THURSDAY, JULY 27, 2017
Since this is an article on the subject of insurance I thought it fitting to use the most top of mind topic in the news today. No, the answer has nothing to do with the word Russians! In the marketing world, we call this TOMA are the top of mind awareness at any given time. So take a guess.
The answer is The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It's now commonly referred to as the ACA.
To get many of your questions answered, I will be using another writers article. I prefer to write my analysis myself. However, this writer is Allison Bell and the editor of ThinkAdvisor magazine a well known and respected insurance publication. Here are few of the more salient points from a long paper on what the ACA may look like in the coming months or days.
Congress has run into serious trouble with their efforts to overhaul the Affordable Care Act. Congressional leaders are still talking about the possibility of repealing the whole act or coming up with a way to change or replace it. It is all coming down to a showdown.
Here are some thoughts about how "Trump Showdown Care" world could work.
The title is 5 Guesses about a Trump Showdown on Health Care. By Allison Bell
1. Much will depend on what steps Congress, the courts, federal employees and federal law enforcement agencies are able and willing to take to limit the administration's actions.
2. Issuers might pull individual major medical coverage off the shelves in many markets.
3. Issuers of products that compete with individual major medical coverage, such as short-term health insurance, might rejoice at first, thanks to a decline in competition from individual major medical coverage, but explosive growth might eventually force them to cap sales.
4. Assumptions that a showdown will be brief could interfere with any efforts to develop the kinds of alternatives to individual major medical coverage that could get the market through a prolonged showdown
5. The showdown could increase health plan claim costs even after everything goes back to normal.
I wish I were able to discuss each of these five points because the solution to this coming crisis will take a combination of ways to fill the gap if you are your loved ones will be unable to attain affordable health care. This article is available in its entirety on www.ThinkAdvisor.com or my blog www.TroncalliInsurance.com. Reach my company by email with Info@TronIns.com.
One caveat to the quote from Walter Scott. Most people stop at with the word weave. That’s where the conviction comes in the full quote it continues with “when we practice to deceive.” Think about that.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28, 2017
The Affordable Care Act is very much alike to one of my favorite movies in the late 1950's. Yes, I am that old to have seen the picture in the movie house just down the block from my home in downtown Atlanta, GA. One of the best old Horror Movies, the BLOB a horror/monster film from 1958, about a killer ameba from outer space. Here is the description back in the day "An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows." No kidding in dealing with this law for seven years as a healthcare advisor it is very much like the movie the BLOB. Steven McQueen in his film debut is trying to figure a way to stop the BLOB. Just like our friends in the Congress. Once you touch it, you cannot get rid of the BLOB.
The Affordable Care Act is very much like the movie in the late 1950's. Yes, I am that old. If you are from Georgia, you may know the Grove Theater or movie house, as we called them back in the day. It was just down the block from my home in downtown Atlanta. This movie was one of the best genres of old Horror Movies.
Here is the description back in the day "An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows." The Blob makes an excellent comparison to the biggest issue on the minds of most Americans. That is the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act better known as Ocare (AKA Obama Care). Think I am kidding? You can call it sarcasm, however, I like to look at humor rather than crying.In dealing with this law for seven years, it is very much like the movie The BLOB. The young Steve McQueen in the primary role is trying every way he can think of to stop the BLOB.
I had to think of our friends in the Congress. Those Democrats on the side of keeping the law as is and hunting down pesky Russians who trampled the election just a few months ago. On the other hand, we have the Republicans who are wanting to replace and repeal the law as well as ward off the Russians in another way. The entire Congress should see the movie. In fact, you can stream it on Amazon. It is a horror classic, and the PPACA may be a classic in horror as well. It seems like it is unstoppable just like the blob.
FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 2017
"Do not throw in the towel; use it for wiping the sweat off your face." - Otto Graham
I contemplated this month’s article on insurance for humans for a long time.
Insurance for humans means that I advise only humans.
So, nothing to do with property or casualty, business insurance, boats, planes, and trains. Primarily my line of products falls into three categories. Life, Health (Medical), and Wealth Protection. My friends who are in the financial advisement industry (FA’s) get rather perturbed when I say wealth.
Wealth does not mean I want to help you with saving money for whatever needs you have. I certainly have enough stress with dealing with the medical catastrophe much less attempt to deal daily with the financial indices and compliance laws which will take a toll on anyone.
No most insurance agencies stick to the adage “Cobbler stick to your last” in other words do what you do best. And never try to solve everyone's dilemma.
Insurance that protects wealth is medical, disability, long and short term care, critical illness, dental & vision just to name a few.
