Travel Nursing Benefits

Travel nursing gives you the right opportunity to satisfy your medical aspirations. With travel nursing jobs, you can choose the most stressful and fulfilling process of serving people, located in various states of the United States. All you have to identify a good placement agency where your dreams can be turned into a reality.

There are many traveling agencies who recruit travel nurses to place them in different hospitals and medical facilities in order to fulfill the shortages of medical personnel in different parts of the US. However, the compensation package, accommodation and utilities of each placement agency vary from each other. Being a new phenomenon in the healthcare sector, travel nursing is seen as the bright future for women going for full time nursing career. Normally, traveling nursing jobs are set up for a short term basis but it can be extended after the mutual agreement from both the employer and nurses part.

This can be chosen for many reasons. One of the main reason is this job can fulfill your traveling desires. You gotta see different geographies and feel their difference and exclusive beauty. Secondly, you can experience the working of nurses in different cities or states of the United States. Besides these, you will be awarded with a good and well furnished home, attractive salary package, other allowances and benefits to enjoy a great and high standard of living. Above more, it is the duty of travel agency to help nurses to get their passports, work licenses and other documents in order to work comfortably.

These jobs also offer other advantages including above market payment rates to live and work in a new place or area. It also includes provision of certain utility services, health, dental and workers compensation as well as payroll benefits. Many times a traveling nurse agency also offers 401K and other retirement plans. A travel nurse is paid by the agency it contracts with and the mode of payments is generally by direct bank deposit checks.

So if you are a nurse, trying to make a good career, opting for travel nursing can give you some of the added advantage.

Everything About Payday Loans

The statement that a payday loan will be your sheet anchor when you desperately require cash is rather sketchy. They, without any doubt, have got their very own positive factors. Nonetheless there are actually many disadvantages to this type of financial loans. I personally try to step back from this form of lending services. Nonetheless let us evaluate pretty much all advantages and drawbacks of these loans to create an objective view on this credit service.

In actual fact, payday loans are money advances. When you get caught up in between your pay days with no money in your purse, you desperately require some funds from an outside source. Moreover if you are faced with various unpredicted expenses, you have got very poor credit rating, and credit cards aren’t any option for you, a payday loan is what exactly will be able to assist you to make it through until you obtain your next paycheck.

Dealing with such kind of financing is merely like dealing with pretty much any other loan. You simply borrow a certain amount of cash with a commitment to return it back at the pre-agreed fee and rate.

Payday Loans Costs

Different creditors sanction loans at various fees and rates. And this particular problem actually is a drawback of these loans. You will often shell out from $ 15 – $ 30 for receiving $ 100. In terms of interest you would require to pay, it’s really drop-dead enormous. The interest rates range in between 390% and 780%. And this is really the worst part with regard to these loans. Let’s now proceed to the more pleasant aspects.

Applying for a Payday Loan

The procedure for payday loans application is very simple. You can execute it on the Web, or go to a loan office. You complete a loan application and give a few personal details for a loan provider to make a loan decision. The requirements are usually pretty much the same: you have to be at least 18 or above, need to have a stable employment with a minimum monthly income of $ 1,000, and also a checking bank account. You will, quite possibly, be asked to give your social security number, copies of bank accounts and pay stubs. In case you fulfill all the specifications, you can be positive that you would be approved for a loan. Thereafter you normally have got to hang around for 24 hours (or less in some instances) and you will have the access to your cash.

Payday Loans Positives and Negatives

Payday loans really are a solution for cash-strapped individuals. In the event that you desperately want to get hold of some cash and you need the same fast, using a payday loan is certainly much better than stealing a bank. Another nice thing with regard to such sort of loans is that by getting one you do not expose yourself to a long term obligation, such as whenever managing a typical bank (when you get a mortgage, a car loan, or a reward charge card). You’ve got to pay back the money borrowed soon after you receive your next paycheck. Usually, the ceiling on the highest possible sum of money you can borrow is $ 2,500. Therefore, this is one more advantage of such loans. You just won’t bury yourself in big debts. And payday loans end up being significantly less expensive as compared to bounced checks.

So, when you have a heap of bills to pay one day and no credit line or cash available for doing it, consider getting a payday loan. It is usually a good backup strategy for you. However be responsible with respect to paying it off on time, otherwise, you will encounter big charges and might get the sticky end of the stick. Recollect payday loans primarily in some cases of unexpected emergency, not whenever you feel like purchasing a new designer’s suit or jewelry.

The Flavorful Delights of Israeli Cuisine

It figures I’m about to start a culinary journey on Israeli cuisine while being exceptionally hungry. In my mind’s eye (and a grumbling stomach) I can see the comfort foods of my youth; foods that might make some people in the world ask, what on earth is that?

There’s no easy way to pigeon hole Israeli cuisine, a blend of cultures from Eastern Europe to the shores of Northern Africa and the far reaches of Asia. Each distinct region has brought Israel to the forefront the very best of their tasty dishes, making the act of eating in Israel a vacation all its own.

