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Do you need Health Care Insurance?

GreatFlorida Insurance is committed to helping Floridians make informed decisions about their health care. Health insurance is designed to protect individuals and families from the high costs of health care.

Whether you are facing a pre-existing health condition, an emergency situation or just want preventative and wellness care, health insurance will pay part of your costs.

GreatFlorida Insurance offers coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, also known as Florida Blue.

We can help clear up any confusion about recent health reform, the Affordable Care Act, (ACA) and answer any of your questions concerning health care.

How does health insurance work?

Your health insurance plan is a contract between you and your insurance company.

You pay a monthly bill called a premium for the health plan and the insurance company agrees to pay part of the costs for covered medical services.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has four levels of coverage, bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

The plans have varying costs and coverage to meet your needs and budget. Another option includes a Catastrophic Plan for single people under 30 who qualify through financial hardships.

GreatFlorida Insurance can help you understand your choice of plans and options for health care through Florida Blue.

We will help you apply for and enroll in a plan that works best for you.

Affordable Care Act

In March 2010, President Obama signed into law, comprehensive health reform, Affordable Care Act, (ACA). The law makes preventative care more accessible and affordable for many Americans.

The health care law is designed to provide better benefits and expanding coverage while creating a stronger Medicare program.

What if I do not get health insurance in 2014?

If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you will be penalized and must pay a fee. The fee in 2014 is 1 percent of your yearly income or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher.

The fee increases every year. In 2016 it is 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person, whichever is higher. In 2014 the payment for uninsured children is $47.50 per child.

New Options Include:

Floridians can find out if they are eligible for lower costs for private insurance or health programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, (CHIP) and enroll in health coverage.

Parents can keep their children on their health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.

Insurers can no longer deny coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions such as asthma or diabetes.

In 2014, health insurers will no longer be able to charge more or deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition.

Health insurance companies now have to spend at least 80 cents of your premium dollar on health care or improvements to care or provide you with a refund.

Insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more.

Insurance companies are banned from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits. The law also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014.

Preventative services such as colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits and flu shots for all children and adults, will be covered with no deductible or co-pay required.

Increases funding to community health centers

Strengthens Medicare Program

Increasing coverage for brand name and generic drugs

No deductibles or co-pays for preventative services seniors and people with disabilities

Extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by ten years

Simply call 813-949-2995 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Health Care Insurance Agent in Lutz will help you find the best deal for you.

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Florida Healthcare  Insurance Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance
4/27/2017

After spending a good amount of money and time planning your ideal trip you might be thinking of  purchasing travel insurance. But, you might already be covered.

Homeowners insurance, renters insurance, auto insurance and medical insurance follows you on vacation,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent homeowners insurance provider. That includes; rental cars, illness, stolen items, lost luggage, accidental injuries and property damage. Before you buy travel insurance, check your policy and see what is currently covered. You want to avoid paying for insurance coverage beyond what is necessary.

Medical coverage

Your current health insurance policy could provide adequate coverage on your travels. Check coverage in the area you are headed. You might be surprised to find doctors and facilities that accept your health insurance even overseas.  The U.S. Department of State urges international travelers to make sure they have health insurance where they are traveling. Many foreign doctors and hospitals require cash payment and emergency medical evacuation can cost up to $100,000. Also, Medicare is not available outside of the country.

While illness is covered during your travels, a pre-existing medical condition might not be. This is a detail you will need to review with your insurance agent.

Lost or stolen items

It is a pain to arrive at your destination without your luggage. The U.S. Department of Transportation limits lost baggage claims to $3300. Keep in mind, airlines account for depreciation of your stuff so if you are traveling with golf clubs or pricey camera equipment you might want to make sure your luggage is covered. Stolen items and lost luggage are reimbursed under your homeowners insurance and renters insurance policy.

“Make sure to know your insurance coverage deductibles and limits before taking off on vacation,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

Rental cars

Auto insurance will extend to a rental vehicle. If you cause an accident while driving a rental car, the liability portion of your auto insurance would cover the damages to other cars or property.

