Celebrate July with:

 

 

From The Desk of: Paul Bunting
July 2016
Hi ,
If you haven’t already done so this summer, I encourage you to take some time for yourself and do something both refreshing and rejuvenating!.

 

Our office gets a lot of calls and messages everyday about insurance. Even though we all have to have it, that doesn’t prevent dealing with insurance from being annoying, cumbersome and frustrating.
This post provides details not found in our most recent newsletter. If you clicked a link and ended up here, please find the question you clicked and read up!

*  Health:  “I’m getting a tax credit for my health insurance. The marketplace has been calling me and sending me mail, should I be concerned?”

 

 
There multiple reasons for receiving calls from the marketplace. Often these calls are triggered by errors in the system including:
– Having more than one application in the system.
– Incorrectly entered of out of date addresses in the marketplace system.

Some calls / messages are serious though. Once the marketplace requests information (income, citizenship, etc) they give you 90 days to comply.
After 90 days, they remove your tax credit. The most common reason for a price increase is the marketplace took away the tax credit.
Fortunately, this can be simple to fix. If this is you, or you are unsure and would like to know, I encourage you to contact us so we can take steps to resolve the issue.

 

 

*  Health:  “I’m not eligible for a tax credit and insurance rates are killing me. Isn’t there anything cheaper?”

 

 
If health insurance is costing you more than $250 per month, there are now other compliant options available. There is also an important exemption that excludes you from the fine for not having ACA compliant coverage.
Let’s face it, health insurance is substantially costlier than it was before the ACA (in 2013 and prior). Good, bad or ugly, it is what it is. That being said, I’m always ask about less costly, more affordable alternatives.
Brand new on the market is a plan called the MEC (minimum essential coverage) or “skinny” plan. Prior to these plans being available to the general public, they were reserved only for businesses as group plans that were cheap and made a large company compliant.
On their own, these plans just cover preventive care and (depending on which plan) doctor visits. They use a massive PPO network too.
While the coverage these plans offer is minimal, the gaps are simple to fill in with a Short Term Medical policy that offers co-pays for the doctor and coverage for all the major stuff that skinny plans lack. .
Not only is this two-step method ACA compliant, up to 50% savings from a comparable ACA plan make this combination attractive and affordable.

 

 

 

 

*  Health: “I enjoy having health coverage that pays a large portion of my medical expenses. I’ve been with the same company for a couple years now, when should I review my policy?”

 

 
Major medical carriers update their policies on a yearly basis. Some carriers offer great new incentives, while others  go the opposite way. By adding your premium payments to your out of pocket maximum, you find out your true maximum cost.
When you are dealing with reputable carriers offering national access PPO (or POS) plans, including adequate prescription drug services – you often find many similarities in the covered costs.
Even if you are satisfied with your current plan, it still makes sense to review your coverage on an annual basis.

 

 

* Auto: “If I cause more than $10,000 in damages to other cars, will my auto policy cover me, or can someone come after me?”

 

 
If you have an auto policy with the state minimums, and are the at fault party once the insurance companies subrogate, you can be liable for any amount over the amount covered. If you own property, have unsheltered money, or work a w2 job, there is little you can do to avoid garnishments or worse.
Nobody wants to be personally, financially responsible for something they thought was was covered.
Auto coverage premium prices often fluctuate. If both price and value are important, you may be surprised to find stronger coverage from a different company for close or even less than your current cost!
There are several large companies that rely on agents to offer their products, instead of costly advertising. In turn agents, can pass the savings on to you, the policy owner.
Please feel welcome to contact us and we will be happy to review your policy, or see how much of your insurance cost, we can reduce.

 

 

 

* Home:  “I just got new windows and did a few other updates around the house, do I qualify for lower rates on my homeowners policy?”

 

 
If you are paying for your homeowners insurance along with your mortgage payments, in most every case, it doesn’t matter what you’ve had done – even if it’s nothing, you can cut your cost. On the other hand, if you have a homeowners policy, then you would want to call the company, or your agent to find out. Often, after an inspection is done, depending on the improvements made or work done, you can be issued a credit. Sometimes this can be substantial.
Similar to other kinds of insurance, companies that insure homes make frequent changes to their policies. While some companies offer financial incentives to switch carriers, other carriers do nothing, or even increase rates.
If this is you, please feel welcome to contact us with your questions and policies to review.

