Saturday, November 30, 2013

For the love of Beer: Project 12 Review Sponsored Post






This is a sponsored post on behalf of http://www.millennialcentral.com 

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Budweiser. I received a product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.


For the love of Beer:Project 12 Review Sponsored Post
You may be wondering what the heck I am talking about. Well, I like to consider myself a Beer connoisseur. So, when I was selected to sample Budweiser's new line of Project 12 Special Edition Beers how could I say no? Both my husband and I are beer drinkers. But neither of us drink Budweiser products. I've never been a fan of Budweiser although we both love specialty beers and love to experiment so this was right up our ally. I couldn't wait to start the taste testing! I was given 3 different types of Beer to Sample.

The first beer I sampled was the Pacific Style Pale Ale. I love pale ales so I was really excited to try this one. My excitement slowly fizzled to disappointment after tasting this pale ale. This beer pours like a light beer and has a crisp lager taste. To me this tastes like I am drinking a regular light beer. I was hoping for the trademark floral and citrus tastes that you commonly find in a pale ale. I was not impressed.




The second of the three beers I sampled was the Vanilla Bourbon Cask Ale. While pouring this beer you could smell the Vanilla immediately. It is an amber colored ale and tastes almost like a cream soda with a slightly bitter aftertaste. However, if this had been a darker more full bodied beer like a porter or stout I probably would have loved it.



Last on the list was the Beechwood Bock. The Beechwood Bock is an American Amber Beer that pours dark with a small off white head that fades quickly. Right away I tasted some metallic notes which I am not a fan of and finished off with the taste of caramel. Overall I thought this beer was okay. Although this was my husbands favorite of the three. He thought it was very drinkable for a Bock.With a touch of caramel and chocolate aftertastes.



After taste tasting all three beers I have to admit that I was not impressed. Maybe I am too much of a Beer "Snob" but these beers just didn't pass the test. They don't stand up to the micro brews that I am used to drinking. I do applaud Budweiser for trying.

To learn more about these new Special Edition Beers please visit the Anheuser-Busch website.
http://budweiserbrewing.tumblr.com/tagged/Project12


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Slow Cooker Spinach Ravioli




With Thanksgiving just two days away I didn't make my usual weekly grocery trip. I made this spinach ravioli with food I already had in the house. Easy peasy. Everyone loved it especially my toddler!


Slow Cooker Spinach Ravioli
Serves 6
WW PP=9
Cal 363, Carbs 42, Fat 12.8, Fiber 4.5, Protein 20.2

Ingredients
1 bag frozen cheese ravioli
2 cups pasta sauce (I used traditional marinara)
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
1.5 cups reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Spread about a 1/4 cup of sauce on the bottom. Add a layer of ravioli, spinach, garlic, sauce, and cheese. Repeat. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Top with grated Parmesan if desired. Enjoy!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Skinny Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake



There is nothing I like more on a frigid day than a nice warm casserole. It's snowy and cold here today. Perfect casserole weather. What I love most about this casserole is that it is skinny. Full of flavor but I can indulge without the guilt!


Skinny Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake
Serves 8
WW PP=5
Cal 220, Carbs 20.2, Fat 5.5, Fiber .75, Protein 20

Ingredients
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into chunks
2 cups diced ham
1 box Stuffing Mix
1 cup shredded swiss cheese (I used 2 percent milk swiss)
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar
1 cup non fat milk
1 can cream of chicken soup (I used fat free cream of mushroom)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees

Spray a casserole dish with non stick cooking spray

Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions. In a mixing bowl, combine soup and milk. 

Arrange chopped chicken in bottom of baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with ham and swiss cheese. Pour soup of the cheese and top with stuffing. Sprinkle cheddar over the top. 

Cover with foil and cook for 35-40 minutes. During last 10 minutes of cooking time, remove foil and bake until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Slow Cooker Bacon BBQ Chicken Tacos



I love how versatile tacos are. The combinations are endless. Since BBQ and Bacon go so well together I figured why not combine the two and make tacos out of them.They were so good and a great meal to make on the weekend since the slow cooker does all the work!


