Archive for category health insurance
High Deductible Health Plans, Health Savings Accounts and Future of Healthcare review by KBNI Houston, Katy, Woodlands, Spring, Pearland, Conroe, Kingwood, Humble, Sealy, Baytown, Beaumont, Tomball, Port Arthur
Posted by admin in baytown, beaumont, conroe, deductible, flexible spending arrangement, FSA, Galveston, HDHP, health, health insurance, health reimbursement arrangement, health savings account, high deductible, high deductible health plan, houston, HRA, HSA, Humble, insurance, insurance agent, katy, Kingwood, medical bills, medical debt, out of pocket, Pearland, Port Arthur, Sealy, Spring, sugarland, Tomball, woodlands on January 17, 2016
High Deductible Health Plans, Health Savings Accounts and Future of Healthcare
As we enter the changing world of healthcare insurance and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP), it is critical for patients to understand policies which the United States Government has implemented to help protect employees. At the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI), the commitment to help patients remains the highest priority. As deductibles and maximum out of pocket expenses are increasing with high deductible health plans (HDHP), it is important for patients to understand Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSA), and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA). Without the full and proper understanding of these, patients might not be aware of how to continue to receive excellent healthcare, at an affordable price. In order for patients to receive the best healthcare possible, they must be well versed in the arrangements which the government has set in place to help them.
Patients who are enrolled in insurance plans with high deductibles, are undergoing fewer imaging studies, according to research performed by Kimberley Geissler, assistant professor of health policy and managementat the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/patients-high-health-insurance-deductibles In fact, according to the study, patients in these health plans undergo about 7.5 percent fewer diagnostic procedures including MRI, X-ray, and CT scans than patients with lower deductible plans. In this study, insurance plans with an annual deductible of at least $1,000 for individuals and $2,400 for families were considered high deductible.
High deductible plans are increasing in popularity due to the appeal of lower premium costs. Initially, the high deductible plans were felt to have lower costs, as far as patient premiums were concerned. The reality of these coverages occurred when it came time for patients to use the plans. Then, significant costs were incurred, as patients had to often meet high deductibles, before the benefits of the plans kicked in. Patients must understand how to utilize the opportunities of HSA, FSA and HRA accounts, to counteract this, and make the high deductibles and high maximum out of pocket expenses affordable.
The good news is that the Federal Government has implemented several programs to help protect patients, and shield them from some of the rising costs of healthcare. The three programs which will be discussed are 1) health savings accounts (HAS) , 2) health reimbursement accounts (HRA), and 3) flexible spending accounts. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf
- Health savings account (HRA) : According to the Federal Government, a health savings account (HAS) is a tax-exempt trust or custodial account which an employee can set up with a qualified HAS trustee to pay or reimburse certain medical expenses which they incur. The contributions remain in the employee’s account until they are used, and the interest or other earnings on the assets in the account are tax free. The HSA is “portable,” and remains with the employee if they change employers, or leave the workforce. To quality for an HSA, and employee must be covered under a high deductible health plan (HDHP). For 2015, the definition for an individual was a minimum annual deductible of $1,300 up to a maximum annual deductible and out of pocket expenses of $6,450. For a family, these numbers increase to $2,600 and $12,900, respectively. In 2015, the maximum contribution for individuals was $3,350, and $12,900 for families. Employees can receive tax-free distributions from their HSA to pay or be reimbursed for qualified medical expenses. It is not necessary to make distributions from the HSA each year, and the money which is in the HSA of the employee remain with that employee. Qualified medical expenses which are covered by the HSA are those expenses which would generally qualify for medical and dental expenses deduction. Medications are considered a qualified medical expense if it requires a prescription, or, in the case of an over the counter medicine, the employee receives a prescription for it.
- Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA): A health flexible spending arrangement (FSA) is a program which allows employees to be reimbursed for medical expenses. They are typically funded through voluntary salary reductions, which are arranged with the employer. Contributions made to an FSA by an employer can be excluded from the employee’s gross income. There are no employment or federal income taxes deducted from the contributions. Employees can withdraw funds from the account to pay qualified medical expanses even if funds have not yet been placed in the account. Health FSA’s are employer established benefit plans, and may be offered with other employer-provided benefits as part of a cafeteria plan. For plans beginning after December 31, 2012, salary reductions contributions to an FSA cannot exceed $2,500 per year, or a lower amount if set by the plan. Money in the FSA which is not used by the end of the plan year is forfeited. Distributions from an FSA must be paid to reimburse for qualified medical expenses. An employee is entitled to receive the maximum amount of reimbursement at any time during a coverage period, regardless of the amount which had been already contributed. Payment might be made with debit cards, credit cards, and stored value cards given by the employer.
- Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) : A health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) is funded solely by an employer, and cannot be paid through a voluntary salary reduction agreement on the part of the employee. With an HRA, employees are reimbursed tax free for qualified medical expenses, up to a maximum amount for the coverage period. Any unused amounts in the HRA can be carried forward to reimbursement in future years. There is no limit on the amount of money an employer may contribute to the HRA. Payment for qualified medical expenses are often made with debit cards, credit cards, and stored value cards.
The physicians and team at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX, are committed to helping patients with their care. They have significant experience with helping patients protect themselves, and curb expenses, through the utilization of their Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSA), and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA). They understand that difficulty with finances can cause significant emotional stress on patients, and this effect is compounded when patients are already trying to heal recover from pain or other illnesses. Health insurance agents may also advise patients about HSA, FSA and HRA accounts.
The Kraus Back and Neck Institute treats patients in Houston, TX and the surrounding areas, including Pearland, Tomball, Katy, Sugarland, the Woodlands, Spring, Humble, Kingwood, Sealy, Conroe, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Galveston, and neighboring cities of Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin and San Antonio.
Patients suffering from neck pain or lower back pain, and who seek expert advice, or a second opinion, or who have been told they may require a spine surgery, are welcome to schedule an appointment at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute:
……. Or visit www.SpineHealth.com to SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE
Keywords: high deductible health plan, HDHP, health savings account, HSA, flexible spending arrangement, FSA, health reimbursement arrangement, HRA, high deductible, deductible, health, out of pocket, Houston, Pearland, Tomball, Katy, Sugarland, the Woodlands, Spring, Humble, Kingwood, Sealy, Conroe, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Galveston
Spinal Injury Lawyers and your Health Insurance review by Kraus Back and Neck Institute Houston, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sugarland, Katy, Spring, Pearland, Woodlands, Kingwood
Posted by admin in accident, attorney, back injury, back pain, baytown, beaumont, car insurance, health insurance, houston, houston personal injury lawyer, houston truck accident lawyer, insurance, katy, Kingwood, lawyer, medical bills, medical debt, motor vehicle accident, motor vehicle injury, patient advocate, Pearland, personal injury, personal injury lawyer, Port Arthur, recovery, review, spinal, spinal injury, spinal injury lawyers, Spring, sugarland, Tomball, truck accident, truck accident lawyer, woodlands on December 13, 2015
Spinal Injury Lawyers and your Health Insurance
Patients may have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, truck accident, or other type of motor vehicle injury. Of course, any type of injury, whether it be a motor vehicle injury, truck injury or car injury, are unplanned, and can have significant consequences for the injured person. Understandably, most spinal injury patients are often much more concerned with their long-term prospects for rehabilitation and recovery. As the claim process progresses, it’s easy to let financial decisions take a back seat to quality care. The unfortunate reality, however, is that your health insurance coverage benefits may not cover your recovery in all the ways you require. It’s advised that spinal injury patients take the time to understand their coverage as best they can in order to search for the local and regional doctors that will make a physical and financial recovery possible. After all, whenever the spinal nerves are involved, costs can quickly run to the tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many patients need corrective spine surgery to remove or repair damaged portions of the spinal column (fragments of disc or vertebra, for example) in order to minimize the possibility of further damage, or to re-stabilize the spinal column. Patients need to address recovery, but they can also be stressed with growing medical bills and medical debt. As a matter of fact, medical bills and medical debt are a significant cause of bankruptcy. Spinal injury lawyers can help to offer guidance not only on defending your case, but on advice with dealing with medical bills and medical debt, and how to handle payment of these, whether through the motor vehicle insurance, case settlement, or health insurance.
Patient advocates are also excellent sources of information, especially when it comes to evaluating how your health insurance coverage will affect your recovery. These laypersons specialize in knowledge regarding the healthcare industry and will likely be able to point you in the direction of doctors (and even other patients) who can give you more advice about how to proceed. For most patients, finances are a high priority, so patient advocates may attempt to put you in touch with in-network healthcare services, depending on your health insurance provider.
