All posts by Mertens Insurance
Don’t Get Caught Without Health Care
You have been hearing about the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, for several years. Covered California has been advertising it’s 2015 open enrollment period since mid 2014. You may have heard that the February 15th deadline had been extended to March. Now, Open Enrollment has been extended to April 30, 2015 before tax penalties will be assessed.
So what exactly are the penalties and how does it affect you and your family? As stated by HealthCare.gov:
“If you don’t have coverage in 2015, you’ll pay the higher of these two amounts:
- 2% of your yearly household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, about $10,000 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a bronze plan.
- $325 per person for the year ($162.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $975.
If you didn’t have coverage in 2014, you’ll pay the higher of these two amounts:
- 1% of your yearly household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, about $10,000 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a bronze plan.
- $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $285.”
And the fee’s only increase in the coming years.
Wanting to make healthcare more affordable for all individuals, Obamacare offers many a Premium Tax Credit (PTC) for qualifying individuals and families. There are many plans to chose from within Obamacare, many of which can be catered to your specific needs. With costs starting as low as $88 (combined with a PTC), healthcare has never been so affordable.
Rebecca, a wife and mother of two children, lost her medical insurance in 2012 when her husband was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. The rest of her family was covered under Medicare and MediCal but she was unable to get coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Under Obamacare, she was able to obtain an affordable plan that had extensive coverage to cover her pre-existing condition. “You can’t imagine how much of a relief it is to have insurance again.” she recently explained, “I had been living in fear for the past few years that something would flare up with my condition and we would be responsible for thousands of dollars. I had to have an emergency transfusion in 2011 due to my anemia. That one transfusion would have cost me $5,000 out of my own pocket.”
Merten’s Insurance can help you choose the best medical plan for your unique lifestyle with a member-focused service, a wide choice of plans and doctors, financial strength and affordable rates. We can assist with Individual and Family Plans, MediCal, and Small Business medical insurance plans.
Don’t delay. The deadline is coming up fast. Contact us today to start your new health insurance plan.
Experience the Difference at Mertens Insurance Agency
Let’s be realistic, if you have an adequate investment and pension portfolio, if you have made provisions for your health care costs, if you have no one relying on you for financial support, maybe, just maybe you can afford to retire.
Did you know that a healthy 65-year-old man has a life expectancy of 87 and a woman, 89; and that 38% of the men and 50% of the women will live to age 90, according to recent research on longevity risks and retirement.
Have you thought about outliving your income? Perhaps a lifetime income annuity would be appropriate to cover your basic retirement needs.
Those with kids—and grandkids
How much will it cost to raise a child to age 17? In households with income over $105,000, it’s estimated to be $399,780. Per Child. Without college expense. Combined expenses may be $650,000 or more. How many children do you have? What happens when they come home to live after they graduate? How long will they stay? What happens if you’re is not around to pay these expense? Do you have adequate life insurance?
Grandparents provide the primary financial support for one out of 10 grandkids, and 49% of parents age 60 and older are still providing financial assistance to an adult child.
Is there still a need for life insurance protection? Absolutely!
And those in supporting parents
What about adult children who are supporting parents who are 65 or older? Some 15% of people age 40 to 59 are providing this support while still raising a young child or an adult child. For people 60 and older with a living parent, 50% of the parents need help with day-to-day activities. Does the caregiver still need life insurance? What happens if the caregivers are no longer around?
Add in medical and long-term care
Now let’s talk about the cost of medical care after retirement. According to Fidelity Investments, the average 65-year-old couple will spend $220,000 in 2013 dollars on out-of-pocket medical expenses during retirement.
Have you provided for this in your retirement planning? Keep in mind that this does not include the costs for long term care, which is easily $100-$250 a day.
So let’s come back to life insurance—cash value life insurance. It will be there when it is needed most and provides guarantees, versatility and flexibility for changing situations. Cash value life insurance provides security, dignity and peace of mind and solves the risk problem for pennies on the dollar.
If you love somebody, owe somebody or have someone dependent on you, you need life insurance.
New Year – Insurance Peace of Mind
New Year’s Insurance Resolution: Re-evaluate your needs.
As one year draws to a close and another begins, take the time to look at your insurance policies to see if there are any last minute items you can take advantage of, as well as review your policies to make sure they are up to-date.
Let’s face it, a lot can happen in the course of a year, and your insurance policies need to reflect those changes. Here are just a few things to keep in mind.
Don’t miss out on benefits – Some plans cover annual physicals with little or no out-of-pocket cost, so it’s nice to start the new year with a clean bill of health. If you have a dental or vision plan, you may be eligible for a cleaning, check-up, contact lenses or glasses. Check with your insurance company to see if you are eligible for any specific services
And with a new bundle of joy – You and your spouse will want to look at how to protect the little one financially if one parent is no longer there. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you only have to replace the income of the working spouse. Child care should be part of your life insurance equation.
Your home is likely your greatest asset – Be sure your homeowners coverage is up to date. Has the value of your home changed? Have you made improvements? What about those costly electronics or jewelry that you received as a holiday gift – has that been added to your policy? Do you do business with one or many insurance companies? If one company insures your home and your cars – you will receive a discount.
