Running and building a business is a costly endeavor. While some businesses have greater overhead than others, no one gets away without incurring some level of start-up and then ongoing expenses. And, often times, health insurance costs can be a major expense, especially for small businesses.
For example, according to Zippia.com, employers pay 78 percent of single coverage employee health insurance plans and 66 percent of family coverage plans on average. When you consider that the average annual cost for premiums is close to $6,500 for single coverage in California, that’s close to $5,000 per year per employee that an employer is contributing.
And family coverage is significantly higher.
As the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has reported, annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance averaged more than $22,400 in 2022. KFF went on to note that, on average, workers were contributing $6,106 toward the cost of family premium last year, with employers paying the rest.
Some states are far more expensive for businesses, as well. While California, for example, ranks about halfway among all 50 states in terms of how expensive it is to start and run a business, states like Nevada, Colorado, and Arkansas are the least expensive. Others such as Minnesota and New York are the most expensive for business owners.
Some Steps For Lowering Health Insurance Costs
The United States has the most expensive health care in the world. Experts debate the actual reasons and underlying causes, but it is highly unlikely that there will be any substantial changes in the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, small businesses must take steps to effectively manage and even lower their own health insurance costs.
Here are some tips from LandrumHR.com for managing small business health insurance costs:
- Survey potential and current employees to determine what benefits they value most
- Provide benefit selection education to help employees understand their options
- Add telehealth alternatives to your plan
- Offer a variety of plan choices
- Consider an HSA plan option
Utilizing the expertise and experience of a reputable insurance firm such as J.C. Lewis Insurance Services, for example, is also a great way to effectively manage your health insurance costs.
Five Tactics For Small Business Health Insurance Costs Management
There are several tactics that a small business can implement for effectively managing its costs around health insurance.
Here are five proven and actionable tips for managing your small business health insurance costs:
- Shop Around for Competitive Rates
- Obtain quotes from multiple insurance providers to compare prices and coverage options.
- Consider working with a broker who can help navigate the market and negotiate on your behalf.
A good recommendation is to request quotes from at least three different insurance companies and carefully review the details to find the most cost-effective plan for your small business.
- Implement Cost-Sharing Strategies
One popular approach is to provide your employees with an HDHP option and contribute to their HSAs to help cover medical expenses. This can result in reduced premiums for both the employer and employees.
- In addition, encourage employees to take more responsibility for their healthcare expenses, leading to lower overall costs.
- Embrace Wellness Programs
The goal here is to promote employee wellness initiatives such as preventative care, exercise programs, and healthy lifestyle choices.
- By lowering health risks and promoting healthy habits, these efforts can lead to reduced healthcare costs over time.
- Offer discounted gym memberships, organize health challenges, or provide incentives for employees who participate in wellness activities.
- Evaluate Alternative Insurance Models
For example, consider partnering with other small businesses to form a self-insured group, which will allow you to share the financial risk and potentially access lower-cost healthcare plans.
- Explore additional insurance models such as joining a captive insurance group.
- These models may provide more control over healthcare costs and reduce premiums.
- Educate Employees on Healthcare Benefits
Some good ways to do this are to conduct educational sessions or provide informational resources to ensure employees make informed decisions regarding their healthcare utilization and choose cost-effective options.
- This will help employees understand their health insurance plans, coverage details, and cost-saving options.
- It can also encourage them to utilize in-network providers, generic medications, and telemedicine services.
Remember, your business is not like any other and each small business has unique needs. Therefore, it’s essential that you assess your specific situation and consult with insurance professionals to tailor these strategies accordingly.
J.C. Lewis Insurance Services Can Help With Your Health Insurance Costs
We have been in the business of offering quality health insurance plans here in Sonoma County since 1979. J.C. Lewis Insurance Services works only with the leading health insurance carriers licensed to do business in the states that we operate in.
As a family-owned and operated health insurance agency for over 40 years, we, too, are a small business. Which means that we understand the particular needs and challenges small business owners face. In addition to being specialists in finding and managing affordable health insurance plans for small businesses, we are also licensed and certified by each insurance carrier we represent.
So, whether you’re considering small group health insurance for you and your employees or you’re simply looking to make changes to your existing plan, we understand that you’ll likely have questions and concerns.
We always welcome your questions about health coverage insurance, and you can be confident that we will help you find the right solution for your needs.
J.C. Lewis would love to be your preferred partner, helping you to make the right decisions for your company’s health coverage needs.
#Tips #Managing #Small #Business #Health #Insurance #Costs
What is the Medicare Part D coverage gap? REMEDIGAP
In the world of Medicare, there exists a peculiar term called the “donut hole.” No, we are not referring to the sweet, deep-fried confectionery that tempts our taste buds. Instead, the doughnut hole refers to a unique coverage gap in the Medicare Part D drug plan (Medicare’s prescription drug program). Understanding this concept is essential for those relying on Medicare for their healthcare needs. That’s because it directly impacts out-of-pocket expenses for prescription medications.
