How to: Find Silver Sneakers Locations Near You

Part II: Obamacare costs and tax subsidies


Those costs can become much higher depending on the age of your pet, type of animal and where you live. You can get high-quality, one-on-one therapy without ever having to leave your home, office, or pajamas — and at a reasonable cost. Hannah Rounds Hannah Rounds is a freelance writer who covers consumer finance, investing, economics, health and fitness. Choosing the right plan for your needs. These professionals provide free, unbiased help to consumers who want a hand filling out eligibility forms and choosing plans. If you make a mistake, you can edit it when you review your household summary.

Part I: What is Obamacare?


Your share of the costs of a covered health care service. This is the percentage you must pay out of pocket after you have met your annual deductible. You pay a specific coinsurance amount until you meet your out-of-pocket maximum.

If you earn between percent of the federal poverty level, you may qualify for additional savings. This extra savings reduces your out-of-pocket maximum, and it offers assistance with copays and coinsurance.

There is ambiguity surrounding whether or not Congress and the White House will appropriate funds for the cost sharing subsidies. In October, President Trump used an executive order to cut off funding for the subsidies. However, the Affordable Care Act still requires that health insurers must issue them to all people earning percent of the federal poverty line.

As a result of this Trump executive order, many insurers raised premiums for silver plans. The premium increases will not affect the prices that people with subsidies will pay, but they will affect the prices you pay if you do not qualify for a subsidy.

Until the Affordable Care Act or the cost sharing subsidies are repealed, insurers will continue to pay cost reduction subsidies in A fixed amount you pay for a covered medical service, typically when you receive the service or prescription. The amount you pay for covered health services before your insurer begins to cover part of your costs.

These plans focus on integrated care and focus on prevention. Usually, coverage is limited to care from doctors who work for or contract with the HMO. Health Savings Accounts HSAs allow you to save and invest money for current or future medical expenses. You do not have to pay any taxes on money you contribute to an HSA, and you can withdraw the money tax- and penalty-free if you use the funds for a qualified medical expense.

You can only contribute to an HSA if your insurance meets the standards for a high-deductible insurance plan. If you shop for insurance through Healthcare. The out-of-pocket maximums required by the IRS do not line up with Affordable Care Act maximums, so many plans with high deductibles will not allow you to contribute to an HSA.

Not everybody will have an opportunity to purchase a subsidized HSA-compatible health insurance plan. If you can afford to purchase health insurance and choose not to, you will be charged an individual shared responsibility payment, in the form of a tax penalty.

There are a few qualified exemptions , outlined in the guide above, that allow you to avoid the fine. For example, if your employer-sponsored health plan costs more than 8. The fine for has not yet been released , and Congress has considered removing the individual mandate requirement for If it is removed, we will update this piece with the required information.

A joint federal and state program that provides health coverage to low-income households, some pregnant women, some elderly Americans and people with disabilities. Medicaid provides a broad level of coverage including preventive care and hospital visits. Obamacare gives each state the choice to expand Medicaid coverage to people earning less than percent of the federal poverty line.

The primary goal of the ACA is reducing the number of uninsured people through both Medicaid and the health insurance marketplace. Open enrollment for Medicare, which started Oct. You can learn more about Medicare plans from the Medicare Plan Finder.

The highest amount you will pay for covered services in a year. You need a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialist.

You may use out-of-network doctors, specialists or hospitals without a referral. However, there is an additional cost. All health insurance plans purchased through the health care exchange cover some preventive care benefits without additional costs to you.

These benefits include wellness visits, vaccines, contraception and more. Most insurance plans have preferred pricing with a group of health care providers with whom they have contracted to provide services to members. The federal subsidy for health insurance that helps eligible individuals or families with low or moderate income afford health insurance purchased through a health insurance marketplace.

Shen Lu is a personal finance reporter at MagnifyMoney. Her work examines the intersection of politics and consumer finance.

She frequently writes about financial challenges that women face. Shen Lu recieved her master's degree in journalism with a focus on business and economics reporting from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

In fact, health care experts urge consumers who will be shopping for individual plans to act sooner rather than later. Not only is the window for shopping on the federal marketplace narrower this time around, but planned maintenance periods will further reduce the number of days that HealthCare.

Here is what you should expect from the coming open-enrollment period for coverage under the act, also known as Obamacare. The open-enrollment period extends from Nov.

The period is half as long as it was last year. Existing enrollees who miss the enrollment deadline will either be automatically enrolled in their existing health plans, or l be put into a comparable plan if their existing plan is no longer available. Further reducing the amount of time consumers will have to enroll in plans, the U. Consumers who live in states that run their own health care exchange websites might catch a break. Many of the 12 states, such as Colorado and Minnesota, have extended the enrollment window.

If your insurer has exited the marketplace, you should have been notified by now, Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said at an October news briefing. Pollitz urged consumers who will have to switch plans to go to the marketplace to check and compare other plans as soon as Obamacare open enrollment starts. The slashed budgets have led states to cut back on hiring health care navigators, which could lead to more confusion, experts say. Some states like Ohio have shut down their navigator program completely.

Use this tool from HealthCare. If not, you can:. Experts are concerned that the pullback on advertising grants, especially on TV promotions to get people signed up, will cause a drop in enrollment. This happened at the end of open enrollment this past January when marketing ads were canceled by the new administration, according to Pollitz. While the enrollment procedure remains largely unchanged this year, there are a few new rules experts say are worth your attention:.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ruled back in the summer that during the coverage year, insurers are allowed to deny enrollment for customers who missed payments in This change will affect those who signed up for health care after the new rule took effect on June 17 and then missed a payment.

