ACA Open Enrollment is Here!

Having health insurance is one of the best ways to take care of yourself and your family. Whether it’s through an employer, the Health Insurance Marketplace, or Arizona’s Medicaid offering AHCCCS, there are different insurance options available. Knowing the best plan for you and your family is important and NOAH is here to help during Open Enrollment.

Starting February 15, you can enroll in a health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace that fits your needs. NOAH Community Resource Specialists can provide you with information about several different options and can help complete paperwork virtually with you to see if you qualify for some of the available plans.

The Health Insurance Marketplace

Often referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace or Obamacare, the Health Insurance Marketplace helps more Americans have access to health insurance. If you aren’t covered under an employee plan, or don’t qualify for Medicaid/AHCCCS, you can get insurance through the Marketplace. In Arizona, there are several different providers to pick from, and different plans to fit your healthcare needs and finances. NOAH’s Certified Application Counselors are available to help you understand your options, eligibility, assist virtually with paperwork, and help with your enrollment in a Health Insurance Marketplace plan.

For health insurance coverage through the Marketplace, the enrollment deadline is August 15.

Other Health Insurance Options

  • Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) – AHCCCS is Arizona’s Medicaid program. There are free and low-cost plans available for individuals and families. To qualify, you need to meet income requirements and be an Arizona resident. AHCCCS is open for enrollment year-round but does need to be renewed annually.
  • KidsCare – If parents are covered under an employer insurance, but kids are not, the KidsCare program can help! KidsCare, often referred to as CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) is offered through AHCCCS and is available for Arizona children under age 19 who meet the income requirement. Like AHCCCS, this health insurance is also open for enrollment year-round. If your family already qualifies for AHCCCS, you don’t need to worry about the separate KidsCare coverage for your children.

If you’ve recently received a letter reminding of your recertification date for AHCCCS or KidsCare, or have had changes to work, income or other health coverage, the NOAH Community Resources Specialists can help with your AHCCCS eligibility and enrollment.

Enrolling in ACA

Health insurance can be complicated. Whether you are enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace for the first time, are renewing your AHCCCS plan, or have changes to your policy, it is nice to have support along the way. NOAH has trained, certified team members here to help you with 2021 ACA/Obamacare/Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment, so give us a call at 480-882-4545, or fill out the form here and select “Community Resources – Eligibility” under Type of Appointment. 

REMEMBER – Open enrollment starts Monday, February 15th and closes Sunday, August 15th!

Coping Skills for this Holiday Season

Holidays and emotional health go hand in hand. These past few years have asked a lot of all of us, emotionally and mentally. That’s why mental health this holiday season (and always, really) should be something we think about. And, we all benefit from using healthy coping skills. NOAH’s experts weigh in on coping skills and the holiday season below.

First, we hope you have readjusted your expectations for 2021 vs. prior to COVID. Some things may be “back to normal” and some things and people may not be quite the same as pre-COVID (that includes you!). If you expect a holiday season that is picture perfect, when real life doesn’t meet your expectation, the reaction can be very real and very difficult.  

Now that we’ve all adjusted our expectations, our NOAH behavioral health experts share good coping skills. Learn healthy ways to deal with stress, anxiety and depression, your day and however you are celebrating the holidays this year. Coping skills can be different from person to person, and in different situations.

Try these coping skills and use what works best for you

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. There is a lot more about this important step in a previous post, so read about that here.
  2. Talk to someone. This can be a counselor or therapist, or it can be a friend or family member who helps you feel heard and calms the situation without getting involved.
  3. Slow down. If you are doing too many things, being everything for everyone, it’s time to slow down and take a break.
  4. Make a list. If you have a lot to do (see #3 above), and it is causing stress, make a list. Crossing things off your list also gives you a sense of accomplishment which is a positive feeling.
  5. Do deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercises can have a lot of benefits to your overall health. Take deep breaths in, hold it for several seconds and slowly exhale. Repeat this for a minute or two.
  6. Get distracted. Step away from what is causing you anxiety or depression. Try to lose yourself in something else, like a puzzle, an easy project, adult coloring books, yard work or whatever can keep you distracted for a while.
  7. Take a walk. Walking outdoors is great for your health. Not only is the exercise good, fresh air and sunshine are helpful for your overall health. Plus, taking a walk can distract you (#6) and help you slow down (#3) as well.
  8. Use your five senses. Do something that engages different senses. Notice what is around you using sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste. This will give your mind a break from things that may be causing stress.

