Tag Archives: health insurance

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.

Healthcare in the News

Healthcare In the News – August Edition

In the past month, we have seen some seriously dramatic news stories about our nation’s health care laws. Usually, dramas of that sort are kept to cable television, but maybe art does imitate life, especially as we watched the news coverage of the US Senate. If you have been living under a rock or just don’t enjoy listening to the news, let us give you a quick fly over.

In May, the House voted to pass the ACHA which had a series of changes to our current Affordable Care Act. The Senate then decided to write their bill however they delayed the voting until they could work out their details within the Republican party. It failed to pass. Then a series of votes continued to try and repeal and possibly replace Obamacare. None of those passed either. The Republican party needed every representative to vote yes, and with some dramatic conversations between party members, the numbers didn’t rally.

When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked about the future of healthcare reform, he stated that they had suffered a setback and that the future was “murky.” This murkiness has started talks with Democrats about single payer healthcare. If you are unclear about what single payer healthcare is, you can read about it on our previous blogs: www.bdhealthinsurance.com/single-payer-healthcare and how it doesn’t work here: www.bdhealthinsurance.com/single-payer-healthcare-cons-part-one and here: www.bdhealthinsurance.com/single-payer-healthcare-cons. Representative John Conyer (D- Mich) has already introduced his single payer bill called Medicare for All. He already has the support of about half of the House Democrats behind his bill. Senator Bernie Sanders says he will propose his bill shortly. It will probably look very similar to the plan he posted on his website last year, and we heard him speak about on the campaign trail. We will have to wait and see how this unfolds in the next few months.

Healthcare in the News

It’s hard to write a blog about healthcare in the news when it’s consistently changing. While I sit here and type out these words, I am watching a Senate “vote-a-rama” as the news media is calling it. It’s a live video stream watching the Senate as they debate and discuss healthcare in America. There are still many questions about what is happening with our health care system.  But here is what we do know.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to debate the repeal of Obamacare. The Senate was split down the middle, but the deciding vote came from Vice President Mike Pence as he voted in the affirmative to pursue the debate.  This would start the discussion of what legislation the Senate would vote on. Those options being a Repeal and Replace Obamacare option, a Repeal Only option or the Skinny Bill. Almost immediately the Senate voted no on the Repeal and Replace as well as the Repeal only options. Leaving us with the possibility of passing the Skinny Bill.

But what is the Skinny Bill? The Skinny Bill takes away some of the most unpopular aspects of Obamacare. Namely, it would take away the mandates that state that every American have health insurance as well as the mandate that business owners with over 50 employees must provide health benefits for their employees. It would also take away the tax on medical equipment. The idea of this pared down bill is that they can convince more Republicans to vote on this bill and pass it so that they can then bring it to the House where it can be more clearly laid out and shape the health care system. As of today, we have very few definitive answers. But we will be keeping you informed.

Value of Health Insurance

Value of Health Insurance

Having health insurance provides real tangible benefits. It also provides more abstract benefits. With any insurance that you are purchasing you are essentially investing in your peace of mind. There are always What-if’s that run through our minds. But insurance promises to be something that will help you if any of those scary what if’s come to pass. You get in a car accident – you have insurance for that. Your loved one passes away – you have insurance for that. You get sick – you have insurance for that.

 

Health insurance comes with mandated benefits as well. Every insurance plan that you can purchase will include:
Outpatient care
Emergency services
Hospitalization
Mental Healthcare
Prescription drugs
Rehabilitative services
Laboratory Services
Preventive Care
Pediatric Services.
Some plans that you purchase can have more services. But under the Affordable Care Act, which is still the law, though that may change soon, these benefits are all mandatory.

 

Without health insurance, there is a higher possibility of suffering from debilitating debt due to high medical costs. No one plans on breaking a bone or needing to stay in the hospital. If it were up to us, we would all be healthy at all times. But these things do happen, and the cost of fixing a broken leg can be up to $7,500.  A three-day stay in the hospital can be upwards of $30,000. These are astronomical numbers in comparison to what you pay in premiums and co-pays.

 

Another important aspect to look at with health care is the preventative care. Most of these services have no cost to you. Receiving shots or getting specific screening tests allows you to catch anything early or prevent illness from ever getting a foothold. Our health is one of our most valuable assets. And keeping our health as a priority through proper preventative care will save you in the long run. Speak to us today about which health insurance will be the best for you, your family or your business.
Best Tips to Stop Smoking

Best Tips To Stop Smoking

One of the best things you can do for your health is to quit. Over the years we have all seen the effects that smoking can have on a body. From increase to heart disease to developing of lung cancer, smoking causes severe deterioration to your health. Here are some helpful tips to help you or someone you love to stop smoking:
Know why you are quitting. 
You cannot quit successfully on a whim. It’s best for you to know why you are making this choice and that will motivate you to start this journey as well as help you when you feel discouraged and think about picking the habit back up.
Be prepared
Quitting cold turkey is not something to be taken lightly. You want to ensure that you are as prepared as you can be. Cleaning your house is a great place to start. Wash your clothes and clean your carpets. Cleaning anything that could still have the smell attached to it will help you not have any reminders of smoking. Talk to your doctor and find out about alternative ways to help you quit. There are classes, medication, nicotine replacements, or support groups all available to you to help you stop.
Pick up a new hobby
It’s good to try and find something that will take your mind off things while also utilizing the time that you used to put towards smoking. Exercise is a great hobby to pick up because it also releases dopamine which can replace the dopamine release you got from smoking. Studies show that in just two weeks after not smoking your lungs are functioning at a greater capacity than when smoking. This makes exercise more fun, and you can celebrate the markers of your healing body.
You can find more information about quitting smoking here: www.betobaccofree.hhs.gov/quit-now/index.html. We hope that these tips will help you as we are all seeking to grow in our health and live our best lives.

