Here are all the articles I've written about Money Management. Enjoy!

October 15th, 2018

Freelancers & Independent Contractors! A new CA law could HURT your status!

If you’re a FREELANCER in CA (aka INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS) — read all of this to protect your $$$ !

The Insurance Mom wants to make you aware of a recent CA Supreme Court ruling.    It could really HURT you as a FREELANCER.     If you HIRE freelancers, this new state law could hurt you as a business owner.   WATCH OUT!

For more information or to sign-up and have YOUR voice heard please visit I’m Independent to protect your rights as freelancers and/or a business owner.

Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court (Dynamex) could require many 1099 independent contractors to become W-2 employeesand YOU won’t have a choice.

The ABC test determines WHO is an independent contractor or an employee.    You will be Independent Contractors ONLY if the hiring entity is able to PROVE ALL THREE of the following:

     (A)    That the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact;

     (B)    That the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and,

     (C)    That the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.

You should be VERY alarmed!!   The Dynamex ruling is now CA State law and will NOT be appealed.

freelancers independent contractors

The new standard could potentially reach back four years which could financially destroy your business even if you were fully compliant in operating under the previous standard of Independent Contractors.

Hmmm… I have questions:   Who is going to be the watchdog?   The regulators?   The enforcers?   Are small businesses at risk as much as large businesses?    How will the regulators know who’s …

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September 26th, 2018

Hey, CALIFORNIA… here’s info about your INDIVIDUAL health insurance for 2019

READ ME… ALL OF ME!!
It’s time to talk about individual HEALTH INSURANCE for 2019 — OPEN ENROLLMENT is starting 10/15/18
Information is starting to roll in.   BUT we’re still waiting for the FINAL RATES.
What we know so far:
  • There WILL BE rate increases — no, I don’t know how much yet
  • There are NO new/better options in 2019
  • There will NOT be any better networks or drug formularies
  • Blue Shield will NOT continue the BlueCard program when you’re traveling — which means NO coverage outside of California, except for emergencies (like all companies)
  • Deductibles are going up slightly
  • Out-of-pocket maximums are going up slightly
Chances are, you’re going to STAY PUT on your current plan for 2019.   Yes, no kidding.

Be patient… take a nice inhale 🙂…

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September 6th, 2018

5 Tips From Your Insurance Broker!

Here are 5 tips from The Insurance Mom about Health Insurance you know only if you have an insurance broker — Read On!

  1.  You can’t just get individual health insurance any old time.   Enroll only during Open Enrollment!  The next one is November for coverage starting January 1st.   If you have coverage at work, you have to wait until your employer’s open enrollment period.
  2. Pay your individual insurance bill within 30 days or you’ll lose the insurance (oh no!).   You’re out of luck until the next Open Enrollment.  In some states there are options, but none will protect you like regular health insurance.
  3. ONE free physical a year, with an IN-network doctor, is included in every policy.   Ladies, you get a gyno visit too.   No dollars out of your pocket.   Not even a copay!  Check with your insurance broker to find out which specific exams and lab tests are included.
  4. ALL FDA-approved birth control is FREE now if you want it!
  5. Kids are automatically enrolled in pediatric dental & vision coverage.  As long as you go to an IN-network dentist or optometrist, standard cleanings and exams are free and most costs will be discounted.

Now… don’t you feel smarter!?

Learn More About Our Insurance Services!…

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April 2nd, 2018

Have YOU heard about the MEDICARE updates?

Sooo… what’s all the buzz about the ALL NEW Medicare updates?
NEW MEDICARE ID CARDS ARE ON THEIR WAY!
No more Social Security numbers.
Starting this April, the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS) will be rolling out their NEW ID cards.
There’ll be one with YOUR name on it… and a BRAND NEW Medicare ID number. So watch your snail-mail box!
Make SURE your mailing address is up-to-date. Go to the Social Security website or call 1-800-772-1213.
But don’t panic if your NEW ID card doesn’t show up right away… this is going to take some time and I’m sure there’ll be hiccups.
CMS is rolling out the new models over the next 12 months and California is supposed to be in the first wave (we’re so special!)
ONLY your ID card is getting a make-over and a NEW ID number — no changes in benefits!
*** If you pay your Medicare premiums at your bank’s Online Bill Pay service, update your account with your NEW Medicare ID number (no dashes).
*** If you pay by check, write your NEW Medicare ID number on your check.
*** Remember to give your doctors your NEW Medicare ID card the next time you pay them a visit.
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August 17th, 2016

“What’s Up, Doc?” Blog Series Part 11: All Better… But OUCH, This BILL!!

