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B-&-D-04-19-OUT-and-About-First-AID-02

Out and About First-Aid

Spring is in the air! Which means that we are coming to an end of a very wet winter for us in Southern California. But one of the many benefits to all of the rain is the Rolling Green Hills and Mountains. There is never a better time to go for a hike, a long walk or backpacking for a few days. But while you are out communing with nature, you will want to make sure that you are prepared for any possible injuries that could happen. Bring along some basic first aid that is set up for your type of excursion as well as for how many people will be going with you and you will be on the right track. Here are a few common problems that come up while taking part in outdoor activities.

Dehydration

This is a tricky one because most people do not realize they are dehydrated until its too late. But the best way to combat dehydration is to take small sips of water throughout your outdoor activity. Make sure to carry enough water for the whole of your trip or know where you can refill your water bottle. If safe water is not available, sterilization tablets will be a must-have.

Cuts and bites

If you get a cut, you will want to ensure that you clean the area off with a disinfectant and make sure there is no debris in the wound. Then you need to stop the bleeding. Use a sterile piece of gauze to apply pressure and to stop the bleeding. Then use a bandaid to protect the wound. If you get stung by an insect make sure to remove the stinger as soon as possible and use pain relievers, a cold pack, and/or anti-itch creams to help.

Hopefully, these few tips will help you next time you go for a hike. And we have one final suggestion. Always be sure to carry a first aid kit with you. A basic first aid kit will include:

  • One elastic-roll bandage
  • Aspirin or ibuprofen
  • Adhesive tape
  • Alcohol Swabs
  • Antacid
  • Antihistamine
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Adhesive bandages, assorted sizes
  • Bulb irrigating syringe
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Chemical heat and cold packs
  • Dry-wash pads or wipes
  • Diarrhea medicine
  • Gauze pads
  • Hydrocortisone cream (soothes allergic skin)
  • Insect repellent
  • Mirror, small and unbreakable
  • Moleskin, 1 or 2 packets
  • Cotton swab, sterile, packaged in pairs
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors (Swiss Army Pen Knife has scissors, small blade and nail file)
  • Sunscreen
  • Triangular bandage
  • Tweezers
First Aid box - bdhealthinsurance.
B-&-D-04-19-Virtual-Care

Virtual Care

The internet has changed everything. From the way that we get basic information to the way that we interact with each other; the internet has reshaped our society. It would make sense that every aspect of our lives would be touched by the advancement of this technology, including health care.

One advancement that we have seen come into more Prominence is Telehealth. Telehealth can come in the form of a patient portal where health care members can sign in and:

  • Treatments Needed
  • Have access to create Appointments

  • Watch Educational Videos
  • Get Reminders to Get a Flu Shot
  • Treatments Needed
  • See your Test Results
  • Based upon Any Specific
  • And Much More

Opportunities For Health Care Members

The idea behind telehealth is to create more equal opportunities for Health Care Members to have access to care. If care members live in rural areas and don’t have access to care with ease, then telehealth can help. This can be especially helpful if a specialist is needed, but the doctors available in their system are multiple hours away. Telehealth can also help with more straightforward issues. A phone call to a nurse practitioner can help with simple cases where seeing a doctor is not needed. It can also assist in situations where mobility or transportation is an issue.

Some of the latest advancements are in virtual health. These are doctor visits that happen virtually; usually through a video conference call. Most of these virtual health meetings have taken place over the necessary treatments and not in-depth diagnoses or difficult treatments. There are some preliminary indications that if virtual health were to take over annual doctor visits, ongoing patient care, and self-care, then it could save $10 billion annually across the United States.

Telehealth -bdhealthinsurance

Overall, the future of health providers is very bright. There will always be times that seeing a doctor will be necessary. But if you require preventive and maintenance care, you can expect to see more telehealth and virtual health care options coming your way.

outside of Your Coverage

Outside of Your Coverage?

coverage insuranceOne of the most significant selling points of any insurance is that it brings peace of mind. Knowing that your well being and costs are being taken care of should anything happen to you or your family helps provide a sense of comfortable peace. But it would be foolish to assume that your Insurance will Cover Everything that could go wrong. That’s why you want to know exactly what is included in your home insurance and what your deductible is with your car insurance. There is the same train of thought with your health insurance. There are basics of your health coverage that you can always expect. Most of that includes preventative care such as doctor’s visits and hospitalization. However, not all care is covered.

