With the Affordable Care Act, most Texans will be required to have health coverage after January 1, 2014. They’ll have a new way to buy health policies through insurance exchanges.

Employees will look to their employers for advice and assistance as they navigate the exchanges, so we’re providing you with information about their new options. Exchanges will provide individuals and small business owners with a place to find, compare, and purchase coverage, as well as get financial assistance to afford it.

Over the next few issues we wanted to provide answers to some of the questions we have been getting from clients and others.

Will I have to give up my current coverage?

No. When your coverage is renewed, it might contain new benefits required under federal law, but if your plan was already in effect on March 23, 2010, you can keep your current coverage as long as it is offered by your employer.

What about pre-existing conditions?

You can no longer be refused coverage for pre-existing conditions. There may be more information coming and we will advise you.

Can I maintain my primary care provider?

Yes, as long as they are part of the plan you select.

My child previously aged out of dependent coverage, but is still under 26 years old. Can I put him back on my plan?

Yes, check with your plan to determine the specific process.

Does every employer need to provide coverage?

No, Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the law requires only employers with 50 or more full time employees to offer “minimum essential coverage. For small employers please consultant with your CPA to see if you qualify for a tax rebate on premiums paid.

As Texans try to understand and navigate through all this information, it is important to use an independent agent. Here are the benefits of using Essential Insurance Concepts, Inc.

  • We don’t charge fees or service changes
  • You will pay same as if going direct to carrier
  • We will compare all insurance companies and bring you the best offer
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Most people insure their material possessions—their homes and cars, for example. But many of these same people don’t insure what is probably their most valuable asset — their ability to work and earn income. Disability insurance is designed to replace your income should you become unable to work at your current job. Disability insurance is important because it can ease the financial burden on a household when someone has a serious illness or injury. There are two basic kinds of disability insurance:

Short-term disability insurance covers a percentage of your lost salary should injury or illness knocks you out of work for more than a few days. Payments generally kick in when you have exhausted any available sick leave. Duration of benefits varies by policy, but six months is typical.

Long-term disability insurance is a more typical insurance product in that it protects you from catastrophic illness or injury, including tragic twists of fate that permanently end your ability to earn a paycheck.  These policies usually pick up where short-term disability policies leave off. Some last only five or 10 years, but you want one that covers you until age 65.

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Are you one of the people who think you don’t need life insurance? Please think again. Life insurance provides real security for those you care about. Life benefits can provide financial security and resources for your family or loved ones after you are gone. Let’s look at a few of the reasons to consider life insurance:

1. Payment on Debt- if you have any outstanding debt (like a mortgage) at the time of your death, it does not go away. Your estate will still be responsible to settle all accounts. Life insurance can give your family the peace of mind to know that they can still pay the mortgage if the unthinkable happens.

2. Continuation of Income- Life insurance can provide the funds to replace your income upon your passing. Family income will certainly diminish and there’s a very good chance that your family will experience a lower standard of living.

3. Unpaid Medical Expenses- It is highly likely that you will have medical expenses prior to your death. Some of which may not be covered by health insurance. Adequate life insurance proceeds ensure that these final expenses can be paid.

4. Funeral Expenses- Most people don’t plan for or fund the funeral expenses; again life insurance is there to help.

The good news is that life insurance rates are low and there are many different kinds of products from which to select. One question we often get is, “How much life insurance do I need”? That really depends on your individual situation, but here is a general guideline–We think you need to consider a life insurance limit of at least 10 times your annual gross income. For example if you earn $50,000 per year, your family would need to replace somewhere close to that amount. A $500,000 life policy could return $45,000 to $50,000 in annual interest depending on the rates.

Selecting the right insurance company is very important. Let us help you with selecting the right plan and insurer. Essential Insurance Concepts can provide competitive premiums for you today.

Long Term Disability

February 24, 2013

Nobody likes to think about what life would look like should disability occur. But the reality is one third of all Americans between the ages 35 and 65 will become disabled for more than 90 days, according to the American Council of Life Insurers. Loss of income can devastate families.  Long Term Disability Insurance is designed to cover lost wages in the event of a disabling accident or illness. Different policies have different stipulations but nearly all require a waiting period before disability payments begin and will reimburse for a pre-defined percentage of your income, generally 45% – 60%. There are two broad categories, Long Term Disability (LTD) and Short Term Disability (STD). Premiums and waiting periods will differ between the two types along short term and long term category lines.  Essential Insurance Concepts offers competitive plans and can provide valuable assistance in this area.

Many people don’t consider disability protection because they don’t think they would need it, or it is covered under employer health plans or workers’ compensation. Yet the need for disability protection is greater than for life insurance, at least when considering the probability of becoming disabled for some significant interval versus dying prematurely. Individual coverage is available, so contact Essential Insurance Concepts today.

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Healthcare Reform, will have an impact on all employers in Texas. With the election over, it is almost a forgone conclusion that the Act will be implemented over the next several months.

There is no question that there will be significant issues facing employers over the next number of years. These issues will most likely mean higher health care costs and more administrative time.

The (PPAC) creates many questions for employers and we are here to help you design a plan of how to respond. Essential Insurance Concepts understand this and is pleased to announce the formation of our Benefits Group which will help our clients and prospects work through the new law. We now offer a wide range of life and health services and have access to a number of competitive providers.

Although many of the provisions of PPACA don’t take effect until 2014, the law — along with the continuing trend of skyrocketing health costs — is prompting many employers to take major steps during this enrollment season. Yet as employers begin to create strategies to adjust plan design and costs under PPACA, many still remain in the dark as to how to fully implement the law.

One drawback of the reform, is that there are no caps on health insurance premiums, so expect some rate increases. If you have more than 50 employees, you will have to provide coverage or pay a fine beginning in 2014. As of 2013, there will be new taxes on income for small business owners; we recommend you consult with your tax professional.

Employers with more than 200 full-time employees that offer health coverage to their employees will be required to automatically enroll new and current fulltime employees in one of the plans offered, with employees having the option to opt out.

Essential Insurance Concepts has already developed strategies for our clients. If you are concerned about the effects of reform please contact our office.

Insurance

Essential Insurance Concepts is an independent agency. This means we don’t work for any one insurance company. We have access to many insurance companies, giving us the ability to shop your account and search the best option for you. With captive insurance agents, like the big national companies, you only get the guidance of one company that sells one brand of insurance. There are a number of benefits to working with us:

  • We will work with you to make sure your claim is processed to your satisfaction
  • We provide a number of coverage options
  • We are not obligated to any one company
  • We search the market for the best combination of price and coverage
  • We are committed to exceeding your expectations
  • You are who we answer to, not a board of directors in NY
  • We are licensed professionals with strong customer and community ties
  • Essential Insurance Concepts is your one stop shop; we offer a complete line of insurance
  • Our staff is qualified and trained to explain coverage in understandable language
  • We can review coverage and make necessary changes based on your needs

When you work with us, we will give you unbiased advice.  As an independent insurance agent we are very knowledgeable about all the companies that exist in the marketplace. We know which companies have the best track record when it comes to pleasing their policy holders. We can narrow your options down and help you choose between the best insurance companies in the market. Not all insurance agents are the same! Choosing the right one can make a big difference – in price, service, and value.  We live here and understand the needs of our neighbors.