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Good Questions To Ask Yourself During Open Enrollment

Looking at what health insurance you need can be an overwhelming process. Sometimes you only look at one aspect, like the monthly cost, and find yourself with huge out of pocket bills to pay later. If you are looking to enroll or re-enroll in Covered California this month, these are some good questions for you to ask yourself.

 

Do you like your current plan?

Over the last year have there been any situations that you did not expect to happen with your level of insurance? Or did you have any unexpected bills? Were you happy with your doctor and the care of service provided to you and your family? It’s good to look and see if there were any pain points over the last year. If you know what you didn’t like, you can see if there are any easy ways to fix that for the coming year.

 

Are you planning on having any significant changes this year?

Are you expecting to have a child? Or are you getting married? Both of these are substantial life changes that you can consider in your health insurance. However, it is important to note that these are also considered life altering events that can put you in a special enrollment period where you can change your health insurance to better match your current needs.

 

Are you on any current prescriptions?

If you are on a prescription medicine it will be important to know if your new provider covers these prescriptions or if your current provider is looking to change their policies.

 

How much do you want to pay?

Looking at your budget is crucial. And this is not just looking at your monthly premiums. This question needs to entail what you will pay out of pocket. What does it cost to see your doctor, to get prescription drugs, to go to the emergency room? You should also know what your premiums cover.

If you need help answering any of these questions, please feel free to call us at Bernardini & Donovan.

Are You Enrolled

Open Enrollment 2018

It’s 2018! We’ve made it past the holiday craziness and now find ourselves on the other side. The whole new year stretches out in front of us, open to any number of possibilities. We can have all the best intentions of what this year will hold for us. Which is such a lovely sentiment. And then reality hits. Bills need to be paid, stuff needs to get done, and life continues.

 

For us, reality hits when we realize all the things that we have put off to get through the holidays with some form of sanity.
As much as we cleaned before the holiday season, the house is in shambles again and needs a good cleaning. The laundry has been relegated to the back of the closet, and somehow we are all out of food. But there could be more significant things on your to-do list. Such as health insurance. Luckily for us in California, we have until the end of the month to still sign up if you are one of the many that may have put off this task. You have until January 31st to sign up and get coverage for 2018. There may be more incentive to sign up because even though the individual mandate has been taken away through our new tax bill, that doesn’t come into effect until 2019. As of right now, you still need to have health insurance in 2018, or you may need to pay a fine on your taxes. Of course, there may be more information coming in the following months, but for now, it is smart to ensure that you have health insurance and also avoid a fine.

 

If you need help signing up, have questions about Covered California or want to see all of your different options thoroughly explained as well as their various costs, we would love to help you. At Bernardini & Donovan, we are health insurance experts and can help you in ways that you are not going to find anywhere else.
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.
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.

Health Insurance Special Enrollment Period

If you missed out on signing up for health insurance during open enrollment, do not worry! The Federal government has recently announced that they are opening a special enrollment period for those who were not able to sign up for health insurance during open enrollment. This special enrollment period runs from March 15th to April 30th and is the last time that you will be able to sign up for health insurance coverage for 2015. While this special enrollment period only applies to the 37 states that are covered through the federal marketplace, state-run exchanges are expected to follow.

In order to qualify for the special enrollment period, people will have to prove that they only became aware of the tax penalty for not having health insurance when they were filing their taxes. While the special enrollment period will not reverse the fine for not having health care, it will give people a chance to get the right health care plan for their needs.

Under the Affordable Care Act, everyone is required to have a health insurance plan, or face a financial penalty. However, many people were not aware of the penalty for not having health insurance until they started filling out their tax return for 2014.

The government also recently accounted that the wrong information to help calculate whether they received too much or too little of a subsidy for last year was sent out to 800,000 people. People who have been affected should have already been notified by phone or email, and need to wait to file their taxes until they receive a new 1095-A form, which was sent out in early March.

For all of your health insurance needs and to ensure that you have the right amount of health care under Covered California, contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands, California.

Forgot To Sign Up For Health Insurance? Special Enrollment Period Is Now Open!

It is not too late to sign up for health insurance! Even though the open enrollment period ended on February 15th, Covered California and the Federal government are offering a new special enrollment period for those who were not able to sign up for health care coverage during open enrollment.

In order to qualify for the special enrollment period, you must prove that you were not aware of the tax penalty for not having health insurance in 2014, or that you may now be facing a penalty for not having health insurance during the beginning of 2015. The special enrollment period opened on March 15th, and will stay open until April 30th to give people the chance to sign up for health coverage.

It is important to keep in mind that while you now have a chance to sign up for health coverage if you are not already enrolled in a plan, the special enrollment period will not get rid of any penalties that you already have to pay. To attest that you did not know about the penalty for not having coverage, you must select “Informed of Tax Penalty Risk” on the drop down menu on the Covered California website.

