Author Archives: Loren Pleet

  1. Alameda – Why Was a Provider Dropped From Covered California?

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    Covered California was set to offer a full dozen healthcare plans, but with about a month to go in 2013, that number was whittled down to 11.

    AAHA missed Oct. 31 deadline and an unmet financial solvency requirement for a commercial insurance caused the Covered California state healthcare exchange to abruptly drop Alameda Alliance for Health in November.

    The minimum threshold of equity necessary for the Covered California license is currently set at $19.2 million; Alameda missed the mark by more than half, reporting only $8.4 million as of the end of September 2013, according to the Los Angeles Times. The insurer hopes to meet financial requirements, obtain the license and rejoin the exchange in the near future.

    The sudden removal of the carrier means that California now has only 11 total insurers and just three in the Alameda County area: Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield of California.

    In a statement, Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said, “Alameda Alliance has a solid provider network and is a valuable asset to the community. We look forward to the company getting its commercial license, so we can welcome its plans back to the exchange.”

    A November post in SFGate reports that those covered under Alameda’s Medi-Cal plan can remain enrolled; those who selected the insurer under the ACA have already been notified to choose a new plan.

    Although the remaining choices in Alameda County are good, experts say it’s important to have a mix of “big box” insurers and smaller, locally owned companies. This mix keeps prices lower and gives enrollees more choices. The removal of Alameda Alliance has the potential to lead to a less competitive market and higher insurance costs in the future.

    Traditionally, smaller plans have had a large number of Medi-Cal participants. While this is good news for those receiving benefits under the plans, it can lead to small insurers being less financially solvent than their larger counterparts.

    Unfortunately, Alameda might not be the last to go. According to a CNBC report via Town Hall, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini detailed how even the bigger insurers might be unable to remain relevant in the ACA. The idea of the healthcare exchange relied on large and small providers working in harmony to insure the masses, but the masses never arrived.

    Aetna is due to submit 2015 rates on May 15, and worries that a less-than-stellar risk pool combined with increasing premiums could spell the end for the popular company’s participation.

    Another California insurer, Ventura County Health Care Plan, withdrew from Covered California before the official rollout, citing startup costs as a major concern, along with enrollment projections and “certain factors whose outcome and impact are difficult to predict.”

    Despite the disappointment of smaller insurers being removed from Covered California, there are still plenty of options for affordable, quality healthcare in the state. Finding the best plan to suit your needs isn’t always easy, but we’re confident we can help you find just what you’re looking for at a price that matches your budget.

  2. Open Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act Ending Soon

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    Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) launched on Oct. 1 to a number of issues. From a government website that didn’t work at first and went down again shortly before the enrollment deadline that would have covered many by Jan. 1, 2014, to an entire Oregon online marketplace exchange that still hasn’t enrolled anyone, the people who need the benefits of the ACA the most are among the ones who still don’t have them.

    Despite the glitches, a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services says 3.3 million Americans (PDF) have signed up for coverage as of Feb. 1. January alone saw a 53% increase in plan selections compared to the period between Oct. 1 and Dec. 28.

    But the evidence suggests that many people are waiting until the last minute to obtain coverage to comply with the law; ACA coverage was about a million short of the January target. The goal was to have 7 million Americans covered by the March 31 deadline, but experts are now saying the number will probably be closer to 6 million.

    If you aren’t signed up for a qualified healthcare plan by the March 31 date, you’re not only out of luck until enrollment opens up again, but you’ll suffer a hit to the wallet to boot.

    What If I Miss the Deadline?

    People who haven’t selected a plan by March 31 must wait until fall to enroll, barring any qualifying circumstances, including:

    • Marriage

    • Divorce

    • A new baby (birth or adopted)

    • Unemployment

    These “qualifying life events” entitle you to a special enrollment period where you can obtain coverage or make changes to an existing policy. This period lasts 30 days after the qualifying event.

    Otherwise, you’ll be fined for not having health insurance during 2014. This year, the fine is the greater of $95 per adult plus $47.50 per child in a family household (up to a $285 flat fee) or 1% of household income, according to a NerdWallet report.