Medicare Part D Donut Hole
The donut hole is a phase within your Medicare Part DD prescription drug coverage (It is not related to medications that are covered under your Medicare Part B). It is where beneficiaries must bear a more significant portion of their prescription costs. It is a point in your drug coverage, marked by a specific dollar amount. Once you spend a certain amount on medications and reach a certain threshold, beneficiaries enter the “donut-hole”. This is where they are responsible for a higher percentage of costs until they reach the next threshold.
Though the concept may appear confusing at first. Being aware of it is paramount for beneficiaries to effectively manage their healthcare costs. It will also help them make informed decisions regarding drug coverage. Let’s dive a little deeper into the specifics and how it affects beneficiaries.
When do you enter the donut hole?
The donut hole begins once the total amount spent on covered drugs by both the person and their insurance plan reaches a certain threshold. At this point, the individual enters the initial coverage stage. In other words, you’re in the donut hole. This is where you’re responsible for paying 25% of the cost for brand-name drugs and 25% of the cost for generic drugs (the drug manufacturer pays 75%).
It is important to note that the cost that applies towards reaching the threshold includes the following: The amount paid by the person and any drug manufacturer discounts received for brand-name drugs.
Once the individual reaches the catastrophic coverage threshold, their out-of-pocket costs decrease significantly. It is crucial for individuals enrolled in Medicare drug plans to be aware of this and plan their medication expenses accordingly.
When do you get out of the donut hole?
Once you exceed the threshold of cost, you will be out of the “donut-hole” and you’ll enter the catastrophic coverage phase. When closing the donut-hole, it’s important to note that not all expenses count towards reaching the threshold.
For example, Part D premiums don’t help you with this coverage phase. Payments made by your drug plan and manufacturer discounts are among the costs that don’t contribute to reaching the out-of-pocket limit.
How to avoid the Medicare donut hole?
Navigating the complex landscape of Medicare can be overwhelming. However, there are strategies to help minimize the impact. One approach is to carefully select a Medicare Part D coverage plan and review its costs. Comparing different Medicare plans and understanding their formulary can allow beneficiaries to determine which plan provides the most comprehensive Medicare Part D coverage for their specific medication needs.
Another way to avoid the donut-hole is to take advantage of cost-saving initiatives, such as generic drugs or mail-order pharmacy services. By opting for lower-cost alternatives and prescription delivery services, beneficiaries can stretch their medication budget. This can potentially delay reaching the threshold. It is also crucial for individuals to monitor their medication usage throughout the year and be aware of their total costs. Tracking expenses and consulting with a Medicare expert can ensure beneficiaries stay informed. It helps to take these necessary steps to avoid falling into the Medicare donut-hole.
When is the Medicare Donut Hole Closed?
In the past, beneficiaries had to cover the full cost of their medications while in the gap. However, with the passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, a plan was put into motion to close this gap in coverage completely. This plan aims to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries during the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap.
The closure is being phased in over several years, with incremental improvements each year. In the coming years, it is expected that it will be completely closed. This means that beneficiaries will no longer have to pay the higher percentage of their covered prescription drug costs out-of-pocket while in the gap. Instead, they will pay a lower percentage, making their medications more affordable and accessible.
Will the Prescription Drug Part D Coverage Gap Go Away?
The future of the Part D prescription drug plan gap is a popular topic. Originally, the gap was implemented as a cost-saving measure and was intended to encourage individuals to use generic drugs, thus reducing overall healthcare expenditures. However, over the years, this has proven to be a burden for many Medicare beneficiaries, who face significant out-of-pocket costs when they fall into this gap. As a result, there have been ongoing discussions about the need to eliminate or modify this coverage gap stage.
The good news for 2023 is that the coverage gap phase is set to be fully eliminated in 2025. This means that Part D enrollees will no longer face heightened costs during this phase. Instead, they will continue to pay their regular cost-sharing amounts for prescription drugs throughout the year.
The elimination of the Medicare coverage gap phase is a significant improvement for beneficiaries. It removes a financial burden that many have faced in the past and aligns with the goal of providing more affordable access to necessary medications. Click here to learn more about Medicare Part D plans.
How does donut hole work with Medicare Advantage & Medicare Part D costs?
The donut-hole is also connected to Medicare Advantage plans that have a Part drug plan. These plans are also known as MAPD plans or Part-C.
MAPD plans, which are private insurance plans that provide Medicare benefits, often include Part DD plan drug coverage as part of their offerings. Therefore, it can also apply to those enrolled in MAPD plans. Since these plans often include drug coverage as part of their offerings, the coverage gap commonly can also apply to those enrolled in these plans. Click here to learn more about the Medicare Part-C program.
