Rethinking Health Insurance

Overview:The cost of healthcare is driving a difficult dilemma — Few of us can take the risk of a major illness or injury which can often be many thousands of dollars, yet health insurance that offsets this significant financial risk can be very expensive. The combination of a High Deductible Health Insurance plan along with a tax favored Health Savings Account (H.S.A.) can be a sensible middle path; Health Insurance for major medical situations while the Health Savings Account allows you to set aside your own money for routine or future medical costs. If you are self-employed and are paying for your own healthcare insurance coverage, this can be a path to affordable medical insurance that still provides important financial protection. An H.S.A. qualified High Deductible Health Insurance policy still has the substantial protection of a major medical plan, just not the “low-end” benefits. Don’t be fooled by “Cheap” Health Insurance or “Affordable Healthcare” plans that limit benefits that you might need and still leaves you vulnerable to catastrophic medical expenses.Two Parts:Health Insurance Component. A High-Deductible H.S.A. compliant health insurance contract.
Savings Account Component. A tax advantaged “Health Savings Account.”It is important not to confuse the two components.The High-Deductible Health Insurance: It is your backstop to protect you from the financial risk of a major illness or severe injury. The health insurance contract completely stands on its own but is a prerequisite for the tax advantaged Health Savings Account. These insurance contracts are really misnamed. You can indeed have a H.S.A. compliant health plan with a range of deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket limits. Insurance companies offer a range of “H.S.A. compliant plans” with different features within the IRS rules — just find a plan that makes sense for you. Be sure that any plan you select is labeled as H.S.A. compliant or compatible. Very few of us can afford the healthcare costs of an illness such as cancer, heart attack or a severe injury. These costs can run into the hundreds of thousands. My older brother’s struggle with Lymphoma, for instance, resulted in over $500,000 in healthcare costs over two years. A High-Deductible Health Insurance is often lower cost because you are not buying the “low-end benefits” but it still offers financial protection similar to any “Major Medical” health insurance plan beyond the maximum out-of-pocket. This is a critical component to this overall healthcare finance strategy.The Health Savings Account: An optional, tax advantaged savings account that you can use to set aside your own funds toward future medical costs. You are required to have a High-Deductible Health Insurance plan to take advantage of this exceptional tax deal. In 2009, the maximum contribution to your H.S.A. is $3000 for an individual account ($5950 for a family account) plus a “catch-up” contribution of an additional $1000 for people age 55 or more. This contribution limit is adjusted for inflation by the IRS each year. One of the very important advantages of the Health Savings Account is how broadly you can use the funds for healthcare expenses while retaining the tax savings. Examples are over-the-counter medicines, eye glasses, dental expenses and more. A second important advantage of a Health Savings Account is the tax impact. Essentially, the money you set aside in a tax year in this special account and then either retained or spent for qualified medical costs is reduced from your taxable income. A third very important benefit is with a Health Savings Account, if you don’t spend the money contributed, you keep it. What you contribute this year and don’t spend is retained for future healthcare expenses. Don’t confuse the H.S.A. with a “Health Reimbursement Account” (H.R.A.) which you may have had with an employer sponsored plan.Core Advantages:Lower health insurance cost. Why pay for benefits you don’t use?
Insurance protection for a major injury or illness. The “major medical” insurance protection of the High Deductible Health plan is a critical component.
Tax Savings. Optional but productive tax deal with the Health Savings Account.
Broad Eligible Expenses. Your H.S.A. funds can be spent for many different qualified healthcare costs.
Use it or Keep it! Money you set aside in your H.S.A. can be spent for qualified medical bills but is retained if you don’t use it.Is it a Good Fit?This healthcare financing strategy, a High Deductible Health Plan paired with the Health Savings Account, is a good fit for many folks but not everyone. Here are the criteria that I want my clients to consider:Can I qualify? Normally, you have to be in good health before the health insurance company will make you an offer.
Can I save? This strategy is better for folks that are willing to save for future healthcare costs.
Can I decide? This strategy is better for folks that want to make choices on what to buy with their healthcare dollars.
Can I spend? For this strategy to work safely, you have to be willing to spend your money when you need to for necessary healthcare expenses.Summary:I purposely have not focused on the tax rules, plan details, etc. Most folks get caught up with this extensive detail and become completely confused. The big picture is what I want you to see — This can be a great deal! — Buy health insurance for the catastrophic risk only and self-insure your normal healthcare costs with contributions to a Health Saving Account. You save on your insurance costs, save on your taxes and have an overall better outcome.

The Many Great Benefits Of Following A Raw Nutrition Plan

Many people looking for ways to eat healthy and improve their weight turn to raw nutrition. This type of nutrition plan is a way to improve your overall health and get the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables. The diet not only consist of fruits and vegetables but also foods such as grains, nuts, beans and seeds. These nutrients are also needed in a healthy diet plan.When making the decision to change your diet, it is important to get the advice of your health care provider. Some people who have compromised immune systems may have problems with the bacteria that are often found in raw milk. It is a good idea to explain to your health care provider your goals and why you have chosen to change your diet.When you choose to go on this type of nutrition plan it is important to make sure your meals are complete. Your meals should include healthy nutrients such as iron, calcium and protein; these are just some of the items needed to make your diet complete. Individuals following the diet usually do not heat their foods higher than 116 Fahrenheit. Look at it this way, if most of your food is always cooked over heat of 116 Fahrenheit or higher, your body never gets the nutrients that are needed.You will notice that the elimination of certain foods and replacing them with raw foods will send your energy level through the roof. You will become more active and will be able to enjoy activities that were once complicated. Foods that are extremely high in carbohydrates are known for weighing the body down and making a person feel less energetic.The body is a very remarkable and you will find that even if you are following this way of eating, some foods are just going to be easier to digest cooked. So, you should not feel guilty because you have to cook some of your food over a low temperature, this is usually necessary for all people following the diet. If you are one that is looking to lose a few pounds, you might consider following the plan of the diet as well.The benefits of the raw nutrition plan during a weight loss regimen are that you will be supplying your body with foods that are high in vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. It is just important to be careful how your meals are prepared. You should remember it is still important for you to eliminate items that are high in sugar, fat and carbohydrates to achieve the desired results.Before starting any different type diet regimen, it is important to do your research and find out what will be the best way for you to implement the natural nutrition program in your life. It is important to realize that your eating habits will have to change dramatically and you will have to have a strong sense of will power.Raw nutrition is the way to go if you want to look and feel better. Your overall health will improve within a few months of following the plan. Those who are seeking more energy and want to look better also benefit greatly from the eating plan.