Tag Archives: insurance

How WellPoint and its affiliate health plans help keep your family healthy {FitOrbit discount}

Say "Ah!"Are you a member of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia? Or of Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, Anthem BlueCross, or Empire BlueCross BlueShield? If so, are you familiar with all your health insurance benefits outside of finding a doctor and helping you with medical expenses?

You should be! I recently attended a briefing on “Supporting Your Family’s Health: The Evolving Role of Health Insurers,” with WellPoint, who is affiliated with the above mentioned health plans. I learned how WellPoint helps their customers stay healthy and wanted to share the information with you in case you’re one of their customers.

24/7 NurseLine

When faced with a family medical need, how do you determine if you need to take your child to the doctor, the ER or an urgent care clinic? Their 24/7 NurseLine provides accurate info and one-on-one counseling with experienced registered nurses 24/7 through a toll-free number. Their team of knowledgeable nurses is there to help you assess symptoms and help you determine what action you should take. They’re also prepared to answer questions about best practices when it comes to things like immunizations and various public-health issues.

One of the biggest differentiators of the NurseLine program is that members can be directly connected to a nurse. A lot of other programs have an added step in the process. Either they connect you first to a non-clinical person or even ask you to respond first to pre-taped recordings. But with WellPoint’s affiliated health plans, if you select the prompt to speak to a nurse, you speak with one immediately.

Just make sure to keep their phone number by your phone or on the kitchen refrigerator! My health plan (I’m not a BlueCross BlueShield member), has a similar hotline. Unfortunately when I recently burnt myself, I had no idea where the number was. Instead, I had to check Google and WebMD to find out if my burn was serious enough to go to urgent care. (It was as I had a large second degree burn on my arm.) It would have been nice to immediately talk with a trained nurse to determine what treatment I should have done at home as well as if I needed to see someone. (I learned later via WebMD that you don’t put ice on a burn anymore. Instead, you’re supposed to run cool water on the wound for 20 minutes. Ooops.)

Future Moms

This is something I wish I had access to when I was pregnant with my kids. WellPoint’s Future Moms maternity program gives very personalized support to expectant moms so they can have a healthier pregnancy and delivery – and a healthier newborn. The program includes risk screening and educational support as well as post-delivery follow-up. Even better, Future Moms also includes screening for post-partum depression. In addition, the program gives you information and tips you need as a new mom or dad to care for your child throughout the first year. (Even through it’s called, Future Moms, new dads can benefit from this program, too.)

Depending on whether you purchased your benefits yourself or receive them through your employer, you may need to enroll in this program. To check, call the number on your insurance card to check on eligibility and if you need to enroll.

Personalizing your health

WellPoint and its affiliated health plans have an online portal that lets you and other family members develop a personalized health plan. This includes email reminders and prompts for you to do the things you need to do such as scheduling check-ups or reminding you about working out.

A really cool benefit is that the portal also offers a live-chat feature. This way you have to a qualified health coach for support and questions. They can even provide you with quick and healthy recipes!

The plan also provides fitness devices to help measure your steps, activity and even your sleep.  These options are available not just though the workplace, but also as a part of personal plans such as consumer directed plans as well as in several states, including Connecticut, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire, Maine and Virginia.  The company is also working to introduce a similar portal for all of its members in the future.

Fitness to fit your lifestyle with FitOrbit

WellPoint and its affiliated health plans have partnered with FitOrbit to offer convenient and affordable ways for you to achieve your personal fitness goals. FitOrbit provides:

  • Unlimited access to a real personal trainer who is available to you 24/7.
  • Customized, family friendly meal plan including recipes and a grocery list.
  • Detailed, personalized fitness plan that you can do anywhere, anytime even for us busy moms who have a tough time adding exercise into our daily lives.

WellPoint has provided me with a special discount for a FitOrbit membership to share with my readers. Just go to http://www.fitorbit.com/ib/MOMSAVES25 to save $25.

The bottom line

No matter what insurance provider you’re with, take time read your policy, talk with your HR person, and check out your plan’s website to take advantage of all the healthy lifestyle benefits it offers!

