Your Clients Need These Tips for Contact Lens Health Week

From August 20-24 this year, the Centers for Disease Control’s Contact Lens Health Week highlights awareness about proper wear and care of contact lenses. This year’s message has a simple and direct message your clients need to hear: cover your butt and take care of your eyes.

According to the CDC, contact lenses are much like underwear: to avoid infections, your clients shouldn’t over-wear, they should avoid a sketchy pair, and they should carry a spare1. Sounds like common sense advice, right? When they have questions about their vision care needs, take the opportunity to remind them just how to put this advice to work1:

Don’t over-wear

Advise your clients to avoid wearing contacts longer than their eye doctors instruct them to. Also, remind them to not sleep in them (unless their eye doctors say otherwise).

Avoid that sketchy pair

Remind your clients that when a contact comes out and they can’t disinfect it with fresh solution (never water or spit) right away that they should throw it out. Also, it’s important for them to remember to not buy contacts from costume shops or anywhere that doesn’t require a prescription.

Carry a spare pair (of glasses)

Recommend that your clients have a pair of glasses with them in case an unexpected late night or trip to the pool arises.

Many carriers are now packaging vision insurance – as well as dental insurance – with healthcare insurance because they recognize the value of providing a “well-rounded offering” that focuses on preventive care2. As an insurance professional, remind your clients that vision care and preventive care can be essential to their healthcare routine and they should consider having benefits in place to help them manage costs associated with care.

Consider this:

  • Almost 90% of Americans with vision coverage will get an eye exam within the next 12 months
  • Less than 70% without vision coverage will get an eye exam
  • Almost 70% of those with coverage will also get new eyewear
  • Less than 35% of those without vision coverage will get eyewear
  • Vision care is linked to overall preventive and wellness care, but Americans only use preventive services at half the rate recommended by the CDC4.

Talk to your clients about their eye health and help the CDC increase awareness about healthy contact lens habits. Remind them that vision coverage can offer:

  • Eye exam every 12 months
  • Lenses every 24 months
  • Frames every 24 months
  • Contact lenses and fitting every 24 months
  • Low copays for exams
  • In-network savings

Are you ready to offer quality, affordable vision care to your clients?

Learn more today by:

 

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products.

We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

 

Sources:

1: “Contact Lenses are Like Underwear.” The Centers for Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/pdf/8-5×11-contact-lenses-underwear.pdf

2: “Popular vision benefits moving beyond commodity product label.” Employee Benefit Adviser. https://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/news/popular-vision-benefits-moving-beyond-commodity-product-label

 

3: “Evidence Links Vision Benefits to Healthy Vision Habits, NAVCP Reports.” Vision Monday. http://www.visionmonday.com/latest-news/article/evidence-links-vision-benefits-to-healthy-vision-habits-navcp-reports-1/

 

4: “Dental and vision trends focus on preventive care.” BenefitsPro. https://www.benefitspro.com/2018/06/11/dental-and-vision-trends-focus-on-preventive-healt/?slreturn=20180714110145

 

4 Common Misconceptions to Clear Up for Your Clients About Health Benefit Insurance

Your clients come to you with a broad range of health concerns and ask for a personalized approach to help them manage those concerns.  It’s crucial to your success that you listen to and understand those needs and that you have a variety of coverage options to offer them.

One of those options often prompts questions and discussions of myths and misconceptions: health benefit insurance plans – also known as limited benefit medical plans or fixed cash plans. HBI plans provide a fixed benefit payment for specific covered services. They can provide a range of benefits to help meet your clients’ needs, but they have distinct differences from the major medical policies.

Healthcare costs are undoubtedly rising. Your assistance in providing your clients coverage that fits their needs can impact how they are able to manage their healthcare spending. This type of coverage can often be misunderstood, prompting your clients to ask questions about how the plans work and how they can benefit from such a plan. HBI coverage can be a viable option, but it’s imperative to understand your clients’ needs and to make sure they understand how the coverage works before enrolling them.

Let’s take a look at some common misconceptions about health benefit insurance coverage:

Misconception #1: Health benefit insurance plans work the same way as major medical or short-term medical insurance.

HBI insurance plans have some significant differences from major medical policies. Helping your clients understand these differences can allow them to decide if this type of coverage will be helpful as they consider their healthcare realities.

These plans pay fixed indemnity benefits towards covered procedures as well as offer discounted rates for using in-network providers. They can provide flexibility for those who need to supplement their major medical coverage.

When discussing health benefit insurance plans with your clients, remind them that they have no deductibles or copays to satisfy, and let them know that their fixed cash benefits and in-network discounts can combine to bring them additional savings. Clients must also understand the plans are not a replacement for major medical insurance. Policies do have limitations, restrictions, and exclusions to consider.

Misconception #2: Health benefit insurance plans don’t provide quality benefits and have a small network of doctors.

HBI insurance plans often have lower premiums than major medical plans since they are not providing comprehensive coverage. That said, they may still provide members with a host of benefits to help with their medical needs.

