Life Insurance for ChildrenDid you know that securing a life insurance policy for your child is not only a loving and generous gift, but can also be one of the most valuable tools in securing his or her financial future? You may have heard one of the many myths about children and life insurance, such as them not having any dependents or bringing in an income, as deeming a life insurance policy unnecessary. A life insurance policy for your child, however, can help prepare them for future financial security and help them avoid financial hardships that may arise. 

 

One of the greatest advantages of an insurance policy for a child is that his or her insurability is at its highest and premiums are at their lowest when they are young. Here are a few other reasons to consider when thinking about life insurance for your children:

  1. The Benefit of Starting at a Young Age – Purchasing life insurance at a young age almost always guarantees that it can be purchased. In addition, if you purchase a policy, for example, a Whole Life Policy with a Guaranteed Purchase Option, you will be able to purchase additional coverage at a later date, no medical questions or tests needed. Also, over time, consider the dividends and cash value the policy will have for your child.

  2. Money Options and Retirement – With certain policies, your children will have the option as they age to withdraw money from their accrued cash value. This money may come in handy when it is time to pay for college or use as a down payment on a house. In addition, with a cash value life insurance policy, they can take the cash and convert it into an annuity. Annuities can guarantee continual income, which can help your child pay debts, financial expenses or help fund their retirement.

  3. Future Insurability – We never know what will take place later in life, and there are events or illnesses that could make your child uninsurable. This can make it impossible to secure a life insurance policy at a time when it is needed the most. Purchasing a permanent life insurance policy for your child at a young age secures the availability of coverage as they get older. Speak to one of MHG’s knowledgeable insurance brokers today about affordable life insurance premiums for your child.

 

As you see, there are many benefits to obtaining a life insurance policy for your child, no matter how young they are. When your child is an adult, you will be able to present them with their life insurance policy, helping them feel confident about their financial security. It is truly one of the most loving and generous gifts a parent can give their child. 

To learn more about obtaining a life insurance policy for your child, contact MHG Insurance Brokers by calling 954-828-1819. You can also visit us online at mhginsurance.com. Let us help you begin the preparations today to protect the ones you love the most. We look forward to serving you!

Life Insurance and Your Children

Exercise RoutineMost of us know of how invigorated exercising makes us feel, how beneficial it is for our health, both physically and emotionally, and yet we often struggle with the motivation needed to get us up and moving.  Springtime is a season during which we find ourselves longing to be outdoors, to catch the sweet scent of fresh blooms, and enjoy the cool breezes and temperate weather that has begun to emerge. 


What better time than now to breathe fresh life into your dormant exercise routine? Let springtime be your exercise inspiration and take your exercise program outdoors. If it has been awhile since your last work out, and you are looking forward to getting back in shape, here are some tips to follow to prepare yourself for your new exercise regimen:

  • Determine what your fitness goals are. Is weight loss a part of your objective? Are you looking to increase flexibility or build muscle? Having set goals will enable you to measure your progress. When you see the progress you make, it motivates you to stick with it.
  • Develop your own pace. If you are just beginning to exercise, begin carefully and progress gradually. If you have an injury or health condition such as high blood pressure, see your doctor first for guidance with identifying your fitness goals and choosing the appropriate type of exercise plan that you can safely participate in.

  • Make it a regular part of your routine. Finding the time to exercise can be tough when juggling other responsibilities on a daily basis. Review what your typical day is like, and schedule time for exercise the way you would any appointment.

  • Change it up. Incorporate different exercises into your routine. Doing the same activities repeatedly will lead to exercise burn out. In addition, you will want to focus on different parts of your body each time, giving your other muscles time to heal after a work out.

  • Create a balanced routine. Be sure your exercise program includes aerobic activity as well as strength training. Generally, a healthy adult should aim for 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week to maintain cardiovascular health.
Other important factors to consider when taking your exercise routine outdoors is if you are an allergy sufferer, determine the steps you will need to take to prevent allergy attacks from hampering your workouts.  Perhaps your doctor can prescribe an allergy medication or recommend an effective one that is offered over the counter. Also, review your health plan and make sure you are properly covered for any injuries you may incur while exercising. If you need assistance in obtaining a new health plan or have questions about your existing policy, visit mhginsurance.com.  Or, call MHG Insurance at 954 828 – 1819 and speak with one of our knowledgeable insurance representatives. MHG Insurance Brokers cares about its clients, and encourages everyone to exercise safely and enjoy the beautiful spring season.

