Rabu, 10 Oktober 2012

Finding Affordable Medical Aid

Many people opt to not get any kind of medical insurance because they prefer to save the money that would otherwise be spent on the monthly premiums. These people are usually those who are strapped for cash and argue that they simply cannot afford medical aid. However, it can be illustrated that an affordable monthly premium is possible to achieve when you consider what expenses might be should you find yourself in a medical emergency with no cover.
Unexpected health issues like being diagnosed with a terminal illness or being in an accident where you require emergency care or a surgical procedure could end up costing thousands. If you do not have medical aid to cushion the blow, these expenses could very well cripple you financially because you will be liable to settle all amounts out of your own pocket.
With medical aid, you have peace of mind that should the unexpected occur, you will be covered for at least a portion, if not all, of the expenses that might be incurred. A monthly premium sounds a lot more reasonable and less inconvenient when considered in this context. Your decision should therefore not be whether to sign up for medical aid or not but rather, which medical aid option is the right one for you and your budget.
Tips To Help The Decision Making Process
Make a list of what your requirements and expectations are where medical aid is concerned. Take family medical history into account so that you have an idea of future scenarios that might become a reality for you like chronic conditions that are hereditary as well as terminal illnesses that has affected your immediate family.
Work out a budget to see exactly what you can afford in terms of monthly premiums. You don't want to be too frugal here but remember that if you can't afford to keep up with regular payments, your medical cover will lapse and this is something you don't want to happen. Keep your projections as realistic and practical as possible. Once you know how much money you have to work with, you can use this information to guide your investigation into possible medical aid solutions.
Speak to a professional broker about what your options are in keeping with what you need from a medical aid, what your expectations are and what you can afford to pay each month. Some people can do with just a hospital plan and no day-to-day cover, while others need more comprehensive cover that perhaps includes chronic medication and visits to the doctor. Only you will know what services you will require and be sure to lay these out to your broker so they know what options to provide you with.
The Final Decision
Once you've done investigations into what your options are, take some time to consider which would best serve your immediate health needs. Make a short list of different medical aid companies and compare packages that are best suited to you and your budget.
Be careful to not let the monthly premium be the only factor driving your decision. Sometimes paying a little more each month could be the difference between quality cover and inefficient service delivery from a medical aid company.

Selasa, 11 September 2012

What Is Medical Aid?

Medical aid provides financial cover for health related circumstances that you would otherwise have had to pay for yourself. Where this type of cover becomes most beneficial is with big expenses like surgical procedures and hospital stays. If you do not have medical aid and require a surgery, you would be responsible for the bill that could easily total thousands of rands.

Many people undersell the value of having medical aid because they feel it costs them more than it benefits them. However, if you do your research properly you are sure to find a plan that suits your budget as much as it does your health requirements. Seeking help from a professional medical aid broker would further help in this area.

Helpful Tips

Decide on what you would require from a medical aid in terms of cover before you begin your search. It is better to know what you are looking for so that you don't end up wasting time considering medical plans that are not suited to you.

Work out a budget so that you know how much you can afford to spend on monthly premiums. It is important to take a plan that is affordable so that you don't end up missing payments. This can lead to a lapse or termination of membership, which will leave you without cover.

Don't rush your decision. Take time to investigate different medical aid companies and the different packages they offer that cater to your requirements and budget. Compare prices, benefits as well as service levels.

Speak to a professional medical broker. They have in depth knowledge of the industry as well as the expertise to offer guidance and advice when it comes to finding the right cover for you.
Benefits Of Having Medical Aid

The most important advantage of having this insurance is that it saves you money in the long run. Costs of doctor's visits, medication, chronic illness treatments, specialist consultations, hospitalization and surgical procedures are some of the things people will have to face in their daily lives. The expenses incurred by these can be quite high, especially where hospitalization and surgery is concerned. Having medical cover will relieve the financial burden on you.

Another direct benefit of medical aid is that it encourages a healthier lifestyle. Most medical schemes now offer what is referred to as health booster options. Essentially these are plans that offer incentive to members who keep to a healthy lifestyle and regularly monitor their health with things like checks on cholesterol, blood pressure, fitness and other screening tests.

