Pro Health – Page 18 – Pro-Health & Fitness

If you already belong to a group health insurance Georgia plan, you are one of the few set up with good coverage. There are many advantages to belonging to a group health insurance Georgia plan. The main one is that often, the employer helps pay or at least subsidize the monthly premiums. This is usually done in your compensation salary package. Who doesn’t appreciate having a portion of their group health insurance Georgia plan premiums paid for? This is done so that employers can attract, and keep, good, reliable, loyal employees. Providing group health insurance Georgia plans to their employees is one of the ways in which businesses try to gain high quality employees. Many individuals have come to expect getting benefits through their employers, and getting coverage for their families via an employer provided group health insurance Georgia plan is one of them.

A second benefit from a group health insurance Georgia plan is that insurance companies are prohibited, by federal regulations, to deny coverage to anyone, regardless of their current health. This even includes pre-existing conditions, although there may be a waiting period for benefits, under certain circumstances. So, if an individual who has diabetes, or has had treatment for cancer in the past, for example, applies for an individual health insurance Georgia plan, it is quite likely that they’re going to be refused enrollment. However, if that individual is a full-time employee of a business that provides a group health insurance Georgia want to their employees, then the insurance carrier has to approve their application, and provide coverage and benefits. This is invaluable if you, or someone in your family, have a chronic illness or sickness that will result in denial from insurance carriers.

What if My Group Health insurance Georgia Policy is not Paid For because of your Employer?

Of course, your group health insurance Georgia plan monthly premiums may not always be paid for by the business owner. In our economy, many employers have had to ask employees to help pay for part of their monthly premiums, or maybe even all of the premium costs, because profits are down. If that is the case, then an individual employee may want to compare individual health insurance Georgia policies to their current group health insurance Georgia plan. Premiums for group health insurance Georgia plans are higher than similar individual policies because the insurance company has to accept more risky members, due to the above-mentioned federal regulations. Because they can deny risky members on individual health insurance policies, their premiums are therefore lower. Of course, this depends on your own, and your family members’, health condition. If you are not currently healthy, then you may not get approved for an individual health insurance policy, or your premium may be really high and your plan occasionally includes a lot of exclusions or waiting periods. If you are currently in excellent health, however, then you may save a lot of money by purchasing an individual health insurance policy, rather than paying the high monthly premiums of a group health insurance Georgia plan through your employer.

So, if your employer provides group health insurance Georgia coverage in your compensation package, you are in good shape. But if you have to pay the premiums for a group health insurance Georgia plan, then you may want to consider purchasing an individual health insurance policy, and compare the costs to see if there is a cheaper option.

The health reform acts that recently passed the house of Representatives will result in a lot of changes in Georgia small business health insurance policy. Changes will occur mainly in how business owners purchase Georgia small business health insurance policy. Most of these changes will not kick in until 2014.

One big change is the institution of Shop Transactions, Small Business Health Options Programs. These SHOP Exchanges will enable small businesses to pool together to purchase Georgia small business health insurance policy. Each state will set up its own SHOP exchange. The function of this program is that it will lower Georgia small business health insurance policy costs; although it is predicted they will only be 1-4% lower under the exchange system.

The definition of a small business will change too. Currently, a small business is understood to be one with at least two employees, but no more than fifty. In the future, a small business will be thought as one with two one hundred employees. Any Atlanta business that meets that definition will be allowed to purchase Georgia small business health insurance policy. Small businesses that grow beyond the size limitations will be allowed to be grandfathered in, and will still be allowed to purchase Georgia small business health insurance policy for their employees. States may be allowed to limit costly to companies with less than fifty employees prior to the year 2016. After that, they will not be allowed to limit the pools.

Health insurance companies will not be allowed to increase Georgia small business health insurance policy premiums, or exclude coverage, based on pre-existing conditions. This is a major change from current insurance company policies. In the future, Georgia small business health insurance policy premiums can only vary located in geographic location, applicant’s age, and the presence of tobacco use. At this time, health insurance carriers are able to increase premiums if the applicant’s health is risky, or exclude services for pre-existing medical ailments for about eighteen months, typically.

