Friday, April 16, 2021


The 2021 American Rescue Plan

What does it mean to you? 

By Coleen Elkins, Licensed Insurance Agent at RV Insurance Benefits & Hill Country Health Insurance and Medicare 

Most of us choose to insure our health because it is one of our most precious assets and we don’t know what the future holds. 

We tend to take better care of ourselves if we insure our health. Financial assistance at the time of an accident or illness paid by your insurance company helps cover the cost of doctors visits, imaging and urgent care and encourages us to seek care more often for wellness exams. 

Health Insurance is not a one size fits all and there are many options choosing an insurance company to share the cost of taking care of your health can be confusing. 

After an election year there are usually changes to laws and legislation that will impact us 2021 is one of those years. 

What the American Rescue Act is:

It is temporary changes to the Affordable Care Act health insurance Plans due to COVID. You do not have to be diagnosed with COVID to qualify for benefits. 

If you are on Medicare the 2021 American Rescue Plan does not change anything for you however it may for your family members not on Medicare so please keep this information. 

The 2021 American Rescue Plan reduces the cost of your health insurance and in some cases out of pocket expenses. Enrollment began April 1st until August 15th. 

Through tax credits also known as subsidies people under age 65 are able to obtain affordable health insurance. 

The Federal Government has recently made changes to how health insurance is offered. 

For some the cost can be significantly reduced or even zero. 

If you are under age 65 and not on Medicare or Medicare disability you may qualify now to purchase health insurance for a significantly reduced amount as low as zero dollars. Because of the changes to the Affordable Care Act those age 60 to 65 benefit the most due to the recalculations for tax credits to purchase health insurance.

This is possible through a “Special Election Period” under the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act also known as the ARP law.

You do not need a qualifying event to make changes to your current ACA health benefits or to enroll in an Affordable Care Act plan for the first time during the ARP enrollment period.

The benefit changes below became active April 1, 2021 and end on August 15th. 

This is a new law passed to lower health insurance premiums for most people currently on an ACA (Affordable Care Act Plan) and make it more accessible to those who have not enrolled in the past. 

If you are currently enrolled in an “off exchange plan” (not receiving a tax credit aka subsidy) you may now qualify for a tax credit. Please contact us to determine if you are eligible. 

Additionally if one member of your household received unemployment compensation for at least one full week in 2021 the entire family is eligible for reduced premium based on age which can be as low as zero dollar premium. Documentation of unemployment benefits will need to be provided at some point to maintain the benefits applied for. 

If you are already on a Marketplace plan you may qualify to lower your premiums. High income wage earners may qualify for a tax credit under the changes. 

If you are a business owner offering health insurance to your employees you may have an opportunity to increase your employees benefits and reduce your cost. 

The role of an insurance agent is to share their knowledge and assist you in finding the health benefits that will provide you peace of mind affordably. The services of a health insurance agent are at no cost to you. Insurance companies pay them to be your advocate and customer service representative once your policy is in place. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Five Tips To Save Money On Your Health Care

By Coleen Elkins

RV Insurance Benefits (Medicare 4 Texas, LLC) strives to educate our clients to be smart with their medical spending.

We are an advocate for health care cost transparency and members of Free Market Medical Association .

Our goal is for you to be able to walk in to a doctors office or urgent care and see the cost of your visit plainly posted in a prominent location.

You should never have to leave a health care providers office without knowing what you owe.

One of our health insurance agents took this photo on a wall of an urgent care facility in Pensacola Florida on January 18, 2020.

Kudos to Baptist Urgent Care!

We are a full service health insurance agency and firmly believe our clients should be able to choose their health insurance based on their personal needs. This is why we offer Affordable Care Act Plans, PPO Indemnity Plans and Short Term Plans.

Think about this; you know the cost of your food before you order it at a restaurant, you know the sticker price of your car before your purchase and most of the time you end up paying less for that car don't you? 

Why do we seek medical services and walk in with an insurance card in our pocket guaranteeing payment and leave without knowing what our bill is going to be? 

Here are some tips to help you keep more of your money and insure your health with "peace of mind"

1. Don't purchase more health insurance than you need. If you are beyond childbearing age you don't need maternity coverage. It is wonderful that Affordable Care Act plans cover unlimited addiction treatment but not all people need those services. According to "Some inpatient rehabs may cost around $6,000 for a 30-day program. Well-known centers often cost up to $20,000 for a 30-day program. For those requiring 60- or 90-day programs, the total average of costs could range anywhere from $12,000 to $60,000." Those benefits are built into the premium of an affordable care act plan.

2. Learn to ask questions when you are making an appointment for Medical Services one great question is how much is the cost of a cash pay visit? Often the cost will be 50% less than if you use your insurance card. Pay your bill and submit your claim it is that easy. 