Many of you might have already heard of some traditional Israeli dishes. Ashkenazi cuisine comes from the folks from Eastern Europe. These are the same folks that give us some wonderfully sweet pastries, yet gave us borsht and gefilte fish. Go figure.

Sephardic foods come from countries like Spain and Morocco, food like the savory pastry known as bourekas, made with puff pastry filled with cheese and spinach, just to name a few.

I’m getting ahead of myself–I should’ve talked about breakfast first. It is the most important meal of the day, right? Most hotels in Israel are quite proud of their Israeli breakfast, which many promote in order to get you to stay there.

Oh no, my American friends, this isn’t your bacon-laden, side of home-fries meal. Look around, you’ll find bowls of fresh fruit, salads made with finely chopped tomatoes, fish, eggs, bread, and yogurt.

Now that I think about it, almost all of Israel’s dishes center on fresh produce. This even includes the ever popular falafel; fried ground chickpeas stuffed in a pita served with Israeli salad (tomato, cucumber, onion) and tahina.

Oh tahina, a sesame sauce that makes everything taste better. Not that the world’s best street food like falafel can’t stand on its own, mind you.

I think the only thing more popular than falafel is hummus. Made with ground chickpeas, often served with pine nuts or a smatter of olive oil, it is generally eaten with just pita. Hummus is so popular in Israeli cuisine it seems to be a culinary staple, no matter what meal it is.

Food in Israel might be fresh and tasty, but it means nothing if not shared with family and loved ones. That is, unless, you’ve gotten a Moroccan and Tunisian fighting it out over who makes better couscous, a dish made from semolina flour with lamb or chicken simmered with veggies on top.

One of the best ways to enjoy Israeli food with the family is a hafla. This is a traditional Bedouin meal of salads and kebabs with Bedouin pita (known as fatir) served as you lounge on soft pillows drinking mint infused beverages (like tea or lemonade).

Food is so ingrained in Israeli culture so that if you’ve been invited into someone’s home, they will try to feed you. And it’s an insult to refuse–so eat up.

Food even has its superstitions. One lady friend who was going to have a baby mentioned in passing that she was “craving” falafel, only to be handed an entire container of them by her Israeli neighbor soon afterwards, simply because it was “wrong” to refuse a pregnant lady any food she wished for.

You could go on forever talking about food in Israel, and spend another lifetime talking about beverages in Israel. Great, now I’m even hungrier than when I started.–someone pass the falafel, please?

E Cigaret – Benefits And Controversies

After the discussion of e cigaret, there have been discussions throughout the world out of which majority concentrated on security of the cigarette. An elektronisk cigaret is into existence for several years and has been a good alternative to smoking conventional cigarettes. Not only is this but also an el cigaret helps smokers to lessen smoking.

Benefits of an ego cigaret:

An e cigaretter finds number of benefits associated with the electronic cigarettes, which are enumerated as under:

• Similar taste of conventional cigarettes: Electronic cigarettes contain similar tobacco taste but are free of other harmful substances being found in the conventional cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes allow smokers to remain satisfied without breathing in harmful toxins.

• User friendly: Fourth generation of an ego cigaret has become much user friendly than that of the initial versions that had been larger in size and could not encourage the mass.

• Creating smoke as vapor: An atomizer, a battery as well as an inexhaustible nicotine chamber allowing smokers to smoke, even create vapor and burn at end just like other traditional cigarettes.

• Reduced quantity of nicotine: Nicotine chamber in an elektronisk cigaret proves fruitful for smokers since the cartridges are being found in varied strengths, which permit users to lessen intaking, the quantity of nicotine.

• Saves on expenditure: Nicotine cartridges contain nearly 15 – 20 cigarettes that can be huge savings on your expenditure. Low, medium, standard or no nicotine contains different cartridge strengths.

• Environmental friendly: Smoking an e cigaret seems to be a healthier alternative to the conventional cigarettes as it is legalized to smoke in public places. For an instance: An e cigaretter needs to come out of public places such as pubs, restaurants, multiplex etc for smoking. However being eco-friendly, electronic cigarettes are being authorized to be used anywhere.

• Reusable: Smokers can make use of the electronic cigarettes, which means that only lesser quantity of vapor is required to be filled for every use.

• No smoke: One of the best things about an elektronisk cigaret is that it never produces smoke and are lesser risky to non-smokers and air quality. Owing to this reason, an ego cigaret is also referred to as smokeless cigarette.

Things to consider:

While there are so many benefits associated with an elektronisk cigaret, there are certain things that need to be considered prior to making the purchase. There are numerous groups pointing out the adverse effects of an ego cigaret. It came as a warning that children might get attracted towards the item given to its originality and alternative for varied flavorings. This is due to the fact that though most of the electronic cigarettes resemble conventional cigarettes yet others seem as USB sticks or pens.

There is not enough data stating the quantity of nicotine being used by a smoker and if it has severe effects. An e cigaret is much safer than conventional cigarettes, but it does not qualify them as extreme inhalation can leave dangerous effects on the body of smokers. Therefore, it is recommended to read the reviews clearly before purchasing the product.

