Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New Jersey Chinese American Chamber of Commerce Sponsors Health Reform Seminar

How will I know if my health plan doesn’t fit into one of the metallic plans?

When will I have to make a decision about the health plan I offer my employees?

What about my part-time employees?

These were just a few of the questions I got from the Chinese-American small business owners last week when I presented a general overview of Health Care Reform.  The presentation was sponsored by the New Jersey Chinese-American Chamber of Commerce (NJCACC) at DCH Auto Group in South Amboy.  My colleague, Chris Law, vice president of UnitedHealthcare’s Asian initiative and NJCACC board member, coordinated the event.


On January 1, 2014 many of the provisions of Health Care Reform take effect and small business owners across the country, and across every ethnic group, are attending workshops and seminars in an effort to get a clear picture of what they need to do to prepare their company for health reform changes.

During my conversation with the business owners we covered essential health benefits, out-of-pocket maximums, small group deductible ceiling and the metallic coverage levels.  And we didn’t stop there.  We also discussed community rating, pricing impacts, the employer mandate and the Exchanges.  Finally and most importantly, we talked about what small business owners should be doing between now and 2014 to prepare for the changes that will take place.

It was an interactive, two hour dialogue that could have easily lasted two more hours.  We will do a follow-up session in the fall to cover more ground.  In the interim, I encouraged all of the business owners, as well as the employees in the audience, to do their homework. For starters, I suggested they access information on health reform topics by going to the United for Reform Resource Center located at uhc.com/reform.  This site includes overviews on the various provisions, FAQs and collateral pieces as well as videos small business owners can use and download if they want to use their own portal or share with employees.  The site also has a News section to help keep visitors informed on key and current reform activities.

A big thank you to NJCACC and Chris Law for organizing the event and to DCH Auto Group for hosting.  Although 2014 may seem like a long way away, if you are a small business owner preparing your company for health reform changes, 2014 is alarmingly near.


I was honored to take a photo with my colleage, Chris Law and the New Jersey Chinese-American Chamber of Commerce business leaders  at the end of the presentation.




Monday, June 17, 2013

Navigating health insurance after graduation: Timely tips for the Class of 2013

They’ve finished their finals, collected their diplomas, and moved out of the dorms.
Now college graduates are facing a lot of important life decisions for the first time.

One of those important decisions is what to do about health insurance.  Some lucky graduates have jobs lined up with health benefits pending.  Others may be able to stay on their parents’ insurance.
But many grads also go uninsured.  In fact, the U.S. Census measures that nearly three in ten people age 19 to 35 are uninsured, the highest proportion among all groups.

Statistically speaking, people in the 19-35 age group are typically fairly healthy. But nobody is free from the risk of being in an accident or developing a disease, and it’s important that young adults make smart decisions to protect their future health and finances.

Here are a few tips to get started:
  • Don’t risk going uninsured. If you are eligible, consider staying on your parents’ health insurance plan until you turn 26.  Buying your own individual coverage, however, may actually be more affordable, so be sure to compare the cost.
  • If you decide to buy your own coverage, make sure to include all health costs when determining how much you can afford, including monthly premiums and any out-of-pocket costs for health care services and prescriptions.
  • Ask questions. Solicit parents’ and family members’ advice, check out reputable insurance company websites or visit with a local independent insurance broker to learn the basics about health insurance.
  • Consider a high deductible health plan. For many young, healthy people, high deductible plans make sense because they provide quality coverage at lower premium rates.
 
New grads and young adults purchasing health insurance for the first time can also check out this video for more information:


Monday, June 10, 2013

Community Food Bank of New Jersey and Helping Hands feeds hungry kids

At UnitedHealthcare, we talk a lot about the connection between good food and good health.  What we put into our bodies has a big effect on how well they work.

But while many of us struggle not to overindulge, there are many in our communities who are struggling to get enough.  In fact, 13.5% of New Jersey residents are food insecure, meaning that they have limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, according to the U.S Census Bureau.  Even worse, nearly 400,000 children, or approximately 1 in 5, are food insecure.

That’s why UnitedHealthcare decided to partner with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and New York Giants player Hakeem Nicks to support the Helping Hands program.  Helping Hands provides weekly backpacks filled with nutritious food to kids from low-income families.  The students in the program rely on the meals they receive at school during the week for their nutrition, but are often left hungry over the weekend.  The backpacks provide approximately 60% of the caloric intake kids need to sustain them from Friday afternoon to Monday morning.

We kicked off the program with more than 100 kids from Chancellor Elementary School in Irvington, NJ.  In addition to talking to the students about the importance of good nutrition, we held a fun football-style obstacle course for the kids.  I saw a lot of smiles as the kids tested out their throwing, catching, dodging and blocking skills at each training station.

Students at Chancellor Avenue school face off in agility skill drill
It was wonderful to see the kids enjoying themselves, but helping them grow up healthy and strong is no easy task.  Kids suffering from malnutrition may develop long-term health problems.  They also often have trouble concentrating in school.

 I’m very proud to be a part of a program designed to make sure every kid has a healthy diet.  By addressing the basic need of hunger, we can help kids and low-income families focus their attention on building bright, healthy futures.

For information on how you can support the Community Food Bank of New Jersey programs go to http://www.cfbnj.org/

 

Representatives from Community Food Bank and New Jersey, Chancellor Avenue School and UnitedHealthcare of New Jersey