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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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Getting health coverage outside of Open Enrollment

by Brooke Jarchow

If you missed the deadline to purchase health coverage, you may be eligible to find a plan outside of Open Enrollment depending on your situation. If you experience a Qualifying Life Event, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), which means you have 60 days from the time of the life event to sign up for coverage. Below, we categorize the different Qualifying Life Events that could get you health insurance outside of Open Enrollment.

Changes in residence

  • Moving to a different ZIP code or county
  • Moving to or from a shelter home
  • Students moving to or from where they attend school
  • Seasonal workers moving to or from where they both live and work

Changes in household

  • Getting married
  • Having a baby
  • Adopting a child
  • Having a child placed with you for foster care

Loss of health coverage

  • Due to a death of someone on your Marketplace plan
  • Getting divorced or legally separated
  • Turning 26 and losing coverage through a parent’s plan
  • Losing eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP
  • Losing job-based coverage, individual coverage, or student plans

Other

  • Being released from incarceration
  • Becoming a U.S. citizen

 

If you qualify for any of the Qualifying Life Events listed above, or if you think you might be eligible in the future, visit GoHealth.com for more information or call (888) 322-7557 to speak with an agent who can help you get the coverage you need.

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Finding health coverage after early retirement

by Brooke Jarchow

Retirement is supposed to be one of the most relaxing times of your life, but it’s not without its challenges, especially if you retire early. One of the biggest obstacles when retiring before age 65 is finding affordable health insurance. It can be expensive and time consuming to find the coverage you need when you are suddenly without employer-sponsored coverage.

Did you know that retiring early or quitting your job is considered a Qualifying Life Event, which allows you to enroll in coverage outside of Open Enrollment? You will likely have 60 days from retirement to get new health insurance.

While there are other options such as COBRA coverage, enrolling in individual health insurance can be more affordable, since COBRA coverage usually requires individuals to pay their entire monthly premium, plus a two percent administration fee.

Are you retiring before age 65 or losing job-based coverage? GoHealth licensed insurance agents can help determine your eligibility for a Special Enrollment Period and help you find a health plan that fits your needs.

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How an Obamacare repeal could affect employer-based coverage

by Brooke Jarchow

Two weeks ago, Republicans unveiled their first draft of a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, called American Health Care Act.  While there is still no confirmation of how much the replacement plan could cost, its proposed changes could leave millions without health insurance. Those who get health insurance through the open market – accounting for 7 percent of the U.S. population – aren’t the only ones who could be impacted by the new law. Below, we take a look at what the proposed plan could mean for those with health insurance through their employer.

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more full-time workers are required to provide health insurance to those employees. A Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 49 percent of Americans received health insurance through their employers in 2015. However, under the proposed replacement plan, large employers would no longer be required to offer health insurance to their employees.

Under the Affordable Care Act, large employers would face a fine for not offering coverage to their employees; under the American Health Care Act, these same employers would face no such fine. Eliminating this requirement could cause as many as 20 million people to lose their employer-sponsored coverage.

While the American Health Care Act is not yet approved,  it’s clear that Americans who receive coverage through their employers shouldn’t consider themselves exempt from these changes. As details of the American Health Care Act emerge, we will continue to provide updates and education on our blog.

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