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Disclosure: I was compensated for my time by WellPoint to attend the webinar and share this information with my readers. All experiences and opinions are my own.

How to take full advantage of your health insurance plan

doctor checkupThere’s nothing like losing your health insurance coverage, becoming self-insured, dealing with COBRA, and moving to make you take full advantage of your health insurance plan. That’s exactly what I did this past 18 months after my husband was laid off and changed jobs twice.

When we knew we were losing my husband’s employer provided health insurance with Cigna, and going to COBRA, then self-insurance with Cigna, we renewed prescriptions and had our teeth cleaned. I also went for my yearly OB-GYN exam and had a mammogram.

Now that my husband is back at work and we’ve moved to Georgia – and ironically the entire family is covered once again by CIGNA – we’re trying to make sure we still take advantage of all the benefits due to us from yearly exams and blood work to well-check appointments for the kids.

How are you taking advantage of your medical insurance?

Even if you have insurance through your employer, there are a lot of out-of-pocket expenses involved. That’s why Cigna recommends you take a mid-year healthcare cost evaluation to make sure your health plan is working hard for you and your family.

PLAN your expenses: Cigna suggest that you budget and plan for health expenses like braces, Lasik, eye glasses, and operations. Don’t forget about those deductibles, too! I recently had a shot in my shoulder to relieve rotator cuff pain. I’ve been down this road before so I knew it would be considered “surgery” and come out of my deductible. Since I have some other things coming up that will have to be covered by my deductible, I’m making they all get done this year so I get maximum payout.

When you plan your medical budget, don’t forget about prescriptions! Take advantage of any cost savings your plan offers, like mail ordering prescriptions or using certain pharmacies. Talk with your pharmacist to see what savings they offer. If you get your meds at retailers like Walmart, Costco, Target, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, etc., many offer special plans or savings on generic drugs. You can also work with your doctor and insurance to get maximum value on prescriptions – for example, paying your copay once on a 60-day supply of meds versus twice on two 30-day prescriptions.

PREPARE for emergencies: Cigna suggests that you know where the nearest urgent care facility is that is covered by your insurance. These facilities provide the same quality of care for non-emergent conditions as an ER, but have shorter wait times and are usually less expensive. In advance, find out if they offer minor emergency room services, like stitching up cuts and wounds. Many doctor’s offices are offering similar minor ER services, especially in more rural areas, so ask your doctor, too.

Check your health plan to see if they offer a 24/7 nurse hotline to provide you with health-related advice around the clock. When Nathan was little I loved that I could call into the nurse hotline at Denver Children’s Hospital to find out if I needed to come in or not. See if your local children’s hospital has a similar service if your health insurance plan does not.

Cigna also suggests that you have the phone number handy for your local pharmacy so prescriptions can be called in quickly, right from the doctor’s office. I find that many doctors’ offices provide this service, and I’ve had doctors do it themselves straight from the laptops they brought with them during the exam. Either way saves time, so take advantage of it!

PREVENTION is the key: Make sure you, your spouse/partner, and your kids have a yearly check up since this is usually covered by your health insurance. (Heck, remind your mom and dad, too!) My kids usually get theirs around their birthdays. I have mine during back to school time, including a mammogram. Luckily for me, my husband is very good about having a yearly exam, but many men are not. The scary thing is young men are the most susceptible to prostate cancer, so they MUST get a yearly exam to detect it early. So make your partner’s appointment for him and drive him there, if necessary!

Here are some other ideas on preventative measures and screenings you can take advantage of that are usually covered by health insurance:

When it comes to keeping you and your family healthy there’s much more to talk about. Join the conversation at YouTube.com/Cigna to learn about other ways you can take advantage of your health insurance plan.

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Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Cigna. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.

Help Aflac fight pediatric cancer #AflacKids

Aflac pediatric cancer numbers

I’ve been reading a fascinating book on the history of cancer and cancer treatment, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. It’s made me realize that while we’ve made great strides in cancer treatment, we still have a long, long way to go. That’s why I’m participating in the SheSpeaks campaign to support Aflac’s Swim with Friends virtual duck race. When you donate $12 towards pediatric cancer research – which is matched by Aflac, by the way – you’ll receive a cute rubber duck and entry into the Swim with Friends virtual race taking place on Facebook on October 9th for a chance to win a family-friendly vacation for four to Orlando!

