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Unemployed?

Losing a job is never easy. It can come for a variety of reasons, but the news that you are no longer employed is always a tough pill to swallow. And while your health insurance may not be your very first concern, for many it does rank up pretty high worries after that initial shock.

If your job provided health insurance for you, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you have continued coverage. First, you will want to look into COBRA. If your employer paid for part of your health insurance, COBRA allows you after your termination to continue with the same care that you had previously, though you will be paying the entirety of the premiums. This is something to seriously consider if you are currently receiving care that cannot be disrupted or you are receiving care from a doctor that you may not be able to see if you were to switch providers. However, when faced with paying for their health insurance many people opt to look at other options.

You can also look at Covered California. Because you just had a change in jobs, you would most likely qualify for special enrollment through Covered California because of this life event. However, timing is essential here. If you miss applying for coverage during this window, you will have to wait until open enrollment.

You may also want to look into MediCal. MediCal provides coverage to a countless number of California residents with limited incomes or disabilities. To qualify you will need to report your income to see if you are eligible. You will need to take into consideration the income of your entire household, not just yourself. You will also need to report on any other revenue that you may be receiving.

If you have questions and just feel overwhelmed by the whole process, please feel free to call us. At Bernardini & Donovan, we want to ensure that you receive the best health insurance possible and would love to answer any of your questions. Please call us today.

Healthcare Options

What Are Your Healthcare Options?

If you are over or close to the age of 65, Medicare is something that you might be utilizing or thinking about using. If you are in that boat, then it is essential to know your open enrollment times. If you are looking to go with the Medicare Advantage Plan, open enrollment is upon us.

Recipients of Medicare have a choice between the Medicare Advantage Plan or the Medicare Supplement Plan which is like a PPO plan. The difference between the two is that in the Advantage plan you will pick a primary care physician who will direct your care. They are known as the gatekeeper. If you need to see any specialist, they will provide a referral for that. Under a PPO contract, you have the flexibility to direct your care. You do not have a primary care physician, and you have a choice of any doctor in your provider network. This option does have a higher cost in comparison to the Medicare Advantage Plan so we often see people in this area choose the Advantage Plan and it works well for them. Many doctors prefer this plan over the PPO option, as well, because there are Medicare Reporting standards that they are held to and it is easier to capture that data on this particular plan.

The Medicare Advantage plans and Part D have open enrollment starting on October 15 and ending on December 7. So if someone has original Medicare and purchases a drug plan without any other supplemental coverage that is the time that they can change their drug plan because Medicare by itself does not cover medication.

At Bernardini & Donovan, we work very closely with a majority of our clients who utilize the Medicare Advantage Plan. If that is something that you know that you want to look into, there is no one better for you talk to than us. Our years of experience allow us to help you plan and see how you can have the low cost of the Advantage Plan while having the best possible health care available to you. Please feel free to call us today to set up an appointment if you have questions.

Healthcare Insurance Options

Healthcare Insurance Options

At the end of every year, we come to the holiday season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas all play a significant part of how we spend our time. But along with these celebrations, we are also very aware of another season. Open Enrollment Season. For a short period, at the end of each year, there is an opportunity to change your health care insurance options.

If you are already enrolled in a particular program before the open enrollment period begins, your provider will contact you and tell you if there are going to be any changes to your benefits or your premiums. This is particularly important to know so that you can assess if you are happy enough to stay with your current provider or if it is time to change so that your needs are better met.

Then open enrollment starts

This year it opened on October 15. During this time you have access to sign up for health insurance coverage or change your current provider. It is important to note that your signup date does affect the start of your coverage date. If you sign up between October 15 to December 15, then your coverage will begin on January 1, 2019.

But open enrollment does not end on December 15th. It continues until January 15, 2019. So if you find yourself overwhelmed by the holiday season, and have no time to review your health care needs, do not be worried. You have until mid-January to finalize your plans! Of course, your start of coverage date will be different. If you sign up between December 16 to January 15, then your start date will be February 1, 2019.

At Bernardini & Donovan, we love to help you make the best choice possible for your health care insurance coverage. We will help walk you through the process, help you see what tax credits may be available to you and help you sign up. Please call us today to so that we can help you during open enrollment season!

Flu Prevention

Last year’s flu season was one for the books. “Every year, influenza kills between 12,000 and 49,000 people and can send more than 700,000 people to the hospital,” the CDC says. With numbers like this, doctors are recommending that people get their flu shots early. What many people do not know is that it can take up to two weeks for the immunization to become fully effective with the flu vaccine; which means that if you get your flu shot later in the season, you are still in danger of contracting the flu during those two weeks. The flu shot is available at most pharmacies, doctor’s offices and various other locations at this time. We recommend getting a flu shot as soon as possible, especially during the fall and winter months.

Prepare For The Flu

There are also a few steps you can take to help you go through flu season.

Flu Prevention #1 – Wash your hands

This one simple step can help prevent the spread of germs. This step is critical before you handle your food, after coughing or sneezing, and after touching a new surface. Make sure that you are using warm water and plenty of soap to wash your hands.

