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Healthcare and The Incoming Administration

The attached article – Donald Trump Walks Back His Stance On Obamacare shows a possible change in direction of the incoming administration and it’s not totally unexpected.


YOCG Tuesday 2 2 16 CANVAThere are so many people covered by insurance now that were never covered before it would almost be impossible to unwind what’s already been done and put something else in place that does not look like just about the same thing.  You know that old saying…if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…its a duck.   Maybe its a Trump duck instead of an Obama duck….but its still a duck.  
 

The affordable care act (Obamacare) was based on a few core principles. The most important ones in my opinion are…

1. No one should be turned down for any pre-existing medical condition

2. People who could not afford insurance would get subsidies or some kind of assistance to help with the cost

3. Everyone would be required to have insurance that consists of what is called MEC (Minimum Essential Coverage). This is also called the “Individual mandate”

It’s these principles that define Obamacare. Everything else in my opinion, surrounds these principles and if changed, really does not effect the basic core principles.  Some examples of things that could be changed that would lower the cost of coverage to most people include….

 – Should pregnancy coverage be included in all policies?

 – Should mental health coverage be included in all policies?

 – Should rehab coverage be included in all policies?

YOCG Tuesday 11 24 15 CANVAMaybe these coverage’s should be options like when you buy a car.  Everyone gets the basic car but if you want a radio it’s extra, if you want bigger tires it’s extra, if you want a sunroof it’s extra, you get the point.

I think we need to bring healthcare coverage back to its original intent, to cover you for what you want to be covered for and not what the government says that you should be covered for.  Of course everyone should have at least basic well-care and hospitalization coverage but should everyone have to pay for all the options? 

Read the article HERE


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2017 Open Enrollment…Are you READY?

It’s that time of year again!  Get ready to start thinking about open enrollment and what you need to do to make sure you and your family have health insurance coverage.

Here is what you need to know!

2016:

Open enrollment for 2016 is CLOSED.  BUT, If you still need coverage for the rest of 2016, you can get it but, only if you qualify. 

To qualify you need to meet one of these two criteria:

  • Special Enrollment Period due to a life event — like losing health coverage, getting married, or having a baby.
  • You qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

You can apply for these programs any time throughout the year.

Let’s Brush Up On The Marketplace

About The Marketplace:

Who is it for?  The Marketplace is for individuals who do not have health coverage for the coming year.  That means, you do not have coverage through:

  • Your employment
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • The Children’s Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Another source providing qualifying coverage

How Much It Costs:

Health insurance through the Marketplace depends on your estimated income for the coverage year.  Did you know?  In 2017, roughly 8 out of 10 of uninsured people who are eligible for Marketplace coverage will qualify for financial assistance.*  The financial assistance  provided goes towards lowering the cost of the monthly premiums and in some cases is can also help with things like deductibles and copays.  Get an idea of what that could mean for you HERE.

Discover What The Marketplace Insurance Covers:

Essential health benefits – Every plan must include the following:

  • Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care you get without being admitted to a hospital)
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization (like surgery and overnight stays)
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (both before and after birth)
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment (this includes counseling and psychotherapy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills)
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care (but adult dental and vision coverage aren’t essential health benefits)
  • Pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy
  • Preventive care
  • Birth control coverage
  • Breastfeeding coverage

Pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy

Preventive care

Get a list of what that includes for:

What If You Do Not Get Health Insurance?

If you can afford health insurance and fail to obtain qualifying health coverage for the 2017 year, you may be fined.  This fine is referred to the “individual shared responsibility payment”. 

Fees are calculated in two different ways.  They are:

  • A percentage of your house hold income
  • Per person

You will be required to the highest rate calculated.

Fines for 2017 have not been released as of yet.

Do you have questions about your health insurance coverage for 2017?  I can help!  Contact me, Your Obamacare Guy!  I can be reached at:  (813) 391-3448 or email address:  dave@YourObamacareGuy.com

* source:  http://www.HealthCare.gove/quickguide


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Open Enrollment & Obamacare Changes YOU Need to Know About!

