Protecting your toddler from a medication mishap

babyWe love our little ones! But how do we keep them safe when they start toddling around, especially if we have medicine in the home. Heaven knows that babies love putting things in their mouths. And some medications look awfully close to candy.

Each year, more than 60,000 young children nationwide are treated in emergency rooms after getting into medicine while their parents or caregivers aren’t looking. Scary, right? As much as we would like to watch them all the time, the truth is that babies will be babies.

If you have young children in your home, here are some important safety tips from the National Safety Council that can help you prevent a potentially tragic accident:

  • Store medicines out of reach and sight of young children. A top shelf in the cabinet is great idea, especially if the cabinet has a closed face. Having a glass face on your cabinet can lead to curiosity that could put your child at risk.
  • Put medicines and vitamins away EVERY time you use them. Don’t rely on ‘childproof’ caps to keep your children safe. Toddlers can been creative. A cap can fail.
  • With children who are old enough to understand, explain what medicine is, and why they should never try to take any on their own. Do not tell a child that medicine is candy in an effort to get them to take it.
  • Is grandma coming to visit? Ask her, grandpa and any other visitors to keep medicines out of reach and sight of children while they are in your home.

We value you and your family. We want to do everything we can to help protect your family from accidents that could easily be avoided.

Getting the most out of your doctor’s visit

Doctor isn't as scary as she seemsWhen it comes to doctor’s visits, do you ever wish you could have a do-over? You spend time with the doctor, only to discover on the way out the door that you’ve forgotten to ask a half-dozen questions that were on your mind the day before? If you’ve found yourself in that position, you’re not alone.

Visiting the doctor can be stressful. First of all, you’re probably feeling under the weather, or caring for a child who isn’t feeling well. Then you’re dealing with the administrative side of visiting the doctor, trying to remember insurance information and fill out paperwork to see the doctor. Then you find yourself in the office with heights, weights, heartbeats, ear checks, eye checks and everything else that may go into checking your health or your child’s well-being.

So how do you reduce the stress and make the most of your doctor’s visit? Here are some tips that will help you maximize the amount of time you have with your family physician:

  • When making an appointment, provide the office with sufficient detail about your health conditions. This will allow them to allocate the proper amount of time to your appointment.
  • Come prepared with knowledge about your family medical history, along with any paperwork that might help the doctor better understand your health and risk factors. You may consider writing this information down, or making a note on your phone, to make sure you don’t forget anything.
  • Make a list of your current prescriptions, including the doses and frequency of any prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Make sure to include other health remedies such as herbs, supplements and vitamins.
  • Take advantage of annual preventative office visits, which make more urgent visits less stressful. Let the doctor get to know you and your family in a more casual environment. These appointments are typically longer than a sick visit, and provide you with time to ask questions and address longer-term health issues.
  • Use the buddy system. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the information presented during your visit. It may helpful to bring a friend or relative to help you write things down, share medical information and talk with the health care team.

If you have any questions related to your health coverage, don’t hesitate to call us at (303) 663-9991. We’re here to help protect you and your family.

Lost in translation: How to decode your Summary of Benefits and Coverage

24284604 - portrait of a worried young couple looking at paperCommunications related to health insurance can seem like they’re written in another language. Among them may be your Summary of Benefits and Coverage. If you purchase health insurance on the government exchange, you should receive this summary regardless of your plan. Most private insurers also offer one, or provide a similar document. Understanding it, however, is an entirely different matter.


Deductibles are how much you pay “out of pocket,” before the plan’s coverage kicks in. Typically, there is an overall yearly deductible, but there may also be deductibles for specific services, or for out-of-network providers.

Out-of-pocket maximum

The out-of-pocket maximum is the most you pay out-of-pocket per year for all covered medical expenses. Once you reach it, your plan pays 100% of your covered costs. There may be a different maximum for in-network and out-of-network providers.

