Your source for health insurance quotes and plans.

  • the Coverage Corner

Preparing for your new baby

Are you expecting a child? Congratulations!

Now that you have a new baby on the way, it’s important to pay attention to your health insurance needs and what assistance is available to your growing family.maternity benefits

Under the Affordable Care Act, all health insurance plans must cover the 10 Essential Health Benefits, including maternity and newborn care. Consider taking advantage of the following health services as you’re preparing to grow your family:

  1. Prenatal care
  2. Pregnancy-related counseling
  3. Enhanced coverage for high-risk pregnancies
  4. Midwifery services
  5. Labor and delivery services outside of a hospital setting
  6. Newborn care

In addition to maternity and newborn care, the Affordable Care Act also requires health insurance plans to provide certain preventive care services at no additional cost to the patient.  These preventive care services will help ensure that your pregnancy goes smoothly:

  1. Folic acid supplements
  2. Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
  3. Anemia screening
  4. Gestational diabetes screening
  5. Rh Incompatibility screening
  6. Smoking cessation for pregnant tobacco users
  7. Syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and hepatitis B screening
  8. Urinary tract or other infection screenings
  9. Alcohol misuse screening and counseling

Welcoming a child qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period, a short window of time to sign up for health insurance. You have 60 days from the birth of your child to purchase health coverage, so be sure to sign up quickly if you are not already covered.

We’re here to help you find a plan that meets your growing family’s health and budgetary needs.  To speak with a GoHealth licensed advisor, call us at (888) 322-7557, or start comparing your health plan options here.

 

Health Care Reform || Leave a comment

Health Risks in Your Hotel Room

Now that winter is coming to an end, many of us are starting to plan our summer getaways. Although you may be looking forward to some rest and relaxation, you may not know that many health risks could be lurking in your next hotel room.

Here is a list of five things you should be wary of during your next hotel stay, and what you can do to keep yourself safe.

  1. Chemicals in cleaning products

Although cleaning products disinfect surfaces to prevent the buildup of bacteria, they may also contain carcinogens. Exposure to these carcinogens can increase the risk of cancer, while endocrine disruptors found in many disinfectants can cause fertility problems or even miscarriages.

Cleaning products should always be used in well-ventilated areas to avoid inhaling the fumes. Eco-friendly hotel initiatives, such as using chemical-free cleaning products, are growing increasingly popular, so don’t be afraid to ask hotel staff about which cleaning products they use.

hote room

  1. Bathroom mold

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that there is sufficient evidence to link indoor mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheezing. Additionally, mold spotted in hotel bathrooms can cause mental impairment, breathing problems, and even damage to internal organs.

Ventilation fans in the bathroom and frequent cleanings are key to preventing the moisture that allows mold to flourish. Check if your hotel room has functioning ventilation to decrease mold exposure in showers, and make sure that you are vaccinated to avoid becoming infected with the flu and other respiratory viruses while traveling.

  1. Tobacco pollutants

Staying in a smoke-free room may not be enough to prevent you from being exposed to harmful tobacco pollutants. In fact, guests who stayed in non-smoking rooms in hotels that allowed smoking had higher levels of nicotine on their fingers and higher urine levels of cotinine (a biomarker for tobacco smoke) than those who stayed in hotels with complete smoking bans.

In order to limit your exposure to tobacco and other air pollutants, try to stay at smoke-free hotels, when possible. Some hotels also offer special hypo-allergenic rooms that have air purifiers and go through a special cleaning process to reduce other allergens.

  1. Avoid germ areas

In hotels, the bedspread is rarely, if ever, cleaned. Rather than flopping down on the bed, fold up the bed spread and stash it away from your belongings.

The phone, TV remote control, and light switch are some of the most handled places in hotel rooms, yet they are almost never cleaned. Experts recommend using a Ziplock bag as a makeshift glove when handling the remote or using chlorine antibacterial wipes on such surfaces.

Finally, the courtesy glasses by the sink almost never get a proper dishwashing, which leaves them loaded with bacteria. Skip them unless you are supplied with plastic glasses sealed in plastic, or consider traveling with your own collapsible cup.

  1. Beware of bedbugs

Bedbug prevalence is on the rise, and hotels and motels are some of their favorite hangouts. Although bedbugs do not actively transmit diseases, they can carry germs from one person to another.

Give your hotel room a thorough bedbug inspection, and stash your luggage in the bathroom where bedbugs are less likely to be hiding. For extra protection, keep your suitcase wrapped in plastic during your trip.

If you find evidence of bedbugs, get a refund on your reservation and find a new hotel. If one room has bed bugs, the others likely will, too. If you suspect that you’ve brought home bedbugs from a recent vacation, call a pest-management service to conduct an inspection.