    While this might seem like a bargain to avoid the headaches of the exchanges, it should be noted that the penalties will climb in the coming years: 2% of your income or $325 per person in 2015, and 2.5% of your income or $695 per person in 2016.

    If you qualify for government healthcare (Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and others), “you’re considered covered and don’t have to pay a penalty,” according to HealthCare.gov.

    Affordable healthcare is available now, so don’t wait to obtain coverage. Our licensed agents are ready to help. Contact Terpening Insurance today and let us add you to the number of Americans finally receiving the healthcare they deserve.

  3. How Covered California Can Reach the Latino Community

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    As of Jan. 15, more than 625,000 people had signed up for health insurance through California’s statewide health exchange. However, enrollment in the Latino community has fallen far short of the Affordable Care Act’s expectations. According to a feature in the Los Angeles Times, a mere 20% of ACA enrollees have identified themselves as Latino.

    Everyone has a theory on where the fault lies, from the main website’s Spanish-page problems to the lack of community outreach programs for Latinos. According to EGP, a major player in the bilingual print media, a huge missed opportunity lies in the state’s failure to reach out through the many popular Spanish newspapers available in California.

    The state has realized its mistakes and is taking pains to remedy them, but the process is slow. With only 10% of the health care exchange’s phone reps able to speak Spanish and more than 4 million Californians identifying themselves as Spanish-speaking only, the language barrier is a huge concern that can’t be overlooked or easily corrected.

    The problem isn’t that Latinos don’t want the ACA; merely that they aren’t informed well enough about their available resources.

    California is launching new initiatives, including mailings to a million Spanish speaking households and a hiring a large number of Spanish-speaking certified enrollment counselors to make themselves available for in-person registration. But there are several other ways the state could tackle this problem.

    Community Town Hall Forums

    A town hall is a great way to reach many people at once and could potentially take some of the pressure off the overworked enrollment counselors. Information, applications and personalized help would go a long way toward seeing the Latino enrollment numbers increase.

    Utilize Spanish-Language Publications

    The Los Angeles-based La Opinion is a Spanish-language daily newspaper with a circulation of 115,000-plus. While that doesn’t come close to reaching the total Latino population, reaching out via La Opinion would be a huge step in the right direction. By utilizing the smaller community newspapers and weekly circulars, the state could reach thousands more.

    Target Clinics and Hospital Emergency Rooms

    Latinos account for more than 50% of California’s uninsured residents, meaning that when they are forced to seek treatment for illness or injury, they’re likely to head to a community clinic or an emergency room. Information on the ACA in their native language needs to be readily available, and a Spanish-speaking representative should be on call to help answer any questions.

    The Latino community still needs healthcare, and conversely, the ACA needs the Latino community to thrive. The plan relies on younger, healthier individuals to subsidize the healthcare of elderly, ill participants. A concentrated effort to enroll Latinos will have long-lasting implications – not just for those receiving coverage, but for the future of the ACA itself.

    We understand how difficult the process can be, and we’re here to help you make sense of  health care for everyone. The goal of the ACA is to provide affordable, fair coverage to everyone, regardless of ethnicity or native tongue.

    It’s an uphill battle, but it’s one we intend to win.

  4. Don’t Get ‘Blindsided’ by an Eye Infection!

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    Bob Costas — an Olympic feature nearly as recognizable as the five rings themselves — was missing in the anchor chair at the Games for the first time since 1988. His reason? A pesky case of conjunctivitis — a common eye infection also known as pinkeye.

    Costas on air February 10 (@johngreenman/NBC)

    While most of the world watched the athletes skiing, skating and curling their way to victory, people couldn’t help noticing Costas’ eye. Tuesday morning, when it was announced that he’d be benching himself in favor of Matt Lauer, Costas had become a bigger story than Team USA’s medal count, with news agencies all over the country reporting on his weepy, bright red eyes.

    However, pinkeye isn’t a huge concern. Caused by the same virus that leads to scratchy throats and stuffy noses, it usually clears up on its own within a week … though it is extremely contagious. Those with pinkeye should take special care to wash their hands after touching their face and not share towels or washcloths with unaffected people. Children might be required to stay home from school until the infection is gone.

