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    What’s Next??

    *Healthcare: Open Enrollment has been extended until January 15th.  Current policy holders can submit changes to their existing plan or submit a NEW plan.  Once the 15th has passed, you will not be able to make any plan changes.  NEW policies submitted during this time will take effect February 1st.

    *Medicare: Medicare Supplement policy holders ages 65-75 have the option to change to another Medicare Supplement plan without requiring underwriting approval.  To qualify for the Birthday Rule, you must enroll in a plan with the same or lesser benefits.  The change must be done within 45 days AFTER your birthday. 

    *Medicare: Medicare Advantage policy holders are currently in a second Open Enrollment period until March 31st.  During this time, you can change to another Medicare Advantage Plan.

    *Auto/Home Insurance: Many policies renew during the month of January.  When reviewing rates consider these tips:

    +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. 

    +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.

    *Life Insurance: With the start of the New Year, many will review their financial goals for the year and discuss any gaps.  Many people will not buy Life Insurance because they overestimate the cost of a policy. Costs depend on a number of factors, including your health, age, tobacco use, and gender.  As one example, a healthy 35-year-old male can expect to pay about $20 per month for $250,000 on a 30-year term.

    *Business Insurance: We’ve received LOTS of calls lately regarding employees injured on the job.  A workers compensation policy provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured as a result of their job.  Premiums are based on the annual payroll and type of work performed.

    Tips to Reducing your Medicare/Health Insurance Premium

    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. 

     

     

    Your Guide to Medicare 2020-Open Enrollment.

    It’s time for Medicare Fall Open Enrollment.  Knowing how to navigate coverage options and understanding what changes are in store for Medicare in 2020 will help you make the most informed decisions during Fall Open Enrollment.

    During this time, you can make changes to your prescription drug plan, enroll in a plan, change your Medicare Advantage Plan, or enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan.

    WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICARE?  People that are 65 or older or those that have been disabled and collecting social security disability for 24 months.


    What to Expect in 2020

    • Plan F will no longer be offered to newly eligible enrollees.  If you have a Plan F currently, your plan will remain the same.  If you became eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020 you will still be able to enroll in Plan F.
       
    • Humana had made a change to their prescription drug plan.  Those on the Humana Walmart Plan have been re-mapped to the Humana Premier RX plan.  Humana is offering a less expensive option, but we MUST make sure your drugs are covered in the new plan.  If you want to discuss your options, please have your list of drugs available.
       
    • The Part D (prescription drug) deductible has increased to $435.  Many carriers offer plan with $0 deductible for drugs in Tier 1 or Tier 2.
       
    • Donut Hole: The initial limit has increased to $4,020. 
    • United Healthcare/AARP and Blue Cross Blue Shield have little to no changes to their plans for 2020.  If you are happy with your plan, the plan will automatically renew. 

    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 maximum out of pocket and confirm that your doctors accept the plan before switching.  This will protect you in the event of a “bad” year.
    • Consider switching the type of Supplemental Plan you are in currently (i.e. Plan G is often less expensive than a Plan F).  I will caution, changing your plan may require you to pay for services that you have not paid for in the past.  For example, a Plan N will charge the $185 deductible and $20 co-pay for doctors’ visits. 
    • 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 are taking).  
       
    • Consider switching pharmacies.  First, watch to 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. 
       

    This is an extremely busy time for me. I suggest scheduling early as my schedule will fill up.  Contact me at 708-444-0050 or kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.com.

    Please include your availability (i.e. mornings, afternoons, or evenings) and the type of appointment you are requesting (face to face or conference call). 

    Open Enrollment 2020. Get Your Answers Here.

    What to expect in 2020


    Open enrollment 2020 is right around the corner. That means it’s time to check in with me about your health insurance status. While we’re still in 2019, it helps to be proactive to get prepared, know the dates-and plan.
     
    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.*

    Whether you’re buying for an individual or a family, here’s everything you need to know about open enrollment 2020.
     
    • 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 meet the requirements of The Affordable Care Act (i.e. Short-Term Medical Plans). 
       
    • Each carrier will continue to offer virtual visits.  Policy holders can call or chat online with a nurse practitioner to obtain a diagnosis and prescription for medication. There is a small co-pay or $0 co-pay for this service (depending on the carrier and plan).
       
    • 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.  This includes 1099’d employees (NEW this year).
       
    • As carriers continue to decrease or eliminate commissions to agents, I am forced to charge a fee for 2020.  The fee will only be charged to Affordable Care Act Plans.  This does NOT include Medicare or Short-Term Medical plans. 
       
    • Short Term Medical plans will NOT offer a 12-month plan period this year.  The maximum policy period is 6 months.  As a reminder, these plans to 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. 
    • Those that received a subsidy (aka assistance/reduced premium) are NOT obligated to update their income through the Marketplace.  This will automatically renew based on income generated from your 2017 taxes.
       
    • AND, The Good News.  There will be little to no premium increase.

    How to Avoid Rate Increases


    • Be prepared to discuss your household, estimated adjusted gross income for 2020.  This will be used to determine if you qualify for assistance.
       
    • If you are going to opt to self-insure, protect yourself with a short-term medical plan or an accident/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. 

     


    This is an extremely busy time for me. I suggest scheduling early as my schedule will fill up.  Contact me at 708-444-0050 or kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.com.

    Please include your availability (i.e. mornings, afternoons, or evenings) and the type of appointment you are requesting (face to face or conference call). 

    2019 Open Enrollment. Important Details You Need to Know.

     

    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, kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.comfor 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).

    Questions
    Questions

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

    Contact
    Contact

    Phone: 708.444.0050
    Email: kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.com

    Availability
    Availability

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