Health Insurance Marketplace Dates You Don’t Want To Miss

October 22, 2014

Are you or someone you know planning to apply for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace? Then you might want to take note of the following important dates for the upcoming enrollment period.

Health Insurance Marketplace

Key Dates for 2015 Marketplace Enrollment

The 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment period is fast approaching! This open enrollment period is when you can apply for 2015 health insurance coverage through the marketplace. If you are considering a marketplace insurance plan, or want change an existing marketplace insurance plan, you need to know these important dates.

These four key dates are crucial to ensuring you receive the marketplace health insurance benefits you want for 2015:

November 15, 2014 – The 2015 calendar year Open Enrollment period begins. You can apply for insurance coverage, choose to keep existing coverage, or change your coverage.

December 15, 2014 – This is the enrollment cut off date for coverage to begin on January 1st, 2015. If you want new coverage to begin on January 1st, your application must be completed by December 15. If you are changing plan coverage, you need to enroll by this date to prevent a lapse in coverage.

December 31, 2014 – Coverage ends for 2014. New coverage can begin as early as January 1st, 2015, so long as the application has been submitted by December 15th.

February 15, 2015 – Open enrollment ends. This is the last day you can apply for a 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace plan.

Mark your calendar now to ensure you don’t miss these important health insurance enrollment dates!

Health Care Insurance

Key Marketplace Enrollment Information

Here is additional information you want to take note of to keep your 2015 Marketplace health insurance coverage on track.

During Open Enrollment:

If you enroll between the 1st and 15th of the month, your coverage starts the 1st day of the next month.

If you enroll between the 16th and last day of the month, your coverage begins the first day of the 2nd following month. In other words, if you enroll on December 16, your coverage will not start until February 1st.

Those With Current 2014 Marketplace Coverage:

Your 2014 coverage will end on December 31st.

Those enrolled through the federal Marketplace will be automatically re-enrolled in their existing plan. Note that those enrolled in Medicaid will need to re-enroll.

If you want to change coverage, you will need to do so between November 15 and December 15 to ensure your coverage begins on January 1.

Outside The Open Enrollment Period:

If you miss the February 15th, 2015 final enrollment date, you may not be able to purchase Marketplace health coverage for 2015.

You may buy Marketplace insurance only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a qualifying life event. Learn more about how to qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

You can enroll in Medicaid or CHIP at any time.

Family Health Insurance

Connect With Health Insurance Marketplace

Enrolling for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace can raise a lot of questions. Don’t feel you have to “go it alone.” There are several resources available for you to reach out and get answers to your Health Insurance Marketplace questions.

Got Questions? Call the Marketplace directly at (800) 318-2596 or TTY (855) 889-4325. The lines are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, except certain holidays.

Keep Up-to-Date – Subscribe to receive email or text message updates about new health insurance options and benefits.

Read the Healthcare.gov Blog – The Blog is full of helpful information and resources that can help you through the enrollment period.

Get Answers - Check the Marketplace Get Answers page for more more information about health coverage.

You can also follow what’s happening at the Health Insurance Marketplace via their Social Media venues: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

How Can We Help?

Delaware Family Voices is here to help answer your questions before, during and after the Open Enrollment period. Please contact us and let us know how we can help you.

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Images from Healthcare.Gov.


Join Us! October Parent Respite Co-Op Meet & Greets

October 6, 2014

Delaware Family Voices is hosting two special Parent Respite Co-Op opportunities this October.

What is the Parent Respite Co-Op?

The parent-run Respite Co-Op is a free child care exchange for parents of children with special health care needs in New Castle County.

Respite Co-Ops

Join us at one, or both, of our October meetings to learn more about this Respite Co-Op opportunity and the unique way you can receive respite care.

October Respite Co-Op Meeting Details

The Parent Respite Care Exchange Co-op is hosting two October Meet and Greet events. Don’t miss this opportunity for a night of networking with other parents, meeting the children, refreshments, and fun.

