Is Health Insurance Worth It? 

Is Health Insurance Worth It?  text overlaying image of a woman with a questioning look on her faceHaving health insurance lowers the cost of medical care, making it easier for more people to get it. This leads to fewer deaths and better health results. The number of Americans who don’t have health insurance has gone down, but a lot of people still don’t have any kind of coverage.

 

A draft report from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) says that in the first quarter of 2023, 7.7% of people (25.3 million) did not have health insurance. While the rate of uninsured people went down from Q4 2022 to Q1 2023 (8.3% or 27.3 million people of all ages), that is still a lot of people who are uninsured and don’t need to be. We’ve all heard the horror stories of folks we know (or maybe have only heard of) who end up leaving the hospital with mountains of medical debt. If you don’t already have health insurance, hearing such stories can make you question whether or not you really should get coverage.

 

The answer to that is yes! If you ever find yourself in need of medical treatment, having health insurance may be the only thing that stands between you and financial ruin, despite the fact that it is notorious for being both costly and difficult to understand. Health insurance can make the difference between being sick and being healthy, or even between life and death.

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Lowering Risks With Health Insurance

As we said, your health insurance protects both you and your wallet. It sounds a little odd, spending money on a premium while you’re healthy, how does that save money or protect your health? Let’s find out.

Your Wallet

Having health insurance protects not just your body but also your money in the event of an emergency. If you have a health insurance plan, your out-of-pocket expenses for medical care will be lower since the plan will cover most of the cost of medical treatment in exchange for a regular premium payment. Consider how much money you would have to pay out of pocket in the event of an unforeseeable medical emergency, which might very well end up costing several thousand dollars.

 

We get it: if you’re young and in good health, you could believe that you have no need for health insurance or that you won’t use it if you have it. Even while having a healthy body is a gift, the objective here is to keep that healthy body throughout your entire life. Sadly, illnesses and mishaps are not something that can be anticipated. If you do not have health insurance, you are fully responsible for all of your medical bills regardless of the amount.

Lower Healthcare Costs

Consider the expense of treating a broken limb as an example. If you don’t have health insurance, you may expect to pay about $2,500 for a straightforward break that doesn’t require surgery. In addition, if you require surgery, the total cost will increase to approximately $16,000. However, if you have health insurance, you will only be responsible for paying a portion of the total, with the exact amount dependent on the metal tier of your plan. 

 

  • Bronze – Bronze plans cover 60% of medical costs, so you’d be paying 40%. With the above example you’d spend $1,000 without surgery and $6,400 with. Meaning you’ll save between $1,500 and $9,600.
  • Silver – One step above Bronze, Silver plans cover 70% of medical costs. Meaning you’d only be paying $750 without surgery and $4,800 with. Bringing your savings to between $1,750 and $11,200.
  • Gold – The next level up brings 80% coverage. Which leaves you 20%, or $500 without surgery and $3,200 with surgery. Putting your savings at $2,000 and $12,800 respectively. 

That’s still a huge savings, even when you add in the monthly payment. Not to mention, this is just one incident! We’re not even including costs of regular checkups and illnesses. Health insurance is even more important for accidents and illnesses that are more complex. For instance, a three-day hospital stay can easily cost around $30,000, which most people who don’t have health insurance can’t afford.

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Lower Medication Costs

Having health insurance can also save you money on the cost of your prescriptions. The vast majority of insurance policies include coverage for the purchase of prescription drugs. Making them accessible to millions of people, who are in need of them due to the fact that approximately 45 percent of Americans are dependent on some form of prescription pharmaceuticals. Because many of these medications manage or slow down the advancement of a condition, your health insurance will continue to assist you in avoiding costly medical issues and hospital stays.

Your Health

Not having health insurance is not only financially dangerous, but it can also hurt your health. The National Center for Biotechnology Information says that people who don’t have health insurance are less likely to have a regular source of medical care, less likely to see a doctor even when they’re very sick, and more likely to put off normal care because they’re worried about the cost. Checkups once a year are the first step in regular medical care. They can stop major illnesses before they happen. You may need more tests, like a mammogram or a blood test, to find out what’s wrong with your health if your primary care doctor notices one.

