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Ten Ways To Make 2013 A Healthier Year For You And Your Family

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Did 2012 bring you good health? Whether you had an incredibly healthy year, or one filled with unexpected conditions and medications, everybody wants 2013 to be their healthiest year ever. So here’s our 10 suggestions designed to help you enjoy 2013, your healthiest year ever! And it might help you reduce your medical insurance premiums in Ohio.

Eat blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. They taste great and they have a lot of essential vitamins and nutrients. Of course when you have a craving for a Kit-Kat, Twix or some other incredibly addicting candy bar, it’s not easy to reach for the berries. But even if you substitute these berries just half of the time, you’ll feel much better.

Walk. I know. It’s boring. In fact, when I walk, I think about all of the other things I could be doing instead. And there are a lot  more interesting, less time-consuming tasks I come up with. Like cleaning the garage or emptying the dishwasher. Or going to the dentist. Wait. Hold on. Maybe walking isn’t as bad as I thought.

Play A Sport!

Play a sport. I play tennis. Not as much as I used to since I’m now in my 50s. Ouch. That hurt to say that. But I have been playing since junior high school, including local tournaments in the Dayton area. I also enjoy golf. Well, not really. I’m awful. In college at Miami U, I was selected as one of the “worst golfers on campus.” Sadly, I have regressed. But don’t let that stop you from playing.

tennis for health

Is Tennis In Your Future?

Take up a new sport. Perhaps racquetball or bowling. If your knees can stand the beating, play some recreational basketball with work associates. Try running. You don’t have to see if you can still run 40 yards under 5 seconds. Try jogging at a local park or around the neighborhood. If the wear and tear is too much, use a miniature exercise trampoline for indoor use.

Get out of the same routine. Regardless of whether it’s eating or other daily activities, shake it up a bit. Try going places on Tuesday that typically get done on Thursday. Take care of a few chores in the morning instead of the afternoon.

Get a flu shot. They’re cheap, fairly painless, don’t take up a lot of time and if you get the flu, you’ll be glad you got the shot. Don’t forget to have other family members (if applicable) get one as well. It could save you many weeks of agony and uncomfortable days away from work.

Read And Learn

Stay informed about a wide range of topics that you typically don’t embrace. Some examples would include, national healthcare, current events around the world, new cooking techniques and recipes and the latest movies. Also, enjoy fine arts in your area. See some plays, go to the Opera and watch a concert in the park. OK. I’m not saying that I’ll do all of these things, but you should! I’m just the author!

Be charitable. Will you be more healthy by giving more. Many studies say you will. By taking a few extra minutes of your time to give to others less fortunate as you, you’ll fell better about yourself and many other things, and you’ll be helping persons that will hopefully appreciate your acts of kindness. Whether through a local church or synagogue, or a local government organization, there are plenty pf opportunities to make a difference.

Routine Annual Physicals Are Free!

Get a physical. It won’t cost you anything since annual routine physical examinations are covered by your personal or group Ohio health insurance plan. Even after 2014, when State Exchanges appear (maybe), you won’t have to pay any out of pocket cost for preventive expenses. So take advantage. You paid for it!

Good Health

An Annual Physical Is Free

Keep in touch with old friends, neighbors and of course family members. Whether it’s in person, by phone, email or Facebook, an occasional unexpected “hi” will lift their spirits, and perhaps yours as well. It might also begin or reinvigorate an old relationship that you’ll cherish for years. Of course, you better check with your wife first about some of those old relationships!

There you have it. Ten ideas that will make your 2013 a better and healthier year. Enjoy it!

2013 Ohio HSA Contribution Guidelines And Information

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Ohio HSA accounts in 2013 will continue to be one of the most affordable options for securing affordable medical coverage. Single and family policies can be purchased from almost every large insurance company in the state. We  make it easy for you so you can apply directly through our website. The IRS has also changed some of its contribution and deductible limits for Health Savings Accounts contracts.

In 2013, the minimum deductible allowed for an individual contract is $1.250. This is $50 higher than in 2012. An HSA with more than one person included (considered a “family”) is now $2,500, which is a $100 increase from last year’s limit. Keep in mind that these are “minimum” deductible amounts, and typically, you will benefit more when you select a higher deductible. However, you may not be able to change deductibles if you can’t qualify medically.

