How Serious Is Tuberculosis?

You’ve probably heard of Tuberculosis (or TB): you might have been vaccinated against it, if you have children, you might have had to get them vaccinated before sending them to school. And depending on your job, you might even get tested for it annually. But you’ve probably never had it, or even known anyone who has had it, since it is not that prevalent in the U.S. It is a pretty serious disease, though, so this World Tuberculosis Day (March 24), let’s take a deeper look at this disease, what causes it, and why it is so important to get vaccinated, or treated immediately if you do contract TB.

What is Tuberculosis?

green bacteria that looks like little worms
Tuberculosis is highly infectious and can cause serious complications.

Tuberculosis is a highly infectious bacterial disease that primarily affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, kidneys, or spine. According to the World Health Organization, 1.5 million people died from tuberculosis in 2020, making it the 13th leading cause of death globally. Currently, it is the second main cause of death by an infectious disease, after Covid-19. It is a curable and preventable disease, under the right conditions. 

Causes & Risk Factors

Although tuberculosis is a bacterial infection, and not a virus, it is transmitted by airborne particles. The bacteria that causes TB, M. tuberculosis bacteria, is spread through droplets expelled by sneezing, coughing, laughing, etc. 

In most cases, people who become infected with TB can no longer transmit the bacteria after receiving the appropriate treatment for at least 2 weeks. It is important to note that people with well-functioning immune systems might experience what is known as latent TB, meaning they do not experience symptoms even though they have contracted the disease.

On the other hand, people with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop active tuberculosis. Risk factors that can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to tuberculosis, include:

  • Diabetes or end-stage kidney disease
  • Head and neck cancer 
  • Using tobacco products or alcohol for long periods
  • HIV or any other immune system compromising disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Medications that suppress the immune system 
  • Travel to regions with high tuberculosis rates, including India, Mexico, China, parts of Russia, some Southeast Asian islands, and sub-Saharan Africa. 


Tuberculosis can be identified by a few different tests, including a skin test, a blood test, or both. If you experience symptoms or know that you have come in contact with someone who has tuberculosis even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, it is important to go get tested right away. A healthcare professional will ask about any symptoms, as well your medical history, and will listen to your lungs, check for swelling in your lymph nodes, and then conduct a skin test and/or blood test. person's arm getting a TB shot in it

For the skin test, your doctor will inject a small amount of protein under the top layer of your skin; after two to three days, they will check for a welt on your skin at the injection site, which indicates a positive result. If you have a health condition that could affect your response to the skin test, your doctor might recommend that you first get a blood test. 

How TB is Treated

If your tuberculosis test comes back positive, you will be prescribed antibiotics, which you will need to take once a week for 12 weeks. But if you are suffering from active TB, you might have to take drugs for 6 to 9 months. It is important to complete the full course of antibiotics, even if the symptoms go away, because if you stop taking the medication too soon, the bacteria can survive and become resistant to antibiotics. 


The best way to prevent TB is to get vaccinated if it is deemed necessary – for example, if you are traveling somewhere with a high volume of cases. If you do come in contact with someone with TB, it is important to get tested immediately, so you can begin treatment, and so you know if you need to stay away from other people until there is no longer a risk. 

Tuberculosis is a contagious disease, and can be life-threatening if not treated quickly and appropriately, but in most cases, it is treatable, especially when detected early. Treatment and vaccines for TB and other infectious diseases can be expensive, especially if you don’t have health insurance, or if you don’t have a comprehensive plan. If you’re in this situation, EZ can help: we offer a wide range of health insurance plans from top-rated insurance companies in every state. And because we work with so many companies and can offer all of the plans available in your area, we can find you a plan that saves you a lot of money – even hundreds of dollars – even if you don’t qualify for a subsidy. There is no obligation, or hassle, just free quotes on all available plans in your area. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a local agent, call 888-350-1890.

