Friday, February 26, 2010

Health Care Reform or Health Insurance Reform?

Which is it? Because all of a sudden its health insurance reform, which is completly different. Before its cutting doctor/patient fraud, lowering costs for doctors/hospitals so they can pass that savings onto the patient. Before it was expanding Medicaid. Now, it seems like a certain political party wants to demonize health insurance companies because they make money and are successful. They want to force people to get into the pool of insureds or pay a penalty, they want to guarantee issue.

Lets not get off track here. Our health insurance system, if you are talking about employer based, is whacked. Thats why individual insurance is the answer. It is essentially an association plan, but is individually underwritten. Individual health insurance is great and yes, there are caveats to each company, but that is called "having choices". I, for instance, can choose which insurance company would be the best fit for you. Underwriting guidelines vary and should be loosened up. Health Savings Accounts are another win-win. Anybody, regardless of income bracket wins. Under an employer based system, a major claim by a couple individuals ruin it for everybody else, can you say sky-high premium raise? And if employers cannot afford it, than either he will switch to a lower benefit plan or scrap it all together.

So, ultimately, health care reform should be the simple reduction of fraud, possible expansion of medicaid, and lets get our doctors/hostpitals some credit and help them out. They are on the front lines of care. Medical malpractice needs to be corraled.

Health insurance is mainly designed to help in the event of a major medical event. If all we are worrying about is a $25 copay for a doctors visit or making sure Johnny can walk into a doctors office and pay cash for his visit, then our politicians really need to explain why they need to be put back in office.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Toyota Recalls

Am I the only one who thinks the whole Toyota recall situation is completely overblown? Or even a coincidence that the government has an interest in scolding a rival since the government owns 60% of GM? Toyota still makes solid, reliable, and economical vehicles, and quite frankly, GM's cars are near copies of its competitors. They are pulling the same thing Hyundai/Kia does.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If you are looking to obtain health insurance, read first!

Or even if you wish to get a quote. Stop. Do not call United Health Care or Humana directly. Call Islander Insurance Advisors. I can help you choose the right plan for you, and even come to your home to discuss the plans further. An employee of Humana will not even meet you at Starbucks. Would you use a call center to buy health insurance? I can come to you or meet at a predetermined location. I would rather meet face to face and build a trusting relationship before anything.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Want to save money?

Annual reviews of your health insurance is a good way to start. Every year, your health insurance premiums tend to rise on average 10-25%. And with new insurance companies coming into the area with new plans, its a good time to test the waters. Your insurance agent should conduct these reviews. He should check to see if you can switch to another company or plan to keep you paying the same amount or if possible, get you on a more efficient plan. Is YOUR agent doing this? Is he looking out for YOU?

Life events change every year too. Children are born, kids graduate college, and maybe its time to invest in a whole life insurance policy.

If you are reading this and thinking, "Hey, my agent does not do this", then maybe its time for a switch. Islander Insurance Advisors will be glad to be on the lookout for you.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Individual Insurance vs. Employer Based Health Insurance

There are a few differences, but it is vital to understand the importance of each. Employer based is mostly guaranteed issue, which means if you are 'sick', you can get coverage. Another point is that its benefit limits are not as high as opposed to individual. Therefore, its premiums tend to be lower than individual. Counterpoint, since its guaranteed issue and if several people in the 'pool' use its benefits, ie. go to the doctor or emergency room for every problem, the pool has to buy water. Up goes the premium, or worse yet, your coverage gets lowered or dropped. Most small businesses nowadays have limited benefits for their 'medical benefits'. It could be fine, but you do get what you pay for.

Now, there are some instances where employer based coverage is good. Maternity benefits are great. Maternity is usually ridered in a co-pay individual plan.

Individual health insurance, and even life insurance for that matter, is YOURS regardless of job situation. True major medical health insurance has lifetime benefits of $3+Million or more, tends to cost less with more benefits. When paired with a Health Savings Account, individual insurance can be a good savings vehicle.

