Monday, October 24, 2016

Open Enrollment

It’s your choice: Take advantage of open enrollment

*REPOST* Brought to you by UHC:

If your employer offers health benefits, you may start hearing soon that it’s time for open enrollment. This is the time of year when you can make choices about your coverage for the next year. Open enrollment is sometimes called annual enrollment or benefits enrollment.
Before you know it, it will be time to choose your coverage. So take a moment to review these tips and tools that may help you prepare.

Seven questions to ask

Your employer may offer one health plan or multiple options for health coverage. When deciding what’s right for you and your family, keep these questions in mind:

1. Is my doctor in the network?

If you have doctors or specialists you like, be sure they’re in the network of the plan you choose. Why? Your costs are usually lower when you use a network doctor.
Visit® to find out if your doctor is in the plan’s network. You can also find a doctor with theUnitedHealthcare Health4Me® mobile app.

2. Is my medicine covered?

Most plans have a list that shows which prescription medicines are covered. It’s called a formulary or Prescription Drug List (PDL).
To see which medicines are on your plan’s list, go to — and click on “Pharmacies & Prescriptions.”

3. Who else needs to be on my plan?

Some plans offer coverage for your spouse, partner or children. These are your dependents. If the plan offers dependent coverage, children under age 26 without their own health coverage can be on your plan.

4. What type of health coverage is right for me?

You may be offered a choice between a “traditional” copay health plan and a high-deductible health plan. With a traditional copay plan, your monthly premium will be higher — and you will pay a fixed copay amount, such as $25, for each doctor visit. With a high-deductible plan, your monthly premium may be lower. But you may have a higher share of out-of-pocket costs.
How do you decide what’s right for you? Think about what health care services you and each family member might need in the coming year. For example:
  • Are there medications you take routinely?
  • Are you planning to have surgery?
  • Do you see a doctor regularly for a health condition?
  • Are you planning to have a baby?

5. What other costs should I plan for?

In addition to the premium and deductible, you may also have copays or coinsurance. To learn more about the difference, see this infographic.
Then try this worksheet to help you plan for your potential costs.

6. Will I have access to an HSA, HRA or FSA?

Check with your employer to see if a health savings account (HSA), health reimbursement account (HRA) or flexible spending account (FSA) is available to you.
These are all ways to use tax-free money to help pay for medical expenses. But there are differences. Learn more in this infographic.

7. What other benefits does my employer offer?

Carefully read the information your employer sends you. Some health plans include incentives for healthy living. And your employer may offer dental, vision or disability benefits too.

What to do next

Start planning for your health care costs in the coming year:
© 2016 United HealthCare Services, Inc.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Manage your Medical Bills


*Repost* Brought to you by Cigna:

Topic Overview

Medical bills. They can be confusing and stressful. But with some basic know-how and organization, you can manage them—and avoid overpaying for your health care.
After you receive a health care service, you get:
  • A medical bill from your provider. If you have no health insurance, this is the amount that you pay. If you're insured, you will likely pay less than the provider has billed you for.
  • An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurer. This insurance statement shows how much of the bill you will need to pay.
This may sound simple. But when you get a bill, then an insurance statement, then a revised bill based on the statement or a payment you've already made, things can get confusing.


Take these simple steps to keep your medical bills in order. You can organize paper bills and statements, or electronic versions on a computer.
  • Keep a calendar of your medical appointments. Jot down each appointment, including the provider and the care you've received. Also record the dates you've paid for prescription medicine.
  • Organize your medical bills by date of service. If you have bills for more than one family member, keep a separate file for each.
  • Pair medical bills with insurance statements. Sometimes an insurance statement will be about more than one medical bill. Keep those papers together. If you can, make a copy of the statement and match it with each separate bill it mentions. Include any payment receipts and updated statements about those bills.
  • Create a list or a spreadsheet—whatever works for you. Across the top, label columns that best fit your health insurance. Include these types of headings:
    • Date, type of service, and provider
    • Billed amount
    • Allowable amount (see your insurance statement)
    • Amount insurance pays (see your insurance statement)
    • Amount I pay (see your insurance statement)
    • My payment/date paid
    • Amount I still owe
    • Amount I've paid toward my deductible (see your insurance statements or website)
    • Notes
Update your list or spreadsheet with each bill and insurance statement you receive and with each payment you make.
Don't be surprised if you get several bills for the same care. For example, for a surgery in a hospital, you might get bills from the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, and the hospital. Or for an X-ray, you'll get bills from the imaging facility and the radiologist who reads the image.

Compare your medical bill and insurance statement

Read carefully through your medical bill and insurance statement. Make sure that:
  • The date, provider, and type of medical care are correct on both.
  • You understand how much of the bill you need to pay. This is the amount that your insurer says you owe.
If you have questions about any part of a bill, call your provider's billing office. And for questions about what's on your insurance statement, call your insurer.

