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Health Savings Account Plan Reviews Question & Answers

2013 August 18
by Sarah Fields

Lisa asks…

How is primary care provided in the US?

What is the legal form of the care providers (physicians, small clinics and health centers), are they private or run by corporations? Please indicate sources where possible. Thank you in advance.

Sarah Fields answers:

What kind of doctor should your personal doctor be? He or she might appropriately be a:

Family practitioner-specialist in family medicine.
Internist-specialist in internal medicine.
Gynecologist-specialist in female medicine or health.
Geriatrician-specialist in the medical care of older people.

If you have a particular major disease, such as hear disease or rheumatoid arthritis, it may be inefficient to have a general doctor who must frequently refer you to a specialist. See if it’s possible for the Specialist to serve as your primary doctor. As noted above, it’s not a good idea to have two or more primary doctors at the same time.

The most important qualities that you want in a primary care doctor center around communication and anticipation. Communication is the human side of medicine. A good primary physician:

Takes time to listen.
Takes time to talk with you.
Plan ahead to prevent problems.
Reviews your total health problem regularly.
Has your trust and confidence.
Is available by telephone.
Makes house calls. This service is hard to find these days, but if available it’s a plus.

Understanding your health plan.

Traditional Indemnity.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO).
Point-of-Service Plans.
Medical Savings Accounts (MSA).
And good luck.

Chris asks…

my health insurance paid for medical bills incurred from a car wreck. Can it come after me for reimbursement?

now I have received a settlement from the car insurance. Can the health insurance now collect the money it paid out . If so how long do they have to request the money form me?

Sarah Fields answers:

Depending on your plan – yes they may be able to.

Usually the health insurance contacts the cars insurance adjuster to get paid back. The adjuster will tell your health insurance that they paid you for the medical bills so the health insurance needs to talk to you. Then your health insurance will come back to you.

Take the part of the settlement that was reimbursement for the medical bills and put it in a savings account and don’t touch it for 1 year. The health insurance can come back at any time but usually the process will play out with in a year.

Or – call your health insurance company and speak to someone in the Subrogation Department. They should be able to review it and tell you if they are going to come after you for reimbursement or not.

Maria asks…

What is the best financial advice you would give someone?

This could be any info or advice that you think is important as far as investments, credit, saving money, etc.

Sarah Fields answers:

I’ll try to keep a complex answer as simple as possible but this would be the basic recommendation that would hold true for anyone, at any age.

1. Learn to live on a cash only basis for at least 2 years before considering ANY type of credit. This includes creating and living within a budget, and learning to prioritize your spending.

2. Within that time, learn to put away savings. At least $50 a month should go into an account for emergencies (like when your car breaks). If you have a family, you need a bigger emergency account. Ideally it should have about 2-3 mos of your living expenses in it or more (you can keep this in a money market or CD account to keep it available but get a higher interest rate on it).

3. Also you should work as quickly as possible towards putting away the maximum you can towards your retirement. The vast majority of Americans are completely in the dark as to how much money they will need to retire and many, many will end up living in poverty and/or unable to ever retire. Starting this savings as early as possible is a big advantage.

This means funding a Roth or Traditional IRA account to the maximum each year (for your spouse to if you have one) AND contributing at least up to the maximum match your employer offers in your plan at work. Better to max this too.

4. When you are ready to acquire credit, learn to manage it too and to use debt as little as possible, and only to buy things that are truly important and otherwise tough to get, like a house. You can finance a car, but you will be a lot more secure financially if your car is NOT a major part of your monthly expenses. It is possible to buy a car with cash, you just aren’t likely to have as nice a ride. At least not in your early years. However patience at that point carries big rewards. Let your friends have an $800 mo payment, you’d rather be rich.

5. Don’t forget that insurance is important too. Yeah, if you’re single and haven’t got kids, your need isn’t that critical but there are advantages to buying at least some permanent (otherwise known as whole life or universal life) while you are still young. First of all, it will be a lot cheaper, and secondly, as you age odds are your health will grow to be less than perfect. People with imperfect health pay higher rates or could even end up uninsurable, so buying young protects your insurance rates.

A permanent policy that you’ve had long enough to build up a fat cash value also offers an extra safety net for money, and can even become a tax-free source of money at retirement age or for your kids’ educational costs.

6. Cover higher insurance needs with term. Term doesn’t build a cash value but is meant for temporary needs, such as the period of time you are responsible for your kids. For these reasons, it costs a lot less so you can really buy as much as you need.

7. If your employer offers disability income insurance, jump on it. It’s cheap that way (and expensive if you buy on your own) and if you ever can’t work for an extended period (and most people will have a period in their life when this is true), it will cover the lion’s share of your missing income. I can’t emphasize enough how huge this protection can be.

8. Likewise review your auto, homeowner’s or renter’s coverage periodically to insure they are meeting your needs.

9. Once you have the basic habits in place, you can begin to put away more money to invest for wealth accumulation. Sit down with a good financial planner and have them help you define your personal goals and build the plan to make them happen.

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