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So far NHIA has created 188 blog entries.

Save Money on your Prescriptions Without Compromising your Health

By |2018-10-16T18:35:29+00:00January 2nd, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |

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Saving money on prescriptions starts when you are shopping for actual coverage. You need to look carefully at the plan to make sure that it covers prescriptions. Some of you might have unique medications that you have to take so be sure that the plan you choose covers those medications. If there are limitations that will affect you, then it’s best to find another plan.

Did you know that Americans collectively spend more than $400 billion every year on prescriptions? That’s a mind-blowing number. What makes it even worse is that most of these individuals are overpaying and don’t even realize that it can be prevented. A lot of people don’t even know the proper healthcare terms used in the business. This post will show you come amazing ways that you can save money on your prescriptions without compromising your health.

Ask About Generic Alternatives

Ask your healthcare provider if there are any options available besides those expensive name-brand medications. You are not really questioning your doctor about their diagnosis or anything. You are just trying to be proactive about the medications you receive. With very few exceptions, the generic brands are no different than name-brands since it’s all regulated. Sometimes it’s even cheaper to buy the generic brand out of pocket than it is to buy the name-brand using your coverage.

Always Think About the Long-Term

If you know that you are going to be taking a medication for an extended period of time, then you can usually get it in bulk for much less money. For instance, you can get a 90-day supply of blood pressure medication for less than if you were to buy two 30-day prescriptions. This is going to save you a lot of money in the long-term.

Which is Cheaper: Insurance, Cash, or Discount Card?

There is a huge misconception about buying prescriptions. Most people believe that their insurance provides them with the best deal. That is not always true! In today’s world, there are some amazing discount cards that will help you save huge on prescriptions. Next time your pharmacist asks you if you would like to use your insurance or not, you won’t give them that puzzled expression of, “Of course I do! Why else would I have insurance?” Instead, you will have done your homework and know which option is best for you.

Shop Around for the Best Deal

The price of prescriptions is going to be different based on the pharmacy you choose to shop with so be sure to shop around. Compare costs of at least three pharmacies before you make a decision. I have heard stories of people who shop at the same pharmacy watching their rates increase over time to as much as $250 per year. Then they ask another local pharmacy about the cost of the same medication and it’s way cheaper. My point is that pharmacies will gradually increase prices because they don’t really expect their customers to check up on it.

Finally, it’s also worth noting that you can save big money by using mail order prescription services. Most insurance plans have access to this for individuals who might have to take long-term medications.

Beware of Balance Billing!

By |2018-10-16T18:34:32+00:00December 22nd, 2018|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |

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There is an alarmingly high rate of errors in medical billing today. Most people never even consider it a problem since they have health insurance. It’s not like you’re paying for balance billing – or are you? This adds to the already confusing state of the healthcare industry. As I will show you later in the post, you are most certainly going to pay for that sketchy practice but before we get into that, let’s look at exactly how balance billing happens.

Balance billing is the practice of charging patients for the balance that is left over after they are paid by the insurance company. You must understand your rights and those rights are different with every state. Basically, you might be overcharged for specific services. The mindset is that since your insurance company is required to pay the cost, then these providers can milk as much out of them as possible.

Balance billing is only going to happen when you get care from a provider that is not part of your insurance plan network. What makes it worse is that in most cases, it’s a perfectly legal practice. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you stay in your plan’s network.

How to Watch out for Balance Billing

Medicare holders are also at risk. If a provider does not accept assignment with Medicare but they are still opted into Medicare, then they can legally charge you up to 15% more than the allowable charge. This is in addition to your regular deductible. I know it sounds really sketchy but we are living in a time where health insurance regulations are so out of balance that we all have to do our part to pay close attention.

You can also be subjected to balance billing even when you visit an in-network provider. Here’s an example. You visit a hospital that is part of the network but the doctor who reads your x-rays is not part of this network. Since they don’t have a contract with your health insurance provider, then they can charge whatever the hell they want! Be careful for this when visiting any of the following health care providers:

  • Anesthesiologists
  • Pathologists
  • Neonatologists
  • Hospitalists
  • Radiologists
  • ER doctors
  • Ambulance services

Balance Billing Leads to Higher Premiums

Increased costs that health insurance companies endure will force them to increase the premiums for everyone. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to check their medical bills carefully. This not only saves money up front, but it will save in premiums down the road.

Always ask for a bill that is itemized. It should list each supplier, medication, and procedure individually so you can see the exact costs. Then double check these amounts to ensure that they match the average cost for these procedures. There could be a legitimate mistake on your bill that could end up costing you a lot of money so it’s important that you check it carefully.