 

There may be times that your doctor recommends a Specialist for surgery or some other care-related need. If they recommend someone outside of your coverage, you can find yourself in a tricky situation. One of our first recommendations is to ask your doctor if they can recommend anyone that is within your coverage. If they do not know anyone, then you can ask your insurance company to do the leg work. Ask them for a specialist that is within your insurance coverage. You can even ask them to cast a broader net to surrounding areas if you feel like you are not finding the specialist that is right for you. If you find someone within your coverage, great! Meet with them and make sure that you feel entirely comfortable with them and ensure that they feel confident in your treatment.  It can also be in your best interest to at least see the first recommended specialist. They can serve as a second opinion.

If you do end up paying out of pocket, try to negotiate the best price possible before the surgery. Go over Outside of Your Coverageevery possible expense and work with the hospital to ensure that any discounts that are available are applied. Also, please do not ignore the hospital’s collection department. It may seem like they are just like every other collection agency out there. However, they are trying to help you! They can help set you up on a payment plan as well as lower the cost of the final amount that you owe the hospital. It is in your best interest to become one of their favorite clients.

We hope that these ideas help you if you should ever find yourself needing care outside of your coverage. If you ever need to readdress your health care insurance needs, please always feel free to call us.

Spring Allergies

Preparing for Spring Allergies

All winter long you may have been dreaming of this day. The day that the temperatures start to rise. The day that you get out of bed and don’t feel the immediate chill. Maybe you have been waiting for the leaves to start filling up the trees and longing for your landscape to be lush and green? And where that is a beautiful sight to behold, for many Americans, it is the start of their Spring Allergies. Here are a few ways that you can prepare for your spring allergies.

See your AllPreparing for Spring Allergiesergist ahead of Time

Don’t wait until your allergies are driving you crazy before you go to the doctor. If you know your allergies are just waiting on the other side of spring, go to see your allergist. It can help you significantly to start using an allergy medicine that was helpful last season now.

Keep your Windows Closed

However tempting it may be to open up your windows and let the Fresh Spring Air into your Home, please do not! Helping your home remain allergen-free can help your system significantly. You can also replace filters in your home. If pollen is a significant issue, you can also change clothes once you come in from the outside. Pollen can catch a ride indoors on your outerwear. You can also shower before bed so that you are not bringing anything into your bed.
Track the pollen

Flush Out your System

Studies have shown that using a neti pot, or a similar product, has helped people who suffer from allergies. The neti pot allows water to flush out the sinuses and removed unwanted allergens that may be causing your allergy grief.

Track the Pollen

Look to see if any of your local news agencies cover how much pollen is in the air. We understand that sometimes you have to go out, but if you can change your plans around high pollen numbers; it may help you significantly.

We hope that these few tips can help you as spring is coming. Please feel free to talk to us about any of your health care coverage as you look to keep your allergies in check.

Understanding Medicare

Understanding Medicare

Come your 65th birthday, and you’ll enter into a whole world of benefits, discounts and special deals. Whether you’re out to see a movie, looking for a meal or searching for insurance, you can be sure to find a specific deal just for you! Medicare is available to anyone 65 and older and who have worked full time while paying taxes for at least 40 quarters or the equivalent of 10 years. And while Medicare may be an unfamiliar topic to those approaching their golden years, here we have broken down and explained each part and every option available to you. Upon your eligibility for Medicare, do not hesitate to reach out for consultation in choosing the plan that is best for you.

What are the four parts of Medicare and what do they cover?

Medicare has four parts and two ways in which you can put your plan together. The first part, A, includes hospital coverage. Upon reaching retirement age, you will be automatically enrolled into part A, and it does not include a premium. Part B covers physician and outpatient medical care. Unlike A, you must select this option as this does include a premium, regardless of how much you’ve worked. This premium is a sliding scale, dependent on your income. You can find more info on this premium cost at Medicare.gov when you search for Plan B premium. In a nutshell, if you earn less than $85,000 a year in retirement or $170,000 as a couple, then your monthly premium for Part B in 2019 will be $135.50.

Understanding Medicare

Parts A and B do not cover everything, however. With these, you will still be responsible for paying for several other services. So, how can you supplement? One option is to opt for Part C which is referred to the Medicare Advantage Plan. This plan bundles together parts A, B and the fourth part of Medicare, Part D all into one package. This product is known as a Medicare HMO. If you decide to enroll in this plan, you’ll select a primary care physician who will direct your care and will refer you to any specialized care you might need.

