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2015 Enrollment Choices: Change or Keep Your Plan

Starting November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2014, you can update your application or change plans.

If you have health coverage for this year, you can renew your current plan or enroll in a different plan for 2015. You’ll most probably be enrolled in a similar plan or your current plan and even if you’ll be automatically enrolled, you can change to a new plan.

You’ll receive notifications about your health coverage before the 15th of November. These notices will come from the Marketplace and from your health insurance carrier. It’s very important to review them carefully and keep it in a safe place as you’ll need the plan identification number that appears on your insurance company notice.

If you have an existing Marketplace coverage, you will be enrolled automatically in your 2014 plan or a similar plan. Even if you don’t do anything, you’ll get coverage that will start on January 1, 2015. You’ll either have the same premium tax credit and other savings you had in 2014 or you’ll be enrolled without any premiums or savings.

For those who will receive a notice that you’re not enrolled automatically, you’ll need to take the necessary steps and enroll in a plan by the 15th of December for your coverage to start next year. On the other hand, you are allowed to pick a different plan for 2015 coverage even if you are enrolled in a plan automatically. If you didn’t get a notice from the Marketplace by the end of November 2014, you can log in to your account after November 15th and update your application for 2015 coverage or you can call the Marketplace directly.

Plans and estimated prices are available for your review on the Marketplace. If you have questions about your policy or coverage, call 503-972-4285. I can assist you when you apply, select a plan, and enroll for coverage.

2015 Open Enrollment: Is Your Business Ready?

The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) offers a simpler way to get health coverage that fits the needs of your staff and your business. You must have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees and meet other requirements to qualify in SHOP coverage.

For coverage starting January 1, 2015, there are major changes that you should know about. These include applying, comparing plans, and enrolling in a SHOP plan online. Your employees will also be able to enroll in your plan online too, making the process easier for both of you.

Moreover, in some states, you have the option to offer more than one plan to your employees. This allows them to find a health plan suited for them. Registered health insurance agents and brokers will now have access to special online features making the process smoother. New SHOP online application will have the option to search for agents and brokers by zip code so you can work with a representative near you.

To get ready to enroll in the SHOP Marketplace, talk to your employees to assess their coverage needs. You can also use the SHOP Full-time Equivalent Employee Calculator to determine if you qualify based on the number of employees. There’s also a Tax Credit Estimator Tool to find out if you may be eligible for a tax credit.

If you still have questions about your options, do not hesitate to call me at 503-972-4285, download the Obamacare Survival Guide or explore helpful resources at

5 Tips for a Healthy and Safe Halloween

Halloween is a fun holiday for everyone. But sometimes, the excitement shifts the focus away from potential hazards. You should be aware of health and safety issues that may arise and should take the necessary precautions.

Here are some tips to make the most out of your evening and make it far from frightening:

Costumes cautions. Costumes, wigs, and beards must be made of flame-resistant materials. Choose bright colors as it can be clearly seen by motorists, otherwise add some reflective tape to increase visibility. Make sure that your child’s costume is not too baggy or oversized, and shoes are tied appropriately to avoid tripping. You can place a name tag with your contact details in their costume and keep a small flashlight in their pockets or treat bags.

Safety musts. Instruct your kids not to enter the house of a lone occupant or any stranger and remind them to stay on sidewalks. As much as possible, advise them to stay inside your neighborhood vicinity, approach well-lit houses only, travel in groups, and keep their phones handy so they contact you for any concerns. It is also a good idea to set a reasonable curfew.

Be sure to clear the path and remove objects that could cause your kids to trip or fall and keep pets away from the door as they might scare your little ghouls.

Decorations. While you’re carving the pumpkin, keep kids at a safe distance to avoid injuries from sharp objects. You can let them draw and design the pumpkin so they can have fond memories of the activity. Lighters, matches, and candles should be stored in a place where your kids can’t reach them.

Adult parties. If you’re throwing a scary-good party, don’t let drinking get out of hand. Take car keys away from anyone who may be driving. Offer to drive your guests home, especially those who may be too intoxicated.

Health concerns. You can make trick-or-treating an exercising event for your kids by setting a goal of how many houses they will walk to. Before your kids head out, make sure they eat healthy dinner so they won’t get tempted to dig into their loots. Inspect all edible treats to ensure they are sealed and remove anything that could be a potential choking hazard. Manage the amount of treats that they are going to eat. Moreover, you can set an example to your neighborhood and pass out healthy treats like pretzels and raisin.

We wish you all have a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween!
Get the Most Out of Your Doctor’s Visit With These Tips


At some point, you’ve been battling with sickness or trying to prevent it. In between the endless wait, sitting with a magazine on hand, and a queue of strangers sneezing and coughing next to you, a thoughtful preparation will facilitate a smooth doctor’s visit.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next appointment:

Make a list. Do your homework before you get to the office. Write down your priorities and prepare a list of questions regarding your health condition. This will help you stay focused and maximize the minutes of your visit.

Bring your insurance card. If you are a new patient, don’t forget to bring your insurance card and your copay if you have one. If you are visiting the same clinic, it is best to present an updated copy of your current insurance card.

Carefully pick the day and time of your visit. It’s also important to show up early for your appointment.

Prepare to share. Bring all your medical records and lab results and share them with your new doctor. Let him know if you have been treated in the emergency room or by a specialist in the past, symptoms you have noticed, and any medications you are taking.

Ask questions. If your doctor says something you don’t understand, ask questions. At the end of your visit, you should be able to understand your health issues, medication dosage and side effects, treatment options, and what you can do to stay healthy.

Ask about insurance coverage. Find out if a certain lab work or a given treatment is covered by your health plan. If you are being referred to a specialist, make sure he is also in your network. If not, check with your doctor’s office to know the costs associated with a provider out of the network.

Working with a reliable doctor can help you understand your health and lifestyle and make necessary improvements. This will ensure you are receiving the best possible care.

What You Can Do To Stop Domestic Violence

Anyone can be a victim of sexual and domestic violence, but survey found that women are more likely to carry the burden of these types of violence. Think about the recently leaked video of NFL player Ray Rice beating his then-fiancee Janay. It’s all too common: According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, more than 31 percent of women in the U.S. have been physically abused by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.

Violence and trauma to women of all ages can result in serious injuries, chronic health problems, and even death. Identifying current or past abusive experiences can make a profound impact in their lives, preventing further abuse, reducing the incidence of disability, and improving health and well-being.

This also brought me to the discussion of the Affordable Care Act requiring all new health plans to provide coverage for preventive health services, including screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence. This will benefit women and help ensure that they can receive proper intervention at no added cost. The guidelines were adopted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine.

Health care providers are also encouraged to connect and support women who experience interpersonal and domestic violence. During a well-woman visit, providers can conduct screening for domestic violence, provide brief counselling if a woman discloses abuse, and provide referral to local programs and services. It is important to comply with reporting laws in your state and discuss any confidentiality issues with patients.

If you suspect that someone you care about is being abused, speak up! Or if you are a victim and you think your partner is abusive and controlling, make a plan to stay safe. In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, take a stand to protect yourself. While leaving isn’t easy, just remember you’re not alone and help is available.

The Water Tower 5331 SW Macadam, Suite 260, Portland, OR 97239 Email: Phone: 503.972.4285 Fax: 503.972.4284