Become an expert: everything you need to know about health insurance

We all need medical coverage, no matter if we are working or retired. Whether it is a workplace plan or Medicare, health care is mandatory —and necessary. Here’s everything you need to know.

The transition from a workplace health insurance plan to Medicare can bring many challenges. It’s important to know the main differences between these, so as to come up on top financially.

First things first: what’s the difference between Medicare and a workplace plan?

Medicare is health insurance provided by the Federal Government for elderly people and those with certain disabilities. Its policies and overall work are different from private health insurance offered by employers, which is why you should do your research before it’s time to enroll, so as to avoid main mistakes.

Firstly, there’s the difference between who’s covered with a workplace plan and Medicare. You need to know this, or you risk enormous medical bills for your spouse or children. Most employer health insurance plans will cover your expenses as well as your spouse’s. This can also help you postpone the time to get Medicare if any of you is still covered by the other’s workplace plan.

On the other hand, Medicare doesn’t offer any family plans, which means you and your spouse will need different coverage. There are several policies to cover specific health and prescription-drugs needs, so each partner would get the one that’s more convenient for them.

Secondly, you’ll find that the wellness features in each plan are also different. With a commercial program, you may get many free wellness services in routine items, although they also rely on telephone advice services.

Medicare programs also offer a large number of free services, which are especially good for the treatments of people with chronic health issues or specific care needs. This care is usually given in-person by professionals.
You can find the Medicare plan that fits you the best, and you could lower your drug costs if the plan you choose accounts for them. This is different for workplace plans, where your control over the drugs covered by it is smaller. In no way underestimate the costs of medical bills; it’s one of the 5 financial decisions you shouldn’t make!

For more information, here’s how to get the most from Medicare!

Is there a way to save money on medical bills?

Different health insurance policies and plans will cover different medical procedures. In order to avoid giant medical bills, you can profit from each of them by strategically planning your procedures.

Underestimating the costs of your medical bill is one of the 5 financial mistakes you shouldn’t make. This is why you always need to be alert and conscious of your health and your insurance coverage, which can help you benefit from your plans before or after you transition from one to another.

First of all, you need to check your current health insurance benefits. You should do this no matter which plans you have; Medicare, an employer plan, etc. 

It’s important to know the cap on your out-of-pocket costs, which changes from policy to policy and can increase or decrease your medical bills. The majority of employer health insurance plans include annual limits on these health expenses, so you should try to adjust them (if you can) to the moments when you’re covered by these plans.

The situation with Medicare is different, especially if you have Medicare Original. It’ll cover 80% of your expenses, but there’s no limit on how much you may need to pay. This means that you’ll most likely experience an increase in your medical costs once you transition to Medicare.

You need to compare how broad the protections are by each coverage. If there’s an elective surgery in your future, try to schedule it according to your health insurance plan. Will the cost be covered with your employer plan? Or should you wait until you get Medicare?

Check the wellness features in each plan, as well as the prescription drugs and medical procedures that are covered. You can save a lot of money if you strategically choose the right plan for each need, as you’ll significantly lower its cost.

‘I’m a part-time employee, do I get a health care plan?’

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers aren’t required to offer sponsored health insurance plans to part-time workers. However, some companies still do this and you can benefit from their policies.
Here are 8 places that offer excellent health care plans for their part-time

employees:

JPMorgan Chase & Co

Do you know this financial institution? It’s responsible for many consumer and business bank accounts, small business credit cards, and more. Their part-time employees can access many benefits no only regarding their health insurance, but also their retirement and other cares, as long as they’ve worked at least 90 days in this company.

There’s the possibility to choose from four medical coverage options and three dental plan options. Most of them cover the total costs of in-network preventive care as well as some premium costs, although the details of this cost-sharing arrangement aren’t public. You can also receive long-term disability insurance paid in full or partially, according to your earnings. In addition to this, there’s life insurance, AD&D insurance, flexible spending accounts, 401(k) plans with variable but high employer contributions, etc.

REI

You’ve surely heard the rumors surrounding this company’s great employers’ treatment. This retailer has an interesting flat pay scale and will extend many benefits to part-time employees who work there for a minimum of 20 hours per week. It provides tools related to individual health insurance for those who work fewer hours as well.

The first mentioned group of employees can access basic life insurance and disability insurance. The company pays both its full costs. Their 401(k) plans offer a dollar-for-dollar company match with a maximum of 5% of total income. There are also many discounts for the retailer’s products and services and you can apply for both medical and personal leaves of absence.

For non-exempt workers, there’s coverage for most of the premium costs of medical and dental insurance.

Lowe���s

This is one of the largest home improvement outlets in the market, which means it has a lot of people working for it. Unlike many other employers, they’ve chosen to share a summary of the benefits they offer to their part-time staff, which can be accessed after 89 days of consecutive work for this company.

The health insurance plan they offer covers four primary care visits each year, as well as the preventive care costs’ total amount. The advantages also include no annual deductible, no coinsurance, and no minimum number of hours-worked threshold to qualify for these benefits. Keep in mind that you need to apply within the first 31 days after being hired. After one year of service, you can participate in a direct stock purchase plan and a 401(k) plan, in which the company matches contributions dollar-for-dollar up to 3% of employees’ gross income. Some of this plan’s downsides are its lack of maximum for out-of-pocket contributions and its limited dental and vision coverage. There’s also no specialty care included.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods employees who work at least 20 hours per week are eligible for the company health insurance, which includes dental and vision plans as soon as they accrue 800 hours of service.
This benefit is optional so management reserves the right to rescind it at any time.

Costco

Any employee who works 24 hours per week and has at least 180 days of service is eligible for the Choice Plus health plan, which enables members to choose their providers.
All Costco locations have a pharmacy, so part-time employees also enjoy an in-house prescription plan.

Starbucks

Employees that work more than 20 hours per week are entitled to the Starbucks Special Blend, an extensive benefits package that includes health care. A dental plan that covers preventive visits and some procedural costs is also available, together with a basic vision plan.

UPS

Once you turn one year working at UPS as a part-time employee, you can choose basic health plans that cover preventive medical and dental services. A basic vision plan is also included. UPS workers do not copay for these services, which is a huge difference with other part-time job companies’ benefits.     
These plans are subject to change at UPS discretion. 

Nike

Employees that have been in the company for at least a year are eligible for Nike’s generous health plan, which includes manageable deductible with substantial coverage. Nike doesn’t publicize further details of their health benefit plan and requires part-time employees to pay their plans full cost, which is more affordable than a private insurer’s plan.
 

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