 

 

 

* Banking / Finance  “The banks are only paying around 1% or less for CDs. Are there any insurance products that can do better?”

 

 
Granted, that’s not a question we’re often ask. Many people aren’t aware that insurance companies offer policies many think of as “investment grade insurance”. This is because these types of policies are designed specifically for financial performance.

 

Whether you wish to have guaranteed higher interest rates, or you wish to insure your future income (for life guaranteed payments) – you can accomplish this with insurance products! Many financial planners offer these products as a portfolio foundation, along with other investment options.
An independent insurance agency often has access to a much greater variety of these products and is much more willing to focus on just that aspect of your insurance needs than a “captive” financial adviser.
Unless you worked in the industry, you would not be familiar with the “select” line of insurance products offered along with knowledge of how, specifically, is your financial professional paid.
While this has more to do with transparency than greed, these things are important to understand.
Please feel welcome to contact us with questions or to learn more. The process is quick, efficient and simple.

 

 

* Sick and Injury Pay: “My job doesn’t offer anything to cover me on sick days, or if I get hurt and have to take time off. I’m not trying to break the bank, what can you do?”

 

 
Until recently, any sort of disability policy was (often) either difficult to qualify for, priced out of the “being worth it” range – or something you just don’t think about until you are in a position to need the coverage.
The good news is there are now policies that are not only affordable (less than $50/month in many cases) but also easy to get and perfect for covering sick days or time off work due to injury.
Instead of being concerned you can be be covered and have one less thing in your life to worry about.
As always, if you have questions, concerns or would like to policy reviewed, we’re here to help so please feel welcome to contact us!

Introducing the Bank Bail In: It can cost you, dearly:

Banks are planning to confiscate YOUR money, says many

 

The Big Short, a 2015 drama movie has become one of my new favorites. In the movie, which is based on the very real banking crash of 2008, where the Government (or middle class) taxpayers baled the banks out, Hedge fund manager Michael Burry bet against the banks in the tune of (more than) $1 billion of his investors money. Guess what – he won!  Big time.

 

Unfortunately, banks (including Lehman Brothers) went into default (because of their heavy investments in mortgage backed securities (risky derivatives) and had to rely on Uncle Sam (or the middle class taxpayer) for a bailout. The fallout from this disaster was far and wide. Plus, there was no shortage of fingers being pointed.

 

Such risks shouldn’t happen again, right? That’s what just about any logical person would think. While most of the country focuses on massive problems which include transgender bathrooms, there have been some new and interesting measures taken to stop such a terrible bailout from happening again.

The new plan is called a Bail In – this is when the banks can do as they please, but when they get in trouble again they just take your money and give you “shares” in exchange.

Granted, the literature explaining how this works can be a tad confusing – but the plan is simple. The FDIC doesn’t seem to excited to pay the banks up to $250k for using your (depositors’) money (also called unsecured debt) when they confiscate it to pay off their secure creditors (when their risky investments go wrong) to pay other banks back. Instead of your money, you will get ‘shares’ in a basically insolvent bank and both the FDIC and the bank who (basically stole) used your money for their debts are happy and off the hook!

 

Anger and disbelief were my knee-jerk reactions when I learned of theses sinister plans. However, it doesn’t surprise me. Not even a little. So, rather than being mad, I chose to do some digging. There are plenty of places you too can look, if so inclined. There are also many other places – much safer than risky banks – to park or invest you money that an honest person can still find safety and solace.

 

If you’re anything like me when it comes to money, I’ll bet you’re curious to learn more. Well then, here’s some additional reading – some of it straight from the horse’s mouth:

 

http://allnewspipeline.com/Bank_Bail_Ins_Closing_Accounts.php

 

https://www.fdic.gov/news/letters/srac.html

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/is-deutsche-bank-the-next-lehman-brothers-a6864831.html

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/5-wall-street-banks-fail-living-will-tests-2016-4

 

And this:

 

It Can Happen Here_ The Bank Confiscation Scheme for US and UK Depositors _ Global Research (1)