telemedicine, treatment, patients, medical, distance, doctor, online, digital, health care, health care, internet, BeneChoice Companies, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson

Telemedicine is the Answer

Have you heard the term “telemedicine” before this article? If not, you have probably used it. Dictionary.com defines telemedicine as “the diagnosis and treatment of patients in remote areas using medical information, as x-rays or television pictures, transmitted over long distances.

 

Take a step back and think about things for a moment: we live in a world where instant access in the new normal. You can select next-day shipping for your online purchases. You can binge watch any show for several seasons. Any type of music is a quick swipe away from hearing. If you want an answer to any question, just ask your phone.

 

With all of this information just click away, why should immediate access to medical care be a long wait? Telemedicine is changing the way we look at healthcare. It’s more about getting the correct answer quickly and less about making an appointment and waiting to be seen.

 

Telemedicine is not a new concept but it is a growing option for employers to add to their health care packages. Ultimately, this helps to cut costs for health care and improve access for all employees. Now, 80 percent of employers offer a telehealth benefit to their employees. This may be access through apps on their phones, access to ask a nurse a question 24/7 through a phone line/internet service, and many more.

 

For many employers and employees, this may mean the difference between taking time off to visit a physician or being able to make quick inquiry and access to pick up a prescription at a local pharmacy quickly. This saves time for employers, employees, and licensed physicians. It’s predicted that this could save companies more than $6 billion a year in health care costs. With the savings of time and money, it is no surprise that employers and employees are flocking to the idea of telemedicine as a solution to give more access to everyone for healthcare options!

Highest regards,

Stacia


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The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, gift, holiday, Christmas

Is It Too Early To Think Of The Holidays?

School has started, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and before you know it, the holidays will be here begging for every cent of your paycheck.

We’ve gathered suggestions for you to stay within your budget and ideas for free / minimal cost gifts to begin preparing for the holiday season.

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1) Creative Gifts are Memorable
Think about gifts that you can make instead of purchasing.  You don’t need to be a “crafty” person to make a creative gift. You can bake your favorite recipes and include them in a box, basket, or jar. Purchase small or relatively inexpensive items that you know people will enjoy. A small thoughtful something is better than an expensive gift that someone will never use.

2) Divide Large Gift Baskets
Purchase a large gift basket from a place like Costco or Sam’s Club then divide it into several smaller gifts. Doing this may cost you $50-75 initially, but you may also be able to give 5-10 people gifts from one purchase.

This splitting idea also works with other multi-packs. Think about fuzzy sucks, golf balls,  beauty sets, coffee mugs etc. You will save money and be able to personalize gifts as well – a double win!

3) Clearance & Discount
There is no reason to buy into the belief that you need to pay full price for a gift. Even if you strategically budgeted full price for an item, try to find coupons or sales for the item. There’s never a good reason to overpay for an item.

Look at secondhand items that don’t show worn signs. These are also great places to find baskets to gather treats into for people to give a polished look for low cost.

4) Unused Giftcards
Think about the gift cards you have yet to use and don’t intend to use; these are easy to give to someone else. Some places, especially restaurants, will have deals to purchase two or more gift cards for a discounted cost. Take advantage of these opportunities.

Whether you’ve started looking into your holiday budget yet or you’re simply getting back into the swing of school starting, the holidays will approach quickly. We’re hoping with these savings ideas you can not only save money but also be ahead of the game by getting things early and being on the lookout for the discounted items.

Happy Fall everyone!

Best wishes,

Stacia

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Disability Insurance Awareness

Disability Insurance Is Vitally Important

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We have gathered information to help you look at your risk of income interruption and the value of disability insurance.

Purchasing disability insurance is insuring yourself: your experience, skills, and ability to work normally. Ultimately, having disability insurance is having protection for yourself and your family; it can mean the difference between surviving financially or facing an imminent catastrophe.

While the detailed information for each policy will vary, understanding the importance will help you make the best decision for yourself and your family financially.

How would you / your family survive financially if you were unable to work for one week? What about a month or more? A harsh reality is that most American’s are living paycheck to paycheck; having a savings of more than a few months of salary set aside takes time to build.

What disability insurance does is replace some of your income so that you can still pay your bills monthly. Disability insurance may even pay a portion of your income if you are only able to return to work part time as well.

Your initial thought may be “I’m healthy. I’ll be careful and not get disabled so I don’t need disability insurance coverage.” However, think about this statistic from the Social Security Administration: 25 percent of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before the age of 67. A disability may not be the result of a major, once-in-a-lifetime accident or injury. For most people, disabilities find a way to slowly sneak into their lives by hiding through common health conditions.

To help drive that point further home: last year the Council for Disability Awareness did a study asking people under the age of 40 to guess their likelihood of becoming unable to work due to illness or injury. In this study, 10 percent of workers stated that they were more likely to win the lottery than be unable to work due to illness or injury.