Travel insurance

One of the most common misconceptions about travel insurance is the idea that you can cancel for any reason and be reimbursed. Travel insurance will reimburse you on a majority but not all expenses. Like other insurance policies, the amount you pay for travel insurance will depend on a few variables. The type of coverage you choose, how many people are traveling in your party, age, destination and the length of travel. You can expect to pay 5 to 15 percent of the cost of our trip. The deductible amount is usually $200.

Make sure you are not paying for insurance you already own. Check out your current health insurance, auto insurance, renters insurance and homeowners insurance policy to see how much you are covered for while on vacation.

Contact GreatFlorida Insurance for all your insurance needs today.

 

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The post Are you insured on vacation? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
4/12/2017

When most people experience pain, they reach into the medicine cabinet for a bottle of over-the-counter pain killer. But, not all pain medications are created equal.

“Choosing the right OTC pain killer will depend on what type of pain you are experiencing,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance provider.

As a matter of fact, some pain relievers are best for reducing pain and fevers, while others contain an anti-inflammatory, best for treating sore muscles and reducing swelling. The Business Insider also suggests considering your medical history along with what you have recently had to eat or drink.

They break down, what OTC pain medications are most effective in treating your specific pain.

Tylenol– most effective for headaches

Aleve– helpful for a hangover and arthritis

Advil– best for a fever, menstrual cramps, a hangover, sore muscles, sinusitis, ear and toothaches

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“Over the counter medications have side effects and should not be used as a permanent solution to pain,” reminds Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance provider.

Even though these pain medications are available without a prescription, they can still cause harmful side effects. Tylenol (Acetaminophen) can worsen liver problems. While, Advil (Ibuprofen), Aleve (Naproxen sodium) and Aspirin (Acetylsalicylic acid) can exacerbate stomach, GI or kidney issues. All these pain relievers except for aspirin, can increase your risk for heart problems according to professionals at the Mayo Clinic.

To avoid harmful side effects, try exploring natural options for pain relief.  If you are experiencing pain due to arthritis, exercise, weight loss, heat and cold therapy as well as physical therapy could be useful.

Pain is the body’s signal that something is wrong. It can be temporary and minor or it could be an indication of a more serious health issue. Do not hesitate seeing a medical professional for an evaluation to diagnose the source of your pain. Bear in mind, the internet is full of useful information but it cannot take the place of a doctor’s exam.

GreatFlorida Insurance provides different levels of health insurance plans through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida. Discover an individual or family plan that fits your budget and healthcare needs.

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The post Advil, Tylenol, or Aleve? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
3/15/2017

Blooming trees along with warmer and longer days, let us know spring is around the corner. Unfortunately, for many Floridians spring is miserable due to allergies.

“This time of year, many people mistake their allergies for being sick, says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

Common seasonal allergy symptoms include: an itching nose, roof of mouth, throat and eyes, sneezing, a stuffy nose or congestion, runny nose, red and tearing eyes along with dark circles or bags under the eyes.

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The pollen forecast for Florida shows high pollen counts since the beginning of this month, according to Pollen.com, a website dedicated to providing allergy information and pollen forecasts. In spring, grasses and tree pollen are the widespread cause of hay fever or seasonal allergies. Currently, tree pollen from oak, juniper, elm and bayberry trees are the offenders.

“Keep in mind, for people with asthma, pollen allergies can cause flare-ups,” reminds Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent health insurance agency.

To fight off those annoying allergy symptoms, allergist suggest taking allergy mediation every day during allergy season starting in March or February, before you experience symptoms.

Other practices can help you control allergy symptoms such as:

Washing your hands often and keeping them away from your face.

When you come inside take a shower to get rid of the pollen from your skin and hair.

Men should shave regularly.

Keep windows closed.

Limit outdoor activities on days with a high pollen count.

Vacuum your home regularly.

Climate factors can influence how bad your symptoms might be. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) reports, “Mild winter temperatures cause plants to pollinate early. While a rainy spring can promote rapid plant growth and lead to an increase in mold growth causing symptoms to last well into the fall.”

