Personal Fitness Professional - June/July 2009 - (Page 16)

Health Insurance Choosing between plans and the importance of health care By Shelby Murphy However, is it necessary to insure yourself against every cold, every flu, every doctor visit or every wellness check? Most of us carry auto insurance in case we have an accident, but we don’t expect our policy to protect us against routine maintenance such as oil changes or a flat tire or even a transmission that needs replaced. There are some things in life that are too expensive to insure one’s self against because the likelihood of those things happening are pretty good. In the whole scope of things, these incidents aren’t that expensive, they won’t ruin your long-term financial plan, and they are definitely things you can budget for. Insurance was designed to protect you from events that have a low likelihood of occurring but if they did, they would derail you financially. Because these events are not likely to occur, they are not as expensive to insure against. How to Handle The one thing that can drown your independent spirit and entrepreneurial fire quicker than a subtropical monsoon is the prospect of providing your own health insurance. Being your own boss or setting your own hours sounds great — until the fear of an injury or disease going untreated takes hold. Like most fears, however, the fear of not being able to afford quality health care is based more on emotion than rational thought. Health Care vs. Health Insurance Notice 16 I said “afford quality health care” rather than quality health insurance. Think about that. What is it you want? Do you want health insurance, a piece of paper that says if anything happens, someone else may or may not pay for it depending on if you go to the right provider on the right day with the right ailment? Or do you want to ensure (or insure) that you and your family have access and can afford necessary health care? Health insurance is necessary, for sure. Tomorrow, if you were in a serious car wreck or were suddenly diagnosed with a long-term disease, either of those events would have a high likelihood of bankrupting you without insurance. Those unfortunate incidents are precisely why health insurance was such a good idea in the first place. june-july2009 · Picking a Plan Remember the insurance company is just that: a company. It provides its products and services to make money — just as we trainers do. Unless the insurance company takes in more money than it pays out, it doesn’t make money. So all insurance companies work to create a system in which they charge far more in premiums than they pay out in benefits. To weigh the equation in their favor, insurance companies charge very high premiums for increased coverage (the more benefits you want, the more you’ll pay on the front end), and they work diligently to deny paying out benefits that don’t meet the exact terms of the contract. This is where it gets very expensive for the individual purchaser of health insurance. When you have an employer who pays for it all, these costs are invisible. They pack a bigger punch, however, when they come out of your own pocket. There are plans available to individuals that cover a few routine health needs, like doctor visits, and reduce the costs of prescription drugs, but they come at a much lower cost because additional coverage kicks in only when a high deductible is met. These plans, referred to as high-deductible health plans (HDHP) or “catastrophic” health insurance, now come with the added benefit of allowing you to save money in an account to pay for the high deductible. The health savings account, HSA, allows you to pay for current health expenses and save for future qualified medical expenses (including dental, chiropractic and orthodontics) on a tax-free basis. Best of all, rather than paying a steep premium, the money remains yours and is spent only at your discretion. An

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Personal Fitness Professional - June/July 2009

Personal Fitness Professional - June/July 2009
Letter From the Editor, Writers
First-Class Management
Product Profile
You Are at Risk
Nutrition Solutions
How to Handle Health Insurance
How Much Should I Charge My Clients
Twitter This, Facebook That
Young at Heart
Be Better
Hungry for a Franchise?
The Balancing Act
Exercise Spotlight
Journey to Success
New on the Market
[Facebook] PFP Fan Page: Sneak Peek
Fitness Marketing Makeover
Effective Sports Camps

Personal Fitness Professional - June/July 2009