The Complete Guide to Open Enrollment for Employers

It’s here! Open Enrollment for your group health insurance plan has come around again, running from November 1 – December 15. Now is the time when you can choose new benefits, or review and change existing health insurance benefits for your employees, and we get it: this time of year can be hectic and stressful, with all of the questions that employees (and you!) might have. Not only that, but you’ve got the weight on your shoulders of knowing that this is your one chance to get this done until next year! But don’t worry, we’ve got you – first, check out our tips below for a smooth Open Enrollment, and then speak to an EZ agent who can help you find the perfect plan for you and your employees. 

employees sitting at desks in an office
To qualify for group health insurance, your business must have at least 1 full time employee other than yourself or your spouse.

Does Your Small Business Qualify for Group Health Insurance?

Let’s start with the basics. If you’re new to offering group health insurance to your employees, you might be wondering how you qualify to offer it. Well, it’s actually pretty simple, and more likely than not, your business will qualify! You need to:

  • Have at least one full-time employee who is not the business owner, or the spouse of the business owner
  • Be legally registered as a business entity in your state (regulation for this varies from state to state)
  • Contribute at least 50% to your employees’ monthly premiums

Why Take Advantage of Open Enrollment?

Ok, so your business qualifies to offer group health insurance, but should you? And if you’ve already got a plan in place, why review it during Open Enrollment? Well, there are a few very good reasons to do both:

  • You and your employees can save money – Enrolling in a group health insurance plan is often cheaper than enrolling in an individual plan. Not only that, but the more employees you can get to sign up, the cheaper the plan could be.
  • Changes in life circumstances mean changes in insurance needs – If you do already offer group health, you definitely need to take advantage of Open Enrollment and use this time to reassess your and your employees’ needs. Has anything major changed, like births, deaths, or marriages? If so, you might be able to find a plan that offers better or more tailored coverage for a better price.
  • Group health can mean tax advantagesWho doesn’t love to save on their taxes? Take this time to look into ways you could be saving, like checking if you qualify for the small business health care tax credit, or by choosing to offer tax-advantaged healthcare options, like HSAs, FSAs, or HRAs. 

What Should You Be Thinking About When Choosing a Plan?

Another important basic step in the process: knowing what you should be thinking about when exploring your options. Here are 4 essential factors that should go into your decision-making process:woman in a blue button up shirt with her hand on her chin and question marks around her

  • Costs associated with the plan – You’ll want to consider how much employees want to pay in premiums, while also remembering that you have to contribute at least 50% of the amount each month. Also keep in mind things like deductibles, copays, and coinsurance that can all add up, depending on how often your employees access medical services. 
  • The metal tiers of available plansFamiliarize yourself with the so-called metal tiers of plans: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. These terms have nothing to do with quality of care, rather they indicate what percentage of costs a plan will pay for covered benefits. For example, popular Silver plans will usually cover around 70% of costs, with the insured paying the remaining 30%. 
  • The type of plan you want – In addition to choosing a metal tier, you’ll also have to consider what type of plan you want to offer to your employees. For example, you can choose from HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO plans; each of these types of plan will offer different price points, since some are more flexible about things like network coverage.
  • Insurance companies – Check out which insurance companies offer plans in your area, and what their networks look like; you want to be sure that they offer affordable care in locations that are convenient for your employees.

What Should Employees Consider?

So you know what you need to be thinking about, but are you ready to answer your employees’ questions, or take on their concerns? You can help guide them in choosing or changing their plan by telling them to take the following factors into consideration:

  • The price of the plan – Let your employees know exactly how much the plan will cost them per paycheck.
  • Their dependents – Your employees should think about who they will need to have covered by their plan, especially if they plan on adding on family members in the coming year, or if they have added any new household members since last year. You’ll also need to make clear your policy on contributing to dependent coverage.person with a megaphone and exclamation points coming out of it
  • Any changes in coverage – Make sure your employees know what is covered under the plan, especially if there is anything new being added, like dental or vision coverage. 
  • Any added benefits – In addition, if your plan is going to have any new benefits, like telemedicine or wellness programs, let your employees know.

