HE SAYS:

Insurance is one of those ironies of life.   You know you should buy it; but, you hope you will never need to use it.

There are many types of insurance that are designed to cover many types of risks.   Life Insurance, of course, is unique in that you will only use it once and never for your own benefit.   Property & Casualty Insurance as well as Auto Insurance is, primarily, meant to protect your assets from damage or from the claims of those you may have injured.

Arguably, the most important type of insurance is Health Insurance.    It has been said that of all of the things we may possess, good health is our most prized possession.    Since most of us are not so wealthy that we can afford to risk the expense of long and costly health care, health insurance becomes an important safeguard to have in place.

Yes, it is true that Health Insurance premiums continue to increase at an alarming rate making it almost impossible for some small businesses to obtain adequate health insurance coverage for their owners and employees.    However, we must accept the fact that there is always a price to pay to get what we need; and, it is hard to argue that we do not need Health Insurance.

Whether we are young or old; active or sedentary; come from a good gene pool or have a family history working against us, we all run the risk that we or a family member will become seriously ill or injured sometime during our lives.  Short of an unlimited source of money, we can only protect ourselves from such an unfortunate circumstance with Health Insurance.

Health Insurance not only provides the obvious benefits to you and your family, it can also help keep you in business.   Without Health Insurance, the expenses of any extended health care and treatment could wipe out your savings and force you to lose both your personal and business assets.   Further, many Health Insurance Plans provide for the costs of preventative health care which can go a long way to reduce absenteeism and boost the productivity of you and your employees.

It is becoming nearly impossible to live with the rising cost of Health Insurance; but, can we really live without Health Insurance.   Time will tell if health care reform helps or only serves to make matters worse.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

SHE SAYS:

Brace yourselves for a wild ride in 2011 when it comes to your health care plan.  Since President Obama signed the new health reform bill in March of 2010, carriers and State Departments of Insurance have been scrambling to comply while balancing their bottom lines.

As a result, we consumers are going to see more and more consumer-driven plans.  These new plans will help lower premiums, but can also bring higher deductibles, coinsurance, additional co-payments and the loss of some benefits.  Prescription plans have also undergone some renovations.

To be fair, there are a few new perks.  If your 26 year old is still living at home, they can have continued coverage on your plan and there are now no limits on coinsurance maximums.  In addition, there are no co-payments for some preventive care and no denial of benefits for children under 19 with pre-existing conditions. 

In New York State where many businesses relied on HMO plans for their employees’ health care coverage, most carriers have informed us that these prized plans will no longer be available.  For those carriers who have kept these plans, the premium rates have significantly increased from 2010.   

Personally, our HMO health insurance plan that we have been on for the last 20 years was discontinued and replaced by an EPO plan with a different carrier.  Even though it was surprising and will require some adjustments on our part, I have learned that it may not be a bad thing after all.  I have already checked and all of our doctors still participate with this carrier and will accept our plan.  Also, our new carrier now offers a nationwide network of coverage which may be of some help if we spend time this year at our home in Arizona. 

It will be a wild ride as we all make adjustments to our new plans and benefits in 2011, but in the long run, these changes might make us more responsible with our health care costs or at least that’s what the politicians are hoping. 

WHAT DO YOU SAY?