3. Research costs of services prior to seeking them. If the doctor orders an imaging exam such as a CT Scan or MRI you do not have to go where your healthcare provider recommended you have options.

You can check prices in your area by using Health Care Blue Book

4. If you would like to see price transparency and affordable health care be proactive tell your local government legislatures at the state and federal level. Take 10 minutes of your time and write them an email or call their office. You can find them here

5. Health insurance and Medicare are not a "one size fits all" you do not have to go it alone. Seeking the services of a knowledgable health insurance agent are at no cost to you. Your agent is paid by the health insurance companies they represent to be your customer care advocate not just a "sales person". Use an agent that focuses on educating you and works to help you save money and promised to be there for you once your policy is in place! 

Finally if you learned something here share this blog with your friends and special interest groups! 

Thank you for taking the time to become more healthcare savvy! 

Coleen Elkins, General Agent 
Medicare 4 Texas, LLC
RV Insurance Benefits 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

RV Insurance Benefits Helps Their Clients Become Savvy Health Care Consumers And Assists Them In Maximizing Their Benefits

 RV Insurance Benefits

By Coleen Elkins, Managing General Agent
RV Insurance Benefits

In July of 2018 RV Insurance Benefits introduced a health plan offered to the RV Community through Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA).  

We have received many comments and stories from happy RVing clients regarding how their benefits have worked for them wherever they may be and saved them money over their prior health insurance plan. 

This is one of those testimonials from a client wintering in Florida.

I would like to share my recent experience with my FMCA Health Plan which saved me approximately $9300. My wife and I are Full-time RVers  and have the FMCA Health Plan. While traveling in Florida I had a kidney stone. I went to the Emergency Room at the local hospital and they confirmed I had a 3mm - 4mm stone lodged in my ureter. At that time I was told I needed to be admitted to see the urologist the next day. In the process of being admitted I became septic. Once I was stabilized in the Emergency Room I was admitted to the Medical ICU. The urologist came in and told me I needed to have a stent (a tube from his kidney to bladder) put in to allow the urine to bypass the stone. After my surgery the doctor informed my wife and I in 2 weeks they would remove the stone at the hospital then 4 days later the stent would be removed in his office. A week before the kidney stone was scheduled to be removed I received an email and phone call stating I would need to pay $10,917 within 2 days prior to the surgery or it would be canceled. At that time I asked for a cash price and was told they did not negotiate cash pricing. After processing what I had just been told I called back again and spoke to a different account representative. She told me the cash price would be $25,000 and they would give a 35% discount ($16,250). 

First thing I did was call Karis Group (the concierge service benefit of my FMCA Health Plan) to help find a doctor/facility who would help me to maximize my health plan benefits with the least amount I would have to pay out of pocket. In speaking with Karis Group the representative said she would call me back as soon as she had the information for. I received her call and she gave me the doctors/facilities in the area with contact information and pricing. It was followed up with an email containing all of the details we had spoke about on the phone. 

I called Coleen Elkins of RV Insurance Benefits and explained what was happening and she asked me to contact Dave in Management at New Era who underwrites my health plan. I told him I had already contacted Karis Group. Dave asked me to contact FMMA (Free Market Medical Association) as well to see if they had anyone in the Florida area who could help me. I spoke with FMMA and was given contact information of places I could call to see if they would be able to help me. Later in the day Dave called back and gave me the name of Dr. Lee Gross. I called Dr. Gross’s office and spoke with Anne his Office Manager. After emailing her all of the information she returned my call and told me DeSoto Memorial Hospital offered a bundled price to have my kidney stone/stent removed. First I had an appointment with Dr. Gross and they set up the appointment for me to see the urologist, Dr. Matthew Ercolani. Dr. Gross and his staff are awesome. I am not one who likes doctors or hospitals but was very happy with Dr. Gross. He is a DPC (Direct Primary Care) physician. I pay a monthly fee to him and have access to his services at any time. 

My appointment with Dr. Ercolani went very well. After speaking with  Dr. Ercolani he felt I had passed the kidney stone. He ordered a CT Scan to confirm the stone was not in my ureter. The results, NO STONE! My appointment was scheduled at Dr. Ercolani’s office to have the stent removed but he was unable to remove my stent that had been in place for 4 1/2 weeks. He asked me to come to the surgical center the next day for IV Sedation to remove it. The next day my stent was removed with no issues. 

I am very disheartened by the lack of compassion in our health care system. The original doctor I saw has never called to check on me or ask why I never had the stent removed. The reply I received when I canceled the appointment was ok, thank you for letting us know. The experience I had with Dr. Gross and Dr. Ercolani has helped me to realize there still are great doctors who genuinely care about their patients. 