Why You Should Consider A Higher Deductible

For example, while a $2,500 family deductible would mean less potential out-of-pocket cost for a serious hospital claim, you are likely to lose money in the process. Here’s how: Almost every time, the extra cost associated with a $2,500 deductible plan is substantially higher than a $6,000 or $7.000 deductible. That is, you may pay between $2,000 and $3,500 more per year for a benefit you hardly ever use.

Examining this over a period of five years, you pay $10,000 (and often more) in premiums. It is unlikely that you will meet or exceed your deductible the necessary two or three times needed over the five-year period to break even. I base that analysis on my 30+ years of experience in the business along with my first-hand knowledge of owning an HSA! Although there is no guarantee you won’t have many huge claims, the odds are simply against that occurring.

HSA Plans In Ohio Save Money

Ohio HSA Contribution Limits 2013

Contribution maximums have also increased for 2013. For individual accounts, the new limit is $3,250, an increase of $200. For family accounts, the new limit is $6,450, which also represents an increase of $200 from last year. The “bonus” or “catch-up” amount remains unchanged at $1,000 if an Ohio HSA owner was at least 55 years old and wanted to make contributions above the stated maximums.

Of course, these are the “maximum” amounts that you can deposit into the savings portion of the policy. The vast majority of consumers do not come close to meeting or exceeding these numbers. Most persons tend to slowly deposit funds, perhaps in the $50-$150 per month range. Of course, more is allowed and you can abruptly stop or start your deposits at any time (assuming you have not reached maximums).

You Can’t Tax-Deduct Everything

It’s important to only use the account for “qualified” deductions. Otherwise, the IRS imposes a pesky 20% penalty! For example, non-prescribed prescriptions (over-the-counter) are no longer deductible due to a ruling change by the Obama administration in 2011. If IRS forms 5329 or8829 are needed, we can help explain details.

High Deductible Plans must accompany this type of coverage and you can view all of the best options live on our website through our quote box. Usually, Anthem, Medical Mutual and UnitedHealthOne feature the most competitive rates. Occasionally, Humana will sneak into the mix. For retired persons, MSA accounts have become very popular and are ideal choices if you tend not to meet your deductible.

For my personal account (my wife and two children are also included), we deposit $200 per month into the HSA portion. Fortunately, we have no health problems and the account has grown to a point where it will reach the ceiling of what we can have in there. And, that’s precisely what you want. Although we use very little of the deposits, we still take the $2,400 tax deduction each year.  It’s a wonderful concept.

We use Chase Bank and have had no problems since we created the account more than a decade ago. All transactions are online although I’m certain there is a local office here in Springboro (somewhere!). Our monthly maintenance fee is $3. I am not endorsing Chase, but simply pointing out that any large reputable bank can probably effectively handle the HSA side account. Credit Unions may also be able to create an account.

There are certainly pros and cons for using any type of Medical Savings Account. You can contact us anytime and we’ll give you an accurate unbiased assessment. You can also view additional HSA plans in Ohio information.

Cheap Temporary Medical Coverage In Ohio From Humana

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Cheap temporary medical coverage in Ohio from Humana will cover yourself and your dependents. Short-term health insurance rates are always very low, and these types of policies can be used if you need to get coverage quickly or only need benefits for a few months (or perhaps longer). In many situations, you can keep your policy for as long  as 12 months. You may also buy a policy for one month, although it will have to be renewed if you need additional benefits.

Humana’s plan covers both accidental and illness claims and is very easy to apply for. Just like any policy on our website, after you view the quote, you can choose to “apply” online for coverage by answering some simple questions. If there are no significant health issues, you may be approved immediately. Otherwise, usually within a day or two, short-term coverage will go into effect. An ID card and policy specimen is typically sent within 7-14 days, although you have access to the policy number immediately after approval.

NOTE: A temporary policy is not designed to replace a long-term Marketplace plan, especially since they do not contain many of the mandated “Essential Health Benefits” that are required under the healthcare legislation that was passed in 2010. However, it will provide stopgap coverage and give you ample time to either enroll in another compliant policy or obtain group benefits through an employer.

