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December 15 is your Obamacare deadline

by Lauren Mandel

While Open Enrollment doesn’t officially end until January 31, 2016, December 15 is the most important deadline you should know now.december15

If you enroll in Obamacare on or before December 15, your coverage can start as early as possible on January 1, 2016. But if you enroll any time after December 15, your coverage will be delayed well into the New Year.

Now that you know to find a health plan before December 15, here’s a second piece of important information: You must pay your first premium in order to activate your coverage. That means you cannot use your health plan until you make your first payment.

The same goes for the months to follow: If you fail to make any of your monthly premium payments, you could lose your coverage. And even if you’re allowed to pay for your first month with a credit card, you’ll need to contact your health insurance provider with your bank information for all subsequent payments.

Not sure how to make your premium payments? Still have questions or concerns? Visit the GoHealth help page to get answers to your questions and find your health insurance provider’s contact information.

And remember: Now is the time to get health insurance! Call 888-322-7557 to speak with a licensed agent and find your perfect plan today.

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What would you buy with an extra $695?

by Lauren Mandel

If you had $695 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you choose?

The Obamacare fine for going uninsured in 2016 is $695, and that’s on top of the out-of-pocket medical expenses you could incur for not having coverage. Rather than handing over $695 to the government for going uninsured, enroll in coverage and use that $695 for something you really want or need.

Not sure what to do with all of those savings? We have a few ideas that range from creative and fun to necessary and practical.

 

Learn to speak French (or Italian or Spanish or German)french icon

Cost: $500

If culture is what you’re after, say “oui oui” to learning French. For $500 (or often even less), you can download Rosetta Stone lessons in your desired language. You’ll learn at your own pace, and you can even give up to five family members access to the lessons, too.

 

Take up yogayoga icon

Cost: $479 for three months

We’re always emphasizing the importance of prioritizing your health. What better way to do that this winter than by practicing yoga? By getting health insurance and avoiding the tax penalty, you can use that $695 to purchase three full months of yoga classes.

 

Adopt a puppypuppy icon

Cost: $425

Looking for your new best friend? Head to your local animal shelter where you can meet puppies and dogs available for adoption. Most adoption fees include things like wellness visits and vaccines, and the fees are often much less expensive than $425.

 

Take a cruisecruise icon

Cost: $449 for a 7-day cruise

We all need a break from reality every once in a while, and there’s no better way to take that break than out on the open seas. Cruises are an easy, all-inclusive way to take a much-needed vacation, see multiple locations at once, and keep costs down. You’ll even have a bit of money left over for cruise excursions and extras.

 

 

Save it for retirementretirement icon

Cost: $695

Instead of using it to pay the tax penalty, put that $695 away for your golden years. Whether you contribute more money to your 401k, or you open a Roth IRA to avoid taxes on those funds, you will feel much more comfortable knowing that money is being saved for your retirement.

 

 

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An easy way to save money on dental services

Dental

by Lauren Mandel

According to a recent report from the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center, one in five adults said they had unmet dental care needs because they couldn’t afford the corresponding health care. These same people said they were more likely to go without dental care than most other medical services.

But shouldn’t we be prioritizing our dental health the same way we prioritize every other aspect of our health?

While Obamacare mandates that children’s health plans offer dental coverage, that same rule does not apply to adults. And it’s clear they’re not quick to secure dental coverage on their own: An estimated 130 million Americans don’t have dental insurance.

Even employers don’t always offer dental insurance as part of their benefits packages: Only about half of employers who offered health insurance plans also offered their employees dental coverage in 2014.

So while you can still find dental insurance plans on the Marketplace the same way you can find Obamacare health insurance plans, there is another alternative: dental savings plans.

Dental savings plans help you save money on dental services at participating dentists.  They are not health insurance plans, so there are no copays or premiums involved. You simply pay for the services you receive.

Dental savings is part of GoHealth Access, a tool that helps you save up to 50 percent on various dental services and procedures, including oral exams and unlimited cleanings, as well as dentures, root canals, and crowns. You can access all of these services through one of the largest dental networks in the country.

