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when to change your plan

When to change our plan

Its July now, and for many of us, we have had our current health insurance plans for seven months out of the year. This timeline has walked us through flu season, allergy season and an extended enough period to get a good read on whether or not your current health insurance plan is a good fit. At this time of year, we always recommend going back over your year and checking off your health needs.How many times did you need to go to Urgent Care?

How many times did you go to the Emergency Room?

How many times did you need to visit a specialist?

How many times did you need to visit your doctor?

Was there any unexpected change to your health this year?

Were there any diagnoses that would potentially need extended lasting care?

All of these questions can have a significant impact on the type of insurance that is best for you and your family. For example, let’s say that you have a Bronze level plan which is known for their low monthly premiums but high costs when you need care. In this last year, you have gone to urgent care more than expected and required more time with your family’s doctor. This plan would not be very affordable for you as you are continuing to pay more out of pocket with each doctor’s visit and care that was provided.

If you have seen significant changes in your health or your family’s health, now is an excellent time to make a note of it. You cannot make changes to your health insurance plan unless there is a qualifying life experience (lose current coverage, changes in household…). But you can make a note of how many times you paid out of pocket for care. If this number is significant enough, we recommend talking to us during open enrollment to change your plan. With information like this written down, we can help you find the best health insurance plans for your needs and finances. Please feel free to call us at any time of the year for any guidance on your health insurance needs.

Nip it in the bud

Nip it in the bud

In the winter we expect to get a cold. It seems to come with the territory. We all get flu shots and hope that we don’t get too sick during that whole season. But when summer hits and you get a cold, it seems to be even worse. This is the season to be on vacation and outside enjoying the warmth. Instead, you’re inside feeling miserable. Actually, it’s not just the sense of injustice that makes summer colds worse; it’s also the virus itself. In summer the enterovirus is more active and its symptoms include runny nose, headache, cough, upset stomach, and body aches.

One of the best ways to beat the summer cold is to nip it in the bud before it turns into a full-blown thing. Here are a few ways that you can help keep your immune system strong during the summer:

Sleep:

When the sun is out longer, it can also prolong your bedtime. The cool summer evenings can be perfect for a late night stroll or an outdoor concert, but lack of sleep is the number one cause of a weak immune system. When we sleep, disease-fighting substances are created and when you don’t rest; they are not produced. So make sleeping a priority!

Exercise:

The enterovirus, prevalent during the summer, can become worse if you exercise. Now, we are not saying that you should not exercise at all! But if you have been mostly sedentary during the winter months, it would be smart to ease into a fitness routine and not jump in full force.

Boost your system

If you regularly take a multivitamin, it would be a good time to take some extra vitamin C. You may also want to introduce a probiotic into your diet. The majority of your immune system resides in your gut, so good gut care can make a big difference in how you fight off a cold this summer.

Summer is a beautiful season! Stay healthy so you can enjoy it the entire time!

your kids are covered

Your Kids are Covered

We care about our kids. It’s a natural response. There is something instinctive that kicks in to protect and provide for our children. One of the ways that we want to provide for our kids is to ensure that they have access to see the doctor. Not only when they come home with a rattling cough, but also for yearly check-ups and immunizations. We want them to have access to a dentist for regular check-ups and to ensure that if they have any cavities that they are being addressed now and not turning into a more significant issue. But in wanting to provide all of this for our children, we can run into problems of finances and health insurance coverage. If you are having a hard time providing insurance coverage for your children, there are some options available to you.

 

Medi-Cal and CHIP
These programs provide low cost or no cost health insurance coverage for children in California. These programs take into account your income to help determine the price. For some families, the parents may receive their health insurance through an employer but to add their children to the plan is a significant increase. Sometimes, your children can qualify for health coverage through these programs at a much-reduced rate.

 

Children Only Health Insurance Plans
There are lots of different plans available for children. These programs usually cover check-ups, baby care, school and sports screening and sometimes immunizations. The benefit of these plans is that your child is receiving care ahead of time so they are less likely to get very sick and the doctors aren’t playing catch up after a cold has taken root. These plans usually come in HMO, ECO and PPO formats. Each one has their pros and cons.

 

If you have more questions about health insurance coverage for your kids, please make sure to call us. We are the health insurance experts and can help answer all of your questions.
college students & healthcare

What College Students Need to know about Healthcare

College is an exciting season in one’s life. You are embarking on your first steps of adulthood and walking into higher learning. For many, it is the first time they had to do their laundry or figure out a budgeting system. Baby steps people. One aspect that isn’t discussed that often is a college student’s need for health insurance. It is just as important as getting your textbooks or making sure that your schedule has no early morning classes. While college students do tend to be in the best stages of their health, many incidents can happen during college years that make health insurance a necessity. You can never predict when there may be an accident and you get hurt. Health insurance does help pay for any doctor’s visits for a cold, and it can help pay for mental health care and with any care need for STD’s or pregnancy.

