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Have You Chosen the Right Healthcare Plan for Your Family?

Have You Chosen the Right Healthcare Plan for Your Family?

Unless you have health care coverage and benefits under your employer, the task now falls to you to select the right healthcare plan for you and your family. Since the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known simply as “Obamacare,” it is now mandatory for each person to select a healthcare plan or risk paying a penalty annually at tax time.

So learning the ins and outs of the still-complicated healthcare system is now an urgent necessity. In this post, learn more about how the Affordable Care Act provides you with options so you can choose the right plan for your family.

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An Overview of Obamacare Health Insurance Plans

The federal government’s healthcare website, Health Insurance Marketplace, offers you an overview of how Obamacare insurance plans are structured to work.

For example, there are 5 categories of health insurance plans you can choose from, listed here in order from least amount of coverage (and lowest premium) to highest:

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  1. Catastrophic
  2. Bronze
  3. Silver
  4. Gold
  5. Platinum

There are also different types of plan structures, including these:

  • HMOs (health maintenance organizations). You must use providers that participate in the plan and may need to live in certain geographic areas.
  • PPOs (preferred provider organizations). You can use any provider but will pay less if you use providers that participate in the plan. You don’t need a referral to see a specialist.
  • POS (point of service plans). After getting a required referral from your primary care doctor, you will pay less by using the providers in the plan.
  • EPOs (exclusive provider organizations). You will be covered if you use the providers in the plan’s network.
  • HSAs (health savings plans). You can save up a certain amount annually on a tax-free basis to use for approved health care expenses. Usually, HSAs are a benefit included as part of a health plan.

How to Save Money on a Family Health Care Plan

The Affordable Care Act maintains that financial assistance in the form of a subsidy is available for individuals and families whose income falls below a certain threshold. But in order to get the subsidy applied to your monthly health care premium, you must purchase your healthcare plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

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The website will walk you through how to calculate how much of a subsidy you may qualify for by inputting certain personal and financial information. You can then choose whether to apply all of your subsidy, part of it or none of it. You can also reserve part of it to purchase optional dental or vision coverage.

Another way to save money on a family health care plan through the Marketplace is to choose a lower level of coverage. Platinum, as the highest level of coverage, will come with the highest premiums. Bronze, as the lowest level of coverage, will come with the lowest premiums (save for Catastrophic, which is a category only certain individuals are eligible to choose).

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If you choose to work with an insurer, you can get free insurance quotes to decide on the most affordable premium for the level of coverage you need.

How to Decide How Much Coverage Your Family Needs

The best way to determine how much coverage you may need is to take the health history of each family member. You can then start with any ongoing issues that require medical treatment and review each plan to ensure the level of coverage is adequate to address those issues.

It is also important to remember that, under Obamacare, preventative health care services for women have expanded and pre-existing conditions can no longer be disqualified by insurers. Also, in some plans, dental and vision care is automatically provided for minors. In this way, these new plans strive to give you the most coverage economically.

Featured photo credit: pexels.com via pexels.com

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Kevin Faber

CEO Silver Summit

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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