10 Benefits of Travel RN Nursing Jobs

People choose travel RN nursing jobs for a variety of reasons. Some like building a career as a travel nurse, as it lets them build unique and valuable skills. Others like the often lucrative pay opportunities. And of course there’s the wealth of destinations that those with travel RN nursing jobs can choose from. Travel RN nursing jobs are the launching pad to new adventures and new challenges. Here are the top 10 reasons that thousands of others have pursued travel RN jobs.

1. The chance to travel across the country – Want to see the United States? Whether you’ve dreamed of spending autumn in New England or winter in Southern California, travel RN jobs can help make it happen. Love the outdoors? Then you can take assignments near Colorado’s Rocky Mountains or by Washington’s scenic Puget Sound. Have you ever dreamed of hiking across the mesas of New Mexico? Want to relax along the shores of the Gulf Coast? You can do it all with a travel nursing career.

2. Great payment opportunities – Travel RN jobs are in demand. And that demand is only expected to grow. That means that travel nurses are often handsomely compensated. Typical pay rates range from $22 to $40 an hour, while experienced nurses can sometimes get specialized travel positions that pay even more.

3. Build your resume – Travel health jobs often place nurses alongside a range of experts in some of the world’s leading health care facilities, which gives traveling nurses the opportunity to learn new techniques and develop unique skills.

4. Choose your workplace – Some people prefer travel RN jobs and assignments at large, fast-paced health facilities. Some would rather prefer to work in a smaller community hospital. The great news is that travel nurses can experience them all while on assignment. There are always many choices available, and you can choose the RN nursing assignments that are right for you.

5. Greater control over your career – Ever feel like taking a month off? Everyone does from time to time. And for travel nurses, it’s much easier to take time off. Want a couple of weeks or a month off? You can do it between travel jobs. That also provides great opportunities for continuing education. With RN nursing assignments, it’s easy to schedule time off to take a class, or get an assignment near the country’s best nursing colleges.

6. Get bonuses – It’s not uncommon for travel RN nursing jobs to come with generous sign-on bonuses. Travel nurses can earn anywhere from $500 to $6,000 for simply signing on for a temporary assignment. And that’s in addition to pay rates that are often higher than the hourly rate for permanent nurse positions.

7. The opportunity to travel with family or friends – It’s often easy to find great travel nurse assignments that you can sign on to with a friend. Traveling with friends makes exploring the United States even more exciting. And if you’d like to share accommodations with a friend, that’s often possible.

8. Get great housing at no cost – Most travel nursing jobs come with high quality and free housing that’s near your workplace. Some bonuses can include gyms, swimming pools and spas. Getting adequate furniture and other utilities will also be arranged by the travel nursing staffing agency. In other words, everything will be ready for you when you arrive to your assignment.

9. Meet new people and make new friends – Travel RN nursing jobs are the perfect opportunities to meet new people. It’s common for travel nurses to establish great relationships with people across the country. Thanks to online social networks and professional networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s now easier than ever to connect with new people in new cities.

10. Have the ability to try out new locations before you move there – Thinking about relocating but not yet 100 percent sure it’s a good idea? Taking travel RN nursing jobs in a city you’re thinking of moving to is an ideal way to test out the area and decide if it’s right for you.

In other words, travel RN nursing jobs offer nurses freedom. You can choose where you want to work, when you want to work and what you’d like to do. With travel RN nursing jobs, you can take jobs that offer you the pay that you’re worth. It’s all in your hands. Maximize your earning potential. Gain valuable experience. And most importantly, have fun.

In many travel RN nursing job positions, you will have the opportunity to re-sign on to the job if you enjoyed the experience and want to stay. But the best thing about travel RN nursing jobs is that you’ll also get to say goodbye to the office politics and other hassles associated with permanent nursing positions.