If there are errors on your medical bill, then contact the provider. Most of the time, they are willing to help but if they don’t try to help and you feel strongly that it’s an error, contact your insurance company.

4 Amazing Ways to Find Affordable Health Insurance

By |2018-10-16T18:33:29+00:00December 16th, 2018|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |

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Rapid changes in the healthcare scene have a lot of people scratching their heads about how to find the most affordable coverage. It’s an unsure area where two sides are fighting against each other with our health being caught in the middle. The truth is that just because we have access to a plan doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re getting the best plan. If you’re like me and find this rapidly changing landscape alarming, then keep reading because I’m going to walk you through several tips that help you save money while guaranteeing you get the right coverage.

#1: Determine Which Plan is Best

Price should not be the only factor that you consider when deciding which health insurance plan you are going to get. This is usually the first thing people look at and then they get themselves in trouble when they later discover that the plan did not cover their needs. Choosing the right plan depends on your financial status and the unique needs of your family.

Evaluate the quality of your health insurance plan by looking at how much you have truly paid at the end of the term. This includes all premiums and medical expenses.

#2: Shop Around for the Best Deal

Before choosing a health insurance plan, you need to shop around. There might be a better plan from another company. Plus insurance is a highly negotiable market so if you tell another company that you are shopping around, they might offer you a better deal than what’s being shown on their website. Also, if you currently have health insurance, then you might get a discount from another company as incentive to swap over to them.

#3: Carefully Compare Coverage of Different Plans

One thing that so many people overlook is that they forget to review the different health plans. Sometimes you might find two plans that work well together, yet cost less than one large plan. For instance, if you are married then both people should compare their plans to see which one to keep, or if it’s better to just have separate coverage.

#4: Find a Health Insurance Broker

The insurance marketplace is regulated by the government in order to help millions be able to find affordable coverage. But navigating that marketplace is quite the challenge. It can be intimidating and confusing unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. Having someone who understands the market on your side is a great idea. It can make all of the difference between finding the best deal or getting stuck with a plan that doesn’t cover your needs. Health insurance brokers will also be able to clearly lay out the different options available to you. They also help you with claims. This is definitely the best option for most people.

The Bottom Line

I highly recommend that you review your health insurance plan annually to see if you can get a better deal. There are so many things that change on an annual basis that you need to make sure your plan holds up.

Get the Most Out of your Health Insurance by Following These 5 Tips

By |2018-10-16T18:32:31+00:00December 9th, 2018|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |

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Are you getting the most out of your insurance plan? Most people never really bother to sit down and look closely at their plan but we all want to spend as little money as possible while still having all of the coverage you need. This post is going to explore 5 tips that will help you max out every benefit that is available in your plan.

The truth is that your insurance will help keep your healthcare costs much more manageable than if you were responsible for a large chunk of it. Here are seven tips that will help make sure that you’re getting the most out of your health insurance.

#1: Choose the Right Plan

It all starts with choosing the right plan. You do not want to get stuck with the wrong plan. Plan out all of your family’s medical and dental needs and then base your health insurance around that. For instance, if you know that you might need orthodontic work done sometime in the future, then you should add dental to your plan. If you have a disease like diabetes, then you need to be sure that your policy covers it.

#2: Study your Plan Carefully

Keep track of all documents provided by your insurance company so that you can look up any questions you might have. They will show you what you’re paying for each type of service and the rules for your plan. Study this plan carefully so that you are getting the most out of your benefits.

#3: Stick with In-Network Providers When Possible

You will incur the lowest costs when you visit health providers who are within your insurance network. You should plan ahead and make a list of your local health care providers that are within your network. Have all of their contact information saved so that they are easily accessible.

#4: Always Make the Most of it When you Max your Deductible

When you have met the deductible on your plan, you will pay a significantly lower amount of money for healthcare beyond that point. Once you have reached that point for the year, you should schedule appointments to take care of other important checks. For instance, get your eyes checked or get your skin screening done. These are things you need to do anyway so you might as well do it while it’s covered.

#5: Get Prescriptions via Mail Order

If you have long-term prescriptions then you will reduce your hassle and pay substantially less money if you order them through your insurer. You can save a lot of money this way. This intimidates many people but it’s one of those areas where you can save a lot of money by fully utilizing your coverage.

You are already paying for your insurance coverage so you might as well make the most of it. You can also look for other hidden coverage that many plans have. For instance, a lot of plans have discounts on wellness programs and will help more with specific conditions.

