March 31, 2009 – Newsletter

Posted on: March 31st, 2009 by admin No Comments

The Rising Cost of Health Care

By Jennifer Skinner, VP of Business Development, Benefits by Design
Most of you know that the cost of health insurance goes up every year. But the main reason for this is the rising cost of health care! Have you ever thought about why this is? Health insurance is there to help you pay for health care. It is there to protect you and your family against catastrophic financial loss in the event of an unexpected serious illness or injury. It can give you peace of mind! Luckily, we live in a time when medical knowledge and technology are being used in amazing ways to help us live longer, but this comes at a price, which is rising at an alarming rate. Some of the contributors to the rising cost of health care are:

Demographics: Our population is aging, which equates to an increased need for medical care.

Behavioral and Lifestyle Choices: As much as 50% of all health care spending is due to unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, alcohol abuse and obesity. These behaviors lead to many serious chronic health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease. Consumers are seeking medical solutions for the results of these lifestyle choices rather than engaging in actives that promote wellness!!

Medical Technology: State-of- the art technology comes at a price. While new technology has enhanced the quality of life for many people. Spending on medical technology has accounted for about 20% of the growth in health care spending and now exceeds $200 billion a year!

Consumer Demand: Many consumers mistakenly believe the cost of treatment is just the amount of their co-pay. Americans are heavy consumers of medical services and we want access to advertised drugs and services, as well as a variety of providers.

Prescription Drugs: Prescription medication represents one of the fasted-growing health care expenses in our country today and costs are projected to grow 20-30% each year over the next several years. New drugs have been developed to better treat conditions that would have been untreatable in the past, but this comes at a high cost!

Government Regulation: Although typically well-intentioned, federal and state mandates put a strain on the cost of healthcare!

The Uninsured: Doctors and hospitals treat a large number of uninsured patients who simply cannot pay their medical bills. These uncollectible costs are shifted to the prices charged to insured patients, creating a vicious cycle of increased health care costs that result in decreased coverage for those who cannot afford the higher rates and premiums.

What can you do?

Become a “Consumer of Health Care”!

  • Only obtain necessary medical care. It is estimated that 25% of Doctor visits and 55% of ER visits are unnecessary!!
  • Ask questions to your providers. Talk to your doctor and pharmacists about using less-costly generic prescriptions.
  • Shop for health care based on price and quality.
  • Do your homework.
  • Prevention is the best medicine! Make sure you and your family make healthy lifestyle choices and get regular checkups!
  • Remember: The most important asset you have is your body! You must take care of yourself, as well as educate and lead by example.

Source: NAHU Education Foundation

Client Spotlight

Splashadello Body Kitchen
Concept* Essential non-toxic skin care made from naturally occurring ingredients and/or derived from nature. Providing a holistic approach to eliminating unneeded chemicals in our daily living activities.

Created by Rita Lewis, an RN who has worked in IV therapy treating patients suffering infectious disease and providing wound care for over twelve years. She has had many experiences where just changing the patient’s skin care and bath products assisted in recovery. She was inspired to research alternatives to fragrance laced chemical skin care, and sourced more natural and beneficial ingredients for bath and beauty products.

Splashadello Body Kitchen is intended to entertain, educate and provoke thought in your choices. The store is built around color to create a fun and “sensational” experience. Ingredients are displayed for you to see what raw skin care really looks like. There is a mixing room with a glass window because Splashadello believes integrity is “what are they doing when you’re not looking?” You can watch as we scoop, sprinkle and splash! We blend products for you and those you love right in the store.

Splashadello Body Kitchen products are effective and essential, hence that green “e” in our name. And check out our kitchen where we mix up lotions, face creams, massage oils, body washes, bubble bath and lots of scrubs. These are all created in front of your eyes, fresh to order from our menu. We have new scrubs and masques for you to try every week! But, if you have a favorite we can mix that right up too.

Come visit our store, enjoy the products, and take a treat or two home. You will be pleased!

Splashadello is located in the Tempe Marketplace:
Address: 2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy.
Suite 1070
Tempe AZ, 85281


Kristine Kassel Elected President of ASBA

Phoenix, AZ, January 21, 2009
At the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) Annual Meeting on January 21st, Kristine Kassel, Owner of Benefits By Design was elected to serve as the President of the ASBA Board of Directors. She is excited to serve this prestigious organization and to help them grow by promoting their mission to the small businesses of Arizona.

The Arizona Small Business Association’s mission is to “Grow Arizona Businesses and through them the Arizona Economy.” They do this by connecting their members (over 3000!) to the people, information, and resources they need to grow. Is it any surprise that thousands of businesses across Arizona choose ASBA as a key resource in their success strategy?

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Did you know that Benefits by Design can help with Medicare supplemental policies?
If you or someone you know is on Medicare and have purchased or are thinking of purchasing a Medicare supplement, they ought to be working with a trustworthy & knowledgeable broker.

Please let us know if we can help!

We have partnered with a group that focuses on Medicare Supplement policies and would be happy to get you some quotes. Please call Chris for more information: 480-831-7700.


By Kristine Kassel, President of Benefits by Design, Inc.
The new changes affect any employers with 20 or more employees where COBRA was already being offered. It will help reduce the cost of benefits for past employees so that more people can afford healthcare. There are a few guidelines to follow which I have listed below and the specific details can be found at The Department of Labor site .

It applies to the employees that were involuntarily terminated going back to a September 1, 2008 termination date through December 31, 2009. The employees will now be eligible to receive a subsidy from the employer of 65% effective March 1, 2009 for a total of nine months or until another group plan becomes available. This subsidy is available even to employees that did not previously enroll in COBRA. The subsidy also applies to dependents if they were previously on the benefit plan prior to the termination. If the dependents were not currently enrolled in the benefit plan, than they are not eligible for the 65% reimbursement or the COBRA benefit that the employee is eligible for. The employer will be reimbursed for their contribution through payroll taxes.

This is one of the many programs that has been started to help reduce the number of uninsured people in the United States. Please take advantage of this program and review if the contribution amounts to see if this will be an option for you if you meet the qualifications.

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