Insurers have an option to not to adopt the policy, and states can also prohibit the practice. Pollitz said If you missed payment in that window, you can repay your premium debt to the insurer before the end of the coming open enrollment, or you can sign up for a coverage under a different company. Consumers who got premium tax credits in but have not yet filed a federal income tax return with Form the form allows filers to calculate their tax credits and reconcile their credit amount this year will be denied premium tax credits next year.

She advised that if you are denied tax credits, you have to figure out that this is the reason and then file an amended return with Form to receive premium subsidies in Consumers in 31 states and Washington D.

You can apply through the marketplace to find out whether you are eligible for tax credits or Medicaid. The penalty for not having coverage is the same as it is this year.

The fee is calculated as a percentage of your household income or as a fixed amount per person. And if your plan has changed, you will be automatically assigned a plan. But experts strongly recommend you not rely on auto-renewal this year because algorithms may not get you the best plan for with all the subsidies changes. What you should do is to log into your account, carefully review all the plan choices and costs and select a plan for Unable to successfully repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ACA , the Trump administration has begun peeling back some elements of the legislation in recent weeks.

In mid-October, President Trump announced he would yank key federal subsidies offered to insurers that were used to offer copay and deductible discounts to low-income consumers. Soon after Trump moved to pull the insurance subsidies, two senators struck a bipartisan deal to fund the subsidies through Experts say if the deal is passed, that could stabilize the marketplace. Most people still get tax subsidies that can help reduce their premiums — every eight in 10 people who enrolled in an Obamacare plan received premium tax credits that lowered their monthly insurance bills in Premium subsidy dollars increase as premiums go up.

However, those who earn too much to qualify for tax credits will likely feel the effects of higher premiums. Shen Lu is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Shen Lu at shenlu magnifymoney. LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes.

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Tiffany Hamilton knew as a college student that she would one day be an entrepreneur. With that in mind, she made sure to enlist the help of a financial planning company when she bought her first life insurance plan at 21, as she was just getting her start in real estate.

When her salary increased, she decided she needed more coverage than that. As a single woman with a burgeoning business, she wanted to make sure she had enough coverage to take care of any debts and leave something for her mother..

Her insurance representative at the time encouraged her to up her coverage. Now 35 and running her own real estate business based in Tallahassee, Fla. Is it possible to be overinsured? As we grow in our careers, home life and families, paying for life insurance becomes another one of those obligatory items on our financial to-do lists, like establishing a k or an emergency fund. But the sheer volume of life insurance options available may have created a unique problem: Some of us might be overly insured.

That is, our insurance coverage may be wildly disproportionate to our salaries and overall net worth. Joel Ohman, a Tampa, Fla. Of course, there are other options for anyone who has a large estate, want to make charitable contributions, needs special tax breaks or has other complicated financial circumstances to consider.

Most insurance websites include insurance calculators to make it easy to figure out what your costs could be for a variety of different plans. John Barnes, a certified financial planner and owner of My Family Life Insurance , said those cost savings can be important for families. Chris Acker , a chartered life underwriter, chartered financial consultant and independent life insurance broker in Palo Alto, Calif. Plus, you can always get additional insurance later.

But he cautions against applying one piece of advice across all situations. There are two main types of life insurance: Term insurance and permanent insurance. When consumers typically think about life insurance, they are looking for an option that will provide their families with financial stability if the unthinkable happens. Permanent insurance does exactly what the name implies: It provides lifelong coverage. In addition to the death benefit also provided by term-life insurance, permanent insurance also accumulates cash value.

But with that added benefit comes pricier premiums. Whole life is the most common type of permanent insurance. With a whole life policy, the premium never changes. Part of the premiums goes into a savings component of the policy, which builds cash value and can be withdrawn or borrowed. That cash value also has a guaranteed rate of return. Variable life offers the same death benefit, but allows consumers the option to seek a better return by allocating premiums to investments like stocks and bonds.

Universal life lets you vary your premium payments and gives a minimum death benefit as long as the premiums are sufficient to sustain it. Variable universal life insurance is a sort of mix between variable and universal life, meaning consumers can vary premium payments and can also allocate them among investment subaccounts.

Those who want a policy that offers cash value and stable premiums. There are also tax advantages to this type of policy. Those who want the same advantages as a whole-life policy, plus the option of allocating premiums toward different stocks and bonds.

Those who want the same advantages of any permanent policy with the option of varying premium payments. For example, those who may want to start with a lower premium that increases as their finances do.

Those who want the option to vary premium payments, but also the option to allocate those payments toward different stocks and bonds. Customers pay a premium each month and are covered through the specified term. This is typically the cheapest insurance option. Those whose need for coverage will disappear or change at some point, like when a debt is paid or children reach adulthood and go to college. Also good for those looking for a low-cost option.

Even within term- and whole-life insurance, there are additional products you could be offered, like mortgage life, return of premium in which your premium is returned if you outlive your initial term and final expense which covers just funeral expenses. Use a life insurance calculator. Wealthy families, those with special-needs family members and others in unique situations will also have different insurance needs.

Most insurance websites offer calculators to help consumers decide how much coverage to take. The consumer website lifehappens. Get multiple free quotes. Consumers can also get free quotes from multiple insurers from sites such as My Family Insurance, InsuranceProviders. Keep this in mind: Choose the right advisor.

You want someone who works best for you and inspires comfort. Hamilton said she not only interviewed potential reps this last go-around, she also requested references and asked them about their company philosophy before making a decision. LifeHappens suggests that consumers use referrals to find an insurance provider.

