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Common Health Insurance Questions: How do I find a doctor in my network?

We’re about halfway through this year’s Open Enrollment Period, and it’s clear that everyone still has questions about health insurance.

We turned to our health insurance experts to gather the most-asked consumer questions. To start, we’re going to focus on a big one: How do I find a doctor in my network?

Below we explain how to figure out which doctors are in your network, and offer solutions for choosing a plan that allows you to see a doctor of your choice.

 

How do I know if my plan covers my doctor?

There are a variety of ways to find out if your doctor is covered by your health plan. To start, you can call your doctor’s office and ask if they accept your health insurance. You may want to do this before enrolling in a plan, just to be sure.

In addition, you can contact your health insurance company directly before you schedule a doctor’s appointment. Many health insurance companies also allow you to create a profile on their website where you can search for doctors in your area that are in-network.  Check with your insurance provider by contacting their customer service number on the back of your health insurance card.

 

Which type of plan allows me to choose my doctor?

While there are a variety of plans to choose from, the major difference between a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan and a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan is that HMO plans require you to choose a primary care doctor in your network. This is the same for any specialists you may need to see or lab work you might need. While these plans have lower out-of-pocket costs, they also require you to select in-network doctors and specialists.

If having the ability to see any doctor you want is at the top of your list,, a PPO plan might be best choice for you. This type of plan includes coverage for both in-network and out-of-network doctors, meaning you can likely choose to see any doctor you wish. Keep in mind that since these plans are more flexible, they can also be more expensive.

 

In the end, there are many health plans to choose from and many factors to consider before making your final decision. The key to finding the right plan is to understand your current and future health care needs. To speak with a licensed agent who can help you find coverage that fits your needs, call (866) 909 – 0798.

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How do I enroll in health insurance?

The 2018 Open Enrollment Period begins today! Remember, this year’s window to enroll in health coverage is six weeks shorter than last year. In order to find the cheapest plan available to you, you must enroll before December 15th.

Worried you won’t be able to get coverage? Are you busy taking care of kids, working late nights, or working the night shift? Don’t worry, our hours and options can work for you.

Want more information about Open Enrollment? Below, we answer important Open Enrollment questions to get you up to speed on all things health insurance.

 

What do I need to do before I call to enroll in a plan?

Before you call to enroll in a plan, it’s a good idea to have your family’s personal information available and ready, including social security numbers, birth dates, and immigration papers, if necessary. In addition, you’ll need to provide your employer information and a tax return from last year.

 

Can I afford a health insurance plan in 2018?

It’s important to remember there are various plan options to choose from. If you want to avoid the tax penalty, enrolling in a major medical plan that covers the 10 essential health benefits and pre-existing conditions could be your most affordable option. However, if you need temporary coverage or want help affording health care costs, a short-term plan or health benefit insurance might be right for you. To talk through your options with a GoHealth licensed agent, call 866-909-0798.

 

What important dates should I mark on my calendar?

Open Enrollment 2018 is six weeks shorter than last year. The most important date to remember is December 15, 2017. This is the last day to enroll in coverage that begins in January 2018. If you have questions about which coverage is right for you and your family, don’t wait until the last day to call. A GoHealth licensed agent can help you today. Call 866-909-0798 for help selecting a plan.

 

Who can help me find the most affordable coverage? 

GoHealth licensed agents can offer you advice based on your personal situation. To start the process today, call GoHealth at 866-909-0798.

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Are you getting the cheapest health plan available?

When you shop for health insurance, what’s the number one thing you consider before purchasing a plan?

If you answered cost, you’re not alone: a recent GoHealth survey found that the number one thing holding individuals and families back from enrolling in health insurance was affordability.

If you want health insurance coverage that begins as early as January 1, 2018, you’ll want to enroll in health coverage starting on November 1, 2017. This period – known as Open Enrollment – is six weeks shorter this year, which means you have even less time to find an affordable health plan.

Thankfully, GoHealth can help. GoHealth offers a variety of health plans to choose from with free help from our licensed agents. So, what type of plan might be right for you?

 

If you want to avoid the tax penalty…

Enrolling in a major medical plan is the only way to avoid the tax penalty for going without insurance. Major medical plans are required to cover the 10 essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) for at least a year.

