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Men’s Health: Staying Well after Age 50

In the United States, the average life expectancy of a woman is about 81 years while men are expected to live on average until age 76. While there are many reasons why this may be the case, here’s one to consider – proactive disease prevention. Compared to women, men make only half as many preventive care visits to the doctor and are significantly more likely to suffer from things like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Preventive visits are critical once you hit the age 50. Check out this list of five key tests that health experts recommend for men after age 50.

Health Screening for Men

 

The list above is just a starting point for preventive care measures after age 50. Talk to your doctor to begin the appropriate health checks for you. The goal is to catch signs of trouble early, so illnesses are easier to treat.

 

 

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Six Free Health Apps For A Healthier You

App blogNever have the words ‘your health is in your hands’ been truer. As our ‘smartphones’ get even smarter, so does our capability to understand life’s various complexities on the go (cue the Run and Pee app which tells you the best times to go pee during a movie and then fills you in on what you missed during your bathroom break!). Check out this list of six free health apps that will have you on the way to a healthier lifestyle no matter how busy you may be.

Drugs.com
What It Does: The question might as well be what doesn’t it do! This app makes it easy to look up drug info, identify pills, check interactions that might occur when multiple drugs are taken at the same time, and set up your own personal medication records for FDA alerts, and food allergy and medical condition interactions. Plus, it has a huge database of questions and answers and a Symptom Checker to help you make informed medical decisions.

RunKeeper
Why It’s Cool: Because it’s known as the best running app out there! RunKeeper does all the basic stuff you would expect (tracking runs, bike rides, and a bunch of other fitness activities) but also helps motivate and guide you towards your goals with features like pre-planned biking and running routes, training workout plans made by renowned coaches, and audio updates throughout your workout. Plus, it seamlessly syncs with other apps you may be using for nutrition, sleep monitoring, weight tracking, and even your phone’s music app.

Fooducate
What It Can Do For You: Ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed when comparing nutritional information between products? Fooducate assigns foods and beverages a grade between A to D using an algorithm that takes into account it’s nutrients, ingredients, product category, processing, and fortification – making it easier for you to making healthy decisions. Use this app to help you lose weight, find healthier alternatives to foods you already consume, or simplify your next grocery trip!

Daily Yoga
Harmony At Your Fingertips: This yoga app offers instructional videos, yoga sessions tailored to your experience level, calming music, live voice instructions, and a social community to get you motivated! Yoga sessions vary in intensity levels, target different areas (abs, chest, and hips to name a few) and accomplish various goals like weight loss, making it perfect for beginners and seasoned yoginis alike.

My Diet Coach
Your Mental Coach In The World Of Dieting: This app will be your newest BFF in the complex world of dieting by helping you resist cravings, set personalized reminders (like eating all your veggies) and stay on track you with inspirational pictures and quotes during your weak moments. Plus the app helps set up and track daily challenges like hitting the gym, avoiding junk food, or cooking a healthy meal and rewards you when you reach your goal.

HealthTap
The Next Best Thing To Having A Doctor In The Family: Imagine having access to more than 62,000 of the world’s best doctors at your fingertips – that’s exactly what HealthTap does. Talk to a doctor live at anytime and receive personalized answers without having to visit the doctor’s office.HealthTap also has customized checklists created by doctors to help you achieve various goals like losing weight, managing a chronic condition, or maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Be sure to check out these free apps but remember to always use your best judgment when you’re feeling unwell – our smartphones may be smart, but not as smart as us!

 

 

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Chicago Developers Learn Grails Framework at GoHealth-Sponsored Meetup

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Jeff Gutierrez, GoHealth Vice President of Software Architecture, welcoming developers to the Meetup event in Chicago.

If there are three things to bring Chicago web developers together, it’s free food, craft beer and technology. Nearly 100 people came out for all three at a GoHealth-sponsored Meetup event through the Chicago Java Users Group. The event showed developers how to get started with Grails framework, an open source web application.

The Meetup, which took place on August 7th in Chicago, was also a great networking opportunity for technology professionals. GoHealth developers and technical recruiters attended the Meetup, as well as our Vice President of Software Architecture, Jeff Gutierrez, who kicked off the event.

GoHealth was pleased to sponsor the Meetup, providing sandwiches, beverages and our super fly GoHealth sunglasses for attendees.

gohealthglasses3 (3)

Attendees walked away with these GoHealth-branded summer shades!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the event, and a special thanks to Cedric Hurst, Director of Sponsorship at Chicago Java Users Group (CJUG), Bob Paulin, Community Leader at CJUG, as well as Mike Lanyon, Vice President of Engineering at Critical Mass for organizing this Meetup.