Seek out independent agents. Understand what it means to be a fiduciary. Those who hold a CFP designation like Ohman are expected to provide fiduciary care to their clients. There are four independent agencies that provide this information: Do your research and find the ratings from each of the four agencies, because some companies may highlight a positive rating from one agency and play down a lower rating from another agency.

Barnes said regardless of whom you choose to represent your insurance needs, make sure you have a level of comfort. During that first meeting or so, Barnes says the agent should spend time getting to know you and your situation without necessarily trying to sell you on a product.

For her part, Hamilton says she also looked into whether companies were commission- or fee-based. That means you have the option to change policies, as Hamilton did.

Some consumers also choose to buy additional policies down the road. Then you can figure out if you want to keep the insurance. Crystal Lewis Brown is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Crystal here. Still, that represents a mere fraction of the estimated million pets living in U. One factor holding pet owners back from investing in an insurance plan for their pet could be cost.

Those costs can become much higher depending on the age of your pet, type of animal and where you live. The most basic plans offer one or the other: At a more comprehensive level, plans can cover illnesses and wellness visits as well as routine checkups. Prices also vary based on what type of pet you have. For example, Nationwide offers a comprehensive dog insurance plan that covers wellness exams and visits, accidents, hereditary conditions, chronic conditions, and pay back up to 90 percent on some veterinary bills.

You can pay less and get less coverage. While pet insurance can cover many emergencies, the type of plan you purchase will determine if the insurance pays for medical care beyond accidents. Wellness visits and vaccines are not covered by Trupanion, for example, which insures only cats and dogs.

Pet insurers such as Trupanion and Nationwide do not cover pre-existing conditions that the pet had before coverage began. Nationwide limits coverage for hereditary disorders by breed — such as cardiac arrhythmia in Boxers — in some plans, but offers full coverage for those conditions in its comprehensive Whole Pet with Wellness plan.

For this reason, the best time to purchase pet insurance is when the pet is young because there is little chance of pre-existing conditions. The average age of insured cats and dogs was 4. Insurance appeals to pet owners who prefer to pay a monthly cost for future health expenses instead of doling out hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars when care is needed. When deciding whether or not to purchase pet insurance for your animal, there are several factors to consider other than cost:.

Insurance companies provide a variety of plans. Pet insurance can vary due to different factors such as species, geographic location, age and gender. Paying for a more expensive plan may be worth the money if you make several visits to the vet each year. For example, Nationwide offers these examples: Coverage for a small mixed-breed puppy, under the age of one and located in San Diego, Calif.

While pet insurance has been in the United States for about 35 years, the awareness and interest is much smaller than their European — most specifically British — counterparts, say insurers and veterinarians. Platt says when he worked in the United Kingdom, he would fill out three to four insurance claim forms a day. Platt says he has filled out only three to four claims while living and working in the United States the past 11 years.

Shop around and compare rates. Providers include major home, auto and life insurers, such as Nationwide and Geico, while some companies, such as Trupanion, PetFirst, and Healthy Paws, specialize in insuring animals.

Free trials from pet shelters. Pet shelters also sign up owners for insurance, typically by offering a free trial for the first 30 days. However, after the trial, you could be charged unless you cancel the policy.

Some companies, such as Deloitte , Microsoft, and Chipotle Mexican Grill offer pet insurance as an employee benefit. See if your employer offers a policy. Marena Galluccio is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Marena here. Brynne Conroy is a personal finance writer based in Pittsburgh.

She enjoys exploring the space where personal finances meet with individuals' day-to-day challenges and triumphs, and writes about such issues for various publications both on the web and in print. In addition, she regularly releases new content on her women's finance blog, Femme Frugality. Jana Lynch was 27 years old when she was formally diagnosed with depression.

At the time, Lynch was working full-time for a social service agency. Rather than resign outright, she decided to take a four-month leave on short-term disability. A break, she thought, might help. But when the time came to return to work, the same issues began to surface again. In the end, she chose her mental health over working full time. In a study that followed workers over the course of six months, researchers found workers with depression dropped out of the workforce at a rate of 12 percent compared to only 2 percent of their peers.

While depression may force affected workers out of active employment at higher rates, it is also true that those who become unemployed are more likely to show signs of depression — three times more likely, according to a NIH study. Some research shows losing your job impacts depression because it makes it hard to cope financially, but other studies suggest it has little impact. This then exacerbates their depression further.

Abigail Perry, author of Frugality for Depressives , had already been formally diagnosed with depression as a part of a bipolar disorder when unrelated chronic fatigue forced her out of traditional employment.

A lot of therapy and medication management doctor visits later, I finally started believing that I might have worth despite not being able to work. Richardson notes that many are able to develop coping strategies, allowing themselves to stay in the workplace. Only then was I able to shift into a business model that worked for me. Richardson recommends going to your manager or supervisor for access to resources when your symptoms become too much to bear.

If you work at a larger company, it may be more appropriate to get in touch with your human resources department. This means your employer cannot fire you because of your disability — in this case, depression — and that they have to provide reasonable accommodations in order to allow you to do your job. But depression makes it difficult to look for clients. It will get better at some point.

Lynch and Lewis both note exercise as a way of sustaining a healthy hobby. Lewis teaches yoga, and Lynch regularly attends a gym. While not the primary goal, a side effect of going to the gym or studio happens to be spending time with other people of similar interests.

