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Celebrate Women’s Equality Day with these women’s health tips

by Lauren Mandel

In celebration of Women’s Equality Day on August 26, we’re excited to work with our partner, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, to raise awareness for the importance of women’s health. While women have faced various health challenges throughout history, the Affordable Care Act has been a fierce advocate for women’s health care over the past few years.

Open Enrollment under the health care law begins again on November 1, and all women are encouraged to evaluate their current and future health care needs in preparation. To celebrate Women’s Equality Day, we’ve outlined 4 of the most important tips you can consider before enrolling in health insurance this fall.

womens equality day

Remember what’s covered under the Affordable Care Act. 

Let’s not forget all that the Affordable Care Act has done for women in just a few short years: insurers are now required to cover birth control, maternity and newborn care are covered as essential health benefits, and all women now have access to covered mammograms. And those are just a few of the benefits for women under the Affordable Care Act.

It’s also important to remember that you cannot be denied or charged more for coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. So if you’ve been denied in the past, now is the time to get the coverage you deserve.

Review your current and future health care needs.

Before getting health insurance, it’s important to consider what you need from the plan you select. Do you need extensive coverage for an illness? Are you looking for basic coverage to help you afford regular doctor visits? Do you have plans to expand your family in the near future? All of these and more are things to consider when looking for health insurance.

Even if you have health insurance from last year, you may benefit from reviewing your plan this year. Maybe you’ve developed a recent health condition that needs more comprehensive coverage, or perhaps you’re taking a new prescription drug not covered by your current plan. No matter your situation, it’s always important to evaluate what you need now and in the future.

Consider the needs of everyone in your family. 

While many people are looking for a plan only for themselves, other shoppers need coverage for their entire family. If your spouse and children also need health coverage, there are family plan options that might make sense for your situation. Licensed agents are available to help you make the best decision for your family.

Prepare to enroll in coverage.

While November 1 might seem like long time from now, it will be here before you know it. The last thing you want is to be unprepared when Open Enrollment arrives and you can finally shop for new coverage. By taking the steps above for Women’s Equality Day and preparing to find a plan now, you’ll be that much more prepared when the shopping seasons begins.

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How can we improve veteran health insurance options?

by Catherine Tims

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is long overdue for an update. There’s a plan for doing just that, and it’s sitting in Congress right now. But is health insurance for veterans included?

The VA has faced its fair share of criticism when it comes to helping war veterans here at home. Preventable patient deaths, unacceptable delays for patients seeking medical care at VA hospitals, and lavish rewards for senior executives are among the most notable discrepancies, according to the American Legion.

While it may seem obvious that our system for veteran health care needs an overhaul, exactly what to do about the health insurance component is up for debate.veterans health insurance

The nation has been plagued by problems with the VA health care system for decades. In 2014, a report called Independent Assessment of the Health Care Delivery Systems and Management Processes of the Department of Veterans Affairs concluded that the only thing that would fix the system would be “system-wide reworking.”

We now have the Caring for our Heroes in the 21st Century Act, but it doesn’t necessarily focus on veteran health insurance.

What are the current options?

Under the current VA system, veterans’ health insurance is provided by the same people who also run the VA hospitals: the federal government. The government decides the health insurance costs and the cost of health care services, as well as how much the hospital doctors get paid.

For veterans, once they have their health insurance, they use their insurance cards to visit a VA hospital and see a VA doctor – the same ones that are run by the federal government.

The system was orchestrated during a time when the veteran population was far different from what it is today. And the demographics of the veterans, plus the nature of their injuries and situations, aren’t the only things which have radically transformed during the last century.

Our economy has changed, health care has changed drastically under the Affordable Care Act, and just about everything that makes up the VA health care system has seen significant change since the system was devised.

Looking ahead to future veteran health care options

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has proposed a new bill to Congress, called the Caring for our Heroes in the 21st Century Act. The bill reflects the need for our VA system to evolve, to come to terms with the enormous international changes that have resulted in our outdated, inefficient, and arguably harmful VA health care system.