Deductible And Coinsurance Options

The three deductible options are $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000. Since it is unlikely you are going to meet that amount during such a short period of time, $2,500 and $5,000 are the most popular choices. Family deductible options are double the individual amounts. Coinsurance (discussed below) will also impact the premium you pay and the potential out-of-pocket expenses you may be responsible for. 50% coinsurance will result in the lowest possible rates.

Cheapest Short-Term Medical Plans

Don’t Roll The Dice By Going Without Coverage

We prefer the 0% coinsurance options with Ohio Humana short term health insurance plans. Coinsurance is the percentage of the claim you pay after the deductible has been met. However, on UnitedHealthcare temporary plans, we prefer the 20% option. One important item that must be considered is that the odds are heavily against you meeting the deductible when you purchase these types of plans. For that reason, lower amounts are often not the best choice.

Most benefits begin after the deductible has been met. Some of the preventive coverage includes child health supervision, pap smears, mammograms, and colorectal cancer screenings. If you visit a non-network facility, you may have to pay a portion of the cost. Routine office visits are covered  along with lab tests and x-rays (including allergy tests). Typical inpatient and outpatient expenses are also included in the policy. You can view specific details here.

No coinsurance simplifies and improves your coverage once a deductible has been reached. For example, prescriptions are covered at 100% after the deductible has been met. The same applies to 30 days of skilled nursing facilities and 40 home health care visits. Complications of pregnancy are also included in benefits, if ever needed. For more comprehensive maternity benefits, another type of policy must be utilized. The Anthem Premier plan provides comprehensive maternity (including prenatal) benefits. Other short term options can be found on this page.

$2 Million Cap

Unlike long-term plans that have no lifetime cap for benefits paid, usually, short-term policies do have an upper limit. This Humana plan has a $2 million lifetime limit per person, which is more than sufficient since the contract isn’t likely to be kept very long. If you were going to use it for long-term coverage, we would recommend higher limits. And if you’re not sure of the length of time you need  a policy, simply pay monthly to give you the flexibility of terminating when you have secured other coverage.

We like the Humana temporary health insurance plan if you live here in Ohio. It is indeed cheap, although sometimes the UnitedHealthcare options are less expensive. You can view additional details here. And you can always instantly view live quotes and apply for coverage at the top of the page.

UPDATES:

January 7 2015 – Humana no longer offers “short-term” plans. If you are under age 30, you can purchase a catastrophic Marketplace contract. Otherwise, a subsidized Bronze-tier policy is the cheapest option.

UnitedHealthcare and a few other carriers (you can view prices on our website) are viable options for keeping coverage only a few months.

Paul Ryan, Ohio Health Insurance Exchange And Miami University

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Paul Ryan, the Ohio Health Insurance Exchange and Miami University. What could they possibly have in common and why am I writing about it? I have to admit…the title is a bit odd, but I know a little bit about all three.

Of course, Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney’s running mate and nominee for Vice President of the US. And he also just happens to be a 1992 Miami University graduate with degrees in economics and political science. Long-time economics professor Richard Hart was one of his mentors while there.

As a 1980 graduate of Miami, I also was a business major although I don’t remember Professor Hart. But I did take many of the same classes as Ryan, and perhaps was taught by a few of the same professors. And I assume we took classes in many of the same buildings. But I have a feeling that he spent more time at the library than I did.

I ate many of these at Miami. Too many!

I am certain that Representative Ryan and I have crossed many of the same paths while at Oxford. Of course the “Bagel & Deli” shop is where Ryan stopped to eat on August 15th. I remember the place well, having ordered there about five times per week during my Miami stay. Delivery is a great feature about college eateries. Although I was not in a fraternity  and never drove the “Wienermobile”  as Paul did ( while he worked summers for Oscar Mayer), the memories we both share of Mother Miami are still quite fresh.

The Exchange?

By now, you may be wondering how the proposed Ohio Health Insurance Exchange fits in this discussion. Under existing legislation, the way you buy your health insurance will change in 2014. Currently, you can pick and choose among hundreds of available plans from more than a dozen reputable companies. You can pick and choose the benefits that YOU want and often exclude coverage you don’t need. You can apply for a policy at any time, and cancel your contract without worrying about non-compliance.

