Don’t be fooled by surprise medical bills this April 1st!

Yes, it’s April 1st but don’t be fooled!

If you’ve ever heard “Be your own advocate!” when it comes to health care, or ever been in a situation where that would apply… you know how true it is. Things are happening in health care. Big things. And while some of them are huge innovations, strides with technology and more knowledge than medical professionals ever dreamed of… there’s still a bit of a dark side that the average consumer needs to be aware of. Billing. Womp womp.

Now before this gets misconstrued as a negative connotation of doctors, nurses, hospitals or anything else specific to the medical world, we are not by any means speaking generally or negatively about all things health-related. This is simply a warning to patients to pay attention.

Here are some quick stats from a healthline study to ensure that we are providing facts rather than opinions on this:

  • Up to 80% of medical bills have errors
  • Nearly 1/3 of Americans learn that their health insurance doesn’t pay what they expected
  • 59% of the time Americans are contacted by debt collectors is for an outstanding medical bill
  • 16% of Americans’ credit report includes medical debt totaling over $80 billion

Instead of pointing the finger at medical professionals or facilities for over charging, let’s discuss a few ways you can prevent being on the receiving end of those not so fun surprise charges:

  1. Speak up. If you don’t understand a procedure, diagnosis, treatment plan or medication, find your voice and use it. Ask questions. Make notes. Do some research. You know your phone is close by, look it up online and educate yourself. Yes, you should trust the licensed and very well educated professional that spent a lot of time in school to do this for a living but understand what they’re telling you and be sure you’re on board.
  2. Price shop. Find out if certain facilities perform procedures for less and why. This is common with teaching hospitals. This also applies heavily to prescription drugs. Don’t just use the pharmacy closest to your house because it’s convenient and they have a drive-thru. Look at goodrx.com or call around to others to see what their cost is. Now obviously, keep in mind that if you have health insurance, there may be certain pharmacies they work with or providers that are in or out of their network. But don’t just default to the most popular or most convenient. Your wallet will thank you.
  3. Request details. Ask for an itemized bill/Explanation of Benefits. Keep documentation for your records. Don’t just pay whatever you’re told without knowing what exactly it’s for.
  4. Channel that feisty preteen 7th grader in debate class that we know is still in you and fight for yourself. It might amaze you at how much health care providers are willing to negotiate if you can come to an agreement of either a payment plan, pay in full discount or overall reduction if it can be justified.

Your health is not a game and you can’t put a price on a medical necessity… so you should by all means get the best care possible. However, a little awareness and self-advocacy can go a long way and may even help facilitate a more proactive approach to good health… now that you’ll be able to afford it.

Do You Have Enough Life Insurance?

When you consider your workplace benefits package, how much value do you see in your employer offering life insurance? This coverage can oftentimes be overlooked or undervalued but it can be very beneficial to your loved ones in the event something were to happen to you. Then there’s the question of whether or not the coverage your employer provides is enough. According to most experts, the answer is no.

There are several things to take into consideration if you depend on employer-sponsored coverage alone, especially if you are responsible for the care of others. The biggest mistake most people make is that they do not truly understand their need for life insurance and do not realize that the amount they have is inadequate. More individuals than ever before are using their employee perk as sole coverage over buying outside coverage, according to LIMRA. If you have a family, outside coverage will aid in paying bills, debts, and future expenses that employer-sponsored coverage could not fully pay.

Do not worry if you haven’t purchased life insurance separately because it’s not too late and we’re here to help! Those who are single, mostly debt free, and do not have dependents will probably be fine with their work coverage. Determining if you need more coverage is the first step.

At any point in the process, you can give us a call at 352-371-7977 and speak with Nick Deas, our resident life insurance expert. Nick can help you determine what type of life insurance your lifestyle requires and how much coverage you’ll need. Although discussing life without a loved one can be very difficult and a topic many people avoid, it’s extremely important to be prepared and all on the same page. Feeling confident and comfortable with your family’s financial stability can bring a lot of peace to an otherwise negative subject.

