News From Our Blog

Protect Your Kids During Cold and Flu Season with Free or Low-Cost Health Insurance

From the Department of Health and Human Services

While children may be dreaming of winter fun, parents worry about sore throats, coughs and fevers—along with the cost of doctor’s visits and medication.

According to the CDC, the single best way to protect children from the flu is to get them vaccinated each year. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) offer free and low-cost health insurance for eligible children and teens, so they’ll have the coverage they need for flu shots and other immunizations, as well as regular check-ups, doctor and dental visits, hospital care, mental health services, prescriptions and more.

To see if your child is eligible, visit InsureKidsNow.gov or call 1-877-KIDS-NOW. A child or teen up to age 19 in a family of four earning up to $47,100 a year or more may qualify.

For more information about new, affordable health insurance options for the whole family through the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit HealthCare.gov.

Read this note in Spanish.

How to protect yourself against health insurance scams

Many people are ready to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace, allowing them to choose health coverage that meets their needs and budget.

Unfortunately, there are scam artists ready to take advantage of you. They ask for personal information and other details to then take your money.

The Federal Trade Commission has already received reports about scams in which people call to offer discounted health plans and enrollment discounts.

Protect yourself against fraud

Follow these guidelines to protect yourself against fraud and scams:

  • Ignore calls from people who say they’re government officials who want you to verify or give out personal information.
  • Identify the types of calls from scam artists to reject them.
  • Do not respond to calls from people offering to help you choose or enroll in a health insurance plan.
  • Avoid sharing your bank account, credit card or Social Security number to people who say they’re with the Health Insurance Marketplace.

To report a scam or report someone for fraud, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-877-382-4357.

Read this post in Spanish.

If you’re unemployed, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance. Find out at 

Learn the Benefits of Disability Income Insurance

By America’s Health Insurance Plans

In addition to helping cover lost wages, many disability insurers are also providing a different type of benefit that is making a positive impact in the lives of workers who have suffered a debilitating illness or injury.  Through return-to-work programs, insurers are helping people with disabilities get back to work at jobs that sync with their skills, experience, and interests.

By collaborating with employers, insurers help create work environments and schedules that are modified for individuals’ unique circumstances.  Return-to-work programs also focus on rehabilitation and equipping people with the skills they need to transition back to work and reach their individualized goals.  Additional examples of the creative and innovative programs employed by disability insurers are documented in a report by America’s Health Insurance Plans.   
 
Unfortunately, the risk of suffering a disability is much higher than most people are aware.  According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), a male U.S. worker at age 35 faces a one-in-five chance of a disability taking him off his job for 90 days or longer.  Before a 35-year-old woman reaches retirement age, she faces a nearly one-in-three risk of a disability lasting at least 90 days.
 
Disability insurance provides peace of mind to millions of individuals and their families, offering financial protection if an illness or injury takes them off the job.  Employer-sponsored disability coverage provides income protection to more than 50 million employees for short-term disabilities and about 40 million employees for long-term disabilities.  In 2010, long-term disability payments from private insurers to individuals with disabilities totaled more than $8.1 billion.
 
To learn more about the value of disability income insurance and the innovative programs helping individuals get back to work, go to www.yourincomeatrisk.org or download or order a free copy of “Guide to Disability Income Insurance.”

Get Ready For the New Health Insurance Marketplaces

Health Insurance Marketplaces are a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that can help you get health insurance regardless of income or health history. You can start exploring your options now, enroll in October, and start taking advantage of the benefits of your state Health Insurance Marketplace beginning in January 2014.

People looking for health insurance can shop and compare plans through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as healthcare exchanges. The Health Insurance Marketplace will help you find insurance plans that cover medical services including preventive care, medicines, doctor and hospital visits.

Now is the time to learn about how they work, how to prepare for open enrollment, and what kind of insurance options are available to you right now.

The New Health Insurance Marketplace

Each state will have its own Health Insurance Marketplace, which you can access online (some are already available). The exchanges are designed to help you:

  • Figure out how to compare and get healthcare insurance even if you have a pre-existing condition or chronic health problem
  • Find the insurance plan that fits your budget. Some people might qualify for free or low-cost health insurance
  • Understand the enrollment process in a way that’s easy to read

Enrollment Begins October of 2013

The enrollment process begins October 1. But you can prepare by doing the following:

  • Individuals and families:
  • Get to know the different healthcare plans available in your state if the exchange has already been set up. Specifically, make sure you understand how the deductibles and co-pays work
  • Ask your employer if she plans to offer health insurance
  • Prepare a list of questions about your health coverage
  • Small business owners:
  • Get to know the different healthcare plans available so that you understand the differences in costs and services
  • Set a budget based on how much both you and your employees will spend on health insurance
  • Set a date to begin offering coverage that works best for your business and your employees

Your Insurance Options Now

You don’t have to wait until 2014 to get health coverage. There are several public programs available for families, including Medicare, Medicaid and low-cost insurance programs for children and adults.

HealthCare.gov has a tool to help you find insurance. You just need to answer a few questions about where you live and your current job situation.