Emerging research suggests that mindfulness may not only alleviate depression, but could prevent relapses. Richardson has produced a free mindfulness resource, which can be accessed here.

By understanding and confronting these challenges head-on, there are strategies you can use to protect your finances as you learn to manage depression.

During these episodes, he found four key ways that their finances suffered. Lynch notes that before she set up automatic payments, she would have trouble remembering pay upcoming bills.

This led to unnecessary costs like late fees. It found that missing bills was a financial manifestation of avoidant coping behaviors. Those with depression have a harder time completing tasks like budgeting because planning ahead is made more difficult. The study also revealed that rational thinking and the ability to remember past purchases in order to log them into a spreadsheet were impaired. Alternately, you may be more likely to spend money on things that you think will make you happy or comforted — from convenience gadgets to home décor to clothes.

This stress leads to more dire mindsets, like extreme anxiety and hopelessness. For help developing more coping strategies or getting resources that can help you manage your depression, consider seeking out mental health care services. Therapists can help you deal with the things that depression makes harder with strategies, workarounds, or just working through past events that are contributing to or causing your current depression. Therapy and medication management specialists can be expensive, though.

Many regions in America face a shortage of mental health care providers , and the matter is further complicated when you consider that some providers may be out-of-network, bringing copays up even if you are currently insured. Another affordable resource is public mental health care clinics, though their availability may be limited.

Licensed Clinical Social Workers LCSWs and other counselors often accept insurance and are able to provide therapy, referring you out to a psychiatrist for prescription needs when necessary.

Lynch did seek therapy and go on medication for a while, though she now leans on other coping mechanisms such as avoiding triggers and exercising regularly. Today, Lynch operates from a place of acceptance. Depression is a part of her life that she has learned to deal with. Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here. Career , depression , mental health.

Sasha Aurand has had to scramble for four years to find high-quality mental health care she can afford on her salary from running a website on psychology and sex. The year-old New Yorker suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, and anxiety, and has no health insurance. Aurand originally sought help for these conditions while still a college student in Indiana. Aurand is not alone, having to be resourceful finding doctors and therapists in her price range.

According to the State of Mental Health in America report , one out of five American adults with mental illness report they are unable to get the treatment they need, often due to cost. And with an uncertain health care climate in Washington, the challenges are unlikely to ease soon. If you live near a university with a graduate psychology program, it most likely has an in-house clinic. You can see a trainee at one of these clinics for a reduced fee.

Yes, the therapists are students, but each one is closely supervised by a seasoned, licensed professional. Most trainees work at these clinics for a year or less.

Aurand now sees the doctor every three months. If you find a therapist you like, let him or her know your financial concerns and inquire about paying a lower fee. With a sliding scale, you get all the benefits of good, one-on-one therapy at a lower rate. You can email Crystal here. Still, that represents a mere fraction of the estimated million pets living in U. One factor holding pet owners back from investing in an insurance plan for their pet could be cost.

Those costs can become much higher depending on the age of your pet, type of animal and where you live. The most basic plans offer one or the other: At a more comprehensive level, plans can cover illnesses and wellness visits as well as routine checkups. Prices also vary based on what type of pet you have. For example, Nationwide offers a comprehensive dog insurance plan that covers wellness exams and visits, accidents, hereditary conditions, chronic conditions, and pay back up to 90 percent on some veterinary bills.

You can pay less and get less coverage. While pet insurance can cover many emergencies, the type of plan you purchase will determine if the insurance pays for medical care beyond accidents. Wellness visits and vaccines are not covered by Trupanion, for example, which insures only cats and dogs.

Pet insurers such as Trupanion and Nationwide do not cover pre-existing conditions that the pet had before coverage began. Nationwide limits coverage for hereditary disorders by breed — such as cardiac arrhythmia in Boxers — in some plans, but offers full coverage for those conditions in its comprehensive Whole Pet with Wellness plan.

For this reason, the best time to purchase pet insurance is when the pet is young because there is little chance of pre-existing conditions. The average age of insured cats and dogs was 4. Insurance appeals to pet owners who prefer to pay a monthly cost for future health expenses instead of doling out hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars when care is needed.

When deciding whether or not to purchase pet insurance for your animal, there are several factors to consider other than cost:. Insurance companies provide a variety of plans.

Pet insurance can vary due to different factors such as species, geographic location, age and gender. Paying for a more expensive plan may be worth the money if you make several visits to the vet each year. For example, Nationwide offers these examples: Coverage for a small mixed-breed puppy, under the age of one and located in San Diego, Calif.

While pet insurance has been in the United States for about 35 years, the awareness and interest is much smaller than their European — most specifically British — counterparts, say insurers and veterinarians. Platt says when he worked in the United Kingdom, he would fill out three to four insurance claim forms a day. Platt says he has filled out only three to four claims while living and working in the United States the past 11 years. Shop around and compare rates. Providers include major home, auto and life insurers, such as Nationwide and Geico, while some companies, such as Trupanion, PetFirst, and Healthy Paws, specialize in insuring animals.

Free trials from pet shelters. Pet shelters also sign up owners for insurance, typically by offering a free trial for the first 30 days. However, after the trial, you could be charged unless you cancel the policy. Some companies, such as Deloitte , Microsoft, and Chipotle Mexican Grill offer pet insurance as an employee benefit. See if your employer offers a policy. Marena Galluccio is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Marena here. Brynne Conroy is a personal finance writer based in Pittsburgh.

