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GoHealth Answers the Top 6 Enrollment Questions

Now that Open Enrollment has started, we know that you might have some questions. Found a plan, but not sure if you’re eligible for a tax subsidy? Have a pre-existing condition and afraid you won’t get covered? Not sure when your payment is due?

Trust us: You’re not alone in wondering about these details. In an effort to help minimize your confusion, we’ve answered a few of the most-asked questions from GoHealth consumers.

1. When will my coverage become active?

Your coverage will only become active once you pay your first premium. The date your coverage actually takes effect can vary. If you enroll and pay your first premium by the 15th of the month, your coverage will take effect by the 1st of the next month. However, if you wait until after the 15th, your coverage won’t take effect until the 1st of the month after the next month. For example, if you enroll on January 16th, your coverage won’t begin until March 1st, assuming you’ve paid your first premium.confused man

2. When is my monthly premium payment due?

It depends. Once you complete your enrollment and purchase coverage, you’ll work directly with your health insurance company to make sure you pay your monthly premiums on time.

3. How do I update my personal and household information?

Updating your personal and household information is extremely important to ensure your coverage and tax subsidy estimate are correct. You can update your information by logging in to your account, or you can call us at 888-352-2233 for assistance.

4. Do I qualify for a government tax subsidy?

That depends on a few different factors. Tax subsidies are offered on plans purchased from the Marketplace for anyone making between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. For an individual, this comes out to be around $45,000 per year, or for a family of four, around $94,000 per year. During last year’s Open Enrollment, roughly 85 percent of people who enrolled qualified for tax subsidies. Make sure all of your information is up-to-date, and GoHealth can help you find out your tax subsidy estimate either online or over the phone.

5. Does my health plan cover preventive services?

Yes. Private health insurance plans must cover a set of recommended preventive care services. Assuming the care is delivered by an in-network provider, these free services include immunization vaccines, various cancer screenings, and preventive services for children and women.

6. Can I be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition?

No. Moving forward under the Affordable Care Act, no one can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Once you have coverage, no health insurance company can refuse to cover treatment for your pre-existing condition. Even if you’ve been turned down in the past, consider this a new opportunity to get coverage.

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GoHealth is Open for 2015 Open Enrollment!

GoHealth is officially open for business to those looking for a 2015 health plan! Now is the time to browse thousands of plans to find the one that meets your needs and fits your budget.opensign

It’s important to make sure your personal information is updated so that you receive an accurate tax subsidy estimate. Our licensed insurance advisors can help you find out if you qualify for financial assistance, and then they can apply your subsidy directly to the plan of your choice.

If you’re ready to enroll, you can visit us online to complete the process – there’s no need to go anywhere else but GoHealth.

Remember: Enroll by December 15, 2014 to ensure your coverage is effective on January 1, 2015. If you don’t, your coverage could be delayed.

Call us at 888-352-2233 or visit us online to get the coverage you need!

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Emotional Health

There is nothing better than finally being able to slide back into your favorite pair of jeans. In that moment, you realize the sweat and tears to get into shape were well worth it. However, as great as it feels to shrink down a size or reveal your new bikini body, it’s just as important to focus on your mental and emotional health.

Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It includes the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties. And something to note: If your emotional health is in bad shape, it could be a roadblock to reaching your physical health goals.

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Get out and exercise to boost your emotional health.

Forget the mirror and scale for a few minutes, and let’s take a look at your emotional health instead.

Do you feel a sense of contentment?

In order to feel consistently content, you must do things that actively boost your mood. Get enough rest (usually 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night), exercise regularly (try for 30 minutes a day), practice self-discipline, and limit unhealthy mental habits, like worrying and stress. Practicing these few simple actions can keep you feeling content with your life.

Can you deal with stress and bounce back quickly?

Even if you are emotionally and mentally healthy, that doesn’t mean you’ll never encounter stress, depression or anxiety. We can all expect to encounter these feelings at some point in our lives, but it’s how you bounce back from these bouts of negativity that really speaks to your mental and emotional health. Learning what triggers your stress and being aware of your emotions is important to be able to react appropriately.