This holiday season can hold a lot of different feelings and emotions, and that is okay. Be kind to yourself and others. And, most importantly, enjoy the holiday season however you celebrate it.

Raise Your Domestic Violence Awareness

By Cody Randel

Domestic violence impacts millions of men and women every year. The more we know about identifying possible victims and offering support, the more individuals and families will get the help they deserve. Approximately one in four women and one in 10 men will experience domestic violence in their lives.

The Truth About Identifying Victims

The true nature of domestic violence makes it difficult to identify. Victims are often scared and shamed by their perpetrator, and they are hesitant to come forward. Knowing how to identify the signs of domestic violence could someday help save someone’s life. 

  • Physical signs such as bruises, cuts, or other marks on the victim’s body are a big indicator, these are often hidden with clothing or makeup, or by creating an untrue story of the origin of the injury.
  • Emotional signs like fear, low self-esteem, timidity, depressed mood, substance abuse, isolation and others are important to notice.

There can be other signs, but in general, noticing some of the above are strong indicators, especially if behavior changes.

How You Can Help

Many people still view domestic violence as a private family matter, but it isn’t. It is a public health and social issue that impacts the safety of the community.

If you believe someone is experiencing domestic violence in a relationship, there are ways to help. How you approach helping is very important because it can mean the safety of everyone involved.

You can help by:

  • providing emotional support for the victim by listening to and reassuring them that they do not deserve to be abused
  • letting the victim know that you worry for their health and safety
  • offering resources that can help them get out of the relationship
  • NEVER confronting the perpetrator
  • suggesting that the victim remove weapons from the home such as firearms, knives, etc.
  • helping the victim create a Safety Plan (see more details below)

A Safety Plan should include:

  • hidden bag packed with essentials like ID, money, car keys, etc. in case they have to leave quickly
  • list of numbers for hospitals, shelters, hotlines, and other community resources
  • a safe space for the victim (and possibly children) to go with other family, friends, or a shelter

If you see that a victim is in immediate danger, call 911. And if you are the victim of domestic abuse, there are resources and many professionals, like our team at NOAH, who can listen and provide resources to help.  

Domestic violence resources:

5 Creative Ways to Celebrate Boss’s Day in 2020

On October 16th show a little appreciation to your boss for Boss’s Day. This will go a long way for a boss who works long hours and supports your team. Plus, as an added bonus, showing kindness and gratitude towards others can benefit your health as well!

During 2020, though, when not everyone is physically at the office every day, making sure your boss feels the love from the entire team may take a little creativity.

Try some of these to show your boss you appreciate them:

  • Chip In – Go in with coworkers to celebrate. Buy a card for everyone to sign or get a group gift. Try buying a gift that your boss needs for their office or something personal like flowers or a gift card.
  • Gifts that Give Back – If your boss is hard to buy for or would rather give away all their gifts to others, they may love having a donation made in their name. Knowing what organizations or causes they support will make this easy, and everyone can chip in. If the charity can send a note or acknowledgement for the donation, share that with your boss. Or make your own card stating that a donation was made in their name.
  • What You Mean to Me – Write – in an email or a card – what your boss means to you. If you’ve been working together for a long time, look back on your growth together. If you are newer to the team, thank them for seeing the potential in you and being the kind of boss you want to work for.
  • Make it About Them – Does your boss love a kind of food the rest of the team doesn’t? Today your boss gets to pick! Maybe it is the kind of music playing in the office or shop, or you attend an online presentation they are excited about. Whatever your boss really enjoys, let them pick today. You can also offer to help with something. By letting them know you see just how much work they do, you can make their job or a project a little easier.
  • Make a Presentation – Use whatever creative skills you have and make a video or presentation about how great your boss is. It can be pictures, quotes from everyone, funny stories, and more. Put it to music and make it part of a bigger celebration, or just share it with the team to watch on their own.

Whatever you do to celebrate Boss’s Day, make it personal. If gifts make your boss uncomfortable, or some team members can’t chip in, that okay. Celebrate it in a way that works for everyone and is something fun and positive.