Look for discounts – Some insurance companies offer discounts for people who take defensive driving classes each year. Another option is to re-visit your current car insurance policy. How long ago did you set it up? Many people set it up once and forget about it but if it has been a few years, your needs may have changed and you may need less (or even more) insurance. Additionally, it’s a great to do some comparison shopping. Pennsylvania has one of the most competitive auto insurance markets in this part of the country. Why not take advantage of it?
Evaluate your needs by your stage in life – As an empty-nester, you may be planning to move to a new area, considering long-term care coverage or evaluating annuities. As you get into your later middle years, it may be helpful to look at how you wish to be cared for – if you can no longer care for yourself. Is long-term care insurance a product that might work for you? Also, what would be the costs of homeowners and auto coverage in other parts of the country? Those things should factor into your retirement decisions as well.
Happy New Year
Deck the Halls
Household Fire Hazards
Cooking is not the only holiday fire threat especially when it’s time to deck the halls.
• Fireplace- Clean your chimney before lighting the first fire of the season. Otherwise, buildup in it could cause an unwanted fire. Plus, you want it to be clear when Santa arrives.
• Space heaters- Keep them on level surfaces, and never leave the room with one running. Keep flammable items clear of your heater.
• Candles- Keep them away from curtains or other flammable objects. Again, never leave them unattended.
• Christmas trees- That beautiful green tree can turn into a dry piece of kindling. Water it often.
• Christmas lights- Don’t overload outlets, and make sure to throw away any frayed strands.
The weather outside is frightful
Christmas is a heavy travel days. That means the roads, trains and buses – will be packed. Be patient, and give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going.
It is a busy season so be careful not to drive when you’re exhausted. Drowsy driving is nearly as bad as drunken driving, it puts you, your passengers and everyone else on the road at risk.
Be prepared for car trouble or inclement weather when you are on the road. Keep an emergency kit in your car, complete with blankets, flashlights, nonperishable food and drinks, medications, batteries and other supplies.
Don’t spread too much holiday cheer
If you’re throwing a party, remember that you could be held responsible if someone has too much to drink and endangers themselves or others. Social host responsibility laws vary by state – talk to your insurance agent about the rules where you live, and determine whether you have enough liability coverage.
A good way to monitor party guests is to require them to hand over their keys as the price of admission. That way you can check in with them when they leave. Serve nonalcoholic beverages and food to help mute the effects of drinking. Set a last call at least an hour before the party ends. And never serve alcohol to minors.
Keep an eye out for the real Grinches
Thieves can prey on you at least two ways during the holidays: in-person and over the Internet.
Keep a close eye on your credit cards – and your credit card statements. Cyber criminals step up their efforts during the holidays, according to Columbia, MD-based online security company Tenable. Particularly vulnerable are public Wi-Fi networks. Experts advise against using them for purchases.
Of course, your gifts remain vulnerable to less sophisticated burglars when they’re wrapped and under the tree. If you have bought jewelry or some other high-value item for a loved one, you should make sure it’s protected under your home insurance contents coverage.
Remember, that coverage sometimes limits how much a policy will pay out for high-value items. Check with your insurance provider to see whether you should schedule an endorsement for such items.
Also remember to add your new valuables to your home inventory list. It will help if you need to file a claim for robbery or loss from fire or another covered peril.
Follow these tips to reduce the chances of filing a claim during this holiday season. That means you will avoid trouble and have a (mostly) stress-free time celebrating with family and friends.
Happy Holidays from all of us here at Mertens Insurance Agency!
Turkey Drive Success
The First Annual Turkey Drive was a huge success!! Thousands in donations were collected with the help of our wonderful community. In a great effort 4000 lbs of turkey, 2500 lbs of canned goods and non perishable goods were collected. Also, over $1,000 in cash and checks for the Salt Mine were donated. Even local teens had a hand in donating. The Frozen Turkey and/or Canned Goods were collected at the Safeway in Lincoln and at Firehouse #34 on Joiner Parkway. A lot of people worked very hard to make this happen, they even had a drive through drop off!
Thank you to our outstanding team of fire fighters, Lincoln CERT, Lincoln Rotary, Angeion Consulting, and of course all the community of Lincoln who went above and beyond to help their neighbors. Thank you to the Salt Mine who will be doing the hard work of making sure that all of your generous donations go to those in need.
The Shrum boys also had a part in helping their hometown. The Lincoln community and surrounding areas participated in buying pumpkins to make their donation of Turkeys a success. The boys took money from their pumpkin sales and was able to purchase 45 turkeys and donated them to the 1st Annual Turkey Drive at the Lincoln Fire Department. Thank you boys for your caring hearts and hard work!!
We are so pleased this event was such a huge success and we look forward to partnering with everyone next year!! Have a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holiday.
We always participate in the Food Truck events every month put on by Downtown Lincoln!! We put in a lot of effort each month to help this run smoothly for everyone!
If you missed it make sure you mark your calendars for next year’s Halloween Food Truck Event!!
Stop by our office in Downtown Lincoln and see the scarecrows!! We have two scarecrows up and they look great!! Thank you to Mrs. Armistead’s AVID program at Lincoln High School and The Little School House for their scarecrows!!
We will be handing out Halloween Candy at our Lincoln office on Halloween from 3pm-5pm, which is this Friday!! Come by and see us!!
Disney Giveaway Winner!!