Despite having to pay premiums and having a deductible with a major medical plan, if you anticipate going to the doctor often, this could be your cheapest option for health coverage. Also, if you have a pre-existing condition, the law states that insurers cannot deny you this type of coverage or charge more for a major medical plan.

 

If you need temporary coverage…

A short-term health plan can range from one to 12 months of coverage. Short-term coverage is ideal for those looking to bridge an insurance gap until they can enroll in a major medical plan, but a short-term plan does not protect you from having to pay the tax penalty. You’ll want to consider your upcoming medical needs and costs before enrolling in a short-term plan.

 

If you want help affording health care costs…

Health benefit insurance might be right for you. Health benefit insurance plans do not cover pre-existing conditions or the 10 essential health benefits. However, these plans pay a predetermined amount of money for any qualified medical services you might receive. Plus, they are often the most affordable upfront option.

Health benefit insurance plans can also work well with your major medical plan. If you’re worried about health care costs, health benefit insurance plans can help you manage costs that your major medical insurance plan might not cover. And unlike major medical plans, these plans have no deductibles or copays. With a predetermined amount of money available for medical services, you’ll know exactly how much you’ll pay out-of-pocket instead of relying on your health insurance company.

 

Deciding which type of plan is right for you depends on your personal situation. Are you still unsure which option could be cheapest for you? A GoHealth licensed agent can help you understand your best option over the phone. Call 866-909-0798 to have your questions answered.

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Can I get an Obamacare subsidy for 2018 coverage?

Open Enrollment for 2017-2018 health insurance coverage will start on November 1, lasting through December 15, 2017. One of the key features of Obamacare is the opportunity for eligible Americans to access lower costs.

But with the changing landscape of the health care industry, are lower costs still available? And if so, how can you access these lower costs when enrolling in coverage?

 

Start By Understanding the Basics

Since Obamacare – or the Affordable Care Act – became law in 2010, it has provided low-income Americans with the opportunity to access more affordable coverage.

But how exactly has Obamacare done this? The health law offers tax subsidies and cost-sharing reductions to millions of eligible Americans.

Tax subsidies – or Advanced Premium Tax Credits – help individuals and families better afford their health plan monthly payments. Last year, 85 percent of enrollees qualified for a tax credit to help lower the cost of their coverage.

Cost-sharing reductions were designed to compensate health insurers, so they could then make health plans more affordable for consumers. Specifically, cost-sharing reductions help health insurers lower out-of-pockets costs, plus copays and deductibles. In 2017, more than 7 million consumers who chose a marketplace plan qualified for cost-sharing reductions.

 

How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for a Tax Subsidy?

Eligibility depends on a few different factors. First, you must enroll in a qualifying health plan through the marketplace. Tax subsidies are not available for employer-sponsored coverage or other types of health insurance.

Other factors, like household income, size, and citizenship, will help determine whether or not you qualify for a tax subsidy. If you’re looking for help determining your eligibility, a GoHealth licensed insurance agent will be able to help.

 

Will I Still Be Able to Access Lower Costs This Year?

Cost-sharing plans and tax subsidies will be available to eligible Americans again this year. If you have been eligible for lower costs in the past, or if you anticipate being eligible this year, be sure to work with your licensed insurance agent to find a plan that works for your budget.

 

How Can GoHealth Help Me Find the Most Affordable Coverage?

GoHealth’s licensed insurance agents can help you find the most affordable plan available. That may mean finding you a marketplace plan with a tax subsidy, or that may mean finding a different type of coverage that makes more sense for your budget.

And remember: Open Enrollment starts November 1, so now is the time to evaluate your budget and consider your coverage options. As always, GoHealth licensed agents are standing by to help. Call 866-909-0798 if you have questions or want to start the enrollment process.

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GoHealth answers top questions: Pre-existing conditions

With so much news focused on the potential changes to the health care system, consumers have many questions about the shortened 2018 Open Enrollment Period. In our new blog series, we’ll be answering your questions about health insurance, Open Enrollment and The Affordable Care Act.

 

If I have diabetes or another pre-existing condition, can I enroll in a health insurance plan?

Even though the 2018 Open Enrollment Period is shorter, the current health law is still in place. Meaning, if you have a pre-existing condition insurers cannot deny you coverage. That being said, it’s important to keep your health condition in mind when selecting a health insurance plan. How often you anticipate seeing a doctor could influence the type of plan you choose.