If you missed the Grails presentations, you can watch them here.

To check out GoHealth’s open technology positions, head to our careers page.

 

 

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Seven Tips to Start Your Morning off Right

Wake up

The blaring alarm, the knee-jerk reaction of hitting your snooze button, being able to find that perfect comfy spot within a nano-second, convincing yourself you really only need 6 minutes to get ready today and hitting snooze a second time – sound familiar?

Getting up in the morning isn’t the easiest thing to do but it can set the tone for the rest of your day. Making small changes to your usual routine can have positive effects on your daily productivity, mood, and overall health.

Check out this list of seven tips to start your morning off right.

Stop the Snoozefest

We understand the temptation, really we do, but hitting the snooze button actually sets you back for the rest of the day. When you hit the snooze button and fall back asleep, you begin a new sleep cycle which you don’t have time to finish. The result? That groggy feeling that can last all day. Avoid this indulgence by putting your alarm a few feet from your bed so, you’re forced to get up and get moving!

S-T-R-E-T-C-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H

So you got your head off the pillow – nicely done! It’s time to wake up your body, which has been in the same position for the last few hours. Stretching in the morning can improve posture, loosen up muscles, increase flexibility, and boost your circulatory system. Start with light, basic stretches like stretching your arms straight above your head, with your palms facing the ceiling – hold for 15 seconds.

Don’t Forget to Breathe

Ever thought about how you’re breathing in the morning? Neither did we until we learned that breathing exercises could help lower blood pressure, improve concentration, and release any anxiety you may have about your day.  Try this quick exercise: Hold your breath and tense your body for three seconds. Then open your mouth and exhale, while releasing all the tension in your body.

Fill Up On H2O

We understand the need for coffee in the morning but drinking water instead has an endless list of benefits. Add a twist by squeezing lemon juice into room temperature water to boost the immune system, cleanse the liver, improve your metabolism, combat bad breath causing bacteria, and alleviate constipation. Plus, you’ll have a head start on the recommended 7-8 daily glasses!

Break Your Fast

Even if you’re not hungry, your brain is! The brain needs glucose from food in order to work well, so don’t skip this important meal even if you’re not feeling hungry. Not only will eating a breakfast leave you feeling more alert, you’re also more likely to make healthy choices throughout the day and less likely to give into cravings. Try high-fiber, low glycemic index breakfast items like oatmeal, egg whites, lean meats, whole-grain toast or bagels.

Put Some Pep In Your Step

Whether it’s Sir Elton John’s ‘The Circle of Life’ from The Lion King or OutKast’s ‘Hey Ya,’ tunes have a long list benefits for our health. Start your morning off with your favorite beats to get you in a good mood that’s likely to persist throughout the day. (Bonus points for adding your own dance move in!)

Be Thankful

Cheesy? Maybe, but we often don’t take out the time to appreciate everything we’ve been blessed with and spend all day working for. So, before you start the hustle we call life; take some time to celebrate your health, loved ones, and well, life!

 

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GoHealth Breaks Down Conflicting Rulings on Obamacare Subsidies

State of the Union Address and MedicareTwo separate federal appeals court panels made opposite rulings that could potentially impact how much millions of people pay for health insurance.

Details on the Decisions
States can decide whether to use the federal government’s marketplace (HealthCare.gov) to help people shop for health insurance, or create their own online insurance exchange. On Tuesday, the panel from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided that based on the way the Affordable Care Act was written, states that use the federal exchange cannot offer tax subsidies that lower the cost of health coverage. Based on that decision, tax subsidies would become invalid in 36 states, impacting about 5 million people who qualified for lower-cost health coverage.

Hours after that ruling, a separate federal appeals court panel in Virginia unanimously upheld the law and ruled that it is legal to offer tax subsidies in both state-run exchanges and the federal insurance exchange.

What’s at Stake
The potential long-term impact of this issue is significant because it could change how much people pay for individual or family health coverage. The tax subsidies at issue were established to make health coverage more affordable; without them the majority of consumers who enrolled in marketplace health insurance this year would have to pay substantially more for their coverage.

For example, on the federal marketplace, the average monthly premium is $346, but with tax subsidies the average monthly premium is only $82. That’s more than $250 in savings that people can use to buy groceries, pay bills or put fuel in their tanks.  Based on the ruling out of D.C., people in the 14 states that run their own health insurance exchanges would not be able to access those savings.  The 14 states includes California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachesetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, plus the District of Columbia.

The Impact on the Public
What’s most important for people to know is that their health plans and the price they pay for them remains the same. Despite today’s rulings, the law remains intact. The entire legal process must play out before consumers could be affected, and it’s reported that this case will likely reach the Supreme Court.