In reality, there is a 1 in 259,000,000 chance of winning the lottery jackpot and a 1 in 4 chance that you may be disabled during your career.

You read that correctly: a 1 in 4 chance.

After the likelihood of becoming disabled during your career sets in, the value of having disability insurance becomes even more evident. Protect the financial future of yourself and your family with disability insurance.

Please consider talking to an agent from the BeneChoice Companies today.

Kindest regards,

Stacia

accident, insurance, Stacia Robinson, Colonial Life, BeneChoice Companies

Customizable Accident Protection for Employers

Colonial Life now offers America’s employers customizable accident protection that helps protect their financial well-being. When an unexpected injury happens, accident insurance pays benefits to help with the costs. These accidents can vary from a fracture, a dislocation, a cut or a burn etc. For the average American worker, health insurance may not be enough to cover the financial burdens they face. As the trend for high-deductible health care plans continues, the average American needs to have that high-deductible available in their personal savings…and they don’t.

This plan pays higher benefits than previous plans at competitive affordable prices. Employers can adjust the plan they offer to match the needs of their employees. They can select from three optional benefits.

1) Active lifestyle: This boosts benefits by 20%.
2) Well-being assistance: This helps pay for routine preventive care.
3) Gunshot wound benefit: This is for expenses from a nonfatal gunshot wound.

From there, employees can customize their coverage more by choosing from options such as disability income during an accident, sicknesses, critical illnesses, or hospitalization.

Employees can choose Colonial Life’s new individual accident plan, which will give access to new benefits including telemedicine and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder from a covered accident. Coverage can be for themselves only or include family members making this additional coverage highly sought after.

Additionally. coverage is guaranteed without answering health questions. People can keep their coverage if they change jobs or retire (as long as they continue paying premiums.)

This plan also is compatible with health savings accounts, typically offered alongside high-deductible health plans.

By having the individual accident plan be indemnity based, Colonial Life gives people a peace of mind to know that they are paying a set amount based on the injury / treatment they receive.

Benefits are paid directly to the person insured and will not be reduced by any other insurance. Because this is not like Workers` Compensation, it can cover injuries off the job as well as at work.

Since this plan is voluntary, employees can select and pay for the coverage, which eliminates a cost to the employer. Ultimately, this presents a win – win option for employees AND employers.

Highest regards,

 

Stacia

 

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Minimize 3 Foods & Increase 3 Others for Healthy Eating

Limiting certain foods and eating more of others is the actual key to healthy eating for your heart, experts say.

To help keep the right things at a minimum, read the list below for helpful tips.

healthy eating, health, insurance, wellness, employment, employees, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, AL, Alabama, Colonial

Minimum Consumption of Sugar, Salt and Saturated Fat

Empty Sugar Calories

For a sweetener, use local, raw honey instead. Raw honey from your local area will build up your allergy defenses as well. Look at unrefined coconut sugar because it also has low levels of micronutrients. Limit added sugar to 6 teaspoons daily for women and 8 teaspoons for men, per the American Heart Association. Sugar is in many unexpected areas such as marinara sauce, salad dressing, and some pickles. Read the ingredients on items you purchase; you will be shocked at how often sugar is added unexpectedly.

 

High Salt Equals High Blood Pressure

Keep daily salt consumption under 2,400 milligrams a day, under 1,500 would be ideal. Dropping your salt intake to these levels may be difficult at first, but start with an easy step of eliminating 1,000 milligrams a day for a week. Each week eliminate 1,000 milligrams and getting under 1,500 milligrams will be obtainable. For comparison, 1 teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg. Avoiding processed foods will help as these are very high in sodium typically.

 

Saturated Fats

Fatty meat and trans-fat like hydrogenated oils increase your risk of developing coronary artery disease. Avoid these all together if you can.

 

Higher Consumption of Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables and Good Fats

Whole Grains

Not only are fiber and nutrients in whole grains, they play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. Whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, farro, millet and amaranth are all great options.

 

Fruits and Vegetables

Vitamins, fiber, and great nutrients are found in fruits and vegetables. Each color of fruit and vegetable offers a different array of health benefits. Substances in plants may help prevent cardiovascular disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

 

Good Fats Decrease Inflammation

Add Omega-3 fatty acids to your daily consumption. Examples would be canola oil, walnuts, ground flaxseed and fatty fish such as salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation in the body, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease.

 

Increasing your consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 acids while lowering your intake of saturated fat, salt, and sugar will be actions that your heart will thank you for long term.

Highest regards,

Stacia

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Student Loans: A Plan of Attack for Each Generation

As a nation, student loan debt is over $1 trillion. Millennials are not the only generation fighting the snowball of student loan debt. 26 percent of Generation X workers and 13 percent of Baby Boomers have student loan debt.