Flu Prevention #2 – Cover your mouth

Keeping your mouth covered if you are feeling sick goes a long way in preventing the spread of germs. We recommend carrying tissues to help in this process.

Flu Prevention #3 – Don’t touch your face

The flu virus can be introduced through different mucous membranes like your eyes, nose, and mouth. It is best to avoid touch your face during flu season.

Flu Prevention #4 – Stay home if sick

This is a biggie! If you or a family member are feeling ill or showing flu-like symptoms, please do not go to work or school. Many people have reported that they do go to work or school while feeling ill, but you are putting your coworkers and schoolmates at high risk for the flu if you do this.

Flu Prevention #5 – Take your vitamins

Make sure that you are getting your needed amounts of vitamins C, D and omega 3’s. You may also want to keep Oscillococcinum on hand as it can reduce both the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, body aches, chills, and fever.

breast cancer check-up

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! And out of all of the monthly awareness programs, this one might be one of the most well known in this area. Redlands has held an annual Believe Walk that runs throughout Downtown Redlands that many citizens have participated in. “The purpose of the Stater Bros. Charities & Inland Women Fighting Cancer Believe Walk is to raise critical funds that support cancer-fighting organizations in this region. Through the generosity of sponsors and donors; the Believe Walk will directly impact lives, by providing funds to improve cancer care and support services for cancer patients and their families in the Inland Empire communities of Southern California.”

The Believe Walk will take place on Sunday, October 7th and will start at 8 am! If you are interested in participating, volunteering or donating, please feel free to visit their website at – believeinlandempire.com

Breast Cancer Check-Up

The purpose of this month is to spread awareness of how early detection of breast cancer can save lives. This early awareness can be achieved through self-inspection as well as mammograms. A mammogram is a type of x-ray that allows the tissue in the breast to be examined for any form of cancer that could be there. It is recommended that women over the age of 40 on an annual basis. A mammogram has the potential to show changes in the breast two years before those changes should occur. And equally important is the self-examination which can take place at any time and should be done on a regular basis on women regardless of their age. It is through regular self-examination that many cases of breast cancer are found. Being aware of your own body and any changes that it may be going through is vital to tracking your health. Please be especially aware if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with breast cancer and be checking yourself on a monthly basis.

If you are in need of insurance to cover your annual breast cancer check-up, please speak to us. We can help you find health insurance that fits your needs and your price point. We hope to help everyone find health insurance that they love especially as open enrollment is soon to open.

What Happens After You Lose an Organ
This can sound like an ominous subject.

But the matter of the fact is that many people have different organs removed on a consistent basis. We are not talking about the vital organs like the lungs or liver. But we do regularly hear of people who have their gallbladder, tonsils, appendix or pancreas removed. So what happens after that? What is life like without these organs that you were born with?

Most people have their tonsils removed after having some complications with tonsillitis or suffering from sleep apnea.

Your appendix would only be removed if it has become infected. For both of these procedures, there is not much that will change in your day to day life. You should not suffer from sore throats as much if you have your tonsils out, and there will be no change good or bad when you have the appendix removed.

If you are getting your gallbladder removed, you most likely have had some issues with gallstones.

Passing a gallstone can be an excruciating process and if it should get stuck on the way out it can lead to some severe health issues. When your gallbladder is removed, you can no longer store bile in the same way. Bile helps break down fatty foods. Therefore, after getting your gallbladder removed, you would need to plan on changing your diet. All high-fat foods can lead to some potential problems for you, but you will also want to make sure that you are cutting down on foods that can cause gas as well. One of the more severe organs to get removed is your pancreas. Because the pancreas produces the insulin that your body needs to respond to glucose levels, when you get it removed you come out of the surgery a diabetic. This change will affect your diet, exercise and health care needs for the rest of your life.

These are all issues that could have an effect on the type of health insurance coverage that you may need. If you have gone through a primary medical procedure in the last year that will require more medical attention for you in the future, please talk to us for the best insurance coverage for your current health needs.

The numbers on Addiction

The Numbers on Addiction

There is much to be said about the many diseases that affect our country.
Often viewed as a disease while not given the same attention, addiction can take a deadly tole on a person’s life. Here are some addiction facts that show how widespread this issue continues to be:

 

Over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction (excluding tobacco).
100 people die every day from drug overdoses. This rate has tripled in the past 20 years.
2.6 million people with addictions have a dependence on both alcohol and illicit drugs.
Rates of illicit drug use are highest among those aged 18 to 25.
Over 90% of those with addiction began drinking, smoking or using illicit drugs before the age of 18.
(source: Addiction Center)One of the fastest growing drug abuses has been the opioid Fentanyl. This is a drug that is used to treat pain after surgery. In the last 7 years abuse of this drug has grown significantly. Where it once was only associated in 14% of opioid overdose deaths, that number was raised to 50%.

