Better Health Insurance Options for Cattle Raisers

by Amy

You put in long hours and a lot of work to keep your operations in check. This year, let Take Command Health--a Texas-based startup--lighten your load by taking the work out of finding the right health plan for your family.

In a matter of minutes, our website helps you filter through about 5,000 plans available in Texas to find the one that's best for you based on your known medical needs, prescriptions and doctor preferences. Once you find your plan we'll get you enrolled!

In addition to helping you find the best plan for your family, we've pulled together a few other tips to help you keep your health care spend in check for 2016:

  • Shop around every year. Insurance companies change their plans every year--so don't just let your existing plan auto renew without doing your research. We know it isn't fun, but spending a little time upfront can save you a lot of money over the long haul.
  • Stay "in network." Sure, you know how important it is to go to a doctor that is in network. But what happens if you accidentally go out of network? You can end up with hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical bills. If your doctor refers you to a specialist make sure that you confirm they are in your network. Also, when arranging surgery at an in-network hospital, confirm with your doctor that everyone involved in the surgery and care will be in-network or find out if they can arrange in-network providers. Patients are often surprised after surgery to receive a bill because the anesthesiologist or lab was out of network—which happens sometimes because providers are not required to belong to the same networks as hospitals. And remember: out of network costs do not go towards your annual out of pocket maximum or deductible so you really are just throwing away money when you go out of network.
  • Take advantage of a Health Savings Account (HSA). An HSA is money set aside to pay for medical expenses not covered by insurance. You can use an HSA to pay for deductibles, copays, vision and dental care. Using an HSA will reduce your taxes as it lowers your taxable income. For example, let’s say your taxable income is $70,000 a year and taxes claim 30% or $21,000. If you put aside $4,000 in an HSA your taxable income will be $66,000 and your taxes owed will be $19,800 saving $1,200! Unlike a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) there is no time limit with a HSA and money put into an HSA can be rolled over into the next year - even into retirement!
  • Buy prescriptions carefully. Here are a few easy ways to save money on your prescription needs:

1) Talk to your doctor about using generic drugs—generic drugs can save you hundreds of dollars a year over brand name drugs.

2) Before filling a prescription, check prices at different pharmacies. We’ve found to be an excellent way to easily scan prescription prices in your area--and since there may not be a lot of options nearby, consider using a mail-order pharmacy.

3) When shopping for insurance plans, make sure you compare the prescription coverage for each plan to review price information for any prescriptions you take regularly. Sometimes paying a higher monthly premium ($120 extra to have a Silver plan instead of Bronze) to achieve a lower copay ($10) is unnecessary if you can get your generic filled for less than your copay ($8).

Interested in comparing health plans but not sure how to start?
Check out our site, Take Command Health.


Picture of Amy

Hi, I'm Amy! I wrote this blog because I care about ideas (big and little) that can help fix our healthcare system. I used to work on projects for Kaiser Permanente and the Parkland Health & Hospital System so I've seen the system inside and out. It's so important that consumers keep up with industry shifts and changing health insurance regulations. I'm also Take Command Health's Content Editor and a busy mom. Learn more about me and connect with me on our about us page. Thanks!