One of the main details in the proposed bill is the separation of VA health insurance from the clinical functions of the VA system. This would be done by converting the VA system into a government-sponsored, not-for-profit enterprise, which would allow greater flexibility in responding to the very different needs of veterans in the 21st century.

Under the new plan, veterans would be able to use their health insurance to seek care from the private sector. Freed from having to deal with just one provider, they would be able to receive better health care when and where they need it. It may seem like a small step for the VA system, but it’s a huge step for veterans in America.

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How can we end the opioid epidemic?

by Catherine Tims

Philip Seymour Hoffman, known for the title role in the film Capote, was an esteemed, Academy Award-winning actor. Loved by fans, praised by critics, and respected by his peers, he’ll be forever considered an icon of his generation of actors.

Unfortunately, he may also be remembered for his untimely death as a result of a heroin addiction. Since his overdose two years ago, he’s become an example of the terrible opioid epidemic in the United States.

Congress just recently passed a bill that aims to rid the country of this epidemic, hopefully saving the lives of thousands of individuals just like Mr. Hoffman.


How bad is the opioid epidemic?

According to a report issued by the White House, there was a 45 percent increase in heroin-related deaths between 2006 and 2010.  What’s even more alarming are the stats relating to opioid pain relievers (OPR), which often serve as gateway drugs for heroin.

While heroin deaths totaled 3,038 in 2010, OPR deaths in general were at an alarming 16,651. And that represents a 21 percent increase since 2006. Meanwhile, cocaine deaths have been falling steadily during that same period.

There’s a new bill in Congress.

Just this month, Congress passed a landmark bill that some say has the potential to reverse these addiction problems. It’s called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), and one thing it authorizes is increased access to naloxone.

The so-called “overdose drug”, naloxone reverses the effects of an opioid overdose and has been an essential item in emergency rooms since the epidemic began. Once injected or sprayed into the nose, it works to stop an overdose within two minutes.

You may have heard of Narcan, which is actually the brand name of the nasal spray, whereas the drug itself is just called naloxone. Naloxone saves lives by binding to receptors in the brain, essentially shielding them from any further effects of the opioids. Then the breathing process – which has been slowed down by the overdose – can start up again.

Naloxone shots are carried by first responders, and now thanks to the recently-passed bill, more people will have access, too. Now, family members, people working in community centers, and schools will have access to the pens that help stop overdoses.

Naloxone is just the beginning.

Of course, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act isn’t just about increased access to naloxone. Obviously, reviving addicts who are near death isn’t going to put an end to the problem. As many in Congress have noted (and fiercely debated with their opponents), treatment and prevention is key.

The anti-addiction bill, which is now on its way to the White House for President Obama’s signature, does address this issue. Law enforcement officers may soon start choosing to treat drug offenders with alternative sentencing rather than shipping them off to jail. Plus, there’s plenty in the bill supporting increased treatment and prevention measures.

So, while naloxone saves lives (and now more of them can be saved thanks to this bill), it’s not going to solve the problem. Only time will tell if the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act will help put an end to this terrible epidemic.

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Zika Update: Should pregnant women avoid travel to Miami?

by Lauren Mandel

In a historic announcement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a specific warning against traveling to certain areas of Miami. Fourteen women were diagnosed with Zika in a neighborhood just north of the popular travel destination in Florida, which means that some mosquitoes in the United States now have and can spread the virus.

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But what does this mean for travelers and even residents of Miami? And most specifically, are pregnant women in the Miami area – and across the country – in danger of contracting the Zika virus?

Until recently, the CDC had only issued travel warnings for areas outside the United States, including Rio de Janeiro and a majority of the Caribbean. But Monday morning, the CDC advised pregnant women to avoid traveling to a specific area of Miami.

If you live in or must travel to this area of Miami, the CDC suggests waiting at least 8 weeks after leaving the area to try to get pregnant.