1. When: Monday, October 13 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Where: Easter Seals Blg – Large Conference Room, 61 Corporate Circle, New Castle DE 19720

2. When: Saturday, October 18 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Where: Ebenezer United Methodist Church, 525 Polly Drummond Rd.,  Newark, DE 19711

RSVP required to Peggy Prygon at 302-669-3032, or via email at peggy@defv.org.

Link to event flyer, Parent Respite Co-Op Meet & Greets.

Hope To See You There!

Join us this October for the opportunity to connect with other families with similar needs, and a chance for the kids with hang out with other kids.

See you soon!


Join Us For Boscov’s Friends Helping Friends Event

October 1, 2014

How would you like to save 25% off your purchase at Boscov’s and help Delaware Family Voices, all at the same time? You can, on October 21st, 2014, during the Boscov’s Friends Helping Friends shopping day.

What is Boscov’s Friends Helping Friends?

Boscov’s Friends Helping Friends is a special day filled with shopping, fun, and fundraising, all designed to benefit area non-profit organizations. Last year, the Boscov’s Friends Helping Friends events raised over $500,000 for local non-profit organizations.

Friends Helping Friends

And this year, Delaware Family Voices is joining the fun and participating in the 2014 Boscov’s Friends Helping Friends Day.

Will you consider participating too? Will you help us, help you? Here’s how you can enjoy a fun-filled shopping day, and help Delaware Family Voices.

How You Can Help Delaware Family Voices

Do you enjoy shopping? Would you also like to support Delaware Family Voices? Boscov’s makes it easy with their Friends Helping Friends event.

For only $5, purchase a 25% off shopping pass from Delaware Family Voices. Then, on Tuesday, October 21, shop at any Boscov’s store between the hours of 9:00 am and 11:00 pm, and upon checkout, present your 25% off shopping pass. That’s all there is to it! Your $5 purchase turns into 25% off your Boscov’s purchase during this special one-day only event.

Boscov's Events

Best of all, your entire $5 purchase price for the shopping pass will directly benefit Delaware Family Voices.

Call Now For Your 25% Off Shopping Pass

It’s a great deal, and it helps support Delaware Family Voices. Here’s how you can purchase your own 25% shopping pass and support Delaware Family Voices at the same time:

  1. Before October 21st - Contact Delaware Family Voices directly at 302-669-3030 or via email at p2p@defv.org.
  2. On October 21st - Come to Boscov’s at Concord Mall between 9:00 am and 11:00 pm. Look for the Delaware Family Voices table to purchase your 25% off shopping pass and learn more about how Delaware Family Voices can assist you and your child with special needs.

Then shop away on October 21st! And while you are at Boscov’s enjoying your 25% off shopping spree, don’t forget to also enjoy free refreshments and register to win prizes including:

      • $500 shopping spree
      • $100 shopping spree
      • Door prizes
      • Store merchandise

Anyone who purchases a 25% off shopping pass is eligible to win prizes during the in-store event. Prizes and refreshments provided by Boscov’s.

Friends Helping Friends Event Details

The Boscov’s Friends Helping Friends special event is one-day only, and is available at all Boscov’s stores.

When: Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Where: Any Boscov’s Store

Note: Delaware Family Voices will be at The Concord Mall, 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington DE 19803

Time: 9:00 am to 11:00 pm.

Please note that this special offer is only valid for in-store purchases. It is not valid for phone or online purchases. It also cannot be combined with other discounts and promotions. Some merchandise items are excluded from the 25% discount, and some items are only eligible for either 15% or 10% discounts. Your 25% off shopping pass has a list of exclusions.

Hope to see you on Tuesday, October 21st!

We fully appreciate your continued support of Delaware Family Voices. Looking forward to talking and shopping with you on Tuesday, October 21st.

Friends Helping Friends

Happy Shopping! And thanks for stopping by to see us at Boscov’s in The Concord Mall. Go to Boscov’s Store Locator for other store locations.

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Images from Boscov’s, and M.Kalasnik via Flickr (Sign with arrow).


