Site Navigation

Health & Medical

Deadline nearing to sign up for health care coverage; State health underwriters group says Texans need to get covered by the end of the month

March 27th, 2014


By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The deadline to sign up for Affordable Care Act is next week, and a statewide association of health insurance experts is encouraging people to get signed up before the March 31 deadline.

The Texas Association of Health Underwriters (TAHU) issued a statement this week to encourage people to sign up before its too late. TAHU President Mark Bellman says this deadline is very real, and people don't need to wait.

"Well we wanted to make sure that Texans are informed about the new world in health insurance. In the past, they can purchase insurance anytime during the year, but in the new world, the open enrollment ends on March 31st and unless you have a qualifying event. That means a change in your spousal coverage, change in your job, change in a significant place of residence, anything significant like a divorce or something --unless you have that type of an event, you can not purchase insurance after March 31st," said Bellman.

If miss that deadline, Bellman says you could find yourself owing thousands of dollars in medical bills due to an accident or illness. He says that's why the TAHU says people need to take advantage of this open enrollment period now.

"So what this means folks could be out there thinking that 'I'll just get the insurance later', and it's too late. They can have an apappendectomy. It can cost them $100,000. They can get cancer. It can be a million dollars. So in the past we also had the risk pool in the state of Texas, that was the safety net for all of these situations, if you couldn't get insurance because of your pre-existing conditions. That too is being eliminated by March 31st. So it's critical, that Texans want insurance, they're thinking about insurance, this is the time," said Bellman.

The Affordable Care Act is better known to most as Obamacare. It's been a political hot button issue since it was signed into law by the president. Bellman says people need to set aside the politics, and look at the practical side of this issue. He says if you need health insurance, you need to get signed up now.

"Politics is not going to pay your medical bills. So we're here to deal with a practical matter. Folks needing insurnace, making sure that they understand the situation, they understand what's available and make the right decision for them. And what we're here to do as an association, we have agents in Seguin, down the road from you, who can help individuals make a decision at no cost to them, because the commissions are already built into the premiums. You're going to get professional advice, not just about what's in the public exchange, but what's also available outside of the exchange in the private world. All the different options in front of you. So yes, maybe perhaps the politics is crowded...quite frankly politics isn't going to pay your medical bill when that happens," said Bellman.

Bellman says their organization is there to assit people with the sign up process. He says they've tried to make it easier for people to find professionals that can help them choose the right plan.

"I highly recommend that every Texan seeks professonal advice, because if you go to the website, the website ( is only going to show you one slice of the pie that's available to you and that's the government options on the exchange. There's a whole world outside of that, and not only can a professional give you advice on stuff inside the exchange -- there are a lot of new options that may not show up on that website. Like is your doctor on the plan, (and) is your drug covered? There are other options that are outside that could make a better fit for that individual and the best thing about it is it will not cost them a penny more. Whether they use a professional or not, because the insurance companys have built in the payment to the premiums rate. So if you don't use a professional, you're leaving money on the table," said Bellman.

Bellman says staying health is vital, because an injury as common as a a broken arm can cost thousands of dollars in medical bills. Treating serious illness, such as cancer, can easily top $100,000. Beyond potential cost savings, Bellman says another advantage is that ACA-compliant coverage now covers preexisting health conditions.

Bellman says to find a professional benefit adviser, visit

Back to Top

February 27th, 2013

Study: Mediterranean Diet Can Help Prevent Heart Disease

(Undated)  --  Eating a Mediterranean-style diet that's high in olive oil, nuts, fish and fresh veggies can help prevent heart disease.  A new study done in Spain confirms past research that suggested people who eat this type of diet have healthier hearts.  People who followed the Mediterranean diet for five years were about 30 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who ate a low-fat diet.  One researcher suggests anyone wanting to eat healthier start by making small changes like not eating meat one or two days a week and cooking with olive oil.  The study was published in the "New England Journal of Medicine."

Ikea Says No Horse In Meatballs In U.S.

(Conshohocken,PA) --  Meatballs sold in Ikea stores in America are free of horse meat.  A store spokesperson told NBC News that the pork and beef used in Ikea's popular meatballs in the U.S. come from a domestic supplier which meets USDA guidelines.  The Swedish furniture giant removed meatballs from most of its European stores after traces of horse meat were found in the Czech Republic.   Meatballs are part of traditional Swedish cuisine and are big sellers in Ikea's in-store cafeterias.  They are also sold frozen for customers to take home.

Big Apple Mayor Wants State To Ban Big Sodas
(New York, NY)  --  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants the state to do as the city has done and ban sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.  When asked why supermarkets can still sell 32 and even 64 ounce sodas, the mayor said the city regulates restaurants and the state regulates stores.  A state ban, he said, would save lives.  The city's ban on large size sodas goes into effect on March 12th.

Human Salmonella From Backyard Flocks

(Atlanta, GA)  --  The CDC is warning about potential human salmonella outbreaks from live poultry.  The agency says people who keep chicks or baby ducklings in their backyards need to be aware that they can carry salmonella germs in their droppings.  People are told to wash their hands after handling live poultry and never bring them into their house.

Study: Sleep Loss Increases Risk Of Disease

(Undated)  --  A new study finds a lack of sleep can lead to a higher risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.  The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found even a week of inadequate sleep can alter the activity of hundreds of genes in a person's body, making them more susceptible to health problems.  The National Institutes of Health says folks who get less than seven to nine hours of sleep a night have a higher risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.

Lead Exposure Blamed In Lower School Test Scores

(Ann Arbor, MI)  --  Lead exposure in early childhood is linked to lower Michigan Education Assessment Program scores for students in several grades in Detroit Public Schools.  The University of Michigan School of Public Health released the findings today.  High blood lead levels before the age of six were linked to lower math, science, and reading scores on MEAP tests.  Researchers also say that scores were lower for children exposed to lead at levels that fall below the federal threshold.  Additionally, researchers found that the higher the blood lead levels, the lower the academic scores.  The findings will be published in the March issue of the "American Journal of Public Health."

Back to Top