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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 January 11, 2021

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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2. Stress Relief

Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

3. Improved Sleep

Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

4. Appetite Control

Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

7. Mosquito Repellant

Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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8. Pain Relief

While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

9. The New Anti-Viral

Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

10. Improved Cognitive Function

Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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11. Money Saving

With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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