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World No Tobacco Day: How is smoking affecting my health insurance costs?

World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is an initiative run by the World Health Organization (WHO) to inform the public about the dangers of using tobacco and the widespread prevalence of tobacco use. Today, people across the globe are encouraged to abstain from all tobacco products in order to spread this important health message. And for GoHealth, this is an important initiative to help smokers quit and save money on their health insurance. no tobacco

Research shows that smoking and tobacco use increases the likelihood of many illnesses, including heart attacks, strokes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emphysema, and many forms of cancer. According to WHO, the global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year. More than 600,000 of those people are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke.

The goals of the WNTD campaign are to:

  • Raise awareness about how smoking and using tobacco products harm your health
  • Demonstrate how the tobacco industry has been involved in the illicit trade of tobacco
  • Highlight how the illicit trade of tobacco is a means for criminal groups to finance other organized crime

What’s more, smoking can affect your health insurance opportunities. If you have used tobacco four or more days per week over the past six months, you are considered a smoker under the Affordable Care Act. Smokers can be charged up to 50 percent more for their monthly premiums than non-smokers. In the end, not only is smoking costing you your health, but it’s also costing you money.

Are you a smoker? Join the movement by kicking your smoking habit starting today. Even if you are not a smoker, you can support the cause by sharing this important message with your friends and family who do smoke.

Take another step in protecting your health by getting health insurance coverage. Call 888-322-7557 to speak directly with one of GoHealth’s licensed agents, or start shopping online.

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If I have short-term health insurance, can I still get fined?

Short-term health insurance provides a temporary solution to fill gaps in your health coverage. If you miss Open Enrollment, a short-term plan will fill the gap until the next Open Enrollment Period begins, so your financial security is not jeopardized if you get sick or injured.short term sick

Short-term health insurance is a good choice for people who are in between coverage options, are exempt from the individual mandate to buy health insurance, or want health coverage outside of Open Enrollment.

However, a short-term plan does not exclude you from facing the fine for going uninsured. In order to avoid the fine, you must obtain minimal essential coverage as outlined by the Affordable Care Act.

What are the benefits of short-term plans?

  • Low cost health insurance
  • Approval as early as tomorrow
  • 30 days to 12 months of coverage
  • Helps bridge gaps in times of transition

What are the downsides of short-term plans?

  • Doesn’t cover preexisting conditions
  • Doesn’t count as minimum essential coverage
  • Doesn’t provide the essential health benefits
  • Primarily acts as catastrophic coverage
  • Limited selection of doctors

If you’re still uninsured, short-term coverage may be a good option for you. GoHealth can help you find the best plan for your medical and budget needs. Call 888-322-7557 to speak directly with one of GoHealth’s licensed agents, or start shopping online.

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Tips to control those springtime allergies

Spring is finally here! And unfortunately, so are your allergies. Seasonal allergies and hay fever affect 35 million Americans, and another 20 million Americans suffer from springtime allergens due to asthma.allergies

If you have seasonal allergies, do you know if your health insurance covers allergy medications? Let’s take a look into what all that sneezing really means and how you can treat your allergy symptoms.

Why do I have seasonal allergies?

If you have an allergy, your immune system mistakes an otherwise harmless allergen as a bodily invasion. The immune system overreacts to the allergen by producing antibodies, which travel to cells that release histamine and other chemicals, thereby causing an allergic reaction.

What triggers an allergic reaction?

The most common allergens include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Food
  • Insect stings
  • Animal dander
  • Mold
  • Medications
  • Latex

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) warns that many allergy and asthma sufferers will start to see symptoms if there are more than 20 pollen grains per cubic meter of air or over 6,500 mold spores per cubic meter of air. To see how many allergens are in the air where you live, use this pollen and mold counter.

What are the most common allergy symptoms?

  • Itchy nose, roof of the mouth, throat, and eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Tearing eyes
  • Dark circles under the eyes

Are allergy treatments covered by my health insurance?

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you can no longer be denied coverage due to a preexisting condition. So if you have seasonal allergies or asthma and need health insurance to help cover the cost of treatment, you can enroll in a health plan during Open Enrollment.

Although experiencing allergy symptoms is not considered a Qualifying Life Event, there are other circumstances that may allow you to enroll in a plan outside of Open Enrollment. If you move, have a baby, or get married, you may qualify for a special enrollment opportunity where you can get health insurance up to 60 days after you experience your life event.

What can I do to prevent seasonal allergies?