 

For Millennials, student loan debt can be a suffocating overwhelming battle. Figuring out where to start with paying off student loan debt is a foggy forecast. The graduating class of 2016 has an average amount of $40,000 in student loan debt. Finding a balance of paying off that debt while also looking at short-term goals like finding a place to live, buying a car, or even long-term goals like retirement is like balancing multiple plates on poles.  Often times, millennials chose to not save for retirement as a way to pay off the current debt they face. This is not the best move as many employers offer matching 401(k) options, which is an easy way to save more money for retirement with a small amount dedicated to retirement every paycheck.

 

Most experts recommend setting aside three to six months of living expenses. Although this amount can initially be daunting, start small with a goal of $400-$500 in savings. Build upon the goal once it is achieved. By building on savings goals, your confidence in saving will grow as well.

 

Many Gen Xers, have growing families and are in the best time of their lives for earning and saving for retirement. However, they are facing the daunting task of saving for their child’s education, paying off a mortgage, or other financial obligations they may have. As a tip if this is your situation, check with your company about financial help tools they may offer. Speak with a financial advisor to assess your finances and optimize your efforts to save and pay off debt. This will help you identify the how and where to focus future efforts for your finances.
For Baby Boomers, they have $66 billion of the debt as of 2015. When it comes to student loans taken through the Department of Education, the government may even be able to garnish Social Security payments for those that may default on payments. Talk about daunting! A tip would be to look at re-amortizing the student loan; this will lower the current monthly payment but will lengthen the total loan repayment period. Additionally, just like the Gen Xers, speak to a financial advisor, as they can help assess your specific situation in detail.

Warmest regards,

Stacia

facebook, business, professional, BeneChoice Companies, AL

Using Facebook Professionally

Facebook is more than a platform for sharing pictures and connecting with friends; it is a marketing platform of many business tools that allow a connection with customers and employees to you.

By using Facebook, employers can connect with previous co-workers and potential friends of the business. The big difference between Facebook and LinkedIn is that people are usually real friends or friends of friends. With LinkedIn, people are often a superficial connection that may not be a true connection. Facebook has a “realness” attached to it; it is genuine.

Look at the things shared on your Facebook timeline; choose posts that are appropriate for your profession to know. People will scroll through your Facebook page to develop their own perspective of you. These are potential connections for your business. Keep inner workings of your life private and the other parts of your life selective. This will only benefit you and your connections – both short term and long term.

By linking your Facebook to other platforms such as Instagram, blogs, or other social media, people can view portfolios of your work. Update all of your accounts and keep them connected to each other. This will give a full spectrum of your accomplishments easily. Be proud of the achievements in your life!

Likewise, post photos that best showcase who you are. Chose photos that display interactions with the people that you are close to: friends and family. Select photos of events that you are excited to attend or have attended. Use images to “decorate” your Facebook profile to present the best snapshot of yourself for others to see. People that are enticed by your page should not see your entire life; just portions that show your professional life and part of your identity.

Selectively “like” items on Facebook. Every post you like is viewable; this is an insight into the professional fields that spike your interest. By liking every page that is funny or every meme that made you laugh, you will give yourself too wide of net. Pick posts that align with your professional quests.

In all, Facebook is a platform for marketing yourself as a person that people should WANT to be connected to; be someone that SHOULD be connected with genuinely.

I hope this was  helpful to you.

Warmest regards,

Stacia

Prepare For Next Year’s Taxes Now

Other than keeping track of your income, mileage and your expenses there is something else you can do now to help you with next year’s tax appointment. Find overlooked tax deductions.

 

The goal is to keep your hard earned money in your pocket if at all possible. Now saying this, everyone’s financial picture is different and it is best to consult with a tax professional before making any final decisions.

 

Colonial Life reports that “In recent years, 45 million Americans claimed $1.2 trillion of itemized tax deductions.” That is $26,666.67 annually.

 

Commonly overlooked tax deductions are:

  1. IRA contributions – Depending on your tax bracket, making IRA contributions make sense and could save you a few thousand dollars.
  2. Tax credits – 25% of eligible taxpayers don’t claim this credit and could save you money come tax time.
  3. College savings – If you don’t claim the child as a dependent, they can qualify for tup to  a $2500 deduction for the interest you pain on the student loan through the American Opportunity Credit.
  4. Home improvements – Normally home improvements are not tax deductible in the year they are created but can be added to the cost-basis of the home when you sell it.
  5. Job hunting costs – Itemize transportation, food and lodging, employment agency fees and printing costs for resumes, postage and business cards if your expenses are greater than 2% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).
  6. Use your Health Saving account, which is a pre-tax contribution that goes into a separate account for current and future health expenses.
  7. Keep track of and keep receipts, pictures and lists for charitable donations.
  8. Track moving expenses.
  9. Watch mortgage refinancing points.
  10. Make energy-efficient home improvements whenever possible.

 

It should be your goal to keep as much of your own money as you can, as you earned it. Your tax professional is trained to make sure you benefit the most.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Stacia
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