Categories
Insurance

Why Health Insurance Covering Birth Control Is Essential For Reproductive Rights? 

Insurance and Birth Control

Isn’t it a little funny that uteruses are making policymakers, insurance companies, and lobbyists extremely squeamish? But why is it so? Not to mention, 50.8 percent of citizens in the United States are female as well as a large majority of us happen to have a uterus. (Even though a uterus does not make a woman) Still, people with uteruses are struggling every day to acquire the care they require, especially when it comes to requesting their insurance firms to pay for the care they require for health and wellbeing.

In the year 2010, the Affordable Care Act, also known as ACA, highlighted one of the most vital steps in women’s health & public policy since…1965. Ouch. It not just aided more women to access health insurance and lowered the total expense but also provided coverage for numerous essential items such as birth control and mammograms.

Although ACA is a game-changer for citizens with uteruses, it does not quite change enough of the game. For instance, those suffering from infertility are most often overlooked. As a result, they struggle to find a single plan that provides coverage processes including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). That clearly calls out for the need for full coverage of sexual as well as reproductive health for all individuals, no matter uteruses or not.

Birth Control Is Not Just Pregnancy Prevention!

Let’s begin with a very basic element of reproductive care, that is hormonal contraception. 

Colloquially that is often referred to as ‘the pill,’ the very first oral contraceptive was approved by the FDA in the year 1960. 

Truth be told, birth control has come a long way since then. However, the general and clear understanding of its importance in people’s minds has not properly evolved.

Also Read: Menopause: Here’s Everything You Must Know

There is actually nothing wrong if a person uses hormonal birth control for preventing conception. Excuse me, it is what it is there for! Having said that, people with uteruses have the full right to decide when they wish to get pregnant. But recommending that pregnancy prevention is its only usage is erroneous. Hormonal birth control is also beneficial in the following cases:

  • To regulate menstrual cycles
  • To relieve period pain
  • To reduce acne
  • To lower the risks of cancer
  • To minimize symptoms of PMS and PMDD
  • To manage endometriosis
  • To fight menstrual migraines

Also, birth control is a lifesaver for people with reproductive various disorders & diseases. It certainly helps them go to school or work and pay their bills. In essence, it lets them have a better quality of life that is not at all dominated by pain.

Meanwhile, insurance providers have a love-hate relationship with the pill (and various other forms of contraception). Under the ACA, they should provide coverage for birth control at full-cost with some exceptions. However, as the ACA faces more challenges in the courts, including at the higher level, it is increasingly not clear if the contraception rules will survive or not. Even the issue has gotten murkier with the demise of Justice Antonin Scalia and President Trump sticking his nose in.

Birth Control Must Be Free 

Birth control has a long list of uses, and each one is different for the individual who takes it. At its core, though, it is one of the essential forms of preventative healthcare. Due to this birth control must be free of cost, no matter if it is accessed with or without insurance.

Also Read: Maternity Insurance Coverage

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), there are 62 million people in the United States in their childbearing years. Out of those, 70 percent are at high risk of getting pregnant unplanned or unintended. 

Most individuals normally use contraception for almost a third of their lives. The total/exact financial expense of this long-term contraception use increase as well. Unintended pregnancies negatively impact both lower-income workers and people of color.

When a price is put on birth control, people have to decide whether to use hormonal contraception or whether to go for other everyday expenses, such as pay their rent, raise food, or pay off their utilities. And these prices are much higher for people on a low-income, however, the price is not just related to the cost upon purchase. 

According to a recent study, the women in the United States said that using birth control helps them to do things, including:

  • Support themselves financially
  • Take better care of their families
  • Keep or get a new job
  • Finish school

The financial benefits also increase to society. The cost of unplanned pregnancies is $12 billion a year. Most of those are often paid using Medicaid. Medicaid covered 43 percent of all births in the year 2017.

Also Read: Difference Between Medicare And Medicaid

Categories
Health

Moringa Oil Benefits & Its Uses No One Will Tell You 

Moringa Oil

You might have heard about moringa oil but we are sure you do not know some of its amazing benefits and uses. Keep reading to know! 

Moringa oil

Moringa oil is extracted from the seeds of Moringa oleifera. For those who do not know, oleifera is a small tree native to the Himalayan mountains. 

Do you know that all parts of the moringa tree can be used for various nutritional, industrial, and even medicinal purposes? Yes, you read it right! From its seeds to leaves, every part reaps one or another benefit. 

Because of the same reason, it is often called the miracle tree. It is also known as the drumstick tree, in reference to the shape of its seed pods.

Also Read: Major Side Effects of Oregano Oil

Talking about moringa seeds, it has high oil content as well as contains various nutritional compounds such as monounsaturated fats, protein, sterols, and tocopherols. 

Moringa oil is extracted through a wide range of industrial processes, such as solvent extraction & cold-pressing.

It is available as a beneficial oil and most importantly, as a cooking oil. It is also used as an ingredient in hair & skin products.