Slow Cooker Bacon Chicken Tacos
Makes 10 Tacos
WW PP=3
Cal 136 Carbs 10.8g, Fat 4.8g, Fiber 2g, Protein 12.2g

Ingredients
16 oz boneless skinless chicken
1 tbsp. BBQ Seasoning (I like McCormicks)
1 tbsp. liquid smoke
1/3 cup cooked and crumbled bacon (or bacon bits)
1/2 cup BBQ Sauce
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheese
1 Jalapeno, Chopped
10 corn tortillas
red onion, cilantro, or any other additional toppings of your choice

Arrange chicken in a single layer in the bottom of your crock pot. Sprinkle with BBQ seasoning and add in the liquid smoke. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Remove chicken, shred, and return to crock pot. Add BBQ Sauce and Bacon. Stir and continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes. Assemble tacos with chicken, cheese, jalapenos, and any other toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Baked Italian Macaroni and Cheese



I love love love macaroni and cheese. Not the boxed kind but the creamy homemade kind. I was really craving it but I didn't have any elbow macaroni and the only cheese I had was Italian cooking cream and mozzarella. I decided to make an Italian version using the ingredients that I already had on hand in the house. This baked Italian version was absolutely incredible! I also lightened it up so that it is somewhat diet friendly. It was a hit!


Baked Italian Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 8
WW PP=7
Cal 288, Carbs 35.3, Fat 8.2, Fiber 3.7, Protein 16.2

Ingredients
12 oz. pasta of your choice (I used Ronzoni Penne)
1 cup Philadelphia Italian Cooking Cream
1 oz. pepperoni, chopped
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan style bread crumbs
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese

Pre-Heat oven to 375. Spray a casserole dish with non stick cooking spray.

While oven is pre-heating cook noodles to al dente. Drain and set aside. In a large bowl combine noodles, cooking cream, tomatoes, chicken, and pepperoni. Pour mixture into the casserole dish. Cover with cheese and breadcrumbs.

Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly. Enjoy!



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Creamy Garlic Lime Salsa Chicken (Crock Pot)



This was an incredible meal! I do like salsa chicken but have always found it to be a little boring. Well, not anymore! While at the grocery store last week I came across a Garlic Lime Salsa Verde. I decided to use that, along with some cream cheese for creaminess and it was delish! I served mine over brown rice but this chicken would make a great filling for tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.

Creamy Garlic Lime Salsa Chicken (Crock Pot)
Serves 4
WW PP=4
Cal 215, Carbs 10, Fat 5.7, Protein 26.7

Ingredients
1 lb boneless skinless Chicken (I used tenderloins)
1 cup garlic lime salsa verde
1 tbsp. chili powder
6 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, cut into chunks
1/4 reduced fat cheddar cheese

Spray the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker and sprinkle with chili powder. Pour the salsa on top. Cook on low for 4 hours.  One hour before it is finished cooking, carefully pull the chicken out of the slow cooker and shred. Put the chicken back into the slow cooker and gently stir to combine. Place the cream cheese and shredded cheddar on top of the mixture. Continue cooking. Stir and serve over hot cooked rice. Enjoy!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Gyros




Mondays are busy for me so I usually like to make a meal in the slow cooker so it's ready to go at dinner. This meal is one of my favorite weeknight "go to" recipes. Simple yet delicious!


Slow Cooker Chicken Gyros
Serves 4
WW PP=6
Cal 255, Fat 1g, Carbs 34g, Fiber 1g, Protein 22.5

Ingredients
16 oz. boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
2 tbsp. Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper Seasoning Blend
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
4 whole wheat pita bread folds
sliced tomato
red onion
feta cheese, if desired

In a small bowl mix garlic, lemon-pepper seasoning, and oregano. Add chicken to the crock pot and coat with seasoning mixture. Pour in the chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

About 10 minutes before serving, heat pita bread folds as directed on package. Meanwhile, remove chicken from cooker and break into chunks. Spoon chicken onto warm pita breads. Top with tomato, red onion, cucumber sauce, and feta cheese, if desired. Fold pita breads in half to serve. Enjoy!