However, there are many people – including pregnant women or male partners – who live in this area of Miami. If you or someone you know think they may have been exposed to the Zika virus, it’s important to get tested right away. In addition, it’s important to protect yourself from possible infection by wearing long sleeves and pants, using air conditioning when possible, and liberally using bug spray if you’ll be exposed to mosquitoes. You can view the full list of suggestions here.

GoHealth will continue to provide updates about Zika as they become available. You can read more about the Zika virus and its origin here.


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Moving this summer? You could get new health insurance

by Jenny Fliegel

The average person will move almost 12 times during his or her lifetime. That’s a lot of boxes, a lot of packing tape, and a lot of things to think about during each move. There may be a lot on your mind, but if there’s one thing to prioritize it’s health coverage. Knowing your options when it comes to health insurance will give you peace of mind during a not-so-peaceful time in your life.

Under the Affordable Care Act, moving is considered a Qualifying Life Event, which gives you the opportunity to find health coverage outside of Open Enrollment. If your health coverage is affected by your change in residence, you could qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and be able to enroll in new coverage within 60 days of your move.moving

But how do you know if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period? If you move to a new area that offers different coverage options than your previous ZIP code, you will qualify. This remains true even if your current plan is still offered in your new location. Plans are usually based on region, and your new location may offer health plans with different or more affordable prices.

Some situations that would help you qualify might include moving to a different ZIP code or country, a student moving to or from the place they attended school, a seasonal worker moving to or from the place they lived and worked, moving to or from a shelter or traditional housing, or moving to the United States from a foreign country. Keep in mind that moving solely for a medical treatment or vacation doesn’t qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period.

In order for your move to be recognized as a Qualifying Life Event, you’ll need to provide documentation proof that the event occurred. And be sure to pay attention to the start and end dates of both your old and new plans to avoid a coverage gap or double payments.

GoHealth can help determine your eligibility for a Special Enrollment Period and help you find a health plan for your new location. Compare plans and learn more about the enrollment process at or by calling 888-322-7557 to talk to a GoHealth licensed agent.

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GoHealth acquires Connected Benefits to move into group insurance

by Lauren Mandel

Late last week, GoHealth announced its acquisition of Connected Benefits, a provider of employee benefits management software and group insurance solutions. The reason for the acquisition? GoHealth will now offer a seamless marketplace solution to address the growing health insurance needs of both individuals and employers. Facebook - jan tax penalty

In the United States, 90 percent of workers are at a company that offers health benefits to at least some employees. Average annual premiums are also rising at more than double the rate of employee wages, and individuals who do not have access to employer-sponsored coverage may struggle to afford it on their own. Employers and brokers need a platform that is easy to understand, quick to implement, and offers affordable employee health benefits.

GoHealth’s new all-in-one technology platform will enable brokers to help employers establish employee benefit levels, access available tax subsidies, determine their employer contributions, offer voluntary products such as disability, and implement their chosen benefits quickly and accurately.

GoHealth CEO, Clint Jones, said he’s “confident that our innovative technology platform will help employers better navigate changes in the health care industry.”

You can read the full announcement and more about the acquisition here.

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Election 2016: Health Care and the Affordable Care Act

by Lauren Mandel and Adam Tock

The Republican National Convention came to a close this past week in Cleveland, and the Democratic Party is hosting their own convention this week in Philadelphia. These events are just the beginning of Election 2016 and a long race toward the presidency, and both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are letting their policies be known.

Health care will be a particularly important topic for the candidates, and Clinton and Trump are still revealing the specifics of their potential plans for the Affordable Care Act.  In the chart below, we outlined each candidate’s thoughts on the health law, plus what they intend to change if they become the next President of the United States.

Clinton vs. Trump

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Why telemedicine is the future of health care

by Adam Tock and Jenny Fliegel

Telemedicine future of health care

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What are my Medicare prescription drug options?

by Jenny Fliegel

Did you or a loved one recently turn 65? Are you approaching your 65th birthday? Now is the time to prepare for Medicare.

You might be surprised to learn that Original Medicare – Parts A & B – doesn’t cover prescription drugs. But between plan types with multiple names and a variety of options to choose from, finding the right prescription drug coverage can be confusing.

