In the News > Coronavirus Pandemic: COVID-19 Updates (As Of May 2020)

Coronavirus Pandemic: COVID-19 Updates (As Of May 2020)

Coronavirus under a microscope

Coronavirus Cases: 23,035,942
Coronavirus Deaths: 800,908
Coronavirus Mortality Rate: undetermined
Recovered: 15,643,835
Countries with cases: 213

U.S. Unemployment Rate Reaches Historic High of 14.7% as 20.5 Million Jobs are Lost During COVID-19

05/08/20 - 01:56 PM EST

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 20.5 million jobs have been lost in the month of April, increasing the unemployment rate to 14.7% - the highest rate since the Great Depression.

The massive decline in employment reflects the devastating impacts from the Coronavirus pandemic.

The report indicated that job losses were especially seen in leisure and hospitality industries.

April unemployment data:

  • Leisure and hospitality jobs declined by 7.7 million, or 47%.

  • Education and health service jobs decreased by 2.5 million.

  • Professional and business service jobs declined by 2.1 million.

  • Retail trade jobs fell by 2.1 million.

  • Manufacturing jobs declined by 1.3 million.

  • Government jobs fell by 980,000.

  • Construction jobs declined by 975,000.

Click here to read the full unemployment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Lowe’s Donates $1M in Flowers to Senior Homes for Mother’s Day

05/08/20 - 01:14 PM EST

Lowe’s is donating $1 million worth of flowers to nursing homes nationwide to celebrate Mother’s Day as the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep families apart.

Uber will team up with Lowe’s to help deliver the flowers to 500 senior living facilities in the U.S.

Lowe’s will also purchase the flowers from local small businesses as a way to support the businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.

Lowe’s Chief Marketing Officer Marisa Thalberg said:

“Mother's Day is a special time of celebration between mothers, grandmothers and their children. Our hearts go out to the millions of families nationwide who won't be able to be with their loved ones this year.”

Source: Fox News

Ohio CEO Gives His $1.6 Million Stock Market Earnings to Employees

05/07/20 - 02:34 PM EST

The Connor Group founder and CEO Larry Connor recently made $1.6 million in stock market gains in the matter of days. But he decided to split his earnings up among his hardworking employees during the COVID-19 crisis.

Based in Dayton, Ohio, the Connor Group successfully owns and operates luxury apartment communities across 14 markets.

Connor said it didn’t feel right to keep the earnings to himself, so he decided to help the employees that “have really moved into action” during the pandemic.

He made the surprising announcement to his 400 employees during a recent video conference call.


Source: Fox News

Millions of Italians Return to Work as the Country Eases Coronavirus Lockdown

05/06/20 - 01:10 PM EST

On May 4, Italy started phase two of easing its Coronavirus lockdown, allowing more than four million residents to return back to work.

Here are some ways Italy has eased its lockdown restrictions:

  • Italians are allowed to travel within their own regions and visit their families locally.

  • Restaurants, bakeries and cafes are now open for takeout. And they’re expected to open for dine-in service on June 1.

  • Parks and public gardens have reopened for the first time in eight weeks.

  • Factories and construction sites are open.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giueseppe Conte hopes easing these restrictions will help boost the country’s economy and start “a new page” in its history.

Although Coronavirus restrictions are being relaxed, the government is still enforcing safety measures like wearing masks and placing restrictions on public travel.


Source: NBC News

Texas Man Uses Stimulus Check to Provide Meals to Neighbors

05/06/20 - 10:35 AM EST

Texas resident Rob Kearney received a stimulus check. But instead of stashing the funds away into his savings account, he’s using the money to help feed neighbors who are financially struggling - especially due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Kearney purchased hamburgers, hot dogs, and beverages and provided them to anyone who needed it, feeding a total of 160 people in his community.

Kearney said:

“I bought as much as I could buy with that check. Right now is how we define ourselves as a country and people, just because we're poor doesn't mean we don't have stress. We're just like everybody else and we can help our neighbors. Don't fear each other, care for each other.”

Source: WTSP

Benefytt Technologies Delivers Meals to 60 Healthcare Workers at St. Joseph’s Hospital

05/05/20 - 01:49 PM EST

On April 23, our parent company, Benefytt Technologies, Inc. delivered meals from local restaurant, World of Beer, to help feed frontline healthcare workers at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Benefytt joined the local Feed the Frontlines by teaming up with Feeding Tampa Bay to feed local healthcare workers and support local small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Benefytt’s meal delivery to St. Joseph’s was covered by several local news outlets, including ABC Action News and WFLA.

Benefytt’s ultimate goal is to provide 4,000 meals to healthcare workers within the community.

To learn more or contribute to the Feed the Frontlines movement, visit

Source: Benefytt Technologies, Inc.

Vermont Sees Zero Reported Coronavirus Cases for the First Time in One Month

05/01/20 - 02:35 PM EST

On April 29, Vermont health officials reported no new Coronavirus cases from the day before - something that the state hasn’t seen in over one month.

Vermont has been seeing a decrease in new coronavirus cases and related deaths for the past few weeks. The state also has the third-lowest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S.

Vermont Governor, Phil Scott, said the recent reports are positive news. But he cautioned, “one day doesn’t create a trend. We have to continue to look at the trend lines to see where we’re going.”

Source: Fox News

101 Year-Old New York Woman Survives Cancer, the Spanish Flu Pandemic and Coronavirus Disease

04/30/20 - 01:30 PM EST

Angelina Friedman has a story that’s worth celebrating.

At 101 years old, she has lived through the Spanish flu pandemic, beat cancer, and more recently recovered from coronavirus disease. Friedman currently lives in a nursing home in New York, which is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

In March, Friedman was diagnosed with COVID-19 when she visited a hospital for an unrelated procedure. Doctors kept her at the hospital for one week before returning to the nursing home, where she was isolated.

Against all odds, Friedman tested negative for coronavirus weeks later.

The CDC has shared that older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions, are at higher risk of death by coronavirus.

Source: Fox News

Epidemiologists Suggest that U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Are Far Higher Than Reported

04/29/20 - 12:20 PM EST

The current number of reported COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. is over 60,000. But many experts are convinced that the death toll is far higher.

Daniel Weinberger, an epidemiologist from the Yale School of Public Health concluded that the reported number of coronavirus related deaths is underestimated by tens of thousands and that the actual number is likely “in the ballpark of double the reported cases.”

Experts are also looking at data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support this conclusion.

A CDC analysis of the H1N1 swine flu outbreak that affected the U.S. in 2009 and 2010 found that the actual death toll was likely 15 times higher than the originally reported death count.

Source: ABC News

Robotic Therapy Dogs Help Isolated Senior Citizens in Florida

04/29/20 - 10:20 AM EST

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs is delivering therapeutic robotic dogs to keep visit senior citizens living with Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of Dementia.

Since April 28, nearly 400 robotic therapeutic pets have been delivered to brighten seniors’ spirits. The goal of the effort is to help combat the impacts of social distancing related depression among seniors and older adults.

Richard Prudom, Secretary of Florida Department of Elder Affairs said:

“Robotic cats and dogs are usually given to people with ADRD, but data has shown that using pets to decrease social isolation for older adults is a highly successful tactic.”

Source: Fox News

New Zealand Prime Minister Announces Elimination of Coronavirus in the Country

04/28/20 - 02:10 PM EST

On April 27, authorities in New Zealand indicated that confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country are now in the single digits.

New Zealand attributes its success in slowing the spread of the Coronavirus to its strict “level four” lockdown, its high testing rates and tightened border restrictions.

New Zealand businesses also began to partially open but are required to maintain physical distancing of at least two meters, among other restrictions.

