THEY offer insurance quotes. WE provide direction. BIG difference. Articles

August 5, 2013

Avoiding Emergency Rooms in Non-Emergency Situations

Filed under: Health Insurance — Jeff @ 1:26 pm

An emergency is a situation that poses an immediate risk to health, life, property, or environment. Too often people end up in emergency rooms for items that are not emergencies and then they wonder why the emergency room charged them so much when the hospital ONLY did {fill in name of service}. Urgent care centers are equipped to provide immediate care in NON-emergency situations. Here is a tongue in cheek break down of which facility you should go to in different situations:

If you need a couple stitches – Urgent Care Center
If you need a couple DOZEN stitches – Emergency Room

If you have a stomach ache – Urgent Care Center
If you can see your stomach – Emergency Room

Just know the difference so you do not needlessly go to the most expensive place to get medical care. But, also be able to recognize symptoms so you do not ignore something that DOES need immediate care. Most insurance companies charge a larger copay (or separate deductible) if you go to an emergency room, but then waive that if you are admitted to the hospital. Obviously, if you were admitted, then you DID indeed have an emergency. They otherwise are trying to discourage you from going for non-emergencies. When we meet with employees, we try to educate them so that they understand how they can save money by going to the appropriate medical providers. Locate your nearest urgent care center(s) so you are prepared for you next non-emergency.

March 6, 2013

Your QHDHP Lost its “Q”

Filed under: Health Insurance,Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) — Jeff @ 10:43 pm

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has been selling both BluePreferred and BlueChoice HSA plans at a $1200 deductible level for years.  In fact, we have many clients that have these plans.  But, if you still have that plan, you no longer can (legally) contribute to an HSA.

And, just so we have our facts straight, everyone refers to their health plan as an “HSA,” but in reality, the savings account is the HSA — thus, Health Savings Account.  The health plan itself is called a QHDHP which stands for “Qualified High Deductible Health Plan.”

So, if you have a QHDHP as your ONLY health insurance, then you are eligible to contribute to an HSA.  If it is not qualified, then you can be taxed and penalized if you contribute to an HSA when you are not eligible to do so.  Now that we have the back story down, the IRS sets limits for what a deductible must be as a minimum, which the $1200 deductible used to satisfy.  In 2013, that now has to be at least $1250 for an individual and $2500 for a family.  It should also be pointed out here that if you have a deductible on your health plan that meets this criteria, that DOES NOT mean you can contribute to an HSA.  It must be classified as a QHDHP which many high deductible plans are not.

The fix is simple.  If you no longer want to contribute to an HSA, then you do not need to make a change and your health plan will work as is.  If you do want to make contributions, then CareFirst now offers a $1400 ($2800 for two more) that you can easily convert your existing plan to and get your “qualified” back.

Just follow this link and all of the forms you need will be right there, along with additional important information.  Also, it does not matter if you made the error of not doing business with us when you originally bought your plan, that is easily fixed with the forms we have provided.  If yours is a group plan, then just contact our office and we will help you out.