The best way to reduce allergy symptoms is to reduce your exposure to these allergens. Here are some affective ways to keep allergens at bay:

  • Keep windows closed when pollen and mold counts are high
  • Use High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in your home
  • Wear a dust mask to do yard work
  • Don’t hang-dry items outside
  • Limit outdoor activities during days with high pollen counts
  • Take a shower after coming indoors

There are also many safe and effective allergy medications sold over-the-counter to relieve symptoms. Some health insurance companies may even provide coverage for allergy shots.

Find an in-network doctor and make an appointment to start managing your symptoms today.

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3 fitness trackers for a healthy lifestyle

Over the past few years, it seems the most popular fashion accessory has become a fitness tracker. With sleek and attractive designs, various brands of fitness trackers are encouraging Americans to track everything about their health, from steps to sleep patterns.  But which one is right for your health and lifestyle? We’ve outlined three different options to help you find the right fitness tracker.jawbone

Fitbit Flex

$99.95

Fitbit claims you can make fitness a lifestyle, simply by slipping on this attractive, thin band. It tracks your daily activity, including calories burned, steps taken, and distance traveled. This tracker also works as an alarm clock with a soothing vibration, and it’s water-resistant with a 5-day battery life to fit your busy fitness lifestyle. To better analyze your daily stats, you can also easily sync your wireless devices. And did we mention that it comes in a variety of vibrant colors?

Nike+ FuelBand SE

$99

This fitness band also tracks sleep, calories, and steps, but differently than the others, this also tracks Nike Fuel points. It aims to improve calorie burn by allowing you to log different types of workouts to acquire fitness points. You can also stay up-to-date with your Nike+ friends by sharing health and fitness goals and updates for that extra push of motivation. The water-resistant band automatically syncs with the iPhone app, but it is not compatible with Android devices.

Jawbone UP2

$99.99

This second-level Jawbone fitness tracker does everything you want it to do, plus more. You’ll keep track of steps, calories, and exercise throughout the day, track hours and quality of sleep throughout the night, and log meals and track calories with the UP barcode scanner, food database, and restaurant menu search. On top of that, Smart Coach gives you personalized tips and insights to help improve your health. Not sure you need all those bells and whistles? Try the Jawbone UP MOVE for just $49.99.

Looking for even more healthy living tips? Check out the six free health apps for a healthier you.

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Can my prescription deductible be separate from my medical deductible?

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45 percent of Marketplace Silver plans offered in 2015 had separate prescription and medical deductibles. Do you know if your plan has separate medical and prescription deductibles? More importantly, do you know what a deductible is?prescription

Let’s start with the basics. A deductible is the amount of money you must pay for covered health care services before your health insurance or plan starts contributing. This amount is bigger or smaller based on the plan you choose. Deductibles tend to be greater with a lower level metal plan (Bronze or Silver) than with a higher metal level plan, like Gold.

Depending on what plan you’ve selected, you may have separate deductibles for prescription medications and all other medical expenses. In Marketplace Silver plans where the deductibles are separate, the average prescription deductible in 2015 was $335. It’s important to pay attention to whether or not your plan has a separate prescription deductible to avoid a surprise during your next pharmacy visit.

Even more importantly, if your plan does have a prescription drug deductible, then it’s in your best interest to take generic prescription drugs. Taking generic prescriptions rather than name-brand drugs can save you from having to pay your prescription deductible; you’ll only owe your generic prescription drug co-pay.

If you have any other questions about your health insurance or prescription medications, be sure to consult your primary care physician about your options. GoHealth can also help you find a plan with either a combined or separate deductible based on your preference. Visit GoHealthInsurance.com or call 888-322-7557 to get started today.

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Special health insurance enrollment opportunities

Outside of Open Enrollment, you can only purchase a major medical health insurance if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Most SEPs are granted for Qualifying Life Events, such as getting married, having a baby, or moving to a new statecomplicated cases

However, there are also some complex cases that may give you the opportunity to buy health insurance outside of Open Enrollment:

  • Exceptional circumstances: You faced a serious medical condition that prevented you from enrolling
  • Misinformation or misrepresentation: Misinformation from a health insurance company or agent resulted in you enrolling in the wrong plan
  • Enrollment error: Your health insurance application was rejected due to missing data
  • System errors related to immigration status: A processing error caused your immigration eligibility to be inaccurate when you applied for health insurance
  • Incorrect Medicaid transfers: You were incorrectly advised to be Medicaid eligible
  • Victims of domestic abuse: You were not allowed to enroll and receive a tax subsidy separately from your spouse
  • Other system errors: You experienced other system errors that prevented you from enrolling in health insurance
  • Inability to complete enrollment before Open Enrollment ended

If you think you qualify for an SEP, speak with one of GoHealth’s licensed agents today to find the best health plan for you. Not sure if you qualify for one of these exceptions? GoHealth’s agents can help with that, too. Call 888-322-7557 to speak directly with an agent, or start shopping online.