In 2014, small enterprises with more than fifty employees will be asked to offer a Georgia small business health insurance policy to their employees, or pay a penalty per full-time worker. The Georgia small business health insurance policy coverage also will have to meet certain minimum benefits, which should include preventive health care bills. Employers will have to face penalties if the Georgia small business health insurance policy coverage they offer does not fulfill the minimum requirements.

There may be tax credits told her i would small businesses that offer Georgia small business health insurance policy to their employees, if they meet certain criteria, which may be a small number of full-time employees and not making a certain amount of income. Companies should check with a tax expert on whether or not they, and their Georgia small business health insurance policy, meet these conditions.

So, although the health reform acts will result in a lot of changes to small businesses and Georgia small business health insurance policy, most of these changes will not go into effect until 2014. Until that point, the Georgia small business health insurance policy market is still the same.

If you need an individual health insurance Texas policy, there are several factors that will affect your premium. The main factor is your health. If your health is not good, or if you have a pre-existing condition, then the job for an individual health insurance Texas policy may be denied. This may also happen if you have some factors that fulfill the definition of risky for the health insurance carrier. For example, if you have diabetes, or are a smoker, or are overweight, you may have difficulty getting individual health insurance. It is of note that pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition, so if you are a pregnant mother, you may have a difficult time being approved for an individual health insurance Texas policy.

A second aspect that affects your costs and capacity to purchase an individual health insurance Texas policy is your age. Certain government health insurance programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, have age constraints. Often, the ageing, or children, will qualify for certain government-funded health insurance plans. For private individual health insurance Texas plans, your age will play a part in the premium charges. For example, young children may cause insurance premiums to be high because there are so many baby examinations and immunizations recommended for children. Or if you are of advanced age, then the health insurance company may believe that you are a risky, and therefore, your monthly premium for your individual health insurance Texas policy, may be quite high.

A third aspect when you are buying an individual health insurance Texas policy, is whether you are including dependents on your plan. The excuse is that age and health will play a part in each family member or dependent being admitted to your individual health insurance Texas policy.

Group versus. Individual Health insurance Texas Policies

An individual health insurance Texas policy does not refer to a policy that covers only one person, because as stated above, it may provide coverage for you and your family members. It refers to being not the same as a group health insurance Texas plan, which is what folks enroll in through their employers. Other ways of joining a group plan could be through unions, or fraternal organizations.

A group health insurance Texas plan is usually offered via a business, and the insurance company in that instance, is required to approve anyone who is an employee and invite them as a part of the group plan. This means, that regardless of your health or age, you will be approved for health insurance, and so will your family members. This is a superb option for those who do have chronic health conditions, or many risky health factors, and would not be approved for an individual health insurance Texas plan.

If you don’t have any of these options available to you, or have been turned down for individual health insurance Texas policies, then you may want to consider the Texas Health insurance Risk Pool. You will have to prove that you have been declined for coverage from an individual health insurance Texas policy.

Individuals who work for themselves have always faced task of health coverage. Health insurance for the self employed singles is often put on the back burner because of the absorbent cost to maintain coverage. Just because you do not qualify for a plan via an employer contributed plan does not mean you should not be covered.

Organizations, Clubs, and Local Associations

Many local organizations and clubs offer discounted insurance policy. It will take some time to do the research, but inquiring your location already a member might produce surprising results.

Organizations for the self-employed like NASE, provide health benefits for its members. Members are paid cash benefits based on the nature of the illness. Emergency room and hospitalization benefits are available as well as lab tests, x-rays, dental and vision plans.

Some of the big name warehouse clubs offer more than discounted food and goods; they also offer discounted health care. Some have paired up with insurance companies to offer members reduced health care coverage. The Chamber of Commerce in your are may also be able to provide resources for cheaper health insurance rates.

Keep in mind that most organizations require membership fees or dues. When considering the cost of the membership versus the benefits of the programs offered, this might be beneficial even if it is used as a supplement to your major medical.