 

Most people who don’t have health insurance chose not to have it because it was cheaper than what’s best for their health. For the same reason, they don’t get yearly checkups: it costs too much. It may cost more than your insurance premiums to not get regular care, though, if you have major health problems that aren’t caught early.

 

Say you think you have hay fever because you keep sneezing. It’s not just during hay fever season that you start to sneeze, though. You know you should see a doctor about your symptoms, but keep putting it off because you don’t have insurance and it will cost money. At some point, your symptoms get so bad that you need to go to the emergency room. You get a lot of tests and find out you have a sinus tumor that needs major surgery. That’s not the outcome anyone wants, is it? Going to the doctor without insurance could have saved you a lot of money and time in the emergency room and even kept you from major surgery.

Affordable Options

The good news is that there are plenty of affordable options for health insurance.

Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get health insurance is through your employer. When your employer offers a group plan the premiums are essentially split between the employer and all of the employees. Which means your share of the premium is smaller than it would be if you had your own individual plan. Enrolling in your company’s group plan is a great way to get covered without spending a lot of money. Plus it comes directly out of your paycheck so you don’t even have to worry about missing payments.

 

There’s only 2 real downfalls of group plans. The first being that with a group plan the coverage isn’t tailored specifically to your needs. Instead the coverage is very general to cover the needs of the entire group. The second being that your coverage is dependent on you staying at your job. Once you leave you lose your coverage unless you opt in for COBRA. Which is where you keep your health plan except now you pay full price out of pocket for your own coverage instead of having the risk split among all of your coworkers.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is another great way to cut down on your health insurance costs. A health savings account (HSA) lets you save money before taxes to help pay for certain medical costs. It works best with a health plan with a high deductible. Most of the time, you can’t pay your health insurance premiums with HSA dollars. However, you can use them to pay for your deductible, copayments, and other things.

Premium Tax Credits

As long as you buy your insurance on the ACA Marketplace, you may be able to get the Premium Tax Credit. People whose family income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line can get a tax credit from the government. Getting a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace will cost less because of this. If you make too much to get Medicaid, but still can’t afford health insurance, this is for you. When you file your taxes, you can ask for a premium tax credit that will help you pay for your premiums.

Working With An Agent

Health insurance may seem pricey, but it’s important to think about how much it’s worth. In the long run, how much you’ll save. When you compare the total cost of health insurance to the cost of not having one and having a medical issue, it is clear that having insurance is the better choice. Medical problems can put a family out of money, which is the last thing you want to think about! It’s worth every penny to know that your family and friends are safe and can get medical help instead of trying to “ride it out” because they don’t have insurance. Working with an EZ agent is another way to save money on health insurance!

 

You can save a lot of money on health insurance by working with an EZ provider. You can get health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace or somewhere else. EZ can compare all of them for you. We will think about how much money you have and make plans that fit your budget. We can also check to see if you are eligible for any government or subsidy programs and then use them to help you with your plan. You’ll get all the benefits without any of the trouble this way. To begin, enter your zip code in the box below or call 877-670-3557 to speak with one of our certified agents.

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4 Reasons Your Employees Aren’t Enrolling in Your Healthcare Plan (and What to Do About It)

Any way you look at it, offering health insurance to your employees is a good thing to do. Not only does a healthcare plan keep your employees healthy and protect them from huge medical bills, but studies have also shown that it is the most desired benefit you can offer. Employers who offer healthcare are more likely to attract high quality job candidates and also to retain the employees that they already have. So, if you’ve carefully researched and chosen a plan and offered it to your employees, but only a few have decided to enroll, what could be the problem? Here are 4 common reasons why employees choose not to enroll in an employer-based healthcare plan, and what you can do about it.

1. Your Plan Doesn’t Match Your Employees

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The first reason employees choose not to enroll in your healthcare plan is that they don’t like it.