Top Tips for Employers

Group health insurance can seem a bit overwhelming, especially since studies show that 35% of employees have little to no understanding of their healthcare coverage! Not only that, but  22% of employees are confused during open enrollment, 20% are anxious, and 21% are stressed, so it can be tough to know how to approach this subject. But there are some ways to make the process go a little more smoothly. For example, you can:

  • Go digital – You don’t have to print out reams of paper, or have endless meetings with employees about benefits (which might be tough with all of the work-from-home going on right now)! Save paper, toner, and your and your employees’ sanity by offering everything in PDF form, and by considering holding a virtual benefits fair, which employees will be able to access when it works for them from the comfort of their home. 
  • Keep it simple – When emailing employees about their benefits, be as concise as possible, with price per paycheck and benefits clearly laid out, using language that is easy to understand. You can also include any FAQ sheets you get from your insurer or agent, as well as a glossary of terms and acronyms. 
  • Send out a surveyWhile you do have to be careful about privacy when it comes to employees’ health, there is no reason why you can’t send out an anonymous survey to find out what your employees are most interested in when it comes to their insurance plan, so you can either make a choice to change the plan you’re offering, or can recommend the right plan to them.
  • Be creative with your communication – Email is great, but you have tons of options when it comes to follow-up communication and reminders about enrollment, including:person sitting at a table with their cell phone in their hands
    • Text messages
    • Posters
    • A dedicated intranet webpage
    • Videos on screens in common spaces
    • Notices on paychecks (both hard checks and online)
    • A chat channel, through a platform like Slack
    • A Twitter chat, complete with hashtags that other employees can search

Yes, it’s Open Enrollment time again, what some might consider the most confusing time of the year. But you know? You got this, and we’ve got your back if you need help choosing, reviewing, or changing your employees’ healthcare plan. Come to EZ.Insure for a dedicated agent who can answer all of your questions, every step of the way, as well as find you fast, accurate quotes and sign you up for a great plan – all for free! No hassle, no obligation. To get started with us today, simply enter your zip code in the bar above or to speak to an agent, call 888-350-1890.

Is Medicare For All Coming? Here’s Why You Should Check Your Insurance Options Now!

The Medicare for All debate is full of disagreements between politicians in regards to it’s future. Some Democrats advocate for the single-payer healthcare system that would eliminate private health insurance companies, while others push for a government option. Republicans, on the other hand, are in favor of sticking with a private system and getting rid of the ACA. All of this uncertainty about the future of health insurance brings an uneasy feeling. Medicare for All might happen, and the ACA might disappear. No matter what the outcome, health insurance is in a safe place right now with affordable plans. There is no better time than now to check your insurance options and find a good policy. 

What Is Medicare For All?

group of people with a huge red heart in the babkground
Medicare for All is a government-run system that would replace private health insurance offered through employers.

Under Medicare for All, a government-run system would replace private health insurance offered through employers. This single-payer system would be paid for by tax dollars, and Americans would no longer pay premiums, deductibles, or any point-of-service costs for healthcare. While some see this as a good thing that would ensure healthcare for everyone, others see it as a potential disaster that would cost too much and create long wait times for care. 

A poll from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that 56% of Americans support Medicare for All. When people were told it could lead to higher taxes, support fell to 37%. When asked whether they would still support it if it led to delays in care, the number fell to 25%. 

However, as of now, talks of Medicare for All have been silenced; in fact, any talk regarding the future of health insurance for the U.S has been notably nonexistent. Where will this leave the health insurance industry after elections? Where will this leave you? Will Medicare for All take over? Will you have the option for private insurance, and if so, will the prices rise to unobtainable rates?