To figure out which type of plan will fit your personal needs, call to talk to one of our licensed agents at no cost to you: 866-909-0798.

If I have asthma or another pre-existing condition, will I have to pay more for health insurance?

Again, under the Affordable Care Act, insurers cannot deny or charge you more money for health insurance if you have a pre-existing condition.

To shop for a health plan or if you have additional questions, give us a call at GoHealth at 866-909-0798.

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How to prepare for Open Enrollment

During Open Enrollment, individuals and families can enroll in a health insurance plan, or make changes to an existing plan. Simply call to speak to a GoHealth licensed agent: 866-909-0798.

Open Enrollment for 2018 begins November 1, 2017 and ends December 15, 2017. You must enroll in health insurance during this window in order for your coverage to begin as early as January 1, 2018.

The only way to get insurance outside of the Open Enrollment Period is if you experience a qualifying life event or become eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

If you’re planning to enroll in health insurance or make changes to an existing plan during this year’s Open Enrollment, we recommend you complete these 5 steps before you enroll.

 

1. Make sure you and your family qualify for individual health insurance

You may not be eligible to get a plan through the open Marketplace if you can get insurance through your job or employer. Additionally, if you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, these options will be more affordable than an individual health plan.

 

2. Estimate your household income

Before you enroll in a health plan, you will need to estimate your pre-tax household income for the upcoming year. Make sure to account for any potential raises, additional income or loss in income for the adults in the household in 2018.

 

3. Have personal information available and ready

When you enroll in a health plan, you will have to provide social security numbers, dates of birth and immigration paperwork, if necessary, for everyone who will be on your health plan. Storing this information in an easily accessible place will make the process of enrolling much smoother.

 

4. Have employer information and tax returns on hand

In addition to social security numbers and birth dates, you’re also required to provide everyone’s employer information including the business name, address and phone number. To help determine whether you will qualify for tax credits or other savings, it is important to have your tax return from last year on hand as well.

 

5. Pick a plan

Choosing a plan may seem overwhelming, but licensed agents are available to talk you through the process and help find a plan that fits your specific needs. To talk with an agent about which types of plans are right for you and your family, visit GoHealth or call 866-909-0798.

 

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2018 Open Enrollment dates you should know

Open Enrollment – the period during which you can enroll in or change an existing health insurance plan – can be confusing. With deadlines to follow, health terms to know, and health plans to choose from, the process itself can be intimidating.  That’s why we’ve listed the most important dates to know below. In addition, you can follow our Open Enrollment countdown on our Facebook page to stay updated and informed.

October 15, 2017: Medicare Open Enrollment Begins

Between October 15, 2017 and December 7, 2017, those eligible for Medicare can enroll in a Medicare plan or make updates to their current plan. Want to enroll in a plan? Call 866-909-0798 to enroll in a plan.

 

November 1, 2017: Open Enrollment Begins

Between November 1, 2017 and December 15, 2017, you can enroll in a health plan that will begin providing coverage as early as January 1, 2018. Want to talk to a licensed agent about your options? Give us a call at 866-909-0798.

 

December 7, 2017: Medicare Open Enrollment Ends

If you need coverage outside of Open Enrollment, see if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

 

December 15, 2017: Open Enrollment Ends

If you need coverage outside of Open Enrollment, you have options. In addition, see if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

 

January 1, 2018: Health coverage begins as long as you’ve paid your first premium.

 

 

 

This blog post is for educational purposes only. If you’re interested in Medicare coverage, please visit GoMedicare.com or call 866-909-0798.

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4 steps to healthy aging

It’s never too late to take steps to improve your health. Research shows that many of the same strategies to improve physical health can also improve mental health and sharpness as we age. Since September is National Healthy Aging month, we’ve provided four ways you can ensure your mind and body age healthy.

1. Get up and move daily

Exercise has powerful impacts on the body. Exercising regularly lowers your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. Exercise is also one of the best ways to help prevent dementia. How much exercise should you be getting? Experts say 30 minutes of exercise every day is good for your body. This might sound like a lot of time, but there are ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Try taking the stairs, walking to work, or playing with your kids outside after school.

