Medicare Annual Open Enrollment 2015

The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period or AEP for 2015 begins October 15 through December 7 of 2015. With millions of baby boomers turning 65 this year, this Medicare Open Enrollment is bound to be a busy one for everybody. This time of year is when Medicare participants are allowed to make a change in their Medicare Plans usually with no restrictions for the following year.

Medicare Advantage plans are offered through private carriers as Medicare HMO or Medicare PPO plans and they can make changes every year so it is very important to review your coverage. In doing so, you may find that some changes may apply to the plan itself or to your coverage area. You can find great coverage for little to no cost for a California Medicare Advantage plan.

Once you make the changes, your plan will take effect on January 1st of the following calendar year. You are locked in to this plan until the next AEP comes around unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) which requires special circumstances. So make sure you Contact us all of your options before making your selection for the next year.

Dog Owners Need Liability Insurance

If you are one of the millions of dog owners it is very important for you to carry liability insurance in case your dog bites someone. Yes, sometimes even good dogs bite! If your dog bites or attacks somebody you can and likely will be held liable for damages and medical expenses. Even if you are not a homeowner you can be liable for your pet. [custom_frame_left]
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This is the main reason you should carry some type of liability insurance, which can be included along with your Home Insurance, Condo Insurance, or even Renters Insurance. However, many companies are becoming more stringent with covering you if you have a certain type of dog breed. The most common to be ineligible are Pit bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinscher’s, and German Shepherds. These breeds are known to me more viscous and therefore insurance carriers are not willing to take on those risks.

Studies have shown that every day, about 1,000 U.S citizens require some emergency treatment for a dog bite or attack. In addition, the Insurance Institute has estimated that almost one third of all homeowner insurance liability claims are related to a dog bite or attack. If you do not have the right coverage this can mean tens of thousands of dollars or maybe more depending on the severity of the damages. It is important to keep in mind that dog bite prevention is the responsibility of the dog owner. A dog owner is liable for following leash laws and other legal restrictions that can help keep people safe from dangerous dog attacks before they happen.

My Dog Attacked Someone, What Do I Do?

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  • Make sure the injured person gets proper medical attention.
  • Be Nice! Remember, your dog just bit them and they can seek legal action.
  • Exchange personal contact information
  • Contact your insurance agent or company and report the incident
  • Report the attack to your local authorities or animal control.

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Dog Bite Statistics

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  • There were 38 U.S fatal dog attacks in 2012 according to dogsbite.org
  • Pitbulls and Rottweilers account for 68% of all fatal attacks.
  • 50% of the victims were adults and the other 50% were children under 8 years old.
  • California and North Carolina lead the country with dog bite fatalities, each with 4.
  • Family dogs account for 58% of all fatal occurrences

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Make sure you take the right safety measures to prevent this from being your nightmare. As dog owners you must take full responsibility for their potential actions. Make sure you have the right insurance in place to protect yourself in case of an accident. Contact Us today and speak with one of our licensed professional agents to make sure you have adequate coverage so you don’t become the victim of any legal actions brought upon you.

Anthem Reduces Rate Increase

It was announced last week, February 14, that Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to lower their rate increase that was implemented earlier this month for California Health Insurance. The California Insurance Commissioner, Dave [custom_frame_left]Rate Decrease[/custom_frame_left]Jones said he merely asked them to lower their rates and they agreed. Currently, the Department of Insurance can only review proposed rate increases but has absolutely no authority to reject excessive increases. Health insurance carriers can implement rate increases without approval and has caused many Californians to go uninsured as it has become unaffordable. Most consumers of individual health insurance policies are those who are self employed, students and others who are simply seeking to pay less than their employers can provide.

This increase from the largest health insurance carrier in California was announced in late 2012 and members were receiving notifications in the mail as early as November.The rate increase took effect February 1, 2013 and was set for an average of 17.9% for all PPO products sold to individuals and families. After this agreement with Commissioner Jones they have reduced their rate increase to an average of 13.87% statewide. This increase was set to impact about 630,000 policyholders and the estimated total savings for these individuals will be close to $54 million. However, even with these higher rates, Anthem said they still expect to lose money because of the rising medical costs in the state.

