GreatFlorida Insurance - Gena Swanson - Brandon Insurance

Healthcare Insurance Quotes in Brandon, FL

Gena Swanson, Agent


232 Oakfield Drive
Brandon, FL  33511
Fax : 813-982-4078

4.9 of 5 stars - ‎41 reviews
Now loading ...
GreatFlorida Insurance Homeowners Auto Agency in Brandon
Contact your local Agent
Call : 813-982-4077 or

Healthcare Insurance BrandonHealthcare Coverage

Do you need Health Care Insurance?

GreatFlorida Insurance is committed to helping Floridians make informed decisions about their health care. Health insurance is designed to protect individuals and families from the high costs of health care.

Whether you are facing a pre-existing health condition, an emergency situation or just want preventative and wellness care, health insurance will pay part of your costs.

GreatFlorida Insurance offers coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, also known as Florida Blue.

We can help clear up any confusion about recent health reform, the Affordable Care Act, (ACA) and answer any of your questions concerning health care.

How does health insurance work?

Your health insurance plan is a contract between you and your insurance company.

You pay a monthly bill called a premium for the health plan and the insurance company agrees to pay part of the costs for covered medical services.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has four levels of coverage, bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

The plans have varying costs and coverage to meet your needs and budget. Another option includes a Catastrophic Plan for single people under 30 who qualify through financial hardships.

GreatFlorida Insurance can help you understand your choice of plans and options for health care through Florida Blue.

We will help you apply for and enroll in a plan that works best for you.

Affordable Care Act

In March 2010, President Obama signed into law, comprehensive health reform, Affordable Care Act, (ACA). The law makes preventative care more accessible and affordable for many Americans.

The health care law is designed to provide better benefits and expanding coverage while creating a stronger Medicare program.

What if I do not get health insurance in 2014?

If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you will be penalized and must pay a fee. The fee in 2014 is 1 percent of your yearly income or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher.

The fee increases every year. In 2016 it is 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person, whichever is higher. In 2014 the payment for uninsured children is $47.50 per child.

New Options Include:

Floridians can find out if they are eligible for lower costs for private insurance or health programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, (CHIP) and enroll in health coverage.

Parents can keep their children on their health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.

Insurers can no longer deny coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions such as asthma or diabetes.

In 2014, health insurers will no longer be able to charge more or deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition.

Health insurance companies now have to spend at least 80 cents of your premium dollar on health care or improvements to care or provide you with a refund.

Insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more.

Insurance companies are banned from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits. The law also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014.

Preventative services such as colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits and flu shots for all children and adults, will be covered with no deductible or co-pay required.

Increases funding to community health centers

Strengthens Medicare Program

Increasing coverage for brand name and generic drugs

No deductibles or co-pays for preventative services seniors and people with disabilities

Extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by ten years

Simply call 813-982-4077 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Health Care Insurance Agent in Brandon will help you find the best deal for you.

Get a Quote Online
Call 813-982-4077
Florida Healthcare  Insurance Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance

Health trends come and go. There is an overwhelming amount of “health information” available as of late. Social media is the vehicle on which a new healthy trend will ride into mainstream. They are complete with testimonials and before and after photos but, how do you know if they are legit?

“Some trends can be healthy and some end up being dangerous,” comments, Ellsworth Buck Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance agency.

We will look at some recent health and weight loss trends that amount to much of nothing.

Apple Cider Vinegar is being touted as a practical cure-all for everything from weight loss to lowering cholesterol. Some believe the fiber-rich pectin from the ACV, can aid in losing weight. ABC News reports, most claims have never been proven. Apple cider vinegar could improve glucose control along with increasing potassium, but it is very acidic and disrupts with medication absorption.

Gluten-free diet– a gluten free diet is recommended for sufferers of celiac disease (1 percent of the population) and those with a gluten sensitivity. Gluten- free products are heavily processed and contain far fewer nutrients. They often lack vitamins such as calcium, fiber and iron.

So-called Natural Sweeteners– Those include; agave, maple syrup and honey. While agave has a low glycemic index and won’t cause erratic spikes in blood sugar, it isn’t healthy. The bottom line, sugar is sugar. According to the American Heart Association, fructose found in fruit and lactose, found in milk are the only naturally occurring sugars.

“Several studies show, sugar is the most detrimental ingredient to our diets,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance agency.

Coconut oil-It seems like yesterday everyone was saying coconut oil is a super food. People were cooking vegetables in it, spreading it on toast and putting it in their coffee. However, coconut oil hardens like butter because it is a highly saturated fat. Treat it like butter and eat it in moderation.

Juicing– When fruits and vegetables are squeezed into juice, their fiber is removed.