Do you have meaningful relationships?

Whether you are an introvert or extravert, we all need company from others at least occasionally to feel our best. Social interaction is a great way to reduce stress. Besides spending time with your usual friends, connecting with an old friend over coffee or volunteering your time to help others makes you feel useful and helps build self-esteem.

Did your happiness start early?

Recently, Professor Richard Layard from the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance concluded that emotional health in childhood is the key to future happiness, and that more tangible categories like wealth and success are less important. So if you were a happy child, chances are that you’ll continue on with that happiness well into adulthood.

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GoHealth Breaks Down Your Plan Options

Metal Plans Break Down AEP

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Open Enrollment Fast Facts from GoHealth

Health Care Glossary AEP

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GoHealth’s 5 Steps to Staying Covered

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What If I’m Still Not Covered?

There’s one clear answer to this question: If you don’t have health insurance, it is time to get covered.

It may seem like a daunting process, but thanks to GoHealth, enrollment can be simple and fast. GoHealth is a private exchange where you can compare plans, learn about health insurance options, and even purchase the best-fit coverage for you and your family.

It’s time to enroll in a health insurance plan because it is the law. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as health care reform or Obamacare, went into effect in 2014, requiring most Americans to carry health insurance.

Perhaps life has gotten in the way. Maybe you simply were not aware of the individual mandate that requires you to have coverage. Or possibly, your job or marital status changed and you’re now without the insurance you need. Regardless of your reason, this is your opportunity to put it aside and purchase your plan.

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If you don’t get coverage? You could face a fine. If you are required to have health insurance (most Americans are) and you don’t, you may be subject to a tax penalty. In 2015, fines will be equal to two percent of income, or $325 for each adult and $162.50 for each child, whichever is higher.

That fine will only go up. The tax penalty will more than double in 2016 and will continue to increase each year after that. The law allows for a one-time lapse in coverage. If you are without insurance for less than three months during one period of time, you will not be fined.

Like most rules, there are exceptions. The ACA does exempt some Americans from carrying health insurance plans. If you live below the poverty line, are a member of certain faiths, or are a member of a Health Care Sharing Ministries clearinghouse to share medical expenses, you may not be required to have coverage.

If you have insurance through your employer, Medicaid, Medicare or CHIP, you’re covered. Breathe deep and take full advantage of all the benefits your plan offers, like blood pressure screening, nutrition counseling, and flu vaccines.

Take action today. Open Enrollment begins November 15 and runs through February 15, 2015. Before then, you can prepare by gathering all the information you need, making a list of questions and benefits that will serve you and your family best.

Make a plan for your plan. Set a calendar reminder or cell phone alarm for November 15, and clear enough time to learn about your options and talk through your choices with a licensed advisor so you don’t feel rushed. This is an important decision, not just in complying with the law, but in taking good care of your family and yourself.

Once you’re covered, set aside your concerns about fines and worries if someone in your home gets ill or injured. Get to know your plan and the benefits it offers. And do make note of the essential dates for enrollment, any relevant websites and phone numbers, and your doctors and health care providers.

Finally, make a good-health commitment to yourself and your family to get and stay covered, and to avoid fines so that you never have to ask this question again.

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5 Health Insurance Acronyms to Know

You may be an expert on your own medical conditions, have a hard-earned graduate degree, or slay crossword puzzles every Saturday, yet you can still get confused when it comes to health insurance. Health plans and coverage information often include language we may not know – especially with so many acronyms.  GoHealth is here to help with that. No judgment, no nonsense, just the explanation you need.

Before you browse plans beginning November 15 or consider changes to the coverage you currently have, brush up on these health insurance acronyms you need to know to make informed decisions. Who knows? One of them might even show up in next week’s crossword.

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CHIP – The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides free or low-cost health coverage for more than 7 million children and teens. To be eligible, you must be under the age of 19, have no other health coverage, and be a US citizen, US National or Qualified Alien.

APTC – Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC) are government subsidies that are offered to eligible individuals and families to lower their monthly premiums. Eligibility is calculated by the size of your household and your income.

