Choosing a health insurance policy is not easy. One must take into consideration a multitude of factors, such as the plan’s provider network, deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket maximums. In an interview on The Indicator from Planet Money: Confusion in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Dan Weissmann - host of one of our favorite podcasts: An Arm And a Leg - talked about the cost of health care. He speaks about the new and improved subsidies for health insurance now available through the Affordable Care Act thanks to the American Rescue Plan. Dan states how difficult it is to choose a new insurance policy since it is so complicated; and according to one economist Dan interviewed, "It doesn't matter how smart you are, you cannot figure it out on your own."
Thankfully, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. We are experts who can help!
We will walk you through the intricacies of different insurance plans and possible scenarios, whether it's an ACA plan, an employer-sponsored plan or private insurance. We can help you obtain the best plan for yourself and your family.
Contact us for help choosing a plan!
Already have a plan but are having difficulty with coverage?
We are here to help with your other healthcare advocacy needs.
As COVID vaccines become more generally available, is important to have ideas of what to say to encourage younger people, including children and grandchildren, to get the vaccine. Recently published by AARP, are some ideas of talking-points.
1. Vaccines provide protection from severe illness
Children are not immune to Covid, they are seen winding up in the hospital with COVID-related Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome. The vaccine is very effective at preventing hospitalization and death in adults, and although it is not absolute how effective the vaccine will be in children, early reports are showing there is efficacy in young participants.
2. Widespread vaccinations slow surges
Data shows younger people are driving the current surge of COVID-19. and hospitals are overwhelmed with younger individuals. Coronavirus variants are spreading, and so far studies suggest our vaccines protect against these variants. Unfortunately, the more people infected right now, the more chance for new variants, which could possibly not respond to the vaccine.
3. You have more freedom (to spend time with friends and family and travel)!
You can do more things at a greatly reduced risk to yourself and others. You can do indoor mask-less gatherings with other fully vaccinated people. You can also travel domestically without COVID tests and internationally without quarantining when you return.
4. COVID-19 isn't stopping soon
It is predicted that COVID-19 will never be eradicated and wide-spread vaccination is the only to move past the lockdowns and social distancing.
Tips when speaking with someone vaccine-hesitant:
Avoid being antagonistic and make sure to listen. Try to figure out their concerns and guide them towards reliable information. If they are afraid of possible side effects, let them know not everyone experiences side-effects, and those who do, experience short-lasting ones. Also it can helpful to note - the side-effects are generally the same, but less severe, as the symptoms one would experience if they contracted the COVID-19 virus.
Nania, Rachel. “Reasons to Tell Your Kids, Grandkids to Get Vaccinated.” AARP, 19 Apr. 2021.
In an article, published by Stanford Business, Edmund L Andrews writes about “The Staggering Costs of Health Insurance Sludge” and highlights a new study led by Jeffrey Pfeffer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Pfeffer and his colleagues found that administrative “sludge” in health care insurance costs employers and the economy billions of dollars in squandered work time, employee stress, absenteeism and reduced productivity. The study states the “sludge” creates $11.4 billion in direct employee costs.
Pfeffer and his colleagues estimate that the reduced job satisfaction coming from spending time on the phone with health insurers is costing the country an additional $95 billion annually in reduced productivity.
This article illustrates why everyone needs a healthcare advocate and why employers should provide care coordination services to their employees. Healthcare advocates, also called patient navigators, take the burden of begging for healthcare and insurance coverage from the employee thereby reducing presenteeism in the workplace. Presenteeism is defined as “the practice of coming to work despite illness, injury, anxiety, etc., often resulting in reduced productivity.” Though fewer people are in the office during COVID times, they are still working and managing their healthcare challenges while on the clock.
We at Marin Healthcare Navigation have stories – lots of them. Like the devoted dad who finally gave up after a year of arguing with his family’s health insurer to pay for his son’s emergency surgeries after a terrible skiing accident rendered his son a paraplegic. We filed multiple appeals and conducted negotiations until the original bill of $382k was reduced to $650.
Or the long-time employee of a multi-national company, which offered excellent coverage through their self-insured health insurance policy. The third-party administrator refused to authorize chemotherapy treatments for a Stage IV cancer patient deeming it “not medically necessary”. The employee with cancer gave up trying to fight insurance and work at the same time, and decided to contact us. We successfully appealed the denials and the chemotherapy was finally approved saving the patient over $180k in past and future out of pocket costs.
Imagine the time a healthy patient or family would have spent on the phone trying to find a way through the “NOs” to the final “YES”. Now imagine a sick patient in this battle while trying to continue working!
Presenteeism is Expensive! Administrative Sludge is the cause and it needs to be addressed. Everyone needs an advocate and we are here for you. Contact us to see how we can help your employees navigate their healthcare challenges, thereby reducing your costs.
Kathy Lord King
Founder and CEO
Finding a COVID-19 Vaccination is difficult. If you are in Marin County and need help finding COVID-19 Vaccination information you have come to the right place.
For important COVID-19 information by Marin HHS, including Vaccine distribution and FAQs:
Two Marin County-based Vaccine Provider options are CVS Pharmacy and Rite Aid Pharmacy. They are currently vaccinating staff and residents of long-term care facilities, healthcare workers, and Marin County residents age 65 and older.