 

Make Springtime the Time to Revive Your Exercise Routine

Healthy HabitsCreating healthy habits that stick isn’t always easy.  Sometimes, what sets us up to fail is what we choose to focus on.  A good strategy is to direct your focus on the positive changes you are trying to make instead of the poor habits you are trying to break. When you adopt this mindset, you put yourself in a good place to start creating goals for improving your health and creating healthier habits. 

 

The Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit, worldwide provider of medical care, research and education, suggests setting ‘SMART’ goals - a method which utilizes an acronym that breaks goals down, making them more attainable. Here is what each letter stands for:

  • S – Specific – What is your goal?

  • M – Measurable – How will you track your progress?

  • A – Achievable – What steps will you take to reach your goal?

  • R – Realistic – Can you see yourself doing what it takes to reach this goal?

  • T – Time Frame – Is this a long or short-term goal? Give yourself a time limit for reaching it.

Setting goals this way will help navigate your attention toward the good choices you should be making, while helping you forget and let go of the bad choices you have made in the past.  In addition to setting goals, here are some other ways to create healthy habits just by focusing your attention on the positive changes needed to develop them:

  • Participate in a New Group Activity or Sport - Joining social groups and choosing new hobbies will guide you naturally into healthy patterns in a gradual, yet effective way.

  • Personal Growth - Examine the change and impact that embracing a healthy habit will have on your life. What will be the cost to you if you don’t implement this habit? How will practicing this habit change your life for the better? This is where you often find the motivation to follow through.

  • Accountability Partner – Find a friend who also wants to start creating healthy habits and making beneficial changes in their own life. You will both mutually benefit from working together to set goals and keeping each other on track. Check in with each other for encouragement and to monitor progress. 

  • Set Healthy Boundaries - Learn how to say “no,” whether it is to peer pressure, an overbooked schedule, or the demands of a high maintenance friend who drains your time and energy. Learning how to say “no” when you need to eliminates unnecessary stress and keeps you mentally well balanced.

  • There’s an app for that! - These days, you cannot do it all on our own, and with the technology currently available, you don’t have to. Utilize your smartphone to its fullest potential, and take advantage of some of the apps available out there that can help you organize your life, attain fitness goals, and make healthy habits easy to achieve and maintain. You can Google “Best health and fitness apps of 2013” to receive search results filled with apps that assist you in making healthy food and nutrition choices, and will also help you track your fitness and strength progress.

MHG Insurance Brokers is always exploring new ways for developing healthy habits. We understand that different strategies work for different people, the same way different people have various insurance coverage needs. If you have questions about your existing health insurance coverage, or wish to obtain a new health insurance policy, MHG Insurance Brokers is always available to speak with you – just call 954-828-1819. You can also visit MHG online at mhginsurance.com.  Remember, healthy habits are created by consistent practice – here’s to a healthier you!

Smart Ways to Create Healthy Habits

ACA Case Studies

ACA Case Studies

 

Did you know the deadline to sign up for January 1st, 2014 coverage in an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan is December 23rd 2013? If not, you may also be unaware that MHG, a full-service insurance brokerage, is one of the select few brokerages in South Florida that is certified and ready to help clients understand and enroll on the Exchange. We can help you find the ideal plan, one that not only offers you the coverage you need, but is also in your budget. In fact, we have helped many clients find the ACA plan that is right for them, in addition to hearing incredible success stories. 

Here are just a few we want to share with you:  

Real-life Example 1 – This is one of our favorite examples! Our client was paying over $1,600 per month (out-of-pocket) for insurance for herself and her son. Her renewal rate was about to skyrocket to over $2,000 per month. She was faced with limited options, as she has several pre-existing conditions and would be turned down by other insurance carriers if she applied. After reviewing and selecting the right ACA plan, she is now receiving a better plan at a more affordable price – less than $800 per month for her and her son! Her coinsurance remained the same, but her office copays and annual out-of-pocket maximum is less, thanks to this ACA plan. 