Fix errors

Billing mistakes can happen. Before you pay anything, be sure to read your billing paperwork carefully. Look at your health insurance policy.
  • If you think you have found an error, call your provider's billing office or your insurer. Ask to review the statement on the phone.
  • If your insurer won't cover a service that your policy says should be covered, file an appeal. Ask your insurer about the appeal process. For information about health insurance appeals, see the U.S. government website at

If you have payment problems

Not paying a medical bill can ruin your credit rating. Talk to the provider's medical billing office. This is one key to keeping your account from going to a collections agency.
  • If you realize you've missed a due date for a bill, call the billing office right away. Pay on the phone if you can.
  • If you can't pay a bill in full, ask to arrange a payment plan. Many providers are happy to do this, as long as you stay in touch and agree to make small, regular payments.
Current as of: November 20, 2015
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use . Learn how we develop our content .

This information is for educational purposes only and is unrelated to health plan benefits or coverage. Services addressed may not be covered under your health plan. If you have questions about your coverage, please refer to your benefit plan document or call the number on the back of your health plan membership ID card.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Exercize @ Work

Work Out at Work

You are more likely to exercise if it’s a regular part of your day. You can make it happen if you put exercise at the top of your “to do” list, and look for easy ways to add physical activity to your regular schedule:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Take a walk with co-workers during your lunch break. An exercise buddy can help you stick with your plan to be more active!
  • Instead of sending an e-mail, walk down the hall and talk with a co-worker.
  • Park away from your office and enjoy the walk.
  • Join your company’s fitness center if there is one.

Fit exercise into your busy work day. Find 10-minute workout breaks throughout the day. There are a variety of strength, balance, and flexibility exercises you can do right at your desk.

Upper-body strength exercises: Try the chair dip and wall push-up.

Lower-body strength exercises: Do the knee curl and chair stand; then get up and do the toe standback leg raise and side leg raise.

For balanceStand on one foot or walk heel to toe.

Flexibility exercises: Move around a little to warm up; then stretch your thighcalf, and ankle. Also try the stretches for your neck,upper bodychest, and back. These are great after you’ve been sitting for a while hunched over your computer!

Be active 4 ways everyday: Endurance, Flexibility, Balance, Strength

*Repost* from Go4Life
Read more at:

Go4Life is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Countdown to Open Enrollment




It’s picking season—pumpkins, apples, Halloween candy… and a Medicare health or drug plan. Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15–December 7!
Picking a plan is an important and personal decision. Each person has a unique set of priorities. When you sit down to review your Medicare health and drug plan choices this year, keep track of the things you may want in a plan, and pick one that’s right for you.
Here are some things to keep in mind while you consider your choices:
Does the plan cover the services you need?
Future health care needs can be hard to predict, but changes happen. Make sure you understand what services and benefits you’re likely to use in the coming year and find coverage that meets your needs. If you have other types of health or prescription drug coverage, make sure you understandhow that coverage works with Medicare. And, if you travel a lot, look to see if your plan covers you when you’re away from home.
No matter what plan you pick, you’ll get these benefits:
What’s the cost?
The lowest-cost health plan option might not be the best choice for you—consider things like the cost of premiums and deductibles, how much you pay for hospital stays and doctor visits, and whether it’s important for you to have expenses balanced throughout the year.
How about convenience?
Your time is valuable. Ask yourself these questions: Where are the doctors’ offices? What are their hours? Which pharmacies can you use? Can you get prescriptions by mail? Do the doctors useelectronic health records or prescribe electronically?
Quality is important!
Not all health care is created equal, and the doctors, hospitals and facilities you choose can impact your health. Open Enrollment is also a good time to ask yourself whether you’re truly satisfied with your medical care. Look for plans with a 5‑star performance rating—the right expertise and care can make a difference.
Remember, even if you’re happy with your current plan, these answers might change from year to year, so it’s important to take the time to compare. The Medicare Plan Finder makes it easy to compare plans based on all of these factors, so you can pick a plan that meets your needs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Apply for Social Security

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Medicare 101: What is Part D?

What Is Medicare Part D and Who Qualifies?

*Repost* Brought to you by: TransAmerica:

Medicare Part A and B together make up what is known as Original Medicare and provide coverage for many things that are typically categorized as hospital insurance and medical insurance, including emergency care. But often, taking care of your daily health comes with medicines prescribed by your doctor. This is where Medicare Part D enters your healthcare picture.

What does Medicare Part D cover?