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Arden, noted that the country will remain alert and maintain certain restrictions even though COVID-19 cases have drastically decreased.

Source: CNN

U.S. Coronavirus Cases Surpass 1 Million as Some States Relax Social Distancing Restrictions

04/27/20 - 11:45 AM EST

For the past month, the United States has had the highest number of reported Coronavirus in the world. The number of confirmed cases has now exceeded one million, with 1,000,888 confirmed cases and 56,323 COVID-19 deaths.

New York continues to be the state most affected by the Coronavirus pandemic with nearly 300,000 cases, followed by New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Although the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the U.S., some states are starting to relax their social distancing restrictions:

- Florida: Reopening beaches in certain areas including Cocoa Beach, Satellite beach, and beaches in the Jacksonville, Sarasota, Bay, and Gulf counties.

- Georgia: Allowing businesses like gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys, restaurants and more to reopen.

- Texas: Allowing retail stores to sell products via curbside pickup or delivery.

- Alaska: Personal services like hair salons and restaurants can reopen. Restaurants have to keep social distancing between the tables and can’t exceed 25% capacity.

- Oklahoma: Restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues and gyms are allowed to open while maintaining strict social distancing protocols.

Source: Worldometer

Florida Gulf Coast University Student Makes 3D Printed Coronavirus Face Shields for Frontline Workers

04/23/20 - 01:45 PM EST

Scott Presbrey, a bioengineering student from Florida Gulf Coast University, is making personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

He is helping with the shortage of PPE by making 3D printed face shields. Presbrey has already donated 350 shields and intends to produce up to 150 a day.

“I’m fulfilling what’s become a passion of mine. I want to design and manufacture medical devices and this is part of the process. It’s very fulfilling.”

To learn more, visit 3D Deluxe.

Source: Wink News

Best Company Develops Comprehensive Health Insurance Resource for COVID-19

04/23/20 - 11:12 AM EST

Best Company, a company that connects consumers to businesses, developed a comprehensive list of health insurance resources that includes insurance information specific to the Coronavirus.

Some of the resources include:

  • Information and support for getting health insurance
  • Information on state and federal efforts for testing and treatment access
  • Telemedicine for Coronavirus
  • COVID-19 updates from the CDC

Access the resource by visiting Best Company.

Source: Best Company

Experimental Coronavirus Drug Found to Produce Rapid Recovery in Patients

04/22/20 - 12:30 PM EST

Many Coronavirus patients were discharged in less than a week after being treated with a drug developed by biotechnology company, Gilead Sciences.

The experimental drug, Remdesivir, was tested on 125 COVID-19 patients, who started showing rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms.

Clinical trials are being conducted to make sure the drug is safe and effective.

Source: Stat News

John Krasinski Throws Virtual Prom for Class of 2020 with Billie Eilish, the Jonas Brothers and Chance the Rapper

04/21/20 - 02:17 PM EST

The Office star John Krasinski hosted a virtual prom on his YouTube channel “Some Good News” for students who couldn’t go to prom because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

During the virtual prom, class of 2020 seniors saw an appearance from actor Rainn Wilson, who played Dwight on The Office. They also enjoyed music by Billie Eilish, who performed her song “Bad Guy,” The Jonas Brothers, who performed their song “Sucker”, and Chance the Rapper, who danced along to his song “All We Got”.

Seniors shared photos and videos all over social media in their prom dresses and tuxedos, dancing and enjoying the virtual prom.


Source: Some Good News

Moderna Receives $483 Million in Funding for Development of Novel Coronavirus Vaccine

04/20/20 - 03:07 PM EST

On April 16, Biotechnology company Moderna, Inc. announced an agreement with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to expedite the development of mRNA-1273, a vaccine against the novel Coronavirus.

BARDA will provide up to $482 million to fund the advancement of mRNA-1273. The federal funding award will help the company scale up its manufacturing process, enable large-scale productions, conduct testings and get one step further to developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

The first batch of the mRNA-1273 vaccine was completed and sent for testing in February, with the first dose administered to a COVID-19 patient on March 16.

Source: Moderna

The Himalayas are Visible for the First Time in 30 Years as Pollution Levels Drop

04/17/20 - 02:37 PM EST

For the past 30 years, the Himalayan mountains have been covered by air pollution and smog.

But they can now be seen from more than 100 miles away due to a drastic decrease in air pollution levels caused by Coronavirus lockdowns in India.

Residents from the city of Jalandhar in Punjab are especially enjoying the beautiful views and sharing amazing photos of the Himalayas on social media.

Source: CNN

Coronavirus Cases Worldwide Have Now Exceeded 2 Million

04/16/20 - 02:22 PM EST

The number of Coronavirus cases globally has now surpassed two million, with 2,115,624 reported cases and 141,195 COVID-19 deaths.

The United States continues to have the highest number of confirmed Coronavirus cases and deaths. Here’s the latest breakdown of the top 10 impacted countries worldwide:

1. United States: 650,833 cases; 32,707 deaths.

2. Spain: 182,816 cases; 19,130 deaths.

3. Italy: 165,155 cases; 21,645 deaths.

4. France: 147,863 cases; 17,167 deaths.

5. Germany: 135,633 cases; 3,856 deaths.

6. United Kingdom: 103,093 cases; 13,729 deaths.

7. China: 82,341 cases; 3,342 deaths.

8. Iran: 77,995 deaths; 4,869 deaths.

9. Turkey: 69,392 cases; 1,518 deaths.

10. Belgium: 34,809 cases; 4,857 deaths.

Data as of April 16, 2020.

Source: Worldometer

Andrea Bocelli Performs Heartwarming “Music for Hope” Live-Streamed Concert in Milan, Italy

04/16/20 - 11:14 AM EST

Global music star Andrea Bocelli recently delivered a moving solo performance, live from Live from Duomo di Milano in Italy.

The concert named “Music for Hope” was live-streamed exclusively on YouTube with a clear message of healing and hope during these uncertain times.


Source: YouTube

Poll Findings: U.S. Small Businesses Anticipate a Recession Over the Next Year

04/15/20 - 03:48 PM EST

A recent poll conducted by the National Small Business Association revealed that an overwhelming number of small business owners across the U.S. are concerned about the overall impact of COVID-19. Small businesses make up 99.9% of American businesses that have had to shut down.

They also share a negative economic outlook that we haven’t seen since the Great Recession in 2008.

According to the poll, more than 50% of small business owners anticipate a recession in the next 12 months - a stark comparison of just 14% who anticipated a recession when polled in January 2020.

To help alleviate the economic collapse, the U.S. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides economic assistance to American small businesses affected by the pandemic.

Small business owners who are in need of support should visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

Source: National Small Business Association

Tampa Balloon Business Delivers Happiness During Coronavirus Pandemic

04/14/20 - 03:00 PM EST

Balloonies, a balloon delivery small business in Tampa, is delivering balloon bouquets to residents across the Tampa Bay Area to help spread positivity amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

The owners, Lisa and Charlie Williams, chose to remain open so that people can express love to each other during these tough times. They operate from their home and deliver the balloon bouquets while following social distancing guidelines.


Source: ABC Action News

Survey Findings: Some Americans Don’t Have Enough Money Saved to Cover Coronavirus Treatment Costs

04/10/20 - 07:30 AM EST recently conducted a survey to get insights from more than 1,000 respondents about COVID-19 and its economic impact on their personal lives. Respondents were asked about their employment status, health insurance coverage, medical cost concerns and potential use of telemedicine.

Some interesting findings:

  • 46% of them would think twice about seeking medical care to treat Coronavirus because of its potential cost.
  • 24% of respondents have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • 23% of respondents won’t be able to pay all of their bills this month.
  • 10% of respondents currently do not have any kind of health insurance coverage.