The core benefits offered by health benefit insurance plans can include fixed benefit payments for the following services:

  • Hospitalization*
  • Emergency care*
  • Doctor’s office visits
  • Surgery*
  • Diagnostics and labs
  • Wellness

*Typically not covered for pre-existing conditions

This level of coverage can also come with a wide network of doctors nationwide. If the doctor your client chooses does not accept the insurance, your client can opt to pay upfront and then submit her own claims for reimbursement. Remind her though she may be subject to higher out-of-pocket costs if she goes this route.

When your clients enroll in HBI plans, they may also have the option to take advantage of other non-insurance healthcare features as well.

These may include:

  • Prescription savings program on generic and brand-name medications
  • Ability to speak to a licensed doctor over the phone or mobile app to diagnose common illnesses
  • Patient advocacy service that can help your clients find procedures for the lowest cost and can negotiate medical bills

Keep in mind that there are often exclusions with health benefit insurance plans that are important for your clients to consider before they enroll.

Exclusions may include:

  • Pre-existing conditions (12-month waiting period)
  • Prescription benefits
  • Maternity benefits

Make sure your clients are aware of how to leverage our online Member Portal. This includes knowing how to log into the portal, where to access their ID cards, and how to reach out to the different parties who can help them with questions about benefits, billing, claims, etc.

Misconception #3: Health benefit insurance plans are only beneficial for young people or as supplementary insurance.

HBI insurance plans can benefit clients of all ages with varying medical needs.

While this level of coverage is designed to be supplementary to major medical policies, members can use them in a variety of circumstances.

This type of coverage may fit the needs of those who:

  • Are priced out of major medical coverage, but seek a limited level of coverage for basic healthcare needs
  • Want additional benefits to help cover deductibles and copays of a major medical policy
  • Are seeking limited coverage until they are eligible for a major medical policy during Open Enrollment or through their employer

Note: Health benefit insurance plans are not intended to be a replacement or alternative to ACA or other major medical plans nor does it provide the minimum essential health benefits that are required, and it won’t help to avoid the fee for not carrying health insurance. These plans can have exclusions and limitations, which may not make them a valid option for some clients.

Misconception #4: Health benefit insurance plans can satisfy ACA requirements.

Fixed benefit insurance plans do not meet the minimum essential coverage required under the Affordable Care Act, so your clients would likely be subject to a tax penalty. Because they do not have to follow the guidelines for the ACA, premiums tend to be lower as more limited and/or restricted benefits are being offered. Still, these plans can be useful solutions for some who may need to supplement a high-deductible plan or who may otherwise go completely uninsured.

 

Are you ready to help your clients learn more about health benefit insurance plans?

Learn more by:

Click here to like us on Facebook for important industry updates, tips, and articles!

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

Source:

“The Rising Cost of Health Care by Year and Its Causes.” The Balance. https://www.thebalance.com/causes-of-rising-healthcare-costs-4064878

 

Help Your Clients Get the Care They Deserve During National Health Center Week

National Health Center Week celebrates the contributions of health centers to their communities and raises awareness about their mission and accomplishments – something your clients are likely to find valuable as they face their health realities.

This year’s observance from August 12th – August 18th focuses on the mission of health centers across the country and their ability to “provide access to high quality, cost-effective healthcare services to everyone, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.” These centers could be beneficial for your clients looking for creative solutions to healthcare problems, as they work to serve special patient populations.

Consider these facts:

  • Health centers serve 27 million patients, and that number continues to grow.
  • There are health center locations in all 50 states and the District of Colombia.
  • Health centers serve everyone – even those who are uninsured or underinsured.
  • Your client could receive primary and preventive care services at health centers.

In addition to medical services, health centers offer a number of enabling services such as transportation, translation, case management, and health education. These types of assistance help all patients receive equal and high-quality care.

Offer your clients coverage to help them take advantage of health center benefits

Short-term medical (STM) coverage could be a coverage option for your clients to benefit from health centers. This type of coverage can be a great option for those in life-altering transition periods such as being between jobs, graduating college, or being unable to obtain major medical plans. Your clients may also likely to benefit from local health centers, as they can provide access to medical care that may not be affordable elsewhere.

These policies can offer your clients benefits for much-needed services such as:

  • Doctor visits
  • Emergency care
  • Surgical and hospital care
  • Wellness and preventative care

However, there are limitations. For example, STM plans do not cover pre-existing conditions and currently have a maximum duration of 3 months. That will change in October when your clients will have the opportunity to purchase STM coverage in increments of up to 364 days. This level of coverage is not a replacement for major medical insurance.

STM policies can add to the benefits your client could receive at their health center by providing them with supplemental non-insurance features that may include:

  • Prescription savings program that help them save on generic and brand-name medications
  • Ability to speak to a licensed doctor over the phone or mobile app to diagnose common illnesses
  • Patient advocacy service that can help your client find procedures for the lowest cost and negotiate large bills

The benefits of an STM plan could combine with health center services to create broader protection and more affordable healthcare for your client.

