As the holidays are upon us, a common greeting is "Have a happy and healthy New Year." The problem is, the cost of maintaining good health is soaring.
Out Of Control Insurance Premiums
Health insurance became a standard benefit for the American worker after World War II. You get a job, and automatically you have insurance paid for by the boss. However, from 2003 to 2010 the premiums for family coverage has increased over 50% in all states.
High Insurance Employee Coverage Costs
For the past several years a portion of the insurance premium has been passed to the employee due to the fact that cost has escalated, and companies can no longer pass that cost on to their products and services. The employee has been burdened with an increasing share of this increasing cost, as their share during that same period has increased over 63%, much faster than the rise in incomes.
In addition to higher costs, deductibles have climbed. In order to save on premium costs, employers have moved into high-deductible plans. Insurance does not pay until the deductible is met by the employee; with some high-deductible plans, that deductible can be as high as $3,000 annually for family coverage. A steep price to pay in addition to an ever-increasing premium.
What this means is that not only is the cost of insurance increasing, but so are your out-of-pocket expenses when you get sick and have to go to the doctor.
How to Stay Away from the Doctor
Here are some things you can do to bring down your costs to mitigate the pain of higher premiums and higher deductibles.
An Ounce Of Prevention...
- Preventive Care: this includes wellness check-ups and vaccinations.
- Health Savings Accounts (HSA): you can put pre-tax dollars in an account for medical expenses; it can be rolled over from year to year and a great way to save on taxes.
- Wellness Programs: Many employers offer these programs to fight preventable diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, and if you participate, you could earn dollars deposited directly into your HSA. They include physical activity, nutrition, and smoking cessation.
- Generic Drugs: ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a less expensive form of the brand name(s) you're currently taking. Meds by mail allow you to get a three-month supply at a reduced rate.
Solution In an App
Starting this New Year, what if you resolved to manage your money better? You'll be taking home less due to higher health insurance costs, but you can control your own destiny if you have the cash for unexpected expenses. Perhaps you'd like to request an invite to our new app, Liquid. From its non-threatening, non-spreadsheet interface, to its one-number-is-all-you-need approach, it allows you to look through the windshield as opposed to the rear-view mirror. You'll begin to think differently about how you keep more of what you make and get liquid. For the first time you'll be able to pay down your debt and save for your future.
Do you think an app could make you stop worrying about what the health insurance company does? With certainty comes freedom.