Real-life Example 2 – A recent client allowed his insurance plan to lapse over a year ago. Unfortunately, he suffered a stroke shortly after and had no success when trying to apply for other insurance policies because of this pre-existing condition. A stroke falls under automatic decline for insurance until 2014. Starting this past October, we have been able to provide him with quotes for plans that have a January 1st, 2014 effective date. Now, with his new insurance plan, he will not have an exclusion because of the stroke and will not have to wait for treatment related to the stroke. 

Real-life Example 3 - Several employees on our group plans have been able to add their adult children onto their plans since 2010, when specific aspects of the Affordable Care Act went into effect. It no longer mattered if these children were unmarried or students. For many employees who had other children on the plan already, it did not increase their monthly premium. 

Real-Life Example 4 – A recent client of ours was inquiring about purchasing health insurance after finding out she was pregnant. The best solution we could offer her was waiting for a January 2014 effective date with an ACA plan. She did not meet the requirements for Medicaid due to her income and assets. Now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, she is eligible for coverage, with maternity, starting in January 2014. 

As you can see, many of our clients are benefiting in incredible ways thanks to plans made available through the Affordable Care Act. If you have questions about an ACA plan, or want to review your existing coverage, do not hesitate to call one of our knowledgeable insurance representatives. We can offer you information and guidance regarding the Affordable Care Act and can help you enroll in a plan. Remember, the deadline for January 1, 2014 coverage is December 23rd, so do not delay. Let MHG, one of South Florida’s few certified ACA brokerages, help you find a plan tailored to your health needs and financial situation. Visit mhginsurance.com for more information on ACA plans or call us today at 954-828-1819.

ACA Case Studies

ACA Health Coverage

 

There are many questions today regarding the state of things as it pertains to health care coverage in the United States, and the Affordable Care Act has been a major focus when it comes to health insurance. MHG Insurance Brokers is an approved ACA insurance brokerage, and we would like to educate our clients about the Affordable Care Act and the health plans that have been created under it. The goal of MHG Insurance Brokers is to put our clients in an informed position so they are able to define their family’s coverage needs, as well as choose an appropriate health plan that would deliver the greatest benefit to them.  

Common myths and questions exist about the ACA Health Insurance plans. An example of one myth that MHG Insurance Brokers’ Insurance Specialists have come across relates to out-of-pocket obligations:

  • “The Bronze plans have a sizeable out of pocket obligation that must be met by its subscribers.”

The fact is that the maximum out of pocket is $6,250 for individuals, and $12,500 for families. The 2014 cost sharing limits for individuals ($6,350), and for families ($12,700), will change each year. Small group plans and grandfathered plans have different cost sharing limits. All metallic plans - Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum - follow the same limits, but each differ in the percentages that the insured pays until those limits are met.

A common question regarding ACA Health Insurance plans:

  • Who qualifies for catastrophic coverage?

Individuals who are under 30 years of age and can prove financial hardship may qualify for this coverage. However, many other notable, affordable coverage options are available presently. 

MHG Insurance Brokers has many years of experience, the best industry resources, and access to a multitude of insurance carriers. MHG is proud to offer clients the best, most comprehensive plans on the market. When you work with one of MHG Insurance Brokers’ insurance specialists, he or she can provide you with detailed information about the following:

  • ACA Exchange coverage plans and the plan types available
  • Dental and Vision coverage
  • Life Insurance
  • Long Term Care coverage
  • Supplemental medical coverage
  • Medicare plans
  • AFLAC plans

MHG Insurance Brokers will be happy to discuss your insurance coverage needs, and then determine which plans would be the best fit for you and your budget. The insurance specialist that you work with will assist you with deciphering all of the confusing terminology, and he or she will also examine the features of each plan with you to help you understand the benefits. Once you have chosen a plan, MHG Insurance Brokers will continue to remain available for you any time you have a question about your policy or need assistance with a claim. 

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans who were previously uninsurable due to preexisting conditions, or not meeting the qualifications for Medicaid or Medicare, will now have access to solid, comprehensive health insurance plans. They will be able to take better control of their health, and live longer, healthier lives. Let MHG Insurance Brokers take the journey to better health with you; call to speak with a knowledgeable insurance specialist, and learn the facts about health care coverage and how the ACA can benefit you. Call 954-828-1819, or visit MHG Insurance Brokers online at https://mhginsurance.com. Here’s to your better health!