Detoxing-Detox diets and drinks promise to flush your body of unwanted toxins. According to WebMD, “Toxins don’t build up in your liver, kidneys or any other part of your body.” Your body naturally detoxes itself when you use the bathroom. Save your money. Clean eating is the best thing you can do for your overall health.

Alternative milks– Almond milk and coconut milk have grown in popularity over the years as an alternative for the lactose intolerant. Keep in mind, it has much less protein than regular milk and contains lots of additives. Also, many are sweetened with added sugars. Make sure to purchase the unsweetened type.


GreatFlorida Insurance is a authorized vendor of health insurance for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

GreatFlorida Insurance is a authorized vendor of health insurance for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.



The post Health trends to ditch appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

Merchandise from beauty products to bubble wrap, are awash in pink or bearing a pink ribbon, reminding us that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

“Sometimes I wonder, is the pink for marketing purposes or is the company really contributing to breast cancer research and support,” considers Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

Questioning the validity of product contributions and charities is responsible when it comes to making philanthropic decisions. Charity Navigator, a charity assessment organization, has reviewed the financial health of the largest organizations working to fight and prevent breast cancer in America. “Although these charities have been very successful at generating support, together raising more than $1.68 billion annually in contributions, the disparity in their financial health is enormous,” says Charity Navigator. Inefficient operations and the lack of accountability and transparency are the main reason many charities miss the mark. Check out their website to find out which organizations and products are truly making a difference.

A new report from the American Cancer Society find that death rates from breast cancer have dropped 39 percent in the United States, between 1989-2015. The decline is attributed to both improvement in treatments and early detection by mammograms.

“An annual mammogram is considered preventative screening. Women age 40 and older have it fully covered by their insurance no matter their deductible or co-pay,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent health insurance agency.

There is a heated debate in our country over when to get a mammogram. Some experts say 40, some say 45, while others say 50. Your best bet is to discuss it with your personal doctor. Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation explains, between 40-49, breast tissue is typically still dense and dense tissue shows up on the mammogram as white, the same color as cancer. This results in false positives and unnecessary biopsies. Generally, after 50, dense tissue is replaced with fatty tissue which is gray, making it easier to identify the cancer.

While great improvements are being made in ending and curing breast cancer, it is still a frightening diagnosis to receive. There are a lot of misunderstandings about breast cancer. Below are some common misconceptions about the disease and the facts.

Myth: If you get breast cancer you will die.

Breast cancer is not a death sentence. By the end of 2017, an estimated 252,710 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. 40,610 women will die from it. African-American women have a higher death rate than white women, while Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander women have much lower incidence and death rates.

Myth: Only women with a family history are at risk.

85 to 90 percent of breast cancer patients have no family history of breast cancer. Risk generally increases with age.

Myth: Underwire bras, sports bras, tight bras or wearing a bra to bed increases your risk.


Myth: Smaller breasted women have less chance of getting breast cancer.

Size does not matter

Myth: Breast cancer comes in the form of a lump.

Breast cancer can be in the form of a lump but women should look for other changes in the breast that may be signs of cancer. These include: swelling, skin irritation, dimpling, breast or nipple pain, nipple inversion, redness, scaliness, thickening of the nipple or breast skin, or a discharge other than breast milk.

Myth: Breast cancer is preventable.

Unfortunately, no. Although, healthy lifestyle changes can help to lower your risk. They include: maintaining a healthy weight, be physically active, limit alcohol and avoid tobacco.

Sources: American Cancer Society, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation


Plan ahead with affordable and dependable health coverage for you and your family. Contact GreatFlorida Insurance today.

The post Breast Cancer: Discerning fact from fiction appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

Florida has the highest shark activity of any other region in the world.

In 2016, 53 unprovoked shark attacks occurred in the U.S., according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File (ISAF). Thankfully there were no deaths from the attacks. Florida, suffered the most with 32 assaults. In fact, most shark attacks happen in Volusia and Brevard counties.

“While the idea of a shark attack is terrifying, it is extremely rare,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance agency. Experts believe there is a greater chance of being killed by lightning or an asteroid. ISAF reports the chances of being involved in a shark attack are one in 11.5 million.

The species most likely to attack?

Bigger species of sharks usually inflict the most severe injuries to victims. The most common species involved in an unprovoked attack include, the great white, tiger and bull sharks. Notably, great whites and bull sharks will sometimes swim close to shore or in shallow waters.

GW shark

What if you see a shark while in the water?

Paul de Gelder, former Australian Navy Diver and shark attack survivor counseled Outside Magazine, if you see a shark, steady your breathing. He also advised, “Losing your cool and thrashing around is the easiest way to join the ocean’s food chain.”