And perhaps one of the most striking outcomes of the survey is that more than half of the respondents admitted to not having enough savings to cover COVID-19 treatment costs.

This finding is supported by a study that AccessOne conducted in 2019. The study revealed that a large percentage of Americans often pay for medical bills with a credit card, borrow money from friends to pay medical bills, or are sent to collections because of high medical expenses. VP, Jan Dubauskas appeared on NewsMax and talked about some of the findings in the survey.

View our full survey results here.


Insurance Companies Cover Certain Coronavirus Disease Treatment Costs

04/09/20 - 09:29 AM EST

Cigna and Humana are waiving all Coronavirus treatment costs for:

  • Individual and family customers
  • Customers enrolled in employer-sponsored plans
  • Customers qualified for Medicaid
  • Medicare Advantage customers

Some of the costs being waived include hospitalizations, ambulance transfers, medications and even coronavirus vaccines, when available. Both Cigna and Humana promised to cover member’s COVID-19 costs, regardless of if the services are conducted in- or out-of-network.

From David Cordani, Cigna’s President and CEO:

“Our customers with COVID-19 should focus on fighting this virus and preventing its spread. While our customers focus on regaining their health, we have their backs.”

From Bruce Broussard, Humana’s President and CEO:

“We’re taking significant action to help ease the burden on seniors and others who are struggling right now. No American should be concerned about the cost of care when being treated for coronavirus.”

Meanwhile, Aetna is waiving costs for testing, telemedicine visits and hospital admissions related to novel coronavirus.

Source: CNBC

7-Year-Old Maryland Boy Uses $600 of his Own Savings to Make Coronavirus Care Packages

04/08/20 - 12:29 PM EST

Cavanaugh Bell, a 7-year-old resident from Gaithersburg, Maryland, took money from his own savings account to spread joy to senior citizens and students in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bell used $600 saved from birthdays and holidays to make 65 care packages and purchase 31 hot meals from Buca Di Beppo, a local restaurant that’s been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Bell started getting involved in philanthropic activities when he was age five. He gave a TEDX Youth Talk at Lincoln School, New Jersey, where he stated that he’s a kid on a mission to change the world.

Encouraged by his mom, Bell started a non-profit, Cool and Dope, that looks to eradicate all bullying and youth suicide through social actions.

Source: Fox News

The Top 10 States Most Impacted by Coronavirus and How They’re Combating the Spread

04/07/20 - 12:12 PM EST

The United States has the most reported COVID-19 cases in the world, with 380,774 confirmed cases.

Novel coronavirus has spread across all 50 states. Each state is taking measures to slow the spread of the virus.

Here’s a look at what the top 10 states with most cases are doing:

1. New York (138,836 reported cases and 5,489 deaths)

  • Issued a shutdown of all non-essential businesses. This excludes hospitals, pharmacies, news media, transportation companies, financial institutions and other essential businesses.
  • Issued a social distancing order where people must maintain a six-foot distance from each other.
  • Prohibiting unnecessary gatherings of any size.
  • Limiting restaurants to delivery and takeout.

2. New Jersey (41,090 reported cases and 1,003 deaths)

  • Issued a shutdown of all non-essential retail businesses. This excludes pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, banks and others.
  • Advising all residents to stay home, except when seeking medical services, getting necessary food, and exercising.
  • Prohibiting social gatherings like parties.
  • Asking employees to work from home, when appropriate.
  • Limiting restaurants to delivery and takeout.

3. Michigan (17,221 reported cases and 727 deaths)

  • Issued a stay-at-home order asking residents to only leave their homes for essential errands, exercise, among other reasons.
  • Issued a social distancing order where people must maintain a six-foot distance from each other.
  • Advising business employees to work from home, which doesn’t apply to critical infrastructure workers like law enforcement officers and others.

4. California (16,413 reported cases and 395 deaths)

  • Issued a stay-at-home order to all residents except those who work in critical sectors. Essential businesses such as gas stations, pharmacies, banks, grocery stores and others remain open.
  • Issued a social distancing order where people must maintain a six-foot distance from each other.
  • Closed non-essential businesses such as restaurants, bars and gyms.

5. Louisiana (14,867 reported cases and 512 deaths)

  • Ordered residents to stay home unless obtaining supplies and food, going to a place of worship, or commuting to an essential job.
  • Limiting gatherings to 10 people or less.
  • Closed non-essential businesses and places such as beauty shops, gyms, museums, and bars.
  • Limiting restaurants to delivery, takeout or drive-through services only.

6. Pennsylvania (14,559 reported cases and 240 deaths)

  • Closed all non-essential businesses.
  • Encouraging residents to refrain from non-essential travel.

7. Florida (14,504 reported cases and 283 deaths)

  • Issued a statewide order limiting movement to essential activities only.
  • Closed beaches, parks, and other non-essential places.
  • Limiting restaurants to delivery, takeout or drive-through services only.
  • Not requiring places of worship to close.
  • Implemented a nightly curfew from 9pm to 5am everyday.

8. Massachusetts (13,837 reported cases and 260 deaths)

  • Closed all non-essential businesses through at least April 7. Essential businesses in sectors including healthcare, law enforcement, food and agriculture, energy, transportation and others can still conduct business.
  • Limiting gatherings to 10 people or less.
  • Limiting restaurants to delivery, takeout or drive-through services only.
  • Not requiring places of worship to close.

9. Illinois (12,262 reported cases and 307 deaths)

  • Closed all non-essential businesses.
  • Issued a statewide order for residents to only leave their homes for essential activities such as seeking medical care or getting food and supplies.
  • Limiting gatherings to 10 people or less (with some exceptions).

10. Georgia (8,818 confirmed cases and 329 deaths)

  • Declared a public health emergency.
  • Set up mobile housing for people to quarantine away from their homes.
  • Ordered residents to stay at home at least until April 13.

Data as of April 7, 2020.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

U.S. Unemployment Numbers Continue to Rise: 10 Million Job Losses in Just 2 Weeks

04/03/20 - 01:33 PM EST

As Coronavirus continues to affect the global economy, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of unemployed Americans has soared to 10 million within the past two weeks.

The number of Americans that have filed for unemployment benefits is now 6.6 million, a massive increase from 3.3 million last week. And unfortunately, those facing unemployment are also grappling with how to get health insurance coverage during an uncertain time.

This tremendous rate of job losses in the U.S. has never been seen before. The record number of unemployment applications was 695,000 in 1982, prior to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The current state of uncertainty is leaving many worried about their job security. An analysis by economists at St. Louis Fed estimated that there are nearly 67 million Americans working in high-risk industries that could still face layoffs.

The analysis also projected possible employment reductions of 47 million, which would drive the U.S. unemployment rate up to 32%.

Source: New York Times

The White House to formally reissue nationwide coronavirus guidelines on Tuesday extending lockdown and social distancing another 30 days

04/01/20 - 03:33 PM EST

President Trump has decided to extend the nation’s virtual lockdown and social distancing to April 30 to lower the spread of Coronavirus.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the principal coordinator on the coronavirus task force, said the team would come to Tuesday's briefing prepared with data to back up their recommendations on the extension.

The picture could be bleak, as Birx has previously stated. The task force’s data shows up to 200,000 people could still die, despite the measure to extend social distancing "perfectly.”

Source: CNN

Secretary DeVos Directs FSA to Stop Wage Garnishment, Collections Actions for Student Loan Borrowers, Will Refund More Than $1.8 Billion to Students and Families

04/01/20 - 11:43 AM EST

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today that The Department of Education will halt collection actions and wage garnishments to provide additional assistance to borrowers during the Coronavirus pandemic. Beginning March 13, 2020, this effort will last for a period of at least 60 days.