Be Disaster Prepared With Tips From Ready .Gov

September 16, 2014

If disaster strikes, do you know what to do? Would you be ready if there was an emergency?

Disaster Preparedness

Do you live with someone with special needs? Disaster preparedness is especially important for you.

Be Disaster Prepared With These 3 Steps

Don’t be caught off guard the next time a hurricane hits our area, a blizzard shuts down the roads, or flash floods leave you stranded. Here are three steps from Ready.Gov  that every family should take to better ensure they are prepared to handle a disaster.

1. Be Informed

Knowing basic protective measures before a disaster strikes, such as where to find the latest Emergency Alerts or how to Evacuate Your Family, can make a big difference in moments of crisis. Review Ready.Gov’s Be Informed page for disaster-specific preparedness tips as well as basic protective measures for all types of hazards.

2. Make A Plan

Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes. Establish a plan of how you will contact each other, as well as where to go if someone can’t get home. Ready.Gov’s Make A Plan is chock full of helpful ideas and tips to creating your own plan. The Family Communications page is especially helpful for creating a family communication plan.

You might also want to check emergency plans for places you and your family frequent, such as work and school. Ready.Gov’s School and Worksplace has prepared a handy list of questions to ask.

3. Build A Kit

A disaster supplies kit should contain basic items you and your family might need in an emergency situation, such as water, non-perishable foods, first aid kits, and critical medications. Find helpful ideas and suggestions to build your family’s disaster preparedness kit at Ready.Gov’s Build A Kit. The Basic Disaster Supplies Kit reference list will help you put together a kit that is tailored to you and your family’s specific needs.

Get The Kids Involved!

Kids are affected by disasters too. Get them involved building a disaster preparedness kit, and include a few of their own items. Make sure they know the plan, especially how to contact you. Not sure how to open up the lines of communications? Go to Ready.Gov’s Kids page for helpful tips to getting the kids on board with your family’s disaster preparedness plan.

Ready.Gov Disaster Preparedness

Natural disasters can be especially scary for kids. Use the Know The Facts, Be Empowered to help quell the “scare factor.” Help your kids better understand natural disasters that might occur in your area, and what steps they can do to stay safe if one happens.

Be Disaster Prepared On The Go

FEMA’s mobile app for phones and tablets can help you be prepared in a moment’s notice, no matter where you are. The app is full of helpful disaster preparedness information such as disaster safety tips, an interactive emergency kit list, a section to store emergency meeting locations, and even a map with shelters open in your area.

FEMA Mobile App

The FEMA mobile app is free and available in both English and Spanish for Apple, Android, and Blackberry devices.

Be informed. Get prepared. Stay safe.

Do you have a disaster preparedness plan in place? A disaster kit tailored to your family’s specific needs, and the types of natural disasters that can occur in your area? If not, you might want to invest some time in creating one. And if you have one, great! Now might be the time to review and refresh it if it’s been a while.

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Images from Ready.Gov and FEMA.


Share Your Summer Camp Tips and Photos!

July 14, 2014

Are your kids having a great time at summer camp? We sure hope so! The summer camp experience can bring so much excitement, fun and learning opportunities into an otherwise dull summer break from school.

Fun Summer Camps

Summer camps, whether for one week or four weeks, sleep away or a half-day, are often long-awaited activities that kids can’t wait to enjoy. They are the opportunity to catch up with old friends and the chance to make new friends. Summer camps give kids the chance to just be a kid, no school work looming over their heads.

Will You Share Your  Summer Camp Tips?

But sometimes there are glitches when sending kids to camp. Things don’t always go as smoothly as you’d like them to. This can be especially true when sending children with special needs to summer camp. And that’s where you can help us, help others.

Have you learned a few things about what works – and what doesn’t work – for sending your child with special needs to camp? We’d love to know!

Send us your tips for ensuring your child with special needs has a wonderful summer camp experience. Sharing summer camp tips is a great way to help other families ensure their child also has a great camp experience.

Share Your Child’s Summer Camp Photos!

