About the author

Deb Shields

Deb Shields has more than 10 years of experience in the communications profession. Her subject matter areas of expertise include the health and life insurance industry, as well as employee benefit programs such as retirement plans, employee stock programs, health and welfare plans, and executive compensation.

Posts by Deb Shields

Improved Diagnosis for the 2019 Health Insurance Market

For many Americans, the news that 2019 may be a year of health insurance market stabilization comes as welcome relief. In contrast to the tumult of the past several years with skyrocketing premium increases, mandatory tax penalties for not purchasing Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant health insurance, tightened restrictions on non-ACA compliant insurance products, and a […] Read more

Health Care Coverage Advantages: Obamacare vs Non-Obamacare Plans

More than one million Americans have already dropped the Obamacare plan that they purchased in 2018, according to a new study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). Although nearly 12 million people signed up for a plan on the marketplace exchange, only 10.6 million actually paid their first premium payment and had an […] Read more

New Health Insurance Exemptions May Help You Opt Out of Exchange Coverage

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) legislation was enacted in 2010, one of its goals was to make affordable health insurance available to more Americans. A key, but controversial, piece of the legislation was the individual mandate clause, which required virtually everyone in the country to have ACA-compliant health insurance, or else be liable to […] Read more

Short Term Health Plan Coverage in a Growing Gig Economy

These days, individuals are increasingly turning to self-employment, freelance jobs, consulting and contract employment opportunities, contributing to a gig economy that experts say is now growing at a faster pace than the traditional employment market. Prevalent among millennials and baby boomers, gig employment offers workers the freedom to pursue their passions and interests, the flexibility […] Read more

Short Term Medical Plans vs. High Deductible Health Plans

With the open enrollment period to purchase Obamacare coverage for 2018 in its last few days, millions of Americans are researching the plan options available to them, hoping to find a policy that best meets their benefit needs and budget. Many millions who do not qualify for subsidies may be purchasing short term health insurance […] Read more

Lost Your Obamacare Subsidy? Consider Affordable Alternative Insurance Options

The U.S. economy posted a 3% growth rate for the third quarter of 2017, marking the first time in three years that the economy grew 3% or more in back-to-back quarters, according to the Commerce Department. Economists had expected an economic slowdown, accounting for significant property damage and job losses resulting from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma […] Read more

Think You Can’t Afford Health Insurance? It’s Time to Think Again…

There’s never been a time in the United States where health care costs have been higher. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in 2015, spending on medical costs accounted for $3.2 trillion – about 17.8 percent – of the country’s economy. And health care industry experts anticipate that this trend will […] Read more

Fixed Dollar Zero Deductible Plans – Your Alternative to Traditional Health Insurance

Whether you have employer-sponsored health insurance or purchase coverage through the marketplace exchange, you’re probably well aware that your insurance premiums have been increasing significantly each year. And the outlook for 2018 rates doesn’t look any better. On average, premiums are currently estimated to increase between 16 and 30 percent across the country. To help […] Read more

The Number of Uninsured Americans Continues to Climb

Through the years, the number of Americans who have health insurance has continued to change – often rising during times of financial booms, then falling again during periods of recession and unemployment. One of the key goals of the Affordable Care Act was to increase the number of people with health insurance coverage, and by […] Read more

Insurance Options for Health Care Access in Rural Areas

It probably comes as no surprise that studies show rural areas of the United States have fewer health care providers. For the 20 percent of Americans living in these locations, this often means that they must travel substantial distances to access health care services, as well as often have long wait times when trying to […] Read more

College Students + Short Term Medical = Smart Insurance Option

The annual rite of packing for school is here for millions of college students. In addition to computers, calculators, notebooks and other treasures, one of the most valuable assets that a student can bring to school is health insurance coverage. If you’re like many parents, you probably assume that you should just keep your college […] Read more

What to Do When You Can’t Afford Health Insurance

According to a recent Gallup poll, the percentage of adults in the United States without health insurance is on the rise. During the first quarter of 2017, the uninsured percentage rose to 11.3 percent, from a rate of 10.9 percent during the last six months of 2016. Although this number is still well below the […] Read more

Affordable Health Insurance Options for Early Retirees

A recent study indicates that more than half of all Americans retire before age 65. If you’re deciding whether to retire early, a key financial consideration is how to maintain adequate health care coverage until your Medicare benefits begin. Since the passage of Obamacare, many early retirees have met their health insurance needs by enrolling […] Read more