High Cost of Healthcare Induced By Contradictory Goals of Providers and Payers

Healthcare has been the topic of debate for most of the last few years. From the boardroom to the water cooler, costs and quality of care are hot topics that impact everyone in this country. Young and old, Americans are feeling the squeeze and most are finding it difficult to come up with solutions. In the boardrooms of corporations both large and small, employers are struggling to cope with reality of rising premiums and declining benefits. Meanwhile employees are left with the prospect of going without health insurance. Currently it is estimated that 50 to 60 million adults in this country are walking the tightrope of living without health insurance. With such widespread reach for ripples created by this healthcare debacle, everyone is looking for answers. How can we afford coverage? Can we go without? What can be done to curb the costs and get this problem under control?

In the workplace, employers and employees often feel as if they’re on opposite sides of the fence. Employers feel as if their subordinates take no consideration of how difficult it can be to turn a profit while facing spiraling costs and a difficult economic environment. While large corporations may be able to ride out the storm, small businesses rarely have this luxury (especially at a time when credit is difficult to obtain). Most small businesses would close their doors if the balance sheet goes in the red for more than a few months or quarters. On the other hand, employees often adopt a near-sighted approach. How could they expect me to afford a premium increase? Should I just try to float without insurance for a while? These questions often lead to resentment on both sides of the coin, but are the employers or employees to take the blame and the higher cost?

Looking for answers to this growing problem is not easy. Where did the system go wrong? Why is it so expensive? Who’s to blame?

Many people blame healthcare providers for the rising costs of quality care. I can assure you this is not the case. Providers are facing a myriad of challenges and roadblocks. More so than ever, running a profitable medical practice is daunting task. Like any other business, a medical practice will close if it can not cover expenses and afford to pay salaries. Labor and leasing expenses are only the tip of the iceberg. Practitioners are forced to pay for equipment, insurance, hardware, software, licensing, and more. After establishing an office with all the appropriate resources, medical practices and hospitals must then attract patients in a very competitive marketplace.

Yet with all these costs and challenges in their way, healthcare providers are not complaining about patients or labor or costs! The largest problem facing healthcare providers is the insurance reimbursement process. Contradictory goals of payers and providers are resulting in inefficient and difficult payment systems. Insurance companies are more concerned with bottom-line profits and shareholders than they are about the care their members receive. How can we expect doctors and healthcare providers to keep their offices open if they can hardly get paid for the services they perform? Individuals believe that because they pay premiums, the insurance company will pay their doctor. Unfortunately, this is hardly the case. Health insurance claim denial rates can reach as high as 25% or more. Many providers have outstanding receivables measured in the millions of dollars. The insurance reimbursement process is so arduous that many medical practices never get paid and as a result close their doors forever.

Insurance companies use a wide variety of tactics to delay payments and deny claims. Payers employ hoards of representatives charged with the task of fielding calls and scrutinizing claims. Due to these tactics, insurance claims take anywhere from 30 days to more than 1 year to reach a completed status. In most cases claims are delayed and denied due to inconsequential, irrelevant errors. These errors result solely from the many difficult and senseless hoops that are placed in the way of the provider’s billing representatives. This extremely labor intensive process of collecting from insurance companies costs providers a great deal of time and money.

The only beneficiaries of this process are the shareholders of insurance companies. The delays in payments result in interest earned for the time period in which the claim was delayed. In many cases, providers never receive reimbursement for the services they perform. These claims must be written-off as a loss by providers while insurance companies see these cases as victories leaving more cash on their balance sheets. It appears that the primary goal of insurance companies may be to deny as many claims as possible; after all they answer to shareholders not providers or individual policy holders. This gross abuse of power by insurance companies may be the biggest problem we face in the healthcare sector.

The days when doctors sat on golf courses all day while making millions per year are over. Now they must battle insurance companies tooth and nail for every claim. If insurance companies paid doctors for the services they perform, perhaps we would see a reduction in costs related to providing care.

Surely there is no easy fix to this problem. We may find the answers by addressing the goals of big insurance companies. Providing oversight and incentives for paying healthcare providers for the services they perform would be a good start. If insurance companies focus on weeding out fraud rather than just delaying and denying payments, we could see an increase in efficiency and productivity in the healthcare sector that could be the start of controlling costs while maintaining a high standard of care. For the sake of all Americans, hopefully we find an answer soon!

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10 Shopping Tips – Fashionable Finds Are Possible For Under $25!