She enjoys exploring the space where personal finances meet with individuals' day-to-day challenges and triumphs, and writes about such issues for various publications both on the web and in print. In addition, she regularly releases new content on her women's finance blog, Femme Frugality. Jana Lynch was 27 years old when she was formally diagnosed with depression. At the time, Lynch was working full-time for a social service agency.

Rather than resign outright, she decided to take a four-month leave on short-term disability. A break, she thought, might help. But when the time came to return to work, the same issues began to surface again. In the end, she chose her mental health over working full time.

In a study that followed workers over the course of six months, researchers found workers with depression dropped out of the workforce at a rate of 12 percent compared to only 2 percent of their peers. While depression may force affected workers out of active employment at higher rates, it is also true that those who become unemployed are more likely to show signs of depression — three times more likely, according to a NIH study.

Some research shows losing your job impacts depression because it makes it hard to cope financially, but other studies suggest it has little impact. This then exacerbates their depression further.

Abigail Perry, author of Frugality for Depressives , had already been formally diagnosed with depression as a part of a bipolar disorder when unrelated chronic fatigue forced her out of traditional employment.

A lot of therapy and medication management doctor visits later, I finally started believing that I might have worth despite not being able to work. Richardson notes that many are able to develop coping strategies, allowing themselves to stay in the workplace. Only then was I able to shift into a business model that worked for me. Richardson recommends going to your manager or supervisor for access to resources when your symptoms become too much to bear.

If you work at a larger company, it may be more appropriate to get in touch with your human resources department. This means your employer cannot fire you because of your disability — in this case, depression — and that they have to provide reasonable accommodations in order to allow you to do your job.

But depression makes it difficult to look for clients. It will get better at some point. Lynch and Lewis both note exercise as a way of sustaining a healthy hobby.

Lewis teaches yoga, and Lynch regularly attends a gym. While not the primary goal, a side effect of going to the gym or studio happens to be spending time with other people of similar interests. Emerging research suggests that mindfulness may not only alleviate depression, but could prevent relapses. Richardson has produced a free mindfulness resource, which can be accessed here. By understanding and confronting these challenges head-on, there are strategies you can use to protect your finances as you learn to manage depression.

During these episodes, he found four key ways that their finances suffered. Lynch notes that before she set up automatic payments, she would have trouble remembering pay upcoming bills. This led to unnecessary costs like late fees. It found that missing bills was a financial manifestation of avoidant coping behaviors. Those with depression have a harder time completing tasks like budgeting because planning ahead is made more difficult.

The study also revealed that rational thinking and the ability to remember past purchases in order to log them into a spreadsheet were impaired. Alternately, you may be more likely to spend money on things that you think will make you happy or comforted — from convenience gadgets to home décor to clothes.

This stress leads to more dire mindsets, like extreme anxiety and hopelessness. For help developing more coping strategies or getting resources that can help you manage your depression, consider seeking out mental health care services. Therapists can help you deal with the things that depression makes harder with strategies, workarounds, or just working through past events that are contributing to or causing your current depression. Therapy and medication management specialists can be expensive, though.

Many regions in America face a shortage of mental health care providers , and the matter is further complicated when you consider that some providers may be out-of-network, bringing copays up even if you are currently insured. Another affordable resource is public mental health care clinics, though their availability may be limited. Licensed Clinical Social Workers LCSWs and other counselors often accept insurance and are able to provide therapy, referring you out to a psychiatrist for prescription needs when necessary.

Lynch did seek therapy and go on medication for a while, though she now leans on other coping mechanisms such as avoiding triggers and exercising regularly. Today, Lynch operates from a place of acceptance. Depression is a part of her life that she has learned to deal with.

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here. Career , depression , mental health. Sasha Aurand has had to scramble for four years to find high-quality mental health care she can afford on her salary from running a website on psychology and sex.

The year-old New Yorker suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, and anxiety, and has no health insurance. Aurand originally sought help for these conditions while still a college student in Indiana. Aurand is not alone, having to be resourceful finding doctors and therapists in her price range. According to the State of Mental Health in America report , one out of five American adults with mental illness report they are unable to get the treatment they need, often due to cost.

And with an uncertain health care climate in Washington, the challenges are unlikely to ease soon. If you live near a university with a graduate psychology program, it most likely has an in-house clinic.

You can see a trainee at one of these clinics for a reduced fee. Yes, the therapists are students, but each one is closely supervised by a seasoned, licensed professional. Most trainees work at these clinics for a year or less.

Aurand now sees the doctor every three months. If you find a therapist you like, let him or her know your financial concerns and inquire about paying a lower fee. With a sliding scale, you get all the benefits of good, one-on-one therapy at a lower rate. To avoid this, discuss payments every few months to see if an adjustment is needed. There are many online tools, including Breakthrough. Rates vary, but if you search, you can find someone affordable.

Several California-based therapists among the most expensive in the nation on Breakthrough. A note of caution: Choose someone licensed in your state. You can get high-quality, one-on-one therapy without ever having to leave your home, office, or pajamas — and at a reasonable cost.

Therapy apps — which allow you to text or chat with a licensed therapist — are becoming increasingly popular. Among the many available are Betterhelp. You can get help anytime, anywhere, even while sitting in a business meeting or on the subway.

And some people find the technology alienating. You can find psychological and psychiatric care at public mental health clinics, which offer services for free or on a sliding scale, based on your income. Organizations devoted to helping survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse also offer a wide range of services, including free counseling. And religious organizations, such as Jewish Family Services, often offer therapy on a sliding scale.

The best way to find resources in your community, says Richardson, is to dial the information hotline, , on your phone or look online at http: The demand at public health clinics is huge, and staffs are often overwhelmed.