For example, if you’re in your 50s and simply don’t want to pay for maternity benefits, since it’s unlikely you’ll utilize it, you can pick plans that don’t charge you for that rider. Or, if you have been reasonably healthy and prefer to cover large medical claims instead of paying for office visit coverage you never use, you can choose a high-deductible catastrophic plan.  Do you want a $10,000 deductible? No problem. Do you prefer a cheap Ohio temporary health insurance plan that costs less than $50 per month? Consider it done!

In 2014, It All Changes

But in 2014, your choices will be drastically cut and you will be forced to pay for coverage you may not need or want. You’ll have to choose between a Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze plan. That’s it. Maternity and other benefits you may not want will be required on all policies. And yes, you’ll pay for that. Although tax incentives may help, premiums will go up and the number of providing physicians will probably decrease.

By now, everyone knows that Paul Ryan is one of the leading proponents of changing and improving our health insurance system, but in a much more cost-effective and consumer-friendly way than the current proposed changes. His ideology will reward healthy persons with personal health saving accounts that accumulate funds if you don’t use it. And unhealthy persons will be able to afford to purchase quality health care through the top health insurers.

Regardless of who wins the election, I do know this. Paul Ryan will be a major contributor to lowering our national budget, Miami University will still attract the brightest high school students, and I’ll continue to eat bagels. As for health insurance in Ohio,  you can count one one thing. You will continue to view the lowest rates on our website. You can buy direct, or with our help. And if you’re in the area, we’ll recommend a good bagel place as well!

Obamacare Upheld By Supreme Court Ruling – How Does This Impact Ohio?

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By a narrow vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court ruled this morning that the federal government can impose a tax on persons that refuse to purchase health insurance. Thus, health care reform (Obamacare) will proceed and move forward and much of the implementation will take place starting in 2014. But what about individuals and families in Ohio? How will we be impacted? We’ll try to answer some of those questions.

Does this change the way health insurance is purchased here in Ohio?

Currently, there is no “Exchange” set up here and there is a chance one may never be set up. However, Ohio can choose to allow the federal government to set it up. The current administration would like to see “Exchanges” in 2014 dictate how coverage is purchased. But the clunky nature of the Exchanges along with their unpopularity have many legislatures and citizens concerned. Additional research information is found here, with additional details on “benchmark plans,” “essential health benefits” and other ACA Legislation features.

So for now, Ohioquotes.com will continue to offer the lowest available rates from all of the top companies. Quotes are free and so is the professional service You can apply online or we’ll fax/email an application.  If Exchanges become the law of the land, we will continue to help you find affordable coverage through these government-run websites, which will also be referred to as “Marketplaces.”

How do most Ohioans feel about the health care law?

Last year, in a referendum (Issue 3), Ohioans voted against the change. Most residents of the state are still against the massive overhaul, and this could affect the candidate they vote for in the upcoming presidential election. If Mitt Romney is elected, it’s possible part or all of the legislation could be repealed or simply have funds withheld for its implementation. If Romney is not elected, the legislation will be fully implented and the healthcare landscape will change.

What are some of the good parts of the law?

Actually, there are many portions of the “Affordable Care Act” that are quite positive. For example, most preventive expenses are now covered with no waiting period and no out-of-pocket expense and dependents can stay on their parent’s health care plans until age 26. Insurance companies also must now spend less money on administrative expenses and more on health care costs. And of course, in 2014 insurers can not deny an applicant coverage because of any pre-existing conditions. However, after an Open Enrollment period ends, alternative coverage will have to be arranged.

Will premiums in Ohio now go up in 2014?

Yes. And perhaps substantially. Since insurance carriers can not decline any applicant for medical conditions, healthy individuals and even fairly-healthy individuals will have to pay more. And maybe a lot more. Look for rates to increase once 2014 arrives. What many people don’t realize is that currently, rates in Ohio are among the lowest in the country and with the Risk Pool and Open Enrollment, almost anybody can qualify for coverage. In 2014, it may be different.

I have a policy right now. Can I keep it in 2014?

The President says you can. Many experts in the field say you can’t. I guess we’ll eventually find out.