Air Medical Services


PacificSource Health Plans and REACH Air Medical Service have signed an agreement to provide REACH’s air ambulance services in-network for PacificSource members in Montana.  With the addition of REACH, PacificSource now offers its members 100% access to air ambulance providers in Montana.

BlueCross BlueShield of Montana (BCBSMT) is pleased to announce that they have added Life Flight Network as a contracted provided, enhancing our statewide in-network air ambulance coverage and reducing the chances  that our members will be faced with the excessive costs of a balance bill from an out-of-network provider.  Through its negotiations with BCBMT, Life Flight Network will bring its helicopter service to Bozeman for the first time.

 

 

BIG SKY RX PROGRAM    2017    The Big Sky Rx (BSRx) is dedicated to helping Medicare clients pay for Medicare approved prescription drug insurance premiums.  It is administered by the State of Montana.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA:

  •  Montana is your primary state of residence
  • Must be a Medicare recipient
  • Must meet generous income criteria
  • Income less than $24,120 (single person) or $32,480 (two person household)
  • Assets (your nest egg–for example:  IRA’s, Bonds, Stocks, Savings Accounts) are NOT income.   
  • ENROLLMENT in BSRx is on-going.  Clients may enroll ANYTIME of the year.  NOTE:  Due to the fact that we are a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (SNAP), clients may enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) at any time of the year, or change plans once a year.  Clients do not need to wait until the end of the year for the open enrollment period.    August 2017

 

 

ABOUT HEALTHY MONTANA KIDS:

HMK is a free or low-cost health coverage plan.   The plan provides health coverage to eligible Montana children and teenagers up to age 19.  A child can qualify for HMK based on family size and income.  There are no pre-existing condition limitations.  Covered services include medical, dental , eyeglasses and other related services.

Some parents share in the cost of their children’s health care by paying a small co-payment when care is received.  However, total co-payments for a benefit year will not exceed $215.00 per family.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Children up to age 19
  • Montana residents
  • US citizens or qualified residents
  • Household meets income quidelines for household size. (SEE BELOW)

HOUSEHOLD SIZE AND GROSS INCOME LEVEL:

 

Household Size* Maximum Income Level (Per Year)
1 $29,700
2 $40,050
3 $50,400
4 $60,750
5 $71,100
6 $81,450
7 $91,825
8 $102,225

For further information on Healthy Montana Kids, please contact the program office at 1-8777-543-7669.  AUGUST 16, 2017

 

 

 

If you are facing a decision between GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE and INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE consider the following:

 

GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE:

  • Employer pays a minimum of  50% of employee premium.
  • Plan may include a HSA (Health Savings Account). *Pre-tax deductions from payroll.
  • Coverage can be offered to families and spouses but this is not always the case.
  • There are many options to choose from and employees are often given several choices.
  • If Group Coverage is offered to you and you choose to take an individual plan, and are qualified for a subsidy, you are not allowed to take advantage of this offer.

INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE:

  • If no Group Health coverage is offered, you may qualify for a subsidy to help pay premiums.
  • Plans choices can be limited.
  • Premiums, without subsidies, can be more expensive than Group rates, as the employer must pay a minimum of 50% of the employee only rate. Employers are not allowed to contribute to an individual plan premium.
  • One has control over decisions concerning coverage, i.e., plans changes, coverage options.
  • Plans can include a HSA (Health Savings Account) *Post tax

FOR EXAMPLE:

  • A 36 year old living in Missoula, choosing a Bronze Plan (The Group and Individual options have some differences in coverage and deductibles):
  • GROUP PREMIUM (EMPLOYER PAYING 50%) –  $183.10
    • 2000 Tuition Rewards are given to each dental plan subscriber when they register an eligible student of students.  Subscriber Tuition Rewards can be allocated to any registered student.
    • 500 Tuition Rewards are given to each student registered.
    • 2000 additional Tuition Rewards are given to the Subscriber, annually in the month following the Dental Plan’s renewal.

2,500 bonus Tuition Rewards are given to the subscriber the month following the Dental Plan’s third renewal (4th year), for a total of 4,500 for that year.INDIVIDUAL PREMIUM (NO SUBSIDIES) –  $458.54 (non-smoking), $562.99 (smoking)  As there are so many options and differences between Group and Individual plans, we would be happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have.  Please feel free to contact us at 406-388-7633 or email us at jblockey@swmtfinancial.com .  You can also contact our Helena Office at 406-204-2220 or email at ssharbono@swmtfinancial.com .  AUGUST 16, 2017     

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      CHALLENGES FOR A SMALL BUSINESS   

 

  Running a small business is challenging enough without the confusion health insurance can cause. Too often the resulting angst is driven by common misconceptions that experienced advisers can help dispel.

Without a doubt, health insurance continues to be one of the most important and valued benefits that employers can offer to their workers. After salary, it is consistently the top factor for attracting and retaining talent whether a company has two employees or 2,000.

That said, navigating the employer-sponsored benefit landscape can be especially daunting for small businesses. Cost and compliance considerations alone can seem impenetrable.

But these perceptions are frequently rooted in fallacy rather than fact, and brokers can help shed a light on this important topic.