For the Cucumber Sauce
1/2 cucumber, diced
2 6oz containers non fat Greek yogurt (I like Chobani)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Add your yogurt to a large mixing bowl. Add in your lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and diced cucumber. Stir well and let marinate in fridge for at least one hour.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Skinny Taco Melts



I love anything that contains the word "melt" in a recipe. I always know it is going to be something cheesy and delicious. I know Pillsbury has a recipe for taco melts that are made with biscuits. Call me weird...but I am just not a huge fan of biscuits. We rarely had them growing up so I just never really acquired a taste for them. Maybe it's a good thing since I know they wouldn't be great for my waistline! I did however want to make a recipe similar to the Pillsbury one. I decided to use refrigerated pizza dough instead. They turned out perfectly and were really good. I served it alongside rice and a salad to complete the meal.


Skinny Taco Melts
Adapted from Pillsbury
Makes Approx 8 Taco Melts
WW PP=4
Cal 159, Carbs 11.9, Fat 6.1, Protein 14.2

Ingredients
1 package taco seasoning mix
2/3 cup water
1 1/2cups salsa (I used Rotel since I was out of salsa)
1 lb lean  ground beef, cooked and drained (I used 93/7)
1 can refrigerated pizza dough 
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium saucepan cook beef, seasoning mix, water and rotel. Simmer until thickened.
Form pizza dough into 6-inch rounds. Spoon 1/3 cup meat mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese onto center of each round. Fold dough in half over filling; press to seal. 
Place on greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 9 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with sour cream if desired. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Taquitos




We love taquitos and I love experimenting with different fillings. Since both my husband and I loved hawaiian bbq chicken I decided why not use stuff these tasty taquitos with my hawaiian chicken. They were insanely good! They make the perfect appetizer or dinner. I served mine with a side of rice to make them more of a dinner. Delicious!


Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Taquitos
Makes 12
WW PP=4
Cal 165, Carbs 19.3, Fat 4.2, Fiber 2.2, Protein 13.7

Ingredients
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. red pepper
1/3 cup BBQ Sauce
1 can chopped green chiles
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar jack cheese
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1/4 cup bacon buts
12 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine chicken, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cheese, pineapple, green chiles, BBQ sauce and bacon.

Place chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla. Bring the bottom edge of the tortilla tightly over the filling, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the tortilla is reached. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Place taquitos seam side down onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake until taquitos are crisp and cheese has melted, about 15 minutes. Enjoy!




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cheesy Potato and Sausage Skillet




It's still freezing here so I've been making really hearty "stick to your ribs" type meals this week. This skillet is another one of those hearty favorites. It also makes a great simple weeknight dinner. The original recipe calls for boxed potatoes but I used pre-sliced refrigerated potatoes since I'm not a big fan of the boxed kind. It turned out great and my whole family devoured it!

Cheesy Potato and Sausage Skillet
Heavily Adapted from Taste of Home

Serves 4
WW PP=10
Cal  383, Carbs 42.5, Fat 13.7, Fiber 2.2, Protein 24.2


1 16oz package smoked turkey sausage or kielbasa, cut into pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 package sliced refrigerated potatoes (I used Simply Potatoes)
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 cups veggies of your choice (I used corn and peppers)
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese


Melt butter in a sauce pan and over medium high heat add in your potatoes and onions. Season with red pepper. Cook until tender. Add  in the sliced sausage continue cooking until sausage starts to brown. Add in your veggies. Reduce heat and add in your shredded cheese. Continue to cook until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Bacon and Rice




It's cold. Not chilly but downright cold. AND...it's snowing! What?! Not a little but a lot. I do like snow but not in November! Weather like this calls for a hearty comforting dinner. This is one of my family's favorites. There is not much not to love about slow cooked chicken mixed with cheese, bacon, and rice. I serve mine alongside a tossed salad and dinner is served!


Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Bacon and Rice
Serves 6
WW PP=7
Cal 273, Carbs 27.6, Fat 6.8, Fiber 1.3, Protein 26


Ingredients
1 lb boneless skinless chicken or chicken tenders
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 can cream of chicken soup (or if you are like me and hate the stuff you can use a cream of chicken substitute)
1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon or bacon bits
1 cup shredded cheese
4 cups cooked brown rice

Arrange chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Top with onions, carrots, and soup. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Add in the cheese, bacon, and rice. Stir and continue cooking for another 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Enjoy!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chicken Caesar Stuffed Shells




I've been wanting to make Chicken Caesar pasta ever since I saw a recipe for Chicken Caesar Mac on Rachael Ray's website. I didn't have any short pasta in the pantry. It was either spaghetti or shells. So, I decided on the shells since we rarely have stuffed shells. I basically adapted this recipe using ingredients I already had in the pantry and fridge. These shells were so good and I topped them with a layer of ooey gooey melted cheese. Yum!


Chicken Caesar Stuffed Shells
Serves 6
WW PP=10 (5 shells per serving)
Cal 383, Carbs 45.1, Fat 9.8, Fiber 2.6, Protein 29.5

Ingredients
2 cups cooked and chopped chicken
30 jumbo pasta shells
1/2 cup reduced fat Caesar dressing
1 1/4 cup reduced fat shredded italian cheese
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 cup petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup crushed Caesar croutons

Spray a 13x9 baking dish with non stick cooking spray.

Cook shells to al dente and set aside. In a large bowl combine chicken, dressing, garlic powder, half of the cheese, spinach, and tomatoes. Mix well.

Stuff each shell with chicken mixture and top with remaining shredded cheese. Top with crushed croutons.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Enjoy!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Recipe Throwback-Loaded Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins




Today I decided to share one of my all time favorite appetizer recipes. It's football season and with football season comes parties and great food!

I'm in Buffalo Chicken heaven right now. These potato skins are a buffalo chicken lovers dream! I'm also excited that they are diet friendly! Yes, you heard that right. A potato skin that is actually somewhat healthy. So, I was able to enjoy myself without the guilt. I can't wait to make these again and soon!


Loaded Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins
Inspired by Skinnytaste Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins

Makes 12 potato skins
3ww pp per skin
Cal 137, Carbs 7g, Fiber 1g, Fat 5.7g, Protein 13.5

Ingredients
6 medium baking potatoes
13oz Swanson all white meat chicken in water, drained (about a can and a half)
6 oz reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup Franks buffalo sauce
12 tbsp crumbled bacon
12 tbsp light sour cream
4 oz julienned carrots
chopped green onions

Scrub potatoes, pierce with a fork and microwave for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and place in a pre-heated 400 degree oven. Bake for 90 minutes. (skins will be crispy) Let cool and the cut each potato horizontally and scoop out the inside. Place skins inside a 9x13 baking dish.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl combine chicken and buffalo sauce. Add about 2 tbsp of chicken into each potato skin. Top with a tablespoon of cheese and a tablespoon of bacon. Bake 7-8 minutes or until cheese is melted. Add 1 tbsp of light sour cream, carrots, and green onion. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Sandwiches



I was in the mood for something lighter for dinner. To me, that normally means soup, salad, or a sandwich. My husband begs to differ. I know that if I made a simple salad my husband would not consider that dinner. I ended up making these Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Sandwiches. I've made Balsamic French Dip before and they were delicious. I figure why not make them and use chicken instead. They were even better than the french dip. I served them on toasted Cibatta rolls and it was a hit!


Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Sandiwches
Serves 4
WW PP=9 (Chicken, Cheese, and Cibatta Roll)
NOTE-PP Values will be different depending on what type of roll you use
Cal 347, Carbs 41, Fat 7.5, Fiber 2g, Protein 32.3

Ingredients
1 lb boneless skinless chicken (I used tenders)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. worsterchire sauce
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
4 slices mozzarella cheese
4 sandwich rolls
tomato, fresh basil, for toppings

Arrange chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. Whisk together chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, worsterchire, garlic powder, and honey and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker, shred, and spoon into hot toasted rolls. Add a slice of cheese to each sandwich and garnish with additonal toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Baked Pizza Pasta



It's cool and dreary outside. Perfect casserole weather. There is something so warm and comforting about a good pasta dish and since I am always looking for new ideas I thought this would be a fun way to prepare baked pasta. I knew it would be a hit with my toddler and my husband loved it too. Really, there isn't much to not love about pasta, cheese, and your favorite pizza toppings. Yum!