Smoking and alcohol addiction still lead to some severe health issues. But addiction to these substances often goes untreated because it is legal to purchase and many do not think that they have a real problem with it. It is estimated that over 95% of people who need treatment for alcoholism do not feel they need treatment. But more people receive treatment for alcoholism than any other substance. There is a cost to these addictions. Including healthcare costs, loss of productivity and other aspects, Tobacco addiction costs the US over $190 billion. And tobacco-related deaths far exceed in number any other substance-related death.

If you or someone you know struggles with addiction, please get help. You can reach out to a variety of organizations including SAMHSA which has a 24/7 365-days a year treatment referral and information service. 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free and confidential treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

If you are uncertain what your insurance covers in terms of rehabilitation or issues with mental health or addiction, please call us today

i-Tech

i-Tech

Technology is part of our everyday lives.

Even when you may not realize its encompassing hold on your life, it is very much present. For many, their daily dose of technology comes in the form of screens. Most likely a computer screen, tablet screen or cell phone screen. While being on a computer is not a dangerous activity, it can be harmful to your eyes.

When you are staring at a screen for extended times during the day, your eyes can become dry and overstrained.

The reason for this is that we tend not to blink as much when looking at a screen as opposed to reading a book. Every time that you blink you are replenishing any moisture that has escaped while your eyes are open. Also, when you read, you tend to look down so that most of your eye is covered by the lid. When looking at a screen, you tend to look straightforward, so more of your eye is exposed.

There is also blue light that is emitted from screens.

Blue light during the day can actually help with your circadian rhythm, and help you be more alert during the daytime. However, if you are spending a reasonable amount of time looking at a screen before bed, it can keep you up at night. There are also studies being done that blue light can affect children more than adults.

If you have noticed that you are experiencing headaches, dry eyes, eye strain, trouble sleeping or back pain; there are a few exercises you can do to help.
Make sure you are taking regular breaks from staring at your screens. A good rule of thumb is every 20 minutes stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Make sure that you are blinking regularly. You can also adjust the blue light on your phone at night. If you are still experiencing issues, please get a comprehensive eye exam. A doctor will be able to let you know what other changes you may need to make.
Seeing in 20/20

Seeing in 20/20

There are many that know the value of health insurance and how it helps you to be able to get care for you and your loved ones.

There are some who go without it, but most people would at least want to have health insurance. But that thought process does not always extend to vision insurance. It is recommended that you get your eyes checked every two years, but without the insurance, many pass over this timeline. If you are in need of corrective lenses then you are supposed to have your eyes checked yearly. This is where having vision insurance is very helpful.

Vision insurance works a bit differently than health insurance in that it can be more of a discount program.

You hope to use your “insurance” to help offset cost rather than hope that insurance will cover your expenses if something should happen like you would with car or homeowners insurance.

If you are looking at vision insurance there are a few basics that you will want to make sure are covered.

Those basics include an eye exam, glasses, and contacts. But depending on the type of insurance, the discounts available or even the timing of when your coverage kicks in can change. Some plans will only offer glasses every two years for example. You should also pay attention to any extras that would come with your plan. Will it cover transition lenses or daily contacts? Small extras that cost extra may add up on your final bill and it is important to know what will come from our out of pocket expenses.

If you or a family member have a need for vision insurance please speak to us. We can inform you on all of the ins and outs of various plans to find the best fit for your needs. We love to make your insurance work for you.

Will they, Won't they

Will They, Won’t They – Immunization Edition

If you’ve ever dipped your toe into the vaccination debate you are bound to find some highly impassioned arguments. Each side will call out logical fallacies and pull out research to prove their points. In this blog, we will talk about the objections that are given over getting your child vaccinated.

Parents who chose to not get their children vaccinated will cite research that shows that vaccines have a higher chance of not helping your child become immunized but will instead infect the child.

They will also point out that illnesses that have been wiped out by vaccinations were already in decline by the time the vaccine was invented. For example, polio was already in vast decline because of better hygiene and understanding of how illnesses spread before the vaccine was made public. They will point out that vaccines not only have trace amounts of the bacteria or virus but will also have toxins like formaldehyde or mercury.

But probably the most talked about aspect of vaccine objections is the subject of autism.

In its shortest form, the argument is that vaccines cause autism. Parents may even know a couple who had a happy and healthy child who was vaccinated and changed drastically after the injection. The child has now been diagnosed with autism. While there are many different studies that have shown that there is no direct correlation between vaccinations and autism, this fear has kept many parents from choosing to get their child vaccinated. The theory behind vaccinations is that they are perfectly safe and will help your child from getting a terrible illness. However, many parents are not willing to risk the livelihood of their child on a theory.

Every parent loves their child and wants the best for them. When it comes to vaccines, you need to make the best decision for your child. Talk to your friends, talk to your doctor, talk to your partner, do your research, be informed.  We are in no way trying to pose an opinion in the blog and just want to look at this issue. We care about the health and wellness of all of our clients and hope to help you find the best healthcare for your needs.