections around health insurance.
While millions more Americans now have insurance, the prospects of everyone getting quality affordable health care—particularly in underserved communities—is are still unclear. Many people underutilize their insurance because the process is too complex. Some stop paying for their insurance plans shortly after they get covered. Colorado’s health exchange recently went through a shutdown of the non-profit health care co-op and the departure of United Health Care from the market.
So amidst all of this complexity, how are we to figure out whether these health insurance mega-mergers going to impact the average person?
Here are five questions that should be answered before the merger is approved or denied by the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), which regulates the insurance industry in our state.
1. The merger may be good for Anthem, but is it good for Colorado?
The merger would increase Anthem’s bottom line by billions of dollars. Yes, that is good for Anthem, but it doesn’t benefit Coloradans. For instance, different insurance companies have different approaches to coverage for transgender people. In fact, these two companies differ in how they treat this population—which policy will they adopt?
The Colorado Medical Society has opposed this merger. How will their voice be incorporated into this discussion? Will the health care choices of Coloradans be limited?
2. What does Connect for Health Colorado (the health insurance marketplace) think about this merger?
Colorado Connect for Health is the state’s marketplace for affordable health care, commonly known as “Obamacare.” Its mission, clearly stated on its website, is “to increase access, affordability, and choice for individuals and small employers purchasing health insurance in Colorado.”
The pending merger would cut one more insurer out of the market giving Colorado consumers one less option in selecting a health care provider. Is that a good idea? While the DOI considers this merger, the Colorado Exchange is a crucial voice in this debate. Have they discussed this issue at any of their public board meetings? Anthem has a seat on the board of the exchange.
3. What about rural health care providers and their patients?
Doctors are scarce in some rural communities. These doctors or sole practitioners could be forced out of health care networks, raising health care costs for some communities that continue to face economic challenges. Will rural communities suffer?
4. What will this do to indigent care?
The Colorado Indigent Care Program is funded with federal and state dollars to partially compensate participating providers who provide health care to the uninsured and underinsured.
The question remains: How will Anthem-Cigna merger impact Colorado’s low-income families who are dependent on this program?
5. Should there be a public conversation about this?
Yes. I applaud Division of Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar for pledging to hold a public hearing on the Anthem-Cigna merger. However, the regulations offer a comment period of only 30 days—is that enough time?
Discussions at the hearing must address the important questions raised above. And, we as a community have a responsibility to participate in the public hearing and let the Commissioner know that we care about our health care providers and how they treat us.
Last month I talked about how a company determines what you should pay for auto insurance.
Since that article, the second largest insurer of private passenger autos in the state of Georgia announced it is raising rates an average of 25 percent and up to 50 percent for some customers.
As I explained last month, rates are based on the experience of the company’s customers. How many claims did they have and how much did the company pay to reimburse customers and third parties involved in accidents for their claims? Apparently this company’s experience worsened resulting in a significant shortfall in their monetary reserves set aside to pay existing claims as well as an increase in the trend of new claims.
So if you experience a significant rate increase what should you do?
The first thing would be to contact your agent or company to see if you are getting the proper credits on your policy, and discuss options of lowering the overall cost. That does not include decreasing coverage, unless you want to drop physical damage coverage on a vehicle that is more than 10 years old and not worth carrying comprehensive and collision coverage. That decision is yours based on the condition of your vehicle and the cost to replace it.
Credits would include defensive driver credit, multi-policy discounts and multi-car discounts. Also, check to make sure your vehicles are rated for the proper usage, ie., pleasure, commuting or business use.
If you are not able to bring your premium down significantly with your current carrier then you need to go shopping.
Auto insurance is a very competitive product. There are many companies out there that would be happy to have you. Internet shopping is one way to shop if you know what you are looking for. Direct writers you can call for a quote is another option and can provide you with coverage as of the phone call.
If you do not want to go on the Internet to access several companies, or feel uncomfortable with the coverage you need, you can call a local agent that, as a captive agent represents one company, or as an independent represents many companies. Do not stop with one agent or company. You might find some savings with the first company you call, but there may be more savings available. Get quotes from at least four or five companies to make sure you are getting the best rate for the coverage you need. Do not accept a lower rate for less coverage unless you really feel you do not need certain coverage. Find someone you can trust and be smart. UPNIN Specialist are ready to shop multiple carriers for you and makes sure you get the best price. To learn more visit UPNINInsure.com
As an owner of a small or growing trucking company, you want to provide the best health benefits to your employees and their families. And yet for many companies, traditional employer health insurance has become too expensive or simply does not meet the unique needs of a mobile and diverse workforce. As such, trucking companies nationwide are evaluating health insurance options including individual health insurance reimbursement benefits.
Individual health insurance reimbursement is a cost effective solution - but it is a shift in how we think about health benefits. Instead of the company providing an insurance policy to employees, the employees choose their own insurance and get to keep it even if they switch jobs. As such, it is natural to have questions about how it works for your company and employees.
Q. How does individual health insurance reimbursement work?A. With this health benefits approach, your trucking company sets up a health reimbursement plan to give employees a healthcare allowance. For compliance reasons, and for easy administration, most companies use third-party software to help set up and manage the plan.
Here’s how it generally works.
Q. How much time will it take the company to administer?A. Once implemented, the benefit program should only take 5 minutes per month to administer online. Companies use software to set up the plan, enroll and educate employees, ensure compliance, and add approved reimbursements to payroll.
Q. Is a reimbursement plan considered health insurance?A. No. A reimbursement plan is not health insurance. Rather, the plan is a Self-insured Medical Reimbursement Plans, also called a Healthcare Reimbursement Plan (HRP).
Q. How does it work for employees?A. Employees select and purchase an individual health policy that best fits their families' needs, choosing any plan, from any carrier. Employees may use their healthcare allowance to be reimbursed for eligible premium expenses. They can keep their same network and doctors, and pick a coverage level that fits their health needs. Individual health plans cost, on average, 20-60 percent less than traditional group plans, and federal tax credits may be available to qualifying employees.
Q. Where do employees purchase insurance?A. Employees may purchase insurance through a licensed health insurance agent (who is appointed to represent the insurance carriers), online, or through your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace. Employees are no longer asked medical history information on the application, and cannot be denied or charged more because of a pre-existing condition. Many companies also find it helpful to have a licensed health insurance agent help employees navigate plan choices.
ConclusionAs trucking companies research how to offer affordable, competitive health benefits it is common to evaluate transitioning employees to an individual health insurance reimbursement program. We hope this article has answered your questions about how it works, how employees purchase insurance, and how reimbursement software can make the transition seamless.