Moringa Oil Uses & Benefits

Moringa Oil Uses & Benefits

Since ancient times, moringa oil has been used as a medicinal folk cure as well as a topical, and cosmetic ingredient. 

Also Read: Is Coffee Helping Your Digestive System?

In present times, moringa oil is manufactured for a large range of both personal & industrial uses such as:

  • Cooking oil 

As mentioned earlier, moringa oil is high in protein as well as oleic acid (which is a monounsaturated and healthy fat). 

Most people use moringa oil for cooking as an economical, nutritious alternative to various other expensive oils. 

It is now becoming a widespread nutritional staple, particularly in food-insecure areas where moringa trees are found.

  • Topical cleanser & moisturizer 

The oleic acid present in moringa oil is extremely beneficial. It can even be used topically as a cleansing agent, and as a moisturizer for skin & hair.

  • Cholesterol management 

Edible moringa oil has sterols in it, which have been proved to lower/cure  LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

  • Antioxidant 

Beta-sitosterol (which is a phytosterol) is also found in moringa oil that may also give antioxidant & anti-diabetic benefits, although more research is required to confirm the same.

  • Anti-inflammatory 

Moringa oil contains multiple bioactive compounds that have antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory properties, both when ingested and used topically. This eventually makes moringa oil effective for acne breakouts. These compounds also have tocopherols, catechins, quercetin, ferulic acid, and zeatin in it.

Also Read: Effective Tips To Strengthen Your Immunity Naturally

Available Products

You can find Moringa oil as:

  • Cooking oil that can be used in frying as well as baking.
  • The essential oil that can be used topically on the skin as well as hair. (Always dilute any essential oil with a carrier oil before applying it.)
  • An ingredient in skin & hair care products, including soap, liquid cleanser, hydrating toner, massage oil, shampoo, and hair conditioner.
Tips To Keep In Mind

Sometimes, moringa oil is also called as behen oil, or ben oil, due to its behenic acid content.

  • Analyze whether it is a carrier oil or essential oil 

Always make sure that the oil you are buying is a carrier oil or essential oil. 

As with any essential oil, moringa essential oil must be mixed with a carrier oil before using topically. Moringa essential oil is not edible as well as should never be eaten.

  • Choose cold-pressed, food-grade oil for cooking 

Various forms of moringa oil are manufactured in huge batches through solvent extraction, to use as fuel, or as a machinery lubricant. 

If you wish to use moringa oil for cooking or topically on your skin, then find an oil that is cold-pressed, organic, and labeled for the same purposes.

  • Check how it is manufactured

Also look for any manufacturer that is transparent about the sourcing as well as the production of its product.

  • Look at the oil color & clarity

Pick an oil that is pale yellow in color along with a slight scent of peanut. Various bottled brands also contain little-to-no moringa oil.

Also Read: Vitamin D Benefits You Must Know

Moringa Oil Or Leaves?

As mentioned in the beginning, the complete moringa tree can be used for different purposes. Always remember that moringa oil comes solely from its seeds, not from its leaves or flowers.

Some purported advantages of moringa can not be derived from the oil but from other forms, including leaf powder. Hence, there is not a clear winner here!

All in all, food-grade moringa oil is a healthy, monounsaturated fat with high protein and various other compounds. 

As an essential oil, moringa has numerous benefits for moisturizing as well as cleansing the skin. 

Categories
Miscellaneous

Affordable Care Act: Everything You Must Know 

If you are here to know about ACA, that is, the Affordable Care Act, then stick till the end of this blog. 

Affordable Care Act

Affordable Care Act

Let’s start with what is ACA? It is a comprehensive healthcare reform signed into law by President Barack Obama in the year 2010. 

Formally referred to as the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act—and simply Obamacare—this law particularly includes a wide range of health-related provisions. The only intention of this law is to extend health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured American citizens

The Act expanded Medicaid eligibility, designed health insurance exchanges, and avoided insurance firms from refusing coverage (or charging more) because of pre-existing conditions. 

The act even allows children to remain on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26.

Understanding ACA Clearly!

The Affordable Care Act was created to cut down the total expense of health insurance coverage for qualified individuals. 

The act includes premium tax credits as well as expense-sharing reductions to aid lower costs for lower-income people as well as families.

Premium tax credits typically lower a person’s health insurance bill every month. Expense-sharing reductions ultimately lower his or her out-of-pocket expenses for deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. 

They can even lower your out-of-pocket maximum—the total cost you pay in a year for covered health costs.

Also Read: Do You Know About AARP

Every ACA-compliant health insurance plan—including plans that are sold on the Health Insurance Marketplace—should cover particular “necessary health benefits” such as:

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Breastfeeding
  • Emergency services
  • Family planning
  • Hospitalization
  • Laboratory services
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
  • Prescription medications
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services

In addition to this, the Affordable Care Act needs most insurance plans (such as those sold on the Marketplace) to provide coverage at no cost to policyholders a list of preventive services. 

These services mainly include checkups, patient counseling, immunizations, and various health screenings.

Special Consideration

A considerable portion of the Affordable Care Act was an individual mandate, a provision asking all American citizens to acquire healthcare coverage—either from an employer or through the ACA or another source—or accept rising harsh tax penalties. 

