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5 Simple Tips for Healthy Travel

by Elyse Janikian

Whether you’re staying local, or going cross country for a getaway, travel often has a way of bringing your health and fitness streak to a halt. The purpose for travel is to escape everyday life, whether that is lounging in your hotel room for some quiet time, or indulging in local foods. So you might be asking: “What is the point in trying to stay healthy on vacation anyway?” Here are some easy ways to keep your health and fitness streak strong, no matter where you go.

1: BEFORE YOU LEAVE, HIT THE GYM

While it’s easy to skip gym sessions you planned a few days before vacation, sticking to your routine before vacation could allow you to slack off while you’re away! Try spending an extra 30 minutes in the gym to make up for some additional downtime you might take in the days to follow. Fueling your body with exercise, hydration and healthy food before you leave will allow you to indulge once you’re on vacation.

2: RESEARCH HEALTH & FITNESS OPTIONS IN YOUR DESTINATION CITY

Find out if the hotel or Airbnb you booked has an onsite gym or workout room. Does the area you are staying in have any outdoor fitness activities nearby? Does the room come stocked with any sort of snacks? If you are staying in a hotel or Airbnb with a kitchen, stop at a local market and buy fresh, local food to avoid junk food temptations. This is also a great way to save money!

3: FOOD PREP

While meal prepping is something many people do to save time during the work week, prepping snacks for vacation is a great way to save money and stay healthy. Try packing a bag of almonds or protein bars ahead of time for a long day of air travel.

4: BRING THE GYM WITH YOU

Even if your hotel has a gym, there’s a chance it could be small, crowded, or not stocked with the workout equipment you’re used to. To avoid these obstacles, bring a small bag with some exercise bands, light weights, or a yoga mat. Bringing the gym with you allows you to work out wherever and whenever you can.

5: TAKE IT ALL IN

Health and fitness aside, you are on vacation! Take in all the city has to offer. If certain places on your list are nearby, walk there instead of taking public transportation. Even though it might be faster to order an Uber, walking to your destination allows you to stumble upon some places you may have not planned on seeing (this also is a great way to come across local markets and food).

 

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National UV safety month: What you need to know about UV rays

Summer is arguably the best of the four seasons: warmer weather, longer days, and shorter work hours (if you’re lucky) make for more time outside and in the sun. Whether you’re at the pool, the beach, or going for a run in the sun, it’s important to know how to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays.

Did you know that July is National UV Safety Month? Ultraviolet (UV) radiation comes from the sun and is invisible to the human eye. However, it is responsible for both sun tans and sunburns. Knowing UV levels and what they mean for your skin could save you from a sunburn or skin cancer down the road.

UV rays are measured on a scale of 0 to 11+. The strongest UV possible is ranked at 11 or above. UV rays are strongest in the summertime between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. UV strength also increases in higher elevations. Unlike the sun, UV rays can easily pass through some types of clouds, so it’s important to protect your skin even on cloudy days.

The amount of UV a person is exposed to depend on the strength of the UV rays, the length of time spent in the sun, and whether the skin is protected. If you plan on spending time in the sun this summer, get familiar with the UV index scale. You can check the UV index at any time on your weather app or on your local weather channel’s website.

Read more health education on our blog and Facebook.

 

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Why following the Mediterranean diet is better than a quick-fix cleanse

With trendy diets and cleanses widely available and advertised online, a healthy diet with lasting results can be hard to find. Diets that promise extreme weight loss or cleanses that promote great skin rarely produce lasting results. In fact, drastically cutting calories or drinking vegetables for a week could leave you with nutritional deficiencies and negatively impact your weight and your skin. For weight loss and a healthier body, you should choose a diet or lifestyle that is manageable and not restrictive.

If you want to be healthier, prevent disease, and lose weight, try the Mediterranean diet. In recent studies, the Mediterranean diet has been linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, depression and heart attacks. In addition, the Mediterranean diet is said to promote a longer life and is relatively easy to follow.

So, what can I eat?

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes a heavy intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, nuts, fish and seafood, herbs and spices, and red wine in moderation. In addition, the diet recommends exercising often and portion control. You can find the recommended portions of each food group online.