COBRA Coverage

For those who have been laid off or anticipate losing their job, COBRA extended benefits allow you to maintain your current coverage for about 18 months. This is a great option if you have no other insurance, but keep in mind that you will have to cover the entire cost. When you know in advance that you will be losing medical coverage, switching to a less expensive plan will keep the costs down when it’s in between jobs.

Insurance Agents Local and Online

Most people think of insurance agents for life and car insurance, but they can also help with major medical coverage. Insurance agents can put together a list of quotes from which you can pick and choose. This successful for those who do don’t you have the time or the patience to research insurance companies. It is important to know what type of coverage you are getting before you sign up so ensure that the policy will meet your needs.

Getting Insurance Through the Internet

A quick search of the internet will yield more insurance companies and plans than you can count. This can be a cumbersome task, but the effect may be a significant cost benefits for you. From HMOs to short-term insurance; it is all available on the net and you can spend some time and get quotes, investigate the various plans and see what is most effective for you. The premiums will change drastically depending on the type of insurance you require and whether you need single or family coverage.

Searching health insurance for the smaller can be time consuming but your required research now will pay off in the end. Affordable insurance is obtainable if you take the time to do the research.

Getting sick is something no one wants to think about, but when it becomes a reality it can be that much harder to deal with. The cost of health care continues to rise, making it difficult to handle financially. Consider being up against a life threatening or lifelong disease and trying to pay for it yourself. This becomes an impossible situation without health insurance. Medicare as it is now cannot be the only option when your family and additional health concerns may arise when you fall ill.

When a person’s health begins to deteriorate it can put them susceptible to lost employment and as well as financial hardship due to travel expenses, cost of surgical procedures, and medication. This is a risk that should not be taken. Just try and imaging losing your means of transportation, your home, or even worse. Debt is difficult enough to manage without being sick, and without that sickness becoming another cause of debt and financial difficulty.

Not being able to afford medicine or necessary treatment just increases the strain of getting sick in the first place. This will only affect your mental health in addition to your physical health. Illness begins to infect all areas of ones own life due to financial trouble. This makes it hard to give your family healthful eating and provide your children with an excellent education.

Medicare does provide some basic assistance if and when a person qualifies for it. However, even if these requirements are met, the wait can be years before Medicare assistance makes effect for some individuals. Medicare is also divided into sections and you have to qualify for all parts in order to see the full benefits. Medication, for example, is not at the top of the list.

You have to hope that Medicare covers the drugs that you need, and you must be able to afford the premiums and deductibles that are out of pocket costs. This enhances any financial strain you are faced with when you cannot work. The disadvantages of not having health coverage make the value of purchasing insurance drastically high.

In an aging population, it could become even harder to acquire full assistance through the current Medicare health insurance program. It is based on necessity and that won’t always include long term pain sufferers if they are making it through (regardless of their quality lifestyle). People should not put their futures exactly in danger by relying on a system that may or may not benefit them.

Insurance providers make up a large list. Finding an affordable plan amongst them will mean that you can avoid outrageous medical expenses and what could become an impossible situation. Coverage can potentially save your life, especially with the economy as it is. For all of these reasons, it needs to be taken very seriously.

Determining which plan is needed and what options are affordable are the first steps in deciding on health cover. Consider whether you need inclusive coverage or if limited coverage will do. Pay awareness of any out of pocket costs you might incur in addition to the upfront costs needed for coverage. When your finances have reached risk it is hard enough, but your family, your future and your life are exactly in danger. For these reasons, health insurance is certainly invaluable. Do not wait until it is too late.

Upon college from high school, there is no doubt you will surely start your tertiary education in university. At age twenty, children will not be covered by health insurance of their parents which will be disastrous if they are merely study , nor do part-time job. Some universities or colleges may have insurance plan told her i would students. These insurance may not answer all your needs but you need to be meticulously considered it.

Most of the universities and colleges offer student health insurance plans. These plans should absolutely be at reasonable price, and can give you the school’s nearest hospitals. This option is one that you should definitely think of, if your youngster is enrolled in a college far away from home.

