American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, so it’s a great time to have a conversation with me about your health insurance. Did you know that cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of medical bankruptcy due to inadequate health insurance (reference)?

Help protect yourself and your family by contacting me about health insurance and critical illness insurance, so you’re covered.

Speak with your doctor about signs that lead to early detection, recognizing the symptoms, and getting regular screenings.

And, be heart healthy!

Would you appreciate the stability of having the same health insurance plan for up to three years? Do you want coverage for preventive care, office visits and prescriptions but need a more affordable option than what has been available up to this point?

There have been some exciting developments in the past year when it comes to private health insurance plans. Insurance companies continue to offer low-cost health plans that cover only the Essentials – injuries, illnesses, and sickness – but the loosening of restrictions has helped matters. Insurers have responded by offering benefits, calling these new plans Enhanced.

How, exactly, are they enhanced? Insurers now have plans that offer:

  • More copay benefits.
  • Greater preventive care benefits.
  • Tiered prescription benefits.
  • Guaranteed renewal for up to 3 years instead of 1.

*Enhanced plans are not available in all states.

**Enhanced plans are being offered by Golden Rule (United Healthcare PPO) and National General (Aetna & Cigna PPOs).

Call the Rhoads Insurance Agency today to learn more.

The HealthiestYou telehealth app from Teladoc® has always offered individuals and families access to 24/7 virtual care from a nationwide network of doctors – all for the cost of a small monthly membership fee. Beginning October 1, 2019, for an additional per-use charge, that access will extend to Behavioral Health Care and Dermatology Services.

NEW! Behavioral Health Care – Your clients can receive support for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, family problems, and other issues. Care from a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist is available by phone or video 7 days a week.

NEW! Dermatology Services – Your clients can share photos of their skin condition or infection with a board-certified dermatologist and receive a diagnosis and treatment plan within two business days (typically within 8 hours).2 Free follow-up is included for a week after the session.

Included with Membership – Your clients will still have access to doctors ready to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication for many of the most common ailments, right over the phone. They can use the app to find a doctor, dentist or other provider in their area, and comparison shop to get the best price on a procedure or prescription.

HealthiestYou can be a great add-on to insurance products! Call us today to add coverage.

Many Americans could not afford an unexpected $1,000+ medical bill, and deductibles are often even higher than that. So just imagine needing $10,000 a month for chemo, or needing open heart surgery! That’s what happens if you’re diagnosed with cancer, heart attack, or other critical illness. You may need help with your deductible.

A critical illness (CI) insurance policy can fill that gap in coverage and keep you afloat. CI pays you a lump sum that you can use however you like – to pay what your health insurance didn’t cover, or to pay household bills while you take time off work to recover.


Did you know that there are 2 ways to get CI coverage?

Stand-alone CI policies larger than $50,000 are not avaiable though. That would help with deductibles.

Another, better way to get CI benefits is to get life insurance with living benefits. Living benefits bundles critical illness benefits together with chronic and terminal illness benefits, into a life insurance policy. This isn’t available with all life insurance policies, so talk to your agent about it.

With this type of policy, you can convert 75-95% of your life insurance’s death benefit into something you can receive while you’re still living.

If you need life insurance, this is a much more economical way to plan your benefits. Call us to learn more.

Trends in Group Coverage

Many people I speak with still hold employer-provided Group plans as the best kind of health insurance. Trends in group coverage actually suggest otherwise. This point of view is expressed in an article on the Harvard Business Review recently:

As a result of these trends, employers have shifted costs to employees; one common example is the implementation of high-deductible insurance plans, which increase consumers’ out-of-pocket costs. High costs can hurt employees in other ways, too: there’s evidence that as employer-provided health costs rise, employers are constrained in their ability to increase wages.

Consumers will see with their employer-provided insurance plans, all things being equal, that deductibles will rise, and they will have to pay more out-of-pocket for healthcare. I’m not about to suggest you turn down your employee health insurance plan though. Your employer is paying for most of it. But it will cover less in the future.

What to do then, if you’re in this situation? I’d suggest you get a hospital and doctor plan to go with your employer coverage. That could help pay all or part for doctor and outpatient healthcare expenses, before your deductible is met. That would be the best way to manage your healthcare costs.

Talk to me today and I’ll explain how we could help.