What can’t I eat?

The Mediterranean diet doesn’t restrict food groups entirely, but encourages limiting foods like butter, red meat, and sweets. All and all, the Mediterranean diet models the saying: “everything in moderation.”

The Mediterranean diet is proof that eating a well-rounded diet can be healthier than any quick cleanse or strict diet. Would you try the Mediterranean diet? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Why healthy people should have health insurance

Accidents happen. Even if you are a healthy, young individual who rarely goes to the doctor, you can’t predict the unpredictable. You can however, make sure you are covered in the event of an accident or unexpected illness. Paying for coverage now is a small price to pay should you end up needing to see a doctor or go to the hospital in the future. Below, we outline the major benefits of getting health insurance, even if you’re healthy now.

Access to free preventive care and primary care

Under the current health care law, annual checkups, as well as preventive care such as mammograms, contraceptives, vaccinations, cancer screenings, and more, must be covered by your health insurance provider. Routine checkups can help find and treat health issues in their early stages or even before they start. Without health insurance, these free services could cost thousands out of pocket, and health problems could go undiagnosed.

Affordable peace of mind

A common reason young adults forgo health insurance is that they believe they can’t afford it. However, based on your income, you may be eligible for tax credits, lower premiums, and lower out-of-pocket expenses. In addition, there are different types of Obamacare plans that can get you the coverage you need at a lower cost. Paying monthly premiums for your health insurance could cost thousands of dollars less than paying for an unexpected medical bill without health insurance.

Responsibility – and the law

Lastly, it’s important to remember that the Affordable Care Act is still the law, and most individuals are required to have health insurance. If you don’t have health insurance coverage, you may have to pay a tax penalty.

Open Enrollment is just a few months away, so now is the time to start planning which type of coverage is best for you. If you have questions, visit gohealth.com or call (888) 322-7557 to speak with a licensed agent.

 

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The freelancer’s guide to health insurance

by Brooke Jarchow

Freelancing might seem like a dream: setting your own hours, choosing your own projects and working from home. Who wouldn’t want to be their own boss?

However, a major advantage to working in a salaried position is having access to employer-sponsored benefits like health insurance. While freelancers may have more flexibility in their schedules as opposed to salaried employees, they also have to figure out health insurance on their own.

Paying for health insurance on your own can be costly, but fortunately, the benefits provided by health plans often outweigh going uninsured when it comes to cost. In addition, if you’re a freelancer, your schedule may allow you to use your health plan in ways a salaried employee might not be able to. Below, we outline benefits and tips to remind freelancers why finding health insurance doesn’t have to be difficult.

Get free preventive care

Health insurance plans cover the costs of preventive care, including an annual physical, contraceptives, some vaccinations, and routine screenings. Without health insurance, an annual physical could cost as much as $200 dollars. Consider this: Can you really afford this cost on your own without coverage?

Use online resources

Most health insurance plans allow you to access your medical information online. In addition, you can set up auto-payments, book appointments, and access help online. These tools can save you time and prevent you from accidentally missing a payment.

Some health insurance plans offer telemedicine services, as well. If you’re unsure if you need to see a doctor, you can pick up the phone and speak to your primary care doctor without leaving your home. Keep in mind that some prescriptions can be refilled over the phone and some conditions can be diagnosed and treated without ever leaving your home.

Schedule appointments at off-times

With your flexibility as a freelancer, you can avoid scheduling appointments at peak times, when most people who work a 9 to 5 job wouldn’t necessarily have this luxury. You’ll likely have to wait less time to be seen by a doctor if you schedule during mid-morning or mid-afternoon when most people are at work.

Ask questions about treatment and medications

A major way to save at the doctor’s office or at the hospital regardless of your health plan is by asking questions. All too often, people assume the treatment they are receiving is necessary and fail to ask for a cheaper alternative. Ask your doctor how the results of any test, surgery, or exam might change your treatment. Remember, you can decline treatments that will not impact your condition, and you can decline equipment such as slings, braces, and wheelchairs. Most equipment can be purchased outside of a doctor’s office for much less money. In addition to asking questions about your treatment, asking your doctor about medications can save you money, as well. Keep in mind that generic medications are often less expensive than name brands and may be covered under some health plans.