College health care scheme may vary from college to college due to laws and some other factors. Many students may think medical services are free of charge, but it is not always true. In term of clinic visit or routine checkups they may be free, however students still require to pay for special kinds of lab tests and other specialties such as x-rays, prescription medications, and a wound treatment. Compensation usually covers some types of service stated in the health care provided by college health centre. When you are referred to see an outside doctor, then the coverage covers only 70% of your total expense and you are in danger to pay high medical cost.

You may have a problem getting treatment at the campus health centre if you have pre-existing condition. Having a pre-existing condition or illness does not mean to prevent you from obtaining health insurance plan, but you may not be eligible to have your treatment on your pre-existing condition. It can be troublesome if your new symptoms develop from a pre-existing one.

Health schemes will vary, so be sure you find out everything about your health insurance plans. Be sure that your health plan stretch to summer break when you or your child do not take classes. This is critical for you because you don’t want to find out that your health care does not cover as it’s needed most. Some college health insurances may not cover during summer break, while others do.

Make sure that you study your plan thoroughly. Is it an HMO, or can the member utilise any service provider they went? This is very important. You need to know where you can go in case of emergency, and there is nothing worse than discovering that you will have to pay off the bill yourself.

There is no definitive solution to whether you should or should not commit yourself to college health insurance. Be sure you study your plan thoroughly so that it answer to your need as it’s needed most. Although there is no free health insurance scheme, surely it can save you a lot of money in time of illness or accident.

Those responsible for the management of health, environment and safety matters should look into the following guidance when determining what function the occupational health nurse specialist will fulfill within the company. There may well be variation in the function of an occupational health nurse between different organizations depending on the needs and priorities of the working population and the health care system in which they are operating. Some useful questions to consider are:

Has a comprehensive health needs assessment been performed recently to name the needs of the organization and to help with setting priorities for action?
Has the workplace health management policy been reviewed and agreed in light of the needs assessment, taking under consideration both what is demands and voluntary agreements?
Have the goals of the occupational health service been defined clearly and communicated throughout the organization?
Does the occupational health service have adequate resources to achieve these goals, including staff, expertise, facilities and management support?
Is it clear how the performance of the occupational health service or of individual professionals within that service, is to be evaluated and are there clear, objective criteria agreed?
The answers to each of these questions will shape the discussion about the role and function of the occupational health nursing specialist within a specific organization.

Workplace health management is most effective when there is:

Commitment from senior management
Active involvement of employees and trade unions
Integration of company policies and clear targets for HES (health, environment and safety management)
Effective management processes and procedures
Adequate resources
A active of management competence, and
Rigorous monitoring of company performance using the principles of continuous quality improvement.
Policy making should be based on legislation and on a voluntary agreement between social partners at work, covering the entire concept of health, safety and wellbeing at work.

Evaluation of Performance

Evaluation can take place on three levels:

Company performance in your neighborhood of workplace health management
Contribution of the occupational safe practices service
Contribution of the individual work health nurse
All review procedures should be based on the principles of continuous quality improvement or audit. The criteria and indicators against which performance is to be measured should be defined clearly in the initial planning and contracting process so that everyone is clear as to what performance indicators are increasingly being used. Some caution is required if health measures have to be used as performance indicators for the occupational health service as much of the work of an occupational health service is orientated primarily towards the prevention of disease or injury or the reduction of risk. The success or failure of protective strategies can be difficult to measure using health data alone as it is sometimes uncertain as to the extent a single intervention or programme of interventions can claim responsibility for preventing the effect. Furthermore, many health effects only become apparent a long time after initial exposure and sometimes only become apparent in particularly vulnerable individuals. Where prevention is dependent upon the employee, the line manager or the business following the advice of the occupational physician, where this is not followed the adverse event may not necessarily indicate failing on the part of the work health service, but rather failing of the individual, manager or organization to respond appropriately to the advice these were given.