 

If you are a dependent and under the age of 26, you can still be covered under your parent’s health care coverage. This can be especially helpful if you are staying in the same state to attend college. You will still have access to all of your regular providers. If you are attending school outside of the state that your parents live in, it would be advisable to research the care that is available in that state and make sure that your health insurance will cover your basic needs. Many students do come home and have their doctor appointments while on break, but if an accident should happen it is good to know where you would go to get care.

 

Many schools also offer health care options for their students. These are known as Student Health Insurance Plans (SHIP). This can be very helpful for many students because they can use their financial aid to help pay for their health care premiums. With the programs, many schools have made medical care available on campus which is very convenient. It is also essential to compare the cost of these programs with other marketplace programs because you do want to ensure that you are not spending more money than is necessary for the services rendered.

 

Please contact us if you have any questions about college students and their health insurance needs.
IEHP vs. Molina

IEHP vs. Molina

If you live in the Inland Empire and have needed access to health care but because of your income have had a hard time affording specific marketplace plans you may have come across IEHP or Molina. Both of these institutions are here for the same reason, to provide health services to people regardless of their socioeconomic status. Here’s a little bit more information on each of these companies.

IEHP:

“Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) is a not-for-profit Medi-Cal and Medicare health plan headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, California. We are the largest health plan in the Inland Empire, and one of the fastest-growing health plans in the nation. With a network of more than 6,000 Providers and 2,000 Team Members, we provide comprehensive managed health care coverage to more than 1.2 million residents of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. “ https://ww3.iehp.org/en/about-iehp/

IEHP is known for their large selection of doctors, providing overall healthhttps://ww3.iehp.org/en/about-iehp/ options including wellness information, and always looking for quality over quantity in the type of support and healthcare that they offer.

Molina:
Molina’s mission is to treat every person they interact with as though they are interacting with family. Started in 1980 by Dr. David Molina who noticed that low-income families were coming in for care but were lacking necessary information and not getting the right care initially. What started as a low-income clinic grew to a large company that provides coverage in 13 states with 3.5 million members.

Both of these companies are dedicated to providing the best care options for their members. If you need to decide which company is a better fit for you, make sure to look at what doctors are available to accept new clients in your area. There may be plenty of doctors to choose from, but while a doctor may take IEHP or Molina, they may not be accepting any new patients. But both companies are known for treating their members exceptionally well.

If you have questions about your health care coverage, please feel free to call us. We are the healthcare experts and are happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Pros and Cons of Kaiser
Kaiser Permanente is one of the staples of our local health providers.

They have recently built a facility in Redlands and continue to provide health services to our community. But bringing up the name Kaiser Permanente can come with some very mixed results. You’ll find people who love Kaiser and feel that they have never experienced better or more organized care. You’ll also find people with vitriol and fury in their descriptions of the healthcare company. This may be because of the unique type of business model that Kaiser holds to, which is different than any other health provider.

Kaiser not only provides health care through doctors, nurses and specialists; they also provide the health insurance to help pay for that care.

Medical health insurance that is purchased through them makes all of their doctors and facilities available to you. However, you will not have access to anyone outside of their care. If it is an emergency situation, they will cover attention that was received at another hospital.

It is this system that makes people have such polarizing opinions on Kaiser.

For many, they experience a system with a lot of ease. All of your medical records are accessible and ready at any time to any doctor that you may see. The costs are usually lower than other health insurance and care providers. They are dedicated to providing your excellent, whole health care. Their website states “Kaiser Permanente was founded on the radically simple idea that everyone deserves the chance to live a healthy life. That’s why you can find high-quality care and coverage in one place.” But on the rare case that you become ill with something that their specialists cannot find an answer to, and if there is another specialist outside of their system who could better treat you, it is not likely that it would be approved.

We hope that this light perusal of Kaiser Permanente has been helpful. If you ever have questions about your health insurance and what it covers, please always feel free to call us at Bernardini and Donovan.

Get in Gear for Summer - Part 1

Get in Gear for Summer – Part 1

With June not far off, it’s time for many of us to start thinking ahead to the summer. For some, that means getting yourself beach body ready. While we may not be beach body ready, we are dedicated to pursuing good health all throughout the year. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your body healthy during the summer months.

Drink water

This really should be a common health goal. But during the summer, when temperatures spike, we sweat out a lot of our hydration and need to keep drinking water to rehydrate ourselves. If you think that soda or coffee will help keep you hydrated, sorry, that’s just not true. In fact, other beverages do an excellent job of dehydrating you. Sticking to water will make all the difference.

