2019 healh resolutions

New year, new you? Are you resolving to improve your health this year? As healthcare costs continue to rise, being a smarter healthcare consumer can help combat these costs. However, being informed about healthcare and establishing these healthy habits starts with YOU.

Need some motivation? Here are 7 health-related resolutions to make this year:

  1. Review your health insurance policy: It’s important that you understand what your insurance policy really covers to make the most of your spending each year. Determine your deductible amount, out-of-pocket maximum, copays for regular office, urgent care and ER visits, and copay costs for generic, brand and specialty prescriptions.
  2. Consider obtaining secondary health insurance: By covering medical expenses that are not covered by your primary insurance plan, secondary insurance policies help bear the burdensome out-of-pocket expenses individuals and families encounter.
  3. Select health care providers: Visiting the emergency room after work hours or relying on urgent care visits is NOT a good practice. Before selecting a healthcare provider, seek recommendations from family and friends, check your health plan to see which physicians are in-network, and know what you want and need from a primary care provider.
  4. Schedule and attend yearly checkups and exams: Staying up-to-date with yearly checkups and age-appropriate health screenings and immunizations is vital to your health.
  5. Stock an at-home first-aid kit: Unfortunately, accidents and sickness occur from time to time. Be prepared for minor illnesses and injuries with a stocked first-aid or emergency kit at home.
  6. Eat healthy: While establishing a healthy and balanced diet is the overall goal, it’s helpful to start with baby steps. For example, aim to reduce your sugar intake, cut down on carbs or start meal prepping. Making and sticking to specific goals like these will help you establish a healthy eating plan that is sustainable for you.
  7. Exercise regularly: Like eating healthy, exercising regularly is vague and can be tough to stick to throughout the year. Whether it’s hitting the gym twice a week, getting 10,000 steps in a day, or trying a new training program, create an exercise plan that’s challenging, but doable.

With these 7 resolutions, you can make your health a priority this year. If you have questions about your health insurance policy or would like more information about secondary health insurance, contact The Prewitt Group today!

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By: David Murdock, J.R. Prewitt & Associates Life, Health and Group Benefits Consultant

There is no doubt that health insurance is an extraordinarily confusing concept. As a Life, Health and Group Benefits Consultant, I am often asked, “Why am I paying so much for healthcare and still incurring the costs of copays and deductibles?” In short, my answer is medical trend.

What is medical trend?

Medical trend is defined as a change in health care costs. Health insurance companies, like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, monitor the costs of visiting a physician, having lab work done (i.e. MRI’s, x-rays, colonoscopies, etc.) and receiving other routine outpatient treatments to determine how they are trending. Other factors that influence medical trend include price inflation, increased usage of medical care and services, leveraging effect of fixed deductibles and copays, cost shifting from the uninsured to private payers, government-mandated benefits and technological advancements.

How did the Affordable Care Act (ACA) impact medical trend?

While ACA caused some positive change, like removing lifetime maximums—the amount a health plan will pay in benefits to an insured individual during his/her lifetime, it prompted medical costs to grow at a faster rate. With lifetime maximums removed, health insurers began facing multi-million-dollar claims. Consequently, to counter those costs, the only health plans they offered required higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, which put the costs back on the consumer.

How do increasing health care costs impact employees?

Employees often associate the cost of healthcare with what comes out of their pockets. They usually don’t think about their share of the premium since it’s a payroll deduction, but expensive co-pays and high deductibles catch their attention and raise complaints.

How do increasing health care costs impact employers?

As the healthcare benefit provider, employers not only incur the costs of outsized healthcare premiums, but they are also confronted with employee complaints and questions. These spur employers to seek a solution that offsets the costs of higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

What is the solution?

At J.R. Prewitt and Associates, we’re encouraging employers to consider secondary insurance options. The emergence of secondary insurance coverage has helped defray the burdensome out-of-pocket costs to employees. Essentially, secondary insurance kicks in to cover a lot of the costs that would otherwise go to deductible and out of pocket expenses. While secondary insurance may not cover everything, it helps minimize large expenses in many cases. If you’re interested in learning more about secondary insurance, contact me today, and we’ll determine a plan to meet your unique needs.