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ObamaCare Open Enrollment 2018 – Obamacare Facts

Source: ObamaCare Open Enrollment 2018 – Obamacare Facts

Understanding ObamaCare’s 2018 Open Enrollment Period

ObamaCare’s 2018 Open Enrollment period will start November 1, 2017, and end on December 15, 2017. With that in mind, some states extended open enrollment until January 2018. See state-specific deadlines for 2018 coverage below.

Open enrollment is the only time you can enroll in a health plan on the individual market without qualifying for special enrollment.

That means if you want to get cost assistance and avoid the monthly fee in 2018, you’ll need to get covered during open enrollment 2018 (which starts and ends in 2017 in most states).

Key Facts and Dates About Open Enrollment 2018

  • New regulations by the Trump Administration cut open enrollment in half this year (although some states are extending open enrollment in their state-based marketplaces until January 2018).
  • In states that did not extend open enrollment, enrollment for 2018 coverage will now run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, 2017, instead of ending Jan. 31, 2018 (as originally intended).
  • It is important to realize that enrollment dates are subject to change each year. The new shorter enrollment period may or may not be the norm moving forward, and specific states may or may not extend enrollment each year.
  • To stay covered you need to maintain a health plan that counts as minimum essential coverage (for example all marketplace plans), or an exemption, for each month of the year. If you don’t maintain coverage or an exemption you technically owe the fee for not having coverage (although that was made enigmatic by a 2017 executive order).
  • Insurance purchased before the 15th of each month starts on the 1st of the next month. If you enroll after the 15th, your coverage won’t begin until the month after.
  • Given the above, you need to enroll by December 15th, 2017 to have a plan that starts on January 1st, 2018.
  • If you enroll in 2018 coverage in January, you’ll have a “short coverage gap.” Everyone is allowed a short coverage gap of fewer than three months each year (meaning as long as you have a qualifying health insurance plan by January 31st, you will not owe the fee, but have to take the short coverage gap exemption on form 8965). You also may have a period of time during which you have no health insurance.
  • If you miss open enrollment, your only options are Short Term Health Insuranceemployer-based coverageMedicaid, and CHIP. Those who miss open enrollment may find themselves with no other options and may end up owing the fee.
  • Medicare has a unique open enrollment period as do other types of health insurance sold outside the private individual and family market. If you qualify for Medicare, you don’t have to worry about ObamaCare for yourself (although you are still responsible for ensuring your tax family gets covered if you are the head-of-household). Learn more about ObamaCare and Medicare.
  • Moving forward, all of this is subject to change per the terms of a repeal and replacement plan. With that said, it is unlikely 2018 open enrollment will be affected by changes to the law this close to open enrollment.
  • You can learn all about open enrollment here. Learn more about what to do if you miss the deadline here. See our main ObamaCareFacts page for more details.

State-Specific Open Enrollment Dates For 2018 Open Enrollment

Some states have decided to extend the open enrollment period on their state exchanges. As of September 8, 2017, six states have extended enrollment:

  • Washington (Nov. 1, 2017 – January 15, 2018)
  • California (Nov 1, 2017 – Jan. 12, 2018)
  • Minnesota (Nov 1, 2017 – Jan. 14, 2018)
  • Connecticut (Nov 1, 2017 – Jan. 31, 2018)
  • District of Columbia (Nov.1, 2017 – January 31, 2018)
  • Rhode Island (Nov 1, 2017 – December. 31, 2017)

New York, Idaho, Maryland, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts are still legally permitted to extend open enrollment.[1]

Additional Advice About Open Enrollment 2018

Below are a few additional points to consider.

TIP: If you qualify for cost assistance, think carefully about how much you take up front in Advanced Premium Tax Credits. Cost assistance is based on household income and family size as compared to the Federal Poverty Level. If you project your income inaccurately, you may end up owing back tax credits on form 8962 at tax time. This is especially true if you or a tax filer in your household gains or loses income. Medicaid and out-of-pocket assistance don’t require repayment.

