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    Trump’s Executive Order Defined

    Posted: October 26, 2017

    On October 12th, President Trump signed an Executive Order, forcing changes to be made toward some of the rules of small business health insurance plans, short-term health insurance policies, and cost-sharing reduction payments (aka subsidies). 


     What does the Executive Order mean

    • Broader rules for AHP’s (Association Health Plans), allowing small businesses to purchase plans across state lines.  By joining an AHP, small employers within the same line of business could purchase plans collectively. 
    • Increase the policy period on short-term plans from 3 months to 12 months with the option to renew.  These plans are not required to follow the rules of the ACA mandate (i.e. they do NOT provide coverage for pre-existing conditions)
    • Cost-sharing reduction payments (aka subsidies) will no longer be funded by the government.  Insurers are required by law to offer assistance to low-income individuals.  Customers who are currently receiving assistance through the Marketplace will likely see little change.
    • Rates have not been released and likely will not be released until November 1st.  This means renewals will not be available until November 1st. 

    How to Avoid Rate Increases:

    • Be prepared to discuss your household, estimated adjusted gross income for 2018.  This will be used to determine if you qualify for assistance.
    • Those without pre-existing conditions should consider temporary insurance.  The premium is much lower and all plans offer a PPO network.  Wellness visits are not included with these plans.
    • If you are going to opt to self-insure, protect yourself with an accident or critical illness plan.  The plan works separate from health insurance and pays you based on a diagnosis of a critical illness (cancer, heart attack, or stroke) and in the event of an accident (slip, fall, and break an ankle) the plan will pay you a certain dollar amount.  The purpose is to use the funds to pay towards the unexpected hospital or urgent care visit.
    • Review ALL of your insurance policies.  As a broker I have access to multiple carriers which allows me the opportunity to find the best plan based on your needs.  I’ve saved people thousands by reviewing rates with multiple carriers.  Personal lines insurance (auto, home, life, and health) is my area of expertise!

    Home Changes that Affect Insurance

    Posted: September 14, 2017

    Homes often grow and change alongside the people living in them. If you’ve added expensive furnishings or made substantial upgrades, it’s important to re-evaluate your homeowners insurance and make sure your policy reflects those changes. Here are four instances when it may be beneficial to review and adjust your coverage.

    Remodeling or Renovation Work Home improvement projects typically increase the value of your home, which usually calls for more coverage. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your insurance rates will automatically increase. In fact, some projects, like adding a new roof, may help you save on your monthly home insurance premiums. Just be sure to notify your provider before any work begins.

    Adding a Pool or an Outdoor Trampoline Because these fun home features come with increased risk of injury, they’re labeled an attractive nuisance. Upping your liability insurance can help keep you protected if there’s ever an accident on your property and a subsequent lawsuit.

    Acquiring New Valuables Whether you inherit them or purchase them, expensive goods such as jewelry, art, rugs and antiques should be added to your policy. Increasing your coverage is the only way to safeguard them in the event of damage or theft.

    Starting a Home Business Many home-based business owners don’t realize they have little, if any, coverage from a homeowners or renters insurance policy. Since a new home business likely means purchasing new technology and expensive equipment, you may need to get additional protection.

    You worked hard for your home. Secure your belongings by updating your coverage to match your circumstances.

    Life Insurance Awareness Month

    Posted: August 29, 2017


    An important question you need to ask yourself is how will my family manage if something happens to me!  No one really wants to think about Life Insurance, but if someone depends on you financially, it’s a topic you can’t avoid. 


    “Life Insurance isn’t for the people who die

    It’s for the people who live.”


    What will your family do if the primary wage earner passes away or gets sick?   What assets are you willing to give up to make ends meet? These are questions that many people don’t think about until it is too late. 


    Life Insurance Can Help

    A Life Insurance Policy pays cash to your family after you die, allowing loved ones to remain financially secure.  In the event of a tragedy, life insurance proceeds can..


    Immediate Expenses:

    • Funeral Costs 
    • Uncovered Medical Expenses 
    • Mortgage, Car loans, Credit Card Debt
    • Taxes


    Ongoing Expenses

    • Food
    • Housing
    • Healthcare
    • Clothing
    • Insurance


    Future Expenses

    • College
    • Retirement


    Getting Life Insurance doesn’t have to be hard (or boring). The importance of life insurance is helping them get the coverage they need. 

    There are many types of life insurance but for all of them, the bottom line is the same, they pay your family after you die, allowing loved ones to remain financially secure.  

    And, many people haven’t bought life insurance or more of it because they’re unsure of how much or what type to buy.


    How much Life Insurance do I need?

    The most important part of buying life insurance is determining how much you need. Since everyone’s financial circumstances and goals are different, there is no rule of thumb to tell you how much to buy.


    Doing The Math

    To start, estimate what your family members would need after you’ve  gone to meet immediate (i.e. funeral), ongoing (i.e. rent or mortgage, other everyday bills), and future financial obligations (i.e. college and retirement). 

    Add up the resources your surviving family members could draw upon to support themselves (i.e. savings, spouse’s pension, etc.). The difference between the two is the amount you would need in life insurance.


    You Can Afford Life Insurance!


    $250,000 In Life Insurance Will Cost


    Age:                                       Male:                      Female:

    35 Years Old                         $10.72                          $10.26

    45 Years Old                         $18.09                         $15.54

    5 Years Old                           $40.24                         $29.89


    *These rates are based on a 10 year term, preferred rating, and are subject to underwriting.