Hemorrhoidal Treatment – How to Investigate Your Best Options in Order to Get Rid of Hemorrhoids!

Hemorrhoidal treatment is focused towards the relief of unwanted symptoms of hemorrhoids (also known as piles). Hemorrhoids wouldn’t have been a problem to most of us if not for the annoying symptoms.

Indeed, the swelling of the anal veins being referred to as hemorrhoids or piles is a very common condition. Despite its familiarity, a lot of people still think that it is uncommon due to the fact that those who have it are afraid to come out in the open because of embarrassment. They fear of being ridiculed so they keep it to themselves until the symptoms get so bad they can’t stand it any longer.

People develop piles because of factors that lead to strain when trying to have bowel movement. A low-fiber diet, low water intake, caffeine addiction, and an inactive lifestyle are the factors we should all worry about rather than the embarrassment hemorrhoids causes.

Since most of us are guilty of such habits, it makes us prone to developing hemorrhoids. It would also relieve a lot of people to know that approximately half of the population will suffer from the disease at some point in their life – and the census is still rising.

Hemorrhoidal treatment measures can be Uncategorized or medical. Uncategorized methods involve the use of resources that can be found within the premises of our homes. This includes warm water soaks, ice pack applications, and applying organic extracts like aloe vera.

Medical regimes suggested in hemorrhoidal treatment measures include pills to relieve the pain; creams or suppositories applied to the swelling; and surgical removal in severe cases. Whatever the treatment regimen chosen, it is important to incorporate diet modification and exercise. A daily dose of 35 grams of fiber and 30 minutes of exercise can help get rid of hemorrhoids.

The Benefits of Advertising – Business Internet Marketing

Marketing online has become a very profitable way of marketing products and services of the company. Online advertising is one method of advertising that uses the Internet to deliver the marketing message that can attract customers. World Wide Web is the main medium that can be used as part of online advertising to attract customers and spread the name of the company. There are also several examples of online advertising such as email marketing, banner ads or contextual ads on various search engines.

The benefits of advertising business internet marketing are:

1. Ad beneficial for sellers and buyers. This is mutually beneficial. Sellers use advertising to promote products on the internet by providing an explanation of the details of products both in price, usability, and benefits of these products. Buyers who come to the site, they know about the various products from these ads and can choose according to their wishes.
2. Before the Internet, advertising is limited to newspapers, television and so on. Along with the development of the Internet, we can use a variety of ways to advertise our businesses either through email or posting through various websites. Through advertising on the internet allows you to expand the business globally, not limited to time and place.
3. Internet is becoming increasingly popular in line with the number of people who use these systems and tools. Almost all people use online facilities to perform the work as they use email to send and receive the official letter to the company or using social media such as twitter, Facebook, and others. By using advertising on the internet the more people will see and some of them will make a purchase.
4. Advertise your business with the internet; you will be able to reach very specific target audience through this online facility. This is often referred to as SEO Optimize system where you use specific keywords for specific markets. There is also the term PPC or pay per click where you need to pay for keywords that you are advertising on the internet.
5. Online ads can reach every person in the whole world in a small time period. Some tools or software is provided either free or paid; where you can choose which best suit your business. On average a good website can be optimized in a few months and with time running it will be increasing visitors and buyers so that we get a return on investment.
6. Cheap online advertising as a source of advertising would cost so much while placing an ad in the newspaper or television will be more expensive than online advertising. You can also get a clear picture of how much money he would spend and how much profit from your investment.

If you have not done in the advertising business internet marketing, it is good you start to learn the details and start running. This not only shortens your time in business, but you can increase your profits away from what you get. Of course, learning from the right sources and correct.

Where Payday Loans Spending Are No Way, Jose

You will not be questioned as to purpose and plan when you avail of payday loans. You can use it for whatever you want, however way you want, whoever you want, and whenever you want. You only need to pay your debt on time.

However, there are certain things that you will be well advised not to spend payday loans on. You will get into trouble with your self, your family, your society and with your government if you do decide to splurge on these activities.

Illegal Drugs

Fast fact: In Canada, the annual economic costs of the trade in illegal drugs exceed $5 billion that includes health care for drug addicts, lost work productivity, criminal offenses and law enforcement.

When you spend your payday loans on illegal drugs, you are contributing to this humungous amount that could be better used for other government projects like education. Closer to your pockets, you will be spending more than $40,000 annually to support your drug habit, which should be enough to finance your education for the same year!

More than the financial costs to society and to your wallet, you are subjecting yourself and your family to emotional and physical costs that cannot be quantified as easily as economic costs to society.

Consider these: broken relationships, domestic abuse, arrests and jail time for crimes committed to feed your habit, lost job opportunities, infectious diseases including sexually transmitted ones, and other physical ailments.

Gambling

Fast fact: Spouses and children of compulsive gamblers suffer abuses at the hands of their husbands/wives and fathers/mothers. Also, research studies always point to children of compulsive gamblers showing higher rates for pathological gambling, tobacco, alcohol and drug use and overeating.