What is the course of action if you find yourself in the midst of an attack?

“Hitting a shark on the tip of the snout is a good idea, but this is effective only prior to an actual bite. Afterwards, clawing at the gills and eyes is the best possible strategy. By this time, the shark is fully into its attack behavioral sequence, and only the weakest, most sensitive areas are vulnerable. Always demonstrate strength- there’s no such thing as playing dead around a shark!”

-George Burgess, Director of the Florida Program for Shark Research and curator for ISAF, told to Outside Magazine.

“If you are around when someone is attacked, put basic skills to the test. Call 911 and apply as much pressure as possible to the injured area,” advises Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

Preventing a shark encounter

Do not swim alone.

Steer clear of the water at night when sharks are most active.

Do not go in the water if you are bleeding.

Avoid wearing shiny jewelry. The reflected light looks like fish scales to a shark.

Keep a good distance from fishing piers or where people are fishing.

Stay away from areas where seabirds are diving for baitfish or fish are jumping.

Do not splash a lot.

Heed beach flags.

Get out of the water if you see sharks.

Be cautious swimming between sandbars and around drop offs.

 Source: Florida Museum of Natural History

GreatFlorida Insurance is committed to helping Floridians stay healthy. Our experienced agents can offer you and your family quality health insurance through Florida Blue. Call us at 888-478-7801 or go online to for a free quote today.


The post Shark Watch appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

Living in the Sunshine State, most Floridians depend on sunscreens to remedy our over exposure to the sun.

“You cannot spend the day at the beach or on a boat without slathering up sun protection almost immediately, unless you want a sunburn,” warns Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

But are we misinformed? It seems too much value is placed on the effectiveness of sunblock.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG), points out, “Sunscreen products are not as good as they should be. Today’s sunscreens do not fully protect skin from all types of ultraviolet(UV) damage.”download (1)

After speaking with doctors who are conducting research on the use of sunscreen, Reuters concluded,” There isn’t much evidence to conclusively prove that daily sunscreen use can prevent most skin cancers.”

The reason for the lack of reliable information on sunscreen gets down to ethics. Physicians and researchers feel it is unethical to ask people to sit in the sun unprotected for hours while they record data, potentially placing them at risk.

Despite the lack of information, doctors urge the public to continue using sunscreens until more substantial data emerges. Information that is currently used is based on questionnaires from skin cancer sufferers.

The EWG recommends sunscreen as a last resort. Other ways to keep skin protected include:

Covering up with clothes and a hat

Plan activities around the sun – early morning or evening

Find or make shade

Sunglasses are essential

“Skin cancers are generally a result of overexposure to UV rays” reminds Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency reminds,

According to The American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. More skin cancers are diagnosed in the U.S. each year than all other cancers combined. In fact, the number of skin cancer cases has been going up over the past few decades.

While sunscreens might not be the cure we were hoping for, it is necessary to protect your skin from the powerful Florida sun. Below you can find links to highly rated sunscreens by Consumer Reports and EWG.

Consumer Reports 2017 Sunscreen Buying Guide

EWG’s 2017 Guide to Sunscreens

If you are looking for affordable health insurance give GreatFlorida Insurance a call.







The post Are sunscreens worth it? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

After spending a good amount of money and time planning your ideal trip you might be thinking of  purchasing travel insurance. But, you might already be covered.

Homeowners insurance, renters insurance, auto insurance and medical insurance follows you on vacation,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent homeowners insurance provider. That includes; rental cars, illness, stolen items, lost luggage, accidental injuries and property damage. Before you buy travel insurance, check your policy and see what is currently covered. You want to avoid paying for insurance coverage beyond what is necessary.

Medical coverage

Your current health insurance policy could provide adequate coverage on your travels. Check coverage in the area you are headed. You might be surprised to find doctors and facilities that accept your health insurance even overseas.  The U.S. Department of State urges international travelers to make sure they have health insurance where they are traveling. Many foreign doctors and hospitals require cash payment and emergency medical evacuation can cost up to $100,000. Also, Medicare is not available outside of the country.

While illness is covered during your travels, a pre-existing medical condition might not be. This is a detail you will need to review with your insurance agent.

Lost or stolen items

It is a pain to arrive at your destination without your luggage. The U.S. Department of Transportation limits lost baggage claims to $3300. Keep in mind, airlines account for depreciation of your stuff so if you are traveling with golf clubs or pricey camera equipment you might want to make sure your luggage is covered. Stolen items and lost luggage are reimbursed under your homeowners insurance and renters insurance policy.

“Make sure to know your insurance coverage deductibles and limits before taking off on vacation,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

Rental cars

Auto insurance will extend to a rental vehicle. If you cause an accident while driving a rental car, the liability portion of your auto insurance would cover the damages to other cars or property.

