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Open Enrollment up and running
Open enrollment for Covered California is up and running.

It’s had an emphatic beginning. In its few two weeks, there were over 48,000 sign-ups. That up to 9,000 then this time last year. Part of this increase could be from the significant amount of money that is being spent on advertising for Covered California. The marketing budget is said to be around $45 million. All of the money is being poured into TV commercial spots and radio advertisements. There has also been about $100,000 spent on murals being painted across the state, many of which do not have anything to do with health insurance coverage.

This comes in stark contrast to the federal budget for health care.

Last year the budget for healthcare.gov was 100 million dollars, this year they have $10 million. The Trump administration has made it very clear that they want to get rid of Obamacare and even though their attempts on Capitol Hill have not yet led to any changes, they have slashed the advertising budget. California is one of 11 states that runs its health insurance exchange.

However, not everyone is a fan of how California is spending their massive budget.

“It’s a waste of taxpayer money,” said Sally Pipes, the president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco; “All of this money being used on murals and bus tours and TV ads, etc., it’s not going to change the number of enrollees that much. It would be better to save money and reduce taxes so that people have a lower tax burden.”  Admittedly, we would not mind seeing these funds go to help with premiums. However, that does not seem to be the course at this time.

If you are looking for a health insurance plan that provides the care you require at a price that will not overwhelm you, please speak to us at Bernardini & Donovan. We would love to help you find the plan that will fit all your needs. We are experts in health care and can help you.

Covered California Confusion
Covered California Confusion

 

In the past year, we have had a lot going on with our healthcare laws.
When President Trump took office, that was one of the first issues that came to the forefront. From that point on we saw new health care bills being written, each one being scrutinized, debated, and ultimately dismissed. At this point, if any average American was asked what is going on with healthcare, I believe that the majority of them will respond with “I don’t know.”

 

The greatest takeaway that we have received from this healthcare upheaval is more confusion.
And that is unfortunate. Many Americans are unclear if it is worth it for them to sign up for healthcare. Especially with the news that subsidies are being cut and therefore premiums are going to skyrocket. This is what we can say. You will not know your premium until you look into it. Many times we make decisions based on what could be instead of what is happening. And that is the very reason why Bernardini & Donovan exists. We want to help each person look and find the best possible health insurance for them, their families and their business families. We don’t base our numbers off of guess-timastes. But instead, we spend time researching and looking for the best programs that fit not your only needs, but your budget as well.

 

Our health care in America is in an interesting spot. And we truly believe that come 2019 we will see some additional changes. But for this next year, we do need to move forward and do the best with that we currently have. If you are looking for healthcare here is what you need to know:

 

  • In the state of California, open enrollment goes until January 31, 2018
  • If you desire your coverage to start on Jan 1, you need to sign up before December 15th
  • Many people will wait until the last minute to sign up. Stay ahead of the curve and sign up before the holidays.
Active during fall and winter
Why You Should Be Active In The Fall And Winter

 

Sometimes when Fall and Winter come, we tend to start to behave as though we are bears. No, not in that way. But some of us will want to pack on the layers and get ready for winter hibernation aka nesting under the covers. And trust us, we get the appeal. However, that mindset can hurt your health in the long run. Here are some reasons why you should be active during the fall and winter:

 

It helps your mood.
Getting a bit of sunlight gives you vitamin D which is just one way that you can help fight off seasonal affectedness depression or SAD. If you don’t know about SAD, you can read about it one of our previous blogs here. Also, when you work out, you’re releasing endorphins which also help raise your mood. There’s something to be said about feeling accomplished after a good workout.

 

Stay healthier
This is the season for colds. We almost seem to expect that sooner rather than later we will wake up with a scratchy throat and a few sniffles to boot. However, if you are working out regularly, you are helping your immune system be able to fight off colds better.

 

You know you’re gonna eat
Tis the season to be jolly, merry and maybe just a little bit gluttonous. It seems that everyone is at home baking and bringing in the fruits of the labor in the form of cookies, pies, cakes, and any other sweet treat. It’s hard not to indulge every once in awhile. But with these desserts, you are also celebrating big holidays that call for feasts. A workout can help offset any damage that these indulgences could have on you.

 

Get some good air
When you spend the majority of your hours indoors, you are breathing mostly recycled air that travels through air vents and other contraptions. Going outdoors and getting a bit of exercise can help your lungs to detox as well as breath fully without fear of picking up anyone else lingering germs and illness.
Don't Lose Your Beach Body

You worked hard for that beach body. Hours at the gym, making sure that you ate food that was fueling your body and not packing on the pounds! But fall is here, and winter is coming *cue game of thrones theme song here*. And sometimes that is a natural excuse to let yourself fall into bad habits. We can start to indulge in not working out as much because it’s colder now or allowing ourselves have a second helping of dessert because apparently, this is the season for baked goods and candy. But here are some suggestions to help you keep fit during the fall and winter:

Join a Gym

Some of you may already have your gym membership, but for those who don’t, having a membership can be a great motivator. This is especially helpful if you purchase a few one and one sessions with a trainer. They can tailor your workouts to help you reach your goals.