When you decide to gamble your payday loans in casinos, sweepstakes, lotteries, and online betting, you likewise decide to expose your spouse and children to abuse, neglect, addictions of every kind, and even prostitution. What might be a harmless one-time bet today can turn into a harmful full-time occupation tomorrow.

Soliciting for Sex

Fast fact: In Canada, prostitution per se is not prohibited by law as a crime. However, you will run into many criminal laws that make activities related to prostitution, including solicitations for sex, criminal and therefore punishable.

Let us count some of the ways you can be punished for soliciting sex with your payday loans:

– Mere communication about purchasing and actually buying the sexual services of an individual under the age of 18 – six months jail time
– Attempting to and/or conducting the purchase of sex in a public place even if the individual in question is over 18 years of age
– Performing sexual acts in public places even if it is inside your parked car
– Allowing to operate, actually operating and working in a bawdy-house and even offering someone for a visit to a bawdy house are punishable by law

And need you be reminded of the dangers of prostitution to your physical and mental health? Consider these: sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and AIDS, sex addictions and broken marriages.

Indeed, you availed of payday loans to cover emergencies – births and deaths, dates and weddings, health and hearth, medical and bills exigencies, to name a few. You definitely want to solve your financial problems with cash advances, not to aggravate your financial condition!

Three SEO Strategies That High Ranking Websites Always Follow

Great people do not do different things. They do the same things differently. Well, this phrase is equally applicable to create websites as well. The basics of search engine optimization and social media integration are the same for everybody. The attitude and approach adopted by the webmasters makes all the difference. Let us look at some important differences between popular websites and those websites that fail to make an impression on search engines.

Always Changing, Improving And Evolving

Search engine optimization is a frustrating task primarily because it is always changing. In the beginning, stuffing the webpage with keywords was enough to improve your rankings. Then, Google started penalizing keyword spam and created the distinction between White Hat and other SEO techniques. The latest update by Google penalizes poor quality content. Judging the quality of content of your site through an algorithm may sound impossible. However, Google is making use of algorithms to weed out those websites that offer rehashed content without offering anything new.

Great sites never relax as far as search engine opposition is concerned. They never conclude that they have identified the golden formula and that they need not bother about SEO ever again. They are eager to identify newer solutions and want to find out how such solutions can help them improve rankings. If you want a one-time ticket to online popularity, then you will have to face many disappointing failures. Remaining popular on the Internet requires constant adaptation.

Search Engines Are Secondary. People Come First

This may sound sacrilegious to some SEO experts. To cater to people without bothering about search engines can lead to disastrous consequences. What is the point of setting up a website with high quality content if surfers cannot find it? Well, great websites believe that it is impossible to suppress good content online. If your content is good, then you will automatically become popular even if you are not focusing on search engine optimization.

Of course, this does not mean you should completely ignore optimization. However, your readers and viewers should be preferred over stats about your traffic. Keep your readers happy and they will spread word about your website without being asked to do so. Getting 100,000 web surfers to talk about your website is a lot simpler if you simply provide high-quality content.

Instead of spending a lot of money on expensive SEO strategists, you can adopt this simple approach and extract more value out of your investment.

Never Be In A Hurry For Results

Despite the release of panda and penguin updates by Google, it is possible to manipulate search engines and improve your rankings. However, such a short-term approach is only going to lead to complications. For starters, you can never be certain that your popularity is sustainable. If you focus on the long-term, then you will automatically make use of White Hat SEO techniques that focus on adding value at all times.

Make sure you follow these strategies. The best option is to employ an SEO expert who understands the importance of such an approach. This will help you focus on offering better quality products and services to your customers without worrying about the popularity of your website.

Health Savings Accounts – An American Innovation in Health Insurance

INTRODUCTON – The term “health insurance” is commonly used in the United States to describe any program that helps pay for medical expenses, whether through privately purchased insurance, social insurance or a non-insurance social welfare program funded by the government. Synonyms for this usage include “health coverage,” “health care coverage” and “health benefits” and “medical insurance.” In a more technical sense, the term is used to describe any form of insurance that provides protection against injury or illness.

In America, the health insurance industry has changed rapidly during the last few decades. In the 1970’s most people who had health insurance had indemnity insurance. Indemnity insurance is often called fee-forservice. It is the traditional health insurance in which the medical provider (usually a doctor or hospital) is paid a fee for each service provided to the patient covered under the policy. An important category associated with the indemnity plans is that of consumer driven health care (CDHC). Consumer-directed health plans allow individuals and families to have greater control over their health care, including when and how they access care, what types of care they receive and how much they spend on health care services.

These plans are however associated with higher deductibles that the insured have to pay from their pocket before they can claim insurance money. Consumer driven health care plans include Health Reimbursement Plans (HRAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), high deductible health plans (HDHps), Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Of these, the Health Savings Accounts are the most recent and they have witnessed rapid growth during the last decade.

WHAT IS A HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT?