*STM plans do not count as minimum essential coverage required by the Affordable Care Act and are not suitable to serve as sole medical coverage. They are not sufficient forms of coverage to avoid facing a tax penalty. Review all terms, conditions, limitations, and/or restrictions with your clients prior to any recommendations.

Talk to your clients about how health centers could revolutionize their healthcare needs

Health centers are an essential part of communities nationwide that help meet the serious need for cost-effective healthcare.

Take this week as an opportunity to remind your clients about these centers and help them find more information about health centers in their area. https://www.findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/

Visit the Health Center Week website to learn more about the centers or how you can get involved in spreading the word. https://healthcenterweek.org/about-nhcw/

Learn more by:

Calling 1.877.376.5831 and selecting option 3

Emailing salessupport@hiiquote.com

Click here to like us on Facebook for important industry updates, tips, and articles!

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. (HIIQ) – (NASDAQ: HIIQ), is a market leading cloud-based technology platform and distributor of innovative health insurance products that are affordable and meet the consumer’s needs. 

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

 

Sources:

“National Health Center Week”  https://healthcenterweek.org/about-nhcw/

“Focus Days” https://healthcenterweek.org/focus-days/

“Fact Sheets” https://healthcenterweek.org/fact-sheets-2/

“Find a Health Center” https://www.findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/

health-insurance-innovations-vaccinations

For National Immunization Awareness Month, Make Sure Your Clients Have Access to Preventive Care

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), an annual initiative sponsored by the National Public Health Information Council (NPHIC) to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations recommended for them. Vaccinations can serve as a preventive step to help your clients protect their health as well as the health of their communities.

Remember that vaccines are important for all of us. Here’s why:

  • The same germs that caused diseases such as whooping cough, measles, and polio still exist today, but vaccines now protect children against these diseases
  • Immunization of children helps the overall community by protecting those who are too young or are medically unable to be vaccinated
  • Adults are at risk for different diseases than children, and it is important to keep up with vaccinations, as they can wear off over time

Offer immunization care to your clients

Offer your clients coverage that includes preventive and wellness benefits. Plans that encourage yearly wellness exams promote a convenient time for members to get vaccines. ACA plans are required to include vaccines among covered preventive services. You may be able to offer the following plans to also assist your clients.

  • Short-term medical: STM plans provide benefits similar to major medical for a limited period of time. They’re typically used during times of transition, such as graduating from college, waiting for employer insurance to begin, or waiting for Medicare coverage to begin. The plans can provide members with a choice of provider and facility, a range of deductibles, co-pays, and cost sharing options to fit your client’s budget needs. These plans are useful for members who have a gap in coverage and can be used to take advantage of preventive services such as vaccination. Note: they do not typically cover pre-existing conditions.
  • Health benefit insurance: HBI plans (otherwise known as limited medical benefit plans) can be useful for clients who are looking to supplement their major medical coverage or those who are not able to afford major medical insurance. These plans provide pre-determined cash benefits based on a covered service. They may also provide little to no waiting periods, which may be useful for a loved one who is need of benefits sooner rather than later. They are not comprehensive medical plans and are not intended to replace a major medical plan.

Note: STM and HBI plans do not count as minimum essential coverage required by the Affordable Care Act and are not suitable to serve as sole medical coverage. They are not sufficient forms of coverage to avoid facing a tax penalty. Review any terms, conditions, limitations, and/or restrictions carefully prior to any purchasing decision.

Set your clients up for healthcare success

Many plans have additional features that can assist your clients in other areas of their healthcare needs.

These benefits can include:

  • Prescription savings program that help them save on generic and brand-name medications.
  • Ability to speak to a licensed doctor over the phone or mobile app to diagnose common illnesses
  • Patient advocacy service that can help your client find procedures for the lowest cost and negotiate large bills

Learn more about helping your clients with their vaccination and preventive care needs by:

Click here to like us on Facebook for important industry updates, tips, and articles!

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

 

 

Sources:

“Vaccines & Immunizations” https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/howvpd.htm.

“Vaccine Safety: The Facts” https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/immunizations/Pages/Vaccine-Safety-The-Facts.aspx.

health-insurance-innovations-healthcare-1

Guidance Finalized Allowing Extended Duration of Short-Term Medical Coverage

The Trump administration has finalized guidance to extend short-term medical coverage options, creating an opportunity for you to offer a more competitive option to your clients.

The new ruling will give consumers the opportunity to purchase this level of coverage in increments of up to 364 days (or 12 months). It also allows this type of insurance to be renewable for up to 36 months.

This move reverses guidance that limited short-term medical plans to a maximum of 3 months coverage.

However, “states remain free to adopt a definition with a shorter maximum initial contract term or shorter maximum duration (including renewals and extensions) for a policy to meet their specific market needs,” according to the final rule documentation.