Evaluation can be based on the structure, input, process, output and outcome indicators, and both direct and roundabout effects, positive or negative, can be taken into consideration when judging the relative success or failure of the service. It is often useful to consider two inter-related facets of occupational health practice in the evaluation process, the professional standards that underpin professional practice and the delivery or services within the organization. Professional practice can be evaluated by, for example, evidence of participating in continuing professional development and adapting practices to take account of new knowledge, self-assessment of compliance with current best practice guidelines, regular internal and external peer review, or methodical audit of compliance with standards. The criteria used to evaluate professional practice should also take account of honourable standards, codes of practice and guidance from the professional bodies. Evaluating service delivery can be done by, for example, comparing the delivery of services against predetermined service level agreements or contracts, including meeting agreed quality standards for services, through customer or customer happiness surveys, or by assessing the adequacy of access to and level of uptake of services.

Over the last 20 years, we have witnessed the emergence of a major trend in The united states: employee wellness are suffering. In The us and the united states, there have been alarming increases of hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Between 1994 and 2005, the rates of arterial hypertension among Canadians increased by 77%, diabetes by 45% and obesity by 18%, affecting people of the age. Even more concerning is that hypertension rates among Canadians aged 35 to 49 rose 127% during the same period, and almost doubled among young people during the last 15 years (CBC News). The long-term effects of these issues will be dire; for the first time in decades, life span has decreased in the united states, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in December 2010.

Health care costs increasing
For employers, these factors should be worrisome, since research ensures that employee health directly impacts work behaviour, attendance, on-the-job performance and, of course, health care costs. According to the 2010 Health care Cost Survey by Systems Watson, employers are now paying 28% more for healthcare than they did just five years ago, and employees are paying 40% more.

Retaining talent
A serious challenge faced by businesses today is a high turnover of qualified, motivated and loyal workers. Many employers are failing to support and sustain their full capacity people and create relying on relationships with their employees. The data: according to a report by TLNT, 74% of workers are passive people looking for work ready to consider a move. In today’s competitive markets, employers must find new ways to attract and retain the best and brightest talent. One way to do this is to offer employees a place that promotes healthy and active lifestyles.

Root of the problem
“Seventy-five percent of health care costs result from unhealthy lifestyles, ” writes Barbara Schaefer, senior vice-president, recruiting for Union Pacific Corporation, in her article, “Long Train Running”. In health matters, factors such as smoking, physical loss of focus and poor eating habits are responsible for the vast majority of health risks and their associated costs.

There is good news for employers, however. These leading causes of illness are largely preventable. A 2007 study greater than 200, 000 employees, conducted by the University of Michigan, determined that 61% of employees have two or less health hazards, 28% have a moderate risk (three to four risk factors) and only 11% have an elevated risk (five or more health risk factors). The study determined that reducing health risk factors could save an employer US$354 per employee, a year, for a corporation of 1, 973 employees. These are savings that can add up quickly.

High performance companies: wellness leaders
Businesses today are left with no choice but to manufacture a healthy workplace culture if they want employees to perform to their full capacity potential. High performance companies such as SAS, Wegmans Grocery stores and Google have understood the unique connection between employee health, productivity and insurance costs. According to a report by the SHRM Foundation, “more than 75% of high-performing companies regularly measure wellness as a viable part of their overall risk management strategy. ” A survey conducted by Systems Watson and the National Business Group on Health “found that 83% of companies formerly revamped or expect you’ll revamp their health care strategy next two years, up from 59% just last year. This year, more employers (66%) want to offer rewards for employees to complete a health risk assessment, up from 61% just last year. Also, 56% of employers now offer health coaches and 26% now offer on-site health centres. inch

And it’s working! The public Health Agency of The us reported that by implementing a physical activity program, Canada Life in Toronto improved productivity and reduced turnover and insurance costs while achieving a return (MOTOROLA ROI) of $6. eighty-five per corporate dollar invested. A study conducted by the U. S. Centers for Disease Control found that “comprehensive worksite health programs focused on lifestyle behaviour change have been shown to yield a $3 to $6 ROI for each dollar invested. ” According to a report by the Medisys Health Group, out of the Top 100 Employers in The us, 77 have a structured wellness program in place and those who track the results generally find their expectations are met or maxed.

