I’ve partnered with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange to bring you information about the importance of visiting Washington Healthplanfinder between November 1 and December 15th to find out more about your health care options. As always, all opinions are my own.

To say that the year 2020 has been full of challenges may be an understatement. While the world is dealing with a pandemic and our country is going through an election that will become one of the most talked-about contests in our history, I have been dealing with the unexpected death of my mom and blogging partner from a stroke in July.

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My mom has been featured here many times. Whenever I needed a model, travel partner, crafting helper, or someone to try out a new product, she happily stepped in.

It’s been a few months, but I’m still very angry about her death. While she didn’t have COVID, we were not allowed to be with her when she died because of it.

Her death and the long quarantine we’ve all been living under, has made me pause and reflect on the need to disconnect from the noise of the world and enjoy my time here on earth because it’s fleeting.  We’re far from the only family that has had to deal with the death of a loved one during COVID; so many people are grieving. We need to remember to be gentle with ourselves and each other and to share some kindness even if sometimes it’s hard to be kind.

Finding Normal in an Abnormal Time – FAMILY

I’ve found that spending time with my grandkids is energizing my soul and helping me get through it all. Ironically, it’s because of COVID that I’ve been able to be with them.

COVID gave us the chance to be with our grandkids for 5 months - Finding Normal - Washington healthplanfinder 2020 #GetCoveredWA #ad

COVID gave us the opportunity to spend five months with our grandkids.

When their daycare closed because of the pandemic, our son and his wife had no options for childcare. My husband and I happily made the move to their little town which is five hours away from our home near Seattle to care for them.

A day playing in the water, dressing up, teaching them to cook, or taking a walk to explore new trails, makes me feel that positive changes are just around the corner. Helping my grandkids understand my mother’s death has also helped me deal with the anger I feel. Children are amazing and have a way of making us rediscover the magic in the simple things in life.

Looking Ahead & Preparing for the Future

But even with all of this upheaval, it’s nice to know that some things haven’t changed. Like the fact that in Washington State, November 1st marks the kickoff for open enrollment time via the Washington Healthplanfinder. The last thing you want to be dealing with right now is figuring out how to pay for medical bills if you’re without coverage. Once a year the opportunity comes up to start, change, or stay with your current plan.  You have from November 1st through December 15th to make your choice for coverage that begins on January 1st so it’s important that you take a few minutes to cover yourself and those you’re responsible for.

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Resources to help you navigate your coverage options

Coverage Basics & Levels of Coverage

Coverage is available in three categories – Bronze, Silver, or Gold. All of the plans are required to offer ten essential health benefits. These include doctor visits, hospital stays, emergency room visits, before and aftercare for maternity, pediatric care, mental health and substance use treatment, prescription drugs, services and devices for disability or chronic conditions, lab tests, preventative services (vaccinations, counseling, screenings, etc), and management for chronic diseases (like asthma or diabetes). See Washington Healthplanfinder Coverage Basics for complete details and exclusions.

Basically, the levels of coverage determine how you budget for the coverage. For example, for lower premiums, you’ll pay more out of pocket. Higher premiums mean you’ll pay less out of pocket. The benefit of this scheme is that you choose the plan that fits your lifestyle. I have two chronic diseases and five prescriptions a month so I need a Gold plan. The benefit to me is that I have a set monthly payment with fewer co-pays. That works for me.

However, if you’re like my husband and don’t use prescriptions and rarely visit a physician, you may want to consider the Bronze category. For this plan, you’ll pay a lower premium for coverage but you may pay out-of-pocket for prescriptions or need to cover larger co-pays for care – more of a pay-as-you-go plan.

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Moving Forward to 2021

I have to think that we’ll get through 2020 somehow and move on to 2021. But before you do, take a few minutes before December 15th to visit Washington Healthplanfinder to secure a plan for your family’s health coverage that starts on January 1st. The peace of mind having insurance brings is priceless. There are so many things we don’t have control of right now, but this is one thing we can control.