While carriers may choose to not cover certain types of services including maternity and mental healthcare, short-term medical plans routinely cost less than major medical plans. In the wake of ACA, major medical premiums have skyrocketed as much as 105% 1. Almost 1/5 of the country’s economy is spent on healthcare, a “far larger share than in any other large, wealthy country in the world,” and the price of healthcare services is “pushing up the nation’s health spending over time” 2. Consumers are certainly feeling the impact: the average cost of deductibles has increased over 295% while wages have only increased by 29% 3. Short-term medical plan may make better financial sense for healthier consumers, those who are priced out of ACA coverage, and those who need an affordable option during a period of transition.

This guidance is expected to lead to increased short-term medical enrollment, which may lead to even lower premiums due to a healthier pool of enrollees who don’t need a comprehensive spectrum of benefits.

Here are some important points to remember:

1. You’ll be able to provide a more secure bridge for your clients who are in between plans.

Before this guidance, short-term medical plans were only available for 90 days. Now you can enroll your clients in coverage for up to 364 days and provide them with the option to renew it for up to 36 months.

This level of coverage may fit the needs of your clients who are:

  • Transitioning between jobs
  • Waiting for employer insurance to begin
  • Graduating from college
  • Rolling off parents’ coverage
  • Waiting for Medicare coverage to become effective

Also, you can enroll your clients in plans that offer next-day coverage is available.

2. You’ll be able to sell these extended duration plans in October. 

The new rule is set to take effect just before the 2019 Open Enrollment Period that will run from November 1, 2018 – December 15, 2018.

3. You’ll have an additional tool in your portfolio that provides a wide range of benefits.

Short-term medical plans do not offer minimum essential benefits as defined by ACA, but they can offer benefits and features such as:

  • Wellness options
  • Benefits paid like traditional major medical plans
  • Flexible options for coverage cost and length
  • Open network of physicians, specialists, and hospitals
  • Lower rates than traditional health plans
  • Competitive individual and family coverage
  • Coverage of certain pre-existing conditions
  • Low copay options
  • Variety of deductible and coinsurance options
  • Ability to cancel at any time without penalty

While ACA plans have created “unstable risk pools and unaffordable premiums,” short-term medical plans will offer healthy consumers an affordable option and may motivate those who would have opted to remain uninsured to select a coverage option that makes sense for their budget and their lifestyle4.

 

We work with highly rated carrier partners that provide competitive, quality options for short-term medical coverage.
Expand your book of business with this level of coverage and meet your clients where they are in their healthcare and lifestyle realities.

 

Learn more by:

 

Click here to view the final rule in full courtesy of the CMS. Stay tuned for more updates.

 

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

For agent use only – not for use with the general public.

 

Sources:

1: “HHS Secretary: Short-term health insurance plans are an affordable option.” Alex Azar. https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/23/opinions/short-term-health-insurance-opinion-azar/index.html

2: “Why Are Healthcare Prices So High, and What Can Be Done About Them?” Kaiser Family Foundation. https://www.kff.org/health-costs/event/may-9-forum-why-are-healthcare-prices-so-high-and-what-can-be-done-about-them/

3: “Increases in Cost-Sharing Payments Continue to Outpace Wage Growth.” Kaiser Family Foundation. https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/brief/increases-in-cost-sharing-payments-have-far-outpaced-wage-growth/#item-start

4: “Should States Allow Insurers to Offer Bare-Bones Health Plans With Fewer Mandated Benefits?” Doug Badger. https://www.wsj.com/articles/should-states-allow-insurers-to-offer-bare-bones-health-plans-with-fewer-mandated-benefits-1529892240

 

What is Telemedicine?

4 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Telemedicine

Telemedicine is an emerging service in healthcare technology positioned to skyrocket in popularity through 2018 and beyond. With a market value climbing from $14.3 billion in 2014 to a projected $36.2 billion by 20201, telemedicine is poised to transform the way millions of American receive healthcare in the not-so-distant future.

So, what is telemedicine and how can it help your clients?

“The remote delivery of health care services and clinical information using telecommunications technology. This includes a wide array of clinical services using internet, wireless, satellite and telephone media,” according to the American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) telemedicine definition2.

“Telehealth” and “telecare” are often used to describe this service, so if you’re wondering “what is telehealth?”, the ATA considers the telehealth definition to be the same as the telemedicine defintion2.

As healthcare costs continue to rise in the U.S.3, tech services like telehealth can save your clients time and money, especially when it comes to those in need of non-emergency medical services. These services are often available on-demand and can range from video consultations with a certified physician to counseling with a licensed psychotherapist via smartphone, tablet or computer.

In fact, more than 70% of urgent illness conditions—colds, flus and skin infections, for example—can be treated with the help of telemedicine4.

We’re only scratching the surface when it comes to the history, applications and benefits of telemedicine for you and your clients.