In most cases, if you do not have medical insurance, you cannot afford premium healthcare because it is quite expensive. With medical aid, you have access to resources and services that would otherwise not have been within your financial reach. It basically gives you the freedom to seek medical attention without worrying about the cost instead of suffering in pain and discomfort because you cannot afford treatment.

Rabu, 22 Agustus 2012

Choosing A Medical Aid That Is Right For You

With so many companies out there offering a plethora of services, it can be overwhelming when the time comes to make a decision about what medical aid plan is best suited to you. It is as if you are being seduced by insurance companies all claiming to provide exactly what you want. The only way to survive this onslaught is to actually know exactly what you want and what you can afford. This way you will not be led astray by fancy words and empty promises to find the medical aid that is just right for you.

The Process

The first thing you want to do is outline your health requirements. Take your family medical history into consideration as well if you are younger because this will give you an idea of what you might have to plan for when you get older. Some people get along quite fine with benefits that are exclusively for hospitalization and major surgeries, while others require more basic benefits like cover for doctor's visits and chronic medication. Decide where you fit into this picture so that you have a clear idea of what you need and therefore what kind plan you will have to look out for.

Are you single or married and do you have a family? In other words, how many dependents will be joining you on your new medical aid plan because this will affect your monthly premium quite a bit. Medical aid companies usually work out their pricing so that the main member pays the biggest premium and thereafter, every adult and child dependent will pay a lesser amount that gets totaled in to the premium you have to pay each month.

Which brings you to your budget - no decisions can be made unless you know exactly how much money you have to work with. Be sure that the plan you decide to take is one that you can afford because non-payment on medical aid premiums will cause your cover to lapse or you might even have your membership terminated. This would reflect badly on you should you try to sign up with another medical aid in future. Once you know how much money you can spend on a monthly basis where premiums are concerned, you will have a much more guided search and your decision will be a lot more informed.

Getting Help

Remember that you don't have to do this alone. If you feel a bit overwhelmed by the whole process then you can seek help from a professional medical aid broker. This person has the knowledge and expertise to assist you in finding the plan that works best for you in terms of product services as well as price.

Brokers are paid by their companies so you don't have to worry about having to pay them for their services. So basically you'll be getting professional advice from someone in the industry at no further cost to you. Take advantage of this and find the medical aid that is kind to your budget and gives you everything you and your family need in terms of healthcare.

Selasa, 17 Juli 2012

Why You Should Sign Up With A Medical Aid

Medical aids are a type of insurance that is quite important in life. Many people think that they can get by without having medical aid and opt to rather save on the installments that they would otherwise have to make on a monthly basis. The fact of the matter is that if you do not have medical insurance, you are at the mercy of the public health care system, which at best is stretched for resources as it is. This leaves you in a position where you will be financially responsible for your health needs whatever they might be.

A medical aid works to save you money where health problems are concerned. Depending on the type of plan you choose, you can get cover for things like visits to a general practitioner, medication, surgical procedures and emergency care at trauma units.

How It Works

When you sign up with one you will be responsible for paying a monthly installment. This is determined by the type of cover you choose. Some medical aids offer exclusive hospital plans to clients. These provide cover for hospitalization in keeping with certain conditions. In this way, if you ever end up in hospital, your stay there and all procedures and medication will be paid for by the medical aid.

Other plans vary in types of cover ranging from basic cover that provides the most fundamental services and are commonly the cheapest type of plan to premium packages that covers every health related need but for a high price. Packages are graded and priced according to how much the medical aid is willing to pay for. The cheaper packages will offer very basic cover, while the more expensive packages will offer more elite cover. This could mean covering hospitalization at high end private hospitals and even elective surgeries in some cases along with over the counter medicine.

Medical aid benefits are used up as you call on funds to pay for visits to the doctor, surgeries or medication. Every year, these benefits are renewed and topped up and the cycle starts all over again. Savings plans are common in many medical aid packages these days. A savings plan works as a kind of safety net clients who might run out of benefits. They can then use the funds saved up in their Savings plan to cover unexpected costs that arise.

