Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016 Enrollment Deadlines

Happy New Year! 2015 has come and gone! If you still need coverage, you still have time! Here are the important 2016 deadlines.

It is too late to get coverage starting in January so the next date you are able to start coverage would be February 1st. You need to enroll by January 15th for a February 1st effective date.

The last day for open enrollment is January 31st, which means coverage would take effect March 1st.

If you do not enroll in a 2016 health insurance plan by January 31st, 2016 you cannot enroll in a health insurance plan for 2016 unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.
A special enrollment period is a time outside of the open enrollment period during which you and your family have a right to sign up for health coverage. In the Marketplace, you qualify for a special enrollment period 60 days following certain life events that involve a change in family status (for example, marriage or birth of a child) or loss of other health coverage.

If you are Medicaid or CHIP eligible, you may apply anytime.

If you still need a 2016 plan, act fast to beat the deadline! Here at The Guard Group, we will walk you through the enrollment process, help you select plans and answer any questions you may have!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Are you ready to enroll?

2016 Open Enrollment is upon us and we are ready to help you navigate!

Whether you are enrolling on or off exchange we can help find the right plan, navigate through Healthcare.gov's website and answer any questions you may have.

Choosing the right plan for you and your family can be confusing, determining if you are eligible for the subsidy might take some guidance, that is what we are here for.

Important dates to remember, open enrollment begins November 1st for a January 1st, 2016 effective date.

The last day to enroll for January 1st coverage is December 15th.

If you don't enroll in a 2016 health insurance plan by the absolute last date to enroll (January 31st 2016, for a March 1, 2016 effective date, you cannot enroll for coverage unless you qualify for a special enrollment period).

Here at The Guard Group, it is important to us that you have a plan that meets your needs and that you enroll on time and have all the required paperwork completed to enroll for coverage.

We can help provide quotes, rates and plans that you will be able to review before enrolling. The Healthcare.gov website is overwhelming and we have the technology to help walk you through the enrollment process as painless as possible!

If you need coverage for 2016, need to make changes to your plans contact us today. We are here, every step of the way!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Making Open Enrollment Easier!

Open enrollment during the health insurance exchange can be a confusing time, even for health insurance professionals. The Affordable Care Act was created to make getting health insurance easier and more affordable but consumers may have more questions once they get started.

Here are a few ways to help make open enrollment an easier process.

1)  Review your budget
           Knowing how much premium you can spend each month on health insurance will help narrow down plan choices. Plans in the exchange are categorized by Platinum, (most expensive), Gold, Silver and Bronze (least expensive). Having a budget set before hand will point you in the direction of which category you will be able to choose from. Do take into account that the benefits do change by category. Platinum and Gold categories will have the better plan benefits, however, the categories have nothing to do with the amount or quality of care you receive.

2) Review the plan options
           Before you sit down to enroll, review the quotes you were given. Regardless of which category you choose, there are several plans within each category. You'll want to have an idea of which plan you are leaning towards before you sit down to enroll. The marketplace website can be very overwhelming. Having a health insurance professional walk you through it will save time and headaches.

3) Decide what benefits are important to you
            Everyone has different health needs. You may just go annually for preventive care and may be pretty low maintenance. Then there are individuals who are on one to several monthly maintenance meds that may need to look at the prescription details of the plans more closely. Maybe you've had cancer or a heart attack and seeing a specialist is something you need to do monthly. You will want to look closely at that specialist co-pay, as some of the plans have higher specialist co-pays than others. Sit down and think about the past year, how often did you go to the doctor, what prescriptions did you take? Gather a snapshot of the past year for you and your family and that will help guide you in the right direction.
All plans sold through the Marketplace provide the same essential health benefits and cover pre-existing conditions and offer free preventive services. But some plans offer additional benefits. It helps to know exactly what benefits you need.

Here at The Guard Group, our goal is to make sure you have the plan that you need. We don't want anyone to choose a plan that does not meet their needs and won't cover the services they'll use.

Using a health and life navigator, will make this process easier. We can show you how!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dental Health: A window into your overall health

Your oral health is more important than you realize, it's a window into your overall health. Did you know that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body?

Did you know that people with serious gum disease were 40% more likely to have a chronic condition on top of it? And up to 91% of patients with heart disease have periodontitis.
 Feature, Joanne. "Oral Health: The Mouth-Body Connection." WebMD. WebMD. Web. 8 July 2015.