In addition to the special enrollment period, there are other qualifying life events that may help to qualify you for a special enrollment period. Some of the most common qualifying life events include getting married or divorced, having or adopting a child, or moving to a state that does not offer the same health care plan that you are currently enrolled in.

For all of your health insurance needs and to ensure that you have the right amount of protection, contact the health insurance professionals at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands, California.

Understanding The SHOP Marketplace

Small business owners across the country have been experiencing change as they are now legally required to comply with new regulations and requirements under the Affordable Care Act. Since the world of health insurance and health care has transformed completely, choosing the right small business health insurance plans to best protect your team is more challenging.

If you missed the open enrollment deadline on February 15th and are beginning to panic since you have not properly set up your small business plans, do not fret! We can still write you a policy for your small business.

A unique entity known as the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace allows small business owners to obtain the coverage they are required to offer their team, despite missed deadlines. When utilizing plans offered in SHOP, you have the luxury of avoiding restricted enrollment periods and offer deadlines.

There are many benefits of utilizing the SHOP Marketplace in addition to full luxury to pick and alter coverage as you please. If you are currently satisfied with your insurance agent, feel free to enroll with them! The SHOP Marketplace does not require that you change agents; therefore, you can go through this process with the agency you trust most.

The SHOP Marketplace is the perfect way to obtain health insurance and comply with all requirements set forth by the Affordable Care Act if you have 50 or fewer full time employees. The same goes for nonprofit organizations, however, if you are self-employed you cannot utilize the SHOP Marketplace.

Please do not hesitate to give us a call if you are in need of enrolling for a SHOP plan for your small business. Contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands for all of your California health insurance needs. As Covered California experts, you can rest assured that we will be your guiding hand in the realm of health insurance and health care.

How The Health Of California Has Changed In The Last Year

The American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention released their annual report on the health rankings of America on December 10th. The report listed a ranking of all fifty states from healthiest to least healthy as well as information on cancer, preventable diseases, and chronic conditions in the United States.

To calculate their rankings, the organizations considered twenty-seven health metrics, including obesity, immunization rates, infectious diseases, and cancer-related deaths. After compiling the numbers, they released the full ranking with Hawaii emerging as the most healthy state and Mississippi at the bottom of the list.

The report showed that nationally, there has been a 7 percent increase in obesity in the last year and a 3 percent increase in sedentary lifestyles. Fortunately, there was also good news. 3 percent fewer adults are smoking and 4 percent fewer cases of infant mortality were reported, while 5 percent more adolescent American have received the immunizations they need.

California came in 17th overall, with nearly a 1 percent drop in obesity, from 25 in 2013 to 24.1 this year. The number of smokers also decreased slightly, from 12.6 to 12.5 percent. Unfortunately, the number of California residents with diabetes has increased by 15 percent in the last two years.

The report showed that the biggest health challenges Californians face are significant amounts of air pollution, a great inequality in the health status of high school graduates vs. those without high school diplomas, and a moderate rate of violent crime.

Fortunately for Californians who care about their health, a certified Covered California agent like the ones at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services can help you get the health insurance you need to care for your body in every season of life. With open enrollment going on right now, do not hesitate to contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services, located in Redlands, California, to secure the best Covered California-compliant protection for you and your family today.

Your Update On Covered California’s Progress In The First Month Of Open Enrollment

The first open enrollment period in 2013-2014 ended up securing 1.2 million enrollees during its six-month period. With this year’s three month period, Covered California aims to keep the 1.2 million enrolled and add another half million of new enrollees. That means they are shooting to have 1.7 million Californians enrolled by open enrollment’s end date of February 15th, 2015.

It looks like they may get close to their goal, as between November 15th (the day this second, current period of open enrollment began) and December 11th 91,600 people who had previously not been enrolled signed up. This is a significant number considering that between November 15th and December 3rd the number of new enrollees was at just 48,950 and during the first month of open enrollment last year a mere 31,000 signed up.

If you are a current Covered California enrollee, you had until December 21st (extended from the original deadline of December 15th) to make changes to your plan, otherwise you will be automatically enrolled in another year of your current plan. If you are now eligible for Medicare, make sure you connect with an enrollment counselor or a certified Covered California agent to get un-enrolled from your current Covered California plan.

Whether you have a current Covered California health insurance plan or are planning to enroll for the first time, these next two months before open enrollment ends will be a critical time to secure the right coverage for you. After February 15th, if you are not properly covered under the new guidelines set forth by the Affordable Care Act, you become eligible for tax penalties.

Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services, located in Redlands, California, offers expert services and superior care to make sure you are meeting the Affordable Care Act’s requirement and getting the best coverage for you and your family at the best prices. For all of your health insurance needs, contact us today!