Dental savings is just one of the features of GoHealth Access, a health care utilization and savings tool. Once you purchase a GoHealth Access plan, you can take advantage of its other features, including prescription savings, chatting with licensed physician over the phone, and more.

Visit GoHealthAccess.com to find your plan and start saving on dental procedures you need.

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5 Thanksgiving swaps you won’t even know are healthy

By Lauren Mandel

We know Thanksgiving is all about family, but there can’t be a Thanksgiving meal without delicious holiday food. Unfortunately, most of the dishes set out on your table are less than ideal when it comes to your health.Facebook nov - thanksgiving

If there’s ever a time to indulge, it’s during the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some responsible meal swaps to cut fat, sugar, and a few inches off your wait come 2016. Check out healthy recipe replacements for a few of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes.

 

Instead of mashed potatoes and gravy…

Try these twice-baked stuffed sweet potatoes. This alternative includes less butter and no cream when compared to creamy mashed potatoes, and even better, they’re individually baked for perfect portion control. And no gravy necessary.

 

Instead of a whole-fried turkey…

Try herb-roasted turkey breast. Fried turkeys may be part of your family traditions, but they are also extremely high in fat and calories. White meat turkey breasts contain much less fat, and the herbs give the turkey all the flavor it needs.

 

Instead of a classic green bean casserole…

Try this healthier green bean casserole. We’re not about to give up this crunchy, creamy classic, but we do recommend giving it a healthy makeover. Using low-fat milk instead of canned soup might make the recipe a bit more challenging, but it will also make it better for your health.

 

Instead of four-cheese mac n’ cheese…

Try this healthy mac n’ cheese. So, there is cheese in this mac n’ cheese, but not nearly as much as in the original. Replace most of that fat with smooth and creamy butternut squash. Thanks to a bit of Gruyere and seasoning, you’ll barely know the difference.

 

Instead of sausage and cornbread stuffing…

Try butternut squash, Brussels sprout, and bread stuffing with apples. No, we’re not taking away your precious stuffing. Instead, we found a recipe that loads up on so many veggies that you won’t miss the bread that’s been left out. Use multi-grain bread for added health benefits.

 

Instead of pumpkin pie…

Try pumpkin pie pudding. We get it: It’s not exactly the classic pumpkin pie you might have been hoping for. But this creamy, whipped dessert has all the flavor and spice of pumpkin pie that you love without all the calories. Not to mention, it comes together in no time for a fast and easy dessert option.

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Can you afford to go uninsured?

by Lauren Mandel and Leon Macapacal

The uninsured rate in the United States is at a record low – just 9 percent – but there are still millions of people without health insurance. Although it may seem like the cheaper option to go without coverage, the truth is, you could end up owing the government hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars when you go to pay your taxes next year.

We took a look at whether or not you can actually afford to go uninsured in 2016, or if the better, more affordable choice is to find a Marketplace health plan today.

Can you afford to go uninsured new

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3 ways Obamacare helps prevent and treat cancer

by Lauren Mandel

Unfortunately, it seems like everyone – in one way or another – has been affected by cancer. Whether you’ve faced the disease directly, or a friend or family member has worked to overcome it, cancer has become far too common.

Luckily, there are steps being taken to improve treatments and find a cure. In the month of November, individuals and organizations are working to raise awareness for three of the deadliest forms of cancer: stomach, pancreatic, and lung.  Cancer awareness

To help bring awareness to these diseases and all other forms of cancer, we’ve outlined a few steps you can take to prioritize your health during the month of November – and in the future.

 

Catch it early.

Under the Affordable Care Act, all health plans must cover specific preventive care services for adults, women, and children. All of these services and procedures are vital to maintaining good health, and there are a few which can specifically help prevent or treat certain cancers:

Tobacco screenings and intervention for tobacco users – Cigarette smoking is linked to 90 percent of all lung cancers. If you’re a current tobacco user, you can seek help to quit. And if you’ve smoked in the past, you can screen for specific types of cancers.