Emily Pierce, Deputy Director of the Justice Department’s office of public affairs said, “In the Meantime, to be clear, people getting premium tax credits should know that nothing has changed; tax credits remain available.”

The marketplaces are still allowing subsidies to be applied to premiums and people who are eligible can currently still shop for and enroll in qualified health plans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

As a federally approved marketplace, GoHealthInsurance.com is operating as usual. People who choose to enroll on GoHealthInsurance.com not only have access to tax subsidies to lower the cost of health coverage, but also licensed insurance advisors who can recommend plans and answer your health insurance questions.

So although the ruling has potential to impact how much consumers pay for coverage, it’s important to remember that the law remains unchanged and a long legal process must take place before you could be impacted.

 

 

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Your Roadmap to Health Coverage when Expecting a Baby

small-pregoWith a baby on the way, many things are bound to change – your appetite (hello 2 a.m. pickle cravings), your body, and your health coverage needs. In between the food cravings and maternity jeans, you have an important decision to make to protect your family’s well being. It’s time to start shopping for the right health insurance plan. As you begin this process, here are a three things you should know:

1. Having a child gives you a special opportunity to buy health insurance

The health care reform law established a designated time period during which people can shop for health coverage. If you buy a plan during the Open Enrollment Period you’ll  receive guaranteed benefits including maternity care. But what happens if you missed the open enrollment period, which ended on March 31, 2014?  Good news — welcoming a child qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period – a short window of time to sign up for health insurance typically sold during open enrollment. You have 60 days from the birth of your child to buy health coverage with guaranteed benefits such as maternity care.

2.You can no longer be charged more for being pregnant

Remember that long list of questions you had to answer when applying for health coverage? That was used by health insurance companies to determine the rate they’d charge you for insurance. Historically, if you were expecting a child, you would be charged more or denied coverage. Under the new health care law, you cannot be denied coverage or charged more if you buy insurance during Open Enrollment or a Special Enrollment Period.

3. You can save money if your doctor is in your network

Health insurance companies negotiate lower rates with a specific network of physicians and hospitals to help keep costs low. You can save money on out-of-pocket costs by staying within that network.  If there is an OB/GYN or pediatrician you prefer, consider a health plan that includes that doctor in its network. We’re here to help you find a plan that lists your preferred doctor in network and balances your health needs and your budget. To work with a GoHealth Licensed Advisor for free, call us at (888) 322-7557. We’re happy to help.

 

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How to Meditate at Work Without Getting Caught

Meetings, conference calls, reports, audits, and trainings – the to-do list at work never seems to get shorter. As the stress and frustration of the day escalates, it’s likely that you’re less focused and productive at work (i.e. logging onto Facebook, finding a recipe for tonight’s dinner, or reading every bit of news out there.) How many times have we told ourselves to focus only to steer off course again? Controlling our wandering mind and shifting focus back to the task at hand can often seem impossible.

What if there was a technique for working with the mind that in turn helped reduce stress, improved focus, and boosted productivity? Meditation is a natural way of learning about the mind and using what we learn to improve how our mind works. Not only this, but it can be done at anytime, in any place and for any period of time – which makes it perfect for that point in the day when you just can’t seem to get any work done. Check out this list of meditation techniques that are both easy and fun even in the office!

Meditate

Find Your Happy Mantra

Pick a positive word (peace is a good one). Plant your feet flat on the ground and take deep, calm breaths while repeating the word in your mind. Do this for a minute and then repeat. Your mind may wander and that’s normal, just come back to your word.

Walking Meditation

Take a walk outside for a few minutes. Focus on your body and the sensations as you walk – the ground under your feet, the sun on your skin, the air around you and how your body is working harmoniously with very little thought from you. Do this on your way to lunch as a way to detach yourself from the tasks at hand or on the way to a meeting to release any stress.

Smile Meditation

Similar to the Happy Mantra, conjure up a happy memory from the past or think of an image like a waterfall or the open sky. Make your image as descriptive as possible – add colors, smell, sounds. Think of how you feel in that moment and let that feeling wash away your work thoughts and stress. Don’t worry about how long you need to do this, just relax and smile.

Breathing Meditation

Take a deep breath and focus on the air as it travels through your body. Count to five and then breathe out slowly. Repeat this as many times as you can. Do this before a presentation to release stress or after a meeting that may not have gone too well.

Body-Minded Meditation

Plant your feet flat on the ground. Focus on the top of your head and work your way down shifting the attention to your eyes, nose, shoulders, chest, hips, knees, calves, and feet. Check to see if any spot feels tense and spread sensations of relaxation to that area. Once your reach your toes, work your way back to the tip of your head.