Do you have questions about health insurance? Visit gohealth.com or call (888) 322-7557 to speak with a licensed agent today.

 

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Health insurance options for recent college grads

by Brooke Jarchow

Recent graduates face many challenges as they enter the real world, including looking for their first jobs and moving out of their parents’ homes. So, while recent college graduates don’t need additional responsibilities, there’s one more thing all of them should focus on: getting health insurance.

While having health insurance may not seem like a high priority, it could protect you financially in the event of an accident or unexpected illness. Additionally, having health insurance allows you to get preventive care, like contraceptives for little to no cost.

Luckily, young adults graduating from school have options. But if you have multiple health plan options, which one should you choose? While there’s no universal solution for everyone, we outline helpful guidelines below.

Stay on your parent’s plan

Under the Affordable Care Act, you can stay on your parents’ plan until age 26 and receive all of the plan’s benefits. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey in 2015, this was the most common type of coverage for young adults.

Get coverage through your employer

Employer-sponsored plans are another common type of coverage for young adults. One benefit of choosing employer-sponsored coverage rather than staying on your parents’ plan includes privacy. If you stay on your parents’ plan, the policyholders typically receive insurance notices that may describe your medical care and treatments you received. If you prefer this information be kept private, electing a plan through your employer may be the right choice for you. Another benefit of employer-sponsored coverage over your parents’ plan is that there might be a higher likelihood of finding doctors and hospitals nearby that are in your plan’s provider network. If you moved to a new state, it could be difficult to find doctors in your parents’ network.

If you are not on your parents’ plan and employer-sponsored coverage isn’t an option, you can consider the Marketplace. You can shop for different types of coverage during Open Enrollment or if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

There is also the possibility that you qualify for Medicaid. If you don’t have a job or if you earn a certain level of income, you could qualify for Medicaid, which provides comprehensive coverage at lower costs. In addition, there’s no Open Enrollment period for Medicaid.

We recognize that every situation is different and are prepared to help you find the coverage you need. If you have questions or if you would like more information about which type of coverage is right for you, visit gohealth.com or call (888) 322-7557 to speak with a licensed agent today.

 

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How are term life insurance and permanent life insurance different?

by Brooke Jarchow

In the event of a tragedy, having life insurance could help financially protect your family. Choosing which type of life insurance is right for you and your family can depend on many personal factors, including your family’s current financial needs, any future financial obligations, and more. Below, we help explain the differences between the two main types of life insurance: term life insurance and permanent life insurance.

Term life insurance can provide low-cost coverage for a specific period of time. Term life insurance policies can provide coverage for 5 to 30 years, depending on the policy. While term life insurance may offer lower costs, it also expires. Once your term ends, you are no longer covered and your beneficiaries would receive nothing if you died. For this reason, it is important to decide whether you have more temporary coverage needs or if you anticipate needing coverage for a longer period of time.

Permanent life insurance can help provide life-long financial protection. Unlike term life insurance plans, permanent life insurance plans are usually just that: permanent. In addition, some permanent life insurance policies include a cash-value feature, allowing the policy to accumulate value during the policyholder’s lifetime. However, keep in mind that plans can differ by insurer and the state you live in, so make sure you understand the details of your specific plan.

Do you have questions about which type of life insurance plan is right for you? Call GoHealth to talk to an agent today: (888) 322-7557.

 

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Your introduction to life insurance

by Brooke Jarchow

Life insurance can be considered an important risk management tool for families. It can prepare you for the uncertain future and ensure your family is left without financial burden. However, due to its complexity, people are often confused by life insurance, which may even lead them to avoid securing a policy.

While talking about your uncertain future may be uncomfortable, preparing with life insurance now could save your family from facing severe financial difficulty. Below, we explain life insurance and explain why you might consider a life insurance policy.

What is life insurance?

Life insurance policies are generally designed to protect the dependents of an insured individual should they pass away. Generally, life insurance helps guarantee that the policy holder’s dependents (or beneficiaries) will receive a certain amount of money should the policy holder pass away. Beneficiaries can use the money they receive to cover funeral costs, mortgage payments, college tuition and other expenses.

