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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 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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