Category Archives: Insurance

Don’t Get Caught Without Health Care

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 2.21.32 PMYou 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

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.



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.

A solution
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.

Health Insurance

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

Life Insurance

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.

 Homeowner’s Insurance

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.

 Auto Insurance

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?

 Other Insurances

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

holiday insurance

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!

Labor Day Fun!

With Labor Day approaching it’s time to make plans and prepare. Millions can’t wait to hit the road, but some Americans choose to stay close to home. Why sit around stuck in traffic when you can linger at the grill and share a cold beverage – or two – with friends? Here are a few tips to make your party a fun and safe time for everyone.


  • Pick a safe spot to grill. Keep it away from the house or any branches or plants that could ignite. If your grill is next to your house pull it out away from the structure of your home.
  • Keep it clean. Accumulated grease inside your grill can catch fire, so clean it before use. Keep uncooked meat and utensils used away from prepared food.
  • Make your grill a kid-free zone. Set up a play area for children well away from the hot grill.


  • Don’t leave your grill unattended. Even for a minute. If you must step away for more spices or a clean plate, appoint a sous chef to keep watch.
  • Don’t bring the party inside. Not even into the garage. Overhead surfaces could also burn.

Grilling isn’t the only danger when you host a party. If a guest sues you because he or she got hurt on your property (and it could be your fault), personal liability coverage in a standard homeowners’ insurance policy typically can help protect you.

If that guest does not file a lawsuit, the medical payments coverage in a standard policy could come into play. It can help with medical bills associated with the injury.

Check your policy for details. If you are renting a home make sure your rental insurance covers it. We hope you have a safe and fun holiday!

We have one more iPad to give away, all you need to do is call us for a free quote to be entered

Obesity Now Classified As a Disease

“The American Medical Association’s announcement last June that is was changing the designation of obesity from a disorder to a disease. This has and will continue have an effect on employers and insurance companies. The use and cost of weight loss drugs will continue to rise. in order for employers to minimize the increased risk, they will need to create wellness programs that focus on weight and healthy living.

Prescription Drugs

Businesses can establishing a corporate wellness program as an alternative to their employee’s relying on doctor-prescribed medication to deal with this newly classified disease.  In the U.S. physician-dispensed drugs have become a common occurrence in the medical care of injured workers and obesity.

Year-after-year the costs of prescription drugs in workers’ compensation are either on the rise, or are being battled tooth-and-nail by state governments and workers’ compensation stakeholders, adding to growing frustration and costs. 


Despite AMA’s recent disease proclamation, obesity already had a sort of disease status in the eyes of many, including other large organizations, as well as branches of the government.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the health consequences of obesity include:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
  • Hypertension
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)

From a business perspective, obesity impacts not only the healthcare system, but health insurance, businesses and the economy as a whole.

The insurance industry, like most other systems and industries, will have to grapple with how to deal with the increasing costs in the best way it can. That could mean seeking rate hikes, reducing other services, or reducing risks.

No matter what the outcome of the decisons made based on the transition of the new classifications made we will always keep your well-being at the frontmost part of decision making.

Want To Win An iPad? Of Course You Do!


We Appreciate YOU!

Here at Mertens we pride ourselves in loving our clients and the communities we are involved in. So to prove it we are continuing to provide you with the best service possible and an iPad giveaway each month!
All you need to do is enter the giveaway on our website and ask for a quote, it’s that easy! We are pleased to be able to offer this fun chance of winning an iPad and possibly get you better insurance than you already have.
You can even optimize your chances of winning by asking for multiple quotes such as Health, Home, Life, Auto, Renters, Umbrella or RV Insurance. With each quote you receive we will provide you (1) entry. You can also send over family, friends, neighbors, anyone of your choice to enter the giveaway and all they have to do is say you sent them. That’s up to 8 entries! The possibilities of winning are great and that’s how we like it. 

We only need 10-15  minutes of your time either over the phone or through email and we will NOT be a nuisance to you afterwards!! We simply want to say “Thank You’ to the people of Lincoln for your business and “We truly love you”.   

To enter, simply go to our website and fill out the entry form, good luck!!

To us insurance means trust and we listen to YOU!

543 F Street, Suite 102, Lincoln, CA 95648

How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need?

When you rent an apartment, condo, or even a house, it is important to have renters insurance, but the question so many pose is, how much renters insurance do I need?

Your new house

Depending on who you ask, the average renter could have anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000 worth of belongings. Again, the AVERAGE, you could have considerably more in belongings, depending on your individual taste and lifestyle. Continue reading How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need?