Annual limit

Annual limits are the most that plans will pay for certain covered services. Although there are no overall annual limits on government-exchange plans, certain services, such as those for mental health, may be capped at a specific number of visits.

Still have trouble decoding your Summary of Benefits and Coverage? Talk to your health insurance broker to get a “translation.”

Picking a plan with a health insurance broker


It’s time to choose a health care plan. You’ve done the smart thing, and contacted a health insurance broker. But how do you work with them to get the plan that’s best for you?

Comparison shop

One way to narrow down the list of possible plans is to ask yourself, “Is seeing the same doctors I see now important to me?” If the answer is “yes,” you’ll want to look at provider networks that list them – especially the ones that have them “in network.” This will lower your potential health care costs for the year.

Know your rights

If you’re considering buying a plan on the government exchange, ask your broker if you’re eligible for any cost-saving measures. This may include subsidies, which require a subsidy application. Your broker should be able to help you complete this application.

Don’t break down in “tiers”

Does the plan or plans you’re thinking of buying use drug formularies? If so, they may be broken down into tiers. Medications under different tiers may have different costs. Review these tiers and costs with your health insurance broker for any medications you take regularly, or are likely to need in the future.

What are the biggest questions YOU have for a health insurance broker when it comes to choosing a plan?

Four health insurance terms you should understand

Doctor concept background.When you’re shopping for a health insurance plan, it’s easy to get confused by all the terminology. Here’s a guide to four of the most important health insurance terms that you need to know:

Co-payment. A co-payment is a fixed amount that you are responsible for paying for a medical service. Some health insurance plans require policyholders to reach a health care spending threshold — called a deductible — before they start paying co-payments for various medical services. For example, after meeting your deductible, you may pay only a $30 co-payment for a routine office visit, with the health plan paying the rest of the cost. Many plans have co-payments for prescriptions as well.

Premium. This is the amount you must pay for your health care coverage each month, whether you pay for your health insurance coverage yourself or through a deduction from your paycheck. You also pay your premiums whether or not you use your health insurance plan that month.

Deductible. Here’s where things start to get a bit confusing. A deductible is the amount of money you’re required to pay for your health care before your insurance company begins to pay its share of the cost. Deductibles vary among health plans. In some cases, deductibles do not apply to routine office visits and/or preventative care.

Coinsurance. This is the percentage of the total cost of a medical service that you’re responsible for after you’ve paid your plan’s deductible. Suppose you’ve already paid out your plan’s deductible and your coinsurance is 30 percent. For a $2,000 hospital visit, you would be responsible for $600.

We believe it’s crucial that consumers understand their health insurance plans. If you have any questions about how your plan works, please call us at (303) 663-9991. We are happy to help you.

What makes a good health insurance broker?

management team discussing papers

Choosing a health insurance broker is almost as important as choosing the right health care plan itself. So what are some of the signs that a broker knows their stuff? Read on to find out.

Their services are free

You heard right: an honest health insurance broker comes completely free of charge. They get paid in commissions, so if one asks for money in exchange for finding you a plan, run away from them fast!

They can break down complicated topics

A knowledgeable health insurance broker not only has a solid grasp of each plan they present, but they know how to talk about it. They can explain complex policies and terms that you may not be familiar with at first glance.

They understand your needs

Everyone is looking for the value-driven plan possible. But a good broker won’t just push you towards a plan because it’s cheap. They’ve had an in-depth conversation about your and/or your family’s needs, and that’s the basis they use when helping to pick a plan.

They make comparing plans easy

Looking at different plans means having to digest a lot of information at once. The best brokers can create tables or charts which will allow you to easily see the differences between plans.

What are YOU looking for in a health insurance broker?

Don’t buy health insurance without reading this!


Buying a health insurance policy is a big decision, and not one to be entered into lightly. Before you commit to a plan, make sure it meets all your healthcare needs.