Did you know…

  1. Demand for telemedicine growing—fast

Looking at the statistics, it’s easy to see why providers and consumers are using telemedicine more and more every year: convenience and cost.

The average consumer in a U.S. city spends 18.4 days between making an appointment and actually visiting their doctor’s office5. The average in-office visit takes 121 minutes—20 of which are spent actually seeing the doctor, while the rest spent traveling to/from the office and sitting in the waiting room5.

In contrast, consumers who opt for video visits spend about five minutes waiting and eight to 10 minutes seeing their doctor according to a case study on Southwest Medical Associates, one of Nevada’s largest multi-specialty medical groups6.

Providers seem to be in favor of telemedicine’s cost-reducing services as well. Over 70% of healthcare providers are currently using telemedicine solutions or services—a drastic rise from 51% in 20147.

Telemedicine can help to reduce costs8 by use of remote analysis services like physician video visits and specialized fields like telepathology (the study of diseases) and teleradiology (the transmission of radiological images like x-rays MRIs and CTs).

Furthermore, telemedicine companies often utilize a pool of healthcare providers across the country that work as one resource for the consumer. This gives consumers, especially ones in rural areas9, the freedom to receive care on their own schedule, opposed to the restrictive business hours of the brick-and-mortar healthcare facilities in their area.

  1. The history of telemedicine dates back to the 1920s

 Oftentimes, it’s amusing to look back at old media predictions of a retro-future with flying cars and robot butlers. Sometimes, they’re not far off. In 1925, Radio News published a speculative cover story by Hugo Gernsback, an American inventor who hypothesized that physicians would soon be able to hear, see, and examine their patients by way of a machine he deemed the Teladactyl with a two-way video screen and other diagnostic features10.

While Gernsback’s machine never made it to production, the seeds of telemedicine had been planted in the minds of doctors and scientists across the nation.

The American scientific community quickly built off Gernsback’s dream, culminating in 1959 when clinicians at the University of Nebraska used a two-way television system to disperse neurological examinations and related information to medical students across campus—widely considered the first medical use of video communication in the U.S.11.

Advances in telemedicine remained constant through the latter half of the century, but public interest was generally limited to residents in rural areas with small medical facilities that relied on telemedicine services like teleradiology to send and receive x-rays to radiology specialists, who could now analyze and advise doctors on the patient’s condition faster than ever before.

  1. Future applications of telemedicine could be absolutely game-changing

Just as researchers did in the 1920’s, today’s medical science and technology researchers are looking to the future of telemedicine and its’ potential applications.

The use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices has gigantic disruptive potential, which could change the way healthcare providers offer their services and receive continuing training throughout their careers.

AR mobile devices and apps have already given consumers the power to self-monitor health data points like heart rate, amount of daily physical activity, and more. Further advancements include contact lenses that provide visual prompts to diabetics when their glucose levels start fluctuating to wearables like the Apple Watch that uses near-field communication to remind users to take their prescription medications when they’re nearby12.

While VR technology is currently used for laparoscopic surgery and colonoscopy training, many hope it will eventually give medical students more opportunities to virtually perform invasive procedures and emergency resuscitations, all before they can do so on real-life patients. A number of U.S. medical school have made big changes to their anatomy curriculum by incorporating VR glasses and displays to allow realistic rotation and manipulation of anatomic models13.

This hope extends to robotic laparoscopic surgery as well, which would allow surgeons to go from monitoring a 2-D video screen before using their hands/tools to viewing live 3-D video, allowing them to perform surgery without ever diverting their gaze from these 3-D consoles14.

  1. As an HIIQ-contracted agent, you can gain a unique advantage by offering telemedicine to your clients

Naturally, we pride ourselves on innovation here at Health Insurance Innovations. So it should come as no surprise that we’ve partnered with a longstanding leading provider of telehealth services. While insurance plans vary by company and state in the extent of coverage for telemedicine services, there are many available that can come with telemedicine features. Talk to your clients about how these features can save them time and money as they face their health realities.

 

Learn more about offering products with telemedicine features to your clients by:

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

Sources

1: “Five Telemedicine Trends Transforming Health Care in 2016.” Nathaniel M. Lacktman. Foley.com. https://www.foley.com/five-telemedicine-trends-transforming-health-care-in-2016/

2: American Telemedicine Association. “About Telemedicine.” AmericanTelemed.org. http://www.americantelemed.org/main/about/about-telemedicine/telemedicine-faqs

3: “U.S. healthcare spending to climb 5.3 tin 2018: agency.” Yasmeen Abutaleb. Reuters.com. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare-spending/u-s-healthcare-spending-to-climb-5-3-percent-in-2018-agency-idUSKCN1FY2ZD

4: “The Importance and Value of Telemedicine.” Karandeep Virdi. ElectronicHealthReporter.comhttp://electronichealthreporter.com/importance-value-telemedicine/

