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Tips for Navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace

The Health Insurance Marketplace is meant for people who do not have health insurance coverage. This includes small business owners, those who are not covered under their spouse’s plan, and anyone not covered by Medicaid, Medicare or TRICARE. For those who need coverage, the team at Florida-Assistance.org has compiled the following guide to help navigate the Marketplace.

Levels of Coverage: There are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Catastrophic levels of coverage. You pay the most on the Bronze level (40 percent, while the plan covers 60 percent) and the least on the Platinum level (10 percent, while the plan covers 90 percent). Meanwhile, with the Catastrophic level of coverage, you pay a low monthly premium at the expense of receiving less coverage.

Types of Plans: Here are the types of plans offered by the Marketplace

  • HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) plan: you choose a primary care physician within the plan’s network and you need a referral from your physician before seeing a specialist.
  • PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plan: you pay extra to see doctors and visit hospitals outside of your plan’s network and do not need a referral to see a specialist.
  • POS (Point of Service) plan: you pay extra to see doctors and go to hospitals outside of your plan’s network, and you need a referral from your physician to see a specialist.
  • EPO (Exclusive Provider Organization) plan: you can only choose doctors and hospitals that are part of your plan’s network, but you do not need a referral to see a specialist

3 Tips for Applying for Unemployment Assistance in Florida

Applying for unemployment benefits – also known as reemployment assistance in the state of Florida – can seem daunting. Florida-Assistance.org has made applying much less stressful by compiling these quick tips to help you out.

  • Be Aware of Timing: Apply for reemployment benefits within one week of becoming unemployed. This way, you ensure that you will receive maximum benefits. Waiting a longer period of time to apply for unemployment insurance may end up causing you to miss out on certain benefits.
  • Make Sure You Have the Information Needed: Only include the jobs you have been discharged from in the last 18 months on your application. If you left a job voluntarily, you will not be able to receive benefits for that time of unemployment. In addition to providing your previous work experience, it is important to have the following information on hand: Social Security number, driver’s license number, or state identification card number, home address, phone number.
  • Complete the Tasks Required After Applying: Upon completion of your claim application, you have to apply to Employ Florida, a job search platform. If you do not regularly apply for jobs on this platform, you have to provide a log of the jobs you are applying to in order to qualify for continued benefits. This log will require you to list the jobs that you applied to and the date on which you applied. If your application is accepted, you will be required to reapply for the benefits you receive once every two weeks.

Quick Tips for Section 8 Housing Applicants

Section 8 Housing vouchers in Florida provide many low-income families with the ability to rent a home at a lower cost. Because only a certain number of applicants are able to qualify, you should ensure that you meet the program’s eligibility requirements before you apply. Here’s a quick list to refer to when you are applying for Section 8 Housing in Florida:

  • Have your proof of citizenship or legal residency
  • Have your proof of income ready
  • Have your proof of residency
  • Prove family dynamics (includes providing marriage certificates and possibly birth certificates to prove how everyone in the household is related)

Tips for Shopping with Food Stamps

The Florida Food Assistance Program is designed to help families and individuals maintain a nutritious diet despite their financial circumstances. Families who qualify to receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Florida will receive a certain amount of money monthly that can be accessed through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. To help you make the most of your benefits, Florida-Assistance.org has compiled a list of quick tips for shopping with food assistance benefits.

  • Plan, Plan, Plan: Plan your meals weekly, and determine how much everything will cost before you start shopping. Also set aside time to find coupons in stores, newspapers, or online, to help make your benefits last longer
  • Be Aware: Before you head over to the grocery store, make sure you are aware of what foods qualify for coverage under the SNAP program and what foods do not. Accidentally selecting items that are not included in the food stamps program will result in you needing to pay for those non-covered items out of pocket.
  • Buy In Bulk: Buying food in bulk is often more cost-effective than buying regular-sized portions. Rice, beans, pasta and other dry or canned foods are good to buy in bulk because they can be used for a variety of meals, and they have an extended expiration date.
  • Buy And Freeze: Freezing foods greatly eliminates wasted food and saves money as extras can be stored for much longer than if they were kept in the fridge.