The final option, besides the HMO, is a Medigap plan or a Medicare Supplement. This is a health insurance policy that you’ll buy from an insurance company with an additional premium. These vary quite drastically, typically ranging from $80-$150, depending on what coverage you require. The Medigap plan does not bundle in Part B which includes drug coverage. Therefore, you’ll have to buy drug coverage which generally costs anywhere from $12 to over $100 a month. This is all dependent on the type of coverage you need.

Understanding Medicare

So what’s best for me?

With so many options, it is often difficult to determine which plan is best for you. We suggest that you take a look at your budget as well as the sort of coverage you received before retirement. Consider what you can afford. For guidance, we suggest that those nearing age 65 on a fixed income and those that do not have a large income, opt for the Medicare Advantage Plan. This will require little out-of-pocket cost and no additional premium payment to the typical $135.50. For those with a higher income, which are used to a PPO health plan, Medigap or Medicare Supplement plan will be the best option. With this, you can expect to pay about $300 a month. This breaks down as: $135.50 + $145-150 for supplementary coverage + $20-30 for drug coverage. With any plan, you ought to refer to your income and health care needs. It is important that you enter into retirement with confidence in your health insurance plan.

As you approach 65, you will be presented with several options for health care coverage. Do not be overwhelmed however by the magnitude of this choice. There are simple ways to break down the decision and choose what is best for you. Please, give us a call with your questions and concerns. We’re here to assist you as you enter into the years of getting the best deals on just about everything!

Special Enrollment Period

It’s Not Too Late If You Have a Life Event Coming Up

The final date to apply for open enrollment, effective January 1, 2019, in California was December 15, 2018. Though we are now past this period, you can still apply in the case that you are going through a life event. These life events can include marriage, divorce, aging out of a parents’ policy, loss of a job, moving/relocating or having a child.

In these instances, you can still purchase insurance outside of the enrollment period. You will have 30 days to withdraw from the day your other policy ends to enroll in a new plan of coverage in what’s called a Special Enrollment Period.

Special Enrollment Period

Here Are The Life Events That Will Qualify You For Such An Enrollment Exception:

Loss of health coverage

  • Loss of a job
  • Aging out of parents’ insurance plan at age 26
  • Losing eligibility for Medicaid, Medicare, or CHIP

Change in residence

  • Changing your zip code or county
  • A student moving from the place they attended school

Changes in your family

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Having or adopting a child
  • Death in the family

A significant change in income

  • Becoming a US citizen
  • Leaving prison or jail

These events will make you eligible for this special enrollment period wherein you can purchase insurance at the time of the event. Please contact us at Bernardini and Donovan for any questions you might have about obtaining coverage in the post-enrollment period.

Tracking Your Health

3 Tips for Tracking Your Health

One of the best ways to help with your health is to make it a priority. In our rushed society, it is easy to put your general health and well being on the back burner. Many people will instead settle into bad habits that will keep them from being their most healthy selves. But once you’ve resolved to put your health first, how do you keep it? One of the tools at your disposal is to keep track of your health. Often your motivator can be seeing over time how your efforts are working towards getting to your goal. Here are a few different ways that you can Track Your Health:

Tracking Your HealthKeep a Log

One of the most basic forms of Monitoring your Health is to write it down. This can look very different for people based upon what their health goals are. For some, they will keep a food journal to write down what they are eating and when. This log can help many find an association between eating habits and emotional connections to food. Others will write down measurements of their body to keep track of what areas are growing in muscle and what areas are trimming down from weight loss.

Use Your Phone

Another way that many people are now using to track their health is to utilize their smartphones. The apps that come standard on your phone may be helpful as one utilizes the notes feature or even a way of counting your steps. But there are additional apps that can help you as well. There are ones that can use your GPS to track your routes when you run or walk. There are even apps that can use your phone’s camera to measure your heart rate. This industry has blown up, and a simple search will yield plenty of results about apps that you can use to track your health.

Health Tech Gadgets

Outside of your phone, you can use other gadgets that are specifically designed to help track your health. Fit bit, Jawbone, or Spark are all tools which capture your steps and can let you know when you have reached your step goals for that day. You can also look into a heart rate monitor. Many people with high blood pressure will have a monitor like this available so that they can keep track of their hourly or daily needs.

There are many more possibilities when you are keeping track of your health to reach your New Health Goals. We hope that this blog gave you some ideas on ways that you can be a healthier version of you today!

