This is another post in our series called “Phrases Made Easy.” The purpose of this series is to help our clients and potential clients understand insurance jargon that has a tendency to be complicated.

Consumer directed healthcare is an important concept that sounds difficult… but it really is very simple! We’ve selected this phrase for a few reasons:

  1. It’s a concept that gives the consumer power to make their own health benefits decisions.
  2. It is an important concept in the post-healthcare reform environment.
  3. It is a phrase you will see a lot in our content at Policy Advantage Insurance Services (in fact, it was already in another one of our series’ called Benefits Chalk Talk: Consumer Directed Healthcare).

Easy

Here it is… this is the Policy Advantage Insurance Services definition of consumer directed healthcare:

Consumer directed healthcare is the idea that patients will behave as medical consumers. Patients will be the ones deciding how their healthcare dollars will be spent. Not doctors, employers, insurance companies, or the government.

That’s it… that’s all it is. You (the consumer) make your own decisions about your own health benefits.

As a consumer, you’ll need to know about all of the different “tools” that are available to you. You’ll also need to know whether-or-not you’re getting help from an employer, the government… or if you’re doing it on your own (there are also combinations of the three).

That’s where Policy Advantage Insurance Services comes in. We share valuable, up-to-date, relevant information that helps businesses and individuals finance (pay for) healthcare. In other words, we help you put all the pieces together. These are the kinds of questions we can help you with:

  1. What kind of health insurance plan should I be looking at?
  2. What do I need to know about healthcare reform, and what kinds of new options are available?
  3. How can my employer or the government help me?
  4. Are there any tax incentives when it comes to health insurance/benefits?
  5. Where does dental insurance and supplemental health insurance fit in?
  6. What is a health savings account, and a health reimbursement arrangement?
  7. …plus others.

There you have it… consumer directed healthcare, made easy. Thanks for stopping by, we hope you found our information to be valuable. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: www.PolicyAdvantage.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/PolicyAdvantage

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PolicyAdvantage

YouTube: www.youtube.com/PolicyAdvantage

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/PolicyAdvantage

Word Press: www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com

C is for:

“COINSURANCE”

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Coinsurance (or co-insurance): is the percentage of covered expenses under a major medical plan that will be paid once the deductible is satisfied.

Said another way, it’s the portion of the bill that the policyholder is responsible for, once the deductible has been met. 

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Example:

Plan Type: PPO

Co-Payment: $30 primary care, $50 specialist

Deductible: $3000

Coinsurance: 70%/30%

Annual out of Pocket Maximum: $5000

Based on the example above, once the $3000 deductible has been paid, the policyholder is then responsible for 30% of covered expenses (the coinsurance) up to $5000 (the out of pocket maximum)The insurance company pays the remaining covered expenses.

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In many cases, the use of coinsurance is most common with a hospital stay. However, in some cases (depending on the structure of the insurance contract you have in place), there may be coinsurance for outpatient surgeries, basic physician services, primary care, etc.

Thanks for stopping by, we hope you found our information to be valuable. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: http://www.policyadvantage.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/policyadvantage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/policyadvantage

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/policyadvantage

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/policyadvantage

Word Press (you are here): http://www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com

Welcome back to another edition of Phrases Made Easy.  This series at our blog takes all of those long, drawn-out insurance phrases and turns them into concepts that are easy for people to understand.

Today we’re going to be talking about the “FPL” or “Federal Poverty Level.” The reason that we want to discuss this phrase, is because it’s an important component in the new state health insurance exchanges which are set to get going by 2014. As you know, these exchanges are a large part of healthcare reform.

As mentioned in the previous blog article “Benefits Chalk Talk: State Health Insurance Exchanges,” a business or individual may or may not utilize these exchanges (depending on preference and planning strategy). However it’s a good idea to have an understanding of them. So here we go… this phrase is easy: Federal Poverty Level or FPL.

It'sEasy

Here’s the first simple question:

Q: What exactly is the Federal Poverty Level or FPL?

A: In the United States, the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is a measure used by the federal government to define who is poor.

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With that question answered about as simply as possible, here are some important notes about the Federal Poverty Level (FPL):

  • It’s origin was from Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” 
  • From this “War on Poverty” came many of today’s programs such as food stamps, Medicare, and Medicaid
  • The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is calculated based on current “federal poverty guidelines”
  • These guidelines are issued and updated yearly by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is used to determine who is eligible for federal subsides or aid
  • In 2012, 100% percent of the Federal Poverty Level was $23,050 for a family of four (4 people), and $11,170 for an individual (1 person)

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Which brings us back to a few more important questions:

Q: Who is eligible for federal subsides (or aid) in a state health insurance exchange?