Baked Pizza Pasta
Serves 8
WW PP=9
Cal 360, Carbs 39, Fat 12.7, Fiber 3.7, Protein 23.1

Ingredients
1 lb lean ground sirloin (I used 93/7)
12 oz. pasta of your choice, cooked to al dente (I used mini wheels)
2 tbsp. italian seasoning blend
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 oz. sliced pepperoni, divided
2 cups pizza sauce (I love Muir Glen Organic)
1.25 cups reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1/8 cup grated parmesan

In a large saucepan brown ground sirloin, drain and add in the dry seasonings and pizza sauce.

Spray a 13x9 Casserole Dish with non stick cooking spray. Combine the meat mixture and cooked pasta and stir in half of the pepperoni. Transfer to baking dish. Top with mozzarella, parmesan cheese, and remaining pepperoni. Cook at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly Enjoy!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Bowls.



I'm thinking I should invest in a new slow cooker. Considering how much I use mine I think I would definitely benefit from a new one. These Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken and rice bowls are one of our favorite simple meals and they are so good! Top with your favorite garnishes and dinner is served!

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Bowls
Serves 4
WW PP=10
Cal 387, Carbs 39.5, Fat 6.7, Fiber 4.5, Protein 44

Ingredients
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp. taco seasoning
1/2 cup fat free black beans
1 can chopped green chilies
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
4 cups cooked brown rice
tortilla chips, sour cream, green onion. cilantro for garnish


Spray the bottom and sides of the slow cooker with non stick cooking spray.

 Place the chicken in slow cooker and sprinkle with taco seasoning. Cover with beans, green chilies, chopped tomatoes, and  salsa. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving remove chicken from slow cooker and shred. Return to the slow cooker and top with cheddar cheese.

Serve over rice and top with garnishes of your choice. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spicy Garlic Buffalo Wings




I've been craving buffalo wings for weeks now. Real wings. Ya know, the fatty deep fried kind. Some of my favorite wings are the Spicy Garlic from Buffalo Wild Wings. I really wanted to try and recreate them here at home. And I did. And they were fantastic! My husband who is very picky about his wings, couldn't get enough of them. The best part is that they are super simple to make and of course delicious!

Spicy Garlic Buffalo Wings

Ingredients
1 4lb bag party chicken wings (the bag with the drumettes and flats)
Canola oil for frying
1 cup Franks Buffalo Wing Sauce
1 tsp. siracha sauce
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped

In a small bowl combine wing sauce, siracha, garlic powder, and chopped garlic. Set aside.


Fill a large deep pot about half way with canola oil. Heat to 375 degrees. Carefully add your wings (I did mine in batches of 5). Fry about 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Drain and immediately toss in the sauce. Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing and celery/carrot sticks. Enjoy!




Friday, November 1, 2013

#Sponsored #Aflac Open Enrollment: How Much Do You Know About Your Health Insurance Policy? #MC


#Sponsored #Aflac Open Enrollment: How Much Do You Know About Your Health Insurance Policy? #MC

Are you ready for Open Enrollment? I recently participated in a campaign through Mom Central for Aflac. I'm not one who likes to deal with insurance but in this day and age it is so important to have the best health insurance and with the rising costs you want to make sure you are getting the best coverage possible.

You may be wondering, what is open enrollment? Every year employees have the option to change their benefits. During open enrollment you are able to make changes to your policy without penalty. Did you know that Aflac’s Open Enrollment Survey found that 69 percent of workers said their employer did not communicate changes coming to their benefits package? That is why it is so important to go to your employer or HR Benefits coordinator to ask questions. Communication and understanding is key. Make sure you ask questions and get the answers you need to better understand your insurance policies. Aflac has some great resources for Open Enrollment education. If you are overwhelmed with information, call your insurance company and they can provide you with needed answers.

Here are some important tips from Aflac



1. Prepare ahead of time: Be aware of annual insurance policy changes and compare your new benefits package to your policy from the year before. Do your homework to ensure you choose the right policy that fits your needs and make sure that all of the health insurance costs you’re responsible for are within your budget. Also, review the deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for health care services and pharmacy purchases you’ll be responsible for paying to ensure your plan offers the coverage you need.