Florida Blue Member Website

Did you know Florida Blue has a member website? Did you know that creating a login for the site makes updating contact information easier, provides details about your claims and deductibles, and can earn you discounts?

Member Website

Setting up your account is quick and easy! Follow this link and the instructions. All you need is your Member Number that is on your member ID card. Once you are registered you can access your health insurance account on a completely secure and accessible site. You can view recent claims and the status of you and your family members deductibles. There is also information about your spending toward your out-of-pocket maximum. You have access to a provider directory and information about what is included in your specific plan as well. Another benefit of the account is the ability to compare costs. You can choose a service, provider, and location to estimate costs of x-rays, MRIs, surgical procedures, and specialty visits.

Need more reasons to create an account? By becoming a user on the site you have access to tons of deals. Go to https://www.blue365deals.com/browse-all-deals to get deals ranging from discounts on hearing aids to access to some of the top fitness centers at a reduced cost.

Mobile Application

Florida Blue also offers a free mobile application on Google Play and in the App Store. The mobile app provides the same great information as the member website on the go! When you need to find a provider in a hurry, the app ensures that you choose someone who is included in-network for your specific plan and based on your current location. If you need your member ID card the app also provides a digital copy.

Creating a Florida Blue member account helps to ease stress, provide convenient and quick information, and keeps you up-to-date on your plan and Florida Blue. Take the time to create your account today!

Auto Insurance When It’s Not Your Car

In most instances, borrowing a car or renting, your auto insurance will follow a vehicle rather than a driver.

Rented Vehicle

Typically, the insurance you obtain for your personal vehicle will carry over to a rental car. Seems easy enough, but there are some stipulations to this rule. The rental vehicle cannot be used for business. In order for your coverage to carry over the rented vehicle must be used for 30 days or less and inside the United States. Only coverage that you currently have carries over. If you have no comprehensive and collision coverage then you’re left without it on the rental car. Knowing this information can save you a lot of money. You can get away with not purchasing extra insurance in some cases.

Auto

Borrowed Vehicle

Say that you have a friend who needs to borrow your vehicle to run errands or move. If they have your permission to use the vehicle then your auto insurance will follow the vehicle and transfer to them. They cannot be previously excluded from your insurance in order for the transfer to work.

Make sure to check your policy as these rules can vary. If you need more information feel free to give us a call today, 352-371-7977.

 

“Thinking Out Loud” about last night’s Grammy Awards and tomorrow’s “Random Acts of Kindness Day”

It probably wasn’t terribly shocking to many that Taylor Swift’s “1989” won album of the year. Or that Ed Sheeran’s hugely popular song “Thinking Out Loud” took song of the year. Meghan Trainor was a well-deserving recipient of best new artist and Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk swept record of the year. These are just a few of the gold trophies that went out in last night’s ceremony for the 2016 Grammys.

Awards make people feel a certain kind of way. It’s important in today’s world to recognize and encourage success. Good people doing good things. McGriff-Williams has been honored to accept many awards of our own that we’re very proud of and motivated by.

best insurance GainesvilleAmerica’s Best Independent Agency to Work For Insurance Journal

Tower Tier Award Tower Hill Insurance for personal lines production

Platinum Agency Award ASI & Progressive Insurance (less than 2% of agencies receive this award)

Florida Blue Award for Top 5 agency in the northeast region for Medicare supplement sales and Top 10 in the northeast region for individual under 65 plan sales

Florida Blue Award for Top 15 agency overall in the state of Florida

“Witness Greatness” was the takeaway message from last night’s show. We feel confident that’s exactly what will happen with random acts of kindness happening tomorrow too. We appreciate the loyalty of our clients over the past 33 years and are grateful for the various acknowledgments we’ve earned.

We challenge you to share your admiration of others, especially tomorrow, and hand out your own awards…. Whether it’s a smile for a stranger, picking up the coffee tab for the car behind you or sending a handwritten note to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. We all need to recognize and reward good people doing good things.