Who should consider a life insurance policy?

Do you have family members who rely on your financial support? If your spouse, children, or other dependents may not be able to provide for themselves if you were gone, you might want to consider a life insurance policy. A general rule of thumb is to set up a policy that would provide your beneficiaries with 10-15 years of financial coverage, but the best way to figure out the exact amount to have is to talk to a life insurance agent.

Are you ready to get started or do you have questions? Call GoHealth to talk to an agent: (888) 322-7557.

 

 

 

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How to save money at the doctor’s office or in a hospital

by Brooke Jarchow

If you’ve ever been hit with unexpected medical bills after visiting your doctor or a hospital, this article is for you. When seeing a doctor, you are likely being billed for each visit or procedure, which can add up quickly. However, it’s important to remember that you are the consumer and you have the right to ask questions that could save you money. Not every procedure or type of exam is necessary, and there are likely alternatives that provide the same care for less money. Below, we outline what you can do to save money at the doctor or in a hospital.

Ask questions…

Before any test, surgery, or exam, ask your doctor how the results might change your treatment. If the results of the procedure will not impact how the doctor treats your condition, you have the option to decline the procedure. If the test, surgery, or exam is necessary, ask your doctor how much it will cost. Your doctor should be able to give you a range. Asking your doctor questions about cheaper alternatives and expressing concern for your financial responsibilities could save you from paying for unnecessary or costly procedures.

Be clear on the terms of your visit and payment…

Should you find yourself in a hospital, ask if you are being admitted or held on “observation status.” If you’re being held on observation status, you’re technically an outpatient and could be responsible for higher costs than an inpatient.

If you’re staying in the hospital, make sure to express your willingness to occupy a room with another patient, if you’re comfortable with this. Private rooms are often the default in hospitals, but could cost more. Should you find yourself in a private room, make sure you are clear that you did not request the room.

Upon being admitted to a hospital, you’ll likely have to sign documents assigning you with financial responsibilities for charges your insurer does not cover. Before you sign, it might be a good idea to write in “as long as the providers are in my insurance network” to make sure your consent to cover additional co-payments or deductible charges applies to in-network providers only. This can help ensure that whoever is involved in your treatment – doctors, physicians, assistants – is in your network.

Refuse unnecessary care and equipment…

Equipment like slings, braces, and wheelchairs can often be purchased outside of a hospital or doctor’s office for much less money. If your doctor tries to send you home with equipment you could buy at a pharmacy for less, you have the option to refuse it. Like equipment, you can also refuse unnecessary care. Should you find yourself in a hospital, keep track of who is entering your room to check on you. Question their role, who sent them, and if their check-ins are necessary for your health.

Do you have questions about your coverage in these types of situations? Call GoHealth at (888) 322-7557 for help.

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Short-Term Coverage: What is it, and how do I enroll?

 

by Brooke Jarchow

If you miss Open Enrollment and do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you still have coverage options. Short-term insurance plans allow you to fill in coverage gaps until the next Open Enrollment Period.  While short-term plan details differ from major medical plans, short-term insurance can still give you health care protection you need.

What is short-term health insurance?

Short-term coverage is a great temporary option to save you money until Open Enrollment begins and you can enroll in a major medical plan. Short-term coverage is available for one to 12 months depending on your insurer and state. You can enroll in short-term health insurance at anytime, regardless of Open Enrollment Periods.

How does short-term health Insurance differ from major medical insurance?

Unlike major medical insurance, short-term plans do not cover pre-existing conditions and have limitations on which doctors you can see, preventive care benefits, and financial assistance. Additionally, even if you have a short-term plan, you will not be exempt from paying the tax penalty for going uninsured.

While a short-term plan may not offer all of the same types of coverage as major medical plans, it is  important that you have some type of health coverage. Without health insurance, an annual physical could cost up to $200. Also, if you should need to go to the hospital, you will likely pay thousands of dollars more if you are uninsured.

How can I enroll in short-term coverage?

Call 888-322-7557 to speak with a licensed agent, who can help you decide what type of coverage is best for you. If that type of coverage is short-term, they can also help enroll you in a plan.

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