Losing Medicaid Benefits? Short Term Medical Is an Affordable Coverage Alternative

Republicans in the Senate recently unveiled their health care legislation to replace Obamacare. Dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Senate bill changes or eliminates many Obamacare provisions. The bill’s provisions for phasing out federal funding for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, and changing the federal government’s funding structure for Medicaid, have many Medicaid recipients concerned. […] Read more

Unpaid Premiums on Your Obamacare Coverage? Maybe It’s Time to Consider Short Term Medical

Despite all the hype coming out of Washington about repealing and replacing Obamacare with the new Trumpcare plan, the federal government continues to operate as if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will remain the law of the land in 2018. Case in point: the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently updated rules for […] Read more

Fewer Insurance Company Choices for Exchange Enrollees in 2018

Whether you’re a news junkie or just catch up on headlines occasionally, chances are good that you’re aware several health insurance companies have already announced their intent to withdraw from the Obamacare exchanges in 2018. For states which already had just a few participating exchange insurers, thousands of people are now asking, “what are my […] Read more

On the Horizon in 2018: Higher Premiums, Narrower Provider Networks and Limited Plan Choices?

These days, it seems that all the news outlets are speculating about what will happen to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Failed efforts in Washington to immediately repeal and replace the ACA, as promised by President Trump, continue to fuel uncertainty in the major medical health insurance market. However, even with the legislative unknowns, insurance […] Read more

Obamacare’s Rules Are About to Change…Are You Prepared?

The Trump administration recently released a new ruling outlining changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions, in hopes that the new regulations will help stabilize the marketplace by keeping insurers in the exchange. The changes are already coming under fire from consumer activists, however. Critics are concerned that the changes, set to take effect […] Read more

Like Your Short Term Health Insurance Plan? Here’s How to Keep It

Editor’s Note: This 2017 blog post outlines coverage duration changes to short term medical plans. Since the post was written the coverage duration changes have been overturned. Today consumers can purchase temporary health insurance plans for a minimum of 30-days and a maximum of 364-days, depending on state-specific rules.  For an estimated one million people, […] Read more

Supplemental Insurance – Supporting Your Medical Cost-Sharing Plan

Medical cost-sharing groups, also called health-sharing ministries, have been in existence for more than 30 years.  For members of these groups, sharing health care costs with other members who hold similar faith and lifestyle values, especially when paired with an affordable supplemental insurance plan, can be a reasonable alternative to purchasing traditional major medical health […] Read more

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Understanding Your Health Insurance Company’s Explanation of Benefits (EOB) Statement

Remember the last time you received health care services? Following your visit, you or your provider sent a claim to your short term health or major medical insurance company and waited for it to be processed. A short time later, you received an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement from your major or short term medical insurance […] Read more

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Short Term Health Insurance or COBRA?

These days, the high costs of health care make medical insurance an important part of your financial security. That’s why losing your health care coverage – even if for just a short time – can be a daunting prospect. Is Short Term Health Insurance Right For You? You’ll want to know available options for bridging […] Read more

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Best Health Insurance Options for Millennials

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) – often referred to as Obamacare – was passed in 2010, one of the key factors to ensuring the program’s success was the participation of millennials. As a rule, younger adults tend to be healthier and require fewer health care services. Their participation is needed to […] Read more

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What’s Next for Health Insurance in 2017?

The 2016 presidential election illustrated how deeply divided Americans are on many economic, environmental, and social issues. Some of the most intense debates during the election season centered around health care in the United States, with presidential party nominees arguing over what, if anything, should be done about Obamacare. Short Term Health Insurance – An […] Read more

Boost Your Financial Health By Protecting Against Costly Health Emergencies

In this post, we’ll outline how supplemental health insurance can provide coverage for the financial gaps in your existing health plan. There’s no denying that most Americans are feeling the pinch of high health insurance coverage costs. A recent study showed that since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, the median […] Read more

Shopping for Health Insurance: A Buyer’s Guide

Are you among the millions of Americans under age 65 who don’t have employer-sponsored health insurance? If so, it’s important to know that under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), unless you qualify for an exemption, you are required to purchase a health insurance plan. If you don’t, expect to pay a penalty when it comes […] Read more