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available to taxpayers in the United States. The funds contributed to the account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit. These may be used to pay for qualified medical expenses at any time without federal tax liability.

Another feature is that the funds contributed to Health Savings Account roll over and accumulate year over year if not spent. These can be withdrawn by the employees at the time of retirement without any tax liabilities. Withdrawals for qualified expenses and interest earned are also not subject to federal income taxes. According to the U.S. Treasury Office, ‘A Health Savings Account is an alternative to traditional health insurance; it is a savings product that offers a different way for consumers to pay for their health care.

HSA’s enable you to pay for current health expenses and save for future qualified medical and retiree health expenses on a tax-free basis.’ Thus the Health Savings Account is an effort to increase the efficiency of the American health care system and to encourage people to be more responsible and prudent towards their health care needs. It falls in the category of consumer driven health care plans.

Origin of Health Savings Account

The Health Savings Account was established under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act passed by the U.S. Congress in June 2003, by the Senate in July 2003 and signed by President Bush on December 8, 2003.

Eligibility –

The following individuals are eligible to open a Health Savings Account –

– Those who are covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).
– Those not covered by other health insurance plans.
– Those not enrolled in Medicare4.

Also there are no income limits on who may contribute to an HAS and there is no requirement of having earned income to contribute to an HAS. However HAS’s can’t be set up by those who are dependent on someone else’s tax return. Also HSA’s cannot be set up independently by children.

What is a High Deductible Health plan (HDHP)?

Enrollment in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) is a necessary qualification for anyone wishing to open a Health Savings Account. In fact the HDHPs got a boost by the Medicare Modernization Act which introduced the HSAs. A High Deductible Health Plan is a health insurance plan which has a certain deductible threshold. This limit must be crossed before the insured person can claim insurance money. It does not cover first dollar medical expenses. So an individual has to himself pay the initial expenses that are called out-of-pocket costs.

In a number of HDHPs costs of immunization and preventive health care are excluded from the deductible which means that the individual is reimbursed for them. HDHPs can be taken both by individuals (self employed as well as employed) and employers. In 2008, HDHPs are being offered by insurance companies in America with deductibles ranging from a minimum of $1,100 for Self and $2,200 for Self and Family coverage. The maximum amount out-of-pocket limits for HDHPs is $5,600 for self and $11,200 for Self and Family enrollment. These deductible limits are called IRS limits as they are set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In HDHPs the relation between the deductibles and the premium paid by the insured is inversely propotional i.e. higher the deductible, lower the premium and vice versa. The major purported advantages of HDHPs are that they will a) lower health care costs by causing patients to be more cost-conscious, and b) make insurance premiums more affordable for the uninsured. The logic is that when the patients are fully covered (i.e. have health plans with low deductibles), they tend to be less health conscious and also less cost conscious when going for treatment.

Opening a Health Savings Account

An individual can sign up for HSAs with banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other approved companies. However not all insurance companies offer HSAqualified health insurance plans so it is important to use an insurance company that offers this type of qualified insurance plan. The employer may also set up a plan for the employees. However, the account is always owned by the individual. Direct online enrollment in HSA-qualified health insurance is available in all states except Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Contributions to the Health Savings Account

Contributions to HSAs can be made by an individual who owns the account, by an employer or by any other person. When made by the employer, the contribution is not included in the income of the employee. When made by an employee, it is treated as exempted from federal tax. For 2008, the maximum amount that can be contributed (and deducted) to an HSA from all sources is:
$2,900 (self-only coverage)
$5,800 (family coverage)

These limits are set by the U.S. Congress through statutes and they are indexed annually for inflation. For individuals above 55 years of age, there is a special catch up provision that allows them to deposit additional $800 for 2008 and $900 for 2009. The actual maximum amount an individual can contribute also depends on the number of months he is covered by an HDHP (pro-rated basis) as of the first day of a month. For eg If you have family HDHP coverage from January 1,2008 until June 30, 2008, then cease having HDHP coverage, you are allowed an HSA contribution of 6/12 of $5,800, or $2,900 for 2008. If you have family HDHP coverage from January 1,2008 until June 30, 2008, and have self-only HDHP coverage from July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008, you are allowed an HSA contribution of 6/12 x $5,800 plus 6/12 of $2,900, or $4,350 for 2008. If an individual opens an HDHP on the first day of a month, then he can contribute to HSA on the first day itself. However, if he/she opens an account on any other day than the first, then he can contribute to the HSA from the next month onwards. Contributions can be made as late as April 15 of the following year. Contributions to the HSA in excess of the contribution limits must be withdrawn by the individual or be subject to an excise tax. The individual must pay income tax on the excess withdrawn amount.

Contributions by the Employer

The employer can make contributions to the employee’s HAS account under a salary reduction plan known as Section 125 plan. It is also called a cafeteria plan. The contributions made under the cafeteria plan are made on a pre-tax basis i.e. they are excluded from the employee’s income. The employer must make the contribution on a comparable basis. Comparable contributions are contributions to all HSAs of an employer which are 1) the same amount or 2) the same percentage of the annual deductible. However, part time employees who work for less than 30 hours a week can be treated separately. The employer can also categorize employees into those who opt for self coverage only and those who opt for a family coverage. The employer can automatically make contributions to the HSAs on the behalf of the employee unless the employee specifically chooses not to have such contributions by the employer.