Affordable Care Act Health Coverage: Dispelling the Myths and Providing Facts and Information that May Benefit You

Health Insurance Terms 

 

MHG Insurance Brokers strives to provide our clients with the best service and the most viable information regarding insurance policies and services currently available on the market. We want our clients to be able to make informed decisions about their healthcare, as well as become familiar with what their own insurance needs are. This can be a challenging task, however, as the insurance industry has practically established its very own language which includes a myriad of terms and confusing industry related jargon. 

Below are commonly used health insurance terms, clearly defined to make it easier for you to apply this information when you review your current policy, or when you are considering making changes to your existing plan. As always, MHG is available at any time to discuss any questions you may have regarding your existing plan, or to examine these terms in more depth:

  • Deductible: A deductible is a fixed dollar amount during the benefit period, usually a year, which an insured person pays before the insurer begins to make payments for covered medical services. Plans may have individual and family deductibles. Some plans may have separate deductibles for specific services, such as a deductible for each hospitalization admission.

  • Coinsurance: A form of medical cost sharing in a health insurance plan that requires an insured person to pay a stated percentage of medical expenses after the deductible (if any) has been paid. Once the deductible and/or coinsurance have been paid, the insurer is responsible for the rest of the reimbursement for covered benefits.

  • Copay: A form of medical cost sharing in a health insurance plan that requires an insured person to pay a fixed dollar amount when a medical service is received. The insurer is then responsible for the rest of the reimbursement.

  • Out of Pocket Maximum: This is the maximum dollar amount a group member (the insured) is required to pay out of pocket during a benefit year.  Until the maximum is met, the plan and group member share in the cost of covered expenses.

  • In/Out of Network or Participating Provider: Your health plan contracts with a wide range of participating doctors, specialists, hospitals, pharmacies, and labs. These providers have agreed to accept your plan’s contracted rate as payment in full for services. The contracted rate includes both your insurer’s and your share (deductible, copay, coinsurance) of the cost. For those with out of network benefits, services from a provider who is outside of this network are not based on agreed upon or set contracted rates with your insurer, and therefore the services may be subject to higher charges. This may result in you paying more out of pocket for the difference owed between what the provider is charging and what your plan will cover.

  • HMO: HMO stands for Health Maintenance Organization. It is defined as a health care system that assumes both the financial risks associated with providing comprehensive medical services (insurance and service risk) and the responsibility for health care delivery in a particular geographic area to HMO members, usually in return for a fixed, prepaid fee. Financial risk may be shared with the providers participating in the HMO. There are different types of HMOs, including a Group Model HMO which contracts with a single multi-specialty medical group that provides coverage to the HMO’s membership. There is a Staff Model HMO where patients can receive services only through a limited number of providers, in which physicians are employees of the HMO, usually operating within the HMO’s own facilities. There is also a Network Model HMO that contracts with multiple physician groups to provide services to HMO members. Finally, an Individual Practice Association HMO is a type of health care provider organization composed of a group of independent practicing physicians who maintain their own offices and band together for the purpose of contracting their services to HMO’s.

  • POS: A POS plan is an HMO/PPO hybrid; sometimes referred to as an open-ended HMO when offered by an HMO. POS plans resemble HMOs for in-network services. Services received outside of the network are usually reimbursed based on a fee schedule, or what is considered to be reasonable and customary charges.

  • PPO: A PPO plan is an indemnity plan where coverage is provided to participants through a network of selected health care providers, such as hospitals and physicians. The enrollees may go outside of the network for services, but would incur larger costs in the form of deductibles, higher coinsurance rates, or non-discounted charges from the providers.

  • COBRA: COBRA stands for the landmark Consolidated Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986. This law provides the continuation of group health coverage that would otherwise be terminated for a former employee, retirees, spouse’s former spouses and dependent children. The coverage is available when coverage is lost due to certain specific events, such as voluntary or involuntary termination of employment, reduction of the number of hours worked by the employee, covered employees becoming entitled to Medicare, or divorce or death of a covered employee. However, in most cases, the insured person must continue to pay his or her portion of the insurance premium as well as the portion that was previously being paid by the employer in order to maintain coverage.