I also had a few other options were available to me, Surgical Center of Oklahoma (Dr. Smith, Kelly and Teresa) and Texas Free Market Medical (Sean). I opted to stay in Florida instead of traveling to Oklahoma or Texas. 

Thanks to the help of Karis, Dave, FMMA, Dr. Gross and Dr. Ercolani I would  have paid  $10,917 instead of $1600 which I am able to be reimbursed by the FMCA Health Plan underwritten by New Era/Philadelphia American. I am very blessed! 

G. Alvarez

Monday, February 25, 2019

2018 Healthcare Costs In The U.S. Hit $11,212 Per Person

By Coleen Elkins

RV Insurance Benefits

WOW! Are you aware American consumers are spending $3.65 Trillion dollars in Healthcare in a single year?

Why are companies like Amazon and Uber tapping into the healthcare industry? Did you know Amazon spent $1 Billion dollars to purchase pharmaceutical company PillPack?

Last year a purchase by CVS of Aetna Insurance companies was approved by the Department of Justice with a $70 Billion purchase price. Why would a big pharmaceutical company purchase an insurance company?

Can tech-companies involvement in the healthcare industry drive down costs or will they weaken the system even more? In the 1990's the United States ranked 6th in the world as a healthcare leader. The United States now ranks 27th. This data is based on life expectancy among 195 countries. It is rather interesting that it was in the 1990's the federal government became very active in regulating our nations healthcare.

The $3.65 Trillion healthcare spending for 2018 is expected to spike another 5.3 percent in 2019. 
The current inflation rate is 1.6% wage growth remains at 4% at this rate health care will be 19.4 percent of our nations GDP by 2027.

Despite the increased spending the U.S. Healthcare system is becoming less efficient and more frustrating for both patients and providers. Our healthcare system is regulated heavily by both State and Federal governments could that be a cost driver?

The United States creates statistics on consumer spending for all aspects of our lives. Even so they can't put their finger on the pulse of the cause of the out of control spending of our healthcare. Could some of the cause be ourselves as consumers for not pricing the cost of their healthcare?

For the last 24 years our health insurance agency has worked to help Americans insure their health in an ever evolving market.  We  found one common habit Americans share they tend to find a doctor or medical center they "love" and resist changing. Americans will spend more on a health plan if necessary to keep "their doctor".  They may be paying higher costs to keep their doctor in ways they are not even aware of.

When was the last time you asked your doctor what the cost of an office visit is?

There is a website Healthcare Blue Book where consumers can shop for healthcare services. Test it yourself by looking up "colonoscopy with a biopsy" in your zip code.  You may be stunned and amazed at the "fairest price and the highest price".

Options for imaging facilities are popping up all over the country! 

Are you looking to become more savvy about your healthcare? RV Insurance Benefits offers personalized customer service to everyone who calls us! Let us help you understand and maximize your health insurance and Medicare today. Call our toll free number @ 1-888-337-1705 and speak to a licensed agent today! 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Surprise Medical Bills Are On The Rise

Surprise Medical Bills Are On The Rise! 

By Coleen Elkins- RV Insurance Benefits

As consumers we purchase health insurance to transfer risk from ourselves to an insurance company in the event of illness or and accident. We don't buy health insurance hoping to use it.

We want to spend as little money as possible to protect our assets. Our goal is to purchase a plan that meets our needs and our budget. We typically choose a health insurance company our doctor is contracted with.

In years past checking to see if your medical services are being covered "in network" was an easy task. In many cases the services are pre-approved by your insurance company.
It would be natural to think every aspect of your services are going to billed as an "in network cost".  You expect to have normal copays and deductibles after that you owe nothing. If you did some research you knew a head of time what the services were going to cost you.

Most people are unaware that how doctors and hospitals do business is changing. If you are not a savvy consumer these changes could result in you owing thousands of dollars over your deductible and co-insurance.

So what is at the heart of the matter? One cause is hospitals are contracting with doctors that are not employed by the hospital. Even though the hospital is in network those in the hospital treating you may be out of network. If they are out of network the insurance company typically is not going to pay those bills. You will then be directly billed by the healthcare provider and those bills could run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

If you have an HMO it can get even more complicated.

When seeking elective (non-emergency) services we recommend doing some research yourself.

Health insurance is often purchased online with a simple "click" and without the benefits being explained to you in detail. What you see online typically is a benefit highlight. How many people actually sit down and read their policies once they enroll in a plan?

There are some ways to educate yourself so you understand your benefits. One is to seek the services of an insurance agent that will help you understand your benefits when you are in the process of choosing them. Using the services of a licensed knowledgable agent are provided at no cost to you. Health insurance agents are paid by health insurance companies to be your personal customer service expert and advocate.

