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4 changes to this year’s Open Enrollment

by Lauren Mandel and Elizabeth Fay

Obamacare Open Enrollment for individuals starts on November 1. You’ve browsed around for a new plan, discussed your budget with your family, and know you’ll feel prepared to enroll in the right coverage by the time that date arrives.

But as we enter the third year of Open Enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, there are a few changes you should expect and prepare for before the deadline hits.  Shocked

New Key Dates

While last year’s Open Enrollment also started in November, this year’s enrollment period has shifted a bit. You can start your enrollment on November 1, 2015, but you must have new coverage by January 31, 2016.

Changing Premium Rates

Premium rates nationwide are increasing an average of 4 percent. However, don’t assume you’ll be paying more for coverage: Changes to rates vary depending on location, from a 10 percent decrease in Seattle to a 29 percent increase in Minneapolis.  Be sure to evaluate all of your options before enrolling in a plan.

Tax Penalty Increases

All Americans are required to have health insurance, and the fine for going uninsured is increasing this year. If you choose to go without health insurance in 2016, you will face a fine of $695 or 2.5 percent of your income, whichever is great. That’s up from $325 or 2 percent of your income from last year.

Tax Subsidy Changes

Most shoppers will qualify for financial assistance from the federal government to help pay for their health insurance. This year, the income ranges to qualify for financial assistance have changed slightly, so be sure to receive your tax subsidy estimate before enrolling in a plan.

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3 Open Enrollment dates you need to know

by Lauren Mandel 

You may have heard Open Enrollment begins sometime this fall, but what are the exact dates? What is the time period you need to know to ensure you get the coverage you need on time?

We outlined when the time period begins in November and ends at the beginning of next year – plus one other important date you might not have heard about.

Open Enrollment Key Dates 2015 v2

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6 Healthy Versions of Your Favorite Comfort Food Recipes

by Lauren Mandel

As soon as that first fall breeze sweeps through our neighborhood, we’re ready to whip up some comfort food. Creamy soups, hearty pastas, and warm chocolate chip cookies, just to name a few.seasonal ingredients

But when you’re trying to watch your waistline during the colder months, it can be hard to find a balance between healthy and delicious at breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and snack time, if we’re being honest).

Instead of depriving yourself of your favorite fall comfort foods, try one of these healthier versions of your favorite classics. They’re sure to hit the spot.


Baked Mozzarella Bites from My Recipes

Your kids might love classic mozzarella sticks, but you don’t necessarily love them eating fried food as an afternoon snack. Instead, put the coated cheese in the oven for a healthier baked version the whole family will love.


Whole-Wheat Blueberry Pancakes from Health

If you’re craving something sweet for breakfast, these whole-wheat blueberry pancakes could be your next favorite recipe. By choosing whole-wheat pancake mix and soy milk as the star ingredients, you’re cutting calories without sacrificing flavor.


Light Chicken Pot Pie from Food Network Kitchen

Everyone loves a hearty, rich chicken pot pie. But the added calories that comes with it? Not so much. If you’re craving the flavor but not the fat, try this lightened up version. It uses a small amount of 2% milk and Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream.


Barley Minestrone from Good Housekeeping

Perfect for a chilly day, this soup is packed full of whole grains and vegetables, including zucchini, carrots, and tomatoes. Not only is it healthy and easy to make, but it will keep you feeling full for hours after you finish your bowl.


Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from My Recipes

For those who need to avoid gluten, finding a good cookie recipe can be tough. These peanut butter chocolate chips treats are a game changer. They’re rich, chewy, and bake through in just 10 minutes.


Healthier Meat Lasagna from Martha Stewart

We all know pasta isn’t the healthiest dinner option, but when you swap in whole-wheat noodles for the traditional version, low-fat cottage cheese for the usual full-fat, and lean, ground sirloin for fatty pork sausage, you have a delicious, healthier lasagna recipe.

