CEO Rebecca Yates recently sat down with the hosts of the Cre8tivity podcast. They talked about all things health insurance, focusing on freelancers and businesses, as well as family coverage.
Get to know Rebecca and learn how you can get the best health insurance plan to meet your needs.
Listen in here:
REBECCA YATES is a superhero! Running over half a dozen businesses, being a single mother of two daughters, and helping everyone she can to get health coverage, in case anything unexpected happens (Illness, COVID, Etc)!
We hope this episode is helpful to freelancers, families, & businesses!
COVID-19 vaccinations are a major tool to help us return to normal. There is a lot of information out there about the COVID-19 vaccines—and many people you know may have questions or concerns, or lack accurate information about the vaccines. You can play a key role in helping those close to you navigate this topic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following guidance for how to talk with friends and family about COVID-19 vaccines.
Listen to Their Questions With Empathy
COVID-19 vaccines are new, and it’s normal for people to have questions about them. The sheer amount of information—and misinformation—about COVID-19 vaccines can be overwhelming to anyone. You can help by listening without judgment and identifying the root of their concerns.
Acknowledge their emotions so they know they have been heard. For example, you can say, “It sounds like you are stressed at work and home, and concerns about the vaccine are another source of stress. That’s really tough.”
Ask Open-ended Questions to Explore Their Concerns
Open-ended questions are meant to elicit more than a yes-or-no answer. Asking open-ended questions can help you understand what your friend or family member is worried about, where they learned any troubling information and what they have done to get answers to their questions. For example, you can ask, “How did watching that news report make you feel? What did you do next?” Try not to sound judgmental, and ask questions that help you understand their concerns. For example, avoid things like, “That’s a silly concern,” or “Why would you be worried about that?”
Ask Permission to Share Information
Once you understand your friend or family member’s question or concern, ask if you can provide some information, and tell them where you get information you trust. If they agree, they will be more willing to listen to you instead of feeling like you’re pushing unwanted information on them. You can find answers to common questions from reputable sources, including the CDC or local health department websites, or other trusted sources such as a doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Sometimes, sharing quick, accurate answers to common concerns your family or friends might have can go a long way toward moving someone from worry to confidence. If you don’t know the answer to their questions, consider offering to help look for information.
Help Them Find Their Own Reason to Get Vaccinated
Everyone who chooses to get vaccinated does it for a reason—to protect their family, to protect their children, to be less anxious, to visit their parents or to get back to activities like seeing friends, resuming work or returning to school. After addressing concerns with empathy and facts, you can steer the conversation from “why not” to the important reasons that matter to them—their “why.” You may choose to share your reasons for getting vaccinated or discuss common goals you may have, like visiting with others safely. The reasons that someone may choose to get vaccinated will always be those that are most compelling to them personally.
Help Make Their Vaccination Happen
Once someone decides on their “why,” help them make a commitment to get vaccinated. Help make the path to vaccination shorter, easier and less stressful for them. Offer to help your family member or friend make a vaccination appointment at a location nearby, and, if needed, go with them to the appointment. Offer to help with transportation or to babysit if they need child care.
Remember, every person who chooses to get vaccinated brings us all a step closer to moving past the COVID-19 pandemic. As a trusted messenger to your family and friends, you can play a role in their decision to vaccinate.
To Learn More
The CDC updates its website regularly with new COVID-19 vaccine information and provides information about vaccine availability. For more specific health guidance, speak with your doctor.
The foods and beverages you consume have a significant impact on your health. Diet-related chronic diseases—such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and some types of cancer—are prevalent among Americans and pose a major public health problem. In fact, 60% of adults have one or more diet-related chronic diseases.
Every five years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture publish nutrition advice. The newest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020-2025) offers science-based nutrition advice to develop healthy eating habits and reduce chronic disease risk. For the first time, this edition provides recommendations by life stage, from birth through older adulthood.
2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines
The latest guidance provides four overarching guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns while recognizing that individuals will need to make shifts in their food and beverage choices to achieve a healthy pattern.
Make every bite count and consider the following four overarching guidelines:
1. Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage. Dietary needs and recommendations vary based on your age, sex and stage of life. Review the guidelines to ensure that you and your loved ones—whether they’re infants, teens, adults or older adults—are following a healthy diet.
2. Customize your foods and beverages to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions and budgets. A healthy dietary pattern can benefit all people regardless of age, race, ethnicity or current health status.
3. Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages while staying within calorie limits. Keep in mind that 85% of your daily calories should meet food group recommendations for vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy and protein. Nutrient-dense foods are rich in vitamins and minerals, without too much-added sugars, saturated fats and sodium.
4. Limit foods and beverages high in added sugars, saturated fats and sodium. Be mindful of the nutritional facts of the foods and beverages you consume—including alcohol. For example, men should limit alcohol to two drinks a day and women should consume no more than one drink per day.
Everyone can benefit from a healthy eating pattern, so start simple with modest changes each day.
For healthy recipes or to learn more about the current guidelines, visit MyPlate.gov.
Understanding Prescription Drug Pricing Trends
In 2019, the United States spent nearly $370 billion on prescription drugs, keeping trend with significant increases year over year. Although prescription drug spending has historically been a small proportion of national health care costs compared to hospital and physician services, it has grown rapidly in recent years—comprising about 10% of national health care spending. Below are the two major factors contributing to the rise of prescription drug costs:
- Influx of specialty drugs—Specialty medications account for a smaller portion of U.S. prescriptions than non-specialty drugs, yet they command nearly half of the pharmaceutical market. In 2021, experts predict an 11.5% increase in specialty drug prices, compared to a 2.8% rise in non-specialty drug prices. These manufacturer price increases are often cited by insurers as reasons for rising insurance premiums.
