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Individual Health Insurance

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.

Immunizations & What They're For

Immunizations & What They’re For

Immunizations have caused quite a stir in the last past and in some circles are still a point of contention.

An immunization is actually the end product but is synonymous with a vaccine. A vaccine usually comes in the form of an injection that includes small amounts of a bacteria, virus or lab-based protein. The idea behind vaccinations is that when a small amount of this harmful bacteria or virus is injected, the body’s immune system is triggered. It starts to create antibodies that will fight off whatever was in the injection. That way if the person should come in contact with a full-blown strain of the disease the body is more prepared to fight it off or completely keep the body from being overwhelmed by the illness.

 

The majority of people who are given vaccines are children from the ages of 0-6.

During that time, most children will receive a vaccine for Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenza type B, Pneumococcal, Poliovirus, Influenza, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chickenpox, and Hepatitis A. The reason that these are given to children is because there was a period of time not that long ago when thousands of children would suffer or die from these diseases each year. With the invention of the vaccine for these infections, many of them have become obsolete like the mumps, smallpox or polio. Another reason why these vaccines are recommended is that it is more cost effective to prevent a disease than to treat it. Most of these are highly infectious diseases and to treat a mass amount of people infected by these is very expensive.

While many of you may be aware of the mechanics of immunizations you may have also heard that there is a movement of people who do not want to give their children vaccines. To read more about this topic, please read our next blog “Will They, Won’t They.”

At Bernardini & Donovan, we are dedicated to giving you more information about your health and your health care. If you have any questions about your health care insurance please feel free to call us.

when to see a doctor

When to see a Doctor

Whenever you start to get that scratchy throat or a runny nose; there’s always a moment that you have to decide if it’s time to go to the doctor or wait it out. Do your symptoms need to be treated with some antibiotics or is your immune system strong enough to fight it? If you go to the doctor and get drugs that you don’t need you can be contributing to an antibiotic immunity. However, if you have a bacterial cold, antibiotics will help cut your time sick quickly. So when do you know that you need to go to the doctor?

You should go to the doctor if you….

Have a high fever. 

For adults, a low-grade fever ranges around 100.8. But if you are experiencing a temperature of 102 or higher, than it is likely that your body is fighting off something that is stronger than a cold and you should be looked at by a professional.

Have a cough that lasts over ten days. 

It is most likely because you have a postnasal drip, but it could be indicative of other issues like asthma or GERD. In either case, it is best to see your doctor.

Feel like you have been hit by a truck.

If your illness has made it hard for you to get out of bed, then you may need to see a professional. The winter cold virus can produce body aches; however, if the experience is more along the lines of exhaustion or general weakness, then it is best to go to the doctor’s office. You could have the flu, and there are treatments for that illness.

Have a severe headache. 

Most headaches can be solved if you take a couple of over the counter pain relievers. But If you are having a hard time concentrating and always seem to have a fuzzy or hazy feeling, then this could be a sign of meningitis and should see your doctor right away.

If you need to see your doctor more often than you were expecting when you signed up for health insurance, please make sure to make a note of it and speak to us. We can help you find the best health insurance for your needs during open enrollment.

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.

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.