The first reason employees may choose not to enroll in your healthcare plan may seem obvious: they just don’t like it. Even if you’ve done hours of research and you think you’ve found the perfect PPO plan with a low deductible, you may not be taking into account your employees’ ages, family size, and financial situation. If most of your workforce is young, healthy, and childless, then they might prefer a high deductible health plan. But, if you have a very diverse  workforce, then they might all have different needs. In that case you might want to look into an la carte healthcare plan, like a cafeteria plan.

Since asking your employees about their healthcare is a pretty sticky subject, you may be unsure how to solve this particular problem. The answer is actually very simple and will only take a little bit of time: give your employees a healthcare survey. Ask them all the relevant questions to gauge what they are looking for in a healthcare plan, and be sure to keep it anonymous to encourage participation. Their answers will give you a much better idea of what they want and where you should be looking for a plan.

2. The Network Isn’t the Right Fit

Most healthcare plans have a set network of providers that the insured can see without incurring out-of-network charges. So, even if your employees are happy with the PPO plan you chose for them, they might be unhappy with the providers included in the plan’s network. Some employees may find that their trusted doctors are not included in the offered plan – and that could be a deal breaker for them.

The solution to this problem can be the same as above: ask about your employees’ provider and network preferences in a survey. Be as specific as possible, asking about what doctors, hospitals, facilities, and prescription drugs they would like covered.

3. The Total Costs Are Too High

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Even if you’re contributing 50% of your employees’ premium costs, that cost can still take a big chunk out of their paychecks.

Premiums, deductibles, copays, coinsurance…there are a lot of costs to add up when it comes to a healthcare plan. Even if you’re contributing 50% of your employees’ premium costs, that cost can still take a big chunk out of their paychecks. And premiums aren’t the only thing they need to budget for: around 80% of covered workers have a deductible they need to meet before their healthcare costs are covered. The average deductible for covered workers in small businesses is over $2,000, which is a very significant sum for a working family. 

One way to help offset these costs and encourage your employees to enroll in your plan is to consider putting money into a tax-advantaged account like a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). Both you and your employees can make pre-tax contributions to these accounts, and your employees can use the funds in them to pay for qualified healthcare expenses. An FSA can be used with any kind of healthcare plan, but the contributions are “use it or lose it.”  In contrast, an HSA must be combined with a qualified high deductible health plan but the contributions can roll over each year. 

4. Your Employees Don’t Understand Their Options

There are some that believe that effectively explaining and communicating the importance of benefits to your employees is just as important as offering the right plan. As a business owner, you already know that people don’t buy what they don’t understand. Employees need to understand the benefits you’re offering them and how important they are to themselves and their families in order to want to spend their money on them. 

caucasian woman with short red hair and blue button up looking confused with her arms up

A recent survey by Colonial Life found that one-third of employees spent less than 30 minutes looking at their benefits options, and another third spent less than an hour. And this doesn’t just affect them: the same survey found that the employees who sped through their benefits choices were 55% more likely to leave their jobs, 32% more likely to feel dissatisfied with their jobs, and 18% less likely to feel cared for by their employer. 

The solution to this problem is simple: communication. As the employer, you need to find an effective communication strategy that works for your employees. In addition to the printed or digital material you offer, consider holding individual and/or group meetings to talk about benefits. And don’t assume that just because some of your workers are younger, they want everything to be done online. Another Colonial Life survey found that Gen Z and Millennial workers are actually slightly more likely to want human interaction when learning about or enrolling in benefits: 91% for Gen Z and 83% for Millennials, as compared to 76% of employees overall. 

At EZ.Insure, we know that you’re working hard to find the best options for your employees, but sometimes you just need someone to point you in the right direction. That’s what we’re here for. When you come to us, you’ll get your own personal agent who will give you instant, accurate quotes, answer all of your questions, and never, ever hound you with endless calls. And we do it all for free. You’ve got your employees’ best interests at heart, and we’ve got yours at heart, so get started with us today. Simply call 888-998-2027, or enter your zip code above.