Applying for Medicaid and CHIP

By |2018-10-03T18:05:29+00:00December 2nd, 2018|Categories: Blog and News|Tags: , |

If you’re in need of free or low-cost health coverage, then Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (also known as CHIP) may be what you’re looking for. The Medicaid program offers coverage to millions of Americans, including low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly and the disabled.

When it comes to qualifying for Medicaid, each state has its own requirements. Most are based on an income level of some kind, and some states have expanded their programs to be able to cover any one making under a specific income level. Unlike most other insurance programs, such as the Affordable Care Act, there is no limited enrollment period for Medicaid or CHIP, and you can apply at any time. If you qualify for coverage, then your coverage will begin, no matter the time of the year.

If you’re looking to apply for Medicaid and/or CHIP, then there are multiple ways to do so. You can go through the Health Insurance Marketplace, of course, as they’ll send information about Medicaid if it looks like you or your household members qualify.

The easiest way to apply for Medicaid or CHIP, though, is probably through your state’s Medicaid agency. The agency, or the agency’s website, will give you the specific requirements needed to qualify for Medicaid and/or CHIP in your state. Be aware, however, that if you apply for Medicaid outside of a state that you’re actually living in, you may be prosecuted for fraud. Also, Medicaid and CHIP benefits differ from state to state, so you’ll need to pay attention to the applications if you ever move to a new state and need to reapply. It’s important to follow the rules and be sure that you’re applying to exactly what you’re meaning to apply for.

If you’re looking for more information regarding Medicaid or CHIP, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to help you with any of your health insurance questions.

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The Changing Face of Long-Term Care For Seniors

By |2018-10-03T18:04:22+00:00November 24th, 2018|Categories: Blog and News|Tags: |

After a hospital stay, there is nothing like hearing the words “you are being discharged today”. Ah, home sweet home at last. Sometimes the discharge is to a long-term care facility for a short stay before it’s time to go home. And, for many years, complex post-acute care was reserved for a small group of Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals (LTACH). But, many of these have closed and others will likely be closing over the next few years. Why are other facilities taking their place?

  • While we are grateful to live in a time where hospitals can perform near miracles, we know that there is more to the picture than patient care. Hospitals do need to make money. And, because of changes in Medicare, LTACH’s are facing a dramatic decrease in the reimbursement they will get when patients stay in their facilities.
  • Hospitals, doctors, and other providers sometimes join together to coordinate care for Medicare patients. This is called an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). Their focus is on making sure patients receive the best possible care while using Medicare dollars wisely. Often, an LTACH will not be the best recommendation to achieve this.
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) are stepping up their game, so to speak. They have physicians visiting their patients more often. They are providing more complex wound care. Patients on ventilators can get care at many SNF’s. They offer a lot more post-acute care services than they did in the past.

While it is good to be informed about current changes, it is not necessary to worry that you will not receive the care you require and deserve. Though the face of long-term care is changing, the availability of it definitely is not.

If you have questions about insurance options, please contact us today for assistance. We can help you to find a plan that best suits your needs.

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Working at 65 – Do I Need to Sign Up for Medicare?

By |2018-10-03T18:02:39+00:00November 15th, 2018|Categories: Blog and News|Tags: |

In this day and age, more Americans are reaching retirement age and still working. If you are looking at that 65th birthday, but still intend to keep working, there are some considerations to make. For Medicare, you are supposed to enroll at 65 when you retire, but if you don’t plan to retire, do you still need to enroll? The answer is a vague maybe that depends on several circumstances.

The Size of Your Company Matters

If you are working for a company with 20 or more employees, then you do not need not need to enroll at Medicare at 65. You can still keep your employer’s health insurance as your own until you retire. However, if your company is under 20 employees, you will want to enroll in Medicare as these sort of health insurance plans can decline to pay for care if you are past retirement age.

Corporate Retiree Health Benefits and COBRA

COBRA health benefits can cover you for several months after you leave your job, and in a similar vein some plans allow you to keep health benefits after you leave the company. However, if you are getting health care from either of these plans, they will be considered secondary plans and you will still need to sign up for Medicare. Often with these plans if you are past retirement age, you may find that they do not pay or cover every procedure. With Medicare, it can help be a safety net.

What If You Don’t Sign Up for Medicare?

In most cases, you will be employed by a large enough company that you don’t need to sign up for Medicare if you are still working. However, if you leave your job, the clock for sign up starts ticking the day you leave, not when your retirement health benefits run out. After you retire, you have eight months to enroll in a Medicare plan. If you fail to do so within the time limit, you could be without benefits for quite awhile.

Do you need help with Medicare or other health insurance needs, contact us today.