Keep active but not during the hottest part of the day

Maintaining an active lifestyle is a favorite ingredient for health. But during the summer there can be some high temperatures that make working out difficult and can make you lose your motivation to get going. Make it a point to work out early in the morning or after the sun sets so that you can still

Berrys for better health

An excellent way to boost your antioxidants this summer is to include berries in your diet. This is as simple as throwing some strawberries or raspberries in your smoothie each morning or having them as a midday snack. And seeing as these delicious fruits are in season, there is no better time enjoy them. They also can help you fend off age-related illnesses and prevent damage that is done to your tissue. Can’t beat that!

These are just a few of examples of how to prepare for summer. In our next blog, we are going to cover some of the less heard of tips and tricks to get your ready for summer!!

Values of B&D

Values of Bernardini & Donovan

At Bernardini and Donovan, we love serving our clients and partners. And we are dedicated to providing you,  your families, and your businesses with insurance services. We do this by following a dedicated set of values which directs our communication and service.

Helpfulness

We are here to help you. We understand that your health is vital and that many of you need good health insurance to help the cost associated with preventative care as well as care whenever illness or injuries occur. That’s why we want to do everything we can to help you. If you are tired of trying to figure out health care on your own, we are here to answer your questions and walk alongside you to ensure that you get the health insurance that you need.

Knowledgeable

Our health insurance market has been flooded with change over the last few years. To the point that many people cannot keep up. We know that it’s hard to keep up in a niche market, so that is why we do it for you. As you have questions about new policy, your best options for your business or when you are starting Medicare; we are here to give you the most up to date information.

Trustworthy  

Webster’s dictionary defines trust as the “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” We strive to continue to be above board, up front and honest with all of our clients. We seek to communicate effectively and promptly especially when deadlines are so final with health insurance. And we hope to build lasting relationships with our clients. This isn’t a single transaction, but a desire to see you turn to us for any of your health insurance needs.

We want you to succeed and do everything we can to make the health insurance process as easy as possible. Please contact us today if you have questions about your health insurance.

your health insurance and taxes

Your Health Insurance and Taxes

 

Over the last year, we have seen lots of ups and downs as Washington has been looking to make changes to our health care.

We’ve seen bills get through the house to be then stood up in the Senate. There have been a load of rewrites and committees being formed to address these issues. We have seen dramatic days of voting and lengthy interviews afterward about who said yea or nay. So what changes have been made to our healthcare? You may have heard about the individual mandate being suspended under a new tax law for future years, but here is one change that will affect your tax return this year.On October 13, 2017, the IRS reversed a recent policy change in how it monitors compliance with the ACA individual mandate. For our 2018 filing season (filing 2017 tax returns) the IRS will not accept electronically filed tax returns where the taxpayer does not certify whether the individual had health insurance for the year. For paper returns that do not certify compliance with the individual mandate, they may be suspended pending receipt of additional information and any refunds due may be delayed.

To avoid refund and processing delays when filing your 2017 tax returns in 2018, taxpayers should indicate whether they and everyone on their return had health coverage, qualified for an exemption or are paying individual mandate penalty. This process reflects the Affordable Care Act‘s requirements and the Internal Revenue Service’s obligation to administer the law.

We hope that this information has been helpful for you as we are in the thick of tax season. Remember that if you ever have questions about your health care insurance, we love to be able to help you and are only a phone call away. If you have questions about taxes, we recommend talking to a tax preparer as they are equipped to help you understand the tax laws.

how your coverage can help with mental health

How Your Coverage Can Help With Mental Health

Mental Health is getting a lot more attention by our society than before.

In previous generations, if someone was having a hard time with something, they were encouraged to ignore it or think about something else. If you’ve ever struggled with mental health, then you know that it is not as simple as that. But we see a change in the way that people are responding to not only their own but others mental health needs. One of the most significant shifts came when Mental Health Parity Acts were passed. This is a law that states that health care plans cannot limit the care provided for mental health over physical health care.

In the state of California, we have the California Mental Health Parity Act which states that “Health care service plans or insurance plans must cover care for persons with “severe mental illnesses” as they do for other people with other health conditions or illnesses.” (source)

But this act does also enumerate a few key issues that are important to know. First that this act only applies to health care services that are state regulated. They also define what illnesses are considered severe and fall under this law. This list usually includes Major depression, Panic disorder,  Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder;  Obsessive-compulsive disorder; Anorexia, Bulimia, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective disorder, Autism or Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and Children’s severe emotional disturbances.  Under this law, you have the right to get diagnosed, change your doctor, get your medical records, the right to keep those records private and to get a second opinion.

When it comes to mental health, it is essential to reach out for help.
Precisely what is offered in your health insurance for mental health changes between different the plans. If you have questions about what is covered by your health insurance, please feel free to reach out to your provider or us. We want to ensure that you get all of your physical and mental health insurance questions answered.