Anthem Blue Cross has also announced that they will allow members who switched to a lower cost plan to switch back to their previous plan and those who cancelled their coverage because of the increase to re-enroll in the same plan without going through medical underwriting. For many this is still no solution. The upcoming federal healthcare laws will dramatically change how people buy their own health insurance coverage. Soon, people will be able to purchase coverage through a state-run exchange program and be able to check if they qualify for federal subsidies or state programs like Medi-Cal. As we learn more about the Healthcare Reform laws we will be sure to educate you with all the facts so you can make informed decisions about your insurance.

Blue Shield Plans Changing

Blue ShieldIt was recently announced that the Blue Shield of California products line is being completely revamped. The plans that have paved the way for the past decade are about to be obsolete. The last day for enrollment into these plans will be June 15, 2012 and will allows members to grandfather into the benefits.

Enrollment for the new plans will begin effective July 2, 2012. The new plans have potential to be more competitive in the individual health insurance market and have some flexibility for deductibles and price options. As always, they will include coverage for office visits, medications and the basic stuff. These new plans will definitely be popular for those seeking coverage at a reasonable price without giving up too many benefits.

Keep in mind that this is a PPO plan, so you can see any doctor you would like that is a participating Provider. Anthem Blue Cross has thousands of participating physicians and hundreds of hospitals statewide.

If you would like more details on this or any other individual health insurance plan please call Insurance Solutions and speak with one of our licensed agents to help you customize your plan based on your needs and budget.

Careers That Offer Insurance Discounts

Many insurance companies offer various discounts for many different reasons. Well did you know that Farmers Insurance offers discounts for specific careers and occupations? It’s called the Farmers Affinity Discount program that can help you save up to an additional 18% on your Home or Auto Insurance.

Generally speaking, Farmers offers very competitive pricing for Auto, Home, Life and Business insurance but when you qualify for the Affinity Discount, you can be sure you have a great value insurance package. Here are some examples of qualifying careers:

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  • Teachers K-12/ College Professors
  • Engineers
  • Scientists
  • Police Officers
  • Firefighters
  • Physicians/Surgeons
  • Registered Nurses
  • Veterinarians
  • Accountants
  • Pharmacists
  • Dentists
  • Psychiatrists/Psychologists

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Our studies show that people in these fields are particularly responsible, careful and less likely to have or be involved in an accident. Best of all, we can also offer a group discount for every employee or association member of that organization. So if you’re a Medical Assistant for a Doctor who is enrolled or an Administrative Assistant at a Law Firm that is enrolled, then you would be eligible to receive the Farmers Preferred Program discount.

If for some reason you don’t qualify for one of the Farmers Insurance Affinity discounts, there are other discounts available. For example, you can save 15% off your Auto insurance by combining it with your Homeowners Insurance. If you are not a homeowner that’s ok! You can get a Renters Insurance policy and qualify for a 10% multi-line discount with Farmers. In addition, if you decide to add a Farmers life insurance policy to the household there is another 5% for a total of up to 20% discount on your insurance package.

Please speak with of our licensed insurance solutions professionals to have a better understanding of these discounts. We can help you put an insurance package together based on your needs and budget and get you saving money on insurance premiums.

New Generic Lipitor: Atorvastatin

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Generic for Lipitor Now Available

As of December 1, 2011, the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, the best-selling prescription drug in world history, will be available as a generic drug called Atorvastatin. Two generic drugmakers, Ranbaxy and Watson, can start selling generic Atorvastatin in the U.S. right away. However, due to complex generic drug laws, other generic drugmakers will have to wait 180 days, until May 2012, to offer their own generic versions of Lipitor. Pfizer, the giant drug company that makes Lipitor, isn’t taking too well. A series of unprecedented moves, Pfizer plans to make brand-name Lipitor competitive with generic atorvastatin.

For those of you with Health Insurance coverage, details about how atorvastatin and Lipitor will change on non-Medicare plans are being finalized and will be communicated later this week. The brand name drug Lipitor will be a preferred brand until 12/31/11 for all Medicare Advantage and PDP plan formularies, except for members on Formulary 8 (the formulary used for basic plans) where Lipitor is non-formulary. On 1/1/12, the brand name drug Lipitor will be considered a non-formulary drug for all Medicare MAPD and PDP plan formularies.