It’s important to know that all Medicare-eligible individuals are entitled to prescription drug coverage once they get Original Medicare, regardless of income. Fortunately, you cannot be denied for health reasons, income, or due to the fact that you take a variety of prescription drugs.Medicare

Even if you aren’t currently taking prescription drugs, keep in mind that these plans will give you the peace of mind that you have coverage if you suddenly need it. Before you decide whether or not to sign up for Medicare prescription drug coverage, it’s important to understand all of your options.

You need Parts A & B before moving on to Part C or D.

To get prescription drug coverage, you can either enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) or a Medicare Prescription Drug plan (Part D). However, be aware that in order to be eligible for these plans, you must first have Original Medicare, which is both Parts A & B.

Original Medicare covers hospital and basic medical care. Although you are automatically enrolled in Part A once you turn 65, you may not know that you must actively enroll in Part B. To enroll in Part B, you should contact your local Social Security office.

Option 1: Medicare Advantage plan (Part C)

One option to help you get prescription drug coverage is to choose a Medicare Advantage plan, or Part C. If you choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll receive your Medicare benefits in one package, usually through a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Health Maintenance Organization (HMO).

Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover all the same benefits as Original Medicare, while also offering additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage and the possibility of lower copayments. You may notice differences in out-of-pocket costs with Plan C in comparison to Original Medicare.

Option 2: Medicare Prescription Drug plan (Part D)

If you’re looking for prescription drug coverage, you can also choose to enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug plan, or Part D. Medicare Part D is a stand-alone plan that provides outpatient prescription drug coverage. If you have Original Medicare, you can simple add Part D to the coverage you have already.

Before choosing between Part C and Part D, review your specific prescription drugs. Each Part D plan may vary not only in cost, but also in specific covered drugs.

Option 3: Medicare Supplement

While they don’t necessarily cover specific prescription drug costs, Medicare Supplement plans fill in the gap for some costs that aren’t covered by Original Medicare. These plans can complete your coverage by helping you pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

It’s important to keep in mind that you cannot have a Medicare Supplement plan and Plan C at the same time.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

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Meet GoHealth’s 2016 Summer Interns

by Carrie Murphy, Director of Human Resources

GoHealth was excited to welcome five college-level interns to our offices this past June! During their 10-week internships, the interns will gain exposure to the technology and startup industries in Chicago, all while training and learning directly from their managers and teams. GoHealth is excited and honored to bring on such talented young individuals who will eventually become great assets to the local community.

Now that the interns are halfway through their internships, we thought we’d check in to see how their experiences have been so far. Here they share how they first heard about GoHealth, what attracted them to our business, what their internships entail, and what they plan to do after graduation.


Summer interns billboard

Full name: Jenny Fliegel

Internship title: Consumer Marketing Intern

College or university: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

What interested you about GoHealth, and why did you apply for this internship?

GoHealth’s exciting company culture was what really drew me in to apply for this internship. I was interested in working for a tech company where I could gain hands-on experience in the industry while improving my skills.

What are some of the day-to-day tasks you’re responsible for in your internship?

I write weekly posts for GoHealth’s blog, conduct internal and external competitive research for the GoHealth brand, and think of engaging content for our social media platforms.

What has your experience been like so far at GoHealth, in your internship and with the company?

My experience at GoHealth has been great. My coworkers have been very welcoming and treat me as if I’ve been part of the team for much longer than just the summer. Working directly with the Senior Manager of Consumer Marketing has been an exciting experience, as I have been able to gain exposure in the industry by being involved in a variety of relevant tasks for the company.

What do you hope to do after graduation, and how has your internship at GoHealth helped you work toward that goal?

After graduation, I hope to begin my marketing career at a tech-related company or advertising agency. GoHealth has provided me with a variety of skills and real-world experiences that I can apply toward my career goals.


Full name: Jack Gergets

Internship title: Carrier Onboarding Team Intern

College or university: University of Notre Dame

What interested you about GoHealth, and why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I’m interested in the tech industry, and I wanted to explore something outside of my major.

