REMINDER: Medicare Open Enrollment ends December 7th and Health Insurance Open Enrollment ends January 15th.
TIPS to Reducing your Medicare Premium…
*Consider a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you are already in one, you may want to consider another carrier. Be sure to pick a plan with a low maximum out of pocket and confirm that your doctors accept the plan before switching.
*Consider switching the type of Supplemental Plan you are in currently (i.e. Plan N is less expensive than a Plan G). I will caution, that changing your plan may require you to pay for services that you have not paid for in the past.
*Consider switching carriers for your Supplemental Plan. Plan coverages are the same regardless of who the carrier is. Please note, you may be medically underwritten which means the new carrier can charge a higher rate or deny you based on your medical history.
*Review your drug lists with other carriers. Medicare.gov is a great source for reviewing rates with other carriers. Simply plug in your drug information, select your pharmacy, and review the different plans available (based on the drugs you have been prescribed).
*Consider switching pharmacies. First, make sure your pharmacy is still in the Preferred Network with your prescription drug plan. Second, find out what the different pharmacies charge for your drugs. You may see a difference that can save you some time in reaching the donut hole.
TIPS to Reducing your Health Insurance Premium…
*Be prepared to discuss your household, estimated adjusted gross income for 2022. This will be used to determine if you qualify for assistance. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the threshold has increased. Some families making $250,000 per year can qualify for assistance!
*Those without pre-existing conditions should consider a short-term medical plan. These plans do not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, maternity, and limited wellness visits. However, these plans are a fraction of the cost of plans offered through the Marketplace and they have a PPO network.
*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 in the event of an accident (slip, fall, and break an ankle) as well as a diagnosis of a critical illness (cancer, heart attack, or stroke). The purpose is to use the funds to pay towards the unexpected treatment.
Consider splitting your household. If one of you need to be on a plan that covers pre-existing conditions the other can look into the short term medical plan. You can also split plans through the Marketplace.
During this time, individual policy holders can enroll in a health plan or make changes to their existing plan.
What to Expect in 2022
Open Enrollment has been extended to January 15th! Please note, changes made AFTER December 15th will take effect February 1st.
NEW CARRIERS: Molina Healthcare, Oscar Health Plan, and United Healthcare will offer plans for 2022. Blue Cross Blue Shield continues to be the only carrier offering a PPO network.
OFF EXCHANGE Plans: While the network is the same on exchange or off exchange, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bright Health, and Cigna will offer off exchange plans. This means if you do not qualify for assistance you do not have to go through the Marketplace. Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only carrier offering a PPO network.
NO penalty continues! This means you will not receive a penalty for not having coverage or for obtaining a plan that does meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act.
Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bright Health, Cigna, and United Healthcare will offer virtual visits. While Blue Cross Blue Shield only offers this service with their PPO network, Cigna, Bright Health, and United Healthcare will offer the same service on all of their plans. Policy holders can call or chat online with a nurse practitioner to obtain a diagnosis and prescription for medication.
Out of pocket maximum will increase to $8,700 per person. You can offset this by purchasing an accident or critical illness rider. The rider starts at $25 per month and provides coverage to you in the event of an accident or diagnosis of a critical illness (heart attack, cancer, or stroke).
Group plans are still an option for small employers. Blue Cross Blue Shield continues to offer relaxed guidelines during this time to allow for a 1-person group. The employer must have at least 2 full time employees that are not husband and wife. The employees can be 1099’d.
Carriers are offering Visa gift cards for participating in their rewards program. Some are offering up to $500! Rewards are given for signing up for an account online, obtaining an annual physical, signing up for text message reminders, selecting a primary care physician, etc.
Cigna is offering plans tailored to those with asthma, COPD, and diabetes. This means lower drug costs, $0 cost for labs, pulmonary rehab, and supplies (including certain brands of insulin pumps)
I am now license in Florida!! Insurance Counts can service plans in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Texas, and Florida.
I am a broker. This means I represent MULTIPLE carriers which allows me the opportunity to review rates with each carrier. This helps me determine which carrier is offering the best package to fit your family’s needs. There is NO additional cost associated with working with a broker.
Each year Patti and I review your renewal. If there is a $100 increase to your home or auto insurance renewal, Patti will contact you to inform you of the increase and ask if it is okay to review options. I have saved some of my own clients $800+ per year just by reviewing their renewal!