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GoHealth Access: The health care tool you need now

by Lauren Mandel and Adam Tock

This year’s Open Enrollment begins on November 1, and although you’re planning to find a new health insurance plan, you may still find yourself wondering how you move forward once your enrollment is complete. How will you actually use the plan you find? And how can you save even more money on health care?

GoHealth Access, our newest health care tool, helps you do both of those things, and more. From saving up to 60 percent on prescription drugs to chatting with your very own Personal Health Assistant, GoHealth Access is the tool you need in today’s ever-evolving health care world.

We’ve outlined all the details for you in the below infographic, and you can visit to find out which plan option is right for you.

GoHealth Access overview infographic final2

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Your rainbow healthy eating guide

by Lauren Mandel

You’ve heard it said many times: If you eat the colors of the rainbow, your healthy diet will be in pretty good shape. But it’s not always as easy to think of colorful foods as it is to think of the colors themselves.Superfoods (2)

Some colors have endless healthy-eating possibilities (ahem, green), while when it comes to others, we’re still not sure if any naturally-colored foods even exist (we’re looking at you, blue). To get you started, we’ve outlined many beautiful colors and their corresponding healthy foods you should start eating now.


Let’s start with the obvious: Tomatoes are constantly hailed as an all-mighty produce option, packed with Vitamin C, biotin, potassium, and tons of other vitamins and minerals. Cranberries offer anti-oxidant and anti-cancer health benefits, while raspberries fight against many types of cancer and heart disease. Sweet beets boost your immunity and fight off the risk of birth defects.


Turmeric is a spice that has long been used in Chinese and Indian medicine as an anti-inflammatory used to treat jaundice, toothaches, and a laundry list of other conditions. Crunchy carrots help fight the signs of aging while giving you beautiful skin and protecting against cancer. Pumpkin (which is perfectly in season) aids in weight loss and keeps your eyesight sharp. And you can find basically all your necessary vitamins in sweet potatoes.


Although saffron is red in its raw form, this spice becomes yellow once cooked and is used to help asthma, insomnia, depression, and heartburn.  Sweet and flavorful corn is full of fiber, which aids in digestion. Drinking a glass of fresh lemon water every day could help boost your immune system and improve colon health.


The health benefits of limes include weight loss, improved complexion, and improved digestion.  The avocado craze as of late could be partially attributed to the vegetable’s high healthy fat and vitamin content. Edamame is a delicious source of fiber and protein, especially for vegetarians who need the added value.


Although there is no known naturally blue food, the fact that blueberries have the word “blue” in their name is reason enough for us to include them in this category. These powerful, healthy fruits can help protect against urinary-tract infections, block the growth of cancerous tumor cells, and reverse age-related memory loss.


Eggplant is high in chlorogenic acid, a healthy plant compound that is extremely high in antioxidants. Figs are filled with vitamin A, vitamins B1 and B2, calcium, iron, and potassium.


If you’re looking to curb hunger, grab a grapefruit. It can also help lower bad cholesterol and boost your metabolism. Different from the black variety, pink peppercorns are filled with essential oils and plant-derived chemical compounds. It’s no secret that salmon is a superfood. Grab the wild variety for a strong dose of omega-3 fatty acids.


Coconut has a blend of fatty acids which can aid in fat loss and increase brain function. Carry a mint with you, but eat garlic to lower blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease, and improve bone health. Feeling sick? Ginger can help treat stomach problems, including morning sickness, upset stomach, and nausea.

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World Heart Day – 7 Healthy Heart Facts

by Lauren Mandel

This year’s World Heart Day is a chance for every individual to take control of their heart health and prevent against cardiovascular disease.worldHeartDay

Did you know cardiovascular disease includes both heart disease and stroke? There are so many facts about our heart health that not everyone might know. So this World Heart Day, we’re sharing some valuable information that could help you improve your health, or even save your life or the life of someone you love.