Travel insurance

One of the most common misconceptions about travel insurance is the idea that you can cancel for any reason and be reimbursed. Travel insurance will reimburse you on a majority but not all expenses. Like other insurance policies, the amount you pay for travel insurance will depend on a few variables. The type of coverage you choose, how many people are traveling in your party, age, destination and the length of travel. You can expect to pay 5 to 15 percent of the cost of our trip. The deductible amount is usually $200.

Make sure you are not paying for insurance you already own. Check out your current health insurance, auto insurance, renters insurance and homeowners insurance policy to see how much you are covered for while on vacation.

Contact GreatFlorida Insurance for all your insurance needs today.




The post Are you insured on vacation? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

When most people experience pain, they reach into the medicine cabinet for a bottle of over-the-counter pain killer. But, not all pain medications are created equal.

“Choosing the right OTC pain killer will depend on what type of pain you are experiencing,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance provider.

As a matter of fact, some pain relievers are best for reducing pain and fevers, while others contain an anti-inflammatory, best for treating sore muscles and reducing swelling. The Business Insider also suggests considering your medical history along with what you have recently had to eat or drink.

They break down, what OTC pain medications are most effective in treating your specific pain.

Tylenol– most effective for headaches

Aleve– helpful for a hangover and arthritis

Advil– best for a fever, menstrual cramps, a hangover, sore muscles, sinusitis, ear and toothaches

painkillers chart_02

“Over the counter medications have side effects and should not be used as a permanent solution to pain,” reminds Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance provider.

Even though these pain medications are available without a prescription, they can still cause harmful side effects. Tylenol (Acetaminophen) can worsen liver problems. While, Advil (Ibuprofen), Aleve (Naproxen sodium) and Aspirin (Acetylsalicylic acid) can exacerbate stomach, GI or kidney issues. All these pain relievers except for aspirin, can increase your risk for heart problems according to professionals at the Mayo Clinic.

To avoid harmful side effects, try exploring natural options for pain relief.  If you are experiencing pain due to arthritis, exercise, weight loss, heat and cold therapy as well as physical therapy could be useful.

Pain is the body’s signal that something is wrong. It can be temporary and minor or it could be an indication of a more serious health issue. Do not hesitate seeing a medical professional for an evaluation to diagnose the source of your pain. Bear in mind, the internet is full of useful information but it cannot take the place of a doctor’s exam.

GreatFlorida Insurance provides different levels of health insurance plans through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida. Discover an individual or family plan that fits your budget and healthcare needs.


The post Advil, Tylenol, or Aleve? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

Blooming trees along with warmer and longer days, let us know spring is around the corner. Unfortunately, for many Floridians spring is miserable due to allergies.

“This time of year, many people mistake their allergies for being sick, says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

Common seasonal allergy symptoms include: an itching nose, roof of mouth, throat and eyes, sneezing, a stuffy nose or congestion, runny nose, red and tearing eyes along with dark circles or bags under the eyes.


The pollen forecast for Florida shows high pollen counts since the beginning of this month, according to, a website dedicated to providing allergy information and pollen forecasts. In spring, grasses and tree pollen are the widespread cause of hay fever or seasonal allergies. Currently, tree pollen from oak, juniper, elm and bayberry trees are the offenders.

“Keep in mind, for people with asthma, pollen allergies can cause flare-ups,” reminds Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent health insurance agency.

To fight off those annoying allergy symptoms, allergist suggest taking allergy mediation every day during allergy season starting in March or February, before you experience symptoms.

Other practices can help you control allergy symptoms such as:

Washing your hands often and keeping them away from your face.

When you come inside take a shower to get rid of the pollen from your skin and hair.

Men should shave regularly.

Keep windows closed.

Limit outdoor activities on days with a high pollen count.

Vacuum your home regularly.

Climate factors can influence how bad your symptoms might be. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) reports, “Mild winter temperatures cause plants to pollinate early. While a rainy spring can promote rapid plant growth and lead to an increase in mold growth causing symptoms to last well into the fall.”

Keep the following in mind if you suffer from seasonal allergies

Tree and grass pollen thrive during cool nights and warm days

Molds grow quickly in heat and high humidity

Pollen levels tend to peak in the morning hours

Rain washes pollen away but pollen counts can soar after rainfall

On a day with no wind, airborne allergens are grounded

GreatFlorida Insurance can provide the ideal health insurance policy you and your family needs. Give us a call today.

GreatFlorida Insurance is a authorized vendor of health insurance for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

GreatFlorida Insurance is a authorized vendor of health insurance for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

The post Beat Spring Allergies appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.