This mandate gave out the double purpose of providing healthcare to uninsured Americans and making sure that there’s a sufficiently broad pool of insured people to support health-insurance payouts.

In the year 2017, in his very first executive order after taking office, President Donald Trump highlighted his intention to defund the Affordable Care Act. He even said that the executive agency heads must delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that will impose a fiscal burden on any State.

The aim of this order signaled the initial phase of Republican efforts to reverse and replace the ACA.

Rolling back the law was one of Trump’s central campaign promises that had the purpose of cutting down the fiscal burden on the government.

Also Read: Everything about Blue Cross Blue Shield

In the year 2017, the government’s attempts to repeal the law completely were not successful. But the government significantly scaled back its outreach plan to aid Americans to sign up for the ACA as well as cut the enrollment period in half.

Numerous amendments were made to the law that addressed some of the objections that were raised by various opponents. They still kept the Marketplace open active for every user. 

For instance, as part of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, Congress in the year 2017 eliminated the penalty for not acquiring health insurance. 

Starting with 2019 taxes, the individual mandate was cut down to zero dollars, necessarily cutting down the requirement that numerous Republicans had opposed.

By the year 2018, the number of American citizens covered under the ACA severely dropped from 17.8 in 2015 to 13.8 in 2015, as per the report from healthcare research organization KFF.

In the following year, the Trump administration said that it will consider repealing the complete Affordable Care Act.

In a letter, the Justice Department told the federal appeals court that it agreed with a federal judge in Texas who defined the healthcare law unconstitutional and even added that it will support the judgment on appeal.

Also Read: Everything About Colonial Penn Life Insurance

The aforementioned case is anticipated to go to the Supreme Court with a coalition of 21 attorneys general defending the Affordable Care Act. Besides, also in the year 2019, House Democrats presented legislation to support the Act as well as increase the coverage.

Categories
Miscellaneous

4 Ways COVID-19 Is Impacting Women & Women’s Health Policies

COVID-19 impact on women’s health

We all know the importance of hand-washing and staying inside to stop the spread of the global pandemic. Meanwhile, in the United States, four women’s health problems have emerged as the country experiences the realities of living in the time of coronavirus:

  • Tax breaks on menstrual products
  • The rise of telemedicine for routine care of pregnant women
  • The lack of access for women who seek to terminate unwanted pregnancies using medication
  • Numerous states declared that abortions re not essential medical procedures, and the closure of clinics that perform abortions in 6 states

Also Read: 3 Best Telemedicine Apps You Must Use

Here are four significant ways how the coronavirus outbreak is shaping the lives of American women.

Use Pre-Tax Dollars To Pay For Period Products

Recently, legislators signed $2 trillion to aid American citizens who experienced economic loss during the coronavirus crisis. It will provide money to people who face certain income thresholds, thus giving a bit of relief to some in light of job loss, and help people who are trying to repay student loans or make contributions to retirement funds, among various other measures built for helping stimulate the economy.

One aspect of the new plan: Items such as menstrual pads, tampons, and period or menstrual cups can be paid for with pre-tax dollars. People with a health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA) can set aside some funds to pay for particular medical items. For the first time in history, menstruation products are a part of these items.

This is indeed a positive outcome. The relief package mentions “menstrual products,” and the wording leaves open the possible interpretation that it applies to related products, including period-specific underwear.

Also Read: Menopause: Here’s Everything You Must Know

Weiss-Wolf has been persuading for period reform for many years. While not every woman can access an HSA or FSA plan, the designation itself is a vital acknowledgment to make sure that there are feasibility and accessibility for menstrual products and that they are a medical necessity. The concept of what is necessary has been turned on its head today.
Telemedicine Visits Are Now Covered By Numerous Health Insurers, Including Prenatal Care
Since early to mid-March, various health insurers started paying for virtual visits between patients & healthcare providers, using FaceTime, Skype, and other everyday communication mediums to provide telehealth visits.

The ob-gyn department at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor has recently changed how pregnant women are seen during the coronavirus era. In order to limit potential exposures, the department has cut down one-to-one visits as well as in-person care and replaced them with virtual prenatal care.

The center even gave suggestions for blood pressure monitoring machines to buy for at-home use and provided links of certain apps to help monitor fetal heartbeat rates.

Various Other aspects of prenatal care including weight gain, can also be handled through video visits. Pregnant women are advised to check with their ob-gyns or other healthcare professionals.

Abortion Pills Restriction Remains

Normally, people who wish to terminate early-term pregnancies can consider a medication known as mifepristone. This medication can be prescribed using telemedicine, however, patients still require to go to a clinic, medical office, or hospital to get it, according to a recent report. This implies patients cannot acquire the drug at their homes, as per the United States Food and Drug Administration’s rules for the use of the drug, mentioned under its Risk Evaluation & Mitigation Strategy.

Also Read: Why A “One-to-Many” Telehealth Model Is Essential Today?