Buy some DVD workouts

If going to the gym is not a good fit for you, working out in your home is a great option. You can find such a range of workouts that will fit your level of intensity. There are also countless options for types of exercises. If you like to dance, you should try Zumba. Want to be more limber, try yoga. If you’re going to hold off on buying DVD’s there are thousands of workout videos available on Youtube.

Switch it up

For those of you that work out regularly already, sometimes it’s good to switch things up in the fall and winter months. If you work out in the evenings, it can be helpful to move your workouts to the mornings. When the sun sets earlier, it’s easy to feel like your day is done and working out is not as big of a priority. But if you start your day out with a workout, it can help with motivation, your mood, and metabolism.

These are just a few options for how to stay motivated during the winter months. Keeping your health a priority helps you live longer and enjoy your life more.

Flu Season

Flu Season

The beginning of October not only ushers in the fall season, but it also ushers in the Flu Season. Many people experience sickness during the fall and winter, but the flu can be much more dangerous. Especially for children, adults over 65, people with compromised immune system and pregnant women. One of the best ways to help yourself during this flu season is to participate in preventative care:

 

Get the Vaccine:
Getting a flu vaccine can help significantly lower the probability that you will get the flu. You develop antibodies to the flu just two weeks after getting the shot. You can get the flu shot at your doctor’s office, but they are also available at most pharmacies as well. Click on this link to find where you can find the vaccine locally: https://vaccinefinder.org/

 

Don’t be around sick people
One of the easiest ways to avoid getting sick is to avoid going around people who are sick. But that can be difficult. You can’t just avoid going out of your house from October to May. But to the best of your ability, try and avoid being in close contact with people who are ill.

 

Stay at home if sick
Another great way to avoid spreading the flu is to avoid going to work or school if you are sick. One of the best ways to get over your illness is to rest, and you are not getting sufficient rest when you are working. Also, you are helping all of your work and schoolmates by not spreading your germs to them.
Cover your mouth and wash hands.
This may seem like common sense, but these ordinary acts can help a lot. Whenever you sneeze or cough, you can cover your mouth and keep the spread of germs to a minimum. We also suggest that you wash your hands regularly and with soap. You will want to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if at all possible. And disinfectant hand gel is always good to have on you if you don’t have access to soap and water.

 

We hope that these suggestions will help keep you and your family healthy during flu season. If you are in need of changing your health insurance coverage, please feel free to call us at any time.
Its that time of year again

It’s That Time of Year Again

The leaves are soon going to change, and we are transitioning into a busy holiday season as well as saying goodbye to 2017. But in the midst of shopping and holiday parties, there is an additional thing to consider. From November 1st to January 31st, Covered California has open enrollment.

In the past year, we’ve watched while there have been many attempts at changing the way our healthcare system works. But for now, it looks like things are staying the same. So during this time, it will be essential to ask yourself a few questions: Am I happy with my current provider? Was there anything in the last year that was particularly difficult for me? Were there any unexpected costs associated with my healthcare? Do I get along with my doctor? Am I getting the best care for my particular needs? Were there any changes to my health this year that will cause me to need additional attention in the future? Was there any significant life changes that happened recently that will cause me to need extra coverage for dependants? Am I getting the most out of my health care coverage?

All of these questions are excellent and need to be considered with your health care. At this time you have an option or changing your health plan to one that could better fit your needs; whether those needs be that you require different types of deductibles or that you need a lower monthly premium. If you would like to change doctors, it is always good to do some research ahead of time. A quick call to a doctor’s office can let you know if they are accepting new patients and what medical insurances they accept. It would not be good to switch coverages just to find out afterward that they doctor you want will not be able to take your insurance.

As always, if you have any questions about your health insurance, we are always here to answer them. We love helping you find the best coverage for your needs.

SAD

SAD

It’s Fall Y’all! Well, it almost is. We are on the cusp of being done with our summer season. In just a few short weeks we will pass the date that marks the beginning of pumpkin spice everything, golden hued wreaths being sold in the store and of course the plethora of Halloween paraphernalia. But how does the season change affect the residents of Southern California? For awhile we may not see any significant changes to our weather systems for quite some time. But this is the time to have an eye out for the effects of seasonal affective disorder otherwise known as SAD.

SAD is a type of depression that has links to the changes of the seasons. During the fall and winter seasons, the sun is out for less time during our waking hours. This shift can upset our biological clocks which affect our sleep and the production of serotonin in our brains. SAD usually shows the symptoms of listlessness, hunger for more carbohydrates, less interest in normal activities and problems with your relationships.

