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6 Health Tips for the Fourth of July

by Lauren Mandel

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and it’s a holiday that just screams summer: backyard grilling, long days by the lake, festive parades, and of course, fireworks. It can be easy to get caught up in the celebrations and forget how to stay safe. Between long hours outside and dealing with seemingly-harmless firecrackers, there are six steps you can take to ensure you put your health first and have a fun, injury-free holiday weekend.Facebook July - fireworks safety

Wear sunscreen. This may seem like an easy one, but many people forget about sunscreen during exciting celebrations. It’s important to wear sunscreen, no matter the weather, and reapply often to maintain good health and protect yourself from harmful UV rays.

Handle fireworks with care. In the month leading up to the Fourth of July, on average 240 people go to the hospital every day for fireworks-related injuries. If you are planning to use fireworks this year, always keep a bucket of water nearby and never allow children to light the fireworks themselves.

Fire up in a safe space. Grills cause an average of 8,800 home fires each year, with July being the peak month for these dangerous occurrences. Make sure to use your barbeque in an open and clear space, and be sure to read the directions before operating new equipment.

Watch the water. We all love swimming on hot summer days, and the Fourth of July is no exception. However, accidents can happen, so it’s important to swim only when a lifeguard is on duty. If you’re dealing with brand-new swimmers, floating assistance or life jackets may be a good idea, as well.

Stay hydrated. Take water breaks; mix up some healthy summer drinks; whatever you have to do to keep your family healthy and hydrated. Try drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, even more if you’ll be participating in outdoor activities.

Get covered. Sometimes, accidents will happen. To better prepare for the unexpected, get yourself and your family health insurance. That way if a health scare does happen on the Fourth of July, you’ll be prepared.

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King v. Burwell: A note from GoHealth’s co-founders

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold subsidies for millions of Americans. Below is a statement from GoHealth co-founders, Clint Jones and Brandon Cruz, about the King v. Burwell ruling, the future of the health insurance industry, and their hopes for GoHealth. 

Cofounders photo

GoHealth co-founders, Brandon Cruz and Clint Jones

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in the King v. Burwell case, GoHealth is pleased that the estimated 6.4 million people who were at risk of losing financial aid for health coverage can maintain their federal subsidies. As one of the nation’s top sources for subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, we recognize that many of our customers rely on federal aid to afford their monthly premium payments. Today’s decision helps ensure that our current customers as well as millions of Americans nationwide can maintain their health benefits without disruption. We are pleased to continue offering federal subsidies to consumers through our Marketplace in pursuit of our mission to help individuals and families obtain the right health insurance coverage.

– Clint Jones, CEO & Co-founder of GoHealth, and Brandon Cruz, President & Co-founder of GoHealth

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Minimize your risk for skin cancer

by Lauren Mandel

We’re thrilled summer has officially arrived, but with the sun-heavy season also comes great responsibility to protect ourselves from harmful UV rays. Sure, a sun tan looks great, but it also puts you at greater risk of getting skin cancer.  sun beach

More specifically, melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. In 2015, more than 73,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the United States, and sadly, almost 10,000 people will die of the disease. The rates of melanoma have only been on the rise for the past 30 years. What can we do to stop it?

To get you started, here are four easy ways you can reduce your risk of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer this season.

Stay out of the sun. This one seems simple, but laying out in the warm, relaxing sun is tempting to most people. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so if you do need your dose of vitamin D, try and get it outside of those hours.

Wear sunscreen – even if it’s cloudy. In reality, everyone is exposed to at least a little bit of sun on a regular basis. It’s important to wear sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days or days when you’re mostly inside.  To take it one step further, wear protective clothing – like a cover up or hat – if you’re going to be out in the sun for a long period of time.

Conduct skin checks. Ideally, everyone will get to a dermatologist once a year for a thorough skin check, but when that’s not possible, inspect your skin at home. Make note of any abnormal-looking or changing skins marks, and if they persist, get them checked out by a professional.

Avoid tanning beds. They may be a quick fix for pale skin, but they’re also a surefire way to increase your risk of skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology found a 59 percent increase in risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to a tanning bed’s UV radiation. The only way to minimize your risk? Avoid them altogether.

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6 Services for Women Covered by Obamacare

by Lauren Mandel

You may have heard that all Obamacare Marketplace health plans must cover certain preventive care services, but did you know there’s a whole list specific to women?

Women with qualified health plans cannot be charged a copay or coinsurance for these services, even if they haven’t yet met their yearly deductibles on their Obamacare plan. There are 22 covered services for women in all, but we’ve outlined six of the most recognizable that you should take advantage of now.women

  1. Contraception

Although this has always been a provision in the Affordable Care Act, the government recently released a document clarifying that all insurers must cover all forms of contraception as a preventive care service.