MHG Insurance Brokers wants you to understand health insurance terminology that can often be confusing and overwhelming. We welcome your feedback and any questions you may have. You may contact MHG at 954-828-1819, or by visiting us at mhginsurance.com.  Here’s to your good health!

Commonly Used Health Insurance Terms

Reasons to Buy Life Insurance No one wants to think about the unforeseen loss of a spouse or loved one.  Just the thought of losing someone you love brings up unpleasant, emotional feelings. However, taking the time and making a small investment to plan for such an event – whether it be that of your own passing or that of a spouse - is not only necessary, but it is one of the most generous, loving gestures you can make for those you love. Here are the ten reasons why everyone should consider purchasing life insurance:    

  1. Protect those you love. Your loved ones will be able to go on financially and without the stress and worry of how they’re going to pay the bills. Your children’s future will be solidified, allowing them to attend college, while your spouse will have the means to continue paying the mortgage and stay in your family’s home.

  2. Peace of mind. Are you the top income earner in your household? When you obtain life insurance, you will no longer have to worry what will happen to your family in the event of your death or if you become terminally ill – at which time life insurance becomes practically impossible to acquire.

  3. Life insurance creates options. Often, when a loved one who was the top income provider of the family passes, survivors are forced to make quick, important financial decisions during a very tough, emotionally charged time.

  4. Life insurance has more than one purpose. Your policy is a valuable asset that can provide a specified sum of money at a time when it is needed most. You can choose a Life insurance plan that is an annuity – which will actually supplement your retirement income with a guaranteed monthly stream of income once you retire for as long as you live.

  5. You never know what can happen. In the event of an emergency or abrupt onset of terminal illness, you may be able to request a withdrawal or loan from your policy for a much needed cash infusion to keep your household running smoothly.

  6. Death shouldn’t equal debt. Debt can be a tremendous burden for anyone, but it is especially difficult to deal with for those who are grief stricken.

  7. Take care of your business. Life insurance doesn’t just protect individuals. It can protect a business from financial loss, liabilities, or instability in the event of the death of a business owner or partner.  It can be invaluable in providing an infusion of cash to keep operations going until things settle down.

  8. Funerals are expensive. A funeral can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000 – and that is just for an average, “no-frills” burial. Life insurance can cover this cost without further financial hardship and stress for your loved ones.

  9. It makes financial sense. Life insurance is considered a financial asset, which can help increase your credit and help you get a loan or health insurance.

  10. Give to charity. Life insurance will allow you to leave a meaningful gift to a favorite cause or charity that is larger than you would have been able to set aside for a donation.

Obtaining life insurance ensures financial stability for those left behind in the event of an unforeseen tragedy, as well as providing cash in times of need. Contact MHG Insurance Brokers to learn more about obtaining life insurance and the different types of policies available by calling 954-828-1819, or visiting online at mhginsurance.com. Let us help you begin the preparations today to protect the ones you love most.

Top Ten Reasons to Buy Life Insurance

Regulatory Changes Affect Captains And CrewIt is often said that, “The only constant in life is change.” This statement could not be more appropriate with the changes that are happening regarding health insurance and the superyacht industry. Between Health Care Reform and the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) coming into effect soon, now is the time for yacht captains and crew to learn about regulatory changes taking place and how they can best protect themselves. 

 

Mark Bononi, MHG Insurance Brokers’ Yacht Division Director, is featured in this month’s issue of Dockwalk, the premier magazine for superyacht captains and crew. He speaks candidly about this specific issue and offers pertinent advice for those in the industry. For starters, let us begin with the MLC, which will be going into effect on August 20, 2013. If you have assumed the MLC will make the vessel owner responsible to take care of all your health and medical insurance needs, this is simply not the case. 

The MLC is basically designed as a minimum standard for the commercial shipping world and does not mean individual yacht crewmembers will be adequately protected. Bononi shares that the MLC going into effect really does not change much regarding coverage. He explains that the “MLC states that each vessel owner is liable for crew medical costs.” However, the MLC does not spell this out clearly, stating the yacht owner must provide “financial security” to cover death, repatriation or long-term disability costs. Bononi then asks, how will this “financial security” be proven? It will most likely be subject to interpretation by each individual port state inspector. Proof might come in the form of providing health insurance, or having money in an escrow account, or in another manner…either way, it is not clearly stated. 

