Remember when you were younger and you gave "coupons" to your parents for things like a free car wash? Well, this holiday season, it's time to bring those back, except in a more sophisticated, grown-up way. There are still things you can do to help your family or friends, either by taking a family portrait or booking their next vacation, at little or no cost to you. No doubt they'll appreciate the sentiment, no matter how old you are.
When it comes to enrolling for health coverage, a lot of questions may spring to your mind. LearnVest shares some tips to help you figure out which policy is best suited for you and your health needs.
Scott Kraft, a 40-year-old marathon enthusiast, spent more than a decade covering health care policy in the Washington, D.C., area as a reporter before transplanting to Portland, Ore., a few months ago with his longtime boyfriend.
But while he knows the insides and outsides of the Affordable Care Act, and appreciates that he can get access to the same insurance as his friends without asthma (a pre-existing condition), he is having a hard time making the commitment to enroll in a plan through his state’s health care exchange website (a handful of states launched their own health care exchange websites when HealthCare.gov launched, as part of the ACA).
The problem: He doesn’t know what kind of access to doctors and primary care he’ll have whether he enrolls in a premium “platinum” plan, a “gold-level” plan, a “silver-level” plan, or a basic “bronze-level” plan.
“The X Factor has been network availability,” says Kraft, who is unable to get insurance through his domestic partner’s employer because the two are not married. “I’m fairly new to Oregon, so I don’t have a network of doctors. I don’t have to worry about, ‘Will I lose my provider?’ But for all the information I can get on the site, I am struggling to find out, ‘What if I can’t find a plan … with a good doctor with an open panel?’”
Kraft’s anxiety about the actual “coverage” that comes with these plans—how easy it will be to find a doctor, make an appointment to be seen quickly and related needs — is at the heart of the uncertainty surrounding the enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchange plans. So far, about 100,000 consumers have already enrolled.
Still, many of those who have or plan to soon enroll may be in for a shock when they realize that finding a great doctor and getting the care and services they need may not be as easy as picking a plan on a website—or as “affordable.”
According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 medical groups (representing more than 47,500 physicians) from the Medical Group Management Association, an organization that represents primary care physicians, 14% of physician practices currently say they won’t participate in the new health insurance exchange plans, while only about one in three practices say they definitely will.
Another 40% said they are still evaluating whether or not they will participate with health insurance exchange products. One of the biggest reasons doctors don’t want to participate: Financial burdens such as the pain-in-the-butt task of collecting payments from patients with high deductibles.
Doctor interests aside, for consumers like Kraft who want to get the most for their money when it comes to affording health care, this begs a few questions: What kind of health care coverage are you actually buying into when you purchase an exchange plan? And could it change overnight?
Here’s a closer look at coverage issues, and how to figure what insurance policy makes sense for you financially.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with these candy cane treats — Moms
- Step up your game with these innovative stair-decorating ideas — Home
- Gird your loins for the wedding that will exact Revenge — Entertainment
- 30 things to do after a tumultuous breakup — Love & Sex
- Get your pet in on the holiday fun! — Pets
- Work those gams with this 5-minute leg workout! — Fitness
- Channel your inner forester with plaid and flannel — Fashion
- Get these ideal gifts for your curly-headed pal — Beauty
- Video: Make Martha Stewart's apricot-pistachio biscotti — Food
- 25 perfect pairs of boots for every budget — Fashion UK
- Listen in on the huge pop music mashup for 2013 — Celebrity & News
- Charge your phone in the chicest and easiest way possible — Tech
- Take a look back at this year's most shocking bankruptcies — Smart Living
- Stop everything and drool over these cookie dough truffles — Food
- Over-the-counter items: We're not allowed to spend our FSA dollars on over-the-counter medicines without prescriptions but there are plenty of nonmedicinal products that we can still use the FSA money for. For example, band aids, crutches, first aid kits, reading glasses, sunscreen, and wound are all covered under the FSA.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is covered by your FSA, so if you have a condition such as pain, consider acupuncture.
- Chiropractic: Your FSA also covers chiropractic visits, so now may be the time to schedule an appointment with your chiropractor.
- Birth control: Many contraceptives are now covered by insurance, but your preferred brand may not be. Use your FSA if your insurance doesn't cover it.
