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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 – Insurance Claims

    Posted: August 13, 2019

    Insurance is there for you when you need it. It’s your the safety net. But when something happens to your house or car, it can cause a lot of stress not knowing what is covered or how to file a claim. Depending on what kind of damage you’re facing, filing an insurance claim might help relieve some of the financial problems.

    What Is an Insurance Claim?

    Filing an insurance claim means you’re making a formal request to your insurance company to receive funds to help you pay for repairs and other expenses caused by an event (car accident or a home burglary) that is covered by your insurance.

    Every situation is different, and as an Independent Agent, I can help you outline the specifics and assist in filing a claim.  Below, I have provided common questions and answers to help you understand filing insurance claims for home or auto insurance.

    Insurance Claims-AUTO


    Q. What I am in a car accident and not at fault?

    •  Be sure to obtain the other person’s insurance card. Taking a picture with your phone is the easiest and most acceptable.
    • File the claim with the other party’s insurance carrier. If you file it with your own, you will be obligated to pay your deductible (typically $500). Your carrier will fight to get this back, however depending on the other party’s carrier (i.e. substandard) this could take months to get your money back. Once the money is returned to the carrier, they will send it back to you. This is often referred to as subrogation.
    • If you file with the claim with other party, you will be able to obtain a rental car at the expense of the other insurance carrier.
    • Do NOT wait for the other driver to file the claim. If you want to get the ball rolling, use the information from the ID card they provided to file the claim. The carrier will require a statement from you and the other driver.


    Q. What if I am in a car accident and at fault?

    • Provide the other party with your ID card. If your car is damaged and you want it fixed, contact your carrier. If not, you can choose to pay the damages out of pocket or file it with your insurance carrier. I recommend NOT providing your ID card if you plan on paying it out of pocket. Any time you contact the carrier direct to ask about a claim or file the claim, only to pay it out of pocket, the claim will be on your record for 5 years.
    • If you are at fault, rental car reimbursement is only provided if you have rental reimbursement on your policy. Many people with liability only coverage or more vehicles than drivers do NOT have rental reimbursement. If this is important to you, may sure your policy covers it. The additional is cost is normally $30 per year per vehicle.

    Q. What if I need rental car coverage?

    • Rental car reimbursement only provides coverage when your vehicle is damaged due to an accident.  It does NOT provide coverage due to your vehicle breaking down.
    • The car rental company will ask if you want to purchase their insurance coverage.  Please note, your policy will provide coverage to the rental vehicle.  If you had to file a claim, the claim will be listed on your record and may affect your rate in the future.

    Q. What if I am injured in a auto accident?

    • If you are injured in an auto mobile accident, the carrier (yours or the other party’s, depending who is at fault), will pay for medical damages, lost wages, etc.  I recommend contacting an attorney to help you through the process.  If you do not have an attorney, I am happy to recommend one as I work with multiple.
    • If the other party’s coverage does not provide enough coverage, your policy will cover for any additional expenses, under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

    Insurance Claims-HOME


    Q. What if I have water damage?

    • If the damage is caused by water, take many pictures, and get the water out ASAP.  The longer the water sits, the more damage will incur, and many policies have a limit on water damage (i.e. $5,000 or $10,000). 
    • The carrier will provide you a check for the initial damages, less depreciation.  Once the damages have been repaired you must show proof to receive 100% of the payout.  Receipts or construction contracts will work as proof.


    Q. What if I have a claim on a rental property?

    • If the claim is on a rental property, the carrier will ask for proof that the property was/is occupied.  If the property is insured as tenant occupied and is actually vacant, they will deny coverage.  Call me if your property is vacant as we will adjust coverage immediately.

    Q. What if someone is injured on my property?

    • If someone is injured on your property, they will receive payout from your medical coverages (typically $5,000 max) if it is worse than that they will sue you for the limit of your liability coverage/umbrella.  This limit is typically $300,000 for a single-family residence and an additional $1 million with the umbrella.
    • Liability coverage protects you in the event anyone is injured on your property.  Invited or not, you can and will be sued due to an injury.

    Q. What if I have fire damage?

    • In the event of a fire loss, the carrier will ask for a list of ALL of your personal possessions.  If it is not a total loss, they will be able to obtain pictures of the remaining items, but I ALWAYS recommend taking pictures/videos of your personal possessions; open drawers, closets, under beds, etc.  You will NEVER remember everything you own without some sort of documentation.

    Q. What if I need replacement costs for personal possessions?

    • I write ALL of my home/renters’ policies to include replacement cost of your personal possessions.  This means the carrier will provide you the full value to replace your personal effects.


    Q. What if my dog bites someone?

    • Your home/renter’s policy does provide coverage for dog bites.  Depending on the severity of the dog bite, the medical portion will pay out first (typically $5,000 limit) followed by your liability (typically $300,000) and umbrella (if you have one).  However, depending on the type of dog you own (Pit Bull, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinchers, etc.) the carrier may deny coverage.


    If you have questions about how to file a claim or wonder if you should file a claim feel free to call me at 708-444-0050.  I normally recommend you obtain quotes for the damage(s) before you decide whether to file. It does not make sense to file a claim if the damages are less than or just over your deductible. 

    NOTE: The questions asked to me will not go on your record. 

    As a reminder, all home claims and at fault accidents are subject to the deductible.  This means the carrier will collect the deductible before anything is paid out.

    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


    Advantages of Bundling Your Home and Auto Insurance

    Posted: June 17, 2019

    There are many benefits to using an Independent Insurance Agent such as Kelly Burke Insurance to combine your Home and Auto Policies.    A customer can save as much as $1,000 by bundling your policies together.  
     

    Benefits of Combining Your Home and Auto with an Independent Insurance Agent.

    Lower Costs: Often, you pay a lower rate due to the multi-policy discount.  This discount ranges from 20-30% depending on the produce type (i.e. home or auto) and carrier.

    Renewal Savings: Each renewal, I review your rate to confirm you are still receiving the best possible package.  This means I review rates with other carriers to confirm your rate is in line with industry trends.

    Best Package: I review the total package.  Some carriers will offer a great rate on the auto, but a much higher rate on the home.  By reviewing the total package I confirm you are paying the lowest possible premium.

    Convenience: It makes it easier for you to call or email one office for all of your insurance servicing needs.  There is nothing worse than trying to figure out which person to contact to add a vehicle to your policy, update your mortgage information, etc.

    Along with outstanding coverage and savings, you’ll receive dedicated and personalized service you would expect from your insurance agent. Please contact Kelly today at 708-444-0050 or Kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.com to see how much you could save.

    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