2. Don’t make assumptions: Keep in mind that if your company hasn’t made any material changes to its health insurance plan since health care reform legislation was passed in 2010, it may be exempt for now from offering widely discussed essential health benefits, including free preventive services. Ask your HR manager if your policy options changed to include new benefits made available by health care reform.

3. Check your spouse’s benefits package: Your employer doesn’t have to offer insurance to your spouse and as costs increase, more companies are cutting this option. Even if your employer does offer your spouse insurance, the company is not obligated to pay anything toward the premium. If your spouse has access to employer-sponsored health insurance through his or her job, it may make the most financial sense to purchase two individual policies as opposed to one family policy.

4. Don’t double up: Health care reform legislation requires plans in the individual and small group markets to offer essential health benefits like pediatric vision and dental and, chronic disease management services. Check all aspects of your major medical plan so you know what is covered and what isn’t.

5. Be sure to examine premium costs. Cheaper isn’t always better, don't cut back on coverage. You may end up paying more out of pocket and not saving in the long run.

6. Consider supplemental insurance such as accident, hospital or critical illness plans to help reduce the rising health care expenses.

This open enrollment season, take the initiative. Make sure you and your family have the coverage you need to maintain your lifestyle even if the unexpected happens. You can find out more about open enrollment and how to be ready with Aflac’s Open Enrollment Resources.

#Sponsored #Aflac Open Enrollment: How Much Do You Know About Your Health Insurance Policy? #MC


#Sponsored #Aflac Open Enrollment: How Much Do You Know About Your Health Insurance Policy? #MC

Are you ready for Open Enrollment? I recently participated in a campaign through Mom Central for Aflac. I'm not one who likes to deal with insurance but in this day and age it is so important to have the best health insurance and with the rising costs you want to make sure you are getting the best coverage possible.

You may be wondering, what is open enrollment? Every year employees have the option to change their benefits. During open enrollment you are able to make changes to your policy without penalty. Did you know that Aflac’s Open Enrollment Survey found that 69 percent of workers said their employer did not communicate changes coming to their benefits package? That is why it is so important to go to your employer or HR Benefits coordinator to ask questions. Communication and understanding is key. Make sure you ask questions and get the answers you need to better understand your insurance policies. Aflac has some great resources for Open Enrollment education. If you are overwhelmed with information, call your insurance company and they can provide you with needed answers.

Here are some important tips from Aflac



1. Prepare ahead of time: Be aware of annual insurance policy changes and compare your new benefits package to your policy from the year before. Do your homework to ensure you choose the right policy that fits your needs and make sure that all of the health insurance costs you’re responsible for are within your budget. Also, review the deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for health care services and pharmacy purchases you’ll be responsible for paying to ensure your plan offers the coverage you need.

2. Don’t make assumptions: Keep in mind that if your company hasn’t made any material changes to its health insurance plan since health care reform legislation was passed in 2010, it may be exempt for now from offering widely discussed essential health benefits, including free preventive services. Ask your HR manager if your policy options changed to include new benefits made available by health care reform.

3. Check your spouse’s benefits package: Your employer doesn’t have to offer insurance to your spouse and as costs increase, more companies are cutting this option. Even if your employer does offer your spouse insurance, the company is not obligated to pay anything toward the premium. If your spouse has access to employer-sponsored health insurance through his or her job, it may make the most financial sense to purchase two individual policies as opposed to one family policy.

4. Don’t double up: Health care reform legislation requires plans in the individual and small group markets to offer essential health benefits like pediatric vision and dental and, chronic disease management services. Check all aspects of your major medical plan so you know what is covered and what isn’t.

5. Be sure to examine premium costs. Cheaper isn’t always better, don't cut back on coverage. You may end up paying more out of pocket and not saving in the long run.

6. Consider supplemental insurance such as accident, hospital or critical illness plans to help reduce the rising health care expenses.

This open enrollment season, take the initiative. Make sure you and your family have the coverage you need to maintain your lifestyle even if the unexpected happens. You can find out more about open enrollment and how to be ready with Aflac’s Open Enrollment Resources.
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