Withdrawals from the HSAs

The HSA is owned by the employee and he/she can make qualified expenses from it whenever required. He/She also decides how much to contribute to it, how much to withdraw for qualified expenses, which company will hold the account and what type of investments will be made to grow the account. Another feature is that the funds remain in the account and role over from year to year. There are no use it or lose it rules. The HSA participants do not have to obtain advance approval from their HSA trustee or their medical insurer to withdraw funds, and the funds are not subject to income taxation if made for ‘qualified medical expenses’. Qualified medical expenses include costs for services and items covered by the health plan but subject to cost sharing such as a deductible and coinsurance, or co-payments, as well as many other expenses not covered under medical plans, such as dental, vision and chiropractic care; durable medical equipment such as eyeglasses and hearing aids; and transportation expenses related to medical care. Nonprescription, over-the-counter medications are also eligible. However, qualified medical expense must be incurred on or after the HSA was established.

Tax free distributions can be taken from the HSA for the qualified medical expenses of the person covered by the HDHP, the spouse (even if not covered) of the individual and any dependent (even if not covered) of the individual.12 The HSA account can also be used to pay previous year’s qualified expenses subject to the condition that those expenses were incurred after the HSA was set up. The individual must preserve the receipts for expenses met from the HSA as they may be needed to prove that the withdrawals from the HSA were made for qualified medical expenses and not otherwise used. Also the individual may have to produce the receipts before the insurance company to prove that the deductible limit was met. If a withdrawal is made for unqualified medical expenses, then the amount withdrawn is considered taxable (it is added to the individuals income) and is also subject to an additional 10 percent penalty. Normally the money also cannot be used for paying medical insurance premiums. However, in certain circumstances, exceptions are allowed.

These are –

1) to pay for any health plan coverage while receiving federal or state unemployment benefits.
2) COBRA continuation coverage after leaving employment with a company that offers health insurance coverage.
3) Qualified long-term care insurance.
4) Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance for: Part A (hospital and inpatient services), Part B (physician and outpatient services), Part C (Medicare HMO and PPO plans) and Part D (prescription drugs).

However, if an individual dies, becomes disabled or reaches the age of 65, then withdrawals from the Health Savings Account are considered exempted from income tax and additional 10 percent penalty irrespective of the purpose for which those withdrawals are made. There are different methods through which funds can be withdrawn from the HSAs. Some HSAs provide account holders with debit cards, some with cheques and some have options for a reimbursement process similar to medical insurance.

Growth of HSAs

Ever since the Health Savings Accounts came into being in January 2004, there has been a phenomenal growth in their numbers. From around 1 million enrollees in March 2005, the number has grown to 6.1 million enrollees in January 2008.14 This represents an increase of 1.6 million since January 2007, 2.9 million since January 2006 and 5.1 million since March 2005. This growth has been visible across all segments. However, the growth in large groups and small groups has been much higher than in the individual category. According to the projections made by the U.S. Treasury Department, the number of HSA policy holders will increase to 14 million by 2010. These 14 million policies will provide cover to 25 to 30 million U.S. citizens.

In the Individual Market, 1.5 million people were covered by HSA/HDHPs purchased as on January 2008. Based on the number of covered lives, 27 percent of newly purchased individual policies (defined as those purchased during the most recent full month or quarter) were enrolled in HSA/HDHP coverage. In the small group market, enrollment stood at 1.8 million as of January 2008. In this group 31 percent of all new enrollments were in the HSA/HDHP category. The large group category had the largest enrollment with 2.8 million enrollees as of January 2008. In this category, six percent of all new enrollments were in the HSA/HDHP category.

Benefits of HSAs

The proponents of HSAs envisage a number of benefits from them. First and foremost it is believed that as they have a high deductible threshold, the insured will be more health conscious. Also they will be more cost conscious. The high deductibles will encourage people to be more careful about their health and health care expenses and will make them shop for bargains and be more vigilant against excesses in the health care industry. This, it is believed, will reduce the growing cost of health care and increase the efficiency of the health care system in the United States. HSA-eligible plans typically provide enrollee decision support tools that include, to some extent, information on the cost of health care services and the quality of health care providers. Experts suggest that reliable information about the cost of particular health care services and the quality of specific health care providers would help enrollees become more actively engaged in making health care purchasing decisions. These tools may be provided by health insurance carriers to all health insurance plan enrollees, but are likely to be more important to enrollees of HSA-eligible plans who have a greater financial incentive to make informed decisions about the quality and costs of health care providers and services.

