Tag Archives: health insurance

Pros and Cons of Kaiser
Kaiser Permanente is one of the staples of our local health providers.

They have recently built a facility in Redlands and continue to provide health services to our community. But bringing up the name Kaiser Permanente can come with some very mixed results. You’ll find people who love Kaiser and feel that they have never experienced better or more organized care. You’ll also find people with vitriol and fury in their descriptions of the healthcare company. This may be because of the unique type of business model that Kaiser holds to, which is different than any other health provider.

Kaiser not only provides health care through doctors, nurses and specialists; they also provide the health insurance to help pay for that care.

Medical health insurance that is purchased through them makes all of their doctors and facilities available to you. However, you will not have access to anyone outside of their care. If it is an emergency situation, they will cover attention that was received at another hospital.

It is this system that makes people have such polarizing opinions on Kaiser.

For many, they experience a system with a lot of ease. All of your medical records are accessible and ready at any time to any doctor that you may see. The costs are usually lower than other health insurance and care providers. They are dedicated to providing your excellent, whole health care. Their website states “Kaiser Permanente was founded on the radically simple idea that everyone deserves the chance to live a healthy life. That’s why you can find high-quality care and coverage in one place.” But on the rare case that you become ill with something that their specialists cannot find an answer to, and if there is another specialist outside of their system who could better treat you, it is not likely that it would be approved.

We hope that this light perusal of Kaiser Permanente has been helpful. If you ever have questions about your health insurance and what it covers, please always feel free to call us at Bernardini and Donovan.

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.

Stay Current

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.

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.