TIP: We advise those looking for coverage to shop on their state’s official marketplace or HealthCare.gov (in states that use the federal marketplace). This will ensure shoppers know all their options regarding cost assistance and get a major medical plan that counts as minimum essential coverage. Shoppers can also contact an online or in-person broker (like the ones featured on our site) for help selecting a marketplace health plan or off-marketplace plan. In some cases, shoppers can also go directly to an insurer although this may require going directly to an insurer’s office, as insurers are encouraging shoppers to use the exchange. Learn more about shopping for private health plans outside the marketplace.

TIP: See also maximums and deductibles and HSA info for plans. An HSA is an excellent way to save tax dollars for those who have enough money to fund them.

BOTTOM LINE: Start your journey at HealthCare.gov. Make sure you are not only signed up but enrolled in a plan by December 15th, 2017. This is the deadline for all states if you want coverage that starts by Jan 1st, 2018, or by the state-specific deadline in select states if you don’t mind your plan starting after Jan 1st. We suggest paying careful attention to cost sharing and networks when shopping for a plan. When in doubt, a Silver Plan that qualifies for an HSA is typically a safe bet. Get more tips for shopping for getting the best health plan.

The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People

Cloe Madanes is a world-renowned innovator and teacher of family and brief therapy and one of the originators of the strategic approach to family therapy. She has authored seven books that are classics in the field: Strategic Family Therapy; Behind the One-Way Mirror; Sex, Love, and Violence; The Secret Meaning of Money; The Violence of Men; The Therapist as Humanist, Social Activist, and Systemic Thinker; and Relationship Breakthrough.

Most of us claim we want to be happy—to have meaningful lives, enjoy ourselves, experience fulfillment, and share love and friendship with other people and maybe other species, like dogs, cats, birds, and whatnot. Strangely enough, however, some people act as if they just want to be miserable, and they succeed remarkably at inviting misery into their lives, even though they get little apparent benefit from it, since being miserable doesn’t help them find lovers and friends, get better jobs, make more money, or go on more interesting vacations. Why do they do this? After perusing the output of some of the finest brains in the therapy profession, I’ve come to the conclusion that misery is an art form, and the satisfaction people seem to find in it reflects the creative effort required to cultivate it. In other words, when your living conditions are stable, peaceful, and prosperous—no civil wars raging in your streets, no mass hunger, no epidemic disease, no vexation from poverty—making yourself miserable is a craft all its own, requiring imagination, vision, and ingenuity. It can even give life a distinctive meaning.

So if you aspire to make yourself miserable, what are the best, most proven techniques for doing it? Let’s exclude some obvious ways, like doing drugs, committing crimes, gambling, and beating up your spouse or neighbor. Subtler strategies, ones that won’t lead anyone to suspect that you’re acting deliberately, can be highly effective. But you need to pretend that you want to be happy, like everybody else, or people won’t take your misery seriously. The real art is to behave in ways that’ll bring on misery while allowing you to claim that you’re an innocent victim, ideally of the very people from whom you’re forcibly extracting compassion and pity.

Here, I cover most areas of life, such as family, work, friends, and romantic partners. These areas will overlap nicely, since you can’t ruin your life without ruining your marriage and maybe your relationships with your children and friends. It’s inevitable that as you make yourself miserable, you’ll be making those around you miserable also, at least until they leave you—which will give you another reason to feel miserable. So it’s important to keep in mind the benefits you’re accruing in your misery.

• When you’re miserable, people feel sorry for you. Not only that, they often feel obscurely guilty, as if your misery might somehow be their fault. This is good! There’s power in making other people feel guilty. The people who love you and those who depend on you will walk on eggshells to make sure that they don’t say or do anything that will increase your misery.

• When you’re miserable, since you have no hopes and expect nothing good to happen, you can’t be disappointed or disillusioned.

• Being miserable can give the impression that you’re a wise and worldly person, especially if you’re miserable not just about your life, but about society in general. You can project an aura of someone burdened by a form of profound, tragic, existential knowledge that happy, shallow people can’t possibly appreciate.

Honing Your Misery Skills

Let’s get right to it and take a look at some effective strategies to become miserable. This list is by no means exhaustive, but engaging in four or five of these practices will help refine your talent.

Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss. In hard economic times, many people are afraid of losing their jobs or savings. The art of messing up your life consists of indulging these fears, even when there’s little risk that you’ll actually suffer such losses. Concentrate on this fear, make it a priority in your life, moan continuously that you could go broke any day now, and complain about how much everything costs, particularly if someone else is buying. Try to initiate quarrels about other people’s feckless, spendthrift ways, and suggest that the recession has resulted from irresponsible fiscal behavior like theirs.

Fearing economic loss has several advantages. First, it’ll keep you working forever at a job you hate. Second, it balances nicely with greed, an obsession with money, and a selfishness that even Ebenezer Scrooge would envy. Third, not only will you alienate your friends and family, but you’ll likely become even more anxious, depressed, and possibly even ill from your money worries. Good job!

Exercise: Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, and, for 15 minutes, meditate on all the things you could lose: your job, your house, your savings, and so forth. Then brood about living in a homeless shelter.

Practice sustained boredom. Cultivate the feeling that everything is predictable, that life holds no excitement, no possibility for adventure, that an inherently fascinating person like yourself has been deposited into a completely tedious and pointless life through no fault of your own. Complain a lot about how bored you are. Make it the main subject of conversation with everyone you know so they’ll get the distinct feeling that you think they’re boring. Consider provoking a crisis to relieve your boredom. Have an affair (this works best if you’re already married and even better if you have an affair with someone else who’s married); go on repeated shopping sprees for clothes, cars, fancy appliances, sporting equipment (take several credit cards, in case one maxes out); start pointless fights with your spouse, boss, children, friends, neighbors; have another child; quit your job, clean out your savings account, and move to a state you know nothing about.

Read the rest: The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People

Melinda Gates: I spent my career in technology. I wasn’t prepared for its effect on my kids. – The Washington Post

When my youngest child was born in 2002, the flip phone was still the coolest piece of tech you could get. Now I’m told that all three of my children are part of what demographers are calling iGen.

I spent my career at Microsoft trying to imagine what technology could do, and still I wasn’t prepared for smartphones and social media. Like many parents with children my kids’ age, I didn’t understand how they would transform the way my kids grew up — and the way I wanted to parent. I’m still trying to catch up.

The pace of change is what amazes me the most. The challenges my younger daughter will be facing when she starts high school in the fall are light-years away from what my elder daughter, who’s now in college, experienced in 2010. My younger daughter’s friends live a lot of their lives through filters on Instagram and Snapchat, two apps that didn’t even exist when my elder daughter was dipping a toe in social media.

But I am optimistic about what smartphones and social media can do for people. I am thrilled to see kids learning on smartphones, doctors using apps to diagnose diseases and marginalized groups such as gay and lesbian students finding support they never had before through social networks.

Still, as a mother who wants to make sure her children are safe and happy, I worry. And I think back to how I might have done things differently. Parents should decide for themselves what works for their family, but I probably would have waited longer before putting a computer in my children’s pockets. Phones and apps aren’t good or bad by themselves, but for adolescents who don’t yet have the emotional tools to navigate life’s complications and confusions, they can exacerbate the difficulties of growing up: learning how to be kind, coping with feelings of exclusion, taking advantage of freedom while exercising self-control. It’s more important than ever to teach empathy from the very beginning, because our kids are going to need it.

For other parents trying to decide how to do their job in a way that feels right despite the bewildering array of changes brought on by smartphones and social media, I want to share some of the resources that have helped me and my friends. Hopefully, these tips can spark conversation and help parents become resources for each other.

