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Employee Matters Bulletin
Why You May Pay More For Health Insurance In 2019
Your health insurance costs may increase by as much as 30 percent this year, according to industry experts. Even if your employer pays a significant portion of this expense, you may also be required to pay more because of several factors.
The discovery of new medications, treatment and procedures increases the cost of your health insurance. The good news is that conditions such as diabetes, mental illness and substance abuse can now be treated.
Specialty prescription medications can treat a variety of illnesses. These drugs are expensive to manufacture, though, and insurance companies pass a portion of their costs onto you via higher premiums.
Older Americans face a greater risk of developing chronic health concerns. By 2030, one in five Americans will be over 65, leading to an increase in the demand for and price of health care.
Health Care Worker Shortage
A shortage of employees in almost every area of health care means you pay more for insurance. That’s because facilities raise prices as they try to offset the costs associated with hiring additional employees, providing job training and preventing employee burnout.
Medical Organization Charges
Patients typically pay twice as much to see physicians who work in a hospital, health system or medical group as opposed to physicians who work in a private practice. Procedures performed in a hospital also cost more than procedures that are done in a doctor’s office. Your insurance costs reflect these charges.
Mergers between hospitals and health care systems can improve the quality of care you receive. The resulting competition can also cause prices to increase, though, as mega providers set their own prices.
Health care costs are determined in part by physician, testing, medication, and other charges. Administrative costs also affect insurance premiums, though, because it takes time to manage billing, policies, forms, and collections.
Demand for Convenience
Consumers want to access their doctor, prescriptions and other health care services online. The demand for telemedicine reduces health care costs but also drives up insurance premiums.
Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices
As much as 70 percent of total health care spending is allocated to the treatment of obesity, lung disease and hypertension, conditions that are all related to lifestyle. Wellness programs can equip employees to improve their overall health, but insurance costs still rise along with treatment costs.
The terminology, benefits and provisions of your health insurance plan are complicated. It’s easy to misunderstand these details, causing you to choose more costly procedures and boost premium costs.
These factors contribute to the increase in your insurance costs this year. You can manage costs, though, when you discuss your needs and budget with your insurance agent.
Scurich Insurance Services
How to Recognize and Insure Great Directors In Your Company
Every organization needs great directors. They provide guidance and secure growth for the company now and into the future.
You may already employ your company’s future leaders, so use these tips as you recognize great directors in your company and insure them.
Possess Decision-Making Skills
The best leaders can make decisions quickly and efficiently. They’re decisive and confident but not afraid to ask for help. They also compromise or change directions if necessary for the company’s best interests.
The best leaders work well with teammates and value customer service. Employees who put people first, help and appreciate their coworkers, grow talents in others, give credit to teammates who deserve it and build relationships may become great directors.
Stay Engaged in the Company's Future
When employees care about the company's future, suggest improvements and make change happen, they may be director material. Their engagement and hard work shows their commitment to the organization.
Rely on Accountability
Great directors take responsibility for their actions. Watch how employees confess to or avoid taking responsibility for mistakes, and you see their integrity.
The ability to communicate in a clear, concise and specific way is important for directors. They must also be able to listen. Watch your staff and identify employees who communicate clearly with coworkers, clients and supervisors.
Instead of looking at an employee’s performance, pay attention to potential. Great leaders can grow into the position and want to work in leadership positions.
Purchase Directors and Officers Insurance
After you find great directors, purchase Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance for them. This insurance protects your directors and company from the financial repercussions of lawsuits and wrongful act allegations. This insurance is similar to malpractice insurance for medical practitioners.
Even the best leaders can be accused of wrongdoing, including malicious acts, financial mismanagement, abuse of authority, slander and libel. If a current or former employee, customer, shareholder, creditor, volunteer or other person brings a lawsuit against a director, you can file a D&O insurance claim. Your D&O insurance can cover legal defense and other expenses related to the lawsuit. With this coverage, you protect your company's assets and the director’s personal finances.
A D&O insurance policy can cost $60-$100 per employee. The deductible generally starts at $5,000. Cost details depend on your specific organization’s needs and size.
Update your D&O insurance policy regularly. Be sure your policy limits continue to protect your directors and your company.
Identify great directors in your company and insure them with Directors and Officers Insurance. Discuss your needs and options with your insurance agent as you purchase the right D&O coverage for your company.