When it comes to finding affordable mental health care, persistence is the key. Laura Hilgers is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Laura here. She's passionate about helping others do more with their money, their careers, and their lives. She can reach her via her site KaliHawlk. Medicare will likely play a role in helping you mitigate those costs in your golden years. The federal government offers Medicare as an insurance program for permanently disabled Americans and those 65 or older.

The Social Security Administration is responsible for funding the program, and most of its funding comes from a Medicare payroll tax you might have noticed on your pay stubs it ranges from 1. The majority of working Americans become eligible for Medicare coverage when they turn But the program does become much more complicated when you start digging into the details of what specific benefits make the most sense for you.

But you need to sign up for Medicare if:. If you need to manually apply, you can do so online here. You also have the option of going to your local Social Security office or calling to apply at You can receive this coverage for free as long as you paid at least 10 years into Social Security.

This can include medical equipment and physical therapy. It may cover some preventive care services, too, like screening for certain diseases including cancer and glaucoma. The costs for Part B are more complicated than Part A. Henry goes into even greater detail. Henry explains other services like cosmetic surgery and alternative medicine get excluded from coverage, too.

Medicare coverage gets more complicated when you look at additional parts of the program. Whereas Medicare is a program offered by the federal government, private insurance companies offer coverage with Medicare Advantage Plans which the government still regulates. Some Part C plans offer more services not included in traditional Medicare, including prescription drug coverage. Part D plans are also offered by private insurers and are separate policies from Medicare Parts A and B.

Just like Part C coverage, Part D plans vary widely in what they cover and their costs. The White House and Republicans in Congress have promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act and are in the process of proposing radical changes to the current health care system. But most of the proposed changes affect Medicaid , not Medicare.

But Speaker Paul Ryan has talked about making the following changes:. Again, this is all just talk for now. Kali Hawlk is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Kali at Kali magnifymoney. Here are some hints: The money you earn in the years to come will allow you to pay your bills, save for the future, and create a secure financial foundation for you and your family.

By sending you a monthly check that replaces some or all of your income, it protects your biggest financial asset from those worst-case scenarios. Disability insurance is often ignored both because the prospect of becoming disabled seems remote and because the premiums can be hard to swallow, especially for young families who are already struggling to pay for child care and all the other expenses that come with having young kids.

According to WebMD , your odds of becoming disabled before you retire are about 1 in 3. So the big question is this: How long would your savings be able to support you, and what would you do if you needed help past that point? Most people would struggle to make it more than a few months, which is exactly why disability insurance is so valuable. Both can be helpful, but they play very different roles in your financial plan.

Short-term disability insurance only offers benefits for a relatively limited amount of time. Most short-term disability insurance policies cover you for months, though they can provide coverage for up to two years. There is typically a waiting period of up to 14 days before the insurance kicks in to prevent it from covering minor illness and injury. One of the most common uses of short-term disability insurance is during maternity leave. Many, though not all, short-term disability policies cover the latter parts of pregnancy and the period after childbirth, which can help replace your income while staying home with your newborn.

Most short-term disability insurance policies are offered as an employer benefit, and in some cases that coverage may even be free. One alternative to short-term disability insurance is building an emergency fund. A month emergency fund would provide the same protection as a month short-term disability insurance policy, with the added benefit of not having a monthly premium. Long-term disability insurance is where you typically find the most value.

Long-term disability insurance picks up where your emergency fund or short-term disability insurance leaves off. This is a big potential benefit. That would go a long way toward keeping your family on the right track. For that reason, the rest of this guide will focus primarily on long-term disability insurance.

Long-term disability insurance is a complicated product with a lot of terms and conditions that vary policy to policy. Your monthly benefit is the amount of money your long-term disability insurance policy would pay you each month in the event of disability. And there are a few key factors that go into deciding how big a benefit you need:. Believe it or not, there is no one way of defining disability.

There are a lot of variations, but most policies fall into one of three main groups:. The elimination period is that amount of time you have to be disabled before you can start to collect your benefit. Typical elimination periods range from 60 to days, with longer elimination periods leading to a smaller premium. Many long-term disability insurance policies pay out until age 65 or 67 to coincide with the standard Social Security retirement age.

Other policies will only pay benefits for years. Longer benefit periods are more valuable, but also more expensive. Most long-term disability insurance policies will exclude certain types of conditions from coverage. For example, mental health conditions are often not covered or are subject to a shorter benefit period. Sometimes the exclusions will only last for a period of time, such as the first two years of the policy being in place.

Sometimes they last for the life of the policy. You should evaluate these exclusions in relation to your personal and family health history to understand how likely you might be to run into them. Some long-term disability insurance policies are non-cancelable , which means that you are guaranteed a fixed premium until your coverage period ends. The insurance company cannot cancel your coverage and cannot raise your premium.

A residual benefit feature means that you could receive partial benefits if you return to work at a reduced salary. This feature can help you build your workload over time, making for an easier and smoother transition.

Policies that come with a cost-of-living adjustment will increase your benefit each year based on the rate of inflation. This is meant to ensure that you are able to pay for the same amount of goods and services each year, even as the cost of those things increase over time.

Many long-term disability insurance policies guarantee you the right to increase your coverage in the future if your income increases, without any medical underwriting.

This is a valuable benefit because it eliminates the risk that a decline in health could prevent you from getting more coverage when you need it. Finally, you should make sure that the insurer is in good financial condition. Group disability insurance is often less expensive, and the premiums are typically tax-deductible. Many employers even offer a base level of long-term disability insurance coverage for free. Your ability to get group coverage is in no way affected by your current health.