When it comes to shopping sometimes the $20 sandals flatter you more than the $400 designer sandals. Style is not in the price, but in your approach. You can get more for less if you are savvy about your shopping. Fashionable finds are possible for under $25. How do you do it? Here are 10 Tips to think about when you’re out on a shopping expedition:

1. You Can Find Deals in Unexpected Places.

I got a purse for a steal at a Nine West shoe store in New Jersey. Not a shop I would normally think of to buy a purse. But I spotted it in the front window and fell in love. (Although maybe not as deeply as with my husband.) When I went into the store to ask a sales clerk about it, I thought this gorgeous tan satchel would be expensive. It looks like something that would be appropriate in Grace Kelly’s or Audrey Hepburn’s wardrobe closet. But now it’s in my closet.

2. Set Your Budget and Stick with It.

Yes, you’ve probably heard this before. However, forced to work within a box, you will come up with creative ideas. One year for Christmas, I set a working budget of $25 each for my nieces and nephew. Instead of getting them each one gift, I got them a number of small funky gifts and they each had 3 presents to open. It made opening gifts more exciting for them.

3. Read fashion magazines to get an idea of the trends.

Many clothing companies with budget-happy fashion lines will replicate the “look” or “feel” of pricey designer fashion. I read everything from New York magazine and the NY Times Fashion to Vogue, Elle and fashion catalogs to see what’s happening out in the fashion world. Go to your nearest public library and those fashion mags are FREE! If you learn what is cutting edge then believe me you will find cheaper versions of the trends. Or you will learn how to put an outfit together in your own expressive way.

4. You can find reasonably priced gifts at even the most expensive stores.

For example when I go online to Saks Fifth Avenue I can look under the gift category “Under $50.” Today for “$25 and under” I find: a Kate Spade notecard set, a hip style book on Dolce and Gabbana and Fresh waterlily soap—all would make lovely gifts. The price is so reasonable for the soap you could even include a little something else so that the recipient has another gift to open–always more fun. Go to a pricey chocolate shop. Then buy the smallest, but always tasteful box, sometimes under $15. Put it in a nice gift bag with the heavenly scented waterlily soap. Your gift card can read: “You deserve a little elegance in your life.” What friend wouldn’t be flattered.

5. Be open to new opportunities.

When I travel to new cities I like to explore new shops. I usually end up in the artsy section of town. To me that means galleries, museums, maybe a university–and fun shopping. I collect business cards of the stores I love and make notes or take pictures of what they have so I can call them and order from them later. If a town has a college or university it has plenty of stores with low prices to satisfy the students. And me too.

6. Know your own style.

Allow your self the luxury of an expensive item that you just can’t pass on. Especially if it defines “YOU.” Find deals for other purchases. I coveted a $99 sweater from J.Crew, but then I bought a purse for only $20 for a wedding. You can justify the expensive purchase. The sweater will last for years, amortizing into less money. If I wear the sweater often, cost-wise it pays for itself, while the wedding purse I might only use that one time.

7. Accessories are inexpensive ways to refashion the look of your outfit.

An $8.00 leopard print scarf I bought at H&M compliments my chartreuse cardigan, jeans and black boots. It’s a dressy-casual look that suits my style. And the scarf goes just as well with a knit purple dress and heels. A few strategically picked accessories means less outfits to buy.

8. Consider buying your purchases in the months they are traditionally on sale.

If you’re not in a rush to buy new towels then why not wait until January or August. Or if you thinking of painting your bedroom Robin Egg blue, that paint will be cheaper in April.

9. Sign up for email blasts from your favorite stores.

Stores will alert you to their sales and often give email subscribers exclusive discounts. You will learn about sales before the average customer. Then instead of spending a fortune on the skirt you admired earlier in the season you can scoop it up at a bargain.

10. Shop from your home and comparison shop online.

Yeah, why not. Shop in your pjs, my favorite way to shop. What do you think?