5: “Paying for Health Care with Time.” Jake Miller. Harvard Medical School. https://hms.harvard.edu/news/paying-health-care-time

6: “Case Study: Southwest Medical’s winning strategy for telehealth.” Beth Principi. American Well. https://www.americanwell.com/case-study-southwest-medicals-winning-strategy-for-telehealth/

7: “71% of Healthcare Providers Use Telehealth, Telemedicine Tools.” Thomas Beaton. MHealthIntelligence.com. https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/71-of-healthcare-providers-use-telehealth-telemedicine-tools

8: “5 ways telemedicine is driving down healthcare costs.” Steff Denches. Healthcare IT News. https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/5-ways-telemedicine-driving-down-healthcare-costs

9: “Telehealth Use in Rural Healthcare.” Rural Health Information Hub. https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/topics/telehealth

10: “Telemedicine Predicted in 1925.” Matt Novak. Smithsonian.com. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/telemedicine-predicted-in-1925-124140942/

11: “Telognosis.” J. Gershon-Cohen, A.G. Cooley. RSNA.org. https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/10.1148/55.4.582?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed

12: “How augmented reality and virtual reality devices are boosting medicine.” Chris Newmarker. Medical Design and Outsourcing. https://www.medicaldesignandoutsourcing.com/how-ar-vr-devices-boosting-medicine/

13: “Virtual Reality Check.” Nicholas Genes, MD, PhD. Telemed Magazine. http://www.telemedmag.com/article/2016715ub73avh975fjs43o8ixcivxd304uag/

14: “VIRTUAL REALITY AND THE FUTURE OF TELEMEDICINE.” Tim Edlund. Synoptec Blog. https://www.softworksgroup.com/synoptec-blog/virtual-reality-and-the-future-of-telemedicine/

 

 

 

National HIV Testing Day: Talk to Your Clients About Getting Tested

National HIV Testing Day is a day to encourage your clients not only to get tested for HIV but also to know their status and to get linked to care and treatment if needed.

To learn how you can raise awareness for HIV testing among your clients, please see the infographic below.

health insurance innovations florida

Your Clients Need to Hear These 9 Summer Health & Fitness Tips

Your clients are headed to parties, beach days, and park picnics this summer. These outings are likely to include tempting food they may be trying to avoid, and those sunny beach days may inspire them to be more leisurely than active. But they surely deserve a few treats and leisurely days though, right? Talk to your clients about balancing their summer health and fitness goals with their well-earned leisurely pastimes.

Here are 9 tips to get them started:

Be food prepared.

If they’re headed to a summer party where they’ll be tempted, they can pack grab-n-go items. Protein bars from brands like NuGo Nutrition and Larabar are usually $1-$2 per bar, packed with plant-based nutrients, and easily accessible at stores and on Amazon. Sliced fresh fruit, granola bars, and nuts are other quick and easily portable options.

Pick up the pace.

Of course they’ll be ready to get their chairs positioned just right and relax on the sand, but taking a lap by the water before they get settled will help them squeeze in a few more steps and burn a few more calories.

Make meals simple, quick, and fun.

They’ve got their neighbor’s BBQ at 3pm and friends coming over at 6pm. They need options that are shareable and convenient, but also impressive. Colorful kabobs of tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and squash basted with olive oil and spices may be the ideal treat. Or they can bake or grill sweet potatoes and add peanut butter to them. Cutting them into chunks and serving them with toothpicks will surely make your clients the hit of the summer parties. And help them stay on track with their summer health and fitness goals.

Carry a reusable water bottle.

It can be tempting to pop open a fizzing can of Coke or hit the Starbucks drive-thru for one of their favorite frappuccinos this summer. But carrying a water bottle they can refill throughout the day can help them avoid a decision packed with sugar and calories. It’s also good for the environment.

Get family and friends moving to join in.

Beating the heat in a nice cool movie theater may be a fun afternoon activity for your clients, but so may taking a hike in a local park or challenging neighbors or coworkers to a game of kickball. Having fun and enjoying quality time with loved ones can help motivate your clients to stay active and meet their health and fitness goals.

Find fun ways to use resistance bands.

Quick and simple exercises may break the monotony of long days in the office and may help your clients stay focused during activity packed weekends. If they’re traveling this summer, bringing the bands along can inspire them to focus on fitness even while on vacation.

Bring the chill to summer meals.

A hot kitchen can often be the least fun place on these scorching summer days. Your clients may enjoy giving themselves a brrr-eak from cooking with meals that require little to no cooking and that are chockfull of nutrients and yumminess these colorful and shareable options. Bonus points: with cool meals, they won’t have to worry about reheating food they bring to parties or carry to work.

Make time to disconnect.

It’s easy to get caught up in all things planned even during the summer. From work commitments to pressing social calendars to ever-present technology, it may be difficult for your clients to unwind. They may find it helpful to schedule an hour of mediation in their calendars, to turn off their phones for an afternoon, to forward their calls to voicemail, or to get outside for a walk. Long-term health and fitness successes include consistently clearing our minds and making time to rest.