From Secretary DeVos:

"These are difficult times for many Americans, and we don't want to do anything that will make it harder for them to make ends meet or create additional stress. Americans counting on their tax refund or Social Security check to make ends meet during this national emergency should receive those funds, and our actions today will make sure they do."

Source: U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Have Almost Doubled in Just 4 Days

03/31/20 - 02:11 PM EST

The United States continues to lead the world in Coronavirus infections with 176,518 and 3,469 deaths, which reflects a 1.9% mortality rate.

But there’s a lack of testing of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic people, so the mortality rate for Coronavirus is likely far lower. In any event, it’s challenging to calculate these numbers right now.

After the United States, here’s a breakdown of the top 10 countries with COVID-19 cases:

1. Italy - 105,792

2. Spain - 94,417

3. China - 81,518

4. Germany - 68,180

5. Iran - 44,605

6. France - 44,550

7. UK - 25,150

8. Switzerland - 16,186

9. Turkey - 13,531

10. Belgium - 12,775

Source: WorldoMeter

New York Tests Over 18,000 People for COVID-19 in One Day

03/31/20 - 10:33 AM EST

With over 200,000 tests and 19 million people, the state of New York is currently testing more per capita than China and South Korea.

Current New York hospitalizations statewide:

  • 75,795 tested positive
  • 10,929 people currently hospitalized (+1,412)
  • 2,710 ICU Patients (+358) (+771)

Despite these numbers, there’s still good news regarding Coronavirus cases in New York: 4,975 patients have recovered and been released, which is an increase of 771 patients.

Source: Governor Cuomo Press Conference

U.S. Has Highest Number of Reported Coronavirus Cases in the World

03/30/20 - 01:33 PM EST

On March 26, the United States officially surpassed China and Italy with its number of reported Coronavirus cases.

- United States: 96,968 confirmed Coronavirus cases, with 1,477 deaths - most of them happening in New York.

- Italy: 86,498 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 9,134 deaths - the highest number of fatalities. This could be because Italy is the fifth oldest country in the world with a median age of 46.5 years.

- China: 81,340 confirmed cases and 3,292 deaths, most occurring in the city of Wuhan.

[The above figures reflect data as of March 27, 2020].

During a White House press briefing, President Trump said the high number of confirmed Coronavirus cases is a “tribute to the testing” being done in the country.

Although the United States has the highest number of confirmed novel Coronavirus cases globally, it has lower death rates than other highly infected countries.

Source: New York Times

U.S. Unemployment Applications Reach Historic High of 3.3 Million as Coronavirus Impacts Economy

03/27/20 - 11:33 AM EST

As businesses shut down because of Coronavirus disease, the United States has reached a record 3.3 million unemployment filings, raising the nation’s unemployment rate to 5.5% - an increase from 3.5% in February.

Some economists predict that this may mark the start of an unemployment rate that could result in more than 40 million Americans losing their jobs by April 2020.

On March 16, President Trump urged Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. This forced restaurants, gyms, hotels, beauty salons and other small businesses to completely shut down or lay off some of their employees.

And these mass layoffs left many Americans uninsured at a time when they need it most. Some health insurance alternatives are:

COBRA: A program designed to maintain your employer health insurance coverage, but these could have much higher out-of-pocket costs that many can’t afford.

Medicaid: A program available to families with limited income. Visit to see if you qualify.

Medicare: A program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End Stage Renal Disease. Learn more about Medicare.

Obamacare: Major health insurance plans that can only be purchased during the annual open enrollment period, which begins in November each year. U.S. officials are considering reopening Obamacare enrollment due to Coronavirus spread.

Short-term health Insurance: Temporary health insurance coverage that’s available year-round to help fill gaps in coverage. Learn more here.

Though telemedicine isn’t a form of insurance, it’s another option people are turning to during a time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Telemedicine is a healthcare service that connects individuals with doctors for diagnosis via phone calls or video chats.

Source: CNN

More Americans Willing to Use Telemedicine Services During the Coronavirus Pandemic

03/27/20 - 10:20 AM EST

As government leaders push to practice social distancing nationwide, more Americans are turning to remote health care. The CDC recommends getting virtual care for non-emergency health conditions during the Coronavirus outbreak.

In a recent survey conducted by, 63% of respondents said they’re willing to use telemedicine while practicing social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Telemedicine users have 24/7 access to virtual healthcare, which can be a time-saver that keeps people safe from germs and the exposure to COVID-19.

In a CNBC interview, Jason Gorevic, CEO of Teladoc Health, discussed how the American healthcare system is entering a new era of virtual care. He emphasized Teladoc’s focus on Coronavirus health care by creating remote “COVID clinics” to limit in-person visits.

“It’s fortunate that we’re able to be here for the American people during this crisis. We’re certainly seeing a significant increase in volume, and I didn’t exactly expect the president to be talking at a White House press briefing about telehealth,”

Telemedicine is the delivery of healthcare services via phone, mobile devices or video chat systems. It enables medical experts to virtually diagnose and treat patients in real time.

Americans can get standalone telemedicine coverage whether they have health insurance or not. Get a telemedicine quote in minutes here.


CDC Epidemiologist Estimates that Coronavirus Deaths in the United States Could Reach Peak in Less than a Month

03/25/20 - 09:33 AM EST

Leading epidemiologist and CDC advisor, Ira Longini, estimates that U.S. deaths caused by Coronavirus are likely to reach their maximum numbers in approximately three weeks from now.

At that time, it may be possible to allow many back to work and only isolate at-risk groups like senior citizens.

"I would guess the U.S. will hit a peak in deaths in the next two-three weeks, as the doubling time seems to be about two-three days,” said Longini. “Maybe a partial lifting of the shelter-in-place for those less vulnerable may make some sense, in about three weeks. By then, much of the damage will have been done."

The Coronavirus death toll in the United States is 785, with 54,996 identified Coronavirus cases as of March 25, 2020.

Source: CNN

A 103-Year Old Grandmother Healed from COVID-19 After Six Days of Treatment

03/25/20 - 09:20 AM EST

Zhang Guangfen, a 103-year-old woman from China, quickly recovered from Wuhan Coronavirus. She is the oldest COVID-19 patient to survive this deadly disease in China so far.

After experiencing Coronavirus symptoms, Guangfen was admitted into Liyuan Affiliated Hospital of Tongji Medical College in Wuhan, China. At the time of admission, Guangfen was in critical condition, but she was released due to her speedy recovery - after less than a week of treatment.

Her doctors attribute the round-the-clock and the fact that she did not have many pre-existing conditions to worsen the virus.

Source: Daily Mail

Environment Sees Positive Effects due to Coronavirus Shutdowns

03/24/20 - 03:20 PM EST

The Coronavirus disease has caused many lockdowns and travel restrictions worldwide. But the reductions on vehicular, air, sea and foot traffic have led to positive effects for the environment.

Countries around the world, especially those in lockdowns, are seeing significant drops in CO2, nitrogen dioxide and pollution levels, resulting in things like better air quality and clearer river waters.

3 examples: China: Nitrogen dioxide levels have reached a reduction of up to 30%, compared to 2019. Italy: Nitrogen dioxide has plummeted by 40% - a reflection of the clear waters and dolphins we’ve more recently seen in Venice. New York: CO2 levels have dropped between 5% and 10%.

Drops in methane levels and other major US cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and Atlanta are also experiencing these drops.

satellite images by NASA show dramatic reductions in nitrogen dioxide in China amid coronavirus pandemicSatellite images by NASA show dramatic drops in nitrogen dioxide in China.

