During this time, individual policy holders can enroll in a health plan or make changes to their existing plan. *If you obtain health insurance from your employer, you are likely to have a different Open Enrollment period.*
What to Expect in 2019
- The penalty has been removed! This means you will no longer receive a penalty for not having coverage or for obtaining a plan that does not provide the 8 coverages required by the Affordable Care Act.
- Short term medical plans will now offer coverage for the full year. These plans do not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, maternity, or wellness visits. However, these plans are a fraction of the cost of plans offered through the Marketplace and they all have a PPO network.
- BCBS will continue to offer virtual visits for PPO plans only. Policy holders can call or chat online with a nurse practitioner to obtain a diagnosis and prescription for medication.
- Group plans are still an option for small employers. Blue Cross Blue Shield does 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.
How to Avoid Rate Increases
- Be prepared to discuss your household, estimated adjusted gross income for 2019. This will be used to determine if you qualify for assistance.
- Those without pre-existing conditions should consider a short term medical plan. 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. I specialize in personal lines insurance, which includes auto, home, and Medicare. 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.
NOTE: This is an extremely busy time for me. I suggest scheduling early as my schedule will fill up. Call 708 444-0050 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org an appointment. Please include your availability (i.e. mornings, afternoons, or evenings) and the type of appointment you are requesting (face to face or conference call).
You’ve probably been at the rental-car counter, listening to the representative ask if you want to purchase the company’s insurance. And the thoughts start racing through your head. “Is this a rip-off? Doesn’t my regular auto policy cover me? What about my credit card? Why didn’t I figure this out before I left on my trip?”
At Kelly Burke Insurance, I am here to help. And while not every situation is the same, I’ve got some general tips that will help you make an informed decision the next time you’re standing at that counter.
1. Know your personal auto policy.
Because insurance policies vary, it’s a good idea to give us a call — before you rent a car — to make sure you have the coverage you need. In many instances, your personal auto policy will provide coverage for a rental car — but that coverage may be limited to the value of the car you own, rather than the one you’re renting. Of course, if you don’t have a personal auto policy, you’ll need to purchase coverage from the rental company.
And keep in mind that in the event of an accident, many rental companies will charge fees beyond repair costs. They may assess a loss-of-use fee for each day the car is unusable, as well as charge you because the value of the car has decreased. Not all insurance policies cover these fees.
2. Also know your homeowners or renters policy.
If you’re traveling with expensive electronics or other valuable items, you probably want to consider what coverage you’ll have in the event they are stolen. Your personal auto policy and/or credit card coverage likely won’t provide protection for this scenario.
3. Check your credit card protection.
Most credit cards will also provide some coverage, but often payment is limited to reimbursement of your personal auto policy deductible (after that policy pays for repairs). Generally, loss-of-use and other fees are not covered, but it’s important to check with your credit-card provider to determine their policies. And while some cards may offer additional protection for a fee, usually coverage is limited to damage to the car, not liability for any injuries to others. Remember, to receive any sort of benefit from your card, you must use that card to pay for your entire car rental.
4. Consider any unique circumstances.
Are you renting a car in a foreign country, or for more than a week? You’ll definitely want to get confirmation of coverage from both your insurance carrier and credit card company because different rules might apply. Also, no matter where you are, vehicles such as trucks, RVs or exotic sports cars often aren’t covered under standard agreements. And if you’re using a car for business purposes, your personal coverage might not apply. Finally, if multiple people will be driving the car during your trip, make sure your coverages will apply to them.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, rental companies offer four main types of coverage.
A Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) relieves you of responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. This may also provide coverage for loss of use.
Liability Protection provides protection from lawsuits if you are sued after an accident.
Personal Accident Insurance covers you and passengers for medical bills after an accident. You may not need this if you have adequate health and auto coverage.
Personal Effects Coverage protects you if items are stolen from your car. You generally are covered for this under your homeowners or renters policy, but keep in mind that the loss must exceed your deductible for you to receive payment. If you have a high deductible, it may make sense to purchase this coverage from the rental company.
When you go on vacation, you don’t want to stress out about insurance. So give me a call at 708-444-0050 before you leave. Then, when you head over to the rental-car counter, you can stop worrying about your coverage — and start enjoying your trip!
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.
Open Enrollment this year will be November 1st-January 31st. During this time, Blue Cross Blue Shield has already announced major network changes. The biggest being the elimination of their broad PPO network. Those with a plan in this network will receive a letter and or phone call from BCBS stating that their policy will expire 12/31. You will need to pick a new plan by 12/15 to ensure there is no gap in coverage.
Those with the Blue Choice, the HMO network, or on an employer plan will NOT be affected by this change.
BCBS has also announced that there will not be a cap on out of network charges, making it extremely important to stay in your plans network. What this means is that a service that costs $10,000 at an out of network facility will cost you $10,000. Nothing will be applied towards your deductible.