Eligibility is solely dependent on your employment status with the company. This can be an especially big benefit if you have significant health issues that would make individual coverage either prohibitively expensive or impossible to get.

Group coverage is easy to get in place. In most cases, your group disability insurance premiums are tax-deductible, and the benefits you receive are taxed. So while group long-term disability insurance can be affordable on the front end, sometimes that comes at the cost of smaller benefits on the back end. In addition to the benefits being taxable, your employer may not offer enough coverage to meet your full need to begin with.

You may need to get an additional policy if you want to be fully insured. All of which means that you could find yourself without coverage somewhere down the line. This is crucial to making sure that you always have coverage when you need it.

With an individual disability insurance policy, you have the opportunity to choose a broader definition of disability that increases your chances of receiving benefits. This can be particularly helpful if you work in a highly specialized field where having an own occupation definition would be beneficial. Individual disability insurance premiums are not tax-deductible, but the upside is that any benefits you receive are tax-free. This ensures that you get as much money as possible when you really need it.

You have a lot more control over all the policy features when you buy individual coverage. You can often pick and choose whether you want residual benefits, cost-of-living adjustments, and the like, allowing you to customize your coverage to your specific needs. Individual disability insurance is typically more expensive than group coverage, particularly if you have pre-existing medical conditions or you work in a high-risk occupation.

Applying for individual long-term disability insurance includes a medical exam and a review of your medical history, after which the insurance company may ask more questions to get a better understanding of your current medical condition.

This can be time-consuming, can feel invasive, and in some cases can lead to a more expensive policy or even a denial of coverage altogether. The main reason is that it has a strict definition of disability , requiring you to be unable to work in any job for at least one year.

It only pays out under the most extreme of circumstances. All of which is to say that if you truly want financial protection from disability, getting some combination of group and individual coverage is likely the way to go.

No one likes to think about the possibility of being sick or disabled, but protecting your income is a crucial part of building true financial security. Disability insurance can be an effective way to get that protection. Matt Becker is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Matt here. Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A trained journalist, she has covered everything from murder trials to the Final Four. She writes about being mindful with your money at ConsciousCoincs.

About two years ago, Brian LeBlanc was fed up. The year-old policy analyst from Alberta, Canada, had struggled with his weight for years. At the time, he weighed pounds and had trouble finding clothes that fit. He decided it was time to change his lifestyle for good. LeBlanc started running and cutting back on fast food and soft drinks.

He ordered smaller portions at restaurants and avoided convenience-store foods. About a year into his weight-loss mission, his wife Erin, 31, joined him in his efforts. But the LeBlancs found the opposite to be true. Erin, who is a payroll specialist, also managed their household budget. She began noticing a difference in how little money they were wasting on fast food and unused grocery items. Now, Brian says if they grab fast food, they choose a smaller portion.

Brian likes to prep all his meals on Sunday so his lunches during the week are consistent and portion-controlled. They also buy only enough fresh produce to last them a couple of days to prevent wasting food. Two years after the start of their weight-loss journey, they took a look at their bank statements to see how their spending has changed.

They stopped meeting friends for drinks after work, and Erin took on a part-time job to bring in extra cash. When they needed new wardrobes because their old clothing no longer fit, they frequented thrift shops instead of the mall. Now the Canadian couple is saving for a vacation home in Phoenix, Ariz. But they would always rally together in the end. Read below to see how a little weight loss can tip the scales when it comes to your finances. Still worried that an active lifestyle will require you to spend more money?

Here are some tips on keeping costs low while you improve your lifestyle. Zina Kumok is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Zina here. You book the appointment, see the doctor, and all seems well — until you get a whopping bill.

This happens more often than we think. Unfortunately, insurance company websites are notoriously fallible. But if you asked the doctor or their representative about insurance coverage beforehand, you should contact them immediately if that information ends up being false. Many physicians will honor the price they initially told you or at least give a hefty discount.

Keep calling to see if you can get a lower price. Most doctors have two different rates: Most medical offices would rather get the money a little bit at a time than not at all. HSA contributions are deductible on your taxes. Unfortunately, only people with high-deductible plans are eligible to start an HSA. You can start an HSA anytime if you have an eligible healthcare plan.

Insurance information can even change daily. Before you make the appointment, talk to the billing department to see what their policies are. If your doctor sends your results to a lab, that lab might be out of network, even if your insurance covers the doctor who ordered them. Be polite, but firm. Instead of searching for a replacement, she asked if her physician would apply to the insurance company to be covered by her new plan.

It took almost two months for him to be accepted, Rains said. Hard work well done can be its own type of prayer When I was a boy, the nuns advised us on how to go about our work. How you work, they told us, was like a little prayer.

Offer it up to God. Do the best you can, no matter how great or small the job, because it is a sacrifice to God. The Lord is watching us. Give Him your best. Airbnb guest's bad experience turns worse after host's negative review In October , I got a job offer in Chicago and traveled cross country by car with all my belongings from San Francisco.

I reserved a monthly Airbnb rental as I did not know Chicago well and would then have time to research places to live. The show, with stars that include Brad Garrett, Leighton Meester and The district announced June 4 that Superintendent Michael Riggle will retire during the school year. Quentin Coaxum, new music teacher at Wescott School Quentin Coaxum, 33, was hired as a music teacher at Wescott School beginning this school year.

