Short Term Loans Being Used to Fund Health Care Costs
Health care and the American public
Many Americans are using short term loans to fund their health care. The health care situation is a number one priority these days. The Obama administration is currently debating the proposed changes and trying to come up with legislation to extend health care coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. While they debate, however, many people have to find strategic ways of dealing with their hefty health care bills.
Ways to find coverage
Most Americans who are employed have employer provided health insurance. If you do, make sure you research your policy and find out when your company has open enrollment. Many times you’ll find a number of providers and each one offers different benefits. Be sure you understand what each one brings to the table in terms of your health care. Here are some questions to ask yourself when reviewing your options:
- Have your needs changed?
- Have your dependents changed?
- If you have health problems, are there lower co-pay options?
- If you don’t have health problems, are there lower premium options?
- Is there a flexible spending account option?
- Are there any employee incentives like stopping smoking or losing weight?
These are all questions to ask when looking over your current employer-supplied health care. You want to maximize the coverage and minimize the premium.
What if you opt out?
Many people choose to opt out of their employer’s health care plan and set out to find their own. You can find a health savings account, or HSA, on your own. These are accounts that you pay into and then can be used to fund your health care.
Remember though that with HSAs there are some rules. The IRS allows contributions of $2,900 for individuals and $5,800 for families. Also, these accounts are transferable if you move to another job, unlike flexible spending accounts. Having extra money to fund your health care can be a huge advantage if you fall ill. In other instances there may be the need for savings withdrawal or short term loans to cover the bills, but with HSAs the money is already there.
Finding coverage on your own
Some people are proponents of finding health care themselves. Mary Stonestreet, inventory analysts in Pasadena, Calif., said, “I have always had my own insurance. It makes more sense for me to find coverage that is customized to my needs, rather than to the company providing it.” Stonestreet is not alone in her thinking—more and more Americans are finding it beneficial to take care of their own needs themselves. If you are one of them, or if you are self-employed, a good starting place is at eHealthInsurance.com. Because health care varies by state, it’s best to do some research with a good resource before picking the coverage you want.
Health care for the retired
When it comes to retirement-aged Americans, the rules regarding health care change. Medicare is supposed to be available once you turn 65, but analysts are still telling people they should count on needing $215,000 for out-of-pocket medical expenses. That doesn’t include the cost of long-term care but rather it’s just the general expenses it takes to fund uncovered health care for the elderly. In addition, experts are also warning workers that they should not count on their retiree health insurance policies. These are not always reliable and by the time you retire, they could be obsolete altogether.
Finding health care
Finding health care is tricky. Make sure you explore every option and understand your needs. The Obama administration is working to come up with a viable plan for covering millions of uninsured Americans, but until that happens people need to do their own homework. In the midst of the negotiations, expect health care costs to remain high, and get even higher. It may take savings and short term loans in combination to fund health care while the nation waits on the new heath care bill to come.