    Lubricating eye drops, cold compresses and sometimes prescribed steroids can help relieve the itching and burning associated with the condition. If the infection lasts longer than two weeks, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor to rule out any underlying problems.

    Not all eye infections are as forgiving as pinkeye. Keratitis, a condition where the cornea of the eye becomes infected and inflamed, is common to those who wear contact lenses. The infection can be caused by bacteria, fungus or even single-celled parasites. Most cases of keratitis can be successfully treated with prescription eye drops; in extreme cases, however, corneal scarring may necessitate a full corneal transplant.

    The risk of keratitis can be minimized by cleaning and maintaining your contact lenses and cases as directed and practicing good hygiene when inserting and removing your contacts.

    Endophthalmitis is a rare but severe eye infection that can occur after eye surgery or as a result of an infection elsewhere in the body. It can cause the entire eyeball to become abscessed and necessitate immediate vitrectomy. Many people who are treated for this condition will have at least partial vision loss in the affected eye after treatment.

    Eye Infection Prevention

    Most eye infections are simple to prevent. Wash your hands frequently, especially when suffering from the cold or flu. Make sure children don’t touch their mouth or nose and then their eyes, as doing so can help the infection spread.

    Mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow can cause reinfection. Be sure to throw away all eye makeup after a bout with pinkeye or other maladies. Don’t share makeup with others. Wash your face before turning in for the night.

    Consult your primary care doctor if you’re experiencing itching, burning, redness, oozing, tearing or crusting, or if you notice diminished eyesight. Often, a broad spectrum antibiotic will clear the infection up in the (wait for it…) blink of an eye!

    We wish Bob Costas a speedy recovery and Team USA the very best of luck.

    (Photo: Costas on air February 10  – @johngreenman/NBC)

  5. Nickels and Dimes: Budgeting for Healthcare

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    Creating room in a budget for health care costs is something we all now have to incorporate into our household expenses. Finding the right balance can be difficult, but there are strategies we can all use to make our nickels and dimes stretch further. By following these simple tips your family’s health care needs can become an integral part of your budget before health care help is needed rather than after.

    Take Charge

    Educating yourself to all the options available is critical and must be done in conjunction with making financial considerations. Michael Kitces, a partner and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group and publisher of the financial planning blog, Nerd’s Eye View, offers this financial advice:

    “My primary tip for people looking to budget around health care expenses right now is to make sure you understand how the premium assistance tax credit works, and to take advantage of it. We see a lot of people with sticker shock at the headline cost of health insurance, only to realize it’s actually far more affordable for them after including tax credits.” Compare and contrast options and find what works best for your situation. Understand how to best use the tax credits available for your situation.

    Future Planning

    Once you have an understanding of how tax credits work you need to look at your individual financial situation. One option to consider would be using the services of a Certified Personal and Family Educator such as Todd Christensen in making these choices. Todd serves as director of the National Financial Education Center of Debt Reduction Services, contributes to DebtReductionServices.org, writes at Everyday Money for Everyday People!, and offers this insight: “The only industries we should all be paying – but none of us ever want to cash in on – include health insurers and funeral homes. Our success at avoiding the first, though, may likely expedite our need for the last.”

    Using this philosophy to develop better money management skills now can help in your budgeting for health care costs in your future. This can be started as early as high school age where Christensen has taught students to begin using his strategies in planning for their futures today.

    Make Your Budget

    This basic yet necessary step is offered by the blogger of Early Bird Mom, Sarah Mueller, offers practical advice for busy families on how to save money while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She suggests incorporating changes into your household budget to make room for health care costs: “If you don’t already have a budget, get one! Start tracking your purchases for a month or two, and you may find some areas where you can save without making too many changes. Look for easy things to cut back on, like high cell phone bills, dining out, cable or satellite TV packages and lottery tickets.”  This is a first step for families as they prepare to incorporate these costs into creating a healthy lifestyle as healthcare consumers.