Simply put, Medicare Part D covers a patient’s prescription drugs. In the Medicare system, drugs are put intotiers based on formularies, which results in different price levels. Medicare Part D plans are generally set up to provide coverage at levels that correspond to the prescription drug tiers. In this guide, you can find a description of some common situations people face, as well as things to consider in each scenario regarding coverage options.

Who qualifies?

Medicare Part D is voluntary for everyone except those enrolled in Medicaid, or Medi-Cal for those in California. Because of that, anyone who is eligible for Medicare can sign up for a Part D coverage during the annual open enrollment period.

When should I enroll?

Enrollment follows the same initial rules as Plans A and B. You can apply three months before the month of your 65th birthday, within your 65th birthday month, and the three months following. Likewise, if you don’t select drug coverage when you first become eligible, and don’t qualify for an exception, you may encounter a late enrollment penalty that stays with you as long as you have Medicare drug coverage.
You don’t have to re-enroll each year, but you will have a chance to review your coverage and change plans if needed. In addition, certain changes in your circumstances throughout the year may prompt the need for aSpecial Enrollment Period (SEP). Rules for what you can change and when you can change it are different for each SEP.

How much does it cost?

The cost for prescription drug coverage isn’t as clear cut as with Parts A and B, since your cost will largely depend on which prescription drugs you take. Other variables include the plan you choose, if you use a pharmacy in your plan’s network, and if your prescriptions are part of the formulary of your chosen plan.
Since coverage for Part D is distributed through independent companies, you have a lot of options to choose from. We can assist you in getting started.

What about Part C?

Original Medicare is enough coverage for some people, but if you feel like you need extra benefits, that’s where Part C comes in. Part C plans are sometimes called Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage Plans are administered by private insurance providers, but are regulated by the government. They include most Part A and B benefits as well as prescription drug coverage, vision, hearing and dental services. Opting into a Part C plan means that you’ll receive benefits from Medicare Advantage instead of Original Medicare. Costs vary by plan.
For more information on Medicare, Transamerica Center for Health Studies® has a guide that can help you compare the features of the different parts.
About Transamerica Center for Health Studies®.
The Transamerica Center for Health Studies® (TCHS) is a division of the Transamerica Institute®, a nonprofit, private foundation. TI is funded by contributions from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates and may receive funds from unaffiliated third parties. TCHS is dedicated to identifying, researching and analyzing the most relevant health care issues facing consumers and employers nationwide. For more information about TCHS, please visit

Medicare 101: What is Part C?

Medicare 101: What is Medicare Part C?

*Repost* Brought to you by: TransAmerica:

If you’re choosing your Medicare insurance plan, or helping your parents choose theirs, the details can get a little confusing. We already helped lay out Part A and Part B for you, so now it’s time to explain Part C.
Medicare has four parts: A,B,C, and D. Each has a different benefit to offer you, but Part C is a little different than the others. Parts A and B together provide what’s called Original Medicare under the public healthcare system. Part C is different in that it is offered through private companies approved by Medicare.

What does Medicare Part C cover?

Medicare Part C, also called Medicare Advantage plans, are private plans, like Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS), and others. These plans must offer the same benefits as Original Medicare. However, the costs associated with your healthcare services will vary depending which plan you choose.
Some people choose these plans over Original Medicare because they can offer additional benefits and cover more services, though that isn’t guaranteed for every plan.

Who qualifies?

Qualifying for Medicare Part C is fairly simple. People who qualify for Medicare Part C are already enrolled in both Medicare Part A and B. A person must also choose a Medicare Advantage plan that’s in the service area he or she lives in.

When should I enroll?

Like with Medicare Parts A and B, you’ll need to enroll when you first become eligible, and can change plans during the Open Enrollment Period (October 15-December 7). To unenroll, you’ll need to do so between January 1-February 14.
Your Initial Enrollment Period is seven months long, and starts three months before your 65th birthday, includes you birthday month, and the following three months after that. After this time, you’ll have to wait for Open Enrollment to sign up.

How much does it cost?

The cost will vary according to which plan you choose for yourself, but since Part C is still a part of Medicare, you’ll have to keep paying your Part B premium. The out-of-pocket costs will also differ, according to your chosen plan.
If you’re looking to add coverage to what Original Medicare offers you, then Part C may be a good option. However, if you still have some questions, you can find the answers on
You can also get more information about Medicare from Transamerica Center for Health Studies®’ helpfulguide.
About Transamerica Center for Health Studies®.
The Transamerica Center for Health Studies® (TCHS) is a division of the Transamerica Institute®, a nonprofit, private foundation. TI is funded by contributions from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates and may receive funds from unaffiliated third parties. TCHS is dedicated to identifying, researching and analyzing the most relevant health care issues facing consumers and employers nationwide. For more information about TCHS, please visit