- Price inflation—According to a Segal report, 40% of new products recently launched by drug manufacturers were specialty medications. These drugs are now being pushed at a higher rate than non-specialty drugs, contributing to price inflation. Specialty drug utilization increased by nearly 6% in 2020, whereas non-specialty drug usage remained relatively the same. And there is little recourse for anyone seeking an alternative to these specialty drugs.
Yet, despite these trends, there are cost-cutting strategies available to employers. These include managing drug usage, utilizing rebates, and educating employees. Reach out to learn more about these and other budgetary tactics.
3 Voluntary Benefits Trends to Watch in 2021
Voluntary benefits have always been great tools for rounding off employee benefits offerings. And that value isn’t lost on employers—at least 50% offer some sort of voluntary benefits, according to an Alera Group report. Employers can expect to see voluntary benefits grow in these three key areas in 2021:
- Expanded offerings such as eldercare and critical illness insurance
- A focus on financial wellness, including budget counseling and financial planning
- Greater customization, allowing employees to pick and choose what’s best for them
Voluntary benefits include dental, vision, critical illness, pet insurance, and similar offerings that are paid for partially by employees. During the COVID-19 pandemic, having additional benefits options like these could be exactly what employees need. Specifically, these trends indicate employees want more control over the benefits that are important to them.
Reach out to learn how to help employees maximize their voluntary benefits.
Balancing Caregiving and Your Career
The demands of caregiving and working a part-time or full-time job can leave you exhausted and stressed. When left untreated, chronic stress can develop into serious health problems, including depression, anxiety and cardiovascular disease.
If you are struggling to balance your career with the demands of caregiving, consider the following employer-provided resources:
- Shift flexibility—Talk to your manager about how to make your schedule less burdensome by altering your hours or telecommuting.
- Employee assistance program (EAP)—Be sure to discuss your EAP options with your HR representative. They will likely be able to chat about care management and determine if your situation qualifies you for any benefits.
- Stress management—Talk to your manager and other co-workers about organizing stress-relieving activities at the workplace.
This balancing act between providing care while working full or part-time can be both stressful and exhausting. For additional resources, contact your HR manager.
Lower Your Health Care Costs by Improving Your Well-being
Taking control of your overall well-being can greatly lower your health care costs. Lifestyle changes can help prevent or lessen the severity of health issues, which may result in fewer health expenses and greater well-being.
Consider changes to address components of well-being:
- Physical well-being—Stay physically active, eat a well-balanced diet to fuel your body, and get enough sleep each night.
- Mental well-being—Find ways to deal with stress, like journaling or meditating, and consider therapy to talk to a professional.
- Social well-being—Join a club or sports team to meet new people.
The Basics of FSAs
Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) provide you with a tax advantage to help pay for health care and dependent care. As an employee, you set aside a portion of your pre-tax salary in an account, and that money is deducted from your paycheck throughout the year. Consider the following types of FSAs:
- Health care reimbursement FSAs can be used for your deductible, copayments, and eligible health care expenses, including prescription drugs, dental costs, eyeglasses, and contacts.
- Dependent care FSAs let you use pre-tax dollars toward qualified dependent care, such as the cost of nursery schools.
FSAs are beneficial if you have out-of-pocket medical, dental, vision, hearing, or dependent care expenses beyond what your insurance plan covers.
Please reach out to one of our agents if you have questions.
Although we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, and many are working from home or quarantines are keeping you away from the gym, there are several ways you can get that daily workout in for FREE.
Working out is not only good for the body; it is excellent for the mind. We must do our best to keep our spirits up and our bodies healthy during these trying times.
Here are a few ideas:
Walking/Running-it may seem obvious, but walking and/or running just 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for heart disease, burn calories, and elevate your mood. Additional good news, you don’t need any special gear or equipment to do it. A good pair of comfortable shoes will do the trick for walkers and a decent pair of running shoes for runners. Getting outside is literally a breath of fresh air, which we all need, especially mask-free if possible.
Meditation-with so many apps and even podcasts available on meditation, even the novice can practice this mindful technique. In just 10 minutes, you can clear your mind, soothe the soul, and reduce stress. There are also many videos on YouTube for free that you can access on your devices.
YouTube fitness classes– YouTube has an array of videos offering free workouts. From kickboxing to HIIT training and yoga, there really is something for everyone. Subscribe to your favorites and get a new workout each day.
New year, new goals? There has never been a better time to get moving within your own space or in the great outdoors while social distancing.
Most major health systems around the country are part of a program through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services that provide payments for uninsured patients who have COVID-19.
Medical bills are covered through the pandemic legislation relief, the CARES Act.
Patients may not be informed of this upfront; ask the question if it is a concern.
If you missed the Open Enrollment period and have had a “life” event, read on.
Did you know that certain life changes may qualify you to enroll in health insurance coverage outside of the standard enrollment period?
Did you or anyone in your household lose qualifying health coverage in the last 60 days? If so, you would qualify for the special enrollment period.
Here are some other examples of qualifying events:
- Birth of a child
- Gained or became a dependent
- Divorce or legal separation resulting in loss of health insurance
- Change in income
- Change in zip code/primary place of living
- Denied Medicaid or CHIP
- Gained citizenship in the United States
- Released from incarceration
If any of these apply to you or your family, please give us a call for a quote today!