Health care reform is front page news in all major newspapers around the country. There are several bills under consideration in Washington: Republican, Democratic and Bipartisan. That said, agreement of the proposed public plan is unlikely in the near term, and concepts such as a health insurance cooperative, state run Gateway, and other alternatives for individuals and small businesses are in some of the bills, but not in others.
Unfortunately, what this means is that a complete overhaul of our health care system this year is remote at best. Although President Obama has indicated that he expects agreement on reform by October, recent disagreement on plan provisions among Democrats and Republicans coupled with the $1.6 trillion price tag makes it difficult to imagine that comprehensive health care reform can be accomplished in such a short time frame.
Individuals must become conversant in health insurance and health care planning for family members and other dependents regardless of if and when health care reform is enacted. Even with some modicum of change, health care will continue to become more self directed. The ability to navigate through the vocabulary will be invaluable in selecting the best programs for both insurance and future care.
Consider this verbiage:
- HDHP Plan
- Health Insurance Exchange
- Reasonable and Customary
- Risk pool
A complete understanding of these simple terms and other more complex concepts is critical in managing health care expenses. Regardless of what will constitute health care reform, individuals will need to address their coverage requirements. As an employer, it makes sense to add a health care planning component to your suite of employee benefits so that your employees can identify the best insurance and long term care coverage and not rely on extensive assistance from HR. As a wealth manager, be sure your clients understand the importance of their employee benefit selection.
EAB HealthWorks can prepare a health care planning program to suit your needs. For additional information, contact us.