Healthcare Open Enrollment is RIGHT Around the Corner! 

There are LOTS of Changes YOU Need to Know About!

yocg-tuesday-9-6-16-canvaHealthcare open enrollment begins on November 1, 2016 and runs until January 31, 2017 and it won’t be business as usual.  There will be several carrier changes for 2017. 

Before we get into the specific changes, there are some dates you need to put on your calendar for the open enrollment period:

  • November 1, 2016:  Open Enrollment Begins
  • December 15, 2016:  Meet this enrollment deadline to ensure coverage begins on January 1, 2017
  • December 31, 2016:  Coverage ends on this date.  If you have NO changes to your plan, your plan will be auto-renewed
  • January 31, 2017:  This is the VERY LAST day you can apply for 2017 healthcare coverage

If you miss these deadlines, you cannot enroll again until November 1, 2017 unless you have special “life event” changes take place.  Life event changes include:  having a baby or losing your job.

Did you know?

If you do not enroll in Obamacare or have an approved form of health insurance during 2017, you will be fined 2.5% of your income or $695 per adult – whichever is higher.  Please note that the amounted listed is only an estimation as the higher 2017 dollar amount has not been released as of yet.

Those living at poverty levels can enroll at any time in the Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).  These programs do not have a specific enrollment period or timeframe to adhere to.  Please note, there are some restrictions to adhere to such as income restrictions.

Changes…

yocg-wednesday-9-1-16-canvaAt the beginning of this article, I noted there were going to be changes in the Florida Marketplace.  There will be some carriers leaving and some new additions too!

Let’s first say good-bye to:

  • United-Healthcare
  • Aetna

Say Hello to:

  • Cigna – they exited the Florida Exchange in 2015 but are coming back in 2017
  • Molina – They are expanding from South Florida to the Tampa Bay area
  • Harken Health (a subsidiary of United Healthcare) is planning to enter the exchange in the Miami and and Fort Lauderdale area

Of Note:

Humana plans to scale back it’s participation in the Marketplace but will remain in the Florida Exchange system. 

Other changes coming down the pike in 2017 include rate changes that have not been approved by the state yet.   

Other Obamacare changes people can expect to see in 2017 are:

MORE INFO!

When you select a healthcare plan, there are usually two things you ask:

1)  How much is it going to cost me

2)  Is my doctor or the hospital I prefer in my plan

A common complaint last year was inaccurate doctor and hospital information.  The new rules mandate that:

  • Insurance providers are required to give consumers a 30-day notice when a doctor is being removed from a network
  • If a doctor/provider is being removed from a network and a patient is in active care/treatment with the physician being removed, the insurance company must allow for up to 90 days treatment under the physician’s care

Reduction in “Surprise” medical bills from out-of-network providers

Many patients have complained about receiving unexpected invoices and bills from out-of-network doctors, even when the patient thought the doctor was in network.  The new rule calls for:

  • Ancillary care amounts to be applied towards a patient’s yearly out of pocket maximum expenses

Note, this rule only applies to those instances where the insurer has not given patients the correct notification that they will be receiving care from individuals outside of the network.  The general rule is that a patient must be notified that they will receive care from an out of network provider within 48 hours.

Better Explanation of Out-Of-Pocket Expenses/Costs

During 2017, insurers are to offer plans with a standard set of coverage costs (deductibles and copays).  With this information easily attainable, the patients will better understand the out-of-pocket fees associated with the plan they select.

Do you have specific questions about open enrollment and how the 2017 marketplace changes could affect you?  Contact me, Your Obamacare Guy!  I can be reached at:  (813) 391-3448 or email address:  dave@YourObamacareGuy.com


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Physician Referrals, YOU Have A Choice!

Physician Referrals, YOU Have A Choice!

Health care and visiting the doctor has become increasingly complicated to navigate. Rules are always changing.  Life is busy which makes it hard to keep up with the changes.  Good news!  I am here to help!  So, let’s dive in!!!