One of the main culprits, inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in blood vessels. Continued inflammation will damage gums and bone structures, eventually leading to tooth loss. If left untreated, it can also increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Conditions that may be linked to oral health:

  • Endocarditis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Periodontitis during pregnancy or birth
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer's Disease
The connection between periodontal disease and diabetes is eye opening. Inflammation that starts in the mouth seems to weaken the body's ability to control blood sugar. The good news, managing one, can help get the other one under control.

The best way to protect your teeth, brush twice a day, floss daily, eat a healthy diet and limit in between meal snacks. Be sure to get dental check ups regularly, after all, your dentist could catch a problem before it gets worse. 

Staying on top of your oral health, is an investment in your overall health. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Health insurance solutions when life changes.

Life might throw you a curveball you aren't prepared for. Or maybe it' something you've been planning for awhile but you aren't sure what options you have.

When life changes, there are solutions for your healthcare needs. We can help you find what you need and what carrier and plan is right for you. If you qualify for the special enrollment period, we can help you navigate Healthcare.gov.

Are you new to individual insurance? Retiring early, a recent graduate, changing careers and need insurance before you find another job? We can help get you on the right track with your first individual insurance plan. There are things you need to know, do you have a pre-existing condition? Have you had a lapse in coverage?  Let us help navigate.

Is your family changing?  Maybe you're getting married, having a baby, or you've gone through a relationship change. There are important time frames you need to follow when you go through important life changes.

Have things changed in your career? Are you temporarily without insurance, starting your own business, or you new job doesn't offer coverage? When your career changes, you can still make your health a priority no matter what lies ahead.

Let us help navigate through the unknown, we're here to help and make this as easy as possible.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Staying on top of your health...for free!

Yes, free! Preventive care is has been mandated to be covered at 100%, so it's free! Visiting a doctor for an annual check up is now covered by all plans, so you don't have an excuse to miss that well visit.

Staying on top of your health is one of the most important ways to catch an illness before it gets worse or even preventing something like a heart attack or stroke. Just having your blood pressure checked at your well visit can give your doctor information about your health before he even sets foot in the room.

We use too many excuses to skip our check ups, too busy, too expensive, telling yourself you "feel" healthy. There are so many health conditions we can't detect just by the way we feel. Having blood screenings, getting your blood pressure checked, having someone look in your eyes and mouth, those are all a great start to detecting a hidden illness.

Staying on top of your health with regular check ups is important to help prevent a major illness, but it's also a great way to keep claims cost down. This helps to eliminate your out of pocket medical expenses. If you go for your well visit and your doctor determines you have high blood pressure, he can help find the right monthly maintenance medicine for you. The co-pay you pay monthly will be far less than the bill you could receive from the hospital if you were to have a massive heart attack or stroke.

Not only is preventive care now covered at 100% but health insurance carriers are doing their part as well. Most health insurance carriers have a Health and Wellness portal on their website which includes a health assessment. You can assess your health, all from your living room! Being honest and answering the questions truthfully can give you great insight to the state of your health. You can identify health risks you didn't even know you had. Read about health topics, join online weight management programs, there are even online tools to help you quit smoking.

We don't have excuses anymore. We have resources at our fingertips, well visits which are no cost to you, and doctors and health clinics on almost every corner ready to make sure you stay on top of your health!

What are you waiting for? Make an appointment today for your annual check up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Open Enrollment is over...what's next?

The Health Insurance Exchange open enrollment has ended but there are still ways to get coverage if you qualify.

First, you need to know if you qualify for a special enrollment period. You could qualify if you've had a life change like, marriage, had a baby, moving outside of your plan's coverage area, or you've lost other coverage.

Medicaid and CHIP does not have a set enrollment period. If you qualify, you can get coverage immediately, any time of year.

In some areas, insurance companies sell private insurance plans outside of open enrollment. These plans should meet minimum essential coverage and other requirements by law. If you have one of these plans, you would not be subject to the penalty for not having health coverage. If you buy a plan outside of the marketplace you would not be eligible for premium tax credits or any other savings.

Don't forget, if you choose to forgo coverage, you will be subject to penalties and fees for not having coverage. In 2015, you'll pay a penalty of either 2% of your income or $325 per adult, whichever is more.

If you are looking for coverage outside of the exchange, contact us and we can help!