With such limitations in place, women willing to abort are forced to leave the comfort of their homes and connect with others while traveling to and from a clinic, thus risking possible COVID-19 transmission en route and at the clinic itself.

There are various other limitations as well. They exist in the 18 states that need a healthcare provider to be in the room when the medication is taken.

According to several physicians, the only solution to this problem is the telemedicine provision of medication abortion.

Banning Abortion In Multiple States

Governors & attorneys general in Ohio, Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Alabama have closed abortion clinics in their states. They recently claimed it as a nonessential service, though various ongoing lawsuits have tried to block these measures.

The effort is an example of how “anti-abortion politicians, as well as activists, are shamelessly exploiting the current pandemic to push ideological agendas & further enshrine discrimination and inequity in the healthcare system.

If you made it till here, congratulations! We hope this blog helped you to get a clear picture of how the coronavirus crisis is affecting both women and women’s health policies.

Also Read: Maternity Insurance Coverage

Categories
Health

COVID-19: Here’s 3 Best Telemedicine Apps You Must Use

Telemedicine Apps

Best Telehealth Apps: Following the outbreak of coronavirus, every sector is facing a financial crisis today. People too are facing numerous challenges on a daily basis. In this situation, those who do not wish to visit a doctor can get the help they require online. Yes, you read it right!

Let’s admit it, not going to a hospital is easier than going. Not to mention, appointment times are not always convenient. We all have a never-ending to-do list that just keeps creeping up above the annual physical we have been putting off. And if that is not the case, then we can get an appointment but we feel too sick to get out of the bed.

Do Not Physicians make House Calls Anymore?

Telehealth uses audio, video, and text features that connect doctors with patients. It helps doctors to diagnose, treat, and even prescribe medication virtually. It cuts down the burden on in-person facilities by triaging or treating less-serious cases. Plus, it expands access to patients in rural areas where medical practitioners are usually in short supply.

For the people in a major metropolitan area who need doctors to treat chronic migraine attacks or diabetes, they can locate doctors in the next town, county, or even state.

It typically provides patients with the same quality level of care they get when visiting a doctor in person. The only difference is the video-audio communication.

As the whole country is combating the spread of COVID-19, both physicians and public health officials are highlighting the importance of relying on telehealth services instead of visiting a doctor.

In essence, the telehealth is perfect for people with minor medical concerns and people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 but don’t require emergency care.

Read More: How COVID-19 Is Breaking America’s Healthcare System?

Utilizing virtual care typically helps people who are not infected with the virus to follow social distancing from those who are actually infected. Also, it guides people with mild to moderate symptoms to take care of themselves properly, so they do not overwhelm emergency facilities.

Keep in mind, this pandemic is not here to stay. Hence, without panicking safely connect with your providers.

To help you, here are three best telehealth apps and websites available:

Teladoc

Teladoc is one of the well-known telehealth services. It has both an app and an online portal that gives patients easy and convenient access to what they call “everyday care”.

It potentially covers the standard health issues for which individuals head to urgent care: sinus & respiratory infections, flu symptoms, allergies, and rashes. If needed, their doctors can even send prescriptions to a person’s preferred pharmacy.

While everyday care mostly covers acute conditions, Teladoc even provides dermatology & mental healthcare for ongoing treatment.

The mental health component offers users an option to select and see the same therapist or psychiatrist on each visit.

Teladoc works with employers as well as health insurers by supplementing existing coverage. In addition to this, it can also be accessed by people who are uninsured and whose insurance is not in the Teladoc network.

Teladoc’s expansive partnerships with both employers and insurers make it a feasible and seamless option.

Doctor On Demand

Doctor On Demand is yet another great option to consider. They are just clear about what they do and don’t treat, which extremely helps an individual to pick the right service.

It may seem obvious, however, their site makes clear that the following issues should be dealt with by an in-person doctor or hospital: broken bones, severe burns, lacerations, loss of consciousness, chest pains, coughing or vomiting blood, and all traumatic injuries.

Read More: How To Improve Patient Safety?

Doctor On Demand also covers urgent-care needs such as coughs and colds, migraines, yeast infections, IBS, erectile dysfunction, and allergies.

And for immediate appointments, you will be assigned a doctor. Scheduled appointments, on the other hand, will allow you to choose your doctor on your own.

MDLIVE

MDLIVE primarily focuses on urgent care, behavioral health, and dermatology.

Throughout their services, MDLIVE emphasizes health literacy. MDLIVE even clearly explains what an antibiotic can and cannot treat, and their professionals spend the time essential to build a plan to lessen the symptoms of viral diseases while the virus runs its course.

They even provide their users with counseling & medication management for most behavioral health concerns such as trauma support.

From insect bites, acne, to hair loss and cold sores, their dermatologists legit treat everything.

MDLIVE provides its users with full refunds if they cancel 24 hours prior to their appointment.

Do you know what makes MDLIVE even more attractive? No membership fee & participating insurance accepted!!

Read More: 5 Easy and Effective Steps To Protect Patient Data

Health is wealth! Use the aforementioned apps and help yourself during this pandemic!