Effective immediately, Express Scripts will continue to dispense Lipitor through the home delivery program. Members participating in the home delivery program will pay the same copayment as for the generic atorvastatin.

Multiple manufacturers are expected to market the generic within six months. Generic atorvastatin cost and additional manufacturer availability will continue to be monitored to allow for tier adjustments as soon as possible.

Need An SR22 In California

What is an SR-22?

A very common question we are constantly asked is “What is an SR-22?” So we want to address this issue. In California, an SR-22 is not insurance but rather a certificate that you must file with your auto insurance company who will then file it with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to verify that you meet the state’s minimum requirements for liability auto insurance coverage. The insurance company will notify the DMV if the insurance coverage is cancelled or should lapse for any reason.

In the state of California there are three different types of SR 22 forms:

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  • An Operator’s Policy Certificate which covers the financial responsibility in case you do not own a vehicle.
  • An Owner’s Policy Certificate that covers the financial responsibility for vehicles owned by the driver.
  • A Broad Coverage Policy Certificate covers financial responsibility for all vehicles driven by motorist (owned or not owned).

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When is an SR-22 Required?

Typically, you will be required to keep an SR-22 on file for the following reasons:

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  • Individuals convicted of DUI
  • An individual who was in an accident or was convicted of a traffic offense was unable to show financial responsibility
  • Reinstating your driving privilege following a suspension or revocation

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Any one of these events will require you to keep an SR-22 on file with the California DMV. As per the state laws of California, the minimum amount of coverage for one accident should be $15,000 for one person killed or injured, $30,000 for two or more persons killed or injured and $5,000 for property damage.

If you are in a situation where you need to keep an SR-22 on file with the DMV, make sure your California auto insurance covers any vehicle registered in your name and any vehicles you routinely drive.

Having the right car insurance solutions in place is very critical. Speak to one of our licensed insurance solutions professionals to determine your needs and budget. We can provide free auto insurance quotes and compare your options.

Car Insurance in Los Angeles

Having car insurance in Los Angeles is required and can be very costly if caught with out it. Many drivers today are looking for the best deal in town and living in such a busy city there are so many options to choose from. Yet there are still people driving around Los Angeles with no car insurance. The state of California only requires that you carry Liability coverage to cover the damages of another’s vehicle or property in case of negligence while behind the wheel of your car.

auto insurance quotesLiving in Los Angeles, one of the most expensive cities in the country, can also bring about high insurance premiums. There are many factors when it comes to rating car insurance premiums. Some of these consist of your experience (age), home zip code, and driving record. All of these play an important role in determining your final quotes. In Los Angeles, there are many insurance carriers available and even more offering free quotes online. It is very important to consider what your needs are and putting together a policy that will suit both your needs and your budget. In addition to the factors mentioned before, you may also want to consider the following:

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All of these factors will also play a role in your car insurance quotes and can be in your favor or work against you.

Types of Car Insurance Coverage

If you drive in Los Angeles you are required to carry a minimum insurance coverage for every private passenger vehicle. The minimum for Liability Auto Insurance is:
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  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
  • $5,000 for damage to property.

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In addition, you may want to carry Collision coverage which will cover your property in case of an accident (usually after some sort of deductible is met). In order to keep your premiums low, you can select as large a deductible as you feel comfortable paying out of pocket. For older cars, consider dropping this coverage, since coverage is normally limited to the cash value of your car.

Optional Benefits to Consider

Typically your car insurance will only cover the “basics” unless otherwise stated in your policy Declarations. It may be wise, especially in Los Angeles, to consider the following benefits to your coverage:
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  • Uninsured Motorist
  • Under-insured Motorist
  • Medical Payments
  • Rental Car
  • Towing & Labor

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These are just a few important optional benefits that can save you from a lot of headache later. You never know when an accident can occur. With traffic as bad as it is known to be in Los Angeles, having the right car insurance solutions in place is very critical. Talk to one of our licensed insurance professionals to determine what you have that needs to be protected. You can also get free car insurance quotes and compare your options.