At RV Insurance Benefits our team of agents are RVers helping RVers. We understand your needs firsthand. We are here to help you and educate you so you can understand your benefits.Our agency stays on top of all legislative issues. Once your policy is in place your enrolling agent becomes your personal customer service representative.

We want to know what is important to you. Our goal is to provide you with information that is going to help you maximize your health insurance benefits.

We proudly offer health plan benefits to RVers that help them utilize benefits and control costs.

Those benefits include:

* Toll-free Concierge Service to assist you in finding the most affordable & convenient health care   services.

* PHCS PPO Network with 900,000 providers Nationwide

* TelaDoc provides a convenient alternative to Urgent Care or ER Visits

* Three benefit options to choose from to fit your budget

Call us today 1-888-337-1705 and let us know what is important to you and insuring your health!

We are available six days a week to review your options with you and we look forward to being of service!

Visit our website: RV Insurance Benefits

Ask us about Medicare Supplement Plans, Dental and Accident Plans too!

Offering Peace Of Mind For Your Health Since 1995

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Is Your Pharmacist Banned From Helping You Save Money?

By Coleen Elkins, Managing General Agent

RV Insurance Benefits
24-7 Health Insurance 

Lawmakers on both sides of the isle are working to find ways to stop a practice which can keep customers from saving money at the pharmacy counter. "Gag clauses" buried in the fine print of pharmacy contracts, and imposed by pharmacy benefit managers prevent many pharmacists from telling consumers when the cash price for a medicine may be less expensive than their insurance co-pay unless the customer asks directly

Ending "gag clauses" is one option Republicans and Democrats are attempting to lower the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. President Trump singled out the clauses when he said he wanted to ban them in a May speech on drug prices. 

In the meantime as we wait for a government solution be a savvy consumer and ask at the pharmacy counter "Is this medication less expensive if I don't use my insurance". 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Back To The Future - Consumer Driven Health Plans

By: Coleen Elkins, Managing General Agent

24-7 Health Insurance 

RV Insurance Benefits

As we prepare for the Affordable Care Act tax penalty to be reduced to zero on January 1, 2019 we can anticipate changes once again as to how we insure our health.

I have a question for you to consider. Would you ever walk into a big box electronics store and give the clerk your Visa card and ask them to pick out a big screen TV for you?  I hope not! You compare brands, you look at brand ratings, you watch for the best sale price right?

Why then do we walk into our doctors office and blindly hand them our insurance card which provides us zero financial assistance until WE have spent over $5,000 on our deductible? Ponder this for a moment, if your health insurance premium is $900.00 a month you have spent $10,800 in a year for the privilege of carrying that health insurance card. If you utilized your insurance card and finally meet your $5k deductible and your $7,350.00 out of pocket maximum you now have spent $18,150.00 on your health that year.

Why are not savvy consumers when it comes to our health? Have we somehow we have been conditioned not to ask?

Twenty five years ago when we opened our first health insurance agency consumers were more proactive. Then along came health insurance copays provided by our friendly health insurance company, and for a very low monthly premium we now had unlimited office visits for a very low copay. The consumer lost the drive to be price conscious. Each year health insurance premium rose for over a decade.

In 2004 our government decided we needed to once again be proactive so they introduced Health Savings Account plans aka HSA's. We had a high deductible health plan, a low premium and a tax benefit. People once again began to become aware of cost and were saving money in a special savings account in the event they had to use their health plan.

Then in 2010 our Federal Government decided to get involved again and help consumers reduce the cost of their healthcare with the Affordable Care Act. They reduced the tax benefits of the HSA plans and in some cases they were not longer available to enroll in. Since 2010 insurance premium increased and networks narrowed from PPO plans to HMO plans to regional HMO plans causing many Americans to give up the doctor they had for years.

What will 2019 bring? Are the insurance companies standing by with solutions?

Actually a select few are and our agency already has solutions available in some areas of the country.

Consumer driven health plans are coming back. Referenced based pricing is on the rise to drive cost down and create competition.

We certainly are ready to help our clients find plans that fit their budget, give them their doctors back and provide options for cost savings by choosing where to receive care.

The state of Texas is a head of the curve. The Texas Department of Insurance recently created a website to the public called After entering their zip code a consumer can learn the cost of inpatient procedures, outpatient procedures, office visits, ER visits and more.

Here is an example of what you will learn when searching for cost of an office visit.

As a consumer driven health insurance agency we hope that the department of insurance in all states will introduce tools to drive down cost and raise consumer awareness.

Our focus is to be the advocate and a solution for our current clients we have had the privilege of serving for over 24 years, and to our new clients that seek our services which by the way are provided at no cost to you.

We look forward to being of service!