Posts Tagged ‘COVID-19’

Worried About Finances During this Pandemic?

Monday, March 23, 2020 @ 02:03 AM  posted by Dr. Siders

Financial stress is a common contributor to overall stress, depression, and anxiety, and it is something we definitely don’t need during this pandemic. But it’s unavoidable when some of us have been laid off or have lost freelance work. This is far from a comprehensive list, but it should get you started thinking about solutions and focusing on your goals rather than your fear.

Help in California

If you’re in California, it’s good to be aware of the new rules around government assistance during the pandemic.

https://edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

I know some of you are thinking you don’t want “handouts.” But keep in mind that your taxes pay for this assistance and some of this assistance is actually structured like insurance… you pay in so that later, if you need it, it will pay you. If you were paying for health insurance and had to go to the hospital, would you decide to not use the insurance you paid for to pay the hospital?  Probably not.  So why deny yourself the unemployment insurance you’ve already paid for?  Decide to use the assistance available to you, and decide early, since applications may take a while to process.

Banding Together

Also, many companies and other groups are banding together to try to help people who are losing work. For example, guilds, charities, and other organizations have been raising money specifically for pandemic assistance, so please check their Web sites and social media for helpful options. We’ve heard of funds for Hollywood assistants, certain stadium workers, Amazon vendors, and so on. Various companies and philanthropists are also donating to community social support. One fund is being set up for daycare assistance for healthcare workers. Some guilds are discussing extending health care benefits for those who may no longer qualify for their guild’s insurance. Check social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), organization Web sites, and local Chamber of Commerce and government Web sites to see if any programs apply to you.

What about Freelancers?

There is a collection of resources for freelancers here: https://covid19freelanceartistresource.wordpress.com/.

Additional Work

Now is not the time to be picky about finding jobs. Be safe, but not picky. Check the usual job Web sites for work-from-home and delivery jobs. Not every company is experiencing a downturn. For example, Amazon is advertising that it needs help (and reportedly has some work-from-home jobs).

Negotiate

To help your dollars stretch farther, consider calling and negotiating with the companies you currently purchase from and suspending or cancelling non-essential services, like entertainment or subscriptions. While this may be hard when you are stuck at home with little to do, you can entertain yourself creatively. You may also be able to negotiate lower rates with various companies if you let them know you have been impacted financially. Or just because market rates are lower than what you are currently paying.  A while back, I noticed a lot of companies offering cellular phone service cheaper than mine, so I called my cell phone company to ask about switching to a different company.  To keep me, they cut my plan rate almost in half.

This type of negotiation is not charity.  This is part of doing business.  Many businesses will lose customers during the pandemic due to financial strain.  Some of them would rather work with you than lose you as a customer as well.  Your willingness to negotiate instead of outright cancel will likely help the business rather than hurt it.

So far, we’ve heard (unconfirmed) that Honda has already set up a program to suspend car payments for a few months during the pandemic. Also, many Anthem Blue Cross plans in California seem to be waiving member copays for telehealth services. So contacting these companies is worth a try.

Get creative, be well, try to stay positive, and if you have more resources to share, please post them in the comments below!

Pandemic Information: I am Open and Offering Teletherapy

Thursday, March 19, 2020 @ 07:03 AM  posted by Dr. Siders

Many of us have been greatly affected by the pandemic, and these sweeping life changes can put us on an emotional roller coaster. It can be a stressful, anxious, and sometimes tragic time. Honestly, I’m feeling stressed, too. But it is also exciting to see how the world has come together during the pandemic, and I have faith that we are going to get through this together.

We are switching to teletherapy for the next few months to help people continue therapy without leaving their homes. We are currently contacting individual clients, and you are welcome to browse our teletherapy pages or contact us for more information.

Also, some people have been unable to work during this crisis. If financial strain may prevent you from getting therapy you need, let’s discuss how I can help with that. Your emotional health is very important, especially right now. It’s also important to do the best you can to eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep, as your overall health affects your emotional health.  I also started a blog entry with additional financial tips that may help.

What is Teletherapy?

Teletherapy is when you use your computer, tablet, or cell phone to have a video conference with your psychologist.   You may be surprised at how easy it is to get started.

Does My Insurance Cover Therapy Using Teletherapy?

The short answer is: it depends. None of the information we have on this Web site or communicate to you is a guarantee of coverage. It is just the best information we have available. We are working with insurance companies to check whether they will cover teletherapy. Some plans already allow for teletherapy. Others are adding it for the COVID-19 quarantine period. So far, here is what we understand is being done (and please bear with us, as things are changing quickly):

  • Medicare is adding a temporary benefit to cover teletherapy during the period of national emergency.
  • Cigna has had some teledoctor benefits, with restrictions, and some of those restrictions are currently being waived and the teletherapy benefit is being extended to most plans through May 31st, 2020.
  • Anthem Blue Cross discusses teletherapy here: https://www.anthem.com/ca/blog/member-news/how-to-protect/.
  • We haven’t heard from other insurance companies, but we are starting to check our clients’ coverage individually.Thanks so much for your trust in me over the years and your patience as we try to provide the best care in the safest manner during these rapidly changing times.