In addition, many insurance policies offered by a yacht owner do not include all-encompassing health care for yacht crewmembers. Bononi stresses the point that this is where the responsibility ultimately falls on the crewmember to make sure their medical and health insurance needs are met, and how a separate medical policy can offer added protection and peace of mind. When it comes to Health Care Reform, Americans who work as yacht crewmembers are currently playing the waiting game. Do not assume that not residing in the U.S. the majority of the year removes your requirement to pay for health insurance or be subject to a tax. Currently, the rules around residency and time periods for residing outside of the U.S. are vague at best. This makes it difficult for yacht crewmembers to plan for their health insurance needs. 

Staying in contact with an experienced yacht insurance broker, such as MHG, is imperative, as they will keep abreast of all regulatory changes that are happening regarding the MLC and Health Care Reform. Bononi states that it really boils down to each individual crew member getting adequate coverage for themselves that meets their specific needs, even if this comes in the form of an additional policy over what the yacht owner provides. 

His other important piece of advice is not to wait: “Health insurance only gets more expensive the older you get, so getting on board early with a comprehensive health policy can help with future costs.” Bononi’s full interview is available in the August issue of Dockwalk magazine. 

If you are a yacht crewmember seeking to learn more about health insurance options available to you, call MHG today and let a skilled representative explain more regarding the MLC and Health Care Reform. MHG Insurance Brokers can also provide you with numerous quotes from top-rated insurance companies who offer policies that meet your budget and individual needs. Call MHG today at 954-828-1819 or learn more by visiting www.MHGInsurance.com

How Upcoming Regulatory Changes Might Affect Captains and Crew

Insurance NeedsWe cannot predict when an emergency may arise or the setbacks we may endure. However, we can be prepared for these events by being insured properly during each stage of our lives. Often, we are able to resolve some situations that come up with personal funds from income or savings.  However, some unexpected hardships can be very costly. In the event of a larger setback, the function of insurance is to be able to shift the financial burden to the insurance company, so that we can maintain financial stability.

 

Part of assessing someone’s insurance needs is taking into account the life stage that person is in. Someone who just graduated college has different coverage needs than someone who is newly married and is considering starting a family. A newlywed’s insurance requirements are also quite different from that of a person who is about to retire. 

Additionally, taking into consideration the common milestones that occur during each life stage helps determine the different types of insurance that one should consider investing in. Here are some life stages to consider: 

  • Young, Single, Recent Graduate - If currently between jobs, or not yet eligible for coverage offered through a job, it is important to consider purchasing a health plan as well as disability coverage. In the event an accident leaves you temporarily unable to work, you will still be faced with having to pay bills and student loans. Life insurance is also something to consider –you may not think you need it right now, but it is still worth checking into, as the premiums will be at their lowest for those who are young and generally healthy.

  • Just Married – If you are thinking about starting a family, you will want to review your health plan to be sure you are able to add a new family member to the plan and make sure you have adequate coverage. Also, consider purchasing life insurance plans at this time. In the event of a spouse’s unforeseen passing, you will want to protect each other financially from having to incur any personal debts and funeral expenses, as well as cover expenses such as the cost of raising a child, college, and a mortgage.

  • Empty Nesters – With the children off on their own, take time to review your life insurance needs. You may want to adjust the amount of coverage you currently maintain, determining that you may not need as much. Also, consider purchasing Long Term Care coverage, which will cover costs that may arise for elderly services or facilities that may become a necessary part of the care you need as you get older.

  • Retirement– You will have to maintain your health insurance plan until you reach the age of 65, which is the age you become eligible for Medicare. At that time, you will need to consider purchasing a Supplemental Health Care plan as well as Prescription Drug Coverage, to enhance your Medicare plan and cover the medical expenses that Medicare does not. Travel insurance is also something to consider, as the retired years are when people do the most travelling.