Health Insurance for Children

With the recent twists and turns of the Affordable Care Act, there have been many changes to health insurance. While most people talk about how this will affect the health insurance needs of adults, not many people think about how it can help children. The Affordable Care Act has made it easier than ever for children to be covered with the right health insurance policy.

In order to sign up for health insurance, adults have to wait for an open enrollment period or have a qualifying life event. However, children are able to get covered with the right health insurance plan at any point in the year through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP. Both federal and state programs offer low cost or free health care to children, which help to bring the number of uninsured children to record lows.

Many private health insurance providers are now offering the same services that CHIP and Medicaid are offering, including various preventive care services that come at no cost. These preventive services include immunizations, autism screenings, depressions screening, obesity screenings, and more to help ensure the health of children across the country.

All health insurance plans are now required to offer 10 services, including vision and dental care for children, as well as maternity and newborn care. It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies do not have to offer dental and vision care to children who are over the age of 19, so look carefully when deciding on the right policy to fit your needs.

Contact the insurance experts at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands, California for all of your child health insurance needs. We will work with you to ensure that you have the right amount of coverage for everyone in your family, all at the right price.

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.

Preparing Your Small Business For Tax Season

With tax season just around the corner, small business owners must consider whether or not they will be taking advantage of the small business health care tax credit. New changes surrounding the small business health care tax credit mean that you simply cannot sign off on the paperwork from last year. To ensure that you are in complete understanding of your responsibility in regards to this tax credit, allow the following informational points to guide you:

  • Starting in 2014 and continuing to following years, the maximum tax credit increases to 50 percent of paid premiums for small business employers. However, the maximum tax credit increases to 35 percent of paid premiums for small tax-exempt employers.
  • In order to be eligible for the small business health care tax credit, you must pay premiums on behalf of your team that has enrolled in a qualified health insurance plan. These plans must be obtained through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
  • You can be eligible to take advantage of the small business health care tax credit for two consecutive taxable years.
  • To claim the tax credit, you must file Form 8941 – Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums. This will guide you through the process of calculating the tax credit.
  • As a small business employer, you may be eligible to carry the tax credit back or forward. In order to determine your eligibility, seek guidance from a Certified Covered California agent, such as the experienced and knowledgeable professionals at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services.

Rather than leaving yourself unprotected, seek the care you deserve today! 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.

Understanding Eligibility Of The Special Enrollment Period

With the deadline for the second Obamacare open enrollment period now in the rear view mirror, many individuals who failed to obtain health insurance before the deadline will soon be receiving penalties in the mail. Due to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, each and every one of us is now required to obtain health coverage or receive a penalty.

If you want to avoid penalties, you must obtain health insurance. However, there is one way out of this requirement: the special enrollment period. The special enrollment period provides an individual with varying circumstances a second chance at enrolling for health care. However, you must experience one of the many qualifying life events in order to be eligible for the special enrollment period.

Life events that may make you eligible to take advantage of the special enrollment period and avoid penalties include:

  • Getting married changes your tax situation and health care needs, so you can take advantage of the special enrollment period.
  • Likewise, having a baby, adopting a baby, and placing a child in adoption or foster care all make you eligible for the special enrollment period.
  • Do not fret if your existing health coverage drops or changes, as you will be able to obtain new health insurance during the special enrollment period.
  • Permanent moves that change your coverage area or coverage requirements allow you to obtain health insurance during the special enrollment period.
  • If your citizenship status changes you can obtain health insurance during the special enrollment period.

Rather than leaving yourself unprotected, seek the care you deserve today! 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.

Understanding Penalties Under Obamacare

Since fees were not implemented during the first trial of enrolling in the new health insurance marketplace, the first Obamacare open enrollment period proved to fall short of successful. However, now that enforced penalties mean that you will be faced with a fee if you do not have health coverage, it seems that many enrolled before February 15th passed.

If you failed to obtain health coverage before the open enrollment deadline passed, you will be faced with a penalty until the third Obamacare open enrollment period arrives. Therefore, it is important that you understand why you are being penalized and how much. Gathered are some helpful guiding points for determining how much your penalty for not enrolling for health insurance will be:

Failing To Have Coverage In 2015:

Two calculations are made to determine your penalty amount. Of the two below, you will need to pay the higher amount.

  • $325 per person in your household, $162.50 per child under 18 years old – The maximum penalty an entire family can be charged is $975.
  • 2 percent of your household annual income – In this calculation, the amount above your tax filing threshold is considered, approximating about $10,000 per individual. The most a family can be charged is the national average premium for a bronze plan.

Failing To Have Coverage In 2016:

Each year, the penalty for not obtaining health insurance will increase. You can expect the following increases in 2016 if you still do not have health coverage:

  • $695 per person in your household
  • 5 percent of your household annual income

Rather than leaving yourself unprotected, seek the care you deserve today! 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.