General Healthcare || Leave a comment

Exemptions From the Tax Penalty

It was recently announced that certain people have one last chance to get health insurance. If you are one of the millions of Americans still without coverage, you can either take advantage of this special enrollment period or face a fine.

The tax penalty for not having health insurance in 2016 will be 2.5% of household income or $695 for every adult, whichever is great. This fine is expected to continue to increase every year.

However, there is a way to avoid this fine other than getting health insurance. You may qualify for an exemption, meaning you will not have to get coverage and you will not face a fine.exempt tax penalty

Scroll through this list to see if you qualify:

  1. You were uninsured for no more than two consecutive months of the year
  2. The lowest-priced coverage available to you would cost more than 8% of your household income
  3. You don’t have to file a tax return because your income is too low
  4. You’re a member of a federally recognized tribe or eligible for services through an Indian Health Services provider
  5. You’re a member of a recognized health care sharing ministry
  6. You’re a member of a recognized religious sect with religious objections to insurance, including Social Security and Medicare
  7. You’re incarcerated and not awaiting the disposition of charges against you
  8. You’re not lawfully present in the United States

There is also a list of hardship exemptions, including homelessness, filing for bankruptcy, and recent eviction. If you experience any of the exemptions on this list, you would also qualify to stay uninsured without facing a fine.

If you’re not sure whether or not you qualify for an exemption, the safest choice is to investigate further and get coverage. Give GoHealth a call at 888-322-7557, or visit us online at GoHealthInsurance.com to enroll in a health plan today.

Health Care Reform || Leave a comment

Take Advantage of the 10 Essential Health Benefits

In the United States, a 15 minute, nine-mile ambulance ride could cost over $1,700. Treating pesky spring allergies with Nasonex could cost $108. And replacing an Asthma inhaler could cost over $175.

This is just a glimpse into the world of being an uninsured American. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, all health plans are now required to cover 10 Essential Health Benefits, including ambulance rides, prescription allergy medication, and inhalers.small-prego

This means that if you have health insurance, at least part of the costs of these benefits will be covered. Many Americans rely on these benefits to stay healthy – and it’s clear that without insurance, they can be extremely expensive.

For example, chronic illness treatment is now covered as part of the 10 Essential Health Benefits. Nearly 50 percent of Americans suffer from at least one chronic illness. So without the Affordable Care Act and chronic illness coverage, half of the country – individuals battling diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s – could face incredibly high medical bills and struggle to get treatment.

Although the 10 Essential Health Benefits are now covered with no annual limits or lifetime maximums, many Americans might not know what these benefits include. Now is the time to learn about the 10 Essential Health Benefits and take advantage of your health plan.

1. Hospitalization

The average length of a hospital stay in 2010 was almost 5 days and could have cost more than $4,000. That’s a lot of time to wonder whether or not your visit is covered. Thankfully, coverage today includes room and board, care from all hospital staff, and medications and lab tests throughout your stay. Nursing home care, surgeries, and transplants are all covered, too.

2. Emergency services

In 2010, there were over 130 million emergency room visits in the United States. Unfortunately, trips to the emergency room can happen to anyone and are often extremely unpredictable. Now under the Affordable Care Act, emergency room visits do not require pre-authorization, and you cannot be charged extra for out-of-network visits.

3. Pediatric care

The main focus for most parents is their child’s wellbeing and good health. If you’re worried that a visit to your child’s pediatrician for the sniffles or the chicken pox won’t be covered, there’s no longer reason to worry. As outlined by the Affordable Care Act, dental and vision must also be covered for all children under age 19.

4. Prescription drugs

Can you imagine paying $176 for Cymbalta to treat your anxiety? What about $162 for Celebrex to treat your arthritis? That’s how much you could pay for those prescription drugs without insurance. However, if you have insurance, at least some of your prescription drug costs will be covered as part of the 10 Essential Health Benefits.

5. Prenatal and maternity care

Facing an emergency C-section is almost always out of the patient’s control. Many times, choosing whether or not to have one is a matter of life and death. The fact that the average cost of a C-section without insurance could be up to $15,000 could drive many women to reconsider growing their family. Now that an Essential Health Benefit category comprises prenatal and maternity care, C-sections – as well as contraception, well woman visits, and newborn care – are all covered.

6. Laboratory services

Lab tests are often required if you’re looking for an official diagnosis, but without coverage, they can be extremely expensive. The Affordable Care Act requires that fees associated with lab tests be covered, so now there’s no excuse to forgo that blood test. Breast cancer screenings and prostate exams also fall into this category.

7. Outpatient care

This is one of the most common forms of health care. You head in to your doctor’s office or clinic, get treated for your condition, and leave right after it’s complete. Covered services include wellness and prevention, treatment, diagnosis, and rehabilitation. Outpatient care also includes hospice and private home care.

