We will soon be celebrating the July 4th holiday with family and friends, and hopefully be enjoying some vacation time. So will health care reform, as much of the fanfare that surrounded its passage has waned. There has been some progress made on the easier-to-implement provisions, including a $250 rebate to those Medicare recipients who have fallen in the “doughnut hole”, the extension of health insurance benefits to children up to age 26, and the establishment of a temporary reinsurance program to assist employers that offer post retirement health benefits to retirees age 55-64.
Some of the more significant components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are problematic. Health insurance exchanges, elimination of pre existing condition exclusions and the state regulation of many of the new requirements is daunting. Much of the media coverage has expressed concerns about the implementation schedule, and the renewed efforts of Republicans to repeal the entire health care legislation.
Certainly, health care providers are reconfiguring their products and services with heath care reform in mind. Many Medicare Advantage programs have increased premiums, while at the same time reducing wellness and other benefits. The cost of health insurance in general continues to rise, which in turn has forced employers to add high deductible plans to their menu of health insurance options. In many cases, it is now the only option. Although Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) available to participants in high deductible plans are now expected to increase in popularity, the contribution levels have been reduced by health care reform.
What this means is that health care costs will increase, and therefore remain a critical element of any retirement and financial cash flow analysis. Pre retirees, retirees, and other individuals need to examine their expenses now with an eye towards the future.
EAB HealthWorks can assist employers, financial services firms and wealth managers develop simple programs to help incorporate health care into retirement and financial plans. For additional information, contact us.