Catastrophic Plans Can Be Confusing, Let Us Help

The cost of health insurance is not one size fits all. If you’re healthy, under 30, and facing financial hardship, you could have some cheaper options available to you. For people in these categories, Catastrophic health insurance plans can provide essential health benefits without breaking the bank with monthly premiums. However, you should know that, while premiums on these plans are low, they have high deductibles. If you remain healthy, then your high deductible won’t be a problem, but if you have an accident or become ill, you could end up with huge medical bills. Before you decide if a catastrophic plan is right for you let’s take a look at how they work.

Who These Plans Are For

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Catastrophic plans are ideal for people dealing with hardships such as homelessness.

Catastrophic plans are designed for individuals who are young or struggling to afford health insurance. Not everyone qualifies for these plans. They are only available to people who are:

  • Under 30 or are over 30 and meet the guidelines for a hardship exemption. This includes people whose plan was canceled by their insurer or small group employer.
  • Dealing with hardships such as homelessness, eviction, foreclosure or bankruptcy, domestic violence, or medical debt
  • Considered low-income and cannot afford insurance

These plans have the lowest premiums of any plans on the ACA exchanges, but they also have the highest out-of-pocket costs.These plans do not have a copayment or coinsurance and premiums will vary depending on where you live. Generally all plans have the same high deductible: deductibles were $7,900 for 2019, and they have risen to $8,150 in 2020. Once you meet your deductible, then the insurance company will pay for all covered services.

Who They Are Not For

weekly pill container filled with pills in it with Tuesday tab open.
If you are unhealthy with a condition, then these plans are not right for you.

Do you see the doctor often? Do you need a lot of coverage? Do you plan on starting a family in the next year? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a catastrophic plan is probably not the best choice for you. Because of their high deductibles, these plans are not for people who have health conditions that need constant attention. In this case, you will probably want to look for a plan with a lower deductible, even if it means a higher premium. 

If you are over 30 or do not qualify for a hardship, then you can look into getting a Bronze level plan on the ACA Marketplace. These plans are very similar to Catastrophic plans, but with slightly higher premiums and without the same qualification requirements of Catastrophic plans. Even if your income isn’t low enough for a Catastrophic plan, you may still be able to get subsidies for a Bronze plan. 

Just The Essentials

Catastrophic plans must include all of the ACA’s benefits, and include some free preventive care. These plans cover:

  • Outpatient services

    tubes with purple tops filled with blood being held by a person with purple gloves on.
    Catastrophic plans cover the 10 essential benefits such as lab work.
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Lab work
  • Preventive and wellness services, and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

Catastrophic plans aren’t for everyone. If you’re unsure what plan is right for you, come to EZ.Insure for help. We understand how intricate the insurance world is, and because we have been in the industry for over 10 years, we can offer you free expert advice on which direction you should go in. To get free quotes, enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly to one of our experienced agents, call 888-350-1890.

Making The Most Of Your High Deductible Health Plan

High deductible health plans are rising in popularity, with more companies offering them and even more people purchasing them individually. These plans definitely have benefits, like their lower premiums, and they can be great for healthy people on a budget. On the other hand the high deductibles of these plans can be a problem, because going to the doctor or hospital can mean being stuck with a big bill. Or knowing you have a high deductible to meet might make you think twice about seeking care, and you might end up ignoring symptoms until things get worse. However, there are ways to make the most of your high deductible health plan while getting the care you need and saving money.

Utilize Your Freebies

the word free in caps and in red

Under the ACA, all insurance plans must provide coverage for some preventive health services with no out-of-pocket costs- this applies to high deductible health plans. These free preventive services will not have a copay and do not count towards your deductible. You can expect to get free vaccines, cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, birth control, and some cancer screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies.

Check with your insurance plan’s details and be sure to stay in-network to avoid unexpected costs; these services are free but you still have to stay within your plan’s network.

Ask For Discount

If you are sick and need to seek treatment, but are worried about a high medical bill, ask your provider if they offer any discounts. Some doctors’ offices will offer a discount if you pay with cash, or you can ask your doctor for a discount on a service that you will have to pay for entirely out-of-pocket. If they do not offer any discounts, then ask if they offer payment plans so you can avoid medical debt

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HSA accounts have triple tax advantages which can help you save money for medical expenses.