Scurich Insurance Services
How To Choose Your HSA Contribution Amount For 2019
A health savings account (HSA) supplements your high-deductible health insurance policy. The money you invest in an HSA grows tax-free and can pay for a variety of qualified medical expenses. The 2019 HSA contribution limits are $3,500 for individuals and $7,000 for families and increase by $1,000 if you’re over 55. As you choose your contribution amount for 2019, use these tips to maximize your HSA.
Save your Deductible
Perhaps you can’t afford to save the maximum allowable amount in your HSA, but try to at least save enough to cover your annual deductible. This strategy ensures you can cover a large portion of your annual medical expenses with pre-tax dollars and saves you money in the long run.
Predict your Medical Expenses
Review your medical expenses for the last year or two. If you expect your medical needs to remain the same this year, save that amount in your HSA. If you anticipate additional expenses like surgery or dental work, contact your health care providers and insurance company to determine how much those services will cost you. Use that figure to calculate how much you should save in your HSA.
Contribute as much as Possible
You’re not obligated to contribute the maximum allowable amount to your HSA. However, you don’t pay taxes on the money you save in your HSA, and those funds roll over every year. Because of these benefits, consider contributing as much as possible as you take advantage of this unique savings opportunity.
Focus on Saving
While you can spend your HSA funds on a variety of medical expenses, you can also save those funds year after year. Use those accumulated funds to pay for surgery or other high-cost medical procedure in the future.
Take your HSA with You
Your HSA follows you even if you change jobs. You can access your contributions to cover COBRA premiums while you transition to another position or use the funds for other medical expenses.
Invest your HSA Funds
After your HSA account reaches $,1000, you can deposit the money into an interest-bearing account. The gains this account earns are not taxed, and your money continues to accumulate interest year after year, giving you an even greater return on your investment.
Save what you can Afford
Saving money in your HSA is a smart investment, but don’t jeopardize your financial security or go into debt to do so. You also don’t want to withdraw funds from your HSA for household expenses, since this action includes a big penalty. For these reasons, only save what you can afford.
Your HSA can help you afford medical treatment. Use these tips and talk to your insurance agent as you choose your contribution amount for 2019.
Scurich Insurance Services
The Importance of Critical Illness Insurance
If you contract a major illness, you could be out of work. You may also face financial, personal and emotional challenges as you recover. Critical illness insurance can help you cover expenses and gives you peace of mind.
What Is Critical Illness Insurance?
Also known as CI, critical illness insurance pays you a lump sum if you become ill from a covered illness. It’s additional coverage that supplements your health insurance. You don’t pay a deductible or copays when you use your critical illness insurance benefit.
Which Illnesses Does Critical Illness Insurance Cover?
In general, critical illness insurance separates illnesses into categories such as:
Cancer - invasive, noninvasive and benign brain tumors
Vascular - heart attack, stroke, coronary artery bypass and other conditions
Transplants - major organ, bone marrow and others
Childhood specific conditions
Refer to your specific policy to verify which illnesses your critical illness insurance policy covers. In some cases, you can customize your policy based on your expected or anticipated needs.
What Expenses Does Critical Illness Insurance Cover?
In most cases, a covered illness prevents you from working. You can use your CI insurance benefit to cover expenses and relieve the financial strain you face because you don’t receive a regular paycheck. It gives you and your family peace of mind as you focus on your recovery.
You can use your critical illness insurance payout to cover a variety of expenses. Use it to pay for:
Health care expenses such as an in-home nurse or home modifications
Expenses related to your recovery and rehabilitation
Expenses your medical insurance does not cover, including experimental treatment
Travel expenses related to treatment
Everyday living expenses, including your mortgage, groceries and other bills
Caregiver or child care expenses
Do you Need Critical Illness Insurance?
Your health insurance covers the medical treatment related to your illness. However, it does not cover your everyday living expenses, transportation to appointments or other expenses. Your illness could cost you thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. CI covers these expenses and can prevent financial challenges.
How do you Get Critical Illness Insurance?
Many employers offer critical illness insurance. Talk to your Human Resources department and ask how you can get a critical illness insurance policy. This type of policy usually features open enrollment, meaning you can purchase it any time rather than waiting until the end of the year or after a qualifying event. You may also be able to customize a policy based on your needs.
Protect yourself, your family and your peace of mind with critical illness insurance. It’s a wise investment for your health and peace of mind.
Scurich Insurance Services
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