What are some of the day-to-day tasks you’re responsible for in your internship?

I work on carrier onboarding, which means preparing a carrier’s information and forms to be available and usable on the GoHealth website.

What has your experience been like so far at GoHealth, in your internship and with the company?

So far, I have enjoyed my time here, because everyone around me is helpful and my work is interesting.

What do you hope to do after graduation, and how has your internship at GoHealth helped you work toward that goal?

After graduation I hope to work in the automotive industry. GoHealth is a great starting point for me because it allowed me to get my feet wet in the corporate world, learn problem-solving skills, and explore an interesting field.


Full name: Dominique Lotz

Internship title: Business Development Intern

College or university: Miami University in Ohio

What interested you about GoHealth, and why did you apply for this internship?

I was interested in GoHealth because Brandon and Clint, the President and CEO, graduated from my school, and I wanted to learn more about how they created such a large and successful business. I applied for this internship because I felt like I would fit in with the company culture and gain great experience from GoHealth. I wanted to be exposed to various sides of business, including marketing, management, and finance.

What are some of the day-to-day tasks you’re responsible for in your internship?

My daily tasks involve working on various long-term projects, including editing and uploading RFPs, creating competitive analysis, and working on planning for the next Open Enrollment Period. I also attend weekly sales meeting.

What has your experience been like so far at GoHealth, in your internship and with the company?

My experience at GoHealth and in my internship has been a very positive one. I have learned a lot about the health care industry and have gained a general understanding of how a business runs successfully. I work with amazing people who are always willing to help.

What do you hope to do after graduation, and how has your internship at GoHealth helped you work toward that goal?

After graduation, I hope to pursue a career in finance, particularly in the investment banking industry. GoHealth has helped me work toward this goal because I have been mentored by people who have a banking background and have given me advice on how to get my foot in the door.


Full name: Jenny Marks

Internship title: Digital Marketing Intern

College or university: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

What interested you about GoHealth, and why did you apply for this internship?

What interested me about GoHealth was that it was an innovative tech company. It seemed like a company growing larger and smarter very quickly. Everything about it seemed like the perfect fit for me, including the company culture and values and all of the things I would be learning.

What are some of the day-to-day tasks you’re responsible for in your internship?

Some of the day-to-day tasks I work on are daily reporting for paid search revenue and costs, learning how to optimize paid search accounts, and being able to implement ideas that I create.

What has your experience been like so far at GoHealth, in your internship and with the company?

My experience so far this summer has been everything I thought it would be. I am learning so many skills that will be useful to me after this internship ends and will help me when looking for jobs. Everything I’ve learned here aren’t things I could have learned in school.

What do you hope to do after graduation, and how has your internship at GoHealth helped you work toward that goal?

After I graduate next spring, I would like to continue with digital marketing and paid search and get a full time job in Chicago using all of the skills I have learned here.


Full name: Daniel Stiefel

Internship title: Marketplace & Sales Intern

College or university: University of Southern California

What interested you about GoHealth, and why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I wanted to get a firsthand view of a business workplace, and especially one that is growing and succeeding. I also wanted to get an internship after my freshman year of college so I could get experience early in my business career.

What are some of the day-to-day tasks you’re responsible for in your internship?

I do a lot of research on current marketplaces and innovative health care models. I am responsible for a few different commission and policy database audits, as well as calling many of GoHealth’s clients to update them on our upcoming updates and features.

What has your experience been like so far at GoHealth, in your internship and with the company?

I am very impressed and comfortable with GoHealth’s casual environment, yet they still preach hard work and dedication. In regards to my internship, the projects I have been receiving are challenging and help me learn common everyday business practices. More specifically, I have been gaining lots of Excel knowledge and presentation formatting skills.

What do you hope to do after graduation, and how has your internship at GoHealth helped you work toward that goal?

I hope to have a job in the business world and have a profession that requires lots of interaction with clients and innovators. This internship has definitely helped me, especially with communication skills. I have also worked with a lot of data, and I know that most businesses require employees who can handle and organize data.


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