American Heart Month Blog Cover

American Heart Month

Living healthfully is one of the best forms of health insurance. There are countless ways in which we all can give ourselves the best chance for a long and happy life with simple, health-conscious lifestyle modifications. We at Bernardini and Donovan strongly believe in the value of good health and the protection of oneself from preventable conditions. And out of recognition for the importance of a healthy way of life, this February, we celebrate American Heart Month!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. It is responsible for one in four deaths every year and is seen in all ages. As heart disease has become an epidemic among Americans, it is crucial that we implement the necessary measures of prevention. So this February, look out for ways to celebrate American Heart Month in the promotion of good heart health.

Here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate!

  1. Take the #MoveWithHeartPledge and pledge to be more physically active in the promotion of your heart health.
  2. Start a walking or jogging club in your neighborhood.
  3. Wear red on the first Friday of February to raise awareness for heart health and the prevention of heart disease.
  4. Speak out on social media about your commitment to heart health so to encourage your friends and followers to maintain their health.
  5. Modify your cooking! Finding heart-healthy recipes with a simple Google search is easy. Even some of your favorite dishes can be prepared healthfully!

 

We hope that you’ll join us for this critical time of health promotion and taking action for disease prevention. Treat your body with exceptional care and give yourself the best chance at a full and happy life!

Vision Insurance

Vision Insurance

There’s nothing less productive than a blurry-eyed employee fumbling around the office, squinting at the whiteboard or misreading the small font on an important memo. Do not underestimate the value of vision maintenance, especially among those on whom you depend for the success of your company.

If your budget allows, we recommend that you offer your employees vision insurance. We at Bernardini and Donovan uphold the philosophy that employers should provide as many benefits to their employees as possible. And while it is only a secondary-level benefit, we find it deserving of your consideration, budget permitting.

Vision insurance covers an individual’s exam and hardware. It does not include any necessary medical procedures. Rather, these, such as eye surgery, are covered by the employee’s medical plan. Vision insurance does, however, offer discounts for additional glasses and Lasik surgery.

Three Tiers of Service

Broken up into three tiers of service, this benefit covers exams, lenses, and frames. These are organized by one’s frequency of use of these services. The most common way in which a company will break up these services is by a plan that provides a yearly exam and lenses and biyearly frames. However, this frequency break down can be modified according to an employer’s plan and budget. A company can also offer yearly exams and biyearly lenses and frames, or yearly exams, lenses, and frames. This all depends on the employer’s budget. However, we see that companies typically choose the middle-of-the-road option.

Prevent blind office mayhem and offer your employees the vision coverage they need. With well cared for employees, the dynamic of your company will strive. Reach out to us at Bernardini and Donovan for consultation on your business’s group insurance plan.

7 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

With the holiday season upon us, it is essential that you take good care of yourself! Here are a few tips and tricks to keep you happy and healthy this holiday season.

Make time to move

This season is one where we tend to let a lot of things slide. Exercise is one of those things. Make sure that you are setting aside time to move regularly. Just walking 30 minutes 3 times a week can have a significant impact on your health!

Plan out your meals

Tis the season for holiday parties and at these parties are lots of food. And where getting to indulge every once in a while is not a bad thing, satisfying yourself fully on every meal can be hurtful. That’s why we suggest planning out your meals, so you know that you will have a super healthy and lite lunch before you go to the party where grandma brings your all-time favorite dessert.

Wash your hands

Viruses, colds and the flu run rampant these times of the year. So make sure that you are doing everything you can to keep from getting sick. Wash your hands regularly and keep your hands away from your face. You should also be taking vitamins every day.

Get some rest

One of the best ways to ensure that you stay healthy during the holiday season is to get enough sleep. That means 7 or 8 hours every night. Plan out your days, so you know what time you need to be up the next morning and then work, so you know exactly when you need to be crawling into bed.

Me time

Where physical health has vital important, mental health during the holiday season is also extremely critical. Take a few minutes each day for yourself. If you want to sit quietly, meditate or even read a book. A few minutes each day where you actively take care of your mental health will help in times when stresses of the season can try to overwhelm you.

Safety First (don’t drink and drive)

Make sure you are practicing proper safety by not drinking and driving and please always buckle up when you are in a car. These simple rules will help keep you safer on the roads.

Utilize your health insurance

If you start to feel sick, please do not go about work or school as usual. Stay home and rest! Also, you will want to see your doctor sooner rather than later. The quicker that you are can receive treatment, the sooner that you can start feeling better.  Also, please get the flu shot. This one vaccine can help save you from being sick for weeks at a time.

If you need help getting health insurance during this holiday season, please call us. We can help get you signed up while open enrollment is here!