Out-of-pocket drug costs can take a toll on your wallet. Whether you have a Medicare Supplement insurance plan or an MAPD plan, your annual drug costs can be significant. Even if you don’t take any medications today, you should still get a Part-D plan to avoid a penalty. However, if you take medications and fill a prescription, your Part-DD plan should keep your overall costs lower compared to not having one.
It’s understandable if all of this is overwhelming. That’s why we created an easy to learn course to get you familiar with the Medicare system. People with Medicare rave about our free course. The free course provides additional information about the different parts of Medicare, enrollment, costs, what Medicare pays and what it won’t and more.
Judge dismisses Republican lawsuit against Google over Gmail’s spam filtering
The suit complained Google intentionally sent RNC political emails to Gmail users’ spam folders, and the RNC sought restitution for “donations it allegedly lost as a result” of those lost emails. The RNC cited a North Carolina State University study that found Gmail was more likely to mark emails from Republican campaigns as spam. One of the study’s authors spoke to the Post in May last year, saying its findings had been misrepresented. Muhammad Shahzad noted that it only tested default email settings — in tests on accounts where users indicated their preferences by marking some messages as spam, “the biases in Gmail almost disappeared.”
While US District Court Judge Daniel Calabretta described the RNC’s suit as a “close case,” he dismissed the Committee’s claims, writing that it had “failed to plausibly allege its claims” that Google’s filtering was done in bad faith. Google claimed that many of the filtered emails were likely picked up by its spam algorithms because of user complaints and pointed to problems with the RNC’s domain authentication and frequent emails as other culprits.
The judge also said Republican emails could be considered “objectionable” content based on the definition in the CAN-SPAM Act and said that Google designating them spam is protected by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The decision left Republicans with partial “leave to amend to establish a lack of good faith” on Google’s part.
#Judge #dismisses #Republican #lawsuit #Google #Gmails #spam #filtering
Transparency in Coverage – price information accessible to the public
Are you ready to take charge of your healthcare like never before? In 2023 insurance carriers are rolling out an online price transparency tool available for 500 shoppable items and services. In compliance with Transparency in Coverage, subsequently implemented under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2020.
Say goodbye to the days of uncertainty and hidden fees! With this tool, you’ll clearly understand what to expect, allowing you to plan and budget for your healthcare like a pro.
It’s a game-changer! You are finally able to inform yourself about the cost of that medical procedure you’ve been considering. Curious about the price of a specific service? An internet-based price comparison tool that allows an individual to receive an estimate of their cost-sharing responsibility for a specific item or service from a specific provider. You can even request the same information over the phone by calling your insurance membership line.
We can’t stress enough how important it is for you to sign up with your provider’s member portal. It will help you to maximize your coverage and will provide you the power to manage your account seamlessly. In addition to accessing your explanation of the benefits of your past procedures, you will see how much you have paid towards the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum, you will be able to locate providers and hospitals in your network, be able to see your policy payment status, pay your premium online and also now be able to find the treatment cost estimator.
Blue Shield of California
Treatment Cost Estimator is a new tool already available for Blue Shield members. This calculates the overall cost and out-of-pocket expenses for frequent in-network medical procedures. Moreover, projections offer the members of transparency and clarity they need to budget and make future healthcare plans. Click 👇 here to view Blue Shield treatment cost estimator brochure.
Here’s for Kaiser members. Log in to your member portal, then click on the “benefits” tab. Scroll down, and subsequently, you will find the “Find cost estimates” section. The list of procedures is clickable therefore you can click on each to see their estimates.
Anthem members should go and log on to anthem.com/ca. Once the member logs on, they will click on “Care” at the top of the site; lastly, they will need to “Shop for Procedure”. You should be able to find the information you need.
With LA Care’s utmost security over the phone, each member is welcome to call member services at 855-270-2327 to walk you through navigating the portal.
To make the most of your membership benefits, don’t forget to log in to your personalized Member Portal at https://www.hioscar.com/auth/login. It’s your gateway to a world of convenience and control over your insurance needs.
In addition, you have access to a dedicated Concierge team ready to assist you with any insurance-related inquiries. Simply give them a call at 855-672-2755 (opt#2), and they’ll be more than happy to walk you through this feature.
You can also contact your Care Team through direct messaging at [email protected]. Remember to include your OSC# and provide all the details to ensure a swift and accurate response.
Utilizing these cost estimation tools can save time and effort in understanding your health coverage costs. You will no longer have to spend hours poring over complicated insurance documents or making numerous phone calls to your insurance provider. Instead, you can access all the information you need at your fingertips and make informed decisions about your healthcare.
If you would like to discuss your health insurance options with a personal touch, feel free to reach out to us at 310-909-6135 or send us an email at [email protected]. We are here to provide dedicated assistance in safeguarding your future and protecting your loved ones today.
#Transparency #Coverage #price #information #accessible #public
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