We’d also love to hear all about your child’s experiences. Send us one or two photos of your children with special needs enjoying their time at summer camp. We’d love to see how much fun they are having.

Don’t forget to also share their summer camp story with the photo.

Stories can be short and simple. We want to know what it was about the camp that worked for your child. Be sure to tell us what your child enjoyed most at camp, too.

Hope To Hear From You Soon!

It’s easy to share with Delaware Family Voices. If you are only submitting summer camp tips or a summer camp story with no photos, use the Share Your Story form. If you are submitting photos, please email them directly to Erica Schetter at p2p@defv.org.

Summer Camps Tips

We look forward to sharing your summer camp tips and photos in a future Delaware Family Voices blog post. If you have any questions, including how to submit your tips, photos, or stories, please contact Erica directly at (302) 669- 3033.

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Images via Flicker: Summer Camp by KamathResidency, No Cares by PeterBlanchard.


Join Us for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day!

April 30, 2014

Thursday, May 8th, is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day!

In recognition of all children and their families who struggle with mental health issues, Delaware Family Voices is hosting an awareness event this Thursday, May 8th at Bellevue State Park.

Childrens Mental Health Awareness

Our purpose is to spread awareness and to provide support for families with children experiencing any type of severe emotional, behavioral, or mental health needs.

So join us on May 8th as we put the spotlight on children’s mental health issues. Come on down to Bellevue State Park for an afternoon of fun activities and informative discussions.

Spotlight on Bullying

Delaware Family Voices is taking on the subject of bullying. During the event, listen to speakers tackle this issue, providing valuable information on how parents can best help their children deal with bullying.

Stop Bullying

Bullying, whether at home, school, or in the community, can have devastating effects on the mental health of children and teens. Our goal is to provide parents and their children with the opportunity to learn more about how to effectively fight back against bullying, as well as provide a safe avenue to ask your most pressing questions about bullying.

Other Discussion Opportunities

A representative from the State Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services will also be on hand to discuss suicide prevention.

Additionally, the event will include other therapy and behavioral health agencies, ready to provide families with the information they need to help their children with mental health concerns.

Fun For The Whole Family!

Bring the kids! While parents listen and discuss their questions and concerns about children’s mental health issues, the kids will be entertained with fun activities and snacks.

Paws for PeopleChildren’s activities will include:

  • Reading books to therapy dogs from Paws for People
  • Art activity station to create their own “masterpiece”
  • Learning relaxation techniques from a trained mental health therapist

The event also provides parents the opportunity to talk with mental health care suppliers. Gather information about therapy options and health related services available in Delaware.

Supporting Children’s Mental Health Issues

We hope to see you at this ground breaking event. Event details are:

Date: Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Where: Bellevue State Park, Pavillion #2

When: 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm

RSVP: Wanda Ford at (302) 669-3034, or at snf@defv.org

NOTE: Bellevue State Park charges a $3.00/car admission fee. Delaware Family Voices will pay the admission fee for the first 50 families to RSVP.

The event is Rain or Shine! See you on May 8th!

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, May 8, 2014

 

Link – Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Flyer


Seven Tips To Choosing A Summer Camp for Your Special Needs Child

April 2, 2014

This is Part 3 of a three part Summer Camps series.

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The summer camp experience is integral to many children’s summer plans. The right camp can broaden your child’s horizons, develop new skills, create a sense of independence, and provide hours of endless summertime fun.

Summer Camps

For many parents, sending a child to summer camp requires careful planning and consideration. For parents of special needs children, planning for summer camp is often more challenging, and sometimes overwhelming.

The thought of sending your child to camp might seem daunting, but the benefits are most often worth the effort. So how do you go about finding just the right camp for your child?

Seven Tips To Choosing A Summer Camp

With careful consideration, nearly any child can have a great summer camp experience. To help ease the challenge of finding the right camp, here are seven tips help you find and choose a summer camp for your special needs child.

1. Establish Summer Camp Goals and Expectations

Before searching for a summer camp, decide what it is you and your child want from this camp experience. Ask yourself key questions about what matters most in a summer camp.