 

Triple Tax Advantages With HSA

One of the major benefits of having a high deductible health insurance plan is the ability to have a health savings account (HSA) alongside it. HSAs allow you to put money aside, pre-tax, to help you pay for qualified medical expenses. These accounts offer a triple tax advantage because:

  • Contributions are tax-deductible
  • Contributions roll over and can continue to grow tax-free into the following year
  • Withdrawals are not taxed if you use them for qualified medical expenses. 

Take note that unqualified expenses incur a 20% penalty.

Stay In Network

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This is said a lot, but it is worth repeating. In order to avoid major out-of-pocket expenses, you must stay within your plan’s network. When you have a high deductible plan, it is especially important to stay within the network to avoid extra charges. Only in-network services will count towards meeting your deductible; any care you get outside of your network will not count. Make sure to double check with your insurance company and doctor’s office that any specialists you are referred to are in your plan’s network. 

Do you have a high deductible health insurance plan? Are you considering one? If you are in need of help, EZ.Insure is here for you. We provide accurate quotes on all plans in your area, and our trained agents will go over each plan and will find one that fits your needs and budget. To get free quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to an agent, call 888-350-1890.

Self-Employed? Here’s Your Guide To Getting Health Insurance

Nothing beats being your own boss! If you are self-employed, then you are probably wondering about your health insurance options. Don’t worry, you do not have to break the bank to get a plan for yourself. There are many affordable options.

silhouette of a man looking at a blackboard with 3 arrows pointing in different directions
When you are self-employed, you have different options for health insurance.

Health Insurance Coverage Options

Let’s talk about the options of health insurance for the self-employed. There are different routes to go when looking for the right plan.

  • Marketplace– If you work as a freelancer, run your own business, or self-employed without employees, then you qualify for the Individual Marketplace. There are a variety of different plans you can choose from, but you can only enroll during the annual Open Enrollment Period, unless you have a qualifying life event. When you fill out an application, you will find out if you qualify for premium tax credits and other savings, which we will further elaborate on later. 
  • Private Insurance– Private insurance has plans that provide good coverage at an affordable rate. Private insurance companies have many plans to choose from with a variety of coverage and costs. You can find a plan tailored to your needs and budget.
  • SHOP Marketplace– If you own a business and are looking for coverage for yourself, a spouse, or have an employee, then Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace is the way to go. Enrolling in a SHOP plan offers small business or non-profit a Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.

Marketplace Savingsafrican american hands holding a small white piggy bank

Now back to those savings we talked about earlier. When you fill out a health insurance Marketplace application, you will estimate your net self-employment income. The premium tax credit or reduction qualifications rely on the year you’re getting coverage, not the prior year’s income. You will have to estimate your household income for the year and submit it. During the year, you can change your estimated income if the income changes. 

If you qualify for the tax credit, you are allowed to deduct 100% of your health insurance premiums for your adjusted gross income every year. 

Tips On Choosing A Plan

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Before choosing a plan, make sure to do some research, so you pick the best plan for your situation.

There are a lot of different plans you can choose from, both on the marketplace and through private health insurance companies. You can choose a high deductible plan with lower monthly premiums, and benefit from an HSA account. You can choose a low deductible plan with higher monthly premiums, or even a catastrophic plan. Whichever you choose, make sure to compare plans to choose the one that meets your needs and budget. 

Comparing plans and their prices can take a long time, and can be frustrating. The most important tip when choosing a health insurance plan is getting expert advice from an insurance agent. EZ.Insure offers highly trained and knowledgeable agents all around the U.S. that specialize in their region. You can speak to one of our agents, and they will do all the comparing of available plans for you and provide you with the quotes. It comes at no cost to you, which is a win! You get free help, and get directed in the right path to save money, double win! To speak to an agent by emailing replies@ez.insure, or calling 888-998-2027. No gimmicks, no hassle, and no cost. Just simple, free health insurance quotes.