 

2. Cherish your relationships

A Harvard longitudinal study that began almost 80 years ago revealed that the key to happiness in life is having meaningful relationships with other people, family and friends. The study found that close relationships was more important to the quality of life than money or fame. In fact, “several studies found that people’s level of satisfaction with their relationships at age 50 was a better predictor of physical health than their cholesterol levels.” This study proves the importance of staying connected to the ones we love.

 

3. Keep learning something new

Puzzles, reading, games and learning new skills can all help keep the brain sharp as you age. Try to make it a goal to keep learning as you age. Learning new skills, like a language or an instrument, can help challenge your brain and improve functioning.

 

4. Eat a healthy, balanced diet

The goal of eating healthy doesn’t always have to be related to weight loss. Eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, oils, and fish can help your body and mind work better. Those who follow the Mediterranean-style diet often lose weight and live longer. It should go without saying, but if you want to live longer and age better, give up smoking and limit your alcohol intake as well.

Curious how health coverage can help you and your family as you age? Visit our gohealth.com or call 877-871-9850 to speak to a licensed agent.

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A guide to health insurance for single parents

If you’re a single parent, you probably don’t get much time to yourself. You have your hands full with kids, your career, and running a household. While being a single parent can be overwhelming, you should prioritize finding health insurance to protect you and your kids in the future. Below is GoHealth’s guide to health insurance for single parents.

Find out if you or your child qualify for free health coverage

With a single income, there’s a chance you could qualify for your state’s Medicaid or CHIP program, which offer free or low-cost health insurance to children and adults that meet certain requirements. Each state is different, so check with yours to see if you qualify.

If you find yourself ineligible for Medicaid or CHIP, you still have options. Under the Affordable Care Act, you could qualify for tax credits to help lower the price for health coverage. Based on your income, if you qualify for tax credits the government will help you pay for your health coverage.

 

Understand the benefits covered under the law

Under the law, there are 10 essential benefits that must be covered by your health plan including regular checkups, mental health services, emergency services and more. If you choose to go without coverage, not only could you face a fine, but you would have to pay out-of-pocket for benefits that would otherwise be included with health coverage. Learn more about which benefits are covered under the law.

 

Choose a plan that fits your needs

Before you shop for a plan on the Marketplace, check with your employer to see what health coverage options are available to you.

There are five categories, otherwise known as metal levels, of health plans to choose from on the Marketplace. These plans include Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Catastrophic. Bronze plans have the lowest monthly premiums, but high deductibles. On the flip side, Platinum plans have the highest monthly premiums, but lowest costs when you need care. If you anticipate having to go to the doctor often, a Platinum plan could save you money on major medical bills. However, if you do not see a doctor often and want to pay low monthly premiums, a Bronze plan could be best for you and your family.

It’s important to consider your options before choosing a plan. To talk through your options with a licensed agent, you can visit our website at www.gohealth.com or call us at 866-909-0798 now.

 

 

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How therapy can help kids cope with bullying

Over the past several years, modern-day bullying – cyberbullying – has increased due to easy access to the Internet and social media platforms. Bullying is most common for school aged children, and can greatly impact self-esteem and even interfere with social and intellectual development.

If you suspect your child is being bullied, or that your child may be bullying, counseling or therapy could help. Therapy offers a safe place to express feelings of anger, shame, anxiety, isolation, and more. In therapy, bullies may begin to understand the impact of their bullying and can learn how to better communicate with their peers.

Under the Affordable Care Act, all Marketplace health plans must cover behavioral health treatment, including counseling and therapy as well as substance abuse treatment. The Affordable Care Act also includes “mental health parity,” which means mental health services must be treated equally to physical health services.  To find out the details of your mental health coverage and where you can find a therapist in your network, you can check your plan description, visit your insurer’s online portal or call to speak with an agent directly.

If your insurance does not cover therapy, you still have options. Some counselors and therapists do not require insurance coverage for treatment, and you can pay out-of-pocket for each session. In addition to paying privately for counseling, you can reach out to community health providers for treatment. Community treatment centers often offer low-cost options for therapy in your area.

If you’re worried about your child being bullied or bullying others, there are many alternative ways to address the situation at home. However, keep in mind that seeking professional help through counseling or therapy may also be an affordable and effective resource.

Have questions about mental health coverage? We can help. Visit www.gohealth.com or call (888) 322 – 7557 to speak to our licensed agents.

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