It’s a guy thing: Staying Fit & Healthy with the ACA.

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Catch health problems early with health screenings covered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Guys, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has you covered.

ACA healthcare policies aren’t designed just to treat you when you’re sick, but to catch problems early – when they can best be treated –  through regular health screenings. These can help you stay fit and healthy, and can even save your life.

While men are significantly more likely to put off doctor’s visits and get screened for illnesses than women, they are much more likely to be hospitalized for diabetes complications heart failure and pneumonia.

Screenings for diabetes (high blood sugar), for example, are particularly important to catch early, when treatment is most effective. Your doctor can also check for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. ACA health policies cover screenings for depression, HIV, Hepatitis C and can help you with weight loss, which can lead to many of the diseases already mentioned.

Some screenings are tied to age. For example, did you know if you’re 50 or older, you are covered for colon cancer screening (or earlier if you have a family history)? If you are between 65 and 75 (or have smoked more than 100 cigarettes in your lifetime), you can receive an Abdominal Aortic Aneurism ultrasound test. This can detect whether the largest artery in your body is bulging, which could prevent it bursting leading to internal bleeding or death. Those between the age of 55 and 80 (or those who have smoked extensively or quit in the past 15 years) can receive a lung cancer test.

 

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Quick guide to Men’s Health Screenings

 

For more information on men’s health, go to: healthfinder.gov – Men: Take Charge of Your Health:

Learn more about ACA essential health benefits: https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/what-marketplace-plans-cover/

Do you  have more questions about what your healthcare policy covers? The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida’s federally licensed healthcare navigators are here to help! You can call our toll-free statewide number at 877-553-7453 to schedule an appointment with a navigator.  More information is also available at www.efof.org/acanavigation.

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SHOP is the small business source for health insurance under the ACA

 

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SHOP has succeeded with small urban firms and not-for-profits. Photo: Commonwealth Fund

 

The federal healthcare marketplace for businesses is always open for business.

Enrollment in healthcare plans is year-round under the Small Business Health Options Programs (SHOP), which was created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for employers with one-to-50 workers.

The ACA created the SHOP program to address the lack of health insurance availability to employees of small firms. Even when insurance was offered, it didn’t offer a choice of plans or the range of benefits larger employers offered. Only 57 percent of small businesses offer health insurance benefits.

SHOP makes it easier for employers to compare health plans and give employees (and their family members) coverage choices. The ACA also offers firms tax credits.

Though still relatively small, the program has succeeded with small urban start-ups and not-for-profit organizations. In spring 2017, the federal government reported that SHOP had enrolled 232,698 employees from 27,205 firms, most through state-run SHOP programs.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida has federally licensed navigators that specialize in SHOP policies and are ready to assist small businesses in enrolling employees.  An employer can call the EFOF navigation office at 1-877-553-7453 to make an appointment to find out more about the program.

Greg Jenkins
EFOF health care navigator Greg Jenkins is a SHOP specialist.

See if your firm qualifies for the SHOP program: https://www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses/

WATCH this informative video that provides an overview of the SHOP Marketplace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWPCSXmxX68

Learn more about the success and challenges of the SHOP program in the U.S. at http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/fund-reports/2017/jul/talking-shop-small-business-marketplaces-california-colorado

 

 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) gets the job done

 

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As Congress begins its debate on changing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it’s good to review the success the federal health care law has had in reducing the uninsured rate in the U.S.

Today, more than 30 million people are currently insured as a result of the ACA’s insurance subsidies, expanded Medicaid eligibility, state and federal outreach efforts, and market regulations.

Before the ACA, more than one-third of people who tried to buy health insurance in the individual market were either turned down, charged more or were told a condition excluded them from their health plan.

How has the ACA succeeded in increasing the insured rate? The ACA has made purchasing easier and more affordable. Consumer protections that ban discrimination for pre-existing conditions have also allowed more people to get covered.

The ACA’s primary goal is to allow anyone without employer coverage to have affordable health coverage – no matter what their current health status is.  Under the ACA, insurers must:

  • Offer a plan to everyone who applies
  • Can’t charge more based on gender or health
  • Are limited in how much more to charge older vs. younger persons
  • Can’t impose lifetime or annual benefit limits or cancel coverage.
  • Include Essential Health Benefits
  • Provide premium tax credits that reduce share of costs for incomes between $24,000 and $97,000 for a family of four.

Why is having health insurance important? Having health insurance coverage allows people to have  regular doctor visits and get timely medical care.  Americans without health insurance are less likely to go to the doctor when they need to or get preventive care and cancer screenings. Even a gap in coverage increases the likelihood someone will not get timely health care.