Oodles of gratitude for taking this virtual trip to the doctor with us!  Here’s even more in the series “What’s Up, Doc?”  Catch up with parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eightnine, and ten.  And now, our last in the series… “All Better… But Ouch, THIS BILL!!”

  1. Your doctor is IN-network right?    The doctor’s office MUST submit the bill (aka “the claim”) directly to your insurance company.
  2. The IN-network doctor CAN ask you for the office visit co-pay at the time of the visit.    But, for medical services done during the visit…
  3. The IN-network doctor can NOT charge you until after the insurance company applies the IN-network discounts (the negotiated rate).
  4. When you get a bill from the doctor’s office, be sure that the IN-network discounts have been applied.   How do you know?
  5. … because you got an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from the insurance company!   Check the EOB against the provider’s bill, and THAT’s how you know you’re getting the right discounts.
  6. If the doctor is OUT-of-network you’ll be submitting your own claims to your insurance company – and the doctor can charge you whatever she likes, there are no discounts.
  7. If you have an HMO, you must ONLY see a doc in your HMO group.  There are NO benefits in an HMO if you go to an out-of-network doctor.

Talk to me!  Was this helpful?  What was your fave piece of info?  Suggestions and thoughts are welcome.  And as always, reach out to us for any of your insurance needs.

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August 10th, 2016

“What’s Up, Doc?” Blog Series Part 10: Fanks, Doc, I Pheel Bmuch Mbetter

Hi again, my friends!  Thank you so much for taking the virtual blog version of a doctor’s office visit with us.  Here is our tenth part in the series, How to make the most of your office visit- a multi-part series.”  Check out parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine. And now, a segment we call “Fanks, Doc, I Pheeell Bmuch Mbetter.”  Your clothes are on and you’re out the door.  On your walk to the car, evaluate.  How did you do?  Did you get all your questions answered?  Did you already forget the answers? Do you need a follow-up visit?

 

  1. If you need a follow-up appointment, don’t be shy!  Call the office and schedule a time to chat with the doctor OR email her OR have the nurse practitioner clarify.
  2. What’s next?  Do you need to schedule lab tests?  Do you need to see a specialist?  Make sure they’re IN-network and cross-reference with Yelp and https://www.ratemds.com/ for the best of the best.
  3. About those medications your doctor wants you to try… check out our blog, “Better Living Through (Cheaper) Chemistry!”
  4. Try finding the cheapest price at GoodRx.  Did you know … prices are different from pharmacy to pharmacy
  5. If the drug isn’t in your plan’s formulary, follow-up with your doctor to call the insurance company for Prior Authorization.  If that doesn’t work, you can file an appeal but that takes a long time and doesn’t always work.
  6. If the drugs your doc prescribed are too pricey, go to Canada!  Not really, but check out Pharmacy Checker for discounted Rx costs.  Or you can find discount pharmacy cards online.  OR you can Google the name of the drug + coupons and try that on for size.  Often
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August 3rd, 2016

“What’s Up, Doc?” Blog Series Part 9: The Doorknob Moment… and Other Missed Opportunities

Welcome back to our series, “What’s Up, Doc?”  You can check out the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth parts by clicking the hyperlinks to get up to speed.  And now, “The Doorknob Moment… and Other Missed Opportunities.”

 

  1. Be your own team!  Prepare in advance for your visit.   Patients who take a more active role in their medical care have better physiological improvement.  Remember, this is a TEAM effort between you and the doctor… with you as the Team Captain!
  2. Ask your most important FAQs first!   Don’t wait until you’re dressed and leaving the office!  They say in psychotherapy the most impactful part of the session is usually the last 5 minutes.  Don’t take that approach with your medical doctor or you could miss talking about some important info and you will leave with missed opportunities.
  3. This tip is for the fellas:  speak up!  Don’t be macho, tell the truth.  If something is ailing you, it’s better for your doctor to know so she can help.   This visit is not the place to put on a brave face.    Statistically, women are better than men at asking questions about their medical issues.  Not that we’re better or anything (wink, wink), we just go to the doctor more often so we have more practice.
  4. ASK if the doctor will communicate by e-mail.   Often e-mails become a valuable part of your chart.   If you happen to forget to ask an important FAQ or need further clarification, having a doctor who uses technology is critical!
  5. If the doctor doesn’t use email, find out the easiest way to communicate about your missed opportunities with her after the visit… phone, fax, carrier pigeon, smoke signals?    For example, does she return phone calls after normal office
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July 27th, 2016

“What’s Up, Doc?” Blog Series Part 8: A Cure For What Ails You

Hello again, my avid readers.  Hugs for reading the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh of our series, “What’s Up, Doc?” Last time, we left you sitting on the slab as the doctor came into the room.   And now a segment we call “A Cure for What Ails You” and is a continuation of advice from last week on what to do once you have their ear.