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Celebrate your health with National Women’s Health Week!

National Women’s Health Week kicked off on Mother’s Day and runs through May 16, and there’s no better time to work toward being your healthiest you.NWHW

The goal of National Women’s Health Week is to empower women to make their health a priority and to help women understand what steps they can take to improve their overall health. This National Women’s Health Week, we want to help you take control of your health.

What steps can I take for a healthier me?

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Schedule regular checkups with your primary care physician
  • Take advantage of Obamacare’s free preventive care
  • Avoid risky behaviors, including smoking, excessive drinking, and not using a seat belt
  • Enroll in health insurance during Open Enrollment
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage stress
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep

How can I participate in National Women’s Health Week?

  • Spread the word through social media with the #NWHW hashtag
  • Take the National Women’s Health Week pledge
  • Learn what steps you should take for good health based on your age

Take the first step towards a healthier you by getting health insurance coverage today. Call 888-322-7557 to speak directly with one of GoHealth’s licensed agents, or start shopping online today for health insurance for you and your family.

 

 

 

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Moving? Here’s your health insurance checklist.

Most people understand the stresses that can potentially accompany a big move: finding a good school district for your kids, adjusting to a new neighborhood, settling in to a new routine, and obviously packing up your whole life into a few boxes. Even with all of these changes, it’s important to put your health insurance coverage at the top of your checklist. moving

Moving to a new state or oftentimes within the same state is considered a Qualifying Life Event, which means you may be able to enroll in a new health plan outside of Open Enrollment. Other Qualifying Life Events include having a baby, getting married, and getting divorced.

If you are also starting a new job, make sure that you talk to the human resources department to learn about your new health insurance policy before moving. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and make sure that your most pressing costs – such as your medications – are covered under any policy changes.

Even if you aren’t leaving your current company, your health insurance options and the cost of your health care could still change. Find out if there are any changes in the group policy or if your health insurance costs differ from city to city. Plan ahead and get educated about what to expect after your big move.

Planning a move sometime in the near future? Or have you experienced a different Qualifying Life Event? Visit GoHealthInsurance.com today or call 888-322-7557 to talk to a licensed agent about your options before you take that next step.

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Health insurance options for recent graduates

Are you about to graduate from college? In addition to getting a job, finding a place to live, and generally figuring out what you want to do with your life, you may also find yourself struggling with how to obtain health insurance.millennials

Fortunately, recent graduates have choices when it comes to enrolling in a health plan. One option for many young adults is to get covered under a parent’s plan until the age of 26. Even if you are married or not living at home, this provision of Obamacare still holds true, as long as your parent agrees.

For others, if your student health plan ends when you graduate, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. This means you can enroll in a qualified health plan outside of Open Enrollment. Getting married, having a baby, and other various life changes would also qualify you for this special enrollment opportunity. But remember: You only have 60 days from the time your student health plan ends to get new health insurance, so don’t delay your enrollment.

But how do you find the right plan that works for your needs? A Catastrophic plan may be the right choice for you. This type of plan is an affordable way to protect against the high costs of injury or illness. Catastrophic plans cover three primary care visits a year, as well as some additional health benefits.

However, a Catastrophic plan is just one option; it may not be your best option. To find a plan that’s right for you, connect with a GoHealth licensed agent. These experts can walk you through the enrollment process and answer any health insurance-related questions you may have along the way.

No matter how you choose to go about it, remember that it’s important to get new health insurance once your current plan ends. Going without health insurance means you could face a very costly fine next year at tax time. All recent graduates should visit GoHealthInsurance.com today or call 888-322-7557 to talk to a licensed agent about your options.

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Your deadline is here! Get health insurance now.

By now, you’ve probably heard that uninsured Americans who did not know about the tax penalty until after the February 15 Open Enrollment deadline were given more time to enroll. Well, that time is finally about to expire. If you qualify, today is the last day to get health insurance!tax penalty

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Going without major medical health insurance means that you’ll face a fine come tax time next year. This fine only gets bigger year after year, so it can actually be less expensive to enroll in a health plan.
  2. If you don’t get health insurance by tonight, you won’t have another opportunity to do so until Open Enrollment begins again in the fall. That’s a long time risk facing high out-of-pocket medical costs for injuries and illnesses.
  3. GoHealth can help you find the right plan for your budget and medical needs. You can either enroll online yourself or get assistance from a licensed agent over the phone. Either way, you’ll be able to compare thousands of plans and rates side by side.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Visit GoHealthInsurance.com and get the health insurance you need now.

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