Keep the following in mind if you suffer from seasonal allergies

Tree and grass pollen thrive during cool nights and warm days

Molds grow quickly in heat and high humidity

Pollen levels tend to peak in the morning hours

Rain washes pollen away but pollen counts can soar after rainfall

On a day with no wind, airborne allergens are grounded

GreatFlorida Insurance can provide the ideal health insurance policy you and your family needs. Give us a call today.

GreatFlorida Insurance is a authorized vendor of health insurance for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

GreatFlorida Insurance is a authorized vendor of health insurance for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

The post Beat Spring Allergies appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
3/8/2017

While Florida does not require you to get boat insurance before you register your vessel, boat insurance is a good idea. Boat insurance offers protection from the responsibility of owning, operating and towing your boat.

“Many homeowners, mistakenly assume a boat is covered under their homeowner’s insurance,” said Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.“Depending on your homeowner’s policy, you might have limited coverage on a small vessel on your property.”

As a matter of fact, if your boat is financed, your lender may require you to have boat insurance. Also, certain marinas and harbors require insurance for you to dock your boat.

Much like car insurance, there are different options to choose from when it comes to buying boat insurance. Your insurance needs depend on the type of watercraft you own while selecting the option you feel most comfortable with.

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Buck, with GreatFlorida Insurance explains the difference between liability, collision, comprehensive and medical coverage.

Liability Losses– this will cover bodily injury and property damage in an accident where you are at fault.

Comprehensive and Collision Physical damage or comprehensive and collision will cover any out of water incidents. Collision covers damage to a boat involved in a collision. Comprehensive coverage protects your boat if it is stolen, damaged by a fire or vandalized.

Uninsured Coverage– this will cover costs for damage and injuries if you are involved in a collision with a boater that does not have boat insurance.

Medical Coverage– will cover costs related to injuries suffered in a boat accident. Check your health insurance first, it could provide the adequate coverage you need.

Additional coverage is also available for fishing equipment and other boat related personal property you want to insure.

Financial Website, Money Crashers recommends purchasing comprehensive coverage if you have a loan on your boat or you own a newer model.

When purchasing boat insurance, you must also choose how the insurance company will pay you in the event of a claim.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) encourages boat owners to insure their boat for the amount it would cost you to replace it which is the “Agreed Value.”

The “Actual Cash Value” coverage reimburses you the current market value for your boat or personal belongings. Because everything depreciates, you will usually get less than what you originally paid.

As a final point, boat repairs can be costly making boat insurance a great defense to protect your investment.

GreatFlorida Insurance covers a wide variety of boats including yachts, ski boats, pontoons, jet boats, sailboats, bass boats, commercial vessels also cover personal watercraft such as a Wave Runner.

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The post Do I Need Boat Insurance? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
2/20/2017

Your health insurance plan is a contract between you and your insurance company but do you really know what is in it? “Completely understanding your health insurance benefits can save you money,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance provider.

Our knowledge should extend beyond premiums, deductibles and in-network doctors. We don’t always research the specifics of our plans, making the most of our medical coverage. According to HealthCare.gov, insurance companies and job-based health plans must provide you with a Summary of Benefit and Coverage (SBC). It is smart to take time to review our healthcare benefits and how they can work to our gain.health infograph

For example, if you have medical, dental or vision coverage, take advantage of preventative screenings. Annual check-ups, well-exams and cancer screenings are free. Vaccinations such as the flu shot also do not cost you anything due to recent changes in healthcare.

Likewise, check for the inclusion of discounts for health and wellness products and services. This can include gym memberships, yoga classes, exercise equipment even trips to the chiropractor. Your health insurance could cover a visit with a nutritionist to improve your diet or smoking cessation classes to help you stop smoking. Some health insurance plans also include healthy living rewards, discounts for healthy habits.

“Be sure to check into prescription drug coverage,” reminds Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance. Switching to generic drugs can keep money in your pocket. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports generic drugs cost 80 to 85 percent less than brand-name versions.

Another place to find prescription drug savings is in the pharmacy you choose. Shop pharmacies and compare prices, especially on prescription medication you use regularly. Wholesale clubs such as Costco and Sam’s Club, do not require a membership to fill and purchase prescriptions at their pharmacies. Also, do not be shy about asking your medical professional for samples.