Source: BBC News VP Covers Telemedicine and Coronavirus on MSNBC and Newsmax TV

03/20/20 - 04:14 PM EST

On March 19, Jan Dubauskas, Vice President of, appeared as a guest on MSNBC and Newsmax TV, addressing the rising telemedicine trend in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dubauskas covered everything from what telemedicine is and how telemedicine doctors can diagnose Coronavirus symptoms, to privacy concerns and more.


Source: MSNBC and Newsmax TV

Coronavirus Vaccine Trials Begin in Seattle

03/19/20 - 01:05 PM EST

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD) scientists have collaborated with biotech company, Moderna, to develop a trial for a Coronavirus vaccine, which is running out of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.

The vaccine to treat COVID-19 uses genetic material called messenger RNA. The first dose was given to the first Phase I trial participant on March 16.

From NIAID Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci:

"Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with (the novel coronavirus) is an urgent public health priority. This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal."

Scientists are hoping to prove the vaccine’s success with preventing the novel coronavirus, which may take many months according to experts. In the meantime, social distancing and maintaining proper hygiene are the most effective prevention measures.

Source: CNN

Coldplay, John Legend and Other Musicians Host Virtual Concerts Amid Coronavirus Quarantines

03/19/20 - 12:26 PM EST

The CDC urged Americans to avoid gatherings of 50 or more people, causing concerts to cancel worldwide. But a growing number of artists and musicians are holding free virtual concerts on platforms like Instagram to spread positivity and hope amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

Among the artists joining in are: Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin John Legend Pink Keith Urban

Coldplay’s Martin was one of the first musicians to start the free, virtual concert trend, coined “Together at Home” - a partnership with Global Citizen and the World Health Organization. Martin then passed the baton to John Legend.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Medicare Beneficiaries Now Have Expanded Telehealth Benefits During Coronavirus Pandemic

03/19/20 - 11:25 AM EST

On March 17, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), under President Trump’s leadership, announced that it will broaden access to telehealth benefits for Medicare beneficiaries to help prevent their exposure to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Medicare beneficiaries across the country will now be able to virtually access telehealth services, from preventive health screenings and mental health counseling, to the diagnosis and treatment of certain conditions.

Prior to this announcement, Medicare was only allowed to pay doctors for telehealth services only under certain circumstances.

Seema Verma, CMS Administrator said:

“The Trump Administration is taking swift and bold action to give patients greater access to care through telehealth during the COVID-19 outbreak. These changes allow seniors to communicate with doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility so that they can limit risk of exposure and spread of this virus. Clinicians on the frontlines will now have greater flexibility to safely treat our beneficiaries.”


5.7 Magnitude Earthquake in Utah Knocks out Coronavirus Hotline and Shuts Down Airport

03/18/20 - 01:34 PM EST

On March 18, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake shook Utah, unsettling residents even more as they continue to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. The earthquake’s epicenter was located near Magna, just outside of Salt Lake City.

The earthquake was the largest Utah has seen since 1992, causing more 50,000 residents to lose power. The earthquake also knocked out the state’s Coronavirus information hotline, which was established by the Utah Department of Health to help residents stay safe from COVID-19.

The Salt Lake City airport was also temporarily shut down due to the devastating earthquake.

Assessments are being made to buildings, health centers, and the state’s public health lab to resume operations against Coronavirus as soon as possible. Fortunately, there were no immediate reports of injuries.

damage from Salt Lake City earthquakeDamage from Salt Lake City earthquake

Source: ABC News V.P. Addresses Coronavirus Myths Surrounding Health Insurance on The Chip Franklin Show

03/18/20 - 01:07 PM EST

On March 13, Jan Dubauskas, Vice President, Senior Counsel of, appeared as a guest on “The Chip Franklin Show,” a KGO-810 AM radio show serving the San Francisco market.

During the show, Dubauskas addressed certain health insurance topics and how they relate to the Coronavirus pandemic. Among them: how Telemedicine can help, health care options for those who are uninsured, and common misconceptions about health insurance.


Source: The Chip Franklin Show

Target, Whole Foods and Other Stores are Now Setting a Dedicated Shopping Time for Seniors

03/18/20 - 12:36 PM EST

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused many to panic shop, leaving stores empty or with limited essential supplies for the elderly and other at-risk groups.

To help remediate the issue, grocery stores like Target, Whole Foods, Dollar General, Safeway, Alberstons, Acmen and Vons, are dedicating special shopping hours for Seniors, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.

From Whole Foods Market:

"We are setting aside this time to help these customers, who national health authorities have identified as among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, feel more comfortable shopping our stores and helping to ensure they are able to get the items they need in a less-crowded environment."

Source: USA Today

Italians Sing from their Balconies to Lift Each Other’s Spirits During Coronavirus Lockdown

03/16/20 - 03:41 PM EST

Italy is one of the countries most affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, with over 17,000 COVID-19 cases and over 1,200 deaths.

On March 9, Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced Italy’s lockdown to prevent and slow the Coronavirus spread. Italian schools, restaurants, bars, shops, universities, museums, and all non-essential businesses have been closed. And, all large events, like sporting events and weddings, have been canceled or rescheduled.

Although Coronavirus is weighing heavily on the country’s economy, Italians don’t lose their sense of community. Instead, they sing and play instruments from their windows and balconies in a beautiful display of unity and hope amidst the chaos.


Source: Kiro 7 News

The CDC Urges Canceling Gatherings of 50+ People for the Next 8 Weeks to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

03/16/20 - 03:26 PM EST

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that all U.S. events with 50 or more people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The new guidance is an effort to slow the spread of the Coronavirus in communities already affected and prevent its introduction into new communities.

From the CDC:

“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals. Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19’s Impact on Sports: MLB canceled, NBA Season Suspended, NHL Pausing due to Coronavirus Concerns

03/13/20 - 03:38 PM EST

In light of the rapid spread of Coronavirus, major announcements were made this week, including the cancellations and postponements of top sports leagues such as:

Major League Baseball (MLB): Cancelled the remainder of its spring training and postponed the start of the regular season - set to begin March 26 - for at least two weeks.

National Basketball Association (NBA): Suspended its regular season on March 11. The situation will be re-evaluated after 30 days.

National Hockey League (NHL): Paused its current season on March 12. The NHL commissioner is hoping to resume the season as soon as it’s prudent.

NCAA:Canceled its men and women’s basketball tournaments, also known as March Madness.

Notable sporting events that were also postponed include:

  • The 2020 Masters Tournament
  • The Augusta National Women’s Amateur
  • The Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals

Source: NY Times

Disney World Resort and Park in Orlando Closing to Prevent Coronavirus Spread

03/13/20 - 02:45 PM EST

In a tweet yesterday, theme park officials announced that Disney World Resort and Parks will close on Sunday, March 15 as a precautionary measure against the Coronavirus pandemic. Disney Cruise Line will also suspend all new trips on Saturday, March 14.

Historically, this is one of the only few times that the parks and resorts have closed down. The decision came after a Disney resort in California also closed due to COVID-19 concerns.

operations update from Disney

Source: WTSP News

CDC Guarantees Coronavirus Testing for all Americans, even those Uninsured

03/13/20 - 01:38 PM EST

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that all Americans will receive COVID-19 testing at no charge, regardless of health insurance coverage, if it's deemed medically necessary.

Redfield made the announcement on March 20, during the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Coronavirus preparedness.

“Our intent is to make sure every American gets the care and treatment they need at this time in this major epidemic, and I am currently working with HHS to see how to best operationalize it,” Redfield said.