1. It can happen to anyone. About one in four people die every year from heart disease, and it is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.

2. Find your healthy weight. You can help determine your own healthy weight by calculating your body mass index (BMI). The Heart Foundation has a simple calculator to help you obtain an accurate BMI.

3. Get moving. One study found those who owned both a car and a TV had a 27 percent higher risk of heart attack. So if you spend a lot of time sitting, be sure to get moving for at least 30 minutes every day.

4. Hearts can literally break. It’s been found that heart attacks are far more likely to occur in an individual who may be experiencing sadness or grief due to the recent death of a partner or loved one.

5. Know the signs. Signs of heart attack can be different in men and women, with men often experiencing chest pain and women often experiencing nausea, indigestion, and shoulder aches.

6. Know the risks. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease, so take your health into your own hands by controlling and minimizing these risks.

7. Protect your health. There are ways to protect against cardiovascular disease, and the best way to start is by getting health insurance coverage. You can find a plan by visiting

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Prioritize your health on the first day of fall

by Lauren Mandel

Although many parts of the country have been experiencing cooler temperatures for quite some time, the first official day of fall is the autumnal equinox, which is today, September 23. When many people learn fall has arrived, they go straight to mourning the loss of summer.

But with the brisk fall air also comes new recipes, activities, and ways to stay fit and maintain your health. We’ve rounded up a few suggestions for how you can take advantage of the fall months – before the weather gets too cold for comfort.firstDayOfFall

Take advantage of the seasonal activities

Although fall means saying goodbye to warmer temperatures, it also means saying hello to activities that work well with cooler days. September is prime time for apple picking, and there are tons of orchards that let you pick your own right off the tree. Many orchards also offer pumpkin picking and hayrides for your little ones.

You can also take advantage of the break from the heat by going on long hikes, building bonfires to roast s’mores, and choosing to walk to your destination instead of driving. All of these activities get you moving and can involve the whole family.

Get festive with the whole family

Fall also means the beginning of holiday season! First up: Halloween. Help your kids decide what they want to dress up as for Halloween, then work together to make the costume from scratch. It’s also important to talk to your kids about trick or treating safety and watching how much candy they eat at once.

Once we get into November and Thanksgiving finally rolls around, you can turn your attention to decorating your home with fall colors, prepping and cooking the big meal, and whipping up snacks for football games.

Get back outside

When the temperatures reach triple digits, it’s easy to move your workout inside to the treadmill or forgo it all together. But now that temps have finally cooled off, it’s time to get back outside and get moving. Fall provides the perfect weather conditions for long jogs, yoga in the park, or even walks with a friend.

In addition to a regular fitness regimen, you should also make regular visits to your doctor. You can visit to learn more about your current coverage, or find a new health insurance plan. Open Enrollment starts November 1, so start planning ahead today.

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Health Insurance Redefined For Former NFL Players

Nolan Harrison photo for NFLPA blog post

Nolan Harrison III, Former 10-year NFL defensive lineman and Senior Director of Former Player Services at the NFL Players Association

by Nolan Harrison III

The National Football League is a 100 percent injury business. Not a single player leaves the NFL uninjured.  Back problems, concussive issues, joint and grip troubles plague our former players. While the average career in the NFL is less than 4 years, injuries stemming from the NFL often have long-term debilitating effects.

Depending on when they played, some NFL Retirees can obtain a few years of health coverage through the NFL immediately after leaving the game. If today’s players complete three seasons in the league, they can receive five years of health insurance when they retire. The trouble is, some health issues do not manifest until several years later, and players who complete less than three seasons are on their own for coverage.

Historically, the health insurance industry has been a world of denial for former NFL Players. The moment players explained they played a contact sport, all of the sudden, their injuries were not covered. Insurance companies would offer limited health benefits that did not cover certain body parts that may have been injured during the NFL such as backs, hips, shoulders, or knees. It was like receiving car insurance for only the steering wheel. This left our guys responsible for incredible medical costs – high enough to deplete even a professional athlete’s bank account. This situation prompted many former players to go without medical insurance.