 

First and foremost, I like the concept that the doctor works FOR YOU!   Not the other way ‘round.   You are paying that person… she works for you!   You deserve her time and FULL attention.   Remember, you get a vote.   And not just any vote.. you get THE vote on how things proceed!!

 

  1. If you need tests, remind the doctor to use ONLY an in-network lab.
  2. If you need meds, ask if the generic is available.   YOU control how you spend your money!  The docs generally don’t think twice about prescribing expensive brand name drugs to help cure what ails you.
  3. Did the doctor advise seeing a specialist?  Ask for their IN-network referrals for a trusted doc before you leave.   But it’s still up to YOU to verify that the new doc is IN-network!
  4. If you need a follow-up visit, make the appointment before you leave!
  5. Remember to request a copy of the chart notes from today’s visit.
  6. ASK if the doctor will communicate by e-mail.   Often e-mails become a valuable part of your chart.

 

Who is your fave doc?  What have they done that makes them your fave?  Always love the shares from friends of The Insurance Mom.

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July 20th, 2016

“What’s Up, Doc?” Blog Series Part 7: The Doctor is in! Now What?!

Look at you, friend of The Insurance Mom!  You’ve learned so much from our first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth parts of our series, “What’s Up, Doc?” Don’t you feel well-informed and powerful!?
Here’s the next revelation, “The Doctor is In!  Now What?”

 

  1. Remind Doc Hollywood of any important medical history.   Do NOT assume they remember everything about you.  If you’re seeing this doctor for the first time give a brief summary of important medical history.
  2. As I mentioned in the second part of our series, always have a current copy of your medical records.   Before seeing a new doc for the first time, email a copy of your chart FIRST.    Hopefully, this will get your new doc up to speed before you get there.
  3. If you’re there for a physical (aka check-up, aka preventive care), remind the doctor that’s the ONLY purpose for your visit.    I want YOU to give explicit permission to the doc if she’s going to do additional tests or treatments that are NOT included in your free physical.  The Insurance Mom also recommends referencing this website which lists all of the stuff that has to  be covered by your insurance (it’s part of the Affordable Care Act!)… so you know your rights!
  4. Ask LOTS of FAQs.   There is always another question to ask!   So ASKAsk for clarification if you need it.  Ask the doctor WHY she is recommending this particular course of treatment or prescription.  Ask about side-effects.  Ask about likely outcomes.    Ask what alternative options may be available.   Just because a doctor makes a suggestion, doesn’t mean it’s a recommendation… or the best recommendation.

Thanks for following along to our virtual tour of the doctor’s office!  Now, talk to me.  Share your funny / interesting …

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July 13th, 2016

“What’s Up, Doc?” Blog Series Part 6: Cold and Alone, Wearing Paper… Make the Most of the Exam Room

You get a gold star for adult-ing, my friends!  Thank you for tuning in to “Cold and Alone, Wearing Paper: Make the Most of the Exam Room.”  Check out the first, second, third, fourth and fifth parts of our series, “What’s Up, Doc?” to get caught up to speed!

 

OK, you’re finally in the exam room.  While you’re shivering in the paper gown and bored of looking at Highlights Magazine, contemplate how you can get the most bang for your buck.

 

  1. Think of the most important thing you’re concerned about for THIS exam room visit.   Start with this topic!   Narrow down the focus so you can use the doctor’s time to your advantage.
  2. Studies show that a doctor stops actively listening after about 30 seconds before she starts taking notes or typing.   I like to make sure the doctor is looking at me and having a dialogue before she starts charting her impressions!
  3. Remember that list of important questions you made before the exam room visit?  Now’s the time to whip it out!
  4. Did your friend come with you?  Remind them what you’d like to accomplish.  And buy them a Starbucks when you leave. 🙂  Don’t have a BFF available to attend the visit?  Use the voice memo app on your phone.   Technology is great when we use it, am I right?
  5. Heads-up… before you leave ANY doctor’s exam room, ask for a copy of that day’s chart notes for your records!   I’ve never had a doc refuse my request.
  6. Be absolutely sure that what the doc wrote in your chart is REALLY what you talked about and reflects the tests or treatments or medications to which you’ve explicitly
  7. Correct any mistakes in an email and fax to the doctor!

 

Learning lots?  Now teach …

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