It’s not yet clear what the exact process will be for CDC to cover the testing costs for uninsured Americans, but those who are uninsured are encouraged to visit their community health centers for medical care.

Medicaid will extend emergency coverage to people who qualify in many states.

Source: Fox 13 News

Novel Coronavirus Outbreak is now Officially a Pandemic, WHO says

03/11/20 - 02:08 PM EST

The World Health Organization just declared the Coronavirus, COVID-19 to be a pandemic at the media briefing this afternoon. The assessment was made because of the alarming levels of spread, severity and the increasing number of deaths by the virus.

There are over 118,000 cases of Coronavirus and over 4,200 deaths; the organization stated that those numbers are expected to climb even higher over the next weeks.

“In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled.

WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.

We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

The World Health Organization officials emphasize how “all countries can still change the course of this pandemic” by detecting, testing, treating and isolating those affected to prevent the Coronavirus pandemic from further spreading.


Source: World Health Organization

Florida Department of Health Confirms 8 New Cases of Coronavirus with cases in Pinellas and Pasco counties

03/11/20 - 10:48 AM EST

The Florida DoH announced yesterday that there are 8 new cases of COVID-19, summing up to a total of 21 Coronavirus cases in Florida with 2 of them resulting in deaths.

Out of the 8 new cases, 7 of the cases involve people between the ages 64 and 73 and one of them is a Georgia resident visiting Florida. The COVID-19 cases are spread across different Florida counties:

“According to the Department of Health, the eight new cases are a 46-year old male in Pasco County; a 73-year old male in Collier County; a 68-year old female in Collier County; a 64-year old female in Collier County; a 67-year old male in Pinellas County; a 64-year old male in Pinellas County; a 68-year-old male in Nassau County. and a 68-year old female Georgia resident who is in Alachua County.”

Measures are being taken to prevent further spread of the virus. All eight individuals have been isolated until cleared by state health officials.

Source: Fox 13 News

Coronavirus, COVID-19 symptoms take about 5 days to appear

03/10/20 - 04:07 PM EST

An analysis conducted by Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that the median incubation period for the COVID-19, Coronavirus is approximately 5 days, similar to SARS. The study analyzed confirmed cases of Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 reported between January 4th and February 24th, 2020 to identify its public health implications.

"The median incubation period was estimated to be 5.1 days (95% CI, 4.5 to 5.8 days), and 97.5% of those who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days (CI, 8.2 to 15.6 days) of infection. These estimates imply that, under conservative assumptions, 101 out of every 10 000 cases (99th percentile, 482) will develop symptoms after 14 days of active monitoring or quarantine."

Source: Annals of Internal Medicine

New York creates a Novel Coronavirus "containment zone"

03/10/20 - 03:34 PM EST

The "containment zone" is a one-mile zone at The Young Israel of New Rochelle Synagogue in New York created by New York State officials to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. The state plans to deploy the National Guard to the containment areas to deliver food to quarantined residents, clean the schools, and more.

Sschools, churches and other large gathering facilities in the area will also be closed for two weeks beginning on March 12 said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Source: NY Times

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities should restrict family and friend visits

03/10/20 - 03:01 PM EST

Industry officials recommend nursing homes and assisted living communities to limit family and friend visits which, while reducing residents' exposure to staff members, contractors, and government officials.

"The mortality rate is shocking," said Mark Parkinson, president, and CEO of the American Health Care Association.

The recommendations are an effort to slow the spread of the virus -- which is more threatening to seniors -- after a Coronavirus outbreak caused the deaths of 18 residents at long-term care facilities in Seattle.

Source: NY Times

All of Italy is now on lockdown because of the Coronavirus Disease

03/09/20 - 05:08 PM EST

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced at a news conference on Monday that the entire country is now on lockdown as a preventive measure to the COVID-19 disease.

This is part of the European country's efforts to prevent and protect its citizens.

Source: The Guardian

California woman in her 60s dies from Coronavirus

03/09/20 - 04:58 PM EST

A woman in her 60s is the first coronavirus-related death in Santa Clara County.

The woman, who had been hospitalized for several weeks, is believed to have contracted the virus through community transmission, according to a statement from the county’s health department.

This case was previously announced on February 28.

“This is a tragic development. The Public Health Department is taking necessary, carefully considered steps to slow down the spread of the disease and to protect those at greatest risk,” said Dr. Sara Cody, health officer for Santa Clara County. “We are facing a historic public health challenge and know this is a very difficult time. Our top priority continues to be protecting the health of our community.”

Source: CNN

Ohio's first Coronavirus cases: All involve people in their 50s in Cuyahoga County

03/09/20 - 04:47 PM EST

Three people in Ohio have tested positive for coronavirus, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said on Monday.

He also declared a state of emergency. All three people are from Cuyahoga County, the governor said.

"The state of emergency that I've declared in Ohio is a legal necessity that allows state departments and agencies to better coordinate in their response," DeWine said.

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan said the three patients, who are ages 54 to 56, are isolated. Two of them were on a trip to Egypt and one was at a conference in Washington D.C. Six additional people who had close contact are also on home quarantine.

There are five people under investigation for the virus, the Ohio Department of Health said.

Novel coronavirus, also called COVID-19, emerged in Wuhan City, China in December. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Source: Fox News

Most coronavirus deaths in the United States involve patients 70 or older

03/09/20 - 03:25 PM EST

The vast majority of US deaths from coronavirus appear to involve patients ages 70 and up, based on broad age range information provided by health authorities.

Officials provided basic age information in only 18 of the 22 US death cases.

Of those 18, seven were in their 70s, five were in their 80s, three were in their 90s, two were in their 50s and one was in their 60s.

A 19th patient was described as “elderly,” but no age range was given.

This is in line with what US Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CNN Sunday about the pandemic in general — that the average age of those who died from the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus was 80, and that the average age of those seeking medical treatment was 60.

Source: CNN

Germany reports its first coronavirus deaths

03/09/20 - 1:11 PM EST

Two people have died of coronavirus in Germany — the first deaths in the country from the virus.

The deaths occurred Monday in the district of Heinsberg and the city of Essen, the health ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia told CNN.

In a statement to CNN, health minister Karl-Josef Laumann said he "was shocked to learn about the two deaths."

"My thoughts are with the relatives. I wish the families a lot of strength in this difficult time. The deaths show that we have to take the situation very seriously,"

On Sunday, a German national from Hamburg died while on vacation in Egypt.

About Germany's cases: There are 1,112 people in Germany who have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Robert Koch Institute, the country's disease control agency.

Source: CNN

Georgia identifies state park for isolating coronavirus patients

03/09/20 - 11:37 AM EST

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced that out of an abundance of caution the state has identified Hard Labor Creek State Park in Morgan County as a location for isolating and monitoring patients who may have been exposed to coronavirus, according to a statement released by his office.

The state park is located about an hour east of downtown Atlanta.

No patients are currently scheduled to be transferred to this location. State officials are currently preparing the site for the placement of future patients having already delivered and installed seven emergency trailers, according to the governor’s office.