Do not waste your time if you do not like your doctor or clinic. Most people do not switch because of the hassle of finding a new doctor. But many websites with reviews or word of mouth, will assist in finding a physician you feel comfortable with while in your network.

Additionally, pay attention to open enrollment season. This is the time to make any necessary changes to your health insurance plan. Re-evaluate your medical expenses over the past year while keeping future needs in mind.

GreatFlorida Insurance provides top notch medical insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, or Florida Blue. Give us a call today or go online to find out more information.

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The post Maximize Your Health Insurance Policy appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
12/28/2016

Beginning January 1, 2017, a couple of new laws will go into effect in Florida.

“These new laws are intended to diminish the abuse of medications,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

Cough Medicines-SB 938, prohibits the sale of cough medicines containing the synthetically produced dextromethorphan to people under the age of 18 and requires identification from those presumed younger than 25.

Dextromethorphan is commonly found in cough medicines such as: Robitussin, Alka Seltzer Plus, Tylenol Cough & Cold and Vick’s NyQuil. According to WebMD, “Dextromethorphan or DMX, is in almost half of all over-the-counter drugs sold in the U.S.”

Legislation was proposed after reports were confirmed of teenagers using cough medicine to get high. WebMD also reports, a 2008 study found 1 in 10 teens abuse cough medicine. When used properly, DMX products are safe but high doses can cause hallucinogenic trips and pose serious health risks.

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Opioid Insurance Coverage-SB 422, prohibits insurance policies that cover opioid medications with exceptions, from requiring prior authorization for abuse-deterrent versions of the medications.

Supporters of the measure argued the change is intended, in part, to make it easier for people to access medication less likely to cause addiction. “Florida lawmakers have provided a solution to address the prescription drug abuse problem in Florida, says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance agency.

Website, Drugabuse.com shares, approximately 23.5 million Americans struggle with chronic pain. Regrettably, the 104 percent increase in painkiller prescriptions between 2000 and 2010 has not resulted in improvement in pain control or disability outcomes.

A destructive cycle can occur when patients become dependent on opiate pain killers. Millions of people are addicted. Once these opiates become difficult to get or too expensive, many turn to heroin.

GreatFlorida Insurance provides quality health insurance policies for all levels of coverage. Talk with an agent today.

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The post New Laws Take Effect January 1 in Florida appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
12/21/2016

Most of us overindulge a little bit this time of the year. Holiday parties and gatherings offer an irresistible assortment of sweet treats, salty snacks and holiday themed cocktails. Likewise, it is easy to disregard healthy food choices in the midst of a hastened season.

“Keeping your health a priority during the holidays is important,” reminds Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance agency.

Those mindful of their health often turn to a short detoxification plan to help them get back on track. The primary goal of a detox is to cleanse your body of toxins so you can bounce back after a night of overindulgence.

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Notably, Dr. Mehmet Oz has a two-day plan to help offset excesses with recipes included. The goal is to release water retention and bloating, re-balance your blood sugar levels, remove fat promoting toxins from your body and recharge your metabolism. His plan is designed to help avoid weight gain over the holiday season while enjoying the treats you adore.

Additionally, nutrition and health expert Joy Bauer has a one-day post detox plan. She advises the day after a night of over doing it, waking up the next morning and beginning your day with exercise. A 45-minute walk will work up a sweat and reduce bloating and inflammation. She also advises drinking plenty of water and omitting starchy carbs such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes.

Whether a detox is necessary, is up for debate. Experts with the Mayo Clinic report, “The kidneys and liver are generally quite effective at filtering and eliminating most ingested toxins.”

“In spite of claims that a detox is not necessary, many people say they feel better after a brief detox,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

Reported benefits of a detox include, increased energy and better focus, who couldn’t use that around the holidays?

GreatFlorida Insurance agents can offer you and your family quality health insurance policies to fit your needs. Give us a call today.

GreatFlorida Insurance is a authorized vendor of health insurance for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

GreatFlorida Insurance is a authorized vendor of health insurance for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

The post Holiday Detox appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.