4 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Insurance for 2018

Believe it or not, 2018 is fast approaching! And if you’re one of the 6.5 million American’s who gets their insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, it’s time to select your plan! Open enrollment for Obamacare starts November 1st and ends December 15th. Enrollment is only open for a short time, so it’s important to do your research now! These are four things you must consider when choosing the best plan for you and your family.
Your budget
This should be first and foremost. Before you even sit down to start looking at policies it’s important to set a realistic budget. Obviously insurance is pricey, so make sure you allow a fair portion of your income to be set aside for your monthly premium.
Key insurance terms
You can’t choose the best policy for you without knowing the key terminology. Important insurance terms to know are: deductible, co-insurance, copay and out of pocket maximum. Need to brush up on these terms? Follow this link. This will make picking a policy a lot less of a headache or prevent you from choosing something that isn’t right for you.
What services you use
It’s important to consider what services you use most when choosing an insurance. Keep in mind that preventative services are currently covered under the Affordable Care Act. This includes things such as colonoscopies and diabetes (Type II) screening. But if you see a chiropractor, or another specialized practitioner, be sure the policy you’re looking at covers that type of care.
Is it an HMO or a PPO
A lot of people don’t know the difference between Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO’s) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO’s). Typically, an HMO plan is going to be a little more affordable than a PPO plan. But they aren’t created equal. PPO’s allow for more flexibility. Typically you can see any doctor you chose, where as with HMO’s you’re more limited. Also, often times with an HMO you will need to have a Primary Care Physician (PCP) who must refer you for specific services (i.e. a routine colonoscopy). Don’t forget to check the type of plan before finalizing your 2018 coverage.
Mark your calendar for November 1st! And if you still have questions about health insurance, you can pick up my book Easy Healthcare: Obamacare.

Your Aging Parent Doesn’t Want to Go to a Nursing Home… Now What?

I’m sure your parents have probably said it to you, or maybe you’re even saying it now to your kids, “Whatever you do, don’t put me in a nursing home!” However, this can put you in a tough spot. If your parent is aging and needs more help, one of the safest places for them is a nursing home or a senior living facility. But if your parent is adamant about staying out of a nursing home, you do have other options. Here are four alternatives to nursing homes.
 
Assisted living
Technically speaking, assisted living facilities are not the same thing as nursing homes. Assisted livings typically have several levels of care depending on the residents needs, whereas nursing homes usually provide a higher level of care. In many assisted living facilities, residents can come and go as they please and, in some, can even have their own car. Yet there’s staff there to help them with activities of daily living, such as brushing their teeth and getting dressed. But, if your loved one views nursing homes and assisted livings as the same, this may be a hard one to convince them of.
Independent living and senior apartments
There are a lot of senior living communities that offer independent living and senior apartments. These allow your loved one to have their own space with their own private entry, and they can come and go as they please. The advantage to these kinds of apartments is that your loved one won’t have to worry about maintenance like they would at a home. These often have communal areas where seniors can meet, play cards, and eat their meals. Therefore, they still get the activity, and they will have the ability to make new friends, but they also have their privacy.
 
In-home care
In-home care is a great alternative to a nursing home. Your loved one has all of the comforts of being at home and the one-on-one care they deserve. Most elderly people have a hard time leaving their home and adjusting to a new place, so this is a great option.
Hospice
Hospice is for end-of-life care, but you don’t need to be in the hospital to receive it. You can be on hospice in your home. The purpose of hospice is to keep those who are dying comfortable, provide them peace, as well as assist their families through a difficult time.
Want to learn more about assisted living facilities? Get my book Easy Healthcare: Assisted Living. It’s filled with tips about finding the right assisted living facility for your loved one and moving in.

Breast Cancer Treatment: What Your Insurance Covers

After a devastating diagnosis such as breast cancer, the last thing one thinks about is insurance. But sadly this is a true reality for most. How to pay for it, what your coverage is and what to do if you don’t have insurance are all things that run through one’s mind. Today, we’re going to discuss what your insurance covers when it comes to breast cancer prevention and treatment.
Mammograms are a major diagnostic test used for the detection of breast cancer. Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, all insurance policies are required to cover one routine mammograms for women over 40 years of age per, at no out of pocket cost to them. So take advantage of this tool every year.
If your physician suggests a mastectomy as part of your treatment it will likely be covered. Even better yet, due to an act passed in 1998 any insurance company that has mastectomy coverage must also cover breast reconstruction coverage, if you wish to have it done. Not only does this include implants but it can also include surgery to correct asymmetries (i.e. only one breast was removed) as well as treatment for any surgical complications.
Chemotherapy and radiation are two major treatments for any form of cancer, specifically breast cancer. Coverage for these two types of treatment are going to be plan specific. So make sure you look over your insurance to see what type of coverage you have. Often times they come with high deductibles and copay’s, but it’s better than nothing.
Other prescription medications will be billed the same way as chemo and radiation, which is considered a medication. For instance, cancer suppressing medications, such as tamoxifen, fall under this category.
If you don’t have insurance there are several institutions that can provide you with the care you need. You can head over to www.komen.org to learn more.
Or, if you’re interested in enrolling in a health insurance plan for 2018 stay tuned for next weeks post, we walk you through everything you need to know about Obamacare.