Wednesday 7 6 16When do I need a referral?

Referrals are generally required when you need to see a specialist for a condition that your regular primary care physician cannot treat.  Not all specialists need a referral.  The services that DO NOT require referrals are:

  • In network:
    • Obstetrician/gynecologist
    • Urgent care centers or walk in clinics
    • Eye examinations
    • Mental health disorder and substance abuse services
    • Pathologist
    • Radiologist
    • Anesthesiologist
    • Emergency room visits/admissions
    • Non-physician services such as:
      • Outpatient labs
      • Diagnostics
      • Physical Therapy
      • Durable medical equipment

How do I obtain a referral for a specialist?

Once your primary care physician determines a specialist is needed, to help you with your condition, a referral is given.

A Referral is an authorization for you to see a specialist.

In some cases, your physician may give you a recommendation of who to see along with his referral.  A recommendation is exactly what it sounds like.  It is a suggestion of who you might want to consider seeing for treatment, not a mandate.  This is great news!  Why?  For many reasons!  Check them out:

  • Many times, your primary physician may recommend a specialist who is not in your network.  This can be a very expensive option for you.
  • You have the opportunity to research and find the perfect specialist for you within your health insurance network
  • In some cases, referrals are generated due to a quid pro quo arrangement between doctors.

Now that you have your referral in hand, it is time to select your specialist.  One of the first things you should do is fire up your computer and search for the doctor in your insurance plan’s database.  Not sure who is in your carrier’s database or where to even find the database?  No worries, use this handy tool:  Dave’s Doctor Search.  Here you will find all of the doctor’s listed in the each of the major health insurance carriers.

Select at least three specialists you are interested in possibly using for treatment and learn more about them.  Some of the things you will want to look for are:

  • Is the doctor licensed?  You can verify this by visiting your state’s physician licensing board
  • Is the physician board certified?  A board certified physician is one who demonstrates exceptional expertise in a specialty or subspecialty.  They are certified and recognized by the ABMS Member Board.  Qualifications to be recognized by this board includes rigorous testing and peer evaluations.  These evaluations and tests are engineered and administrated by other specialists in the same field of specialty.
  • Consider the age of the doctor.  Are they older and considering retirement, are they younger and have a passion for cutting edge technology and techniques or have they been practicing a long time giving them ample experience to treat your condition well?
  • Discover how long the doctor has been practicing by visiting online doctor listing sites.
  • Have there been interruptions in their practice and why?
  • What hospitals is the doctor affiliated with and how are those hospitals ranked?
  • Has the doctor experienced any reprimands or malpractice suits?
  • Consider researching doctor ratings sites and review sites.
  • Has the doctor authored any papers, studies or conducted research in the field you are looking to get treatment in?

There is so much to consider when selecting a doctor and a specialist!  The most important thing to remember is that YOU get to make the choice on who treats you.  Take control of your health and your healthcare by selecting the physician that makes the most sense for you and your health goals.

Remember, the referral you receive from your primary care physician (PCP) is the authorization you need to go to the specialist.  The name of a doctor they give is a recommendation only.  Do your homework and find the right fit for you.

Do you need help navigating your way through today’s healthcare arena?  I can help!  Contact Dave, Your ObamaCare Guy for more information at: (813) 391-3448 or email me at dave@YourObamacareGuy.com.


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Protect Your Income!

YOCG Wednesday 6 1 16 CanvaYour Income is One of Your Biggest Assets – Protect It!

What happens if you can’t go to work for a few months?

Let’s say you trip over the cat and break your arm.  Oh, and by the way, you cut hair for a living!!!   OR…………………..

You get sick and can’t go into the office for 2 months…………….

How do you pay the bills?

There has always been coverage for situations like this, but, it has been notoriously expensive!!!  That is, until NOW!

What used to be called Disability Insurance has since changed a bit and re-born as Income Protection Insurance.