Categories
Insurance

Top 5 Short Term Health Insurance Of 2020 

Short Term Health Insurance

Short term health insurance, popularly known as STM plans are used when an individual has a temporary gap in insurance coverage. Perhaps he/she lost a job, is no longer eligible for a group insurance plan, discovered the expense of COBRA plans too expensive, or may not qualify for special enrollment in an Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant plan and should wait until the next open enrollment period.

Most people consider and rely on short-term health insurance as they think it is a cheaper option compared to an ACA marketplace plan. But a problem with STM plans is their numerous restrictions & exclusions; they may not cover necessary benefits, or have restrictive maximum limitations, high co-pays or deductibles, or no coverage for pre-existing conditions. 

With various restrictions and differences among plans, it is vital to be cautious when you purchase an STM policy. One should clearly understand what is covered, what is not, and the total time period plan will cover you.

In this blog, we talk about the best short term health insurance. Stick till the end to decide if you should consider STM policies, and which one will best fit your requirements. 

Top 5 Short Term Health Insurance Of 2020:

Everest

Everest has been considered underwriting insurance since 1973. It has a Moody’s insurance financial strength rating of A1 with numerous policy types on the market, such as property, casualty, specialty, accident, and health insurance. Everest offers policies in 25 states across the United States.

Talking about Everest’s short-term health insurance plans, the prices range from $106 per month up to $191 monthly when a 27-year-old female, non-smoker in good health is quoted. These quotes consist of a wellness benefit to take care of preventative medicine.

Also Read: Everything about Blue Cross Blue Shield

Following are some extra features of Everest STM:

  • Deductibles of $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, $7,500, or $10,000
  • Out-of-pocket maximums of $2,000, $3,000, or up to $4,000
  • Maximum coverage benefits from $250,000 to $1,500,000
  • Coinsurance options are 50/50, 70/30, 80/20, or 100/0 with copays of $30, $40, or $50

When a person gets approved, emergency coverage starts the very next day. Also, there is a 5-day waiting period for the routine wellness benefit. Additionally, there is a 30-day waiting period for cancer benefits (cancer should be newly diagnosed 30 days after plan start date), and a six-month waiting period for certain covered services, including tonsillectomy, herniorrhaphy, and more. Everest may not provide coverage for prescriptions but it does offer discount cards.

IHC Health Group

The IHC Group is a company of insurance carriers that is operated in 23 states and including member insurers including Standard Security Life, Madison National, and Independence American Insurance Company. 

Your policy may be serviced by one of the aforementioned firms based on where you live, and some states need membership in Communicating for America, a national non-profit organization with a mission to promote health & wellbeing through member benefits. 

UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare underwrites its policies via Golden Rule Insurance Company, which has been a part of UnitedHealthcare since 2003. It has been selling short-term health insurance for more than 30 years, and policies are available in a total of 19 states. UnitedHealthcare has Moody’s insurer financial strength with a rate of A1.

Waiting periods differ based on the coverage in the plan. Coverage for illness starts on the 6th day after the plan starts, and there’s also a six-month waiting period for preventive care benefits. 

Also Read: Best Medicare Advantage Plans For 2020

LifeShield

LifeShield National Insurance Co. is a well-known name since 1982. It provides group & individual health insurance nationwide. 

Plan coverage offers mental health professional visits that consist of counseling, psychiatric treatment, and mental illness diagnostics. They also cover for the treatment of alcohol and drug abuse except in the states of Georgia & South Dakota.

LifeShield offers the most robust options for mental health coverage with a few substance abuse coverage along with plans that cover preventative care.

Pivot Health 

Pivot Health has been in the market since 2016. It is handling more than $7 billion in insurance premiums. The company is affiliated with Communicating for America, a consumer advocacy group in favor of affordable healthcare for Americans. 

Pivot Health underwrites its short-term health plans via Companion Life Insurance Company.

Pivot Health has easy-to-use online tools, which help individuals to prioritize their insurance requirements before it gives them quotes. Besides, it even provides users a wide range of available features, including 70 percent off prescription drugs. 

Also Read: Top 5 Medicare Plans of 2020

With Pivot, you can actually acquire a vast selection of affordable basic coverages as well as valuable options.  

So, will you consider STM policies? If yes, then which aforementioned plan goes well with your needs? 

Categories
Insurance

COBRA Insurance: Here’s Everything You Must Know! 

cobra health insurance

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act or COBRA is a health insurance program that allows eligible employees & their dependents the continued benefits of health insurance coverage when they lose their job or experience a reduction of work hours. 

In this blog, we will talk about COBRA health insurance and everything related to it.

Take a look!!!

COBRA Continuation Coverage

Large employers in the United States, people with 50 or more full-time employees, are supposed to offer health insurance to their qualifying employees by paying a portion of insurance premiums.

If an employee is ineligible to get an employer’s health insurance benefits—which can happen for numerous reasons (including receiving laid off or falling below a minimum threshold number of hours worked per week)—the employer can stop the payment (certain part) of the employee’s health insurance premiums. In this case, COBRA lets employees and their dependents retain the same health insurance coverage for a fixed period of time. 