Best Electronic Cigarettes Vs Electronic Cigarettes

People do have bad habits, but what matters is getting rid of them for one’s good. Smoking is one of them. Smoking is an addiction for many people. You can get addicted to smoking without taking much time, but quitting this activity can be a little difficult for you. Generally you would find it very difficult to find an alternative to harmful smoking.

But what if you find one? That would be the best gift for you.

Electronic cigaret give you the privilege to smoke without harming your health. They do not contain tobacco. Electronic cigarettes give you the same feeling of smoking an actual cigarette without harming you. You can use electronic cigarett in a non-smoking arena as well. Generally, passive smoking is considered more harmful than active smoking, so you can get yourself the best electronic cigaret in the market and not only avoid falling ill yourself and also allow people around your vicinity take in fresh air.

Monotony creeps in when you smoke cigarettes of the same taste and brand every time. If you smoke one of the best electronic cigarete available in the market, you get ample flavors of your choice and along with that you can also vary the amount of nicotine per cigarette from high to low. So that?s where the difference is. When are you opting for the best ele cigarettes available at the stores?

Generally cigarettes emit a smell which is not welcomed by the non-smokers. For that particular reason electronic cigars are welcomed by most of the smokers as these ensure a healthy and a smokeless atmosphere without any offence to anyone.

The cheapest cigarettes come with low quality batteries. Therefore, you have to be tactful while choosing one for yourself. The best electronic cigarette in the market have high-density lithium ion batteries which would easily last for a long time without failure. The best ones in the market also give you an extra battery just in case the first battery gets exhausted.

Please remember! While purchasing these devices be careful of the Chinese imports which are not of the best quality. To get the best of the electronic cigarete you need to be aware of the good brands that are available in the market. So be wise and choose the best of the lot available and happy smoking!

Safer Smoke Supply is a company that produces affordable and high-quality e-cigs that last for quite long.

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.

Get Ready Now: Tips For A Stress Free Holiday Season!


1.) Write — Sit down at the table with a blank notebook and do what I call a Time Out where you write down everything associated with your holiday traditions. Write all of the tasks, to-do’s and commitments you can think of and include things you are responsible for as well as what you take part in. Do you always travel? Are you hosting meals and house-guests? Do you set up or participate in a gift exchange? Annual parties and events? People you always buy gifts for?

2.) Sort & Prioritize– Take your Time Out and sort it into a task list, an events list and a gift list. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is an event, meal planning, grocery shopping and delegating who brings what, are tasks. Shopping for gifts goes on the task list, what you buy for whom goes on the gift list. You may choose to create more lists to further breakdown tasks or events that you are in charge of. In addition to the gifts your family exchanges, the gift list should include: hostess gifts, teacher gifts, holiday tipping, office gifts, Secret Santa and the like. Having these lists will help you prioritize and you should make a note of the must-do, non-negotiables (visiting grandma) and the things you might be able to skip to save your sanity (decorating 12 dozen cookies by hand).

3.) Schedule — Assign the events and tasks to your calendar. Notate all the travel, arrivals and departures of guests, the annual food drive and neighborhood caroling. If you are unsure of dates, put a question mark next to them and add a note to your task list to call people to clarify. This part helps other people make decisions and put plans in motion. Mark time and dates ahead of events for tasks, chores and errands so nothing sneaks up on you. Feeling frantic feels terrible; being prepared feels great! Decide when you have time to bake, write cards and shop online and schedule those tasks too.

Act Now! Looking at your lists and calendar, what can you do now to save time, energy and stress later on? Here are some ideas:

1.) Cooking — Plan your meals, choose your recipes and make your lists.

• Do you make the same Thanksgiving dinner every year? Make your grocery list and start stocking up on the non-perishables. Place orders for the turkey, pies and linen rental. Mark your calendar with dates to call and confirm as well as the pick up or delivery dates. Delegate side dishes to your guests now and don’t be afraid to be specific!
• Plan your recipes for holiday cookies and appetizers for parties and make your grocery lists. Can you make dough or sauces ahead and freeze? Double a recipe and bring the same item to multiple parties. This saves time and money by streamlining effort and ingredients. People will only remember your contribution and the fabulous flavor!

2.) Traveling — Plan your trip.