The Future Of The ACA Marketplace

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans have a less concrete plan for how to move forward. Their plan is still pushing for the repeal of the ACA: Republicans have been trying to get rid of the ACA since it was introduced by former President Obama. As of now, 18 Republican attorneys general are still planning to participate in a lawsuit that could mean the repeal of the Affordable Care Act within a year. If the ACA were to be dismantled, over 20 million Americans would lose health insurance. 

black question marks on a black floor with 2 red ones on it too

The threat of repeal is causing uncertainty about the future of healthcare because, as of now, no Republican lawmakers have proposed a replacement plan. 

A Lot Of Uncertainty

Medicare for All is a faraway dream (or nightmare, depending on who you ask) right now, and both political parties have been generally vague about their future plans for healthcare. It is better to be covered now with a secured policy than wait until the industry changes, when there are likely going to be fewer options for coverage and higher prices. Even insurers are uncertain about prices and what they expect healthcare to look like. Usually they have an idea, but not this time. 

yellow street sign that says now and later underneath it crossed out with a red line

One thing that is certain is that there are still affordable ACA plans and private health insurance plans available. Currently there are a range of plans, with different coverage and prices that can meet your health and financial needs. Recently, more ACA insurance companies announced that they have expanded into new counties around the U.S. This means there are more options than ever for getting covered. It’s a good time to take advantage of the choices available and get grandfathered into a plan, in case the insurance market changes drastically in the future.

Doing the research can be a lot of work. It can feel overwhelming when you have to compare different plans to find the one that meets your needs. We get it, and that is why EZ.Insure is here to help. We won’t try to make a profit off of your confusion, we just want to help you make an informed decision. We will provide you with your own agent, who will go over all of the coverage options and prices, and guide you towards the best plan for you for free. To get started, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly to an agent, call 888-350-1890

Group Health Plan VS Group Health Insurance Plan

Group health plan, and group health insurance plan. These two words are used interchangeably, because they are almost the same thing. Almost. There are some key differences between the two. One is actual health insurance, while the other is a blanket term for different kinds of group plans. Knowing the difference will help you can use the terms correctly in conversation, without confusion.

Group Health Plan

a drawing of a light red umbrella
Group health plan is an umbrella term used to define different kinds of employer-provided benefits plans.

A group health plan, in a way, is an umbrella term. It is a term used to define different kinds of employer-provided benefits plans. This includes group health insurance plans, self-insured health plans, and self-insured medical reimbursement plans. 

Group Health Insurance Plan

A group health insurance plan is a plan that provides actual health insurance coverage, and not just a general term like group health plan. Group health insurance plans are purchased by employers to be given to their employees  that are eligible and their dependents. 

Group health insurance is usually job-based, and can be a number of different kinds of plans such as HMO, PPO, POS, etc. 

When referring to a group health plan, you can be talking about different kinds of employer-based plans. But if you refer to a group health insurance plan, you are talking about a plan that provides insurance coverage.

Looking For A Group Insurance Plan?

Because there are so many different group health insurance plans to choose from, and from many different companies, it can be time consuming, and downright frustrating. There are different things that go into what affects the premiums for your employees. 

red location symbol over a colorful map
Your business’ location factors into your group health insurance premiums.

Factors That Affect Premiums

  • Business Location–  This factor takes an average number from one overall area, meaning if you live in a more expensive state, then it will be used as an excuse to raise your premium. Here is more information on the most expensive states that you can operate in. 
  • Enrollee’s Age– Like any health coverage, insurance companies judge heavily on age. The rule is set for a 21-year-old as the standard. The coverage grows in response to being older or younger than this.

Trying to figure out which plan is best to go with is not easy. It is best to have an experienced and qualified insurance agent help you with comparing plans, and how to get you the most for your money. EZ.Insure can assist with figuring everything out and making sure you get the best plan for your budget. Your agent will answer any questions you have, compare the plans for you, and even sign you up, free of charge. To get started simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or you can speak to an agent by emailing or calling 888-998-2027. EZ.Insure makes the entire process easy, and quick.