I represent A+ carriers. Some of the carriers I represent are Travelers Insurance, AAA, The Hartford, Nationwide, Progressive, etc. When classified as an A+ carrier, this means they pay claims, have a good customer service department, and billing department.
It is easier to call one person for all of your insurance needs.
I have consistently saved people money on their home and auto insurance.
Patti will be reaching out to you soon to discuss your home and auto insurance policies renew and options to combine your policies.
What You Need to Know About Auto and Home Renewals
The summer months are the time that most homeowner’s insurance policies renew. The biggest reason is that many people purchase/move during the summer months.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when reviewing your renewals.
When looking at rates, always review the total package (i.e. home and auto). Often, some carriers will have a better rate on home as opposed to auto however, the total calculation needs to be reviewed when determining the best scenario.
Consider a higher deductible. Most people now have a $500 deductible on auto and $1,000 deductible on home.
When reviewing rates, make sure to consider the wind/hail deductible. Some carriers will now require a 1% deductible for wind/hail claims. If your deductible is $1,000 and your replacement cost is $250,000, your wind/hail deductible would be $2,500. This means any claims related to wind/hail are subject to a separate, larger deductible. If your current policy has $1,000 deductible, you’ll need to get an accurate comparison.
Do NOT skimp on coverages. Dropping your liability limits saves very little in your annual premium.
If you own a rental, also assess the total package when shopping rates. Some carriers will require the primary residence in order to consider the rental property. Their rates can be ½ of what the other carriers offer by packaging your primary residence with the same carrier.
Ask to have your home’s replacement cost recalculated. Each year the carrier will increase the dwelling coverage to protect against inflation.
Make sure you are matching coverages. Some carriers are notorious for removing full coverage to reduce the rate. Sadly, some people do not realize that until they have an accident. Full coverage means the carrier will fix your vehicle in the event of an at-fault accident. On the flip side, liability only means your vehicle is NOT getting fixed in the event of an at-fault accident.
Choose your words wisely when calling other companies. If you tell an agent you want the “cheapest rate possible” or “basic coverages”, this often means the lowest possible liability limits ($25,000/$50,000) and liability-only coverage. Again, you do not save much by reducing the liability limits.
If you would like to get a free quote and find out how you can save money by about combining your insurance policies, please call Kelly or Patti at 708-444-0050. Get Ready to Save!
AUTO/HOME *When reviewing rates, always review the total package (i.e. home and auto). Often, some carriers will have a better rate on the home as opposed to the auto however, the total calculation needs to be reviewed when determining the best scenario. For example, Safeco’s rates on their home rates are not always the most competitive, but their auto rates are MUCH lower, making the total package better than most. *Consider a higher deductible. Most people now have a $500 deductible on the auto and $1,000 deductible on the home. *When reviewing rates, make sure to consider the wind/hail deductible. Some carriers will now require a 1% deductible for wind/hail claims. If your deductible is $1,000 and your replacement cost is $250,000, your wind/hail deductible would be $2,500. This means any claims related to wind/hail are subject to a separate, larger deductible. If your current policy has $1,000 deductible, you’ll need to get an accurate comparison. *Do NOT skimp on coverages. Dropping your liability limits saves very little in your annual premium. *If you own a rental, also assess the total package when shopping rates. Some carriers will require the primary residence in order to consider the rental property. Their rates can be ½ of what the other carriers offer. *Ask to have your home’s replacement cost recalculated. Each year the carrier will increase the dwelling coverage to protect against inflation.
LIFE/HEALTH *Consider a higher deductible when reviewing your health insurance options. If you are looking to reduce your premium a high deductible plan packaged with an accident/critical illness plan will provide you with a reduced rate and the protection you need in the event of something major. The accident/critical illness plan pays you up to a certain amount in the event of a diagnosis of an injury, cancer, heart attack, or stroke. *Stay within your network! Do not rely on your doctor to make sure you are within the network. The doctor often will provide suggestions based on services needed. The networks have changed pretty drastically this year. *If you originally obtained a rate on your life insurance as a smoker, ask to have your rate adjusted to nonsmoker. The carrier will require a swab test to confirm you are a nonsmoker. *Term insurance is much less expensive than permanent/whole life insurance. Term insurance can last up to 30 years. I normally recommend purchasing term insurance to pay any of the expenses you cannot afford if your significant other was no longer here (i.e. mortgage payment, daycare, etc).
Feel free to email or call me with any questions or comments about my services or if you have any insurance related inquires.