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Why should you buy vision coverage?

This is some great input from one of our partners, Ameritas, on the impor­tance of vision coverage. Thought it was important enough to share…

Vision insurance typically receives mixed reviews – some see the value and realize the impor­tance of the coverage, but others think it’s not essential and it’s more of a “luxury” benefit.  This week’s update is going to pass on infor­mation to show the great value of vision insurance, specif­i­cally on the eye exam.

A key point of vision insurance is to get insured’s to an annual compre­hensive eye exam.  I don’t mean an exam where you read letters on a Snellen chart – I mean a true compre­hensive eye exam.  The reason these exams are so valuable is the ability to detect vision condi­tions and other health problems.  Here’s a quick list of condi­tions and diseases that can be detected through a compre­hensive eye exam:

Eye Conditions Medical Conditions
Glaucoma Cardiovascular disease
Cataracts Demyelinating diseases
Macular Degeneration Endocrine condi­tions
Diabetic Retinopathy Inflammatory and Rheumatologic conditions
Infections of the eye Neuromuscular diseases
Corneal Dystrophy Tumors
Retinal Detachments

There are huge benefits to detecting these condi­tions early.  People can get treatment and many times not experience any damage, as long as these condi­tions are recog­nized early.  Combine this with the fact that a person with a vision insurance plan is more likely to go in for an eye exam than if they didn’t have insurance – THAT is the reason vision insurance is so valuable!  The coverage encourages preventive care and regular exams that helps keep people happy and healthy – and that’s the type of company employees are looking for!  On top of the exam benefits, vision insurance helps members pay for vision corrective services (lenses, frames, etc) and helps save them a signif­icant amount of money.  So the next time you are prospecting or talking to a current client that does not have vision coverage, you’ll be able to explain and show them that vision insurance is a great value to add to the benefits package.

Updated Application Period for Individual Coverage

Covered California announced today that individuals who have started an online appli­cation by March 31 will have until April 15 to complete their appli­cation and to select a Covered California health plan.  Note this applies to online appli­ca­tions only.

Individuals who start an online appli­cation by 11:59 p.m. on March 31, 2014 will have until 11:59 p.m. on April 15, 2014 to complete their appli­cation and select a plan.  To start an application, individuals must take at least the following steps:

  • Create an online account.
  • Complete all required infor­mation on the “Apply for Benefits” page and click on “Continue.”  The page contains two required fields.
  • After clicking on “Continue,” the individual will be taken to the “Consent for Verification” page, where they need to click on “Save & Exit” or “Continue.”
  • Individuals must return to their online account no later than April 15 to complete the appli­cation and select a plan.

Individuals who complete their appli­ca­tions, and make their premium payment on time, will get coverage beginning May 1 and avoid the tax penalty for lack of insurance. Click here for infor­mation about how to pay and payment deadlines.

Again, the open enrollment completion period applies only to online appli­ca­tions.  Paper appli­ca­tions must be completed (including plan selection) and postmarked by March 31, 2014 in order to meet the open enrollment deadline for Covered California health plans.

Certified Insurance Agents are encouraged to use Covered California’s online enrollment portal for starting appli­ca­tions by the March 31 deadline, and then use the next two weeks to help their clients complete the process.

After the end of open enrollment on March 31, consumers may be eligible for Covered California’s special enrollment period, which can be triggered by one of several “quali­fying life events,” as defined under the Affordable Care Act. Some of those quali­fying events include:

  • Getting married.
  • Having a baby or adopting a child.
  • Permanently moving to a new area that has different health plan options.
  • Losing other health care coverage that is considered minimum essential coverage.
  • A change in income that would affect an enrollee’s eligi­bility for financial assistance.

Low-cost or no-cost coverage through Medi-Cal is also available to consumers year-round, and they can check their eligi­bility and sign up on the Covered California website, through its Service Center or with the help of assisters.

Covered California also operates its Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) year-round for businesses with 50 employees or fewer.

Covered California’s next open enrollment period, for 2015 coverage, will begin in fall 2014.

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