    Think Outside the Box

    Besides the costs of health care premiums, there are many hidden costs to consider. Finding a way to plan for these costs when creating your budget should be a consideration. Planning for variable medical costs, such as co-pays and prescriptions, is vital. “None of us know exactly when or how much our incidental medical expenses will be,” according to You Need A Budget blogger Mark Butler. “The best we can do is set aside a certain amount of money every month in a ‘Medical’ category in our budgets that will absorb those unexpected expenses when they do come. By ‘pretending’ to have the monthly expenses even when the transactions only happen occasionally, we protect ourselves against having to create new credit card balances in the event of an expected but unpredictable expense.”

    Having this contingency plan in motion, Mark contends will make your budget work better and smarter for you over the long haul and avoid having to deal with emergency expenses. As a former educational website owner, Butler stresses that you need to know and understand many aspects other than just how to save money on premiums, and that the more information you have at your disposal will help you think outside ‘your’ box.

    Affordability Versus Risk

    Every individual has different needs, so figuring out what works best for you, comes down to assessing your level of risk. Todd Tresidder, founder and Money Coach at FinancialMentor, which offers discussion and advice on affording health care premiums and using government subsidies, purports that affordability should not be your determining factor. Your personal risk level is of greater importance.  Knowing how much health insurance one can afford should be less important as to the “question of what risk you can’t afford to accept that must be insured away.”

    As an example, he says: “I carry high deductible health insurance because I can’t afford the risk of cancer or a serious accident destroying our savings. I choose to accept the risk of the high deductible because my family is generally healthy, so it is uneconomic to insure that controlled risk even though we could afford to. Instead, I choose to insure away the uncontrolled risk.”

    When higher out of pocket expenses are an issue, Todd applies the same principle stressing that “you must be able to pay the out of pocket expenses without going into debt.” He acknowledges this may cause difficulty “but if bad luck strikes you can still figure out how to get by, however if out of pocket expenses would cause you to go into debt then it is too large a risk and must be insured away.”

    Ready? Set! Go!

    Although the initial reaction to adding healthcare to your budget might seem daunting, we know it’s a lot worse to face those unexpected expenses of medical emergencies unprepared. Spending time working out the nickel and dimes of a budget now can save you countless sleepless nights filled with worry later.

  6. February Is Heart Health Month: 5 Easy Ways to Care for Your Heart

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    February is recognized as American Heart Health Month, and given some sobering stats, it would seem that we could use the focus on awareness. According to the CDC, nearly three quarters of a million Americans suffer a heart attack each year and 600,000 die from heart-related diseases.

    Fortunately, these statistics are largely preventable. Here are five simple ways to cut your risk of heart disease. Start in February and keep going all year long!

    Feb-Heart-Health-Month1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

    If your Body Mass Index is 25 or higher, you’re at an increased risk for heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. Simply put, the heavier you are, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood. Cutting your weight by just 10% can have profound effects on your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, making your heart far happier than it’s ever been before!

    2. Walk 30 Minutes a Day

    Walking is a great way to keep your heart healthy. The American Heart Association reports that walking just 30 minutes a day not only reduces your risk of coronary heart disease, but also helps your mental well-being, allows you to better maintain a healthy weight and improves your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

    3. Watch What You Eat

    Cut out the greasy chips and sweets and snack instead on fruits, nuts and vegetables. Almonds are especially good for your heart, as are asparagus and sweet potatoes, all of which can actually help repair cell damage to your most vital organ. Foods high in omega-3 fats such as fish, beans and wild rice are fabulous inclusions in a heart-healthy diet too.

    4. Banish Your Vices

    The Mayo Clinic says a glass of red wine is good for your heart, but imbibing too often can have serious consequences. Be mindful of your alcohol intake.

    And if you smoke, now is the time to quit. People who light up are two to four times more likely to suffer from heart disease later in life than a nonsmoker.

