Featured Blog on HealthGreatness.com: Free Money from the Affordable Care Act

I was recently asked to write an article for Health Greatness, a blog full of hot tips and easy reads for improving your overall healthy being. One topic I felt that was not addressed among many Gen Y/X/Z/Whatever was one of the most controversial legislation items of our time. Sure, its not the sexiest thing to write about like “10 weight loss tips to burn fat” or “How to make your workout selfies look like Kim Kardashian,” perhaps the word FREE MONEY would have peaked some interest.  The Affordable Care Act was designed for young people in mind, and yet not many of my friends either know about it or want to. As I was reading the exact legalese of the bill, I was surprised to find out the many benefits built into the law. While it is written more like a philosophical guide, we can set the political debates aside and focus on its core benefits for the joe-schmoe consumer.

Read the original “Free Money from the Affordable Care Act!” post on Health Greatness:

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, AUGUST 10, 2014 / 1392 0

Affordable Care Act: Free Money

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Queena Deschene | HealthGreatness

Open enrollment ended March 31 this year under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Chances are, several people you know have signed up for coverage through the Healthcare.gov exchanges and are just getting to know the Explanation of Benefits. If you are not one of these individuals, you may be missing out on even more the federal government has planned for a nation of the insured. Here are some of the few ways (in no order) you can reap the rewards of the new legislation.

Affordable care act

Feel guilty about chowing on 5 eggs? Trying to drop smoking? Depression or being overweight taking a toll? The ACA requires in-network providers to help you assess your risk for many common diseases or disorders such as cholesterol, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. A breast cancer exam or colonoscopy assessment can cost hundreds without insurance, but many insurance plans may include preventative care exams at little or no cost. The exhaustive list found here, provided by the U.S. Preventative Task Force. Be sure to consult with your insurance company to check whether your provider is in-network and can cover the work requested.

  • $600 cash annually (in services)

Based on a study by Fidelity.com, more companies are investing up to $600 more per employee annually into wellness programs that will reduce the cost-sharing between employers and staff up to 50% in premiums. Investing into a corporate wellness program may reduce overall insurance risk, and give employees motivation to stay healthy for their own benefit. If your work is sponsoring a marathon group, organizing a “Biggest Loser” contest, or holding yoga classes in your office, take advantage of these programs. If not you would be missing out on hundreds of dollars worth in free services – and perhaps, the value equivalent to a new laptop or premier gym membership.

  • $3 doctor’s visit: Tax Credits and/or Subsidies (Varies per State)

Different states have varying discounts for lower-income producers to enroll in ACA insurance. In California, If you’re just starting out in your career or are on the lower end of the company’s food chain, you can get a cost subsidy between 73-94% off your next doctor’s visit for Silver-level insurance plans. Premium Assistance also allows you to lower your monthly premium based on income  and market rates of nearby plans. The best part: no repayment of credit or discount is required if you get slightly richer or your income goes up after your application – you pocket all the savings. You can’t even get a deal like that on Black Friday!

  • $100 – free exercise schwag and wearable tech

Nowadays people are looking for more than just access to a downstairs gym or personal trainer (as with HZDG) as part of the job, and getting more excited about free workout gear. You, the employee, gain from corporate health programs to avoid common health taboos like “death by sitting.” From ClifBar’s paid workouts to IBM’s rebates, many companies are getting creative with their giveaways. Some companies will offer pedometers, Fitbits, exercise bands and other small goodies to get you pumped for Monday!

Additional References for interesting reads and statistics:

https://beta.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-bill/3590

http://us.milliman.com/uploadedFiles/insight/2014/final-rules-mental-health-parity-act.pdf

http://benefitcommunications.com/upload/downloads/Mercer_Survey_2013.pdf

http://www.americanbenefitscouncil.org/documents/vdhc_guide_0207.pdf

http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/fsmhpaea.html

http://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/health-insurance/index.html

 

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