• Book your airline tickets, car rental and hotel reservations now! Prices are only going to go up as the holidays near.
• Set up your transportation to and from the airport. Arrange home and pet care while you’re gone. Again, set up dates to confirm in your calendar.
• Make lists for what to pack and get all the cold weather gear out of storage, cleaned and ready to go.

3.) Guests coming to you — Get ready for your guests and help them get ready for their travel.

• Make sure their travel is booked. Do you need to arrange lodging or are they staying with you?
• Make sure your home is house-guest ready and check your linens, towels and spare toiletries. What items do you need to buy to make their stay more comfortable?
• Plan events, activities and transportation now, purchasing tickets and making reservations when necessary.

4.) Minimize future errands — Stock up now on items you always need. Remember, being prepared feels great!

• Make shopping lists from your tasks list for the holidays and the normal things you shop for. This step will save you trips to places like the drugstore.
• These items might include your everyday toiletries, paper goods, wrapping paper, cases of wine, water and other beverages.
• Create a space in the closet, garage or even under the bed for all these extras so your home doesn’t get overwhelmed.
• Make a note of what you bought and where you put it!

5.) Holiday cards, newsletters and photos — Start now! Having these time-consuming tasks out of the way will allow you to breathe easier.

• Make your list, purchase your supplies, including postage and put a bag or box together with everything you need including pens and your address book (if you still use one) so you can have it at the ready, but put it away when you’re done.

• Do a few at a time so the task isn’t overwhelming and they’re ready to send on the date you’ve chosen.

• If you order pre-printed cards, do that now too.

• Newsletters are fun to send and keep people updated on your goings on so make an outline of what you’d like to include and start writing!

• If your card includes or consists of a photo, choose one now or set up your photo session ASAP.

6.) Gifts — As an organizer, I love to give people consumables: food, beverages, gift cards and charitable donations. You can buy many of these now and they will save you so much time and energy. Feel free to personalize, but it’s a real time saver to streamline and give everyone, or group of people, the same thing.

• Give all the teachers gift certificates where they can treat themselves to an indulgence, like a pedicure, shopping or restaurants.
• Make charitable donations for hostess gifts — a few favorites are the Heifer Foundation and Charity Checks which allows people to choose where their donation goes.
• The office or neighborhood can pool together and instead of individual gift giving, Adopt A Family, volunteer at or make donations to a local charity or animal shelter.
• If you give monetary gifts to people such as your hairstylist or garbage collector, visit the bank as you can afford to, write the accompanying notes and store the envelopes in a safe place.

7.) Dressing Up — Plan your party outfits now so you’re not scrambling through the mall on the day of the event.

• Comb your (hopefully organized!) closet and find what fits, is occasion appropriate and what you can reinvent?
• If you need to shop, consider basics and/or separates that you can change up with accessories and can be worn year-round. Or maybe you only need a few sparkly accessories to spruce up your favorite frock.
• If you have children, make sure their clothes fit too and that everything is clean and ready to go.
• Taking family photos? Do you need or coordinate what you’re wearing? Plan and shop now.

8.) Decorating — Where are the ornaments? Do I still like everything I have? How is it stored?

• When you take out your decorations, use only what you love or what has meaning and part with the rest. Sometimes we continue to use the decorations we have, even if we no longer like them, out of habit or because you only look at it for 30 days or so.

• Before you put anything away, make sure you have proper storage to protect your treasured ornaments, wreaths and lights. Plastic bins keep the critters and dust out and everything organized inside. Check out The Container Store for their fabulous and helpful products. Don’t forget to label everything!

I hope these tips help you to plan and get ahead for the holidays so you can enjoy this wonderful time with your family and friends!

8 of the Most Popular US Jobs in Today's Marketplace

Career advancement begins from the moment you choose a particular college degree. If you haven’t at this point concluded on one, below are eight very appealing occupations you can consider within the U.S.

1. Software Programming Engineers

The software engineering industry is anticipated to increase by about 50 percent within the coming decade. Computer software engineers fundamentally create new computer software packages employing several applications. People in this discipline evaluate client desires and come up with computer products and programs having a variety of programming languages.