  1. Cervical cancer screenings

While it is considered to be one of the most preventable cancers, cervical cancer still kills more than 4,000 women a year in the United States. These screenings are especially important for early detection.

  1. Well-woman visits

You no longer have an excuse to avoid visiting the doctor. One of the easiest preventive care services to take advantage of is the well-woman visit. Make an appointment with your doctor today.

  1. Breastfeeding support and counseling

Having a new baby can be overwhelming, so trained providers can offer new moms support. Pregnant and nursing women also have access to breastfeeding supplies as part of this service.

  1. Mammograms

In 2014, only 67 percent of women over the age of 40 had received a mammogram in the last two years. Hopefully with mammograms as a preventive care service for women over 40, that number will soon reach 100 percent.

  1. Domestic violence screenings and counseling

All women are entitled to feel safe. This preventive care service allows women with a Marketplace plan to get help if they are in an unhealthy relationship, have experienced domestic abuse, or just need someone to talk to.

Check out our blog post on taking advantage of the Obamacare preventive care services, or visit GoHealthInsurance.com to learn more.

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What is the health insurance Cadillac tax?

by Lauren Mandel

In preparation for the Cadillac tax, which will take effect in 2018, American business owners are searching for alternatives to expensive health insurance plans. The Cadillac tax, which was originally put in place to fund portions of the Affordable Care Act, is an excise tax on high-cost health plans costing more than $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. The tax is 40 percent a year on the amount by which the employer-sponsored plans exceed government set thresholds. Health Reform & Cadillac Tax

When the tax goes into effect in 2018, it is expected to affect as many as 38 percent of large employers and 17 percent of all American businesses, according to the American Health Policy Institute. According to a survey put out by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 62 percent of companies who face the Cadillac tax in 2018 are already taking action to avoid it altogether. Only 2.5 percent of companies say they are prepared to pay the tax.

Many companies are considering offering high deductible health plans to avoid the tax, which would place a heavier financial burden on their employees. However, a more cost-effective alternative would be to drive employees to enroll through a private health insurance exchange.

Supporting employee enrollment through private exchanges would allow business owners to avoid the Cadillac tax, while still offering their employees a way to obtain affordable health coverage. As a private exchange, the GoHealth Marketplace can enroll consumers in subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and offers all the same plans as the public and federal exchanges. In addition, GoHealth licensed insurance agents can assist consumers by answering their health-related questions and guiding them through the enrollment process.

Although the Cadillac tax could be changed or eliminated before 2018, it is important for employers to plan for the provision of the Affordable Care Act as it currently stands. Offering employees coverage through private exchanges not only lets business owners avoid the Cadillac tax, but it also allows them to better control their costs, while still offering their employees an affordable health insurance option.

For more information on how to enroll through the GoHealth Marketplace, visit GoHealthInsurance.com.

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King v. Burwell: A GoHealth Recap

A decision is expected this month regarding the Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell. The ruling will decide the fate of more than six million Americans with subsidized health insurance coverage in 34 states. If the Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs, many of the six million individuals will be searching for new – and affordable – coverage.improving mental health care

In advance of the ruling, GoHealth broke down the basics of the case and outlined what’s at stake for millions of Americans.

  • More than 6 million people in states using the federal exchange would lose their subsidized coverage.
  • Right now, these subsidies account for $1.7 billion per month.
  • Those individuals would face an average premium increase of 287%, with the highest increases in Mississippi (650%), Alaska (520%), and Utah (520%).
  • The smallest increase in premiums would occur in Arizona, but premiums would still increase by an average of 132%.
  • The average monthly premium with subsidies in Alaska is currently $100. If the court strikes down subsidies in that state, the average premium would jump to $600.

Remember: If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, you can expect changes for everyone, not just those with subsidized coverage.

  • Premiums would increase by an average of 43% for the entire individual market.
  • All in, an estimated 8 million people would lose coverage due to unaffordable costs.

Pending a decision, subsidies could cease to exist as soon as August. And because individuals are not required to purchase coverage if the cheapest plan in their area costs more than 8% of their income, many people would become exempt from the individual mandate.

What are the potential outcomes? The Supreme Court could:

  • Uphold subsidies in the states at risk of losing them
  • Rule in favor of the plaintiffs and subsidies would be lost

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, what could happen next?

  • The states at risk could set up their own exchanges, but this long and complicated process may not be complete by the time Open Enrollment starts up again on November 1.
  • A bill could be passed to overrule the decision.
  • Other action could be taken, depending on the ruling.

For more about the King v. Burwell case, follow along with GoHealth on Twitter at @GoHealthDotCom.

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It’s National Men’s Health Week!

Men, no more room for excuses: It’s time to get serious about your health. tax fine

Today marks the start of National Men’s Health Week, which strives to raise awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases. It encourages all men and boys to make their health a priority.

Although prevention and early detection are extremely important for men’s health, there are a few steps you can take today to improve your health immediately.