It is believed that lower premiums associated with HSAs/HDHPs will enable more people to enroll for medical insurance. This will mean that lower income groups who do not have access to medicare will be able to open HSAs. No doubt higher deductibles are associated with HSA eligible HDHPs, but it is estimated that tax savings under HSAs and lower premiums will make them less expensive than other insurance plans. The funds put in the HSA can be rolled over from year to year. There are no use it or lose it rules. This leads to a growth in savings of the account holder. The funds can be accumulated tax free for future medical expenses if the holder so desires. Also the savings in the HSA can be grown through investments.

The nature of such investments is decided by the insured. The earnings on savings in the HSA are also exempt from income tax. The holder can withdraw his savings in the HSA after turning 65 years old without paying any taxes or penalties. The account holder has complete control over his/her account. He/She is the owner of the account right from its inception. A person can withdraw money as and when required without any gatekeeper. Also the owner decides how much to put in his/her account, how much to spend and how much to save for the future. The HSAs are portable in nature. This means that if the holder changes his/her job, becomes unemployed or moves to another location, he/she can still retain the account.

Also if the account holder so desires he can transfer his Health Saving Account from one managing agency to another. Thus portability is an advantage of HSAs. Another advantage is that most HSA plans provide first-dollar coverage for preventive care. This is true of virtually all HSA plans offered by large employers and over 95% of the plans offered by small employers. It was also true of over half (59%) of the plans which were purchased by individuals.

All of the plans offering first-dollar preventive care benefits included annual physicals, immunizations, well-baby and wellchild care, mammograms and Pap tests; 90% included prostate cancer screenings and 80% included colon cancer screenings. Some analysts believe that HSAs are more beneficial for the young and healthy as they do not have to pay frequent out of pocket costs. On the other hand, they have to pay lower premiums for HDHPs which help them meet unforeseen contingencies.

Health Savings Accounts are also advantageous for the employers. The benefits of choosing a health Savings Account over a traditional health insurance plan can directly affect the bottom line of an employer’s benefit budget. For instance Health Savings Accounts are dependent on a high deductible insurance policy, which lowers the premiums of the employee’s plan. Also all contributions to the Health Savings Account are pre-tax, thus lowering the gross payroll and reducing the amount of taxes the employer must pay.

Criticism of HSAs

The opponents of Health Savings Accounts contend that they would do more harm than good to America’s health insurance system. Some consumer organizations, such as Consumers Union, and many medical organizations, such as the American Public Health Association, have rejected HSAs because, in their opinion, they benefit only healthy, younger people and make the health care system more expensive for everyone else. According to Stanford economist Victor Fuchs, “The main effect of putting more of it on the consumer is to reduce the social redistributive element of insurance.

Some others believe that HSAs remove healthy people from the insurance pool and it makes premiums rise for everyone left. HSAs encourage people to look out for themselves more and spread the risk around less. Another concern is that the money people save in HSAs will be inadequate. Some people believe that HSAs do not allow for enough savings to cover costs. Even the person who contributes the maximum and never takes any money out would not be able to cover health care costs in retirement if inflation continues in the health care industry.

Opponents of HSAs, also include distinguished figures like state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, who called them a “dangerous prescription” that will destabilize the health insurance marketplace and make things even worse for the uninsured. Another criticism is that they benefit the rich more than the poor. Those who earn more will be able to get bigger tax breaks than those who earn less. Critics point out that higher deductibles along with insurance premiums will take away a large share of the earnings of the low income groups. Also lower income groups will not benefit
substantially from tax breaks as they are already paying little or no taxes. On the other hand tax breaks on savings in HSAs and on further income from those HSA savings will cost billions of dollars of tax money to the exchequer.

The Treasury Department has estimated HSAs would cost the government $156 billion over a decade. Critics say that this could rise substantially. Several surveys have been conducted regarding the efficacy of the HSAs and some have found that the account holders are not particularly satisfied with the HSA scheme and many are even ignorant about the working of the HSAs. One such survey conducted in 2007 of American employees by the human resources consulting firm Towers Perrin showed satisfaction with account based health plans (ABHPs) was low. People were not happy with them in general compared with people with more traditional health care. Respondants said they were not comfortable with the risk and did not understand how it works.

According to the Commonwealth Fund, early experience with HAS eligible high-deductible health plans reveals low satisfaction, high out of- pocket costs, and cost-related access problems. Another survey conducted with the Employee Benefits Research Institute found that people enrolled in HSA-eligible high-deductible health plans were much less satisfied with many aspects of their health care than adults in more comprehensive plans People in these plans allocate substantial amounts of income to their health care, especially those who have poorer health or lower incomes. The survey also found that adults in high-deductible health plans are far more likely to delay or avoid getting needed care, or to skip medications, because of the cost. Problems are particularly pronounced among those with poorer health or lower incomes.

Political leaders have also been vocal about their criticism of the HSAs. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. issued the following statement criticizing the HSAs “The President’s health care plan is not about covering the uninsured, making health insurance affordable, or even driving down the cost of health care. Its real purpose is to make it easier for businesses to dump their health insurance burden onto workers, give tax breaks to the wealthy, and boost the profits of banks and financial brokers. The health care policies concocted at the behest of special interests do nothing to help the average American. In many cases, they can make health care even more inaccessible.” In fact a report of the U.S. governments Accountability office, published on April 1, 2008 says that the rate of enrollment in the HSAs is greater for higher income individuals than for lower income ones.

