From our friends at GreenPath
Choosing the right health insurance plan is critical if you want to save money on your health care expenses. This is the first step for creating a healthcare budget that anticipates any cost you may have to cover down the road. Here are a few tips you can follow to help you choose the right health insurance plan for you and your family:
- Research the costs of the medical services you think you will use in the following year. Knowing the costs for the medical services you need will help you choose a plan that will cover most of those costs. It will also help you determine how much you need to save to cover the costs that will not be covered by your health insurance provider. Those funds can be deposited into a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account.
- Use your provider’s website to research individual and family plans. You can also visit healthcare.gov to research health insurance plans. Healthcare.gov provides a marketplace for you to compare different health insurance plans based on your specific needs.
- Ask these three questions to understand and compare health care plans:
- What is the deductible for this plan? Your deductible is the amount of money you are required to spend before your health insurance will cover your health care expenses. Keep in mind that higher deductible plans typically have lower monthly premiums.
- What are the co-payments or co-insurance amounts associated with this plan? Co-payments or co-insurance are what you pay for medical services after reaching your deductible.
- What is the out-of-pocket maximum for this plan? The out-of-pocket maximum is the amount of money you have to spend on medical services before your health insurance provider pays for your covered services.
What to Do After Choosing the Right Health Insurance Plan
After choosing the most suitable health insurance plan for you and your family, it would be wise to look into opening a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA). These types of accounts enable you to set aside pre-tax funds to save money for expected and unexpected health care expenses. This means you can save these funds without paying tax on the money (which could result in a larger tax return for you).
You can use the amount of your deductible, co-payments or co-insurance, and/or out-of-pocket maximum to determine how much you should deposit into a health savings account or flexible spending account. Following these tips will help you feel confident in choosing the plan that’s most suitable for you and your family.
Health insurance can be an important way to keep your family—and your finances—healthy. USAgencies Credit Union offers our members access to affordable health insurance coverage via the TruStage Health Insurance Program and GoHealth. Learn more.
From our friends at GreenPath.
The holidays are officially here! And it won’t be long before families are exchanging presents. Holidays and gifts can take a big bite out of your budget so a little planning can help keep everything under control.
It is important not to get caught up in the last-minute emotion of the season and spend more than you planned. Holiday overspending ruins many festive occasions and can result in long repayment schedules.
The following are suggestions to help relieve holiday budget stress:
- Shop early for gifts. This allows you to take advantage of sales, specials and bargains. Don’t over buy or forget you have already shopped for someone.
- Make your own gifts. Use skills you have to sew, bake, paint or make crafts.
- Don’t be a “One gift for you…one gift for me” shopper! And don’t be tempted to give your gifts early lest you buy more!
- Use layaway plans if possible. Most allow you to pay at a rate you can afford either weekly or monthly.
- If you have a large family, consider drawing names to exchange gifts.
- Shop your local craft fairs and shows for specialty items – you’ll find some great ideas. Sometimes you can bargain with the vendor.
- Family members would appreciate an IOU to mow the loan or wash the car in the spring.
- If you plan to fill stockings or bags for the children, try putting a few pieces of fruit (apples & oranges) in the bottom first. Also, coloring books and scratch pads make great inexpensive fillers.
- Know your merchants’ return policies before buying.
- Rack up Rewards points by purchasing all of your holiday gifts using your USAgencies’ Visa Platinum Rewards card. Earn 1 reward point for every $1 spent, plus, 5% of net income from the Visa Platinum is donated to local community giving initiatives! Points can be redeemed for merchandise, travel, and even a lower auto loan rate or higher CD rate. Talk about smart spending!
Don’t forget to plan ahead for expenses such as holiday decorations, baking supplies (especially if baking for gifts), increased utility bills, food and wrapping paper. These expenses are rarely considered and can really add up fast.
Need help staying on track with your holiday budget? As a member of USAgencies Credit Union, you can take advantage of GreenPath Financial Wellness, a free financial education and counseling program. GreenPath counselors are available Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (EST), Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. To use this new service, simply call 1-877-337-3399 or visit them on the web at greenpath.usacu.org.
USAgencies is pleased to announce our newest member benefit – GreenPath Financial Wellness.
As a valued member of USAgencies, we are committed to serving you. And as a benefit to you, we are providing you with free access to money management and financial education services.
USAgencies has teamed up with GreenPath to bring you GreenPath Financial Wellness, a financial education and counseling program. Through comprehensive education and exceptional service, GreenPath has been assisting individuals for more than 50 years.
As a member of USAgencies, you can receive assistance from GreenPath with:
- Personal and family budgeting
- Understanding your personal credit report and how to improve your score
- Personal money management
- Debt repayment (fees may apply)
- Avoiding bankruptcy, foreclosure, and repossession
GreenPath can give personalized answers to your individual needs. For issues ranging from developing a proactive savings plan to preventing home foreclosure, advice is only a phone call or click away.
To learn more about this new service, simply call 1-877-337-3399 or visit USACU.org/education.