Here are all the articles I've written about preventive care. Enjoy!

February 11th, 2016

We made it! Open Enrollment is OVER!

Hello, Insurance Mom family –

 

Phew!

 

Open Enrollment for individual health insurance ended 1/31/16.     The Insurance Mom and her Helper Elves have been very busy taking care of everyone, and now we’ve got more time to talk about insurance-y stuff through our fabulous blog posts.

 

Open Enrollment is the time when anyone can get individual health insurance or make changes to their individual health insurance.

 

From now until January of 2017, you are locked into whatever individual insurance plan you have.   There are only a few exceptions to the rule … called Qualifying Life Events.  Like loss of employer coverage, marriage, divorce, relocation to a new state, etc.

 

Shocked to find that out?  You’re not alone.  Uninsured?   Snap!  The Insurance Mom has a solution for you!   Let’s talk ASAP so you don’t go broke paying for that unexpected (and expensive) medical thing… and it’s always unexpected and expensive!…

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June 23rd, 2015

ACA woes?  Hospitals and Docs feel it too!

Life since the Affordable Care Act is an interesting environment.  Everything is changing at such a rapid pace, no one knows how to keep up.  Hospitals are in the same boat, too!

In a recent study, 75% of hospitals have reported an increase of emergency room traffic since the ACA started.  Not only that, but there’s a huge increase in the number of people in Medicaid (in CA it’s Medi-Cal).   BUT doctors don’t want to take new Medicaid patients because Medicaid pays doctors so poorly.

So just because more people have access to health insurance, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have access to timely medical care.     And that, my friends, is true no matter what health insurance you have or whenever you try to see a doctor!

My assistant was sick a few weeks back, and she had the WORST time getting an appointment to see her doctor!  I think doctors offices may be feeling strapped for time too!

Some food for thought while we peel back the many layers of this onion.  And keep in mind to plan ahead when you can, keep ahead of illness so you’re not scrambling when you really need help.  Check out the article with more info from the President of the American College of Emergency Physicians:

http://www.benefitspro.com/2015/05/04/er-visits-keep-climbing-under-ppaca.…

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May 12th, 2015

YOU’RE A COMPARISON SHOPPER FOR OTHER THINGS, THEN WHY NOT FOR MEDICAL STUFF?

You’re a smart shopper.  You do your research.  You clip coupons.  You read Yelp reviews, compare online ratings and costs.    So why is it when it comes to your health, you don’t do the same?

The Insurance Mom is here to help you be your own best advocate.  In this new world of Affordable-Care-Act-madness  here are some handy do-it-yourself tips to get the biggest bang for your health plan buck and save you money in the long run.    Just because you have health insurance doesn’t mean you’re automatically getting the best deals.

When you have the ability to plan before diagnostic tests, procedures, and doctor visits:

Check out this nifty website from Health Care Blue Book.  It will compare and contrast costs for doctor visits, procedures, hospitals and other facilities, as well as the Fair Price for a medical services from different locations.    A friend found that two hospitals near him were charging very different amounts for the EXACT SAME diagnostic tests.  One was $1,400, the other was $6,400!!! Very smart shopping! When you can, plan!

https://healthcarebluebook.com/page_Default.aspx

When your prescriptions get too spendy, we have three suggestions:

GoodRx to compares costs of different meds at different pharmacies in your area.  Didn’t think there would be a difference, did you?  Give it a try and you’ll see costs vary from one pharmacy to another.    Make an informed choice about how and where you shop.

www.goodrx.com

There’s a free discount card available with just a simple click!  Go to Water Tree Health’s website for great discounts on pharmaceuticals, diabetic supplies, even some pet supplies!

http://www.watertreehealth.com/our-products/

I get a lot of questions on this one.  For certain medications, you can shop outside of the country and see a big discount.   Pharmacy Checker is a good example of how to compare drug prices …

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February 23rd, 2015

Revisiting A Short Course on LTC

Now that we have a bit of a handle on Open Enrollment for health insurance, I am getting nostalgic on my old blog posts and found this goodie on LTC:

Did you know that at least 60% to 70% of people over 65 will eventually need long term care, either at home or in a nursing home?   That can be very expensive.

The average stay in a nursing home per year is almost $90,000.