    5. Get Regular Heart Screenings

    Regular heart health checkups are crucial. Cardiovascular screening should begin at age 20 and continue throughout your life based on age and risk factors. These tests are simple and noninvasive, consisting of blood pressure checks, cholesterol and triglyceride readings, blood glucose tests and weight tracking. For many people, the first sign of heart disease is a heart attack. It doesn’t have to be – regular screenings can diagnose a problem early and help you take steps to mitigate the damage.

    Heart health is critical to your very existence, and screenings are included under all Affordable Care Act plans regardless of the level of coverage you select. You cannot be turned down for a pre-existing condition. And if you need help paying for insurance, subsidies may be available to you.

    We know that the new healthcare laws can be difficult to decipher and choosing a plan is daunting. That’s why we’re here to help. With 11 insurers and a vast number of resources, Terpening will work with you to make sure your heart (and your pocketbook) stays healthy all year long.

  7. Which Areas Do The Providers Excel In?

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    We’ve talked before about our top choices for health insurance providers in California. Today, it’s time for a more in-depth look at what each of those providers bring to the table in the way of excellence. Knowing the providers that align with your own personal priorities can help make a difficult decision just a bit easier.


    Anthem Blue Cross

    • Low Premium Prices: Blue Cross offers some of the lowest premiums around, with prices starting around $100 for a young, non-smoking individual.
    • 360-Degree Health: This program gives you access to what Blue Cross calls a “total health solution,” including online health assessments, health/treatment information, and access to nurses, dietitians and pharmacists to get the support you need.

    • Live Chat: In addition to a great website, Blue Cross offers the ability to chat with an agent directly from your web browser.

    Kaiser Permanente

    • Health Savings Accounts: These accounts work much like a debit card and allow you to set aside tax free money for health related needs. While many providers offer HSAs, Kaiser allows you to use them for a wider variety of services not typically covered by health plans.

    • Wellness Plans: Kaiser really puts the health of their clients first. An online database offers thousands of articles, programs and interactive information about a wide range of health topics.

    • Great Customer Service: Kaiser has some of the best customer service in the business with a staff of highly trained representatives ready to answer any questions you might have.

    Blue Shield

    • Lots of Choices: Blue Shield offers plenty of plans in all tier levels, allowing you to compare prices and benefits easily.

    • Self-Referrals: With Blue Shield, you won’t need a referral from a primary care doctor in order to see a specialist.

    • Blue Ribbon Program: The Blue Ribbon program recognizes and identifies great physicians in an effort to help you choose from the best of the best.

    Health Net

    • Complementary Programs for Medicare Advantage Members: These programs include home monitoring and information and treatment for musculoskeletal conditions.

    • Pregnancy Support: Once considered a pre-existing condition, pregnancy is now not only covered but fully supported with books, courses and educational materials for pregnancy, labor and delivery.

    • Care Alerts: Health Net provides reminders for immunizations, medications and health screenings in an effort to stay connected to their clients.


    • Provider Network: Humana places a high value on offering a vast array of in-network providers and medical facilities and understands the need for access to medical care wherever you are.

    • Optional Disability Insurance: Add disability insurance to your health care plan to ensure you’ll be able to pay your bills if you can’t work. The insurance covers up to two-thirds of your weekly salary.

    • Client Discounts: Weight-loss programs, smoking cessation programs and even some over-the-counter medications are available at a lower rate just for being a Humana customer.

    The Affordable Care Act has mandated what must be covered by an insurer, but these providers go above and beyond the directives to ensure your health truly comes first.

    For more information, check out our detailed guide to Covered California, and contact us with any questions. At Dave Terpening Insurance, we’ll go above and beyond for you!

  8. Don’t Let Winter Drag You Down: 5 Tips to Stay Healthy

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    The winter months inevitably arrive with coughing and sneezing. A sudden change of colder temperature means runny noses and sore throats. You may feel like there is nothing you can do to stop from catching these symptoms, but prevention is possible! Feel your best this winter with tips from some professionals on how to stay healthy during this cold season.

    1) Hydrate!

    Brittany WilsonIt’s easier to remember to consume H2O in the summer when you are sweating buckets and parched from thirst. The cold winter months are another story. Although you may be tempted to fill up on hot chocolate, sugar will just make your immune system weaker. RN Britney Wilson, also know as The Nerdy Nurse, passionately shares how water intake keeps you healthy.

