During this episode of the Simplifynance Podcast, host Rachel Stewart talks with Hunter Kinchen, Employee Benefits Consultant with BXS Insurance about Health Insurance Group Benefit offerings and what employees and business owners should consider when selecting their plan.
• Hunter works with Business Owners to design benefits packages for their workforce as well as with employees to help understand the offerings.
• Hunter publishes LinkedIn videos to help simplify complex benefit language and health insurance concepts.
• He found that more people needed access to his knowledge than he was originally aware of.
• Insurance products, investments, etc sometimes float around independently of one another. There’s a common broken link between High deductible plans and Health Saving Accounts.
• High deductible plans require the member to meet the listed deductible BEFORE the insurance starts to cover any of the cost, known as the co-insurance.
• In a copay plan, costs are more predictable and are stated as a “copay,” $25 for a physician visit for example. These costs apply towards your deductible, but you do not have to meet your deductible first before the copay applies. You are paying (with your premium) for that predictability.
• Hunter has 2 young children, and believes that the copay plan may work better for families with young children.
• Understanding which plan is right for you depends on a number of factors: expected usage, access to plan offerings between spouses, and comfort level on predictability.
• A certain plan type isn’t always “best” forever. Life may necessitate a change in plan type.
• Be on the lookout for how costs are illustrated. Sometimes they are shown as the full cost (before considering the employer’s contribution), or shown as a per pay period – which could be 12, 24 or 26 times a year. Make sure you are considering apples to apples when looking at plan costs, such as your total annual cost for each option.
• HSA (Health Saving Accounts) are tied to High Deductible plans. It’s not an insurance product, rather a savings vehicle. Yet, it typically gets lost between the 2. But understanding its purpose and benefits may help you utilize it to its fullest advantage.
• Contributions and account growth are tax exempt when used for qualified medical expenses.
• Consider contributing to your HSA if you’ve maxed out your employer’s retirement plan contribution limits as another way to save for retirement and reduce your taxable income.
• An HSA is not the same as an FSA (Flexible Spending Account.) An HSA can only be tied to a High Deductible plan. An FSA can be tied to either a HDHP or a Copay plan.
• You can use funds on Amazon to purchase things like sunscreen, that are HSA/FSA eligible.
• FSA balances do not roll over from one year to the next. It’s a use it or lose it account. However, HSA balances will continue year after year and can even be there for you in retirement years to offset medical expenses, which make up a large amount of retirement expenses.
• Oftentimes, employers will offer a contribution to HSA’s, which might be another consideration in choosing a High Deductible plan.
• As a business owner, you can reach out to Hunter even if just starting your business to inquire about group benefits. You only need 2 employees to have a group. It doesn’t cost to shop the benefits. All you need are standard employee demographics and a quote can be provided.
• If a business owner has an individual plan that was bought in the open marketplace, they might consider pricing out similar options in the group plan space. There might be some savings that could be uncovered.
• As you’re considering benefits packages, having a comprehensive offering can help with attracted and retaining talent. It may help when employees consider employment with you or even are considering leaving employment. Outside of health insurance, vision, dental, disability, etc are all worth considering in your overall compensation package.
• Hunter can be reached by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by his office phone at 225-215-9472.
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