Colorectal cancer screening – When it comes to cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the United States. This proves just how important colorectal cancer screenings are to your health.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine – While HPV is rather common (about one in four people are currently infected in the United States), it’s now preventable thanks to the HPV vaccine. HPV can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women, and in men, penile cancer.

Mammograms – Although the American Cancer Society recently changed its frequency recommendation for mammograms, they are still vital procedures when it comes to preventing and diagnosing breast cancer. Check with your doctor to see what frequency is right for you.

Cervical cancer screenings – When cervical cancer is found early, it’s treatable and associated with a long survival rate. Getting cervical cancer screenings helps ensure that if you do get this type of cancer, it’s found as early as possible.

Contraception – Women who use contraceptives for five years or more can lower their risk of getting ovarian cancer by about 50 percent. However, this is a personal decision that should be discussed with your doctor.

Remember: You can only take advantage of these covered health care services if you have a qualified health plan.

 

Get the treatment you need.

Like preventive care services, health plans are also required to cover 10 Essential Health Benefits, including services which could help prevent or treat certain types of cancer.

Lab services, prescription drugs, and hospitalization are part of the 10 Essential Health Benefits, all of which could help you or a loved one prevent cancer or treat the disease. Without coverage, you may find yourself needing these services and then facing expensive medical bills on your own.

 

If you do have cancer, you cannot be denied coverage.

Something else we owe to the Affordable Care Act? You can no longer be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, including cancer. So if you do get sick, don’t be afraid to enroll in coverage. Having health insurance can ensure you’re protected against out-of-pocket costs for services you need.

The best choice for your future health is to think ahead and get coverage now. You can visit our Marketplace to find the right health plan for your needs.

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Prioritize your health this Movember

by Lauren Mandel and Adam Tock

Movember is the month-long celebration when men grow out their beards and mustaches, but the more important detail is why they do this. Movember – which takes place during the month of November – is all about raising awareness for men’s health, and growing out facial hair is just the beginning.

The most important thing men can do this month – and in the future – is prioritize their health and take action to protect themselves and their loved ones. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, doing so is now easier than ever.

Movember infographic

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Why every American needs telemedicine

by Lauren Mandel and Leon Macapagal 

Say you get a cold, a pretty bad one. You want to see a doctor to get it checked out, maybe get some medication to speed up the healing process. But the problem is you don’t have time. Actually, you have more than one problem: Not only do you not have time, but you would need someone to watch your kids while you go.

Does this situation sound familiar to you? How many times have you forgone treatment or medical services because it wasn’t convenient for your schedule or for the rest of your family?

We’ve outlined the numbers that tell a story of how telemedicine should – and could – be the new way of health care for millions of Americans.

Telemedicine Info - Numbers only

What’s the best solution? GoHealth Access. Not only can you speak with board-certified doctors almost instantly, but you can save up to 60 percent on prescription drugs, check out your symptoms online, and so much more.

Sources: Merritt Hawkins, American Hospital Association, American Journal of Managed Care

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2016 Obamacare premiums decrease in major markets

by Lauren Mandel and Adam Tock

While it’s been widely reported that Obamacare premiums for 2016 are increasing, don’t believe everything you read. While monthly costs are going up in some markets, in others – like Indianapolis and Detroit – there’s a significant decrease.

So before you assume your monthly coverage costs will go up, take a look at the biggest increases and decreases in premiums across the country. You never know what you might find in your neighborhood.

Major Market Premiums 2016

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Which Obamacare metal level should I choose?

by Lauren Mandel and Adam Tock

Last year, nearly 7 in 10 Marketplace enrollees selected a Silver plan. Should you choose a Silver plan during this year’s Open Enrollment?

We’ve mentioned before that individuals who are eligible for tax credits and cost-sharing reductions would benefit the most by choosing a Silver plan, but what do the metal level labels really mean for you?

The below infographic explains Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Catastrophic plan details and what effect they could each have on your out-of-pocket costs for 2016.

Metal Plans Break Down new2

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