• SecondsCount Healthcare Guide

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    Managing your healthcare needs and those of your family can be a daunting task. It can require a good deal of time, money, and specialized knowledge, and it involves making decisions that can affect the quality and length of your life and of those you love. The SecondsCount Healthcare Guide is designed to make your job easier and give you the information and tools you need to protect your most valuable asset—your health.

    Inside this guide you will learn how to actively participate in your own care with confidence in the following five areas:

    Forming and Identifying Your Healthcare Team

    The quality of your healthcare providers and the hospitals where they work is the cornerstone of the quality of care that you receive. That’s why it is so important to take the time before you are sick or need an emergency procedure to find healthcare providers who have the training and experience to do the job and a personality that puts you at ease. Click here to learn more.

    Finding the Best Health Insurance for You and Your Family

    If you don’t understand some of the basic principles of how health insurance works, don’t worry. You are not alone. It’s not rocket science, but it can seem that way late at night when you’re trying to make sense out of a hospital bill. Click here for definitions, examples, and tools to help you understand and get the most out of the health insurance you have now or to shop for new insurance.

    Understanding How the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Affects You and Your Care

    The ACA has brought about significant changes in healthcare law that have probably affected you and your family in some way. For example, you can no longer be refused coverage because of a pre-existing condition such as heart disease. Click here to learn about specific provisions of the law that may affect you and your family.

    Gaining Access to New Treatments and Technology

    Innovations in technology and the treatment of cardiovascular disease continue to develop at a rapid pace. You may be eligible to try new treatment options that have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Click here to learn more about additional treatment options that may be available to you by participating in clinical trials.

    Keeping Track of Your Medical Records

    If you’ve ever had to transfer or get copies of your medical records you know it can be difficult. Click here to learn strategies that may make it easier and to understand your rights in obtaining them when you change healthcare providers or are seeking a second opinion.

    Use this guide to take charge of your health care. It provides assistance in the key areas that can affect the treatment and long-term health of you and your loved ones.
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    Expansion of Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act

    Access to quality health care for you and your family is influenced by a number of factors that include your insurance status, income, race, gender, age, and where you live. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) attempts to address inequities or special considerations in these areas to make comprehensive and affordable health insurance coverage available to more people.

    Financial and Health Insurance Information for Patients with Congenital Heart Disease

    If you or your child was born with a heart defect (congenital heart disease), paying for treatment will usually involve using different types of resources - whether those resources are private insurance, government programs, or out-of-pocket payments. Complicated medical tests or procedures can be expensive, so it is particularly important that patients who will need treatment and follow-up throughout their lives maintain some form of active medical coverage. It is crucial to avoid gaps in medical coverage during the transition from childhood to adult care. Once insurance coverage is lost, it can lead to long delays in coverage and can be very difficult to get back. Talk to your healthcare providers specifically about how to prevent gaps in coverage.

    Grandfathered Health Insurance Plans

    If you were enrolled in an individual plan from a private insurance companies before March 23, 2010, or if you participate in an employer-sponsored health insurance plan that has been in place since before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law on March 23, 2010 (even if you enrolled after that date), and it has not changed substantially in terms of costs and benefits provided, it is possible that your plan is grandfathered. Grandfathered plans may not be subject to some of the ACA’s requirements for health insurance plans.

    Health Insurance Basics and FAQs

    We all complain about the rising cost of health care and health insurance, and yet many of us don’t really know what we’re paying for or if we’re paying the right amount. According to a study by George Loewenstein and his colleagues, only 14 percent of a group of people with employer-sponsored health insurance could define basic health insurance terms such as deductible, copay, and coinsurance. Can you? You might be surprised.

    Health Insurance Resources

    Don’t be embarrassed if you need help understanding your health insurance coverage. It is complicated, and for most of us, just as difficult as preparing our taxes. But you don’t have to tackle it alone. Ask a friend or relative to help. Or, if you have the resources, hire a consultant.

    Health Insurance Shopping List

    Consider asking these questions before buying health insurance coverage.

    How Does the Affordable Care Act Affect My Quality of Care

    We would like to think that we’re getting quality care every time we see a doctor or go to the hospital for an emergency. But that may not always be the case. The United States spent $2.5 trillion on health care in 2009 - more than any other country - and yet the outcomes of our care weren’t as good as those in other countries, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a branch of the National Academy of Sciences that provides nonpartisan advice on health issues.

    How to Afford Your Medications

    The high cost of medications for cardiovascular disease is one of the most common reasons patients give for not taking their medicine. But when you consider what is at stake—your health and possibly your life—you must find a way to afford them. Don’t wait to fill your prescriptions until you can afford them. You need them now. If you are already taking medication but are thinking about stopping, skipping, or dividing up your doses to make your medication more affordable, don’t do it until you talk with your doctor. Your doctor and others can help you get the medication you need.

    Important Health Insurance Terms to Know

    Insurance policies are legally binding documents, written to protect the rights of both you and the insurance provider. Unfortunately, the language they used to do that can also make policies and benefit information difficult to understand.

    Medicare and the Affordable Care Act

    Medicare provides health care for over 48 million Americans. So it’s not surprising that strengthening and improving that program is a major goal of healthcare reform in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in March 2010. According to Kathleen Sebelius, then-Secretary of Health & Human Services, rather than change or diminish your current Medicare benefits, the ACA is designed to improve Medicare by introducing new benefits and savings with an emphasis on delivering quality care.

    Questions to Ask before Participating in a Clinical Trial

    Before choosing to participate in a clinical trial, it is often helpful to talk to a physician, family members, or friends. Here are some questions you may have about joining a clinical trial.

    SecondsCount Guide to Health Insurance

    Back in the early 1900s it didn’t cost much to see a doctor and your doctor would even make house calls! But as good as that sounds, in many cases, the doctor couldn’t do very much to help. Since then, advances in science and technology have dramatically improved health care. Unfortunately, the downside is that health care costs much more now than it did then.

    SecondsCount Guide to the Affordable Care Act
    (ACA or “ObamaCare")

    If you are confused and overwhelmed by everything you’ve heard about healthcare reform and the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) https://www.healthcare.gov/where-can-i-read-the-affordable-care-act/ and how it might affect you and your family, you are not alone. Good health care is critical to living a quality life and it doesn’t come cheap, so it’s not surprising that it inspires lively discussion and strong opinions.

    Tips on Getting the Most from Your Health Insurance

    These tips address common issues and concerns of people trying to understand and use their health insurance. By following these suggestions now you may save money and get more services from your plan.

    Your Guide to New Treatments and Technologies

    Now more than ever, people with cardiovascular disease can be assured there are effective medications, procedures, and other treatments available to treat their conditions. As knowledge of cardiovascular disease has expanded, so has the ability to treat the disease. Yet the medical community is always working toward new innovations to improve patient care, especially considering cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with nearly 80 million Americans estimated to have a form of the disease.

    Your Rights and Protections Under the
    Affordable Care Act

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provisions designed to protect you from abuses by insurance companies. The insurance industry was regulated by the government before the ACA, but the intent of the law is to take those protections even further by...