Now, the rules have changed. The issue of preexisting conditions is no longer a barrier to affordable coverage for our former players. Under current law, no one – including NFL Retirees – can be denied health insurance because of an injury or illness.

Affordable coverage is now accessible to the 17,000 NFL Retirees estimated to be alive today, but many of them do not know where to start. It is important for these men to know there are resources to help them obtain the medical insurance they need.

I want former players to understand that they have access to comprehensive coverage and free enrollment support. Through Working America Health Care, powered by GoHealth, former players and their families can learn about the impact of the new health care law and get connected with affordable health insurance.  Through Working America Health Care, they have access to a free Health Advocate service so they can get answers to their personal coverage, claims, and clinical questions as NFLPA Former Player Members.

Health insurance options for NFL Players have been redefined, and there is no reason for any of them to go without affordable health insurance. I encourage former NFL Players to utilize Working America Health Care and GoHealth to obtain coverage and protect their well-being for themselves, but more importantly, for their families.


Nolan Harrison III contributed this guest post for the GoHealth Blog.  Harrison is a former 10 year NFL defensive lineman, and now the Senior Director of Former Player Services at the NFL Players Association.

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Health Insurance Shopping Beyond

by Elizabeth Fay

The nation’s health insurance shopping period is just weeks away, and while many people instinctively shop on, it might be worthwhile to check out a different site.

Web brokers like GoHealth are making a serious impact on reducing the uninsured rate, and more people are turning to them to shop for health insurance. Many health insurance Web brokers offer an online store where you can shop for the same plans offered on at the same prices, but the shopping experience is often faster and more user-friendly. Uninsured decline chart final v2

A group of leading Web brokers recently banded together to form the Association for Web-Based Health Insurance Brokers (AWHIB), and the group shared the following statistics to demonstrate the important role they are playing in connecting Americans with affordable health insurance.

  • The average call center wait time was 1 minute 29 seconds, compared to’s 8 minutes 17 seconds.
  • 1 of every 8 health insurance enrollments on the Federally-facilitated Marketplace ( came through Web brokers, such as
  • Enrollments through Web brokers increased by 200% in one year, which is an indication shoppers are realizing the value in Web brokers.

“AWHIB’s performance during the last Open Enrollment Period is a testament to the technical and operational expertise of our members and our industry,” said Shane Cruz, president of AWHIB and Chief Technology Officer at GoHealth. “With the 2016 Open Enrollment Period approaching, we expect to see our industry continue to grow and contribute to reducing the uninsured rate as more people utilize the enrollment capabilities and services of Web brokers.”

When the Open Enrollment Period begins on November 1, consider a Web broker like GoHealth. You can skip the wait and still obtain quality, affordable health coverage.

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Chronic disease management under Obamacare

by Lauren Mandel

It’s true that treating chronic disease accounts for 86 percent of the health care costs in the United States.  However, that doesn’t mean you have to be responsible for all of your medical costs if you suffer from a chronic illness.chronicDiseaseManagement

Many health plans in the past have covered necessary treatment for well-known injuries, like a broken arm or a fractured wrist. But gaining coverage for something like physical therapy to treat multiple sclerosis has proved to be much more difficult.

But now, the Affordable Care Act requires all qualified health plans to cover certain equipment and services to help anyone with a chronic illness maintain a standard of living. This is just one of the 10 Essential Health Benefits established by Obamacare, and others include hospitalization, pediatric care, and emergency services.

If you suffer from a chronic illness and don’t have health insurance, it’s important to remember that you can no longer be denied or charged more for coverage because of a pre-existing condition. When Open Enrollment starts on November 1, make the move to get the health insurance coverage you need.

Visit to start browsing plans today.

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