The trick to meditation is finding what works for you and building on it over time. Meditation can have resounding effects beyond the work environment leading to healthy relationships with others and yourself. Try the techniques above to get started and let us know what works for you!

 

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Governor of CT Participates in GoHealth Round Table

GoHealth, was honored to host The 3rd Annual GoHealth Round Table on Healthcare Reform. The event gave participants an opportunity to discuss and share their experiences in the health insurance industry amid a rapidly changing regulatory landscape.

Brandon Cruz, President of GoHealth; Governor Dannel Malloy, State of Connecticut; Clint Jones, CEO of GoHealth

 

Governor Dannel P. Malloy, State of Connecticut, gave the keynote address.  Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT, shared insights on the success of Connecticut’s health insurance exchange during the first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act.

Brandon Cruz,  President of GoHealth, and Clint Jones, CEO of GoHealth, offered their perspectiveS.  They discussed GoHealth’s dedication to empowering consumers with information and tools to make smart choices on health coverage and better understand how healthcare reform impacts them. They also stressed the importance of educating people on how to best utilize their chosen plan to live well and lower healthcare expenses.

GoHealth was grateful to host all participants, including state regulators, leaders from top health insurance carriers, investors and distinguished guests. GoHealth extends its appreciation to all guests for contributing to a thoughtful discussion and offering diverse perspectives on healthcare reform.

The 3rd Annual GoHealth Round Table on Healthcare Reform took place on June 24, 2014 in Chicago, IL.

 

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Moving Creates a Special Opportunity to Buy Obamacare

So I Made the Move!
Nearly 12% of all Americans did this last year and will continue to do it an average of 12 times in their lifetime – moving. There’s a long list of things you need to worry about during a move like finding the best school district for your kids, adjusting to a new job, or the heart-wrenching question of where your football allegiance will now lie. With so much change at once, it can be easy to let something slip, but if there’s one thing to put at the top of your to-do list –  it’s health coverage.

What About My Coverage?
It might be time to replace it. If you moved to a new zip code, you may find that most doctors are no longer in your insurance company’s network. Plus, your new location may offer different health plans and prices that better cater to your needs, so it’s worth shopping for a replacement. Competition, local regulation and cost of living all factor into premium rates – so you may be able to change your coverage and save some money!

Didn’t Open Enrollment End?
It did. Open enrollment ended on March 31, but you may still qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to enroll in or change your existing health plan. Why? Because moving is a Qualifying Life Event – which is just insurance-speak for a significant change that qualifies you to buy coverage with the same benefits typically offered during open enrollment. So if you move to a new area that offers different coverage options than your previous zip code, than you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. This is true even if your current plan is still offered in your new location.

How Do I Started?
GoHealth can help determine your eligibility for a Special Enrollment Period and help you find a new health plan. Our licensed insurance advisors are authorized to enroll you in Obamacare plans during an SEP, so call (888) 322-7557 to get started. You can start shopping online for plans available in your new zip code. Don’t put this off, because Special Enrollment Periods generally lasts 60 days from your move, so find your new plan before it’s too late.

The Bottom Line
Moving can be a very overwhelming time, but be sure to prioritize your health through the process. Take deep breaths, tackle your to-do list bit by bit and embrace the new opportunities that come your way.

 

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New Dad and GoHealth Executive’s Tip on Balancing Work and Family

Michael Mahoney and his son Thatcher, 3.

Michael Mahoney and his son Thatcher.

As a business executive and father to a three-month-old son, Michael Mahoney, GoHealth Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing, manages competing demands from family and work. The first-time dad shares his secret to maintaining success in the office and at home with his son.

I have found that the key to my success as a father and business leader is to make time at the right time – both for family and business. That means not only deciding when to be in or out of the office but also when to be engaged (even remotely) and how to prioritize your time while at work.

Let’s say you have a report due at 6:00PM. Do you understand the core nature of it? Who will use the information and how? If you were tasked with another opportunity or problem instead of the report, would you produce different information?

Thinking this way can lead to a better understanding of the core issues and more impactful work. This means not only getting more done in less time but stepping outside of delegated tasks to tackle bigger opportunities, ones that you would not otherwise be able to solve if you were just focused on what was “assigned” to you.

If you are able to embrace this approach, you’ll be working when the business needs you and with your family when the business does not. By making a concerted effort to be present and engaged in your child’s life, you’re focused on maximizing what matters at work and minimizing what does not. That can have a very positive effect on your business, simply because of the mindset it engenders.

Fortunately, our company praises impact over input, so it’s a lot easier to think and work this way at GoHealth than at a company with a different mentality. -Michael Mahoney, GoHealth Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing

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