Important Things To Consider

Decide what your requirements are before taking out cover
Speak to a professional medical aid broker to assist you in choosing a plan that will work best for your needs and expectations
Know what your budget will allow and only consider plans that fall within it. If you take a plan you can't afford, lapses in payment will cause the medical cover to fall away and no cover is worse than basic cover.
Always check on your benefits before making use of them to ensure you don't end up with expenses that your benefits didn't cover.

Rabu, 20 Juni 2012

What Medical Aid Brokers Do

A medical aid broker is basically someone who sells medical insurance. This is not the beginning and end of their function, however. They are people with in depth knowledge of the industry and they have the expertise to offer guidance and advice to people who need it.

If you are in the market to find a new medical aid plan, consulting with a professional medical aid broker would be a good idea. Not only can they help you with your decision making process, but they can save you a lot of time and effort by doing research on your behalf.

A Basic Function Breakdown

A medical aid broker can assist you in the following ways:

Gather information on different medical aid options from various companies
Advise you on how to work out your budget to provide for monthly premium payments
Offer guidance on what kind of cover would be best suited to you and your medical requirements
Go through your health status as well as your family medical history to determine the type of cover you could most benefit from
Deal with all paperwork regarding signing up for membership with a certain medical aid company
Liaise with different companies on your behalf
Give you valuable information and advice that can inform your decision making process
It is more than just a selling process for a broker. If you find the right one, you will have found a valuable asset who can assist you in making an informed decision regarding which medical aid package to go with. Remember that you do not have to pay for the services of a broker; they are paid by the company that employs them. So basically you have valuable information and services at your disposal that won't cost you anything.

How To Find A Broker

You can do an online search to find medical aid brokers. Try to look at independent companies instead of those that provide medical aid themselves. In those cases, their brokers will only provide you with information regarding their company's products and you won't have a realistic view of what else is out there.

It is important to sit down and speak to a broker face to face before making a decision. The relationship you have with them is as important as their knowledge and expertise. You do not want to end up with a broker who is only interested in the sale but who has your best interests at heart. The best way to make this deduction is through a personal meeting.

This doesn't mean you have to meet every broker you find listed. You can start by emailing enquiries and perhaps create a short list based on your feeling from this correspondence. A phone call to the shortlisted brokers would help you narrow it down even further to maybe two or three brokers you would like to sit down with.

Rabu, 23 Mei 2012

Should You Change Your Medicare Advantage Plan During The Annual Enrollment Period?

Should you change your Medicare Advantage plan?

Medicare recipients have access to a wide array of health and drug insurance options. These plans vary widely from company to company and from place to place. For people already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, the question is: Should you shop around for a new plan for 2013?

If you are thinking of changing plans, here are some important considerations:

Will all of your doctors be in the new plan's network? Some people don't mind changing doctors if it means saving money. Others are terrified of changing doctors. Keep this in mind when considering switching to a new plan.

How will your current medications be covered under the plan you are considering? If you take only generic drugs, you shouldn't have a problem - but brand drugs can be covered differently from plan to plan. Under different plans, co-pays for the same brand name drug can be dramatically different. This can add up to hundreds of dollars each year.

What do local healthcare professionals think about the plans in your area? Actually, a great person to ask is the receptionist at your doctor's office. They usually know which plan(s) the doctors like. The most common complaint is how difficult it is to get approval for tests and procedures. Doctors and their staffs are frustrated with some plans because of difficulties and delays in getting "prior authorizations". Getting some 'inside' information can be valuable in your decision making.

There are many things to consider when evaluating Medicare Advantage plans during this year's annual enrollment period. Remember, the annual enrollment period this year runs from October 15 - December 7.

(There are some exceptions to changing plans outside the Medicare annual enrollment period. If you move you may be able to change plans or, if for some reason, your plan is terminated. Also there are some Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans that you can switch to anytime during the year. If you have a Medicare supplement plan you can change any time during the year.)

You can compare the plans available in your area, and even enroll in a new plan should you choose, by visiting Medicare.gov or calling 1-800-MEDICARE.

Alternatively, many people appreciate help when evaluating their choices. For residents of California professional assistance is available, as local agent Michael Kortz will be happy to explain your options and provide the information you are looking for.