8. Preventive and wellness visits

Avoiding the doctor because a visit might not be covered? This is not only unsafe, but it’s now also untrue. Certain preventive services are now completely covered under the Affordable Care Act as an Essential Health Benefit. These services include vaccines, obesity counseling, and depression screenings. Remember: it’s important to see your doctor before you get sick, not after you’ve been diagnosed.

9. Mental and behavioral health treatment

Before health reform, it was difficult for many Americans to get the mental and behavioral health treatment that they needed. Anyone can be touched by mental illness at any given time, often taken by surprise. Although there may still be a stigma associated with mental illness, individuals can no longer be denied coverage for the treatment that they deserve.

10. Services and devices to help those recovering from injury, or those with a disability or chronic illness

Many plans in the past have covered necessary treatment for a broken arm or a fractured wrist. But coverage for something like physical therapy to treat multiple sclerosis has proved to be much more difficult. However, the Affordable Care Act now requires coverage for equipment and services to help anyone with a chronic illness or disability maintain a standard of living.

Don’t yet have coverage? You now have one more chance. From now until April 30, if you don’t have health insurance and didn’t know about the tax penalty until after Open Enrollment ended, you can get coverage for you and your family. If you choose to forgo coverage, you’ll not only be responsible for the high cost of your medical care, but you’ll also face a hefty tax penalty for going uninsured. The safest choice is to get covered and avoid facing these costly consequences.

Health Care Reform || Leave a comment

How much does it cost to have a baby?

Having a child can put a large dent in your finances – a dent that many people don’t necessarily plan for. Even if you do plan ahead when deciding to grow your family, you may still be surprised how much it costs to have a baby.   cost of baby

How much does it cost to have a baby?

Expectant parents often forget to consider the financial impact of hospital bills in their budget planning. One in four new parents end up spending more than $2,000 on medical services associated with a normal delivery, which they mistakenly thought would be covered by their health insurance. Pregnancy or birth complications can contribute to even higher out-of-pocket costs.

Why does it cost so much?

Health care in the United States is billed per service, and each hospital gets to set its own prices. For complicated admissions, such as childbirth, a lot of small charges can add up quickly, because the U.S. standard of care for childbirth has grown to include a number of costly tests.

What can I do to lower my cost of having a baby?

Maternity and newborn care are considered an essential health benefit and covered by health plans under the Affordable Care Act. Call your insurance company to find out exactly what services will be covered during your pregnancy, delivery, and post-delivery, so you will not have any surprises when you receive your medical bills.

How do I get started?

Speak with one of GoHealth’s licensed insurance advisors to ensure you have health insurance before getting pregnant. Call (888) 322-7557 to speak directly with an advisor or find out more at GoHealthInsurance.com.

Health Care Reform || Leave a comment

Health Insurance Extension: Get Coverage With GoHealth Now!

If you still don’t have health insurance and you were not aware of the tax penalty for going uninsured until after Open Enrollment ended, you have one last chance to get coverage!

opensign

From March 15 to April 30, you can get the health insurance you need. If you still choose to go uninsured, you will face a costly government fine and won’t have health insurance until 2016.

It’s important to take advantage of this special enrollment opportunity. Enrolling in a health plan means you and your family will have access to essential health benefits, and you will avoid facing expensive medical bills without any assistance.

Starting today, GoHealth can help you find the right plan for your budget and medical needs. Visit GoHealthInsurance.com or call (888) 322-7557 to get started now!

Health Care Reform || Leave a comment

Tips for Spring Break Skin Protection

Good news: Warm weather is finally in sight for the majority of the country! That also means spring break is rapidly approaching for students and families everywhere. While you’re booking hotels and packing your bathing suit for that warm-weather getaway, it’s important to remember to protect your skin.sun beach

Prolonged exposure to sunlight can be dangerous. Even occasional exposure can lead to brown spots, wrinkles, and even skin cancer. Take these precautions to keep your skin safe while you soak up the sun this season.

  1. Use plenty of sunscreen

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 for prolonged and direct exposure to the sun. Be sure to apply a sufficient amount to all of your exposed skin, and cover often-neglected areas like lips, tops of ears, and feet.

  1. Timing is everything

The sun’s rays are the most intense between 10 am and 4 pm, so staying indoors during these times will significantly decrease your chances of severe exposure. If you must be outdoors during peak sunlight times, be sure to use sunscreen and seek out shady areas, like poolside cabanas or umbrellas.

  1. Cover up

Even in the sweltering heat, it is best to keep as much of your skin covered as possible. Wearing a hat will limit your face and neck exposure to the harmful sun. Also, tightly-woven fabrics absorb ultraviolet rays more effectively than light cottons, so pack fashionable clothing that will also protect your skin.

