Insurance by Leanna

Information on life and health policies, annuities, worker's compensation, and liability products

Health Care Reform Update

Here are some updates regarding the health care reform legislation. However, there are still opponents fighting the law and with the November election, this law could be completely scrapped. None of these updates are set in stone.

 

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In 2013:                                                         

  • For high-income earners ($200,000, $250,000 joint), there will be a Medicare payroll tax increase of 0.9%.
  • For high-income earners, there will be an additional 3.8% tax on their net investment income.
  • There will be an elimination of the employer deduction for Medicare Part D subsidy.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts will be limited to $2500 max.
  • There will be a medical expense deduction to 10%.

In 2014:

  • On the majority of plans that small businesses will purchase, there will be an $8 billion tax. It does not apply to self-insured plans.
  • Premium credits will begin and the government will begin subsidizing individuals up to 400% of the poverty line.
  • Individuals without government approved insurance will pay a tax.
  • Employers will be required to provide coverage for 50 or more full-time employees. Employers will be subjected to penalties in the following scenarios:
  1. If more than 50 full-time employees and the company does not offer insurance, with one or more employees receiving premium subsidies. Penalty: $2,000/full-time employee (not including the first 30 employees).
  2. If more than 50 full-time employees and the company offers insurance with one or more employees receiving premium subsidies. Penalty: The lesser of $3,000/subsidized employee or $2,000/full-time employee (minus the first 30 employees).
  3. If more than 50 full-time employees and the company offers insurance, with no employees receiving premium subsidies there is no penalty on employer. All non-grandfathered and Exchange health plans are required to meet federally mandated levels of coverage.
  4. If 50 or fewer full-time employees: No penalty or requirement to offer insurance. Those who qualify for the employer tax credit must purchase a plan from the exchange
  5. New counting requirements for part-time employees: Part-time employees’ hours will be converted into full-time equivalents for calculations of compliance and determination of penalties. For example, if six employees each work five hours per week, they will count as if the firm had one additional full-   time employee.
  • State based health exchanges must be available to provide a choice for employers and individuals.
  • The insurance reforms will go into effect. Insurers cannot deny an individual coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Limits are applied to out-of-pocket cost-sharing and all insurance plans must government defined coverage information. Modified community rating standards will also go into effect for both individual and family coverage.
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Health Care Reform? So what.

So, as everyone is WELL aware; the Supreme Court passed Obama’s health care law. I do not want this blog to get political as I founded this blog as a place for people to share information about the insurance industry. However, I think there is a lot of hoopla happening over nothing.

There are a few questions that still need to be answered:

Will this law even stay in force? What if Obama is removed from office by Romney (which will likely be the case)? Will Romney act on repealing “Obamacare” as he was quoted when the news broke that this law was passed?

Also, most of these changes do not even come into effect until 2014. I think everyone needs to settle down and take the changes (if there are any permanent ones) as they come.

In the meantime….

This article by Joyce Rosenberg writes about the worries of small businesses and how these new laws will effect them. She explains the options small businesses will have including:

Pay for coverage

Accept the penalties if they don’t

OR, find ways to avoid the law.

It seems that most small businesses are continuing to wait for their options.

I would love to hear from the insurance industry and small businesses your ideas and opinions about this new law. Please feel free to comment below.

Young Doctors Are Unhappy With Health Care Reform

Young Doctors Are Unhappy With Health Care Reform.

Young Doctors Are Unhappy With Health Care Reform

A new survey by The Physicians Foundation, found that almost 50% of doctors 40 years old and under believed that the new  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will hinder their practices. Overall, 57% feel pessimistic about the U.S. Health Care System and are concerned with increased regulatory burdens and medical liability insurance premiums.

Could the U.S. Health Care System be discouraging doctors from practicing and if so, what does this mean for patients? With the bureaucratic demands of today’s doctors, they simply do not have the time to work with and properly care for their patients.  Patients are still allowed only 15 to 20 minutes with their primary care physicians and doctors are burdened by the extreme amounts of administrative work associated with each patient visit.

Most doctors are unhappy with these changes and the studies prove it.

According to the Physicians Foundation, 56% of physicians believe that health reform will have a negative impact  on patient care.