  • Do you want a camp that fosters independence?
  • A camp focused on your child’s special needs or a general camp?
  • Day camp or overnight camp?
  • Inclusion camps? Therapeutic camps? Social skills camps?
  • What activities does your child enjoy doing?
  • Does the camp offer these activities?
  • Will his personality “fit” into the camp style?

There are many camps to choose from. Establishing three to five basic “summer camp goals and expectations” based upon your child’s special needs will help you narrow the field of summer camp choices.

Kids Summer Camps

Summer Camps for Kids with Special Needs

2. Research Summer Camp Options

Now that you have a clear understanding of what you and your child’s expectations are for a summer camp, begin researching camps that meet your camp criteria. Search online. Ask your pediatrician and special needs support groups for camps they’d recommend. Read local camp guides.

Don’t forget to also talk with parents of other special needs children, your child’s therapists and teachers.

3. Develop a Summer Camp Short List

Sort through all that summer camp research information to identify several camps that appear to meet your specific camp criteria. Write down key information about each camp including:

  • Educational or recreational based camp? A combination of both?
  • Where is it located? Far from home? A neighboring community?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What is the camp philosophy?
  • What are the camp dates and hours?
  • Who recommended the camp to you?

Be sure to also write down what it was about each camp that made you decide to include it in your short list. You are now one step closer to identifying the “best fit” summer camp for your child.

4. Create a Summer Camp Key Questions List

You know your child best. You also know what it’s going to take to ensure your child has a great camp experience. Based upon the summer camps on your Short List, develop a list of five to ten key questions that you can use to narrow down the field of choices. Questions like:

  • Is the camp licensed and accredited?
  • How accessible is the camp facility?
  • What is the camper to counselor ratio?
  • How are counselors chosen for the camp? How are they trained?
  • How will my child’s medical needs be managed at camp?
  • Is there an on-site medical staff? What are they trained in?
  • Is there a “quiet zone” my child can go to if over-stimulated?
  • Will my child be able to participate in camp activities?
  • Will my child “fit in” to the camp environment?
  • How many campers will be attending when my child is there?
  • Are there financial aid or scholarships if there is a camper fee?

Ask questions that are specific to your child’s special needs as well as general camp questions. A well thought out question list can be instrumental in ensuring you get the answers you need to determine if that camp is the right choice for your child.

5. Talk With The Camp Director About Your Child’s Needs

With your summer camp Short List and Key Questions list in hand, it’s time to pick up the phone. Call each camp and ask to speak with either the camp director or medical director. Ask your Key Questions and be sure you are comfortable with the responses.

Close your conversation by asking the camp director if she has any questions regarding your child. You might find out even more information that can set you at ease about the camp.

Special Needs Summer Camps

All kids can enjoy the summer camp experience.

Camps want your child to be happy and enjoy the camp experience as much as you do. Be very open and transparent about your child’s special needs. It’s the best way to ensure a good camp fit for your child.

6. Plan A “Pre-Summer” Camp Visit

A camp site visit can go a long way in deciding whether or not that camp will “work” for your special needs child. If your child has a physical disability, a site visit might be integral in ensuring  your child’s mobility while at camp.

Timing doesn’t permit an on-site visit? Ask for references of previous campers with similar special needs, and give them a call. Nothing beats a personal reference from another family that’s “been there.”

7. Digest and Contemplate

Now sit back, review all that you’ve learned, and then sleep on it. Start the next day fresh, and get ready to make that summer camp decision. It might be a difficult one, but the right summer camp will provide your child with an experience not soon forgotten.

Fun Summer Camps

Do you have any summer camp selection tips to share with us? Please let us know in the Comments section.

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Don’t miss the other two blogs in the Summer Camp Series:

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Delaware Family Voices is a 501 C3 Non-profit organization. Consider Donating to our organization and help support Delaware families in need.

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Images: CampASCCA (kids), LudwigVanStandard (camp sign) and KamathResidency (welcome sign) via Flickr.


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