The sole purpose of Income Protection Insurance is to now replace most of your take home income so you can survive and not worry about how the bills will be paid.

Let’s take a closer look at Income Protection Insurance:

Specifically, Income Protection Insurance is a long term policy structured to help you if you are seriously ill, injured or disabled.  These circumstances can either be long term situations or short term.

YOCG Tuesday 5 31 16 CanvaSome of the AMAZING benefits included in a policy like this are:

  • The assurance of income!  You read correctly!  This type of insurance is designed to pay a portion of your income to you in the event you are too sick, injured or disabled to work.
  • The CONTINUED assurance of income!  This type of plan can be structured to continue to pay you a portion of your income until one of the following occurs,
    •  The policy term you choose is reached
    •  You get back to work
  • You can make a claim as many times as you need to as long as you are covered on the policy.

Some factors regarding this type of insurance you need to be aware of include:

  • Waiting periods.  There is a waiting period that takes place before income payments begin to happen.
    • You can choose 30, 60, or 90 day waiting periods.

Understanding What Income Protection Insurance is NOT

Income Protection Insurance is not the same thing as critical illness insurance.  Critical illness insurance typically administers one large sum of money at one time, depending on the type of serious illness you may have.

YOCG Thursday 6 2 16 CanvaShould YOU Consider Income Protection Insurance?

You should if you:

  • Cannot survive on your sick pay benefits as provided by your employer
  • Do not have a large amount of savings put aside for a serious illness, injury or disability
  • Are not in the position to take an early retirement or retire at all
  • Are unable to survive on the income of your partner

Curious about learning more?  Contact Dave, Your ObamaCare Guy for more information at: (813) 391-3448 or email me at dave@YourObamacareGuy.com.


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SureMed…It’s What You Have Been Waiting For!

SureMed…It’s What You Have Been Waiting For!

YOCG Wednesday 5 4 16 CanvaWhat if I told you there was a healthcare solution allowing you the opportunity where your entire family can talk to a physician anytime, for only $20 a month!?!  It’s true!  Without any other additional or hidden charges either!  20 dollars…that’s it!

Great news!  This plan IS a reality!!!  PLUS…your own health insurance plan may cover prescriptions if one is called in!

Interested?  Read on!

SureMed offers a unique service that gives you access to a physician by phone 24/7 without being charged an additional consultation fee.

This service completely revolutionizes visiting the doctor!  Imagine…

  • Speaking to a U.S. licensed, board certified physician and getting your questions answered from the comfort of your own home!
  • Receiving advice and consultation from knowledgeable, board certified physicians with an average of 15 years practice experience!
  • Being diagnosed via the phone or video consultation!
  • The pleasure of avoiding crowded waiting rooms, busy walk-in clinics and additional germs found in those places!
  • Quick response time!  Call backs from qualified physicians take place within an average just 16 minutes!

What can be diagnosed over the phone or by video consultation?

YOCG Thursday 5 5 16 CanvaSureMed has made it easy for you to receive consultation, diagnoses, and prescriptions over the phone for common illnesses like:

  • Colds
  • Flu
  • Poison Ivy
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Bronchitis
  • Allergies
  • Pink eye
  • Sinus Problems
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Ear Infections
  • Non-emergency illnesses

Treatment Recommendations

The doctor can advise patients on the treatment actions to be taken and may even prescribe medications such as antibiotics and other substances not controlled by the DEA or other medications which are susceptible to abuse.  If a prescription is required to treat the illness diagnosed, the doctor can have it called in to the local pharmacy of your choice.

Check out what else is included…

The $20/month program includes ALL of these amazing benefits:

  • Doctors by phone
  • Counselors by phone
  • Dental discounts
  • Vision discounts
  • Prescription discounts
  • Retail health clinic discounts
  • Medical bill saver – medical billing advice and negotiation help
  • Vitamin discounts and price comparison
  • Lab discounts
  • Diabetic supplies discounts
  • MRI & CT Scan discounts
  • Hearing aid discounts
  • Durable medical equipment discounts

It almost sounds too good to be true but it is!