The U.S. continues to “McDonaldize” every aspect of this country, from fast food to our health care. Doctors are forced to see as many patients as possible in the shortest amount of time.  Physicians will have to balance their increasing duties and patient care with the health care reform and  it’s not surprising that patients are seeing their doctors less and less.

According to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, the country’s total health care spending in 2009 and 2010 decreased 4% annually. In 2010, health care spending as a share of overall economic activity leveled off at just under 18% of the gross domestic product. Does this mean that consumers are realizing that the U.S. health care system is lacking and are becoming wiser in their health care decisions? We can only hope.

Having trouble sleeping? Take a look at the full text version of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Physicians Foundation examines the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on physician practices in the U.S.

Preventing Dog Bites

In honor of National Dog Bite Prevention Week here is some information on preventing dog bites. Lets save our beloved canines and ourselves from injury.

According to the Insurance Information Institute dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims paid in 2011. Guess how much those claims cost the insurance companies….$479 million.  A lot of money considering the majority of those claims were preventable.

Since prevention is a major part of the insurance business, here are some steps to prevent dog bites that can help keep you, your children, and your animals safe.

  •  Never approach an unknown dog without first getting permission from the owner.
  • Think about a dog and its instinct…they are natural hunters. Do not turn your back from an aggressive dog and try to run. The dog may chase, catch, and bite you.
  • Never touch a dog that is sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy, or mothering puppies. A dog can be very territorial and attack if they feel threatened.
  • In general use common sense around strange and familiar dogs.

What to do if you think the dog may attack:

  • Resist screaming and running away. Remember the animals’ instinct is to chase you.
  • Be still with your hands at your side and avoid any eye contact with the dog.
  • If the dog loses interest, slowly back away and avoid eye contact until the dog is out of sight.
  • If the dog lunges at you and tries to attack, give him something to grab onto; your jacket, purse, anything that gets between you and the dog.
  • If you are knocked to the ground or fall, curl into fetal position and try to remain still and silent.

I hope that this information educates both dog owners and non-dog owners. Dog bite claims can be prevented as long as people are educated.

Making the Sale

As I gain experience in the insurance sales world, I am constantly searching for modern and successful sales techniques. I think it is extremely important for producers, brokers, and agents to stay flexible with our changing times. Life Insurance Selling magazine’s most recent article about Keith Gleason, a sales leader in his company, seem to agree with my sentiment.

The article discusses Gleason’s non-traditional sales including using Skype to speak with clients and his way of closing a sale anytime and anywhere. Gleason states that his most successful question when selling a policy is simply asking; do you need life insurance? Most clients answer one way or the other and Gleason is easily able to produce a sale without using hotshot marketing methods.

The article continues to detail Gleason’s sale procedures and how he got into the insurance business. You can read the entire article here.

Life Insurance Basics

Life insurance. Most people think of life insurance as an insurance company betting on your death. While this thought has some truth to it, life insurance can be greatly beneficial to you and your family and should not have any negative connotations. The right policy will provide your loved ones with financial stability and peace of mind at the time of your death.

Since life insurance policies can be somewhat complicated, here are the basics.

Lets begin with the top reasons an individual would purchase a life insurance policy.

1. Income replacement

2. To support a business

3. To pay estate taxes

4. To save or create an investment plan for inheritence

5. Funeral and burial costs

6. A charitable gift

You may have one reason for purchasing life insurance or many, but choosing the right policy for you will help you accomplish your financial goals. Now lets discuss the different types of life insurance policies.

There are two basic types of policies; whole life and term insurance.

Whole life: These policies are a type of permanent insurance that are combined with an investment fund. They  pay your beneficiary a fixed, stated amount upon your death. Your premium goes towards building a cash value from investments made by the insurance company.

The cash value builds tax-deferred each year the policy is kept. Also, you can borrow against the cash accumulation tax free.

Term insurance: This type of policy is not tied to any type of investment. It is simply life coverage that lasts for  a stated amount of time as long as you pay the premiums. Annual renewable term is purchased year-to-year but you do not have to requalify with a medical exam.

Buying life insurance policies while you are young offer the best premium rates. As you age, premiums increase.

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my blog! As a budding insurance producer, I am constantly trying to gain more insight into the insurance world. This blog will other information and advice on life and health insurance, annuities, worker’s compensation, and  liability products. Comments are always welcome and I hope my readers learn and network with each other.

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