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    Your Guide to Medicare 2020-Open Enrollment.

    Posted: October 28, 2019

    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.

    Posted: October 23, 2019

    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). 

    Q&A with Kelly-Auto Insurance

    Posted: June 28, 2019

    So, you have questions about car insurance. Maybe your current policy is too high, you just bought a new car, or your teen just received their license. Perhaps you had damage to your car and you don’t know what is covered. Doing your own research can be a huge headache, let alone having to deal with online sites. Auto Insurance policies are complex, especially if you do not know the basics.

    As an Independent Agent I represent many of the best insurance companies available. I can help navigate you and your family through all of the confusing information presented in Auto Insurance plans. Below, I have provided common questions and answers to help you understand auto insurance.

    Auto Insurance
    Q & A


    Q: What kinds of questions should I be expected to answer when I’m applying for an insurance policy. Why do insurers need so much information?

    A: When you apply for an insurance policy you will be asked a number of questions. For example, your name, age, gender, address, etc. for each driver in the household. You will also be asked a series of other questions which will be used to determine how likely you are to make a claim.

    In addition to your age, gender and driving experience, information about the car you drive, and your driving record, is also needed to determine a fair price. For example, a large luxury car costs more to repair or replace than a compact car. Also, someone who commutes 30 miles each way is more likely to be in an accident, than someone who commutes via bus and only drives on weekends. In a nutshell, the more you drive, the higher the rate.

    Q: I have an older car whose current market value is very low – do I really need to purchase car insurance?

    A: Most states have insurance laws that require drivers to have at least some car liability insurance. These laws were enacted to ensure that victims of car accidents receive compensation, when their losses are caused by the actions of a negligent individual.

    Often times the cost of repairing the damages to an older car is greater than it’s value. In these cases, your insurer will usually just “total” the car and give you a check for the car’s market value less the deductible.

    Q: What is the difference between collision physical damage coverage and comprehensive physical damage coverage?

    A: Collision is defined as losses you incur when your car collides into another car or object. For example, if you hit a car in a parking lot, the damages to your car will be paid under your collision coverage.

    Comprehensive provides coverage for mostly other direct physical damage losses you could incur, including theft. For example, damage to your car from a hailstorm will be covered under your comprehensive coverage.

    This is also another name for “full coverage”


    Q: What factors can affect the cost of my car insurance? 


    A: The type of car you drive, the purpose the car serves (i.e. business use, pleasure, or driving to work), your driving record, and where the car is garaged can all affect how much your car insurance will cost you.

    Even your marital status can affect your cost of insurance. Statistics show that married couples tend to have fewer and less costly accidents than those who are single.


    Have questions about Auto Insurance? 
    Contact me at 708-444-0050 or click below


    Celebrating Earth Day

    Posted: April 16, 2019



    What will YOU do to celebrate and participate this Earth Day


    People are thinking more and more about the environment — whether it’s something that affects the quality of life here in the Southwest Suburbs or global issues such as climate change, extreme weather and extinction.

    But more importantly, people aren’t content with simply thinking about these things any more. They’re focused on taking action. Earth Day, which is celebrated April 22, is the perfect time to take action, whether you are looking to take part in a community event or organize your own.

    This year’s theme is “Protect Our Species!” Currently, the world is facing the fastest rate of extinction since the loss of the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. Find out more about this years theme.

    Here are some tips to help you get involved — and think about our planet Earth all through the year.

    Find an event

    It’s easy to find Earth Day events, whether you live in Orland Park or any of our surrounding suburbs. City and town Facebook pages are a great place to start, along with the websites of local environmental organizations. Newspapers, radio and TV often publicize events as well.

    What can I do?

    There are all kinds of Earth Day activities, even some you can easily complete by yourself or with your family. Examples include:

    • Planting trees
    • Cleaning up litter from a natural area or park
    • Adopting a road for litter control
    • Talking about Earth Day and helping to educate others
    • Using alternate transportation, instead of taking your car
    • Holding a garage sale or clothing swap, rather than throwing out unwanted items
    • Learning more about actions you can take to reduce your environmental impact and help save the species

    Make it more than a day Of course, one of the best ways to have an impact is to make every day your own Earth Day. You can take part in earth-friendly activities at any time! So in addition to celebrating once a year, make this April 22 just the beginning of something special And whether you find an event or create your own, the important thing is getting involved.

    Breast Cancer Awareness Month- Dana’s Story

    Posted: October 22, 2018

    Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a worldwide annual campaign to help increase awareness and raise funds for research, prevention, treatments and cures for the disease. This month also emphasizes the importance of early screening and offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer. The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.

     

    According to the National Breast Cancer Institute….

     

    • Breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer in women after skin cancer.
    • About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.
    • Men can also develop breast cancer, making up slightly less than one percent of those diagnosed each year.
    • In 2017, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
    • As of January 2018, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S.
    • About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, caused by abnormal genes passed from parent to child.
    • As with many other diseases, your risk of breast cancer goes up as you get older. About two out of three invasive breast cancers are found in women 55 or older.

    Dana’s Story

     

     

    1 in 8 women, you really do not realize how many people this will and does affect, and how close this will hit home.  One of our own…Dana handles all of the social media marketing and newsletter production for my agency.  She’s been an asset to the agency for 2 years and we were shocked when she told us the news.  This is her story.

     

    You never think you will be the one to hear the words, “You have breast cancer”.   Like many females, we look at our calendar and realize it has been a year since our last mammogram. We sigh because we know it must be done, so we make the dreaded call to schedule our    ta-tas getting squished like pancakes.  For the past few years, I had to get ultrasounds after my mammograms because I am one of the fortunate souls who has cysts.  To me, it was always just routine, and I never thought anything of it. But unfortunately, this last time, they found an abnormal lump.   Even though my mother passed away from colon cancer and my grandfather from skin cancer, I never thought I would get cancer.

     

    I had the biopsy, and according to the doctor, I was lucky. It was the early stages of breast cancer (ductal carcinoma in situ). All I needed was a lumpectomy, and I would be fine. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. My biggest concern was getting my surgery fast enough so I could go on my vacation. Then, the floor dropped out from under me.   The cancer had spread to my lymph nodes, and they found another tumor. Now, the whole game plan had changed.   Six months of chemo, double mastectomy, and radiation.

     

    All of these thoughts went racing through my head, as a single mom and self-employed, how was I going to do this? How was I going to take care of my 15-year-old daughter Alex?, How was I going to pay my bills, and how was I going to take care of myself?   After my little pity party, I told myself, I can do this. Life does not always go according to plan. This is just another hiccup, and I will get through this like other obstacles I have faced.   I always live life to the fullest and having cancer will not keep me down. I believe that having a positive attitude and holding your head up high helps. Yes, I have my bad days, but I always pull myself together.

     

    The greatest gift in all this craziness is the huge amount of support and help from amazing friends, family, neighbors, etc. The Cancer Support Center in Mokena has also been my saving grace. The love and incredible support I received from everyone around me inspires me to stay strong and confront this cancer threat head on. “No One Fights Alone.”

     

    I just celebrated my last day of Chemo, but I still have a long road ahead of me with surgery, radiation and then reconstruction. Even though I am not finished with my journey, I am hopeful and I am ready to continue this fight. It is so important to remember to get your mammograms and do self-checks.

     

    Most important, stay positive and keep faith.

    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