Sabtu, 28 April 2012

8 Tips to Cut Back on Medical Expenses

It's no secret that healthcare is expensive. According to a report on BHFGlobal.com, the average monthly contribution per beneficiary in 1990 was R74.45 - By 2010 this had risen to R975.82 in 2010. These days the average consultation with a GP, without medical coverage will set you back at least R300 - and that's just to find out what's wrong with you.

Medical expenses will always be a part of our lives and unless a magic pill is invented that cures all injuries and illnesses, they will continue to be for some time to come - Best that we get smart about it then. Here are a few tips:

1.) Keep your medical aid scheme with one provider, if you're married or you have a family. As a principal member you'll pay more but you'll save with lower rates on adult and child dependents.

2.) Do our homework when you're choosing a provider/medical aid scheme. Print out the benefits and contributions for the plans from each medical aid company you're interested in and compare them. Consider your monthly contributions in relation to coverage, for both in hospital and day to day expenses. It's important to take your time with this because certain plans will be better than others, depending on your individual needs.

3.) Consider opting for a hospital plan, especially if you're young. Hospital plans will provide you with cover in the event of an accident and certain specialised procedures but not for visits to the doctor and medication. If you're young, fit and healthy it's unlikely that you'll get sick often and therefore won't be spending much on visits to the doctor. Many people choose a hospital plan and set up a separate monthly savings account in case they need to visit the doctor or buy medicine. Weigh up pros and cons of the different hospital plans and whether it's worth going for one of the options that includes a savings account instead. It's important to note that the amount a medical savings account covers you for is limited and once you've claimed the maximum amount from it, you'll still be required to make the monthly contribution to the savings plan.

4.) Take care of yourself. While adequate medical cover is necessary, prevention will always be better than cure. Sleep well, exercise and eat well. Remember, the healthier you are, the less you'll get sick and ultimately the more money you'll save.

5.) Don't go to the doctor for every little bump and scratch.It's not always necessary to see the doctor every time you get a cold or a bout of hay fever. In many cases minor issues such as colds, hay fever or sinusitis can be taken care of with over the counter medication available at pharmacies or supermarkets. If you get sick, give your body some time to fight back. If you're still not feeling better or your condition worsens after a few days, then by all means go and see your doctor.

6.) Consider generic medicine.Have a chat with your doctor during the consultation about generics and which ones he/she recommends.

7.) Check your bills.Don't just accept everything at face value when it comes to your medical bills. Get a breakdown and check what you've been charged for. It's also important that you know exactly what you're covered for in your medical aid plan, as you may be erroneously charged for something that you shouldn't be paying for.

8.) Make use of rewards programs.If your medical aid plan offers rewards programs (gym memberships, cash back discounts) - Use them!

Rabu, 21 Maret 2012

Using a Broker for Your Company's Group Health Insurance

When you buy health insurance for a company, you have two choices: you can use a broker, or you can try to navigate the rough waters of dealing directly with the insurance provider and trying to negotiate the best deal. Using an insurance broker makes getting insurance for your company easier for you and ensures that you and your team get the best deals and best coverage possible.

Why Not Do It Yourself?

As the owner or executive of a business, your time has an inherent, measurable value. When you spend work hours doing tasks that aren't essential in directing your company toward increased productivity, coordinating with clients, etc., you are in effect missing out on potential earnings. The long hours you could waste attempting to learn a field with so many complex aspects and considerations would be much more expensive than the cost of hiring an individual who knows the system. This is why many executives find it an invaluable time saver to work through a reliable broker.

What Does the Broker Do?

A broker is different than an insurance company's agent. Brokers sell for multiple competing insurance companies. They offer a variety of options and are typically paid either on commission by insurance companies or they may charge you a flat fee. This is a wonderful direction to go if you are interested in having someone help you shop around and see what types of deals are out there.

When you speak to a broker, he or she will be trained to sift through the variables such as your employees' needs efficiently, and may even have access to deals and policies that you were not able to access as someone outside the insurance field. Many will be able to guide you toward amenities your company may need, such as nontraditional work hours or different language on service help lines.