Just as it is important to be properly insured, it is also essential to work with a reliable insurance broker, such as MHG. MHG employs experienced representatives who have earned the credentials necessary to provide you with the correct type of insurance and the proper amount. A knowledgeable representative will assess your insurance needs, determine the type and amount of insurance you should maintain, and find the best-priced policy.

Contact MHG Insurance Brokers today at 954-828-1819, or visit mhginsurance.com and speak with one of our insurance representatives. Learn how to protect yourself and your family with insurance coverage that is essential for every stage of life.

 

Changing Life Stages and Your Insurance Needs

Health Care Reform

Health Care ReformRemember the old adage from Benjamin Franklin “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes…”, well, we could add one more thing to this maxim “…and health insurance”.   

 

I added this only because in 2014 there will be a new tax enforced mandate that requires all Americans to obtain basic health insurance under the ACA (Affordable Care Act), also known as Health Care Reform. So what is Health Care Reform and why is it needed?  

Let’s start by taking a long hard look at who has and who doesn’t have health insurance.  In this case 43 million-plus Americans currently do not have basic health insurance, and those that want it currently may not be able to get it because of pre-existing conditions.   

A not so nice example of this is a young pregnant woman who needs individual insurance right now would not be able to get basic individual insurance to cover pre-natal and post-natal medical support.  Sure, there may be some State programs that could help but even these are less than comprehensive in scope.

Now roll-back to 2010 which was when this individual mandate or law came in to effect. To start there were several key milestones such as:

  • Individual Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans (or PCIP’s) made available for people with certain pre-existing conditions who have been unable to obtain insurance for six months or more
  • Expanded coverage in Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ or ‘gap’ for seniors
  • Small business group  health insurance credit
  • Adult children can now remain on their parent’s insurance plan through age 26
  • Copays, coinsurance and deductibles have been removed on preventative care visits
  • No pre-existing condition exclusions for children under age 19
  • No lifetime or annual limits on “essential” or basic health benefits

Note that one of the keywords used here is “individual” insofar as the mandate makes each US citizen or resident individually responsible to show they have healthcare in place, with the compliance review being administered and enforced under the tax mandate, by the IRS. Now you are up to speed with Health Care Reform and the changes that are already in place, you might be asking what’s still to come. 

January 1, 2014 is the deadline to purchase your health insurance. Failure to do so will result in individual penalties from $95 in 2014, $325 in 2015, $695 in 2016 or 1% in 2014, 2% in 2015 and 2.5% in 2016 of your income, whichever is greater. Employers with 50 or more full-time employees who do not offer health insurance will also be subject to fines. But it’s not all doom and gloom! Here are some of the notable scheduled changes still to come.

  • Individuals with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for refundable tax credits to purchase insurance coverage through the state based exchange marketplace.
  • There will be no pre-existing condition exclusions.
  • Employers with more than 200 employees that offer insurance coverage must automatically enroll new full-time employees with the opportunity to opt out.
  • Group waiting periods for coverage will be required to be less than 90 days.
  • State-based and federally governed exchanges open beginning in 2014, which will allow people to compare and purchase health plans in the new state-based marketplace designed to make buying health insurance easier and more affordable. They will be able to use insurance brokers, such as MHG, to assist in navigating these exchanges. Plans offered on the exchanges will follow a tiered rating (such as Silver and Bronze levels offering very basic insurance and at the other end of the scale, high-end comprehensive plans.   There will also be the opportunity for supplemental insurance to be offered (also called GAP plans) which will help plug any gaps in the basic insurance package, again offered by insurance brokers as needed.

So there you have it, a snap-shot on what has happened and still to come for Health Care Reform. Obviously there are risks inherent in this change, not least of which is a possible shortage of primary care physicians and an initial influx of people with pre-existing conditions previously uninsurable.  This will place a strain on any Health Care Reform model but given the alternative of no universal insurance, or mounting premium costs, will be something that has to be dealt with in future years. 

MHG Insurance Brokers is committed to keeping you up to date with Health Care Reform changes and legislation that may affect you. Whether you are looking for Health Care Reform guidance, health insurance for you or your family, employee benefits, dental, life insurance or long-term care, schedule an appointment with the insurance specialists at MHG to discuss your particular situation by calling 954-828-1819 or visit mhginsurance.com for more information.

Health Care Reform