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Posts made in December, 2016


You probably think of vision benefits as something only people with known eyesight problems really need. However, according to the National Association of Vision Plans, Americans with vision care insurance exhibit healthier eye care habits overall. And since we can all develop health issues with our eyes (even if we don’t have a history of vision problems), regular checkups are important for everyone. These checkups can keep your employees healthy, help them manage overall healthcare costs, and even prevent time lost from work due to events ranging from severe headaches to eye surgery. According to the study, 62 percent of people with vision benefits had an eye exam within the last year. A whopping 90 percent planned to see the eye doctor at some point next year. Meanwhile, only 40 percent of people without a vision care plan had visited an eye care professional in the preceding 12 months, and only 67 percent said they would probably make an appointment within the next year. In other words, people with vision benefits tend to visit eye care professionals much more often than those who do not have this type of insurance. That information probably does not surprise you. However, what might surprise you is the fact that eye care providers tend to be the first line of defense against many diseases and chronic conditions. And since early detection of some problems can lead to a faster and easier resolution, vision care benefits can actually lower overall long-term health care costs. In fact, 5.6 percent of all chronic conditions are first identified by a comprehensive eye exam. Imagine how long those conditions might have gone untreated! Many chronic conditions must progress much farther before they are noticed by the patient or his primary care physician, at which point the condition could be much more difficult and expensive to treat. Regular vision care also helps those with vision problems to receive up-to-date prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. Using outdated corrective lenses can result in chronic headaches, and advancements in technology can help to ward off problems that would otherwise develop from wearing old contact lenses. Vision problems can also develop as we age, so even those who have never experienced difficulties should visit an eye care professional regularly for early detection of nearsightedness and other conditions. For more information on vision care benefits, give us a call. We can help you determine if adding vision care to your roster of employee benefits would be a useful and cost-saving measure for your...

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We’re currently right in the middle of the annual Open Enrollment period for health insurance, which opened on November 1 and will end January 31. You still have plenty of time to enroll in a health insurance plan, but what happens if you get busy and forget? There are two main consequences of procrastination, and neither of them are easy to get around. First, if you don’t enroll in a health insurance plan as required by the Affordable Care Act, you will most likely be subject to a penalty on your income taxes. When you file your income tax return in the spring of 2018, you could be fined up to $2,085 if your family did not have health insurance coverage in 2017. There are exceptions to this rule, but they fall under pretty strict requirements and it’s difficult to qualify for them. Second, going without health insurance can quite simply be dangerous. Even if you’re in excellent health, one accident or illness could set you back by tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. With quality health insurance plans so readily available – and most Californians qualifying for subsidies to help cover their premiums – neglecting to enroll in a plan simply doesn’t make sense. But for various reasons, people still sometimes miss the Open Enrollment window. Luckily, regulations take into account changing needs during the course of the year. If one of these following conditions apply to you at any point, you can still enroll in a health insurance policy during a Special Enrollment Period: You lose Medi-Cal coverage, employer-sponsored coverage, or COBRA You turn 26 years old and must exit your parent’s plan You turn 19 and are no longer eligible for a child-only plan You move and gain access to at least one new Covered California health insurance plan You have a baby, adopt a child, or receive a child into foster care You get married, enter into a domestic partnership, or get divorced You lose health insurance coverage after leaving military service Your citizenship status changes You are a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe You discover that you were subject to incorrect eligibility determination during the Open Enrollment period There was an error processing your application during Open Enrollment Your health plan violates its contract … and many more life-changing events If you think you might be eligible for a Special Enrollment period during the year, contact us so that we can discuss your situation. But if you’re reading this, then we want to remind you that Open Enrollment is happening right now, and everyone should investigate their health insurance...

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