Women’s comprehensive health coverage empowers women to make the best decisions impacting their lives and their offspring. Benefits which are already available to policy holders include: a free annual well checkup through your doctor, OBGYN or pediatrician. The goal of this step is simple keep a person in check in order to prevent or anticipate future health concerns. For women, this includes a free annual visit to the OBGYN at no cost to the client whereby the annual pap smear and mammogram (for ages 35 and older) is included. Furthermore, there is coverage for screenings pertaining to gestational diabetes and HPV, counseling for pregnancy and access to prescription contraceptives. Routine blood work is also part of this coverage for both men and women. Having parents take their children for the annual checkups with further aid in the prevention of the epidemic of childhood obesity which has become more relevant in the past few years. There are even services provided for nutritional counseling and incentives to become enrolled in fitness centers and activities which lead a person to being more active and healthy.
In the individual insurance marketplace, if you want to spend pre-tax dollars on health care costs, we advise you purchase a Health Savings Account (HSA). You must have an HSA plan in order to fund the HSA account, but it allows you to invest your monies on a pre-tax basis. An advantage to an HSA plan is that you are paying a lower monthly medical premium to the insurance carrier. With health care reform, the routine preventive care benefits are available immediately, just keep in mind that most co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions are unavailable until you reach your major medical deductible. This option allows financial growth for your investment and turns it into basically a medical IRA which you can access upon retirement.
In the group insurance marketplace, changes to Flexible Spending Accounts will occur in 2013. A Flexible Spending Account can be used to pay medical expenses while receiving a tax benefit from the government. The benefit of having this type of account is that the money is taken out of your paycheck pre-tax so the amount of federal and state income taxes you pay will be lessened. The change to FSAs won’t actually go into effect until January 2013, but people with employer-based health insurance can expect to learn about it during Open Enrollment this fall. So, if you want to get a jump on planning next year’s budget, take note. It used to be the case that employer-based Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) allowed you to set aside as much as $3,000-$4,000 pre-tax per year for medical expenses. In 2013, that number is being dropped to a maximum of $2,500. If you want to make the most of your pre-tax FSA dollars for big medical expenses in the near future, consider scheduling your care this year rather than next.
To learn more about what’s coming your way for health reform in 2012 and beyond, follow us online at Selected Benefits’s Consumer Blog.