Body found of New Trier grad who went missing after kayak overturned in Lake Michigan The remains have been found of a young man who went missing after his kayak overturned in poor conditions on Lake Michigan two weeks ago. The body of Sebastian Duncan, 20, was recovered Saturday near Fort Sheridan, officials confirmed, not far from the Highland Park beach where the Glenview man Northfield State Fair honors tradition of grilling ribs The Northfield State Fair has evolved over at least 30 years, from a few families with a few grills cooking ribs in the park to their largest annual community event, said Bill Byron, superintendent of Northfield Park District.

Now drawing thousands, Byron said the event is more ribfest than state IDOT has formally pledged to weigh Northbrook Plein Air Painting Festival returns for second year with more artists, locations in Glenview The Northbrook Plein Air Painting Festival is returning for a second year with double the artists and a larger geographical footprint, including painting locations in Glenview. Theft An employee of a business in the block of Pfingsten Road told police Aug. Devil is in the details for revised association health plans touting cost savings While speaking with Oak Park attorney Larry Grudzien for my Aug.

Everything is political these days, even the moon landing One of the problems with living in America today is that everything is political. There is no escaping politics on any level. Every aspect of life has been politicized and politics has been weaponized. From tearing down statues of nameless Confederate soldiers to watching the NFL, everything seems Nonprofit organizations present Glenview board with funding requests Five nonprofit organizations presented the Glenview Board of Trustees with funding requests Tuesday , including a first-time request from an arts-based organization.

It's college essay season. Here's why they're miserable. In a breakup, one or both people have immensely painful feelings that can include sadness, loneliness, anger, regret, fear and the worst one, heartbreak. Before working for Glenbrook High Schools District , Amos was an assistant principal of a middle school in South Elgin for two years and a dean of students at Francis W. Parker for two years. Loyola's march to New Trier adds to the school's football tradition The road between Loyola Academy in Wilmette and the New Trier High School football stadium in Northfield was a sea of maroon and gold Friday, as hundreds of Loyola students, staff and other supporters marched north on Laramie and Frontage roads to cheer their varsity football team on in its game The exhibit features 30 pieces of art created by 14 students.

Theft A resident of the block of Central Road told police Aug. Being a Catholic means having feelings of anger and revulsion. Does hope fit in?

To be a Catholic right now is to struggle with emotions of anger, revulsion, skepticism, From a new car to paying for nursing school — what 34 divorced women did after selling the ring It was almost 20 years ago, but I can still vividly remember the moment my boyfriend asked me to marry him, and then pulled out a diamond engagement ring. It was a cold winter night, and we were sitting on the rug in front of my fireplace in my downtown condo.

When I saw the little box, I was in Health insurers and other corporations analyze our plentiful personal data, then devise ways to profit from findings I recently read a ProPublica article that both concerned me and inspired me to learn more. According to the post, health insurance companies are now purchasing information Charles Loebbaka, Glenview Public Library donor Charles Loebbaka, 81, and his family recently donated money to the Glenview Public Library for an outdoor bench, a new display case in the Youth Services Department and one-time support for early childhood reading programs.

Loebbaka graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with Hundreds attended an afternoon and evening of food, games and live music at the Techny Road facility Glenbrook District board to interview final firms for superintendent search The Glenbrook High Schools District Board of Education will interview the final two search firms during a special meeting Sept. The district announced June 4 that Superintendent Michael Riggle will retire during Maine Township District to host school tours leading up to November bond referendum Maine Township High School District will host 15 school tours in the weeks leading up to the November election, when voters will be asked to consider a multimillion-dollar bond referendum for building improvements.

Honda stolen from commuter parking lot in Glenview The following items were taken from Glenview Police Department reports and releases. Theft An employee of a business in the block of Tower Drive told police Aug. Congregation Ahavat Olam was previously located at Christ United Methodist Church in Deerfield, but when the congregation outgrew the space Landsman said she moved Change the schedule and expand the playoffs.

Baseball is due for a radical overhaul. The designated hitter rule has been in place for 45 years, but only for the American League. The changes were among a handful All I'm askin' is for a little respect There are certain elements I think most couples deem necessary for sustaining a happy, healthy romantic relationship.

These include trust, loyalty, thoughtfulness, likability and laughter, to name a few. Stefanie Shefler, new assistant principal at Westbrook Stefanie Shefler, 31, was recently hired as the assistant principal at Westbrook Elementary School, but it is not the first time she has worked at Glenview School District Shefler worked at District 34 for five years in different roles before becoming an assistant principal for Community Consolidated When employer deducts health insurance premiums but provides no insurance, who can help?

Students, parents mark first day of school at Pleasant Ridge: The first day is always filled with excitement, Friedman After construction delay, Shermer Road bridge could reopen in November After a utility delay, the Shermer Road Bridge Replacement Project has resumed and is projected to be completed by November, according to Northbrook officials.

The Shermer Road bridge needs to be replaced because it has outlived its useful life, said Matt Farmer, village engineer. Area schools look to shrink the gender gap in STEM classes As a new school year starts, educators and students in the north suburbs are confronting what they say is a gender gap in STEM classes.

Educators say they are seeing significantly more male students enrolled in science, technology, engineering and math classes. The gap has dropped in the last few Glenview wins grant to add monarch butterfly gardens Glenview received an environmental grant to build four monarch butterfly gardens throughout the village, officials announced. The largely Republican town board Historic Wagner Farm director gets Glenview Park District promotion The Glenview Park District found a new administrator from within their own ranks, according to a district news release.

Todd Price, who has served the district for the last 17 years as director of Historic Wagner Farm, has been promoted to superintendent of leisure services, according to the release