You may have either an individual broker, or a dedicated account manager focused only on your company. This will make things smoother, as they do not have to be reminded of key information. They will give you information on things like how renewals are handled with the insurance company, so that you aren't surprised with that next bill. The broker will most likely sit down with you and make sure that the current plan still fits the needs of your employees and your budget.

If you wish to find out more about the individual broker you're about to hire, you can check his or her record by calling your state's insurance commissioner's consumer hotline. Contact an insurance broker to take care of your company's group health insurance today!

Kamis, 16 Februari 2012

Finding A Healthcare Provider In-Network

In your search for a healthcare provider, many will tell you that they accept your insurance plan. Unfortunately, most of these providers will also conveniently neglect to mention the fact that though they do accept your insurance, they are not in your insurance company's network. Though it may take a little extra work, finding a provider that is in-network is important. In-network means that they have a special relationship with your insurance defined by different types of contracts, which for your purposes will generally translate into lower costs.

The Problem

Choosing an out of network doctor is not necessarily a problem, but it means you are probably paying a lot more than you need to. Providers that are in-network almost always have special contracts with your insurance company that give you lower co-pays that will get your full money's worth for the cost of insurance. Sometimes, it can be frustrating enough just finding a healthcare provider that is convenient for you and that accepts your health insurance. Once you find one that seems OK, it may be tempting to immediately end your search and choose them. However, the real problem is that while many healthcare providers will tell you that they accept your health insurance, many will not be in-network.

The Solution

If you are searching for a doctor of any kind, you are probably already be aware of how long it can take to get a simple answer on the phone to questions about your insurance, so the solution to this problem is better handled on your insurance company's end. Luckily, depending on your company this can be a pretty simple fix. Simply go to their website and search around until you can find a list of in network healthcare providers. This is also great because it narrows down your list of choices, though hopefully not too much, giving you a shorter list of calls to make and a more manageable selection.

Why It's Worth It

Ultimately, you invest in health insurance to save money on medical treatment, and to be sure you are covered in the event of a particularly costly medical problem. Your insurance company creates in-network contracts with healthcare providers to offer you the best possible prices. To not take advantage of these contracts is simply paying much more than you need to. So, as long as your insurance company offers enough choices, putting in the time to find care that is in-network is truly worth it.

Kamis, 12 Januari 2012

Make the Right Choices With Q4 Open Enrollment

The health care scene is changing wildly in recent times. When considering the health insurance broker you will choose for your employee group plans, and in the conversations that will ensue, if may be helpful to have a basic knowledge of some of these changes in mind. Here are a few facts and tips to help to guide you on your way.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or PPACA, but colloquially known as "Obamacare") will begin with an open enrollment period in October of 2013, and an implementation date of January 1, 2013. The changes will mean that government-sponsored health insurance exchanges will offer both individuals and small businesses new ways to compare and purchase health insurance coverage, with the overall goal of increased coverage for everyone. What this likely means for your health insurance broker is a more competitive climate. What it may mean for you is a heavy penalty for not providing insurance to any full-time workers if you qualify as a large or medium sized business (this includes anyone with 50 or more employees).

Think Small

Unless you are running a huge business, you should seek out a group health insurance provider that specializes in companies on the smallish size. For an endeavor like this you are going to want top quality customer service and special attention paid to your individual needs. If you go for a provider that serves many businesses that are much larger than yours, this may mean that you are a somewhat lower priority customer. Fortunately, there are many smaller brokers out there who make it their business to dominate the smaller business market. They will be able to offer you the very best selection and service because you represent the corner of the market that they, in these changing times, would like to win over.

Think Simple

One of the biggest problems people run into with managing their healthcare, and understandably so, is how complicated coverage can get. Make sure that the coverage that your employees and their families are given is not only inclusive enough to keep them well (which ideally should include medical, dental, life and disability insurance), but user friendly enough so that when they are sick they can manage their plans relatively easily. Employees that are healthy and satisfied will be happier to contribute to the company that keeps them that way, and a big part of this satisfaction will be a user friendly interface and a simplicity of language in the coverage that they receive.