Source: CNN

Read our What is Coronavirus? article to learn more about this virus and how to stay healthly. bold textbold text

What you should read next

More than 6.65 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits over the last week alone – a bleak result of the Coronavirus pandemic. But those impacted aren’t just losing their jobs: They’re often losing their health insurance benefits too. And now is the time, especially, when health insurance may be extra crucial to you as you work to maintain good health or need coverage if you do get sick. Before weighing your options, take these steps: Know your budget and what you can afford each month. Make a list of your current health conditions and medications. List any doctors any healthcare providers you want to keep. Determine if you need dental or vision coverage. If you’ve lost your job and job-based insurance coverage, here are six options for you: 1. Join your spouse’s plan You may be able to obtain coverage through your spouse’s job-based health insurance plan, as long as your spouse or partner is already covered, which can be a cost-effective option. Ask your spouse to talk to his or her HR or benefits team to see if this is an option and what the associated healthcare costs may be for you. 2. COBRA You’ll likely receive a COBRA enrollment notice that includes information to continue your health insurance through your employer. Pros: You can keep your current health plan and continue to use your doctors and pharmacists under a policy you’re already familiar with. Your copays and deductibles will remain the same. Your spouses and children are eligible. Cons: You will likely face a higher premium because your employer will not subsidize the cost, and you’ll be charged a 2% administrative fee for continuing the plan. You can stay on COBRA for a limited time – typically up to 18 months. Some employers don’t offer this option, so be proactive and ask about it if you’re interested. 3. ACA (Obamacare) Plans Though the 2020 open enrollment period has ended, losing your job may qualify you for a special enrolment period exception. You can see if you can get coverage for an ACA plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Pros: Offers comprehensive major medical coverage for the 10 essential health benefits. You can’t be denied for pre-existing conditions. Tax credits are available if you meet the qualifications. Cons: You may not qualify to enroll in a plan at this time.* Can be costly if you don’t qualify for a subsidy. Plans can have narrow networks, so it’s wise to check if your doctors and providers are in-network. *Note: U.S. officials are also considering a special enrollment period to help uninsured Americans during the COVID-19 crisis. 4. Short-Term Health Insurance This type of temporary health insurance is designed to be a cost-effective and flexible insurance option if you’ve lost your job and have a gap in health insurance coverage. Pros: Flexible plan duration: Your coverage period can range from 30 to 364 days, with policy renewal of up to three years, depending on your state’s rules. Cancel anytime: You can choose how long you want to be covered (anywhere from 30 to 364 days). Plus, you can cancel your plan anytime. Enroll anytime: You can apply for and enroll in a temporary health insurance plan any time of year. And you can get coverage as soon as the day after you apply. Cons: There’s no coverage for pre-existing conditions. There are limits on prescription drug coverage: Most short-term health plans do not cover prescription drugs, but a few do offer add-on benefits and include prescription drug coverage after a deductible is met. There are limits on the number of covered doctor visits. Does not cover all of the 10 essential health benefits. You can be denied coverage. 5. Medicaid Medicaid is based on your income, family size and asset level. Though each state can set its own requirements, the limit is typically 133% of the Federal Poverty Level. If you do qualify for Medicaid, you’ll receive low-cost health insurance through your state which may cover you for: Inpatient care (hospital-type visits) Outpatient care (doctor’s office visits) Home health care Nursing care Dental, vision and hearing (in many cases) Again, benefits vary by state. And Medicaid should not be confused with Medicare (here’s how to know the differences between the two). 6. Telemedicine (not health insurance – but a way to get care) Though telemedicine isn’t a form of insurance, it’s a helpful service that people are turning to during a time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. With telemedicine, you pay a monthly membership fee and, when you use the service, you may also pay a charge for the ‘televisit.’ Telemedicine connects you with virtual doctors who can diagnose and treat your non-emergency medical conditions, including: Allergies Asthma Behavioral and mental health services Common cold Fever Flu Men’s health issues Nausea and vomiting Pink eye Sore throat Skin conditions Sinus infections Women’s health issues Telemedicine doctors can also prescribe medications for certain conditions and submit the order to your pharmacy of choice. You can get a telemedicine quote with no obligation to you. We will continue to provide educational resources to you throughout the Coronavirus pandemic: Follow us on Facebook for news about COVID-19, telemedicine, health insurance and more. Visit our feed to get frequent updates on COVID-19 news.
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Did you know that 66% of people who file for bankruptcy cite medical issues as a key contributor to their financial downfall? It's no wonder why rising healthcare costs continue to be a hot topic of conversation. So finding creative ways to save on healthcare costs should be top of mind for you. Whether you have Medicare, coverage through your employer, or insurance through the marketplaces, here are 9 ways to save on medical costs. 1. Incorporate Healthy Habits Finding ways to improve your general health and wellness can lower your out-of-pocket health care costs. After all, fewer trips to the doctor means fewer copays and less money spent on healthcare. Here are 4 simple actions you can take to live a healthier lifestyle. Less sugar, more water. Drink plenty of water and eat foods high in water: Think cucumbers, watermelon and celery. Sit less, more movement. Stand up throughout the day, stretch, take the stairs, and park further away: These are just a few ways to move more. Get rest. When thinking of healthy habits, sleep often falls low on the list. But chronic sleep deprivation can increase heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and many other illnesses. Wash your hands. The coronavirus pandemic serves as a major reminder to wash our hands frequently and correctly. Wash your palms, fingernails, and the backs of your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. 2. Reduce Stress Stress often increases with age, leading to a host of health problems. Finding ways to lower your stress can go a long way. There are many simple ways to reduce stress in your daily life. Try things like working out or moving daily, spending more time with friends and family, and reducing your caffeine intake. And don't forget to laugh more. 3. Save Money on Medications The cost of prescription drugs can really take a lot out of your wallet. So if you're used to getting brand-name medications, consider asking your doctor for a generic alternative. It could save you money in the long run. For seniors especially, the cost of medications continues to rise at an alarming rate. One of the simplest ways for seniors to save is to find and compare Prescription Drug Plans (Medicare Part D). Start by comparing quotes, or talking to an insurance agent who is willing to research the medications you take. The right agent will have knowledge of all the pharmacies close to your home and plans available in your area. He or she can also help you identify ways to save on your prescriptions. 4. Use a Health Savings Account (HSA) You may have access to a Health Savings Account (HSA) through your employer (or previous employer). Using an HSA can save you money because your contributions are pre-tax dollars and can accrue interest. And unlike a Flexible Savings Account (FSA), the HSA is owned by you, so it can carry over into your retirement. And there is no deadline on when you can spend the funds. 5. Know The Difference Between Emergency Care and Urgent Care Some people don't know the difference between emergency care and urgent care. But knowing which option to use in a given situation can save you money: Emergency room visits can cost far more than urgent care center visits. Your initial reaction might be to go to the ER when you need medical treatment but can't see your primary care doctor. But in many cases, an urgent care facility will serve you just as well at a lower cost. Start by keeping a list of nearby ERs and urgent care centers handy. An urgent care visit is good for a minor illness or injury, but if your condition is life-threatening, always go to the ER. You might also consider going the telemedicine route, which entails talking to a doctor online, rather than going to an in-person appointment. Telemedicine usage also gained momentumduring the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, turning to telehealth may not only reduce your healthcare costs - it could save you time and keep you out of the waiting room. 6. Ask If All Tests Are Necessary You may think that doctor-ordered tests are standard protocol, but those tests could get expensive fast. Be sure to ask your doctor if all diagnostic tests are necessary for your health. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor if all diagnostic tests are necessary for your health. Here are some questions to get the conversation started. Why is the test being done? What steps does the test involve? How long will it take to get the results? What will the test cost? 7. Request Outpatient Services When Possible Did you know that some inpatient procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis? Often, doctors choose to have a procedure performed on an inpatient basis, simply for the convenience of the patient and the medical staff. Many procedures do require a medically supervised period of recovery, but not all of them. There's nothing wrong with asking your doctor if a procedure can be performed in an outpatient clinic rather than at the hospital. If so, the savings can be significant. 