Know your plan types

A knowledgeable health insurance broker can go through the different plan types with you, including PPO’s, POS’s, EPO’s, and HMO’s. They can review the potential costs and benefits of each, out-of-network coverage, and more.

Know your health insurance terms

Before you choose a health insurance plan, you need to know what the deductible, premiums, co-insurance, co-pays and out-of-pocket maximums are. But before that, you actually have to know what those terms MEAN. A health insurance broker can break them down for you.

Know your networks

Most health insurance plans have a network of providers that they operate within. It’s important to know if the doctors you see are in this network, or if you will have to choose different ones to minimize your out-of-pocket costs.

Know your ACA status

Is the plan you’re considering available on the health care exchange under the ACA (Affordable Care Act)? This is crucial information, since ACA plans have to meet certain standards that non-ACA plans don’t.

For more information, contact your health insurance broker today.

Be prepared to answer these health insurance broker questions

54598489 - close-up of businessperson with resume and pen in officeWhen you first meet with a health insurance broker, you’ll probably have a lot of questions. But don’t be surprised if THEY have some questions for YOU. In fact, they should – it’s part of what makes them a skilled professional. Take a look at just a few of the potential inquiries below, so you can be prepared with the answers.

Get ready to answer these questions from your broker:

  • Is this your first time buying or applying for health insurance coverage?
  • What coverage do you currently have, if any?
  • If you want to switch health insurance plans, what is the reason?
  • Are you applying for an individual, such as yourself, or will you need coverage for a spouse or dependents as well?
  • On average, how many times a year do you see a physician?
  • Which physicians do you see most often: general practitioners or specialists?
  • Are there any physicians you want to keep seeing?
  • Do you take prescription medications? Are the branded prescriptions important to you, or are you usually satisfied with generics?
  • How much can you afford to spend on health insurance each month?

To learn more about how health brokers work and how they can help you, get in touch with one today!

Out with the old, in with the new

old way, new way

Signing up for a new health insurance plan means a lot. It may mean new co-pays, new deductibles and even new doctors. But it also means making sure you don’t have a gap in coverage before your new plan begins.

Continuous coverage is crucial

Unless you want a hefty bill for any medical services you seek out, getting continuous coverage is crucial. Luckily, if you lose your health insurance, it automatically entitles you to a Special Enrollment Period under the Affordable Care Act. This lets you join a plan on the government marketplace outside the annual enrollment period.

You have a choice in plans

Often, when a plan ends, your insurance company will send you a letter recommending a new plan. But that doesn’t mean you have to sign up for it. If the suggested plan is too expensive, or doesn’t meet your needs, you can select a completely different plan.

When to sign up

You can sign up for a new health insurance plan 45 days before the end of your current coverage, or 60 days after it ends. So there’s no need to panic – in total, you have over three months to choose new coverage.

If you have additional questions about getting a new insurance plan when your old one is over, talk to an insurance broker today!

Surprise! You have a huge medical bill

Serious young black couple paying bills online with laptop computer

Some surprises can be fun. A surprise $5 bill in your pocket. A surprise hard-to-get table at your favorite restaurant. But other surprises – such as an enormous medical bill – can be devastating.

Big bills can happen to anyone

No matter how hard you try to use the approved providers, or stay in-network, unexpected medical bills can crop up at any time. This is especially true when having any type of procedures done at a hospital. That’s because doctors and hospitals bill differently; just because one is covered doesn’t mean the other will be. That means these providers are often able to “balance bill” patients, charging them the full amount that insurance wouldn’t cover.

What can you do to avoid surprises?

It’s possible your huge medical bill is unavoidable. But before you assume that, there are a few things you can try. First, examine any bills you receive closely. Double-check all charges – some may be duplicates, or for services that weren’t even performed! Second, see if you can negotiate with the provider. If they learn you can’t pay them the full amount, they may be willing to accept a lesser one.

Working with a health insurance broker can minimize the chances of unexpected bills. If you’re in the market for a new policy, get in touch with a broker today!