Enjoy early morning activities.

Your clients can kick off a day of healthy habits by grabbing a bike to hit the pavement for a few miles, taking a morning hike, or trying out some new moves at local recreation centers.

Make your clients’ heath and fitness goals a priority to you this summer as you consult with them about their healthcare coverage needs.

Learn more about offering your clients a variety of healthcare coverage solutions by:

Click here to like us on Facebook for important industry updates, tips, and articles!

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to make any product recommendations. Encourage your clients to review any product details, such as costs, limitations, exclusions, restrictions, and benefits prior to any purchasing decisions.

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

 

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

 

Walk Your Clients into Improved Health for National Women’s Health Week

Each year during National Women’s Health Week, millions of women take steps to improve their health. The 19th annual National Women’s Health Week kicks off on May 13 and serves as a reminder for women to make our health a priority and to build positive health habits for life.

During your consultations with clients this week, remind them of this health observance and provide them with information and resources they need to get them on a journey toward better and long-lasting health.

Here’s how your office can participate in the 19th annual National Women’s Health Week:
  • Share the following tips with you clients
  • Take the National Women’s Health Week quiz to test your knowledge about healthy living
  • Show your fellow agents that you’re making women’s health a priority with these social media resources and use the #NWHW hashtag
  • Participate online or organize activities within office
The journey to create improved health habits can include:
 For every decade, it’s important for your clients to:

*Make sure your clients know how their health coverage works when it comes to well-woman visits. This preventive visit is essential to women’s health, as it’s a time for them to check in on how they’re doing, how they’d like to be doing, and what changes they can make to reach their health goals.

For Clients in Their 20s

 A client in this decade should ask her doctor at least once a year about:

  •  Whether she plans to have children in the next year or the right birth control
  • Her weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Her tobacco and alcohol use
  • Any violence in her life
  • Depression and any other mental health concerns
  • Her family health history, especially of heart disease and cancer (these are the top two fatal diseases for women in the United States and are often linked to diet and lifestyle choices)
  • Protecting herself from the sun and the hazards of tanning

She should also ask if she needs these tests, medicines, or vaccines:

  • Blood pressure
  • Chickenpox
  • Cholesterol
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • HPV vaccine (26 and younger*)
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Pap (21 and older*)
  • Sexually transmitted infections (including chlamydia and gonorrhea tests for women 24 and younger*)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough
  • Tuberculosis

If she is pregnant, prenatal care can also be a well-woman visit. There are also certain tests during pregnancy to check her and her baby’s health. Click here to learn more.

* Suggested by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations and may not apply to every person

For Clients in Their 30s

A client in this decade should ask her doctor at least once a year about:

  •  Whether she plans to have children in the next year or the right birth control
  • Her weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Her tobacco and alcohol use
  • Any violence in her life
  • Depression and any other mental health concerns
  • Her family health history, especially of heart disease and cancer (these are the top two fatal diseases for women in the United States and are often linked to diet and lifestyle choices)

She should also ask if she needs these tests, medicines, or vaccines:

  • Blood pressure
  • Chickenpox
  • Cholesterol
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Pap and HPV
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough
  • Tuberculosis

If she is pregnant, prenatal care can also be a well-woman visit. There are also certain tests during pregnancy to check her and her baby’s health. Click here to learn more.

For Clients in Their 40s

A client in this decade should ask her doctor at least once a year about:

  •  Whether she plans to have children in the next year or the right birth control (for premenopausal women)
  • Perimenopause symptoms
  • Her weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Her tobacco and alcohol use
  • Any violence in her life
  • Depression and any other mental health concerns
  • Her family health history, especially of heart disease and cancer (these are the top two fatal diseases for women in the United States and are often linked to diet and lifestyle choices)

She should also ask if she needs these tests, medicines, or vaccines:

  • Blood pressure
  • Chickenpox
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • Mammogram
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Pap and HPV
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough
  • Tuberculosis

If she is pregnant, prenatal care can also be a well-woman visit. There are also certain tests during pregnancy to check her and her baby’s health. Click here to learn more.

For Clients in Their 50s

A client in this decade should ask her doctor at least once a year about:

  • Menopause symptoms
  • Your weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Your tobacco and alcohol use
  • Any violence in your life
  • Depression and any other mental health concerns
  • Your family health history, especially of heart disease and cancer (these are the top two fatal diseases for women in the United States and are often linked to diet and lifestyle choices)

She should also ask if she needs these tests, medicines, or vaccines:

  • Low-dose aspirin
  • Blood pressure
  • Chickenpox
  • Cholesterol
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • Lung cancer (55 and older*)
  • Mammogram
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Pap and HPV
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough
  • Tuberculosis

* Suggested by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations and may not apply to every person

As you work with your clients to determine which type of coverage will help them tackle these health concerns and meet their budget and lifestyle needs, it’s crucial to review the basics with them.