Dan Rhoads

ACA premiums rising beyond reach of older, middle-class consumers

Sixty-year-olds with a $50,000 income must pay at least one-fifth of what they earn for the least expensive premiums for health plans in Affordable Care Act marketplaces across a broad swath of the Midwest, the analysis shows. In much of the country, those premiums require at least one-sixth of such people’s income.

And that’s just the beginning. I’ve seen plans as high as $4400/month! Obamacare is too expensive.

So what do you do? Well, let me give you my perspective.

Yes, there should be options that cover pre-existing conditions, and I’m concerned for uninsured people out there who will be caught in the trap should the ACA become unsustainable.

But, THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES. Talk to me. Get health insurance BEFORE your health takes a turn for the worst.

I have plans and options that are affordable and can stay with you until you turn 65 and get Medicare.


Prescriptions are one of the most expensive parts of your health insurance. Usually, you need to take your medicine daily, or at least on a schedule. And they can be expensive – so regardless of whether your prescriptions are expensive, choosing a health insurance plan that covers prescriptions at all will make that insurance plan a lot more expensive.

There’s a solution for that. Be aware of what your prescriptions cost with and without insurance, and compare the prices for those medicines at various pharmacies near you.

Ok, we get it. That’s a lot of work and you’re a busy person. You don’t have time to drive around to 10 pharmacies and ask each pharmacist how much your medicine will cost with and without insurance. Not to mention, the pharmacist might think you’re crazy.


Work with an Agent

You might not be used to shopping for the best health deal, but a licensed health insurance agent is. A good agent will know how to use tools like He or she will be able to run a detailed analysis. See how much your prescriptions would cost you if you switch coverages. Together, you could get a picture of what your monthly out-of-pocket costs could be and get a realistic comparision of insurance plans.


Make a Prescription List

You can help an agent shop for you. Start by creating a list of names, formulations, dosages, and quantity needed per month for all of your medications. We have clients who keep theirs on the fridge at home. Make it easy to get to this list if you collapse and first-responders need such information.

Share that list with your agent – before you purchase health insurance.

If there are changes – and there will be as you age – let your agent know, at least when you speak for your annual review, if not before.


Save on Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Don’t assume that all plans include pharmacy benefits. We see it from time to time with new clients who assumed that – they end up being shocked at the difference in prices and how much more they have to pay. Be aware that your medications are a cost and that they will not always be low.

The Problem with a Deductible

Except for employer plans, high deductible health insurance feels like a scam to many healthy Americans. They see only 2 options:

  1. Their plan costs a few hundred dollars a month, and has a deductible that’s so high that it won’t pay for their healthcare until they’re bankrupt, or
  2. Their plan costs close to a thousand dollars a month (or more), and has a deductible that is low.

Either way, you probably feel about the same. That you’re paying double, once to the doctors and once to the insurance company, when you should only be paying once. It’s a painful cycle that angers many Americans. And in a way, it is a scam that the insurance industry has pulled on consumers – a way that they can get out of paying and turn your insurance premiums into pure profit. This has led many consumers to want to self-insure – to settle for paying for medical bills entirely out-of-pocket.

Let’s just get this out there: Self-insuring, or just avoiding medical care, is NOT a solution. If you get seriously ill or injured while under-insured, then you’ll be willing to pay just about any amount for healthcare, and the insurance companies will want nothing to do with you.


“How High a Deductible is OK for me?”

As a rule of thumb, you should look at your average bank balance. Most people know about how much cash they like to keep on hand for emergencies. Have a look at yours. And then, don’t ever choose a deductible that’s higher than the money that they would have available if they’d have a sudden serious illness or injury. Because, what’s the point in doing that? Simply trying to pay the deductible would put you in financial debt.

If all the only health insurance that you can afford comes with a deductible that’s too high, then you need to explore other options.


There are ways to get around your Deductible

For those who want to get real value out of their health insurance and get around their deductible, there are other options. They’ve heard of Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s), and similar employer contribution plans. Those who have such plans love them.

There are also fixed indemnity Hospital and Doctor plans. There are good and bad indemnity plans out there, so look out. But good ones will greatly reduce your out-of-pocket spending for doctors visits, lab tests, imaging, and hospitalization.

Indemnity plans don’t coordinate with your high deductible plans – which means you can have both types of plans if you want, and neither limits the benefits of the other.