Also Read: Business Health Insurance 2020

Under COBRA, former employees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children should be provided with the option of continued health insurance coverage at group rates that otherwise can be terminated. While these people are likely to pay more for health insurance coverage via COBRA than they did as employees (as the employer will no longer pay a part of the premium costs), COBRA coverage can be potentially cheap than an individual health insurance plan.

It is important to note that COBRA is a health insurance coverage program that provides coverage to expenses toward prescription drugs, dental treatments, and vision care. Also, life insurance & disability insurance are not included in it.

Benefits of COBRA Health Insurance

For every qualifying candidate, COBRA rules ultimately provide for the offering of coverage, which is identical to that which the employer offers to its current employees. 

If there is any change in the plan benefits for active employees, it will also be applied to qualified beneficiaries. Every qualifying COBRA beneficiary should be permitted to make the same choices as non-COBRA beneficiaries. Necessarily, the insurance coverage for both current employees, as well as beneficiaries, are exactly the same for ex-employees & beneficiaries under COBRA. 

An individual should be given a minimum of 60 days to pick whether or not to choose continuation coverage. No matter the person waive coverage, he or she can transform his/her mind if it is within the 60-day election period.

From the date of the qualifying event, COBRA coverage automatically extends for a limited period of 18 or 36 months, based on the applicable scenarios.

One can qualify to extend the 18-month maximum period of continuation coverage if any one of the qualified beneficiaries in the family is disabled as well as meets certain requirements. Or if a second qualifying event happened—potentially such as a death of a covered employee, the legal separation of a covered employee and spouse, a covered employee’s becoming entitled to Medicare or a loss of dependent child status under the program.

Cost Of COBRA Health Insurance

The word “group rate” can be incorrectly perceived as a discount offer, however, in reality, it usually turns out to be comparatively out-of-pocket.

During the employment period, employers often pay a significant portion of the actual health insurance premium (for instance, an employer can pay 80 percent of premium costs), while the employee pays the remainder. 

After employment, the person is supposed to pay the entire premium, and at times it can be topped up with an extra 2 percent toward administrative charges. Expenses do not exceed 102 percent of the total cost for the plan for employees who have not experienced a qualifying event.

Hence, in spite of the group rates being available for the COBRA continued plan in the post-employment period, the expense to the ex-employee can increase notably when compared to prior insurance expenses. 

Basically, the expense remains the same but has to be carried completely by the person with zero contribution from the employer. COBRA can still be less expensive than various other individual health coverage plans. 

Also Read: Colonial Penn Life Insurance

Applying For COBRA Coverage

In order to start COBRA coverage, you should confirm that you are eligible. Normally, an eligible person will acquire a letter from either the employer or a health insurer outlining COBRA benefits. 

Many find this notification complex to grasp because it includes numerous legal information & language. So, if you struggle to determine your eligibility for COBRA or how to start coverage through this program, then you can reach out to either the health insurer or your former employer’s HR department.

In a nutshell, COBRA is a convenient option for retaining health insurance if you lose your employer-sponsored health benefits. 

Categories
Insurance

Health Insurance Lost? Here’s What You Should Do! 

Health Insurance Lost

There may be people out there who lost their job-related health insurance amid the COVID-19 crisis. If you are also one of them, then you should take action as quickly as possible.

Numerous options have time-limited deadlines, ranging from 30 to 60 days from the loss of coverage, hence it is important to promptly secure the documents, including proof of job & health insurance loss, which are usually required while applying for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Medicaid. And since over 16 million people have applied for unemployment insurance lately, many will also be trying to acquire health insurance.

Also Read: Doctors Not Accepting Your Medicare? Here’s What You Can Do!

So, if you experience loss of income as well as have been paying for your own insurance under the ACA, then you have an option to revise your estimated yearly income & perhaps acquire a subsidy as well as lower premiums.

Here’s What The Cares Act Offers

Federal & state responses to the pandemic crisis can have only a fixed effect on individual healthcare expenses

The CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion package signed into law on March 27, 2020, needs health insurers to provide coverage for COVID-19 testing (and a vaccine when it becomes available) without cost-sharing (deductibles, copays). Also, it expands insurance coverage for telehealth visits. 

The cost of total treatment for COVID-19 is not covered but if you visit an emergency room or need hospitalization, coronavirus care may be really expensive. 

An admission for pneumonia (which is a common complication of coronavirus) costs just under $10,000 with no complications, and up to $20,292 with main complications or comorbidity. 

Also, people with employer-based health insurance usually face more than $1,300 in out-of-pocket costs. A few insurance companies including Aetna, announced that until June 1, 2020, most of its customers were not supposed to pay copayments as well as other forms of cost-sharing for coronavirus care.

Recently, the White House declared that it would utilize money in the CARES Act to reimburse hospitals for coronavirus care for almost 28 million non-elderly American citizens who are uninsured. Here, the fear is that uninsured people are hesitant to get checked if they feel ill that can result in a greater spread of the infection. The secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar said hospitals will be reimbursed at Medicare rates as well as those who accepted funds will be barred from billing the patients involved. 