Aflac’s commitment to fighting childhood cancer

For 17 years, Aflac has passionately supported the fight against childhood cancer. More than 16,000 independent Aflac national sales agents and employees contribute more than $425,000 from their commission checks or paychecks every month to help support the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta here in my home state of Georgia.

In that time, more than $75 million has been donated to the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare Atlanta to fight pediatric cancer.  In addition, $1.2 million was donated to Children’s Oncology Group to help find a cure for childhood cancer and another $1 million donated to CureSearch toward its adolescent and young adult programs.  Aflac has an ongoing commitment to the Child Life Therapy Program at the Morrell Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, which is housed in the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center in New York. Also, Aflac has an ongoing commitment to the University of Nebraska Medical Center to establish the Aflac Fund for Childhood Cancer Patients and Families.

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How you can help

Aflac obviously takes fighting pediatric cancer very seriously. To join them in this fight, please donate $12 to get a rubber duck and an entry into the Swim with Friends virtual race taking place on Facebook on October 9th.

You can connect with Aflac on Twitter @AflacDuck and use the hashtag #AflacKids to promote their fight against childhood cancer and the contest. Each tweet that uses #AflacKids will generate a $2 donation from Aflac directly to pediatric cancer research, so get tweeting!

In addition, you can connect with Aflac on Facebook at facebook.com/AflacDuck or learn more about the Swim with Friends program at www.aflac.com/friends.

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Aflac and SheSpeaks. A donation will be given in my name for participating in this campaign. All opinions are my own.

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Improving your safety and financial health with Progressive’s Snapshot

driveI don’t usually talk about car insurance here at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet. But this is a time when improving your health by being a safer driver improves your financial health as well. So bear with me here when I tell you about how I got interested in using Progressive’s Snapshot device. We’ve used Progressive insurance for my husband’s motorcycles for years and switched the cars over to Progressive after our agent at SelectQuote showed we could save hundreds of dollars a year with them.

(Just want to give a shout out to SelectQuote. I originally used them to find life insurance for myself when I became the family’s sole breadwinner. Afterwards, they reviewed my home owners and auto policies and saved us a lot of money. I’ve used them for renters insurance when my husband and I were renting apartments, and they continue to find us good deals on insurance when we moved to Georgia.)

 

 

When switching our Progressive insurance to our Georgia address, my SelectQuote agent, Nick, told me about Progressive’s Snapshot program.

How Progressive’s Snapshot works

With Progressive’s patented data collection program, i.e., Snapshot, you plug a small device into the on-board diagnostic (OBD) port in their car. The device collects and transmits data to Progressive on
the time of day the car is driven, hard brakes and total mileage. Progressive then factors the data into the customer’s rate calculation. After 30 days, the company can offer the customer a discount of up to 30 percent. Snapshot is now available to policyholders in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

In addition, Progressive has launched a major expansion of Snapshot. Drivers now don’t need to be a current Progressive customer to enroll in a 30-day free trial, during which they can learn whether
their personal driving habits qualify them for additional savings of up to 30 percent off Progressive’s auto insurance rates. They can then compare that price to the rate they currently pay with their existing insurer.
Drivers who test drive Snapshot can track their potential savings on a daily basis during their trial.

Bottom line: your insurance rate is not only based on the model of car you drive and your past history. It’s also based on your current driving habits.

Joleen’s Story

 

 

Our Progressive Snapshot results

I’m going to fess up to a bad habit I have – I’m a hard braker. The Snapshot device beeps at you when you do a hard brake, so I’m using that feedback to improve my driving skills and become a safer driver. My hard breaking is probably why I only got a 9% discount on my policy, even though I don’t drive that much. My husband who has a daily commute but isn’t a hard braker, got a 15% discount. I hope when our Progressive policy comes up for renewal, the Snapshot shows that I’ve improved my driving and gives me a better discount.

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Disclosure: Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Progressive. I was compensated for my time. All opinions and experiences are my own.