2. Surgical Technicians

Because this professional avenue calls for the shortest degree of medical training, it is regarded as a fast track in the field of health and fitness. These associate health professionals, also known as surgical technologists, assist in medical operations under the direct guidance of a physician or registered nurse.

3. Marketing and Advertising Managers

If you possess the creative imagination and motivation to assist a company with the success of their product sales, you may well be a positive fit. Nearly all corporations that offer merchandise or services have to advertise. Advertising managers must be well-equipped with a strong educational background in advertising and business. You’ll need a diploma in marketing or advertising, communication or public relations.

4. Pilots

A profession as an airplane pilot could certainly be quite rewarding. Besides the high earnings, this particular field offers an infrequent chance of flying all around the earth. This field is competitive, provides superior compensation, and requires high skills. A candidate should receive thorough training in aviation and also have the capability to operate complex equipment using calm accuracy.

5. Game Developers

This occupation is a more recent specialty area which has vastly increased throughout the years. Because millions of people prefer to have fun with games on their mobile phones, PSPs, and laptop computers, this blossoming industry needs top specialists to create unique games and support the activity demand of game enthusiasts. Creativity and programming innovation are required here.

6. Accountants

Accountants and auditors are essential in just about every commercial enterprise to ensure the economical firmness and openness of the business operations. If a business person is eager to help improve the corporation, the financial resources must be properly cared for. To become an accountant, an individual should have a college accountancy diploma and be appropriately licensed.

7. Dental Practitioners

Dentists are among the most in-demand medical practitioners. They fairly frequently carry out surgical treatments but can also care for numerous conditions using the assistance of prescription medications. The specializations in the field of dentistry encompass oral surgical treatment, endodontics, periodontics, and public health dentistry, amid others.

8. Mental Health Counselors

Mental health counselors assist people to treat emotional disorders making use of a variety of therapies. To fill a position, a Master’s degree is generally needed in order to be accredited as a counselor; a graduate research program is also a plus factor.

Best Ways to Prospect in Commercial Real Estate Today

The prospecting process in commercial real estate is a daily event or at least it should be for every salesperson. There are four ways to contact your prospects, and whilst I will explain of those four strategies here, only two of them are highly successful.

When you understand and appreciate the value of the two best prospecting methods, you can convert more commercial real estate business opportunity and listings in your local market. The other two methods in the main are a waste of time and effort.

So here are the four methods of prospecting that you can use. They can be mixed or combined as the case may be. As only two of them will be highly successful, I will define those two at the end of the article.

  1. Sending an e-mail to a prospect regards your services and commercial real estate activity is easy and convenient. Many agents do this on a regular daily basis. You can combine with the e-mail relevant attachments and information regards the local property market and property types available for sale or lease.
  2. The traditional direct mail approach still occurs today although less frequently. To send direct mail, you need to have the necessary contact details of the people concerned. Generic mail without personally addressed correspondence is a waste of time. If you are sending direct mail, make sure you understand the correct title and name of the relative person.
  3. The telephone is a very convenient method of contact when it comes to prospecting for new business. The rejection factor or ratio in cold calling activities is rather high although this should not put you off the process.
  4. Dropping into a business or a local address to introduce yourself as the commercial real estate expert should happen on a daily basis. You can do this on a street by street basis. Identify the local businesses in each street and then visit five of them each day. Leave your business card as part of the process. You ask them questions regards their property needs, or property usage, and if they are a tenant or an owner.

So, two of the above items are far more successful than the others. Most particularly they are the use of the telephone and dropping into the local businesses. These activities should occur daily as they will strengthen your market share very quickly.

It should be noted that the direct mail approach is still highly effective although you should always follow up the letter with a telephone call. Direct mail without follow-up is a waste of money.

The most convenient and yet less effective way of marketing today is the email process. Most business people get many emails on a daily basis and therefore will be inclined to delete unnecessary emails that are of general information. If you are going to implement the email process as part of your marketing model, make sure you have the consent of the person concerned so that you can personalise the process. As regularly as possible, make sure you follow the emails are up with a telephone call.

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.


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.


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