FPL – Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is a measure of income level that can help determine whether or not you’re eligible for certain programs and benefits, including government tax subsidies. Tax subsidies are offered on Marketplace plans for anyone making between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

FSA – A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is an arrangement set up through your employer that allows you to contribute pre-tax dollars to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Funds do not roll over from year to year, so it’s important to spend what you’ve saved.

HSA – A Health Savings Account (HSA) is an account that is available to taxpayers who are enrolled in a high deductible plan. All funds in the account must be used to pay for qualified medical expenses and do roll over from year to year.

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Securing Health Insurance for Freelancers

Musicians and freelancers, like many other Americans, can have a myriad of health problems. However, they don’t always have immediate access to the health insurance coverage that they need.

There are 53 million Americans – nearly 34 percent of the workforce – working as freelancers today.  This includes musicians who may rely on their collective agreements for health coverage.  Such agreements are available for symphonic musicians, theater musicians, and film and recording musicians, among others.

Sam Folio

Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Sam Folio

But what if you’re not one of these lucky individuals? What if you have no collective agreement available to you? What if you have no access to health insurance?

The truth is that many freelancers do not have access to health insurance through collective agreements. As Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), many working musicians call my office daily with questions and worries concerning this very subject:

“Do you have a health plan for me?”

“I’ve been a member of AFM for several years. When will I get health coverage?”

“I work six nights a week, but get no health coverage. When will that change?”

Thankfully today, Working America is attempting to assist these individuals by acting as a resource for health insurance coverage. Through Working America Health Care, powered by GoHealth, freelancers – including musicians – and their families can learn about health care reform and get connected with affordable health insurance. The platform makes it simple to get plan recommendations and enroll in coverage based on specific budgets and health care needs.

As an added bonus, individuals and their families will also be eligible to use Health Advocate. This is a free, personalized service that can help individuals coordinate their health care needs, understand their coverage, find doctors and specialists, schedule appointments, and even negotiate medical bills.

With the help of the Working America Health Care program, backed by GoHealth, these musicians can pursue their creative careers, while also living safe and healthy lives with secure health insurance coverage.

 

Sam Folio contributed this guest post for the GoHealth Blog. Folio is Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), a percussionist and vocalist, and active member of the music business since the 1950s.

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Is There a Difference Between Generic and Brand-name Drugs?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nearly eight in 10 prescriptions filled in the United States are for generic drugs. We have already discussed how you can save on prescription drugs by going generic; however, how much do you really trust these “off-brand” counterparts?

Although it might seem like the two are drastically different, below you’ll find information that shows how generic drugs and brand-name drugs are actually much more similar than many consumers think.

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What are generic drugs exactly?

Generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs. They have exactly the same dosage, intended use, side effects, risks, safety, and strength as the original drug.

How do I know if I am taking a generic drug?

If the lower price of your prescription doesn’t tip you off, you can usually tell by how the drug is spelled. Brand names are usually capitalized, while generic names are not. Otherwise, it’s important to ask your doctor for clarification.

Why are generic drugs so much cheaper?

On average, the FDA says the cost of a generic drug is 80 to 85 percent lower than the brand-name product. However, cheaper does not mean inferior or any less effective. The reason generic drugs are so much cheaper is because the people making these drugs are not required to repeat the costly clinical trials of new drugs and generally do not pay for costly advertising, marketing, and promotion. In addition, when multiple companies begin producing and selling a generic drug, the competition among them can also drive the price down even further.

In fact, many generic drugs are made in the same manufacturing plants as brand-name drugs. The FDA estimates that 50 percent of generic drug production comes from brand-name companies.

Do generic drugs take longer to work?

No. All FDA-approved generic drugs must work the same as their brand-name drug equivalents. That means any generic drug must perform in about the same amount of time as the brand-name drug it’s modeled after.

If generic and brand-name drugs are exactly the same, why do they sometimes look different?

Trademark laws in the United States do not allow generic drugs to look exactly like the brand-name drugs they’re modeled off of, but the active ingredients must be the same in both, ensuring that they have the same medicinal effects.

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