A study titled “Health Savings Accounts and High Deductible Health Plans: Are They an Option for Low-Income Families? By Catherine Hoffman and Jennifer Tolbert which was sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation reported the following key findings regarding the HSAs:

a) Premiums for HSA-qualified health plans may be lower than for traditional insurance, but these plans shift more of the financial risk to individuals and families through higher deductibles.
b) Premiums and out-of-pocket costs for HSA-qualified health plans would consume a substantial portion of a low-income family’s budget.
c) Most low-income individuals and families do not face high enough tax liability to benefit in a significant way from tax deductions associated with HSAs.
d) People with chronic conditions, disabilities, and others with high cost medical needs may face even greater out-of-pocket costs under HSA-qualified health plans.
e) Cost-sharing reduces the use of health care, especially primary and preventive services, and low-income individuals and those who are sicker are particularly sensitive to cost-sharing increases.
f) Health savings accounts and high deductible plans are unlikely to substantially increase health insurance coverage among the uninsured.

Choosing a Health Plan

Despite the advantages offered by the HSA, it may not be suitable for everyone. While choosing an insurance plan, an individual must consider the following factors:

1. The premiums to be paid.
2. Coverage/benefits available under the scheme.
3. Various exclusions and limitations.
4. Portability.
5. Out-of-pocket costs like coinsurance, co-pays, and deductibles.
6. Access to doctors, hospitals, and other providers.
7. How much and sometimes how one pays for care.
8. Any existing health issue or physical disability.
9. Type of tax savings available.

The plan you choose should according to your requirements and financial ability.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1 Questions and Answers about Health Insurance- A Consumer Guide’ published jointly by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)
2 http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_savings_account
3 2002 AHIP Survey of Health Insurance Plans
4 “How High Is Too High? Implications of High-Deductible Health Plans” Davis, Karen; Michelle Doty and Alice Ho. The Commonwealth Fund, April 2005
5 http://www.fdhc.state.fl.us/schs/pdf/hsa_tri-fold_brochure.pdf
6 HSA/HDHP CENSUS 2008 by Hannah Yoo, Center for Policy and Research, America’s Health Insurance Plans
7″HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS Early Enrollee Experiences with Accounts and Eligible Health Plans” John E. Dicken Director, Health Care.
8 Thomas Wilder and Hannah Yoo, “A Survey of Preventive Benefits in Health Savings Account (HSA)Plans, July 2007,” America’s Health Insurance Plans, November 2007
9 Gladwell, Malcolm, “The Moral Hazard Myth”, The New Yorker (29-08-2005)
10 2008 Benchmark Survey HAS Bank
11. Employer Health Benefits 2007 Annual Survey, Kaiser Family Foundation
12. Health Savings Accounts and High Deductible Health Plans: Are They An Option for Low-Income Families?Catherine Hoffman and Jennifer Tolbert for Kaiser Family Foundation, October 2006
13. Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003

A Close Look at Top Reasons to Buy E-Cigarettes

The latest buzz on quit smoking products are electronic cigarettes or ecigs, as they are popularly called. An electronic cigarette is made up of two or three parts, consisting of a cartridge unit, an atomizer and a rechargeable battery. When the device is activated with the button, the nicotine cartridge is heated up by the heating unit to give off vapor that is inhaled. In automatic ecigs, you just have to inhale to activate the device.

Though there are many quit smoking products available, the most effective are e-cigarettes. They look like traditional cigarettes, feel like them, but they are better and cost less.

Here are lots of advantages in buying e-cigarettes. They are environment-friendly because they do not have any of the carcinogenic elements that are present on traditional cigarette smoke. The smoke from an ecig is vapor that quickly dissolves in the air, without toxins. You can beat the smoking ban with e-cigarettes because they can be used in public places where smoking is not allowed.

Ecigs do not contain tar or let out carbon monoxide and this removes the danger of second-hand smoke. As you drag on an e-cigarette, you get that real sense of satisfaction as that of smoking a traditional cigarette, but without letting toxins into your system.

E-cigarettes cost lesser than traditional cigarette and one cartridge is worth a couple of packs. An average smoker would be spending about $2000 or even more on cigarettes but you can save on all of this through e-cigs and this is one of the biggest advantages in buying e-cigarettes. Buying e-cigarettes saves you from problems like stained teeth, hands, finger, and breath, and smelly clothes. You don’t need an ashtray or a lighter to use them. E-cigarettes are easy to use because, you just have to press a button to activate them. The automatic ones can be started with mere inhalation.

If you find using an ecig starter pack to be expensive, check out a disposable electronic cigarette. Disposable e-cigarette types come with an atomizer, battery and a nicotine cartridge that usually lasts for about 12-20 traditional cigarettes. After the nicotine cartridge is completely used up, the cigarette has to be disposed and the device’s battery cannot be used again.