Now I know what you may be thinking, that in sunny Southern California there is no way that someone would suffer from SAD. We have the sunshine all year long. And where this is true, we do have more sun than many other states that does not mean that we can discount SAD. In fact, because people suffering from SAD are living in Southern California, they may be more likely not to seek treatment because they do not recognize what they are actually suffering from.

If you think that you are suffering or have suffered from SAD in the past, please talk to your doctor. There are a variety of treatments that can help alleviate the strain of this disorder and help you maintain a healthy emotional outlook.

Zika Virus and Cancer Cells

Healthcare in the News – September Edition

There have some interesting findings as a team of researchers discovered that the Zika virus kills off the cells that make a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma. This is the most common and most aggressive form of brain cancer and is the kind of cancer that Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with as well as the type of cancer that ultimately lead to the death of Beau Biden and Senator Ted Kennedy. This kind of cancer is severe, and many patients do not live past five years of their diagnosis; making the potential of this discovery invaluable.

 

The Zika virus has been getting a lot of press lately, and that leads people to have some basic information but not the full picture of what the Zika virus does. The Zika virus it is not considered to be a severe infection for a healthy adult except for when it infects pregnant women because then it has the propensity to attack the developing nervous system of the child leading to a variety of abnormalities.  So knowing that investigators realized that this particular virus attacks early cells in the development of the nervous system. With this particular type of cancer, it was surmised that if you could infect these cells with Zika virus, they would selectively destroy the tumor cells and leave the mature components of the nervous system in the brain. And the first series of experiments did show that in a test tube situation the primitive cells were highly susceptible to being destroyed by the Zika virus. The researchers went further and tested mice that had been infected with glioblastoma and as it turned out the mice which were infected with the Zika virus lasted longer than the mice in the control group.

 

These are still very early experiments done in the test tube and a mouse model, but it at least opens the door to the possibility that you might utilize the capability of this virus to destroy cells in the nervous system that are early in development to become cancer cells. The researchers are excited about their findings but realize that in these beginning phases there is no way to tell if these tests will lead to any real treatments. We will have to keep an eye out for the future of these discoveries.
Legalized Marijuana

Legalized Marijuana Coming in 2018

Since November of 2016, we have seen many changes come into effect. One of the most blatant has been the office of president and all of the sequential transitions, upheavals, and changes that came with that shift of power. While that may be normal with any significant shift of power, this presidential change has seemed to be much more drastic. Another change for Californians, which we have not seen implemented yet, is the passing of recreational marijuana usage. It was passed in November of 2016, but we will not see any implementation until January of 2018, giving the government office 14 months to make these changes. Eleven months have gone past, and we haven’t heard a lot about how this plan is moving forward.

 

Under the new laws, an adult over the age of 21 may legally now buy and possess and consume an ounce of marijuana. Adults may also grow six plants and keep all of the products of the plants on their private residence as long as it is in a secure area and not readily available to a member of the public getting access to it.

 

But as simple as this might sound, there are massive implications and changes that the state must make in order properly regulate and ensure that these laws are being abided by and not endangering any people of the great state of California.

 

Here are a few news articles about what the state is doing to prepare for this change coming in 2018:

 

 

And here is a news article that is a little closer to home:

 

What do you think about the law change? How do you believe that this will affect our community and our state?
Health Insurance for College Students

What a College Student Needs to Know About Health Insurance (Part 1)

College can be such a crazy season. Not only are you being challenged more than ever academically, for many students it is their first foray into the adult world. No more is mom around to take care of laundry or make sure that you’re eating a balanced meal (hello Freshmen 15). And to help college students better understand more about health insurance, we thought we could cover some key things college students need to know about health insurance.

Why you need health insurance

Many college students may be under the thinking that they are young, healthy and in no need of health insurance. But that is just not the case. Young people are just as much at risk, and at times more so to need medical care as the rest of the population. Young people, while only making up 14% of the US population also makeup over 50% of all vehicular accidents injuries. Also, one in five young adults will suffer from a chronic illness. A recent study showed that young adults (ages 18-25) are the most likely to suffer from mental illness. Youth does not equate health.

And if you do happen to fall anywhere in these demographics and do suffer from an unexpected illness, accident or mental health issue, medical insurance can be a great help to you. College students also have higher rates of getting STD’s and unexpected pregnancies. Health care is expensive and having insurance can keep you from being in medical debt before graduation.

What kind of coverage you can get

First and foremost, college students can remain on their parent’s health insurance plans until the age of 26. This applies not just to college students, but even if you’re married or financially stable. This coverage can be beneficial because you do not need to foot the bill for this coverage and there is an opportunity for excellent coverage. There can be some issues if your parents suddenly lose their insurance. But if that happens make sure to read our next blog for more ways you can get coverage as a college student.