Insurance Solutions for California

Having the right Insurance Solutions can be very complicated and something most people do not understand but it is very necessary. Whether you are looking to save money on insurance for your Auto, Home, Health or Life Insurance, you should educate yourself as a consumer. There are obviously many insurance carriers available here in California, but how do you know who has the best rates or the best plan for you? There are thousands, if not millions, of websites offering you online quotes but what does that mean for your insurance coverage? This is what we will be looking at today.

Save Money on Your Insurance

Insurance SolutionsThey say “You can never have enough…”, but there is such a thing as being over-insured. Insurance is meant to cover the potential financial loss you would suffer and therefore you should try to limit the amount of money you spend just in case something happens. You want to make sure you have enough insurance that would cover any potential losses at the best rate possible but without cutting too many corners. Of course some risks carry more weight than others but you want to ensure that your overall financial exposure is at a minimum. Thus, the ideal situation is to have adequate insurance coverage but without having to break the bank. This way you can put your hard earned dollars towards something useful!

On the other hand, you don’t want to be under-insured either. This can be devastating for most people. We have seen this to be true in all facets of insurance. For example: the woman who didn’t have maternity coverage on her health insurance, or the man who was the victim of a Hit-and-Run and did not have uninsured motorists coverage.

Cheaper Insurance Isn’t Always Better

Online insurance quotes are a great benchmark of what you will pay based on certain factors that are important, but they don’t necessarily mean its the best option for you. Most insurance quotes are based on a few things such as age, zip code, sometimes gender and even past insurance history. If you need a comprehensive insurance plan, than cheaper isn’t going to be better. You run the risk of leaving gaps in your coverage in any type of insurance when you just get the cheapest plan. This can become costly in the long run if you end up needing more coverage than what you were paying for.

Get the Right Insurance Solution in Place

As always, become an educated consumer first! Once you have all of the facts than you can begin your shopping process. At Insurance Solution Pros, we are a one-stop shop for all of your insurance needs. We are educators first and then we can help you shop the best insurance solutions for you based on your needs and budget. We work with well-known insurance carriers in California and we will be sure to answer all of your questions every step of the way. Our goal is to establish ourselves as your number one source for you and your family’s insurance needs for the long term. We don’t just want to sell you a policy! We will provide true insurance solutions and we will be here to help make the necessary changes as your life changes. Talk to one of our Insurance Pros to get all of your questions answered or to get your free insurance quotes.

Self Employed Health Insurance in CA

People who are self-employed, independent contractors or small business owners have taken a leap of faith to maximize their opportunity. Being your own boss comes with many freedoms but it also comes with many risks. One of the biggest risks is not having the comfort of affordable health insurance benefits. Self employed health insurance is easy to find and can be purchased as an individual or family health insurance plan.

Self Employed Health Insurance Options

Many people who leave an employer are unsure about their benefits so they turn to COBRA. Coverage through COBRA is always a good option for those with pre-existing conditions that need to be insured. The downside to COBRA is that it is only temporary, usually 18 months. However, you are responsible to pay 100% of the cost as your former employer will no longer need to contribute. Which brings up another issue, cost! Can you afford to pay twice or three times the amount you are used to for the same health insurance coverage?

If you are like most people, the answer is “No”. Your best option is to buy an individual health insurance plan. As long as you and your family are in good health, it’s simply a matter of finding a policy that fits within your needs and budget.

Self Employed Health Insurance Plans

There are several self employed health insurance choices, which include:

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  • PPO Health Insurance
  • HMO Health Insurance
  • HSA Plans (Health Savings Account)

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Tax Advantages of Self Employed Health Insurance

If you have self employment income, then it is a major advantage for your tax deductions! This includes expenses for yourself, your spouse, and all your dependents. However, you can only claim the health insurance premiums write-off for months when neither you nor your spouse were eligible to participate in a group health plan. Also, the deduction cannot exceed the earned income you collect from your business.

Finding the Right Self Employed Health Insurance

The best way to narrow down your options is to speak with one of our licensed Insurance Solutions professionals. We will provide expert advise and free quotes with no obligation.