Remember that the long-term goal of any spinal injury recovery is to maximize your quality of life. If you need to switch health insurance providers or go with a more expensive treatment, keep that information in mind. It’s hard to ignore large costs, but remember that certain treatments may make the difference between large discrepancies in your long-term mobility. Independent living may still be possible depending on the location and severity of your injury. Though permanent back pain will likely still rear its ugly head, patients can take solace in the fact that most health insurance companies reimburse at least partially for spinal physical therapy, particularly in severe cases like spinal injury.
Spinal physical therapy will help in decreasing back pain by building up muscles throughout the torso and spinal column, allowing patients to explore the limits of their mobility to make sure that their range of motion does not deteriorate further during recovery. Be aware that some health insurance companies may not reimburse you for physical therapy treatments beyond a certain time after your accident, so if possible put your emphasis on programs with exercises simple enough to learn and perform in a home setting. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may also need an assistant to help with maintaining blood flow to areas which fall below the point of your spinal injury. If you have permanent mobility and / or sensation loss, remember that keeping those desensitized areas exercised is vital to avoiding dangerous complications like blood clots.
Keywords: spinal injury, spinal injury lawyers, spinal, health insurance, back pain, patient advocate, accident, medical bills, medical debt, motor vehicle injury, recovery, Houston, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sugarland, Katy, Spring, Pearland, Woodlands, Kingwood
Note: for individual advice, consultation with an attorney is recommended
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Legal Aspects of Spinal Injury review by Kraus Back and Neck Institute Houston, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sugarland, Katy, Spring, Pearland, Woodlands, Kingwood
Posted by admin in accident, attorney, back pain, baytown, beaumont, car accident, contingency fee, contingent fee basis, health insurance, houston, houston personal injury lawyer, houston truck accident lawyer, injury, katy, Kingwood, lawyer, legal, legal specialist, medical bills, nerve damage, pain, Pearland, personal injury, personal injury lawyer, Port Arthur, review, settlement, spinal, spinal injury, sugarland, Tomball, woodlands on December 10, 2015
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Legal Aspects of Spinal Injury
Perhaps one of the most common questions asked in the wake of a spinal injury is: where do I begin? Dealing with newfound immobility can be traumatizing, and patients generally have a long road of healing, recovery, and physical rehabilitation ahead of them with no guarantees of recouping the mobility they may have lost. Family members and friends of the patient should work on organizing legal counsel for the victim. Be forthcoming with all the details of the accident. Personal injury lawyers need to have all the pertinent facts of the case in order to have the best chance at reaching a settlement for the patient.
Many spinal injury patients may understandably be concerned with the financial aspects of their recovery. After all, healthcare in the US is remarkably expensive relative to many other first-world nations, and spinal injuries necessitate a variety of expensive treatments, especially if the patient’s mobility has been permanently compromised. Fortunately, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis / contingency , meaning that they only receive compensation if they are able to secure a claim for the patient. Otherwise, the patient is not responsible for compensating their services. If a settlement is indeed reached, however, the patient does not receive the full amount. His or her lawyers are then compensated for their services from the settlement. Even with a contingent fee basis / contingency, the patients may be responsible for other legal fees depending on their locality and circumstances of their injury. Most cases are handled on a contingent fee basis / contingency, and fee for service is infrequently used.
Costs do not end there, however, especially if the patient has experienced a permanent injury. Long-term physical therapy and rehabilitation are often necessary to make sure the patient’s mobility does not undergo further decay. Patients may experience extremely sharp back pain during the first few months of post-operative care, since traditional back surgery involves long, deep incisions that take months to heal completely. The extent of the surgery will of course be dependent on the severity and location of the patient’s injury. Back pain will also fluctuate depending on if the spinal nerves were permanently damaged. Normally, the spinal nerves serve as pathways for motor control signals from the brain, as well as helping the body to interpret external stimuli (pressure, heat, cold, pain, etc.). If the injury damages the spinal nerves, they do not recover, since they have no native regenerative capacity. In these cases, patients may lose partial or total sensation below the point of injury, which minimizes back pain but obviously causes much more serious problems with long-term mobility.
Keywords: contingent fee basis, health insurance, spinal injury, back pain, injury, spinal, pain, lawyers, settlement, legal, contingency, Houston, Baytown, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Sugarland, Katy, Spring, Pearland, Woodlands, Kingwood