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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.
New Year, New You

New Year, New You

‘Tis the season of the new year’s resolution! Many people will start the new year with plans of how to improve their life. Here are a few resolutions that we would like to recommend:

 

Intentionality
One of our most significant assets in life is our time. Everyone is given the same amount of it every day. But what matters is what you do with that time. At the end of every year, it is easy to reflect back and realize that much of your time was spent doing things that don’t matter. Instead, we suggest doing this reflection much earlier. At the end of each day, at lunchtime, as you wake up, reflect over your last few hours. Think about what was important, what added something to your life and goals, and what detracted. What made you a better person and what was a waste of time. What can you do differently in your next few hours so that your precious time is used wisely?

 

Be your best you
For some of you, this may sound like “I want to drop 20 pounds” or the even more ambiguous I want to lose weight. Some will add the more positive spin saying “I want to eat healthier” or “Workout more.” While these are excellent goals, we want to point out that health looks different on every person. We all have our unique chemistry and genetic health history that causes us to need different markers for health. One of the best things you can do is go to your doctor and speak about what you would like. They can help you formulate different diets, exercise plans and offer you various options that are better for you than what your friend Sally did that worked for her. If you need help getting in to see a doctor, that’s where we can help. Its open enrollment right now and we can help you find an insurance plan that will let you see the doctors you want for a price that works for you. We hope that your New Year’s is terrific and that 2018 brings in the opportunities to be your best 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.

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 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.

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!

What You Need To Know About The Current Open Enrollment Period

As the face of healthcare changes with the Affordable Care Act and Covered California, understanding how those changes affect you can feel overwhelming. You know that there are scary words like deadlines and penalty fees being thrown about, but do you know how to avoid them? That’s what we are here for! The experts at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services would like to offer you the following guide to the basics of the current open enrollment period.

When Is It?

The second (and current) open enrollment period for family and individual insurance plans began on November 15th, 2014 and ends February 15th, 2015.

What Is It?

Open enrollment is the period during which individuals, families, and small business can secure health insurance that will meet the new requirements implemented by the Affordable Care Act.

Do I Need To Sign Up?

Unless you have an exemption or are being provided with coverage by your place of employ- yes. Some “qualifying events” (e.g. moving to a new state, marrying, divorcing, having a baby) may allow you to push your deadline back, but to avoid extra hassle it is in your best interest to secure coverage during this period. If you do not, you can be eligible for a penalty fee.

Where Should I Go To Get Covered?

To be sure the policy you secure meets the Affordable Care Act’s guidelines, you should contact a certified Covered California agent. Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands, California can be your guide to the changing healthcare industry. Our team of experienced agents understands the new requirements and can help you make sure you meet them so you can avoid penalty fees. Contact us today to get great healthcare coverage at the right price!