A: State health insurance exchanges will provide subsidies for individuals and families who fall within 100% to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (most Americans).

Q: What is 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), and how is it calculated? 

A: In 2012, 100% of the federal poverty level was yearly income of $23,050 for a family of four. Add (+) $3,960 per person for families that are larger than four, and subtract (-) $3,960 per person for families with less than four.

Q: What is 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), and how is it calculated?

A: Sometimes the Federal Poverty Level is used to determine subsidies for those who earn more than the poverty level (up to 400% of FPL in this case). State health insurance exchanges will provide subsidies for individuals and families earning up to 400% of the FPL. 400% of the Federal Poverty Level for a family of four in 2012 is $92,200 ($23,050 x 4). 

Q: What are the ranges of income that are eligible for subsidies in a state health insurance exchange?

A: Families of four (4 persons) with yearly incomes between $23,050 (100%) and $92,200 (400%) may be eligible for subsidies.

A2: An individual (1 person) with a yearly income between $11,170 (100%) and $44,680 (400%) may be eligible for subsidies. 

We hope this blog post helped you understand the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) better. It’s an important concept when determining eligibility for subsides in the new state health insurance exchanges. Contact us for further information if you may be interested in enrolling in a state health insurance exchange. 

Thanks for stopping by, we hope you found our information to be valuable. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: http://www.policyadvantage.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/policyadvantage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/policyadvantage

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/policyadvantage

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/policyadvantage

Word Press (you are here): http://www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com

An insurance plan that pays you cash when you get sick or hurt, right? You got it. That’s the exact concept behind supplemental health insurance. In this blog article… we’re going to describe supplemental health insurance, talk about the different policies that are available, and explain exactly where it fits in.

Here are some examples of the plans that fit into the category of supplemental health insurance:

  • Personal Accident Indemnity Plan
  • Personal Cancer Indemnity Plan
  • Hospital Protection Plan (cash benefits for hospitalizations)
  • Specified Health Event/Critical Illness Plan (things like heart attacks & strokes)
  • Vision, Dental, Short Term Disability, and Life Insurance

As mentioned above, unlike major medical insurance (which pays physicians, surgeons, and hospitals)… supplemental health insurance pays the policyholder a cash benefit to use where they need it the most. Yep, you manage the cash benefit yourself. It’s important to understand that it’s different than health insurance. Here are some examples of the places where people use their cash benefits:

  1. Out of pocket medical expenses: cash benefits from supplemental health insurance can be used to pay for things like deductibles, co-payments, and other out-of-pocket medical expenses. 
  2. Rent & mortgage payments: in certain situations where someone is sick or hurt, they may need some additional help w/ maintaining their standard of living. You can use cash benefits to make mortgage and rent payments.
  3. Car/Kids/Gas/Utilities/Groceries: if you’re sick or hurt, these types of things continue to go on. Cash benefits from a supplemental health insurance plan can help assist with these kinds of expenses.
  4. Additional Treatment Options & Travel: in certain situations (ie: cancer situations, severe accidents, etc), a patient may want to travel and/or seek treatment outside of the network. They may want to see a specific surgeon, visit a renowned institution for specialized care, have a specific procedure performed, etc. Cash benefits can help with these kinds of expenses.

Depending on the major medical plan that you have in place, and the standard of living you maintain… as listed above, you can see exactly where supplemental health insurance fits in. It can be a very important component of your overall benefits planning strategy (individual & business). 

That covers the basics on the concept of supplemental health insurance. Keep in mind that supplemental health insurance is also typically much more affordable than health insurance. It’s a good idea to educate yourself on it, and understand it. It also fits in with any health insurance plan (some more than others).

Thanks for stopping by, we hope you found our information to be valuable. Check back at our blog to get further information about funding healthcare. Also, please share with your friends, clients, colleagues, and family. Here are a few of our other information outlets:

Home Page: http://www.PolicyAdvantage.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PolicyAdvantage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PolicyAdvantage

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/PolicyAdvantage

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/PolicyAdvantage

Word Press: http://www.policyadvantage.wordpress.com