The total expenses of treatment for non-virus related medical care are, of course, not impacted. A person may still require health insurance to cover doctor, hospital, and prescription drug expenses.

Also Read: How You Can Save Money On Drugs

Here’s how if you have recently lost job-based insurance can acquire insurance now. 

Coordinate With The Employer

The whole situation is emerging rapidly. A few companies including Macy’s, are still paying health insurance for furloughed employees. And others are providing to subsidize COBRA coverage for a limited period. 

The CARES Act has numerous provisions to incentivize employers to handle their employees including employee retention credits. Hence, stay connected to know about the plans of your company. Also, stay in touch with your former employer to acquire the documents you require to verify your dismissal as well as the loss of health insurance. 

Join the Family Member’s Policy 

In case, your spouse or parents (if you are under 26 years old) own a health insurance policy, then you should probably consider joining it during the 30 days after you lose your health insurance coverage. Often this involves additional premium expenses for your spouse or parents, however, will probably be among the least expensive options for replacement coverage for you. 

Sign Up For Medicaid 

Medicaid is considered the nation’s largest health insurer. It provides enrollees health insurance that is, on most measures, as good as (and often better than) private coverage. Based on where a person lives in, Medicaid can be an available, low-cost option, or let’s say “impossibly difficult to get”. The exceptional route to check Medicaid eligibility is to visit Medicaid.org and just select your state. 

Also Read: Difference Between Medicare And Medicaid

Purchase Short-Term Health Insurance 

If you are unable to purchase coverage through a special enrollment period or other means, then short-term health insurance is worth considering. 

These policies are directly purchased from insurance firms as well as brokers in states where they are available. All you need to do is search “limited duration health insurance” along with your state name will show a list of possible organizations. 

Short-term insurance can be even kept for up to one year. And if you plan to use short-term insurance as a bridge, then be careful about setting an end date. 

Categories
Miscellaneous

Here’s How You Can Save Money On Drugs

Save Money On Drugs

Save Money On Drugs: Well, if we give you a situation where you have limited cash and you have to choose between purchasing groceries and filling a drug prescription, what will you choose? We are sure that 80 percent of people will skip taking medication due to its high cost.

Millions of American citizens feel the burden of increasingly expensive prescription drugs and this, in turn, forces people to not choose medication, thus jeopardizing their health.

In the present time, the consumers pay out-of-pocket for prescribed drugs that are rapidly escalating, from about $25 billion in the year 2000 to a projected $67 billion in the year 2025. To make it even worse, many people do not own health insurance. That means they must pay for all prescription medications themselves. 

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that can potentially minimize the effect that the accelerating prescription drug crisis has on your healthcare. 

In this blog, we will talk about drug pricing as well as discounts, thus providing answers to all your common questions that you must know about. 

Reasons for High Prescription Drug Prices

You will be amazed to know that American citizens pay the highest costs for prescription medications in the world? A person can partly attribute the exorbitant prices to an intricate & extensive drug research and development and approval process, along with an equally complicated healthcare system. 

Without any doubt, we have also been extremely benefited from innovations in disease management for which there were little to zero treatment options earlier.

However, opponents of pharmaceutical organizations argue that only a small percentage of the drug firms’ costs are utilized for R&D in which most of the money is spent on administration as well as brand-name drug marketing.

Companies selling drugs never disclose the whole and actual story behind the increasing price of prescriptions. 

Third-party administrators known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are paid to negotiate prices between pharmacies & large insurers. These PBMs even charge pharmacy providers either a percentage or a flat fee for each prescription filled that further contributes to high drug prices.

Also Read: Reasons for the Rising Healthcare Expenses

Ways To Save Money On Medication

save money on drugs

Nobody likes spending the entire hard-earned money on something. With that being said, it is always important to discover effective ways to save money. The same goes for medication costs as well! 

If you too wish to get a low price on your prescriptions, then here are four easy ways you can consider: 

  • Go For Generic Drug Options 

Over 80 percent of all drugs now are generics that use the same active ingredients as brand-name medicines. In fact, they work the same way but cost a lot less than their pricey brand-name counterparts.

Most importantly, manufacturers of generic drugs do not have to repeat the animal as well as clinical (human) studies that were needed for the brand-name medicines to demonstrate safety & effectiveness. 

In addition to this, the competition among numerous firms manufacturing a generic version of a drug eventually keeps the prices low for consumers.

  • Discover Discount Coupons Online 

This is yet another simple but effective way to save money. All you need to do is Google search for your prescription drug, over-the-counter medicine, or healthcare supplies. This will ultimately show you sites that offer money-saving coupons.

Drug coupons may not lower your copay; however, your pharmacist will apply them to your drug purchase to lower the price.

  • Rely On Apps & Compare Local Drug Prices 

You will certainly find a number of websites as well as mobile apps that help to find the best price available for a prescription drug. One such app is GoodRx! It will help you to compare shops & acquire coupons toward medications. 