If you have questions about this plan and want more details, call me!  I would love to talk you about this incredible opportunity for you and your family!

Call me, Your Obamacare Guy at (813) 391-3448 or email me at dave@YourObamacareGuy.com.


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Easy To Understand Life Insurance Guide: Navigating What It Is and Why It Is so Important!

Easy To Understand Life Insurance Guide:  Navigating What It Is and Why It Is so Important!

YOCG Tuesday 4 5 16 CanvaWho needs life insurance?  Ask yourself this…..If you don’t come home tonight will anyone be financially harmed?  If the answer is yes…..then you need Life Insurance.

Life Insurance is one of those things we know we should have but maybe we just haven’t gotten around to getting it due to our hectic lives, possibly it is hard to understand or may be we think it only applies to people who are a certain age and older.  Whatever is stopping you from having life insurance, you need to change it and this article will tell you why.

But first…some basics.

There are certain types of life insurance you need to understand first before you make any decisions regarding it.

What is Life Insurance?

Life Insurance is a type of insurance which pays an amount of money to beneficiaries upon the death of the person who was insured.  It is designed to help your family and dependents financially after you have passed away. For example, it can help your family with:

  • Ongoing income to help replace yours
  • Providing emergency funds for medical assistance, legal fees and funeral costs

Life insurance is usually broken down into certain types.  We are going to focus on the most common you will run into and give you a good understanding of them.

Term Life Insurance (also known as Temporary Life):

YOCG Wednesday 4 6 16 CANVASimply put, term life insurance is a policy that pays off a monetary benefit in the event of death during a certain/fixed time period, for example a 10 or 20 year time period.

Benefits of Term Life Policies:

  • Low cost – perfect for temorary coverage on a parent while kids are growing up.
  • Allows for high levels of protection at a lower cost
  • Tax-free proceeds paid to beneficiaries

Curious about how low cost this life insurance option is?  Check out my sample rate chart:

Life Rate Chart

Universal Life Insurance (also referred to as UL):

This permanent type of life insurance offers flexibility in premiums.  Individuals holding UL policies have the choice of paying the minimum premium of the insurance or including extra monies to be allocated to an accumulation account.  This account or fund may be used in the future to pay premiums or for future income in retirement.

Benefits of UL Policies Include:

  • Protects the insured for a lifetime
  • The ability to earn interest and/or grow based on outcomes of accounts tied to other investments
  • Access to tax free loans or income in the future.
  • Tax-free proceeds paid to beneficiaries

Whole Life Insurance:

YOCG Thursday 4 7 16 CANVAThis permanent type of life insurance has a fixed premium.   Tends to often come with higher premiums than a Term Life or a Universal Life Insurance policy that stays the same your whole life.

Benefits of Whole Life Policies Include:

  • Protects the insured for a lifetime
  • Offers fixed premiums
  • May or may not have excess value in the future.
  • Tax-free proceeds paid to beneficiaries

Discovering Why Life Insurance is Important

The benefits of the various policies listed above should make it easy to understand why it is so important to get coverage.  Take it one step further…

You unexpectedly die due to an accident.  The shock of your death to your family and loved ones is unimaginable.  Compound the grief and loss your family will experience in regards to your death with:

  • Medical bills sustained due to your death
  • Paying daily living expenses without your income
  • Funeral costs
  • Legal fees
  • The uncertainty of your family’s financial future

Unless you have been able to amass a large, profitable financial portfolio, how will your family manage without your regular income?  Who will pay the bills? The mortgage? Who will put food on the table and how long can they sustain it?  An affordable life insurance policy is the answer to these daunting questions.  A life insurance policy will help you to continue to provide for your family and dependents.

Do you have questions about life insurance and what policy may be right for your family and their needs?  Contact me!  I am here to help!  Your Obamacare Guy at (813) 391-3448 or dave@YourObamacareGuy.com.