    Stay hydrated! Drink water, water, and more water. There are so many occasions where you might be tempted to drink empty calories or sugar and sodium packed beverages that may satiate a craving, but are not fulfilling your bodies desire for straight-up water.

    Often, indoor heating in winter will dry you out and dehydrate you. Keep a large bottle of water with you during the day, and by your bed to make sure you continue to consume water throughout the night.

    2) Sanitize, Sanitize

    Kathy QuanYou may have been told the importance of washing your hands since you’ve known how to talk, but it’s easy to think it’s something we only have to do after using the restroom or before eating. In winter months, it’s especially important to keep germs from being spread. Nurse Kathy Quan, founder of The Nursing Site, tells us how to properly use hand sanitizer when washing isn’t an option.

    Winter tends to be a very busy time with holidays and all as opposed to spring and summer where people tend to relax more and the mood is more laid back.  In the hurry up mode, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. That starts with good hand washing habits. If you use hand sanitizers, understand that they are designed to air dry and during this air drying process the germs are killed. Don’t try to wipe it off, let it evaporate.

    It’s convenient to carry around a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse or even attached to your keychain. Make it a habit to use regularly throughout the day, especially when you’re in a public place like a grocery store. You never know who had their hands on that cart before you!

    3) Get Your 40 Winks

    Leslie BlockWe asked Leslie Block, a nurse of twenty-five years, and the editor of ER Nurses Care how to stay healthy during winter, and she emphasized the importance of rest and adequate sleep.

    We all seem to be busy and forget that nutrition and getting enough sleep are simple things you can do to stay healthy. If you get run down, your body’s immune system is more prone to picking up the first thing that comes along.

    A good night’s sleep will do wonders for your immune system. Listen to your body. Often you can tell when you’re coming down with something by your sudden fatigue. Take a nap!

    4) Take Your Vitamins

    Keith CarlsonThere are many natural supplements you can take to help prevent catching that bug everyone you know has. RN and Nurse CoachKeith Carlson shares his favorite.

    In terms of staying healthy over the winter, I recommend drinking a lot of water, washing hands very frequently (especially when in public places like stores and gas stations), and getting enough rest. Zinc is very helpful, especially when you’ are sick or just coming down with something.

    Vitamin C and Echinacea are also helpful and available in many different forms over-the-counter, including fruit flavored chews.

    5) Be Good to Yourself

    The bottom line is this: take good care of yourself! It is easy to keep going through your daily routine and ignore your body until symptoms come up, but prevention is the best way to have a healthy and productive winter. Follow these simple tips by staying hydrated, clean, well-rested and filled with good nutrition. Eat a healthy and balanced diet and stay active. You will not only survive cold and flu season, but thrive with more energy and life!

  9. Which Provider Is Right For My Family?

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    The Affordable Care Act has revolutionized the way Americans purchase health insurance. Recent legislation requires everyone to be insured under a qualifying health care plan or face increasingly costly penalties over the next few years. But it’s not just important that you get coverage – you need to focus on getting the right coverage, for you and your family.

    Although the standards for care remain the same across the board, you still have the ability to choose your health care insurance provider. Here are some of the top options available for you and your family.

    Anthem Blue Cross

    Anthem Blue Cross has been one of the frontrunners in healthcare since its inception more than 70 years ago. Boasting a huge in-network provider list and some of the highest-rated plans available, this company is a great choice for families as well as individuals. With no-cost preventative care including check-ups and flu shots, as well as access to the top-rated University of California Medical Centers, Blue Cross offers comprehensive benefits and a wide range of pricing choices to ensure you get the best deal.

    Kaiser Permanente

    Kaiser Permanente is consistently one of the top-ranked health insurance providers in the nation, and the northern California division — the top-ranked medical plan in the state, according to the 2013 report by the National Committee for Quality Assurances — does not disappoint. (In fact, all eight Kaiser Permanente regions around the entire country were ranked in the top 25.) An amazing wellness program ensures families and children always have access to preventative medicine, and the website is a veritable treasure trove of health related information, with more than 40,000 articles dedicated to healthy living, stress management and diet. Although Kaiser’s prices may be slightly higher than their competitors, you do get more bang for your buck.