You don’t have to combine an indemnity plan with a high deductible plan however. Not if it’s a good plan. Look for how much the plan would pay for hospitalization or surgery.

And, in place of a high deductible health insurance plan, consider a critical illness plan that will pay a large lump-sum if you have a heart attack, stroke, cancer, or something similar. There are many such plans available for critical illness, and those vary widely by state. Ask your insurance agent for advice.


How to Tell a Good Indmenity Plan from a Bad

  1. Have a look at the per-day hospital confinement benefit. $3,000 to $4,000 is good. $200-$1,000 is bad. And look to see how many days per year this benefit may be paid.
  2. Make sure that benefits are provided for wellness, out-patient diagnostics, advanced imaging, and ambulance.
  3. Stay away from plans that have an enrollment fee above $35.


Have questions? Call us at the RhoadsLife Insurance Agency today – (484) 509-1784.

HSA Alternatives

Health Savings Accounts offer a way to save for – and pay for – healthcare expenses. They are usually offered by employers, as they are a way to give benefits that are not subject to income taxes. For the employee, HSA’s work great with High Deductible Health Plans, since HSA’s have no deductible and can be used for all sorts of outpatient health services.

What if you don’t have an HSA though? Do you want something that helps you pay for healthcare expenses and has no deductible? Private healthcare companies offer great HSA alternatives called Fixed Indemnity Plans.

Indemnity plans are great HSA alternatives for individuals with private health insurers. BUT, you have to look closely at how much the plan pays for hospital and outpatient care. There are a lot of plans out there that offer a choice between affordable indemnity plans with little benefits, and expensive indemnity plans with reasonable benefits. United Healthcare is the only insurer that I’ve seen in my years of experience that provides good benefits at prices that accurately reflect your odds of using the coverage. That is, if you’re young, a good indemnity plan is very inexpensive, but if you’re in your 50’s or 60’s, expect the pricetag to be a bit more.

The bottom line: have a look at our simple chart, below, to compare your options.

Healthcare Options


Our best advice is to understand buying health insurance in the United States is extraordinarily complicated. Our agents can quickly learn about your situation and show you viable options to obtain coverage.

To check on individual or family health insurance request a free quote!

Combo 360 Plans

Major Medical plans are increasingly coming with higher and higher deductibles, and less and less benefits for routine checkups and outpatient services.

Indemnity plans on the other hand, cover routine checkups and outpatient services, but have no guarantee of a cap on how much you might have to pay for medical bills in a year.

United Healthcare has the solution. Combine a high deductible 12-month Short Term Medical plan (Part 1) with a Hospital and Doctor plan (Part 2) to get the best of both worlds. One plan guarantees security if your medical expenses explode, and the other promises affordable medical care until then.


Part 1: $2 Million High Deductible UHC Value Select A 

  • United HealthCare’s National Network
  • Short Term Medical for 360 days
  • $75 Copay for Urgent Care
  • $10,000 Hospital Deductible
  • After Deductible you pay 40% of covered charges until you have paid another $5000.
  • Max Exposure is $15,000
  • Keep in mind Part 2 will cover PART or possibly ALL your maximum $15,000 exposure


PART 2: Select a Health ProtectorGuard Select Value, No Deductible –First Dollar Coverage

  • Choose your own Doctor
  • Plan pays $100 per Office or Urgent Care visit 5 times per Year per a family Member
  • Preventive Coverage (after 6 months)
  • Hospital benefit is $3,000 per a day
  • You chose your own Hospital
  • ER Coverage
  • Lab and Imaging Benefits
  • Surgical Benefit Schedule


Customize your plan with a few other options I recommend:

Teledoc: For $20 per month your entire family has access to a physician by phone any time, saves you the time and expense of running to a doctor.

Dental:  United Healthcare National PPO – The #1 Selling Dental Insurance in the country.

Vision: Yearly coverage for Eye Exam, contact lenses, and/or glasses.


This new One Year PPO is significantly less expensive than an Affordable Care Act insurance plan. You do need to be relatively healthy to qualify. Pre-existing conditions are NOT covered and there are some exclusions. Please see the attached plan description for more information. 

Please call me directly and we can review all this again. Or I can assist you in submitting an application. We do have other options available, so please keep me posted on your thoughts!