8. Choose Your Doctors Wisely Just because a physician or facility accepts your health insurance or Medicare plan doesn't mean that your costs will be controlled. If you're on Medicare, consider these two steps: First, check if the provider accepts assignment. This means that the provider has agreed to accept the Medicare-approved amount as full payment for services. If your provider doesn't accept assignment, then your out-of-pocket costs may be higher. Second, choose the right doctor for you. The ideal provider has specialized experience with those age 65 and over, which can save you repeated visits to the doctor. One way to shop around for doctors and specialists is through the physician compare feature on You can use this tool to compare providers in your area, or you may opt to discuss the topic with a licensed insurance agent. In general, researching and shopping around for the right healthcare provider could save you money over time. 9. Use Your Medicare Benefits It may sound contradictory, but going to the doctor can ultimately lower your healthcare costs. Most insurance plans, including Medicare Advantage, come with certain wellness benefits. Getting regular physicals and patient-specific tests can uncover minor health problems before they become major ones. Let's say a man gets a routine PSA blood test done, which reveals the possibility of low-grade prostate cancer. Early intervention makes the treatment cost far less early on, resulting in fewer trips to the doctor and fewer copays. In other words: lower cost. You Can Save On Healthcare Costs Bottom line: Don't be afraid to do your research, ask the right questions, and incorporate healthy habits to decrease healthcare costs. You can also find more tips to avoid medical debt in this article.
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From Obamacare to the opioid epidemic, healthcare-related issues have made headlines over the past decade. And it’s inevitable that they’ll only continue to evolve and impact the decade ahead. With the 2020s underway, let’s take a look back at five key milestones and issues that marked the evolution of healthcare over the past decade. 1. The Affordable Care Act became the law. Just months into 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) into law. The Affordable Care Act, often referred to the ACA or Obamacare, changed the nation’s health insurance landscape as we knew it. The healthcare reform law brought about numerous changes to help make health insurance more affordable and accessible to as many Americans as possible. Some key provisions include: The creation of a health insurance marketplace in every state to provide consumers with a place to purchase health insurance. Income-based subsidies, including premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, for those who purchase individual coverage through the health insurance marketplace (i.e., the state-based and federal exchanges). A requirement that insurance plans cover young adults on their parents’ policies to age 26. Guaranteed issue and renewal of policies. Premium rating rules that limited pricing to five things: location, age, tobacco use, individual or family enrollment, and plan category (i.e., bronze, silver, gold, platinum, catastrophic). An individual mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance that qualified as minimum essential coverage or pay a tax penalty, unless they qualified for an exemption. (As of Jan. 1, 2019, the tax penalty has been rescinded). Medicaid expansion to those with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level, in participating states. Ten years later, uninsured rates have declined. In 2010, nearly 16% of Americans were uninsured. But in 2016, the uninsured rate hovered just above 8% -- its lowest point in the decade. It started to increase again slightly in 2017. But premiums increased 105% from 2013 to 2017 while the market adjusted to enrollment numbers and the resulting risk pool. Premiums have begun to stabilize over the past two years. 2. Short-term health insurance kept its stride. Short-term health insurance is temporary insurance that provides coverage in certain medical situations like an unexpected accident or illness. However, it doesn't include the same essential health benefits that ACA plans do, making them a more affordable insurance option for many. Short-term health insurance remained a relevant health insurance option throughout the decade, despite renewed scrutiny. Short-term medical plan sales increased sharply after the ACA took full effect in 2014. And these plans became an attractive option for people who were exempt from the individual mandate or opted to pay a penalty for not having an ACA-compliant health plan. Obama limits short-term policies Concerned that short-term health insurance was impacting ACA enrollment, the Obama administration created regulations that limited their availability. In 2016, short-term policies were capped at three months. Trump expands short-term policies In 2018, the Trump administration lifted Obama-era limits. Policies can now last up to 12 months and can be renewed for up to 36 months, depending on state laws. Arizona, for example, has adopted the Trump administration’s regulation. Some states, such as Oregon, still limit short-term plans to less than 90 days. 3. High-deductible health plans grew in popularity. High-deductible health plans were introduced in the early 2000s, but they were considered "mainstream plans" by 2012. In fact, HDHP enrollment jumped from 10 million people to 11.4 million people in one year (from January 2010 to January 2011). People can obtain HDHP plans through their employer/group based plan (if offered), the healthcare exchange, or private insurers. By 2015, HDHPs accounted for 60% to 80% of plans offered in the individual health insurance marketplace. In 2019, the IRS high-deductible health plan as any plan with a deductible of at least $1,350 for an individual and $2,700 for a family. The average annual deductible for individual coverage through a group plan was $1,655 in 2019. But while consumers can appreciate the lower monthly premium of a high-deductible insurance plan, they also tend to delay or skip medical care because of the high out-of-pocket costs associated with HDHPs. The popularity of HDHP may be slowing - at least in the group market. The percentage of employers offering a high-deductible health plan as the only option is projected to decrease in 2020, with more and more employers beginning to offer additional coverage options once again. 4. Healthcare spending continues to climb. If it seems like your healthcare costs increased throughout the past decade, it probably did. In 2018, the average American household spent $5,000 on healthcare, with nearly 70% of the $5,000 going towards health insurance. The more staggering fact? Medical bills are reported to be the number one cause of bankruptcies nationwide. And today, medical costs are considered America’s "real healthcare crisis". And while politicians continue to debate issues including health insurance reform and prescription drug pricing, they have not agreed upon a clear solution. Until things change, consumers must continue to find ways to save on their own, from finding flexible and affordable health insurance options and taking advantage of preventive care, to comparing provider rates before seeking services and seeking alternative healthcare through things like telemedicine. 5. An Opioid epidemic devastates our nation. The opioid epidemic might be the most daunting and complex public health crisis of our time. Heroin-related overdoses increased 286% from 2002 to 2013, with a significant spike around 2010. Another wave of opioid-related deaths hit around 2013 - this time, synthetic opioids like fentanyl were behind the surge. The crisis continued to escalate from there, with prescription drugs playing a significant role. Opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths and increased to 47,600 people in 2017. By 2019, more than 90 Americans per day were dying from opioid overdose. And prescription opioid abuse was costing the nation $78.5 billion per year. The epidemic impacted people in both rural and urban environments. But overdose deaths in rural communities surpass deaths in urban settings. So what’s being done about it? In early 2019, the Trump administration launched a $353 million initiative to cut opioid overdoses by 40% over the next three years. The federal government is also working to hold drug companies accountable. For example, top executives at Insys Therapeutics were found guilty of racketeering conspiracy— a charge typically assigned to drug dealers and mob bosses. In 2018, the CDC reported that drug overdose deaths decreased for the first time since 1990. The healthcare debate continues Discussions about healthcare reform and our healthcare landscape did not stop when the ACA was passed. Conversations about legal challenges continue to this day. And, there has been proposed legislation to repeal and replace the ACA under the Trump administration. While no legislation has passed so far, new tax legislation did pass in December 2017, changing one key aspect of the ACA. Previously, you could be penalized for not having health insurance, but the Congress and President eliminated the mandate rule for all coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2019. The 5th Circuit also recently ruled in Texas vs. United States that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. A Texas Judge will be deciding what, if any, of the ACA still stands. And it’s unclear if the case will head to the Supreme Court. With 2020 being an election year, the future of healthcare in America stands at a crossroads: Democrats remain divided on the best course of action moving forward. Their focus is on the expansion of health insurance coverage with tactics like Medicare for all, building on the ACA’s foundation, and rethinking the entire system. Republicans do not have a healthcare plan in place. Should Trump be reelected, his administration would likely continue its efforts to dismantle the ACA and pass new legislation in its place. What happens in November 2020 will no doubt influence how healthcare plays out over the next decade. We’ll continue to follow the trends and changes as well as their impacts on our nation.
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