It is extra difficult to obtain appointments at CVS and Rite Aid Pharmacies due to limited supply, but you can search for appointments at CVS here:
And you may check for appointments at Rite Aid here: https://www.riteaid.com/pharmacy/covid-qualifier
Through our research into CVS and Rite Aid Vaccination distribution we found:
Some people have luck refreshing their website for new availability every night after midnight, approximately between the hours of 12:01am-5:00am, when sometimes appointments are made available.
CVS releases new availability every week on Monday. Best probability of obtaining a vaccine through CVS is refreshing their website to see availability between those early morning hours on Monday:
Another option is through Marin Public Health. They release new appointments each Thursday afternoon.
Scroll to the bottom of the page of this link for available appointments: https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/vaccine/P1Bsignup
NOTE: "SPECIAL UPDATE - 2/18: Widespread winter storms across the U.S. have delayed vaccine shipments and deliveries planned for this week. Unfortunately, Marin County Public Health... will be forced to cancel all first dose appointments scheduled for February 18 (only first dose appointments) and cancel all planned first and second Moderna doses for February 18-19. Anyone whose appointment is was cancelled will be contacted by email with an option to reschedule for next week. Due to the delay in vaccine supply shipments, we are unable to open any new appointments (beyond rescheduling these cancelled appointments) until we know when the vaccine supply will arrive.”
If you haven't yet, fill out Marin Public Health's Vaccination Interest Form: https://marincountyhc.jotform.com/210187732830049
New Sutter Health appointments are generally listed mid-week. For more information:
Drive-thru vaccination is also coming to Marin!
"The drive-through clinic will be located at the Larkspur Landing ferry terminal and will “soft launch” on Sunday, February 21... Appointments will for the new site will go live Saturday, February 20, and will be accessible from Marin County Public Health...’"
For more information, read the press-release below:
There is also a Super-Vaccination site at the Oakland Coliseum. Those 65 and older should be eligible to schedule an appointment. Currently, there is a glitch in the system (saying ineligible for 65-74 range). Check this link every few days to see if this issue is resolved:
If you're need of further assistance or information Contact Us! We assist in the San Francisco Bay Area and Nationwide. We can help you find COVID-19 Vaccination information and resources for your area.
Thank you David Leonhardt, New York Times - Excellent Vaccine News
"...all five of the vaccines — from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson — look extremely good. Of the roughly 75,000 people who have received one of the five in a research trial, not a single person has died from Covid...To put that in perspective, it helps to think about what Covid has done so far to a representative group of 75,000 American adults: It has killed roughly 150 of them and sent several hundred more to the hospital."
Click here to read the article!
"COVID-19 vaccines bring hope for ending the coronavirus pandemic. It's likely you've heard claims -- myths and misinformation -- about these COVID-19 vaccines on social media or from the people in your life. Knowing what is true about vaccines, and what isn’t, is crucial to community and business recovery."
Read about the facts and myths surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine:
In the current pandemic, it is especially important to find ways to communicate with our isolated loved ones. Here are some instructions on how to use technology to stay connected as well as some articles with other helpful tips.
Zoom is a video-conferencing platform that is helpful. A zoom account is not required if you are joining a call as a participant, a Zoom account is only required if you need to create your own meeting. This makes it easier on your loved one, since you can create the meeting and simply send them a link to join.
How to Use Zoom:
How to Use Skype:
How to Make a Facetime Call:
Another great option, is the app Whatsapp. This app allows for text messaging, audio messages, image sharing, and video calls. It is a helpful app if your isolated loved one doesn't have an iPhone or iPad device (and therefore can't Facetime), or if they live in a different country.
Another video-chatting option for Google and Android users is Google Duo.
Here is a helpful article on tablets that are "senior-friendly":
And here are some other helpful resources:
Is employee presenteeism negatively impacting your workplace? Presenteeism is narrowly defined as a loss of employee productivity due to health-related problems. This runs the gamut from employees coming to work with a cold or flu to more serious issues like employees suffering from chronic illnesses, including mental health, substance abuse and other health challenges. Presenteeism can also apply to lost productivity as employees struggle to manage health and family issues during the work day. Marin Healthcare Navigation can help.
Estimates of lost productivity can be as high as 57.5 days per year, according to author Sandy Smith, (EHS TODAY). That equals nearly three months of lost productivity per employee per year, far exceeding the average four days a year of employee absenteeism. Juggling illness with work responsibilities is difficult but most illnesses resolve over a brief period following medical treatment. What lingers on are days and weeks spent managing health insurance billing and reimbursement. For serious illness or injury requiring hospitalization or long term care, employees spend an enormous amount of time researching treatment options, negotiating pre-authorizations, double checking billings and reconciling insurance payments with policy coverage. This is made more difficult due to current insurance industry practices that discourage quick and easy claim resolution, a pattern of denying valid claims in pursuit of higher profits, and an incredibly high billing error rate.
Multiplying hours lost by number of employees will show how much presenteeism is costing your business. Smart, invested employers want to have high workplace productivity and support the health of their employees while protecting themselves from unnecessary costs while incentivizing employee retention.
Marin Healthcare Navigation provides personalized care assistance that helps you lower the cost of presenteeism at your company. We take the burdensome task of navigating our complex healthcare system away from your employees and out your work place. We provide the following concierge services for your employees and their family members:
You can depend on Marin Healthcare Navigation’s integrity, discretion and adherence to applicable privacy laws and provider standards. We invite you to contact us for an evaluation of the presenteeism plaguing your business. Let us show you how we can work together to increase employee productivity, lower workplace stress and contain your company healthcare expenses.