The issue of health insurance can be confusing at times, especially if you are a Realtor and are self employed and have many options and prices that can pull you one way or another. A profession that has a hard choice in front of them when it comes to the issue of health insurance is certinly that of Realtors and other real estate professionals. Before a Realtor decides on what kind of policy to buy it's important for them to become knowledgeable of the health insurance world.
¼ of Realtors Do Not Have Health Insurance
A survey conducted in 2004 by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that about one quarter of licensed Realtors in America do not have any type of health insurance and most of the ones that do are paying much more than what they should. This is happening due to the fact that many firms have stopped offering health insurance all together, which affects the employees drastically as they now have to go out and compare the prices of all insurance companies. With the cost of health insurance increasing in the last couple of years it is possible that these figures have enlarged and that many more Realtors are without basic health insurance.
Realtors Must Understand the Difference Between
Group Health Insurance and Individual Health Insurance
An important thing for every Realtor to know is the difference between a group health insurance plan and an individual health insurance plan. Group health insurance isn't as hard to qualify for as individual health insurance although group health insurance will typically be much more expensive than individual health insurance.
With individual health insurance it is harder to be approved because of the strict health insurance underwriting criteria and many times individual health insurance underwriters will even look ten years back into your medical history as they evaluate how much of a risk you pose to the insurance company if they were to approve your insurance application. For this reason it's important to note that individual health insurance is most likely to be cheaper, due to the fact that the insurance company will pick who they want to give a membership to.
Even after knowing that individual plans are cheaper most of the time, a Realtor must still do some research and shop around to see which companies provide the best coverage for the least amount of money.
Realtor Associations May Help
Members Obtain Health Insurance
One of the most important ways a Realtor can save money is through Associations of Realtors that offer their members health insurance. This is especially important for Realtors who have health issues and are unable to obtain coverage on their own due to their medical history. If this is your case, then you should ask your association for a brochure in order to see how good the coverage is in comparison to others. An example of this method of saving money can be traced to the previously discussed National Association of Realtors (NAR). This is the biggest organization of Realtors in the country and they are covered by Marsh (part of the Marsh and McLennan family of companies) who serves more than 1,000 organizations in their welfare and health insurance needs.
Realtors May Save Money and Enjoy
Tax Advantages With an HSA
Realtors shopping for health insurance may also want to consider a Health Savings Accounts (HSA). A Health Savings Account is a tax-advantaged savings account that is available to any taxpayer in the United States regardless of income level. These accounts are designed to help and protect an individual for their future health related expenses and they are being used more and more as the cost of healthcare increases. This plan still possesses all of the comprehensive health benefits of a regular health insurance, but it's cheaper.
The health insurance part of the account holds a high deductible and no co-pays or co-insurances for service, while the savings part of the account allows you deduct the money contribute into the account (up to annual IRS limits) as an "above the line" tax deduction. Also, the money invested in the Health Savings Account will grow tax-free, not to mention that it rolls over from year to year.
This could be the perfect option for some Realtors simply because the monthly premiums will be much lower than traditional plans, everything is covered (Doctor's visits, Lab Fees, Surgery, Physicals, etc), and your maximum out-of-pocket cost (the amount that you will be required to pay each year) is the same as the plan deductible.
Realtors Have Many Health Insurance Choices
As you can see there are many choices that Realtors have in regards to their health insurance needs. Individual plans might be the best choice for a Realtor that can qualify and that wants to save some money. For the Realtors that wouldn't be able to qualify for an individual policy for health or any other reasons is recommended that they take a look at their association or local chamber of commerce to see if they offer member group health benefits.
Also, the Health Savings Account option is there to consider, if the Realtor wants to enjoy comprehensive major medical health insurance while saving some money at the same time. Whatever option you choose, it's important to realize that saving money is possible. The only thing to make it happen is to shop around and get familiarized with the health insurance world.
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