  1. Lose the tobacco. It’s no secret that smoking leads to various diseases, including cancer. Quit today to avoid becoming one of the 16 million people living with a smoking-related disease.
  2. Get more sleep. Although most adults can function with as little as six hours of sleep, the majority of us really need between seven and a half to eight hours to feel our best.
  3. Eat more vegetables. A 45-year-old man who gets at least 30 minutes of exercise a day should consume three and a half cups of vegetables every day. Throw some leafy greens into your morning smoothie for easy integration.
  4. Stay active. Regular exercise can help men decrease their cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and protect against colon cancer, among other benefits. Disguise your workout by choosing a fun activity, like swimming or playing catch.
  5. Get health insurance. Not only does getting health insurance keep you safe from harm and expensive medical bills, but it also helps you avoid the costly tax penalty for going uninsured.

Need help getting health insurance? Have questions about your current coverage? GoHealth can help. Visit GoHealthInsurance.com or call 888-322-7557 today to get the health insurance you need!

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Join GoHealth’s Scott Sullivan at the 2015 IHC Forum and Expo

Scott Sullivan Small 2014

SVP of Sales & Business Development, Scott Sullivan

Scott Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Sales & Business Development, will join leading experts on private exchanges at the Institute for HealthCare Consumerism’s Sixth Annual IHC Forum & Expo in Atlanta from June 23 to 25.

Sullivan will speak on a panel about defined contribution and the private exchange, which is scheduled for Thursday, June 25. Private exchanges and their defined contribution approach symbolize the next generation of health insurance solutions, and Sullivan and the other panelists will discuss how this model can benefit both employers and their employees.

The entirety of the conference will cover health insurance cost-savings, empowerment tools, health care technology solutions, and information on the changing landscape of the health insurance industry.

For more information on the conference, please visit the website. And for more information on Sullivan, GoHealth, and the private exchange, please visit GoHealthInsurance.com.

 

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Top 5 fruits and vegetables for a healthy summer season

Summer is finally just around the corner, and along with warm sunshine and baseball, we can look forward to the abundance of fresh and delicious produce. As an added bonus, many of summer’s fruits and vegetables are healthy choices and bursting with secret health benefits. So fire up the grill, grab a frosty beverage, and make the most of the best time of year with these healthy, seasonal ingredients.

seasonal ingredients

  1. Corn

Nothing says summer season quite like fresh sweet corn on the grill. Corn is packed with antioxidants that may help lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60.

  1. Watermelon

It’s not summer without that first bite into a juicy slice of watermelon. Packed with antioxidants like vitamin C, beta carotene, and lycopene, watermelon is the best natural thirst quencher on a hot summer day. In addition to delivering skin-protecting lycopene, watermelon is 92% water, which can help keep you feel satisfied on fewer calories.

  1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are full of lycopene, which may help prevent prostate cancer. Additionally, consuming more lycopene may protect your skin from sunburn. Use fresh tomatoes to create a summer salad with basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar for a delicious and healthy meal.

  1. Tart Cherries

Drinking tart cherry juice can help you get a better night’s sleep and minimize post-workout pain. Furthermore, compounds in tart cherries may help you slim down: The anthocyanins in this fruit activate a molecule that helps increase fat burning and decrease fat storage.

  1. Raspberries

Raspberries are a great source of fiber and are rich in ellagic acid, a phytochemical that may help prevent cancer. They also have high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants, which help support the immune system.

Looking for other ways to kick off a healthy summer season? Try these heart-healthy foods, fitness trackers, or health apps for a healthier you!  And make sure that you have health insurance coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you’re still uninsured, call 888-322-7557 to speak directly with one of GoHealth’s licensed agents, or start shopping online.

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How to add your baby to your health plan

Congratulations on your new baby! While you are figuring out the whole parenting thing, it is also very important to make sure that your little one has proper health coverage. adding baby

Welcoming a child qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period, a short window of time to sign up for health insurance. However, the clock starts ticking the minute you give birth: You only have 60 days to add a new baby to a plan purchased through a health exchange.

Here are four simple steps for adding a new baby to your health insurance plan:

  1. Review your budget. Make sure you can afford the increase in insurance premiums from the addition of a new baby to the health insurance plan during your Special Enrollment Period. Contact your state’s department of health to learn more about options for low cost coverage.
  1. Notify your health insurance carrier. If you do not notify your insurance provider of the addition of a new baby within the allotted time period, you will be financially responsible for all medical costs.
  1. Submit all required paperwork. Be sure to turn in all paperwork in a prompt and timely manner to add a new baby to your coverage.
  1. Take advantage of the maternity and newborn care covered under the 10 Essential Health Benefits.

We’re here to help you find a plan that meets your growing family’s health and budgeting needs during your Special Enrollment Period.  To speak with a GoHealth licensed insurance agent, call us at 888-322-7557, or start comparing your health plan options here.

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