Keeping More of Your Money: The Importance of Health Insurance Coverage
At this time of year, one of the most valuable questions that can be asked within the trucking industry and across all industries is the following: How important is it to have health insurance benefits in place for you and your family?
While this is a topic that some may want to push down the road, there’s actually no better time than the present to address this question and explore possible options for health insurance coverage. The open enrollment period for benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began on November 1 and it will run through January 15 of next year. The ACA, also known as “ObamaCare,” has become one of the major avenues to obtain health insurance coverage through its marketplace, and the annual enrollment period is a time when the window is open to explore your options.
Now let’s get back to the question of why it’s important to have health insurance benefits in place for you and your family. At the risk of stating the obvious here, it’s really a matter of dollars and good sense. For owner-operators, independent contractors and small trucking business owners, in particular, securing health insurance coverage for yourself and your family members is a matter of good business planning.
Consider the following: A quick Google search on health costs revealed that a simple doctor’s visit can run between $300 to $600 without health insurance coverage. Obviously, a trip to the emergency room or a hospital stay is in a whole other stratosphere of cost – especially for those who do not have health insurance.
Of course, you can’t talk about health care costs without mentioning the expense of filling prescriptions that often follow you after a doctor’s visit. According to our quick research on prescription costs, the most commonly prescribed drugs by doctors range in cost from about $13 to $98. Granted, there are a host of specialty prescriptions that can run much higher in costs.
No one plans to get sick, especially if you are in a profession where your earnings are tied to whether or not the wheels are turning. Even in the best of freight markets, a $300 to $600 doctor's visit creates some serious pain in the wallet. Obtaining health insurance coverage and paying premiums on that coverage will not eliminate your out-of-pocket costs. Health insurance, meanwhile, is an effective tool that you can use to lessen your overall medical expense on an annual basis. Securing a good coverage plan can significantly reduce the financial risk those without health insurance carry with them throughout the year.
At Trucker CFO, we always talk about having a plan. One of the reasons that you develop various plans is to address potential situations, many of which come in the form of unwelcome surprises. And, unfortunately, when it comes to running a business, there are very few “good” surprises. In fact, in business, many surprises, especially ones where we have no just-in-case plans, can become very costly.
Whether you already have a plan in place or you need to take steps to secure health insurance coverage, the time of year has arrived to explore your options that can help to safeguard your trucking operation and your family from the additional pain of paying medical bills and filling prescriptions without insurance coverage.
To explore annual enrollment and examine the value of health insurance in today’s economy with our Expediters Online audience, I invited Marc Ballard to join us for our latest edition of the Trucker CFO podcast. Marc holds a wealth of experience in the field, serving as an insurance agent for the past 33 years and running his own agency since 1996. Marc also understands the trucking industry. Marc is the Program Manager for Truckers Healthcare, and he has worked with the National Association of Independent Truckers (NAIT) for the past decade on healthcare insurance and open enrollment with the ACA.
Through this episode of the Trucker CFO podcast, we did our best to discuss the key details regarding health insurance coverage and simply lay out a few facts for your consideration. At the end of the day, one of our main goals at Trucker CFO is help the men and women behind the wheel keep as much of the money that you earn with every mile you drive. When we look at today’s market and the realities that are possible for people who do not currently have health insurance coverage, we believe this is an important discussion to hold at this time of year.
At Trucker CFO, we’re ready to help. If you have questions about taxes, accounting or other aspects of your business, including the importance of exploring various types of insurance coverages, or if you would like to learn more about Trucker CFO, please visit us at TruckerCFO.com.