    I can help you understand the differences between Life Insurance and what is the right coverage for you.  Please contact me to find out more at 708.444.0050 or kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.com.


    Exit Obamacare, enter Trumpcare In the KNOW about the proposed health insurance changes

    Posted: June 21, 2017

    On May 3, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act. This will take at least until August before it goes back to the House. Congress must reconcile the two bills before it can go to President Trump for signature.  It is very important to note that if you currently have coverage under Obamacare, as long as you continue to pay your premiums you will still continue to have coverage for all of 2017. Even if the AHCA passes the Senate and the bill is not vetoed by President Trump, nothing changes with your current coverage under Obamacare for 2017.


    How does American Health Care Act(Trumpcare) differ from Obamacare? 



    1. Elimination of the penalty.


    Obamacare required every American to obtain health insurance, or pay a penalty of $695 of 2.5% of your annual income. AHCA would allow people not to purchase health insurance if they choose. There would also be new continuous coverage incentives implemented, so individuals without 12 months of continuous coverage would be assessed a temporary 30 percent premium surcharge. They are hoping to implement this change in time for the 2018 Open Enrollment.


    2. Replaces Obamacare premium subsidies with tax credits.


    The Obamacare subsidies will be renamed as tax credits and will range from $2,000 to $14,000 based on age — with families receiving higher credits than individuals.

    The credits will be reduced for individuals making over $75,000 annually and for families making over $150,000 annually. 


    3. Allows states to obtain waivers to change “essential health benefits”.


    Obamacare imposed federally established minimum benefits that all health insurance policies had to offer. These “essential health benefits” included mental health and substance-abuse services, prescription drugs, preventive care, maternity care, emergency services and lab services. AHCA will allow states to apply for waivers that allow them to change these minimum benefits for purposes such as reducing healthcare coverage costs and increasing the number of people with healthcare coverage.


    4. Allows states to obtain waivers to allow insurers to charge more for pre-existing conditions.  Creating a new high-risk pool.  


    Under Obamacare, health insurers are prohibited from charging higher premiums for individuals with pre-existing conditions. AHCA would allow states to obtain waivers to allow insurers to charge more for people with pre-existing conditions. Those enrollees would have to have let their coverage lapse, and the state would have to set up a risk program — such as a high-risk pool — that, in some cases, could provide help to those being charged higher premiums.


    5. Allows insurers to charge older adults more than rates charged for younger adults and allow states to request federal waivers to modify market rules such as the limitations on rating based on age.


    Obamacare limited insurers to charging older adults a maximum of three times the rates charged to younger adults. AHCA would raise the ratio limit from three to five.  They would like this to take effect as early as 2018.


    6. Allows states to implement Medicaid work requirement

    AHCA would allow states who choose to do so to require “able-bodied” Medicaid recipients to either work, participate in job-training programs, or help with community service.


    7. Repeals Obamacare Consumer Taxes

    Obamacare included a laundry list of taxes, such as a tax on some health insurance plans, a tax on certain prescription drugs, a tax on indoor tanning services, a medical device tax, and a capital gains, dividend, and interest income tax for higher-income Americans. AHCA eliminates all of these taxes.


    These changes have been approved by the House and have been passed on to the Senate.  It is unknown how long this will take or if it’ll be in force by Open Enrollment.  Carriers have not released any specifics about their 2018 plans or acknowledged if they will be making any changes.


    I will continue to send updates as they become available.  If you have any questions about these proposed changes, please feel free to contact me at 708-544-0050 or kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.com


    Healthcare Open Enrollment What You NEED to Know

    Posted: November 9, 2016

    Open Enrollment started November 1st and will last until January 31st, and only affects those that are required to purchase their own insurance.  


    Here is what you can expect…


    • If you need a policy with a 1/1/17 effective date, you must enroll by December 15th.  This includes anyone with a plan with Aetna/Coventry, Harken Health, United Healthcare, and Land of Lincoln.
    • The remaining carriers offering plans are Blue Cross Blue Shield, Health Alliance, Ambetter, and Cigna.  Carriers and plan options vary by county. 
    • If you are happy with your plan it will automatically renew.  I will warn that rates have increased and it may be worth it to review your options.  Please Note: Subsidies (assistance provided by the government) have also increased in an attempt to offset the premium difference.
    • Blue Cross has announced that doctors in the NorthShore University Health System NorthShore Medical Group and Northwestern Medicine are accepting the Blue Cross Blue Precision HMO plan.  Call 847.570.4202 to find out if your Northshore doctor accepts the Blue Precision HMO and 312.926.8400 to find out if your Northwestern doctor accepts the Blue Precision HMO.
    • Group insurance is competitive again.  This may be an option to consider for small employers.  The larger PPO network is still available for group insurance.
    • Out of Pocket Maximums have increased from $6850 to $7150 (the out of pocket max varies per plan.  The maximum allowed on ANY plan is $7150).
    • Blue Cross Blue Shield has introduced a new plan with a smaller network to help offset the increase to premiums.  
    • As a reminder, assistance is provided by the government to those who qualify.  The assistance is based on household size (number of people reported on your tax return) and the household’s adjusted gross income for 2017.  Your adjusted gross income is located on line 37 of your 1040.  If you are self-employed, this is the number AFTER your write-offs.


    Please contact me at 708.444.0050 or kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.com to schedule a time to review your plan options.  








    Feel free to email or call me with any questions or comments about my services or if you have any insurance related inquires.


    Phone: 708.444.0050
    Email: kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.com


    Monday - Friday: 10am - 5pm
    Evening and weekends
    available upon request