Misconceptions
For example, here are three frequent misconceptions among small businesses:

1) It’s too expensive. While there are certainly costs involved with offering health insurance, providing coverage options does not mean a company has to break the proverbial bank. As with any operational expense, the first order of business is to establish a budget.

Brokers can then work with their clients using tools such as defined contribution, where a business provides each employee with a fixed dollar amount they then choose how to spend. As a result, workers can select from a set of health plan choices and pay the difference not covered by the employer’s contribution. So, if they want to spend more for a more benefits-rich plan, they can.

In turn, a company is able to lock-in their costs. This provides budget controls that can be planned and managed monthly and annually.

2) It won’t meet everyone’s needs. Small businesses can find and offer health plan solutions that meet the diverse needs of their workforce, and brokers can help point the way.

Well-designed healthcare exchanges, for instance, can be a great option for offering a wide selection of health insurance plans that ensure choice and access to care for employees who most likely need very different coverage. A 22-year-old just starting her first job will likely want a different plan that a 59-year-old sales manager with a spouse, three children and plans to retire in the near future. One may want a PPO while someone else wants an HMO. Still another may want an HSA-compatible plan.

The beauty here is that a good exchange can offer multiple health insurance plans within a single package. So, regardless of which options employees select, businesses get one monthly itemized bill and can manage overall benefit offerings through a single website and online portal, all with the support and guidance from their broker.

3) It’s too complicated. The industry might be complex, but offering health insurance does not have to be overly difficult for a small business because there are resources and experts available to shoulder the details.

For example, there are many products and platforms that simplify administration by consolidating information and processes into easy-to-use automated systems. In fact, many carriers and providers have already moved to implement some form of online enrollment. This helps streamline processing and speeds up underwriting. But it also provides one point of entry from where employers and employees can then move on to review and compare options, choose and enroll in a plan and manage their benefits throughout the year.

Brokers can leverage these new technologies and online capabilities as well. This enables them to serve as a small business’ single point of contact and go-to expert for solving problems or addressing needs. These can range from vetting and recommending coverage options to guiding workers through benefit claims processes to assisting with regulatory mandates, and much more.

While healthcare can be mystifying, small businesses need not fall prey to misinformation and myths. Brokers can guide them to options that can be affordable, offer a variety of choices and are easy to manage. The solutions are out there.

Whether you are just beginning your adventure in the business world or are a long-standing establishment, we are all here to help with your business enrollments, pricing, claims and any issue that may arise.  Please consider SOUTHWESTERN MONTANA FINANCIAL CENTER, INC. the answer to your question, “Who should I choose to represent my insurance interests in the most professional way?”   SEPTEMBER 2017

 

 

THE 25X RULE TO EARLY RETIREMENT:

 

The rule states that people are financially prepared to retire if they have saved at least 25 times their annual expenses. For example, they should have $500,000 in retirement savings if their annual spending amounts to $20,000. An adjustment can be made to the computation if there are other sources of income in retirement, of course.

Although goals-based planning is increasingly getting support in the financial services industry, many financial advisers have doubts about the strategy’s effectiveness as a retirement planning strategy, according to an article in USA Today. “Goals-based planning presumes we know what our goals are in 20-30 years. Except we don’t. We really don’t. We don’t know how to envision our future until it’s almost upon us.”

Life insurance in retirement: Who needs it?
Some experts believe that incorporating life insurance into the retirement investment strategy can be a smart move. “It’s a defensible use in situations where the estate’s assets are not liquid–let’s say real estate or a business. If you don’t want to sell the assets in a fire sale, and the estate tax comes due–insurance can be used to fund the tax liability.” (USA Today)

If you are wondering how life insurance might fit into your retirement plans, please don’t hesitate to give us a call (406)388-7633 or email us at jblockey@swmtfinancial.com .  SEPTEMBER 2017

 

ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FOR MEMBERS IMPACTED BY NATURAL DISASTERS

Sadly, many of our members, friends, and loved ones are devastated by Hurricane Harvey and Irma and wildfires in Montana and the western United States.  We know that recovering from a natural disaster is never easy. For our Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana members living or traveling in the area of Texas impacted by Hurricane Harvey, your BCBSMT Customer Service Representatives are ready to help you:

  • Find a doctor or hospital
  • Refill a prescription if you have Prime Therapeutics
  • Coordinate or transition your care
  • Get a member ID card

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS

If you don’t have your BCBSMT member ID card, call your plan’s Customer Service number:

Employer-based Insurance 1-800-447-7828
Medicare Supplement 1-866-940-3022
Federal Employee Program 1-800-634-3569
National BlueCard® 1-800-810-BLUE (2583)

HELPFUL TIPS

  • For emergencies, call 911 or  go directly to the nearest hospital.
  • For non-emergencies, call Customer Service to find a doctor or health care professional in your network.
  • Bring your BCBSMT member ID card when you get care.

If you don’t have your ID card, call Customer Service or print a temporary card from Blue Access for MembersS

For more information:  

OUR MISSION IS SIMPLY TO HELP PROTECT OUR CLIENTS