Annual renewal periods are a great time to have your individual health insurance evaluated and as you know, events and things change throughout the year. During that time, we can find the right health plan for you.

Premium increases tend to be more secure with individual health insurance. And, the free market helps to bring in new companies and with that, comes competition; Lower premiums, expanded benefits, better, visible underwriting, and customer satisfaction make individual health insurance the solution to the worlds problem. Really.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Avon Alternative Intensive Age Cream

I have been using Avon's Alternative Intensive Age Cream for approximately 2 months because of heavy, dark circles around my eyes, and I could tell you that it works great! Just put it on at night before you to bed. You have to use it for at least 2 months in order to see a difference.

And I did not increase my hours of sleep, so I cannot say that was the reason. Of course, more sleep can make the cream more efficient. I am so glad I tried it.

You can order via the website below.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Term or Whole Life Insurance

Yes, the old debate continues. Well, in our opinion its up to the client and his/her situation. Term can be great if paired with a return of premium rider and/or the client is middle age. Whole life can be great if the client is young or has children. It builds cash value. Price wise, its identical to term life with ROP, and whole life is permanent. Term is temporary unless it can be converted.

People say buy term and invest the difference. That's great if the market is earning AT least 4%. Cd's are not even paying that now. They weren't when the economy was booming in 06/07. Whole life can be variable or indexed to a market index like the S&P500 or a combo of multiple indexes. The indexed universal life policies have a death benefit plus a cash value account which gains as the market gains BUT does not lose when the market index drops. You participate in the gains only.

People say you shouldn't mix life insurance with investments, or "you don't have investments with your car insurance". Well, a diligent advisor would make sure you have both. And if used IN conjunction with cash savings accounts AND investments like mutual funds/stocks/bonds in an IRA/401(k), whole life/universal life insurance is a good value.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Industrial Average hits 10K, as I predicted

It was going to happen. With tomorrows unemployment rate announcement and the government spending exponentially, the market made its message. But will the government listen? Heck, they cannot even listen to the public with 'health care reform'. I do not expect any major gains if there is a surprise in the unemployment rate, but I think it will stay the same.

I caught "Stossel" on Fox Business before. What a great show. I know John from 20/20 and he seems very likeable. Tonights show debukes the mantra of "things are getting worse", when they are getting better. Incomes for the rich and poor have increased over 30 years, teen pregnancy is on the decline, violence is on the decline, more people have cell phones than ever before, and health care in America IS one of the best.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

SBA Loans and small banks

According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal's Book of Lists 2009, more than $30M in SBA loan funds were loaned out with at least 25 companies receiving more than $1M in funding. Half of the lenders were small banks and the other half consisted of regional/big banks. My point is that the President wants to take $30B from the repaid TARP loans and allow small banks to make SBA loans and isn't he a little too late? And if this is the case, I would rather any extra money to go back into the Treasury where they came from.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Health Savings Accounts

I was talking with a client and he said his HSA earns more than his investment account. Thats because HSAs generally earn 2-3% depending on size of balance at a participating bank. Thats not bad considering CDs are just below that. HSAs also receive favorable tax treatment. All contributions are tax-deductable; Its essentially a Health IRA. And premiums are lower compared to co-pay plans. The difference in premiums can be deposited into the HSA and used for medical expenses like doctor visits and prescriptions.

Put yourself in control of your health care. And another perk is that the plan is yours. Individual health insurance stays with you regardless of job situation. So if you hear the President tell you that millions of insureds will lose their coverage this year, you do not have to worry; He is talking about employer based coverage. Individual health insurance IS the solution to the problem. Lets give tax credits to people so they can purchase the logical solution.

Investment accounts are great, but having a solid foundation of health, life, dental, critical illness, disability, long term care, an irrevocable living trust, and cash savings account in conjunction with a Health Savings Account, is the best way to protect your assets, lifestyle, income, and your family from a medical bankruptcy.