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Health Insurance Options for New College Graduates

By |2018-10-03T18:01:45+00:00November 8th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |

You graduated college with a fancy new degree and are all ready to begin your new adult life. While getting a job is probably your main concern, health insurance should be a concern too. Not every job comes with health insurance options, and while being young might make you think you don’t need it, a number of health issues can manifest in your 20’s. The older you get, the more crucial health insurance becomes. So what are your health insurance options as a new college graduate?

Use Your Parent’s Insurance

If your parents have health insurance, typically they can add you onto their plan through a special enrollment. Not all plans allow this, but most plans allow children to be added as a dependent until they are 26 years of age. This buys you a few years with coverage until you can get your own plan or get on a health insurance plan through your work.

Buy a Marketplace Plan

You can enroll in your own Marketplace health insurance plan via special enrollment if you meet any of the following criteria.

  • You are moving to or from the place where you went to college.
  • You’ve lost health insurance such as falling off a parent’s plan or your student health plan expired when you graduated.
  • You are experiencing a life event such as having a child or getting married.

Medicaid or CHIP Qualification

If you aren’t making much money, you may be able to qualify for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program. You need to have a set household and income size to qualify, but it is something to look into.

If you are fresh out of college or just need to get some health insurance, contact us. Let us help you find a plan that fits your specific needs so you can have the coverage of health insurance when you need it.

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Finding a Health Insurance Plan That’s Right For You

By |2018-10-03T18:00:35+00:00November 1st, 2018|Categories: Blog and News|Tags: |

When it comes to health insurance, if you get it through your employer, you usually aren’t afforded a lot of options in terms of plan. However, if you are shopping for health insurance independently, you will likely be overwhelmed with plans. There is really no middle ground. However, if you know what you are looking for, it can make the process of choosing a plan just that much simpler.

What to Consider When Choosing a Plan

Each health care insurance plan will have some key features that you will want to investigate. While which you choose will depend on what sort of coverage and cost you want, each feature below is worth looking into.

  • Category of Plan – The five categories of health care plans – bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and catastrophic – determine how you and your health insurance will split the costs. Typically the higher up the tier you go means the more you will pay for the plan, but the less you will pay for the care.
  • Premiums – Typically all people consider are the premiums, which is what you need to pay each month whether you need medical care or not. Obviously you want the lowest premiums, but the care you will receive is important too.
  • Out-of-Pocket Costs – In addition to the monthly premium, it is crucial to consider what you’re out of pocket costs will be if you do need care. If you don’t need a lot of medical care, having a higher out of pocket cost might be better than a higher premium.
  • Benefits – Some health benefits and free preventative services may differ depending on your plan. This can be especially important to consider if you have a pre-existing condition.
  • In-Network Providers – You definitely want to choose a doctor that is in your plan’s network. If you already have a doctor, you will want to find a network with them in it.

Do you need help figuring out the complicated world of healthcare insurance or looking to get new insurance? Contact us today to see what we can do to help you.

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Medicare Advantage vs. Medigap

By |2018-10-03T17:59:28+00:00October 23rd, 2018|Categories: Blog and News|Tags: , , |

Medicare subscribers have two options if they want to go beyond the basic coverage provided by original Medicare. You can either sign up for a Medigap plan or get Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare advantage. Here are the positive features of each option.

Reasons for choosing Medicare Advantage

  • premiums for Medicare advantage plans are typically lower than those of comparable Medigap plans
  • some Medicare advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, which can save you the need to get a Medicare Part D plan
  • you can get a Medicare Advantage plan or switch to a different plan during open enrollment at the end of each calendar year
  • unlike Medigap plans, Medicare Advantage plans can never deny you coverage based on pre-existing conditions

Reasons for choosing Medigap

  • Medigap plans usually have lower out-of-pocket expenses than Medicare Advantage plans
  • if you have a Medigap plan, you can see any doctor who takes Medicare; there are no physician networks to worry about
  • under Medigap, you don’t need referrals to see a specialist
  • Medigap plans pay the doctor directly, usually without any co-pay on your part – which can greatly simplify paperwork involved in your medical expenses

While there are many reasons for preferring one of these options over the other, if you have significant health issues that require frequent medical care, you’ll probably spend less money over the long-term if you have a Medigap plan. The higher premiums are more than compensated by the lower out-of-pocket costs for such patients.

Before you make a decision between Medigap and Medicare Advantage, use the Medicare Plan Finder to see which plans are available in your area. Often the availability of certain plans will trump the more general benefits available to holders of these two different types of plans. The most important criterion is to choose a plan that provides the benefits you need in order to stay healthy.

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This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.
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