Your health insurance does NOT cover this kind of expense, neither does Medicare!   Oy.   That’s why The Insurance Mom wants you to consider Long Term Care Insurance (LTCi)  especially if you don’t have enough savings or a rich uncle.

If you have LTCi and have to go into a nursing home or need at-home care, the total cost of all your premium payments combined will likely be less than the cost of a single year in a nursing home or full-time home care — no matter how many years you’ve been paying premiums.

Think about that for a moment.   No matter how long you pay LTCi premiums, you will get it all back in one year of benefits!   That’s huge.   I think it’s a wise investment in your financial future.

Come back Wednesday for 4 simple rules to follow when buying Long Term Care Insurance.…

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October 14th, 2012

No Kids… Free Birth Control!

That’s right, the rumor is true… being responsible no longer costs money!   Under the federal reform laws, as of August 1, 2012, almost all health insurance plans cover your generic birth control 100%.   No co-pays, cash or credit card required to protect you and your man against an unexpected pregnancy.

The federal law says that health insurance plans must now pay 100% for generic birth control pills and all other prescribed and FDA-approved birth control methods.   If you got your health insurance after March 23, 2010 (when the law was enacted), then this means you!

So rock on with your free birth control.   But please don’t make The Insurance Mom remind you to stay safe and use protection… that goes without saying (but I thought I’d say it anyway)!…

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May 1st, 2012

Kids, kids, kids…

If you’re in California and have health insurance in California, then this one’s for you.

As of 7/1/12, you’re all going to have maternity benefits added to your existing coverage.  Wahoo!

Yes, it’s true… SB 222 and AB 210, passed last year by our illustrious governor, are going to give each and every one of you this brand new benefit in your health insurance.

The new benefit will include, office visits, prenatal care, delivery and postnatal care.    The benefits for maternity costs will be treated just like any other benefits under your plan… deductible and co-pays will still apply.

And to reassure your pretty little heads, because this benefit is being added to all plans – and, therefore, the cost risk is spread over many, many more policies – your monthly premiums should not be affected.

Babies for all!…

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April 6th, 2012

UPDATED – Anthem Blue Cross In-Network Hospital Update

*******************I M P O R T A N T****I M P O R T A N T****I M P O R T A N T****************

Good news!  Anthem Blue Cross has announced that Hospital Corporation of America’s California hospitals once again participate in Anthem BC’s’ network.

In Southern California:

  • Los Robles Regional Medical Center
  • West Hills Hospital
  • Riverside Community Hospital
In Northern California: 
  • Regional Medical Center of San Jose
  • Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose

Despite the terminations announced in March, both parties continued active negotiations with the hope that the hospitals would again participate in Anthem BC’s’ network.    These ongoing discussions resulted in the successful negotiation of new multi-year contracts effective April 1, 2012.

The reason an insurance company negotiates provider contracts is simple – to provide you with a broad network of providers who have agreed to accept negotiated rates — for you that means discounts — lower out-of-pocket expenses, more bang for your buck.

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October 22nd, 2011

Wanna Save Some Money (part 3)?

Getting a prescription from your doctor doesn’t mean you don’t have choices about how to spend your money.

Ask your doctor if a generic drug is available and make sure it’s in the same class of drugs as the expensive brand name drug he wants to you to buy.

Generics have the same active ingredients, strengths and dose as the more expensive brand name versions.

A single manufacturer no longer holds the (17 year!) patent, so there’s more competition to keep the price down.

Tell your doctor that if he wants you to have a brand name drug, then spend his money not yours!  Or give you free samples.

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October 21st, 2011

Wanna Save Some Money (part 2)?

Need to get lab work done, such as blood or urine tests, PAP test or biopsy?

Think about using a lab that isn’t located in or part of a hospital.

They’re often way less expensive than a hospital lab, and some health insurance plans have a lower co-pay for outside labs.

And many outside labs have more flexible hours, like when you need to go early in the morning before your half-caf-half-decaf-low-fat-vanilla-with-a-hint-of-cinammon-latte.

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October 20th, 2011

Wanna Save Some Money (part 1)?

If you have a health problem that isn’t an emergency and you can’t see your regular doctor, think about going to an in-network retail clinic, walk-in doctor’s office or urgent care center.

They can take less time than an emergency room, are open nights and weekends and could save you a TON o’money!…

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