A new French labour law gives employees the ‘right to switch off’ from email, smartphones and other electronic leashes to preserve off-hours and holiday time. (Reuters)
  • Learn about the issue: This month, the Atlantic ran a long story called “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” The headline is a little dire, but then again, so is what’s reported in the article. It makes a strong case linking smartphones and social media to emotional distress. For example, eighth-graders who use social media more than 10 hours a week are 56 percent more likely to say they’re unhappy than peers who use it less. A lot of the same issues are raised in the documentary Screenagers, whose producers encourage community groups to host screenings. Many parents have told me they like the film because it provides plenty of practical tips.
  • Unplug: One of my favorite things you can do is plan a “device-free dinner.” It’s not complicated. It’s exactly what it says: an hour around a table without anything that has an on or off switch. Common Sense Media has provided great resources and is turning this simple concept into a movement. We don’t allow cellphones at the dinner table, and in my experience, they’re right when they promise “amazing conversation.”
  • Have Tough Conversations: One of the things that’s likely to come up in conversation with your kids is the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why.” The hype may have subsided a little bit since the beginning of the summer, but it’s still a hot topic. Every parent has to decide for themselves whether they will let their children watch and, if so, under what conditions. Here and here are some excellent resources from the Jed Foundation to help you make these decisions and talk with your kids about the show, suicide, and what to do if they need help. And I always make sure to tell people about Crisis Text Line, an amazing crisis counseling service that provides free, 24/7 support and resources via text message.
  • Advocate for your kids: With my oldest daughter in college and my son entering his last year of high school, I’ve started thinking about how smartphones and social media change the dynamics of college campuses. Many colleges simply don’t have the resources available to cope with the mental health needs of their students. Read this article to find out more so that you can make sure your kids have the support they need.
  • Make a Plan: Lastly, I highly encourage you to try out the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Family Media Plan. This site walks you step-by-step through a process of being intentional about how your family consumes media. The great thing is that it’s not one size fits all. It helps you build a unique plan for your family.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. It gives kids the freedom to move around in a big world, to experiment, to connect with others. As a parent, though, I know that I am responsible for making sure that my kids are ready for all that freedom — and that they know how to keep themselves safe. Here’s to staying on top of all the changes social media is bringing to our kids’ lives, so that we can continue to guide and support them in this fast-changing world.

 

Source: Melinda Gates: I spent my career in technology. I wasn’t prepared for its effect on my kids. – The Washington Post

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? – The Atlantic

by JEAN M. TWENGE

…It was after the Great Recession, which officially lasted from 2007 to 2009 and had a starker effect on Millennials trying to find a place in a sputtering economy. But it was exactly the moment when the proportion of Americans who owned a smartphone surpassed 50 percent.

The more I pored over yearly surveys of teen attitudes and behaviors, and the more I talked with young people like Athena, the clearer it became that theirs is a generation shaped by the smartphone and by the concomitant rise of social media. I call them iGen. Born between 1995 and 2012, members of this generation are growing up with smartphones, have an Instagram account before they start high school, and do not remember a time before the internet. The Millennials grew up with the web as well, but it wasn’t ever-present in their lives, at hand at all times, day and night. iGen’s oldest members were early adolescents when the iPhone was introduced, in 2007, and high-school students when the iPad entered the scene, in 2010. A 2017 survey of more than 5,000 American teens found that three out of four owned an iPhone.

Read the rest here: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? – The Atlantic

Misconceptions About Dissociative Identity Disorder | The Mighty

By Chris Alter

There are a lot of misconceptions about dissociative identity disorder (DID). Here are some common ones I’ve heard:

1. “DID is so rare, you can’t possibly have it!”

It isn’t actually as rare as you may think. The ISSTD (International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation) accept that up to one to three percent of the general population have DID, this is roughly the same amountof people who possess the “ginger” gene!

2. “If you really had DID, you wouldn’t know about your alters!”

It’s fairly common for those with DID to know about their alters. Many report hearing others talking inside and can be aware of other “selves,” even in childhood. Many individuals will not remember what they have been doing for periods of time and can behave completely out of character. This is an extremely confusing experience, especially prior to receiving psychiatric support. Internal communication between alters is often worked on and improved through therapy.

3. “Do you have an evil alter? I’ve heard people with DID are dangerous!”

This is a common misconception which isn’t helped by media portrayals of “split personalities” like the characters Jekyll and Hyde and sensationalized films like the 2017 movie, “Split.” Those with DID (like most mental illnesses) are more likely to be a danger to themselves, not others. There are no evil alters. There can be destructive alters, but they need the same amount of compassion as any other member of the system!