    Blue Shield

    More than 300 million members can’t be wrong. Providing top-notch health care coverage since 1939, Blue Shield is another top option for families. The company has received “Excellent” accreditation status from the National Committee for Quality Assurances. The “ultimate” PPO plan features a $0 deductible and no annual limit on coverage; generic drugs carry a low $5 copay, and mental health coverage will run consumers just $20 per visit.

    Health Net

    Health Net offers individual and family plans at low monthly premiums. The network of in-plan providers is extensive, and Health Net offers comprehensive, easy-to-understand benefits. Great customer service and fantastic access to doctors and medical facilities makes Health Net a top choice.


    Humana is one of the highest-rated insurance providers and features some of the least expensive premiums. With over half a million medical providers in its participating network and 4,000 hospitals to choose from nationwide, it’s easy to find providers and venues without incurring costly out of network fees. Add in the ability to tack on “extras” such as life and disability insurance to your policy, and Humana is one of the best choices for families.

    California has many great options for family healthcare plans, but deciding which is best for your family can be tedious. Exploring all avenues of coverage can help you to save time and money in the long run. Find out everything you need to know about the new healthcare laws which took effect Jan.  1, 2014 with our comprehensive guide, and then call us at 1-800-585-1776 with any questions.

    At Dave Terpening Insurance Agency, we are committed to helping you find the best coverage for your family. Let us know how we can help you today!

  10. Comparing Providers: They’re NOT all the same!

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    The online health care exchanges for the Affordable Care Act make it easy to see coverage and prices side by side, but an accurate comparison requires more than numbers on a computer screen. To truly understand what you’re getting and what you’ll pay to get it, you’ll need to do more than scratch the surface of health insurance.

    Here are some things to consider during your assessment:

    The Big Picture: Overall Cost of Care

    A low premium looks great on paper, but don’t be too tempted to enroll in a provider’s plan based on this number alone. While the monthly cost of insurance is definitely something to consider, you’ll be better served by looking at the overall cost of care: that means premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurance. A small payment each month won’t save you much in the long run when you’ll need to pay thousands of dollars for your co-insurance to kick in. Be sure to look for a great balance rather than simply a low premium.

    Going Above & Beyond: Individual Benefits

    All insurance is not created equal, although it has been designed to cover the same basic services. Providers want your business, and some are willing to go to great lengths to get it. Look for a company that provides beneficial services above and beyond traditional health care: spending accounts, wellness programs and optional life and disability insurance add value to your plan.

    Who Has Your Back: Provider Network

    The perfect plan isn’t perfect at all if there are no providers in your immediate area. Out-of-network care often is more costly, and sometimes it’s not covered at all. Be sure the plan you choose includes a wide network of providers where you live. If you’re a frequent traveler or have plans to relocate in the near future, that’s something to consider, too.

    Always Plan Ahead: Prescription Drug Costs

    Although prescription drugs are covered under the Affordable Care Act, copay amounts can vary widely. If you take several prescriptions each month, you’ll definitely want to find a plan that offers affordable drug costs. Even if this plan comes at a higher premium than others, you’ll save money in the long run.

    Pick Up The Phone: Ease of Access

    Checking out a provider’s website can offer you a valuable window into its world. Is the site well planned and easy to navigate? Does it allow you to manage your plan online? Is customer service available 24/7? A great health care plan will have a great website to go with it. Be sure you can get in touch with an agent quickly when you have a question about your coverage or need to make a claim.

    The Affordable Care Act has taken great steps in ensuring all Americans have access to health insurance, but it’s not always easy to decide which insurer is right for you. Monthly premium costs are important, but looking at the overall cost of care, a provider’s individual benefits and network, prescription drug costs and ease of access will help you to make a great decision. Find out everything you need to know about Covered California in our definitive guide!

    You don’t have to go it alone, though. We’re here to help!