Medical risk can change your wealth in a matter of days or minutes. A simple accident for a child that is an athlete with a torn MCL diagnosis can cost you up to $20,000. If you are holding onto the days when medical solved that risk, you must have been in a coma for the past seven years.
The Rest of the Story
This past week with four phone calls was enough to put me over the edge. Since I have a word limit, you can read the full article on my blog. However, here is the short version of one of the four. I will condense this as it would be improper to say anything but the abstract truth. A 62-year-old female called about needing medical insurance. The husband was retiring from a long career so that he would have insurance now on Medicare. She would need to have her medical coverage starting next month.
Since she has been on the husband's plan for years, she was not up to speed on the laws or the plan costs until today. I asked her a few questions, and her only question was will this cost more than a few hundred dollars. What do you say to someone that has had group plans and now her choices are down to two companies. Least expensive plan in her county would be over $980 a month. That would be a bronze (catastrophic) plan? I wrote the notes that are now the article that you may be reading. My agency was started to leave clients with a solution, not a call that would cause worries and panic.
I confess each week advising nice people on how to deal with medical insurance is a no-win situation, and I am out of solutions. It may be time to throw in the towel.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2017
May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month.
Approximately every seven seconds, a working-age American suffers a disabling injury or illness that will last a month or more. Most are off the job. Nearly 57 million Americans are living with a disability.
As an insurance broker and benefits advisor, I talk to people and business owners daily about the real possibility of a disability. The question I ask is, "How long can you maintain your lifestyle without a paycheck"? It is a simple question. Many people say, "I have medical insurance".
Here are some facts. The chance of missing work for three months or longer as a result of an illness or accident is much higher than most employees realize. The risk is compounded by lifestyle, your profession, and other factors.
Did you know that more than 25% of today's 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire?
What is causing this rise in disability claims? Time is money and long-term disability ( 6 months to 1 year) can have a devastating effect on a person's financial situation. New statistics show 65% of today's workforce could not pay their bills for more than a year without an income. The average LTD claim lasts 2.6 years. A disability lasting 2.6 years translates to 135 weekly paychecks missed. If you take an average of $21.50 an hour that is enough money to buy six compact cars.
The IRS regulates the amount of money that you can qualify for through disability insurance. You can receive a maximum of 60% of your gross income paid out monthly. Employers should look at disability as one of the top three benefit offerings that a prospective employee looks for in a permanent position.
SATURDAY, APRIL 1, 2017
The PANIC is back! Now we know the reality of the PPACA health care law will not be going away. The madness of how to help folks who have no coverage or could not afford the few plans that were available just gets worse.
As of midnight today April 1st (Fools Day) the short term medical plans will no longer be available. These plans which were available for all the years of Obama Care will only offer theses plans for a maximum of 1, 2, or 3 months. Short Term Medical plans up to one year was the only option that healthy folks could count on that may be affordable. Yes, these plans come with strings attached. You had to be underwritten, or (Healthy) to apply for a plan. Before, the administration left the building this was the law as of April 1st, 2017. If you had an STM plan, you could extend your active plan up to 1 year. If you did that you were considered grandfathered in and could keep it until December 31st, 2017.
Obviously, the people that were over or under the income limit to receive a subsidy in the poverty level matrix (100%-400%) had to cancel their ACA plans once they saw the actual cost.
Since I have fielded calls all week on this question, the folks seem to have thought that the repeal and replace was going to happen. I think a lot of us Health Brokers thought that there would be a way to get something accomplished logically. I sadly say “Boy was I wrong.”
At this time it can't get much worse for a person who is age 64 and cannot afford with a subsidy for the 320% of the poverty level a $890 monthly plan. Oh, by the way, that is with an approximate subsidy of $500+. Yes, the actual plan cost for a female without any subsidy in good health living in the state of Georgia will have to pay $1800 a month for an HMO plan with a high deductible.
My wish would have been an executive order for one year that every person in the federal government would have to have this insurance for themselves and their families for just one year. Having to have it for four years is cruel and unusual punishment. No one would wish it on our elected civil servants. Cynical I am not, but sarcastic absolutely. Any rational and logical person would be very sarcastic. The American people have had to deal with this mess of the past eight years it certainly has taken a toll on any rational thinker.
My hope as an insurance advisor will be that the health companies will come out with some plans that can get around the EHB (essential health benefits) and use the MEC (Minimum Essential Coverage) to offer plans.
It is very hard to see the tears when people finally have the reality they have no way to have affordable health care. Yes, the panic is back with no plan B.