  1. Prepare even when it’s cloudy

Ultraviolet rays can damage your skin even through cloud cover. Always be prepared for harmful rays by dressing appropriately and having sunscreen at the ready.

If you do get too much sun, don’t wait to treat it! Moisturize the sunburned areas immediately and apply aloe to reduce the pain and redness. You should also drink plenty of water to replenish the fluid the sunburn is pulling away from the rest of your body.

General Healthcare || Leave a comment

Do I qualify for a Special Enrollment Period?

If you missed the Open Enrollment deadline to purchase health insurance, you may have another chance to get covered. Outside of Open Enrollment, you can only obtain major medical health insurance if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, which is granted for specific Qualifying Life Events.

What is a Qualifying Life Event? 

If you experience a major life change, you may be able to enroll in a major medical health plan outside of Open Enrollment. The new health care law outlines several life changes that make a person eligible for a Special Enrollment Period:

1. Getting married

2. Having or adopting a baby

3. Getting divorced

4. Lost coverage

5. Change in income

6. Errors with original enrollment

7. Gained citizenship

8. Lost student health insurance

9. Aged off of a parent’s plan

10. Moving

At what other times can I enroll? 

In addition to Qualifying Life Events, there are some complex cases that may give you the opportunity to buy a major medical health plan outside of Open Enrollment. Check out the full list of such cases to see if you qualify under these circumstances.

qualifying life event

Although many situations make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, voluntary termination of a health plan due to missing premium payments or losing coverage that is not minimal essential coverage is not considered a loss of coverage.

How do I get started?

A Special Enrollment Period for a Qualifying Life Event typically lasts 60 days from the date of the event. If you think you might qualify, GoHealth licensed insurance advisors can determine your eligibility for a Special Enrollment Period and help you find a health plan. Call (888) 322-7557 to speak directly with an advisor, or start shopping online.

Health Care Reform || Leave a comment

Start Using Your New Health Insurance Plan

Now that you have coverage, it’s time to start using it!

Health insurance is not just for when you need it. It’s important to take a proactive approach to your health now. There are many ways you can take advantage of the benefits included in your coverage, which will help you stay healthy and save more money on health care.start using coverage

Here are just a few steps you can take to put your plan into action.

Pay your premium first

Even though you chose a plan, your coverage will not be active until you pay your first month’s premium directly to your insurance provider. It’s important to do this as soon as possible so that your coverage is not delayed. Once you pay your premium, it’s also a good idea to follow up with your insurance company to make sure they received the payment.

Fill your prescriptions

Many people postpone taking prescription medications because they are too expensive. Now with your new health insurance plan, prescription medications are covered as part of the 10 Essential Health Benefits. You can finally fill that prescription you’ve been holding onto or putting off.

Make an appointment

Think you only need to visit your doctor if something goes wrong? Think again. Scheduling regular doctor appointments is the best way you can take your health into your own hands. Now that you have coverage, you can make your first appointment with your primary care physician. Even if you’re perfectly healthy, this first “well visit” will set the standard for preventative visits in the future.

Take responsibility for your health

In the end, you are responsible for own health. It’s up to you to ensure you are living a healthy lifestyle, taking care of your emotional and physical health, and now, using your health insurance as a tool to access better health care. The time to act is now.

If you are still uninsured, you might have one last chance to get coverage starting March 15. Find out more here.

Health Care Reform || Leave a comment

I Missed Open Enrollment: Now What?

Although there is still one last chance for some people to get health insurance, for many, the time to enroll in a health plan has passed.MissedOpenEnrollment1

However, missing the Open Enrollment deadline doesn’t mean you have to go uninsured until next year. There are multiple options if you don’t have health insurance, but still want to get covered.

Special Enrollment Period

If you experience a major life change, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, which means you can enroll in a major medical health plan outside of Open Enrollment. These Qualifying Life Events include getting married, moving to a new location, and having or adopting a baby. Remember: You only have 60 days from the time your event occurs to get coverage, so take action quickly.

Short-term coverage

Many uninsured people think they can afford to wait to get coverage until 2016, but that’s simply not the case. You never know what medical emergencies you might face. Short-term coverage is a great temporary solution to protect you and your family against expensive medical bills due to unexpected injury or illness. GoHealth can assist you in finding a short-term plan at any time throughout the year.

Alternative to COBRA

Facing a change in job status means you can enroll with GoHealth instead of electing COBRA. Although many people believe COBRA is their best option, coverage under COBRA can be very limiting and very expensive. Enrolling in a plan through GoHealth may be the better option. GoHealth provides you with more plan options and the best rates available.

Health Care Reform || Leave a comment