Dr. Bradshaw, DC objected to the deep cuts into her practice income from the yearly double digit increases in health insurance premiums. Being a health-conscious chiropractor, she rarely used her health insurance for medical care. “My staff is healthy and they’re really interested in health benefits for medical emergencies. We all eat healthfully, work out, and do pro-active things to keep ourselves from getting sick.” Dr. Bradshaw really wanted a lower priced health insurance that would cover catastrophic care, and at the same time provide options for improving or sustaining health.

As director of Human Resources, Gina received the go-ahead to start a wellness program and promote consumer directed health options to lower health insurance premiums. “Many of our employees smoke, don’t exercise, and eat poorly. We understand the connections of these risk factors to illness and need to provide initiatives that encourage healthier lifestyles.” What her company was really looking for was for the employees to share in their health liability.

The health care premium costs for employers and individuals have been overwhelming

But there is a real fear of not having adequate insurance coverage causing financial ruin from medical expenses. People stay in jobs just so they have medical benefits. Businesses drop benefits so they can stay profitable.

“None of my staff took expensive medications so I dropped prescription coverage a few years ago to save some money,” admits Dr. Bradshaw. “Even so, the premiums continue to go up and all of us still pay a lot of out-of-pocket expenses for things like our dental and eye care.”

Gina’s employees had trouble adjusting to the HMO that replaced the more comprehensive indemnity insurance. “It doesn’t seem fair that our premiums continue to go up and we have less coverage.”

Keeping your head above water

We have to ask ourselves why healthcare has gotten so much more expensive. Are there more tests; more medical devices; more expensive drugs? Are there fewer doctors, higher education costs; costlier malpractice premiums? Are there more people getting sick, more diseases, and more drug resistance? The short answers are probably all of the above. As consumers, however, the only thing we may have some control over is our own perspective and behaviors. Staying healthy in an unhealthy world may require a lot more education and self discipline, but as Jonas Salk, MD the creator of the polio vaccine stated, “The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.”

Investing in our own health seems like a good idea

What are we willing to pay and to do not to get sick? Mark Twain said, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not.” No wonder employees resist health initiatives and there are so many people in recovery programs. There are those, however, who delight in their health-diligent choices and manage for the most part to stay out of the health system.

The secret is to value health and do what is necessary not to get sick

Health care expenses will always be there. Back in 2003, our Federal Government made Health Savings Accounts (HSA) available. Tied to a much less expensive high deductible health care insurance plan, the tax-advantaged funds in the HSA could be used for medical expenses but also for health-promoting expenditures like dental care, chiropractic adjustments, and acupuncture treatments. Any funds that aren’t used roll over to the next year collecting tax-free interest. When you reach age 65, the funds left in the Health Savings Account act much like an IRA and can be used for non-medical expenses.

HSA is a plan for health care not for sickness

Dr. Bradshaw immediately saw the benefits of the Health Savings Account. It was the best solution for her personally and for her employees who enjoyed health responsibility and the control of their health care dollars.

When the thousands of employees managed their own health expenditures with their Health Saving Accounts, Gina noticed a remarkable increase in wellness initiatives compliance and a huge drop in absenteeism.

While it’s a little too optimistic to think that Health Savings Accounts are the panacea for our health care crisis, they certainly are a cost-effective and health-conscious insurance alternative that happens to be in the right place at the right time.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Andrea Brockman is CEO of T-Horizons, LLC a nationwide brokerage firm specializing in Health Savings Account compatible health insurance plans for health practitioners and their employees, small businesses, and health-conscious individuals and families.
For more information visit www.hsa-101.com