If health benefit insurance is an option for them, discuss features such as:

  • Helpful for those anticipating rising medical expenses, unable to afford major medical, not eligible for short-term medical, and/or looking for supplemental coverage to their major medical plans
  • Guaranteed issue coverage if eligibility is met and available in state
  • Premiums often lower than major medical, but also lower and more restricted benefits
  • Benefits such as $50-$100 paid toward doctor and specialist visits available
  • Not required to use a network of doctors – freedom to choose any doctor or facility (*Note: clients can still exceed eligible benefits)
  • Preventive care available for as low as $50
  • Next day coverage available or little to no waiting periods for accidental injuries or sickness
  • 12 month waiting period for pre-existing conditions
  • Does not count as minimum essential coverage required by the Affordable Care Act and is not suitable to serve as sole medical coverage

If short-term medical is an option for them, discuss features such as:

  • Helpful for those facing life-altering transition periods such as pre-Medicare retirement, change in employment status, rolling off parental or student insurance, bridging a gap in major medical coverage or those who missed Open Enrollment (*Note: these policies are designed solely to provide healthcare coverage during unexpected coverage gaps)
  • Flexibility in coverage length and cost; coverage duration varies by state and is non-renewable
  • Variety of deductible and coinsurance options
  • Low copay options for in-network benefits
  • Limited preventive care available
  • Ability to cancel at any time without penalty
  • Benefits may be limited and subject to exclusions and restrictions
  • Does not cover pre-existing conditions
  • Coverage is not guaranteed
  • Not intended to be a replacement or alternative to ACA or other major medical plans and does not provide the minimum essential health benefits that are required; may result in a tax penalty

Disclaimer: Health benefit insurance and short-term medical coverage are not intended to be a replacement or alternative to ACA or other major medical plans nor does it provide the minimum essential health benefits that are required and it won’t help to avoid the fee for not carrying health insurance. They can have exclusions and limitations, which may not make them a valid option for some clients.

Show your clients that women’s health is a priority to you this week and every week. Provide them with affordable and quality coverage options that allow them to easily get the healthcare they need for every decade.

Learn more today by:

Click here to like us on Facebook for important industry updates, tips, and articles!

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to make any product recommendations. Encourage your clients to review any product details, such as costs, limitations, exclusions, restrictions, and benefits prior to any purchasing decisions.

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

Many thanks to the Office of Women’s Health for this information and their work on behalf of women.

For more information on National Women’s Health Week as well as resources on a variety of trending topics in women’s health, wellness, and medical conditions, please click here.

 

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

 

 

#MoveInMay: Get Your Clients Moving for National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

It’s that time of year again – it’s time to #MoveInMay!

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits of physical activity and asking communities, health professionals, and families to work together to create opportunities for everyone to get more of it.

When talking to clients this month, ask them to keep their physical fitness goals in mind as they consider which coverage options best address their lifestyle and health needs.

Consider these stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1:
  • About 1 in 5 (21%) adults meet the current physical activity guidelines.
  • Less than 3 in 10 high school students get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Physical activity can improve health. People who are physically active tend to live longer and have lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.
  • Inactive adults have a higher risk for early death, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.

Your clients’ ages will determine the CDC recommended amount and type of activity for optimum health benefits. Share the link above in the first stat with your clients so they can learn more.

While many coverage options provide a wealth of insurance benefits to help your clients maintain their health, some plans may also provide additional programs and features that pique the interest of those looking to increase their physical activity:

 Access to digital fitness tools

Consistent physical activity is a core principle of good health. With tools to help them track their fitness journey, your clients can integrate personalized health and fitness guidance, including tips on nutrition and self-assessments, into workout routines. These tools can be included in short-term medical or health benefit insurance coverage.

24/7/365 access to board-certified doctors

Increasing physical activity can have a significant impact on general health, but your clients may still suffer from common illnesses, allergies, or infections from time to time. Short-term medical and health benefit insurance coverage can include benefits that allow them to connect with doctors in mere minutes via mobile and video to address health concerns quickly and conveniently.

Patient advocacy service

As your clients continue to increase their physical activity and fitness levels and make the most of their health coverage, they may need assistance navigating the world of healthcare. As is found with many traditional health insurance plans, short-term medical and health benefit insurance coverage can also include access to a patient advocacy service that can help them schedule appointments, find quality doctors and facilities, lower out-of-pocket costs, and make informed decisions about healthcare.

Remember that short-term and health benefit insurance coverage are not intended to replace ACA or major medical plans. These types of coverages do not provide the minimum essential health benefits that are required and will not help to avoid the fee for not carrying health insurance. They have limitations, restrictions, and exclusions that your clients must understand prior to making a purchasing decision.

Are you ready to get your clients to #MoveInMay with quality coverage that addresses their concerns?

Learn more today by:

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

Source: “Facts About Physical Activity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/data/facts.htm