GoodRx not just collects & compares prices but also discounts that you didn’t know existed from over 70,000 U.S. pharmacies such as CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. It even allows consumers to print free discounted coupons or send them to your phone by email or text message. 

You can use a GoodRx discount rather than your health insurance or Medicare Part D or Advantage plan if the cost is lower than your copay.

Also Read: Do You Know How Much The Average American Spends On Health Care?

  • Shop Local Pharmacy Network 

Independent pharmacies beat major chain drug stores, supermarkets, and big-box discounters on price and by an impressive margin. They can even beat membership warehouses as well as clubs.

On the other hand, the preferred pharmacy network (which is a group of chain pharmacies) gives insurance plans a larger discount than any pharmacies.

So, consider the aforementioned points, be a smart consumer, and save your money the next time you purchase drugs!

Categories
Miscellaneous

14 Common Medical Expenses You Must Know!

Common Medical Expenses

According to tax laws, medical expenses are the total costs for diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, and for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. 

It covers the expenses for health insurance premiums, doctors, hospital stays, diagnostic testing, prescription drugs, and medical equipment. 

And if a person itemizes his or her personal deductions at tax time rather than claiming the standard deduction, then he/she may deduct multiple healthcare as well as medical expenses. However, one can’t take them all: For the tax year 2019, one can only deduct out-of-pocket expenses that are more than 7.5 percent of his/her adjusted gross income or AGI.

Here are the top medical expenses everyone must know about:

Alternative Treatments

Acupuncture is definitely deductible. There are numerous types of alternative treatments as well, particularly if a physician orders them.

Adaptive Equipment 

The total expenses of wheelchairs, bath chairs, bedside commodes, and various other items required for a disability or condition are deductible.

Also Read: How To Buy & Sell Pre-Owned Medical Equipment? 

Expenses for Newborns 

Here, we are not talking about diapers. Breast pumps and various other nursing supplies that assist lactation are deductible. In addition to this, if a baby formula needs a prescription, then the cost in excess of the total expense of the regular formula will be allowed.

Costs Related to Diabetes

Blood-testing kits along with blood strips and batteries come under the deductible. So, too, is insulin even if it is not typically considered as a prescription drug. 

Conditions Related to Eye & Ear Conditions 

The expense of eye exams, contact lenses, contact lens insurance, and prescription glasses (even sunglasses) come under the deductible, assuming a person’s insurance does not have a vision plan. So, too, is eye surgery, such as LASIK, that corrects one’s vision issues. Braille books are also deductible. People with hearing problems can deduct the expenses of exams as well as hearing aids including batteries.

Home Improvements 

If you decide to install permanent features to accommodate a disability such as wheelchair ramps, handrails in bathrooms, then the cost becomes fully deductible. But the total cost of renovations in the home to address a health condition is considered deductible only for costs above any increase they might give to the home’s value. 

For instance, putting in a swimming pool or steam room costing $25,000 will not be deductible if it will add $30,000 to the worth of your home. 

Also Read: The Reasons for the Rising Healthcare Expenses Explained

Lodging To Acquire Medical Treatment 

If your treatment is out of town, then a hotel or motel stay is deductible up to $50 per night. And if a parent accompanied his or her child who is receiving treatment, then the per-night dollar limit applies per person to both parent and the child, which is $100 per night. This deduction only applies to the lodging itself and not meals.

Attending a Medical Conference 

The total expense of admission as well as transportation to a conference on a chronic condition that a taxpayer, spouse, or dependent suffers from is considered deductible. As mentioned earlier, meals and lodging expenses are not deductible here as well.

Organ Transplants 

Not only are the expenses of the organ recipient deductible but also the expenses for the donor such as testing, hospital stay, and transportation are deductible.

Personal Attendant Expenses 

For people who are not able to manage the tasks of daily living such as bathing, dressing, taking medications, toileting, then the cost of caregiving help is considered deductible. 

Typically, the deductible portion is limited to personal assistance with feeding, dressing, etc. and the cost of housecleaning and various other chores (although this will be difficult to separate out, frankly speaking) are not included. But the total cost of meals for a personal attendant can be deductible.

Also Read: Why A “One-to-Many” Telehealth Model Is Essential Today

Rehab Treatment Programs 

The total cost of in-patient, as well as out-patient treatment plans for alcohol, drug addiction, and various other medical problems, is deductible.

Cost Related to Reproduction

This expense includes the cost of birth control pills, pregnancy test kits, abortions, vasectomies, and even fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization or surgery to reverse a vasectomy. 

Smoking-Cessation Programs 

Here, deductible costs include doctor-prescribed treatments. Also, over-the-counter gums, patches, and various other such treatments are not covered.

Special Diets 

A doctor-prescribed diet to treat a medical condition such as celiac disease, obesity, or hypertension is partially deductible. Just the total expense of special foods that exceed the cost of regular foods is deductible.

Also Read: Effective Tips To Strengthen Your Immunity Naturally

There is more to it! But the aforementioned are the most common ones. We hope we helped you to get a clear understanding of each one of them.