If you ask the managers and HR directors of these Top 100 companies about the benefits of workplace wellness programs, they will tell you benefits include decreases in insurance costs, absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover rates; increases in productivity and recruitment; and improved creativity and overall motivation of the workforce.

How to construct an efficient wellness program
Corporate wellness programs should focus on changing poor health habits in order to maintain affordable benefits coverage. A successful wellness program will help employees improve their physical health, improve communication throughout the organization and increase the workplace culture.

Quebec’s Groupe de promotion pour la prévention en santé (GP2S) is an organization that has worked for many years to determine an ISO standard for workplace wellness. According to GP2S, there are a number of factors that will affect the success of wellness programs. Firstly, commitment must come from top management; the leaders of the company must be convinced of the value of the endeavour and must lead by example. Secondly, the program should be structured and integrated; managers need to define an extensive wellness strategy that is integrated to the business strategy, with a budget, timeline and thorough planning of resources. Third, the objectives of the program must be from the business objectives and the needs of employees, which means that the program must be well built-into the management system.

GP2S also emphasizes benefit of effective communication. As stated in the Harvard Business Review’s article, “The Pillars of an Effective Workplace Wellness Program”, “Wellness is not just a mission-it’s an email. How you deliver it can make all the difference. Awareness, creativity and media diversity are the cornerstones of a successful communications strategy. ” Stopping up the launch of a wellness program with a strong marketing and communication strategy prevents employee cynicism and skepticism and builds employee enthusiasm and excitement.

There is one very critical action that must be taken to ensure a wellness program accomplishes a return; the entire implementation process should be based on a detailed diagnostic that assess the global health of the business and the health risk factors of the employees. Conducting a diagnostic to locate employee needs and the most common health risk behaviours allows companies to buy real problems, which drastically improves the potential return of the wellness program.

The trade association America’s Health insurance Plans said that the number of people using a high-deductible health plan associated with a Health Savings account (HSA) increased by 14 percent as of January 2011. By 2010, 10 million people had moved to this type of health insurance and by 2011, 11. 4 million people had an HSA Plan.

Individuals who have to buy their own health insurance have been switching to plans with deductibles to get less expensive premiums. Businesses have been doing the same, and are now offering more group coverage with higher deductibles. So, what do these Health Savings account Plans mean for both employees who get an HSA Plan through work and individuals who buy the plans on their own?

What Health Savings account Plans Mean For Employees

Banks and mutual fund firms talk about HSA Plans as an opportunity for people to invest and get tax-free earnings, but someone has to make those deposits. The employer and the employee can contribute to the employee’s HSA. The deposits created by the employee can be used as tax deductions to reduce taxable income even if the employee never spends the money for health care. It can be a pure investment option and a tax deduction at the same time.

Unlike IRAs and Roths, money invested via an HSA can continue to grow long after the HSA owner has turned 65 and/or retired because HSA funds have no mandatory revulsion requirements. HSA money is not locked up until the owner becomes 59-and-a-half like IRA and Roth funds, either. HSA funds can only be taken for qualified health care expenses, but a long list of health care can be paid for via an HSA. HSA money can cover health care for other family members, too, even if they are not listed on the insurance policy.

What HSA Plans Mean For Employers

According to a survey by the National Business Group on Health, You. S. employers expect their health care expenses to increase by an average of 7. 2 percent. Health Savings Accounts are easy for employers because the health insurance policy that can be combined with an HSA generally have lower premiums than policies without a deductible. Employers often say employees are careful about how they spend HSA funds because hardly any money left in their account becomes their retirement fund.

America’s Health insurance Plans found that, an average of, annual premiums for family coverage via an HSA Plan ran about $10, 248. That’s considerably below the annual average for all family health plans combined. That figure was $13, 770. The difference could help the employers’ bottom line because employers average paying about 60 to 70 percent of family coverage premiums for their employees, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

HSA Plans can also reduce account management costs for employers since employees can research HSA managers, set up their own accounts and select how to invest the balance. Employers do have to show employees how to use an HSA, but HSA managers prepare material to help with that.