- Glasses and contact lens: Schedule a vision exam and use your FSA dollars to buy a new pair of glasses or supplies of contact lenses.
- Prescription medicine: Buy prescription medicine if it makes sense for you to do so. Most insurance policies will only let you buy a month's supply at a time, so you can't exactly stock up on medicine.
- Copayment: Your FSA will cover the copay for your prescription medicine, doctor's visit, dental visit, and vision visit. So try to go before the end of the year to spend your FSA dollars on copays.
- Laser eye surgery and Lasik: If you've been meaning to get your vision corrected with laser surgery, it's worth considering using your FSA account to do so.
- Medical monitoring and testing devices: If you need a gadget to measure and monitor your blood pressure or ovulation, perhaps it's time to buy one now. Pregnancy and glucose test kits also qualify.
- Therapy. FSA covers therapy if it's for treatment of a medical disorder.
- Massage. Your FSA may cover massage if it's for a treatment of a medical condition, so check with the FSA administrators to see if you qualify.
For a more detailed list on what's allowed, check out this list by WageWorks, and remember to always check with HR just to make certain your expenses qualify. FSA is best used when it covers items that your health insurance doesn't generally pay for. Remember to use them or you'll lose them before the year's up!
- Five ways to make your showers more productive — Lifehacker
- Rules of etiquette everyone should know (and follow!) — Wise Bread
- Holiday gift guide: 5 best mail-order companies — LearnVest
- The truth about regifting: is it ever OK? — All You
- What’s the best way to use credit card points? — Real Simple
- Credit card rewards mistakes holiday shoppers make — Credit Sesame
- Why unpaid internships negatively impact women — HuffPost Women
- Paying extra for a flight for the convenience of a better seat — The Billfold
It's always sad to see a company we love or a well-known personality go bankrupt. However, filing for bankruptcy doesn't always mean that the companies and people won't ever recover from the financial setback.
Many companies rebound after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which just means they need a little time off for some financial reorganization. A Chapter 7 filing is the one we should all be mournful for; it's the final nail in the coffin for firms. We've also seen plenty of people bounce back after bankruptcy, such as Donald Trump, who filed for bankruptcy four times but is a billionaire today.
This year, saw a drop in bankruptcies. In fact, there were 12 percent fewer commercial and personal bankruptcies in the first nine months of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. This is definitely good news; we haven't seen as many household names on the brink of financial collapse this year compared to last year.
What was the saddest bankruptcy in 2013?
"Doing the Lord's work, one tip at a time" is what the Instagram profile for @TipsforJesus reads. And in this case, the Lord's work means leaving tips as high as $10,000 on bills that often total under $100. The unverified account has been active for about 12 weeks and is apparently still making life pretty sweet for servers in time for the holidays.
The outrageously generous Tips For Jesus have shown up everywhere from Chicago to San Francisco. In October, a tip of $5,000 was left at a Notre Dame football bar in South Bend, IN. The note read, "Fight On!" — a reference to rival University of Southern California's football cheer. Unfortunately for that waiter, however, the bar and American Express did not clear the tip out of concerns it was a fraud.
It's unclear whether one person or several are behind the effort, which appears to have left over $50,000 in tips. New reports suggest it might be former Paypal VP Jack Selby. The account-holder seems to be a college football fan and on Instagram has written, "No fraud here, tipsforjesus pays its tabs." As for what Jesus would do, it's not so clear what he thought about posting good deeds on social media.
It's the holiday season, and we're getting in the spirit with our favorite holiday gifts. We've been rounding up our picks for everyone in your life, and now we want to gift you with something from our six amazing giveaways.
We're kicking off Day 1 of our Favorite Holiday Gifts Giveaway with a chance to win $2,000 to Neiman Marcus. Enter, and you could be one step closer to a shopping spree at one of our favorite stores!
Be sure to come back to POPSUGAR every day for the next six days to enter for a chance to win over $10,000 in prizes!
It's always nice to have a small gift for a coworker or a neighbor (like that cute guy down the hall). And this collection of $5-or-less Etsy finds is perfect for giving little trinkets this holiday season. If your gift-giving isn't limited to Christmas, then you can stash these tokens of appreciation and dole them out anytime of year.
Perfect for guys, girls, or even moms, click through for a seriously budget-friendly collection of small presents you'll love giving to others.