The Commonwealth Fund report breaks down the success of the ACA by the numbers:

Near the end of the ACA’s fourth open-enrollment period, nearly 9 million people had signed up for a plan through HealthCare.gov.  Millions of other consumers in 11 states and the District of Columbia have enrolled through states’ marketplaces. In addition, 7 million have purchased health insurance in the individual market. Expansions to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program have allowed an additional 16 million people.

If you need assistance enrolling in health insurance, including Medicaid and Florida Kidcare,  licensed navigators from the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida can help. Call 877-553-7453 to make an appointment. Or go to efof.org/acanavigation for information on navigation sites and upcoming events.

 

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EFOF’s federally licensed healthcare navigators provide in-person assistance throughout Florida.

 

Read more: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2017/feb/how-the-aca-has-improved-ability-to-buy-insurance

 

Make the Most of Summer Fun with Preventive Care

 

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Whether you’re on a healing hike or hitting the beach, make the most out of your summer by staying healthy with preventive care.

Get the most out of your health coverage this summer by getting the preventive care you need.

Did you know? Most health plans cover shots and screening tests — at no cost to you. This means your plan can’t charge you a co-pay or coinsurance – a share of costs – for preventive services. This is true even if you haven’t met your deductible.

What is preventive care?

Screenings, check-ups, and counseling that prevent illnesses, disease, and other health problems, or other healthcare services designed to detect illness at an early stage – it’s all considered  preventive care.

Why is preventive care important?

It helps you stay healthy and happy throughout your life and can detect illness at earlier stages, when treatment is most likely to work best.  Preventive care counseling can help you make healthier lifestyle choices – better diet, no smoking, curbing excessive drinking – that lead to good health and well-being.

Preventive services for all adults include: blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes (Type 2) screenings. For adults over age 50, preventive care includes colorectal cancer screenings. Lung cancer screenings for adults at higher risk because they are heavy smokers or have quite within the last 15 years are also covered for ages 55-80. Immunizations and flu shots are always  included.

Women have their own set of covered preventive care services, including annual “well-women” visits and mammograms every 1-2 years for women over 40. Beginning at age 60, osteoporosis screening for good bone health is included. Contraception and STD screenings are both considered preventive care for women.

There are extensive preventive care services for children, each suited to the appropriate life stage, from autism and developmental screenings beginning in infancy to lead and vision screenings and even obesity and diet counseling as they get older. Immunizations are always covered as preventive services for children.

No matter where your summer takes you – to the beach or to the woods for healing hikes – stay healthy with preventive care.

Learn more about preventive care and all the services included: https://www.healthcare.gov/preventive-care-adults/

#Coverage2Care #PreventiveServices #Immunizations

Have questions about how to best use your #HealthCare coverage? EFOF’s licensed & certified navigators are here to help. Call 877-553-7453 for answers.

Wellness Wednesday: Get Moving to Stay Healthy

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Everyone benefits from regular physical activity, which can be anything that gets you moving. A good goal is 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate activity each week but studies have shown that even less can bring mental and physical health benefits.

Start at a comfortable level. If you haven’t been active before and are concerned, ask your health provider what’s right for you.

What kinds of activity is good?

Try a combination of aerobic activities which make you breathe harder, causing your heart to beat faster, and muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights, using resistance bands and push-ups.

In addition to getting physical, here are a few other things you can do to #GetHealthy: Eat healthy, manage stress, quit smoking and watch your weight.

Find more tips here: https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/everyday-healthy-living/physical-activity

NY times workout photoOnly have 9 minutes? The New York Times has a full-body strength workout for you. Find out how: http://nyti.ms/2qmtkT2

 

Need affordable health insurance? DYK? You can enroll year-round in a health marketplace plan through healthcare.gov if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. EFOF navigators are here to help. Call 877-553-7453 to find out more  or go to http://www.efof.org/navigation.

 

 

 

 

#Coverage2Care: Make the Most of Your Health Coverage

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Outside of open enrollment, EFOF’s licensed navigators focus on answering consumers’ questions about their health care coverage and continuing to ensure that consumers know about all of the benefits available to them. Our #Coverage2Care work, for example, can help consumers figure out how to pay their first premiums. If consumers are unsure about their benefits, navigators can help them understand what their plan covers. Key terms like “deductible” and “coinsurance” are explained as well as how to make the most of a doctor’s visit, identify key network providers, get a prescription filled or use emergency services. We’re here to help! Call 877-553-7453 to get the assistance you need or visit www.efof.org/acanavigation.