With the high cost of health insurance premiums, HSA Plans have gained a market share by offering a low-cost alternative. Encouraging saving for retirement in a nation where an increasingly small fraction has enough to see them through retirement can be very helpful, too. An HSA may not be the best option for you personally with significant health care needs, but more and more people are making the move away from expensive health insurance policies that offer back little to those who remain healthy and need little health care bills. They’re switching to HSA Plans.

Employers and the self-employed are using two main strategies to keep the cost of health insurance low and to reduce their taxes. Known as an HSA, a Health Savings account can make most health care expenses tax deductible, and provide tax-deferred earnings. Individuals and business owners can start an HSA once they purchase a health plan that’s certified to be HSA compatible. These plans are available in the individual market for dramatically reduced premiums than plans in the group coverage market.

Can Health Savings Accounts Be Combined with A HRA?

Employers and people who are self-employed if the spouse works in the business may add a Health Refund Arrangement to substantially increase the tax savings available with an HSA alone.

To input it simply, a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) is an employer-funded medical reimbursement plan for employees. Someone who is self-employed cannot have an HRA in his or her name, but can reimburse the spouse, who works in the business as a W-2 employee, through an HRA. All of the family’s qualified health care and insurance expenses can be reimbursed, and that includes the expenses of the self-employed business owner by virtue of being a member of the HRA-covered family.

The big rush to get HRAs in place by December. 31 lead because the cost of health insurance premiums could then be reimbursed for the whole year back to January 2011. Reimbursement for other kinds of health care is not retroactive, though. Those who begin a HRA in January 2012 can reimburse their employees for health care, including premiums.

Since group coverage has become an expensive option for both employers and employees, HRAs present a less expensive choice that can help both parties save on health care costs. Compared to group plan rates, policies in the individual market can save employers up to 50 percent. Certain of these plans, known as Health Savings Accounts, This makes if feasible for more employers to provide health care coverage to more employees. By setting up a HRA, employers can legitimately reimburse their employees for individual health insurance premiums and other health care costs.

How do Health Refund Arrangements Work?

On a regular basis, an employer contributes a pre-determined total an account on an employee’s part. The employee can submit a reimbursement ask qualified medical expenses, and such reimbursements are not taxed.

What’s Required to Start A HRA?

The primary requirement is that the plan must be funded solely by the employer. It cannot be funded by salary reduction. In addition, the plan may only provide benefits for substantiated medical expenses.

HRAs may be designed in many fashions to suit the specific needs of employer and employees alike. It is one of the most flexible types of employee benefits plans, making it very easy for most employers.

How Do Employers Benefit from A HRA?

HRAs are most commonly offered in conjunction with a high-deductible health plan. As a rule, these plans keep premium costs low, so employers can use the savings to invest in the HRA. All employer HRA contributions are tax deductible for the employer, and tax-free for the employee.

Employers may establish when HRA funds may be used. This can range from comprehensively covering all health care to a restricted plan for emergency room expenses only. Because they are so flexible, HRA plans enable employers to regulate costs of providing healthcare benefits while providing an important employee benefit.

With an HRA, employee healthcare expenditures are visible and clear to employer and employee alike, thereby fostering a greater understanding of the costs of health care. In addition, employees who can monitor and control their health care costs become smarter health care consumers.

Studies show that only 20 to 50 percent of employees actually use their health care coverage, meaning employers often pay health insurance premiums for employees who are not utilizing the coverage. A HRA allows employers to determine the best type of coverage for their employees based on the demographics of their employee group.

HRA plans may also cover retired employees (and their spouses and tax dependents). Employers might wish to consider a HRA as an alternative to more expensive traditional retiree health care options.

Employee benefits, like a HRA, enable employers to recruit and retain quality employees. With a HRA in place, the employer is perceived in a positive light by current and prospective employees because a benefits package is being provided with their interest in mind.

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