Monday, October 23, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Healthcare Open Enrollment

Open enrollment season is upon us and if you’re like most people, you’ve got questions, concerns and unique needs that require some sort of assistance. This blog post presents 20+ sources of good information regarding identifying, selecting, and enrolling in healthcare coverage for the 2018 plan year.

If I’ve missed anything that you feel should be included, please let me know via the comment section. Happy Enrolling!

General Information on Enrollment

“10 Questions to Ask at Open Enrollment Time”

“10 Things to Know for Open Enrollment 2018”

“10 Things You Need to Know About Health Insurance Open Enrollment”

"5 Changes for Obamacare Open Enrollment for 2018”

“Coverage Matters: What You Need to Know for Open Enrollment”

“What to Expect When You’re Enrolling: A Preview of Open Enrollment Season 4”

Special Enrollment Periods

“New Rules on Special Enrollment Periods: What Do They Mean for Consumers & Assisters Who Help Them?”

Tips & Best Practices for Open Enrollment

“4 Tips for Making the Most of Medicare’s Open Enrollment”

“5 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Open Enrollment for Health Insurance”

“Affordable Care Act Enrollment: 5 Money-Saving Tips for 2018”

“Useful Tools to Help with Medicare Open Enrollment”

Caveats & Warnings About Open Enrollment

"Open Enrollment: 5 Health Insurance Surprises to Avoid"

“1 In 5 Don't Know What Kind of Health Plan They Have”

“10 Things Your Health Insurance Company Won’t Tell You”

“How to Avoid Costly Open-Enrollment Mistakes”

“What to Watch Out for During Open Enrollment”

"5 Quick Facts About Tiered Marketplace Health Plans"

Assistance & Navigation with Open Enrollment

"4 Ways Brokers Can Help Clients Navigate Open Enrollment"

"Connecting Consumers to Coverage: Lessons Learned from Assisters for Successful Outreach and Enrollment" 

"Medicare Assisters: The Key to Enrollment?"

"Operational Tips for Agents/Brokers Assisting Consumers w/ Health Insurance Enrollments"

There's Always More!

For more information on healthcare benefits, maximizing the value of your healthcare coverage and to learn how to be a better healthcare consumer and patient, check out these collections of info that I maintain on a regular basis.

You may also want to consider following me on Twitter when I share healthcare related information, tips, ideas and commentary as @ShimCode

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hiding Behind the Label of a ‘Patient’ vs. a ‘Consumer’

An Anecdotal Story Every Day!

Tonight, I had a rather 'clouded exchange' on Twitter, with a person who shall remain nameless, about the difference between a healthcare patient and a healthcare consumer.

Is there really any difference? Yes. There is.

After more than a few tweets, I had enough. I signed off and took the garbage and recycling cans to the street. It's pickup day tomorrow. Then as I poured the can from my office into the 'black container' I got a second wind. I rebooted and here's my take on the exchange I had.

I challenge any reader to comment below and educate me about the difference between a healthcare patient and a healthcare consumer. And how the feel-good phrase of "healthcare is a right" applies to the 'consumers' in the story below.

There's Most Certainly a Difference

Then I recalled a conversation I had earlier today with a very close 'family friend/associate'  that, in my opinion, is a perfect example of the point I was trying to make: that most people are healthcare consumers – not patients - that people often make personal choices that often negate their status as a ‘patient.’  That there's a difference between true patients and healthcare consumers.

That people who 'consume' a lot of healthcare services often lean on the label of ‘patient’ as some way out of not being labeled a ‘consumer.’ "I can't help myself. I NEED these expensive services! I have not choice! I'm a patient!"

Here's a Story About Being a Healthcare Patient vs. a Healthcare Consumer

This post is for that person I just had a long interaction with on Twitter. 

(To be sure, this story is certainly not unique, I’ve witnessed it before many times. I’m sure you have too. Unfortunately, I’m sure it’s repeated by 100’s of 1000’s of people every day.)

A Healthcare Consumer Walks into a Bank:

“A lady I work with is a teller at the bank.”

“She’s about 60 years old and she weighs about 250 lbs. She's about 5 foot tall”

“She’s a self-described diabetic.”

"Every week she calls out at least one day because she has a doctor's appointment. She said she once spent 30 days in the hospital"

Suck up the Sugar!

“Every day she walks in to work with a ‘Big Q Drink’”

(I think the Big Q from QT is a 64oz drink. That’s 64 ounces – a HALF GALLON! With 700+ calories and 6+ ounces of sugar. SIX OUNCES of SUGAR… For breakfast! Read on…apparently just the wake up drink BEFORE THE REAL BREAKFAST!)

“Every day she brings an 8-pack of muffins, a box of cookies or some other ‘dessert. She sits down in the break room an washes down 3 or 4 muffins with her Big Q drink.’”

(How much more sugar is contained in these muffins? Does she share any of those or eat all of them. I didn't ask.)

Don't Kid Yourself, Your Choices Impact Others!

“In the last two months, she has ‘called out’ of work over 20 times. At first, it created a lot of hassle for the rest of us. We had to fill in, we had to cover for her.

(I assume that ’20 times’ over two months means 20 work days? Apparently 50% of her work schedule?)

"And after a while we began to expect it. And the managers wouldn’t do anything. They told us "We have to accommodate her. One manager said she'd love to fire her but would get in trouble. This lady got away with things none of us younger people would get slack on”

(Remember how healthcare issues impact productivity? Our collective well-being? Well this true story should be a wake up call.)

Healthcare Consumption Patterns Run in the Family!

"Her husband has had bypass surgery three times."

“Her husband often brings a bag of lunch from McDonalds for her."

"He's often wheeled into the bank in a chair."

"One time he got out of his chair and fell. It was huge deal because we had to call an ambulance and basically put the bank on lockdown while we all waited for the ambulance to come and take him away."

"Of course she also left work that day so the rest of us had to cover for her”

Taxpayers Support this Lunacy!

“This lady told us that her husband is retired from a career with the city of <Not Saying.> That he was a 'public servant and has 'excellent healthcare' - and that "I'm so glad that we don't have to pay ANYTHING  for our healthcare!'

(Right! Excellent healthcare. Paid for by the taxpayers of <Not Saying!>

To the Caffeniated Mommy I bantered with earlier tonight on Twitter:  I ask you: Is this lady a healthcare patient? Or a consumer?

Healthcare is NOT A RIGHT!

It's time we all woke up about the very limited Healthcare Resources available. And how much certain people consume. And how their actions have direct and indirect impact to the rest of us. And who are NOT acting like a 'patient.' 

Who still thinks healthcare is a right? Unfettered. Without any personal responsibility? I don't!