4. “You can develop DID as an adult!”

The only possible time that DID can form is in early childhood, generally accepted to be before age of six and nine at the latest, because normal personality development that occurs at this age is interrupted by trauma. Traumatic experiences that occur later than this age can lead to other conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but not DID.

5. “DID is the same as schizophrenia!”

They are two very different disorders. According to the ISSTD, DID is a dissociative disorder developed through chronic childhood trauma and characterized by “the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states that recurrently take control of the individual’s behavior, accompanied by an inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.”

Schizophrenia, on the other hand, is a psychotic disorder potentially caused by a number of factors including genetics, biology of the brain and stress. It is characterized by delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, disorganized speech, etc. which causes significant social or occupational dysfunction.

6. “DID isn’t real! Stop pretending!” 

DID is very real and there is a lot of evidence supporting it. Despite this, it remains a controversial diagnosis to some professionals. Despite having a diagnosis of DID, a psychiatrist on an acute psychiatric ward once told me it doesn’t exist, that I was lying and it is “the stuff of Hollywood movies!” Stigma surrounding this disorder can unfortunately sometimes include professionals, despite DID being a recognized psychological condition in diagnostic manuals worldwide.

7. “You can’t have DID, I would have noticed!”

Often switches between alters are not obvious to those who don’t know what to look for. If you know someone with DID well, you may notice slight differences in body language, vocal differences, differences in handwriting, differences in vocabulary etc. that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Click here to read the rest of this article: Misconceptions About Dissociative Identity Disorder | The Mighty

What to Know About People With Dissociative Identity Disorder | The Mighty

By Iain C

(Note: This appears to be an interesting site. Link is below.)

Not long ago I was doing pizza and movie night with some friends when that thing I hate happened. A character in the movie, wild-eyed and demented, was revealed to have… dissociative identity disorder! (cue the creepy music)

Some of my friends shuttered, some laughed, others scoffed. They didn’t know someone with dissociative identity disorder, or DID, was sitting right there on the couch, slice of pizza halfway to my mouth. I wanted to tell them DID isn’t like that. I wanted to explain it’s really just another way of being human. It’s our way of managing life and not a joke or a threat to them. In the end, I realized my friends didn’t know enough about DID for me to even begin the conversation.

Here’s a list of what I wish everyone knew so we could really talk.

1. We’re not all ax-murderers like you see on TV. We were overwhelmed by pain and suffering when we were children. It changed us and now our minds work differently than yours. But just like you, we want to have a good life.

2. We have different identities/alters inside one body. They are different ages, have different feelings, ideas, talents and agendas. We work very hard to maintain a functional system that gets us through the day.

3. Switching between identities/alters isn’t very dramatic. Most of the time the switches are internal, seamless and invisible. And, unless you’re our therapist or a really close friend, they’re none of your business. We’re handling things the best we can.

4. When we lose time, it’s really lost. We’re not faking. If anything, we’re pretending we know more about what happened than we really do.

5. If a teenaged identity/alter takes over, they’re not an adult pretending to be a teenager. They’re a real teenager. Demanding they think, act or decide like an adult isn’t going to work. Relate to them based on their age and unique personality.

6. The adult out front isn’t the real us. They are the identity/alter who’s best at getting along in the world. The real us is all of us together.

7. If you’re dealing with us in a crisis and kid identities/alters come out, don’t ignore them and try to force an adult identity/alter out instead. If we could get an adult out front to run things, we would. Help the kids feel safe and our system will stabilize.

8. When the system feels threatened, protector identities/alters can come out. They may be angry, cold or determined to escape. Please don’t take this personally — we’re just overwhelmed. The best way to help is to back off and let us get safe.

9. We already know DID is “controversial.” You don’t need to remind us some people think it doesn’t exist — which sounds a lot like we shouldn’t exist — which sounds a lot like what we heard from our abusers. Not good.

10. There’s nothing wrong with the way I am. We’re different in some ways and like you in lots of others. We share the same world and want the same good things you want. We’re not “crazy” or weird — just a little complicated.

Source: What to Know About People With Dissociative Identity Disorder | The Mighty