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2016 Long-Term Care Insurance Tax Deductions

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 08, 2017

Long-term care insurance tips and tax deductions. Contact us for long-term care insurance in Reading, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.There’s a good chance you’ve heard that long-term care insurance should be a part of everyone’s financial planning.

A long-term care insurance policy helps pay for the care you need when you become unable to care for yourself. It can protect your family's financial future and your investments and savings, and is therefore an important element in a well designed health insurance strategy.

What long-term care insurance covers

Long-term insurance benefits pay for services that include personal care such as bathing, dressing, eating, using the bathroom, moving around, or getting in or out of a bed or a chair. The help could be administered at your home or a variety of other facilities.

Long-term insurance rates vary depending on individual factors:
• How old you are when you apply for it
• The maximum amount that the policy will cover per day
• The highest number of days, months, or years that the policy will provide benefits
• The lifetime maximum amount
• Any options that you choose (increasing benefits with inflation, for instance)

Since most long-term policies require medical underwriting, you may not even qualify for the protection if you are in bad health. Sometimes, however, you can get group coverage that requires no underwriting, or you might be able to purchase an individual policy with limited coverage or at higher rates.

Good news from the IRS on long-term care insurance

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that it is increasing the amount taxpayers can deduct from their 2016 income for long-term care insurance premiums.

Premiums for qualified long-term care insurance policies are tax deductible to the extent that they, along with other unreimbursed medical expenses, exceed 10 percent of the insured's adjusted gross income, or 7.5 percent for taxpayers 65 and older (through 2016).

The premiums, which are the amount a policyholder pays the insurance company, are deductible for the taxpayer, spouse, and other dependents. Self-employed individuals take note: Your rules are different. You can take the amount of the premium as a deduction just as long as you made a net profit. And your medical expenses do not have to exceed a certain percentage of your income.

One caveat, depending on the taxpayer’s age, there is a limit on how much of the premium may be deducted. The IRS does not consider any premium amounts for the year that are above these limits to be a medical expense.

Here are the deductibility limits for 2016:

Age before the end of the year
40 or less: $390
41 to 50: $730
51 to 60: $1,460
61 to 70: $3,900
71 and up: $4,870

How to receive the long-term care insurance tax deduction:

You must itemize your deductions on your federal return to receive the long-term care insurance tax deduction. Your long term care insurance premiums are added in to your other unreimbursed medical expenses. To get a tax deduction, you must have unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed 10% (7.5% for 65 and older) of your adjusted gross income. If so, you may deduct up to the age-based limits shown above.

We can help you select the right long-term care insurance

Contact us for help in selecting the right long-term care insurance policy.It’s never a bad time to review your financial plan, and with the IRS giving you an added incentive, you should take the time to consider long-term care insurance as part of your plan for 2017.

Contact American Insuring Group online, or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, and get all the details on this essential coverage.

Tags: Long Term Care Insurance, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Allentown, Health Insurance Reading PA, Health Insurance Philadelphia, Health Insurance Lancaster

5 Ways Critical Illness Insurance Can Be a Financial Life-Saver

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 05, 2016

Tips on Pennsylvania critical illness insurance for Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, York, Lebanon, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.If you’re like most Americans, your life is pretty good right now (probably a lot better than you realize), and you see no reason why that should change in the foreseeable future. Now imagine being blindsided by a serious illness that takes away your good health and puts a significant dent in your income.

This is not some doomsday scenario; it happens often. And it can leave a trail of financial stress that can impede the healing process.

Dr. Marius Barnard, the famous South African cardiac surgeon, saw first-hand the effects of the financial and emotional stress of serious illnesses on his patients, and in 1983 he came up with the idea of critical illness insurance, a special form of health insurance, as a way to counteract it.

What is Critical Illness Insurance?

If you are ever diagnosed with a life-altering illness that has been pre-specified in your policy, Critical Illness Insurance will provide you with a lump-sum payment that you can use any way you choose.

Although your health insurace plan will identify what is covered, the following illnesses are typically included:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Organ transplants
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • HIV treatments
  • Blindness

The advantages of critical illness insurance

Your health insurance should pay the bulk of your medical expenses, but think about all the things it doesn’t cover—this is the biggest advantage to critical illness insurance. The lump sum payout from your plan can ensure that you don’t have to face any financial disruptions in addition to coping with a serious medical condition.

 

Consider these five ways that Critical Illness Insurance can be an economic lifesaver:

  1. You may have to travel for treatment. Depending on your illness, your doctor may recommend an out-of-state hospital with a successful track record in treating your condition. Without savings or a payout from a critical illness insurance plan, you could be forced to run up your credit card for airfares, hotels, and meals. It might take years to pay off these expenses after you recover.

  2. You’ll need to pay what your health insurance doesn’t. Copays and deductibles are becoming larger as health insurance premiums increase. And there are always other out-of-pocket expenses with which to contend.

  3. You’ll need to make your mortgage payments. If you’re like most people, you have a life insurance policy that pays off your mortgage if you die. But like any set of statistics will show, if you are younger, you are much more likely to be disabled by an illness than to die. Part of a lump sum payment could be used to make your mortgage payments while you heal. Imagine the peace of mind that would come from knowing that you and your family can continue living in your house even though you can’t work.

  4. Modify your home or car. Some critical illnesses—MS, for instance—can take away your mobility. Retrofitting your home or car can restore some of it, but it will be expensive (stair lifts alone can cost $5,000). Doorways may need to be widened to accommodate a wheelchair, and ramps will need to replace steps in some areas of the house. A van that allows wheelchair access to the driver’s seat and hand controls could reach $50,000.

  5. Maintaining your lifestyle. Everyone gets used to a particular way of life. And when a critical illness hampers it, it can cause emotional distress for the whole family. With the payout you’ll receive, a critical illness health insurance plan can eliminate any worries about your lost income during a critical illness.

In Summary:

Your family will have peace of mind, and you can concentrate on getting better if you have properly planned for a critical illness. Knowing that insurance has covered your financial needs after a critical illness diagnosis will remove any financial stress and facilitate your recovery.

 

We Can Help With Any Health Insurance Need

Contact us for help in aquiring a critical illness health insurance policy or for any other health insurance need.To learn more about Critical Illness Insurance, or for any health insurance need, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

We'll research plans from across many competing health insurance providers to find the best insurance policy that meets your needs and your budget.

Call or click today to get started!

Tags: Critical Illness Insurance, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Allentown, Health Insurance Reading PA, Health Insurance Berks County, Health Insurance Philadelphia

Medicare Vs. Long Term Care Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Oct 24, 2016

Tips for controlling your long term care health insurance costs throughout Pennsylvania, including Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pottstown, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Most medical statistics that you read or hear about are not designed to brighten your day.

Well, here’s another one: Once you reach the Medicare-eligible age of 65, you have a seven in ten chance of needing long-term care at some future point. A good long term health care insurance policy can provide both peace of mind and valuable protection against the high cost of care. 

Long term care may be provided be at home, in a skilled nursing facility, or in assisted living. It is a surprise to many that the average annual cost of care in a nursing home is a whopping $81,000 for a semi-private room or $90,500 for a private room. Those are national averages, but you can expect similar costs in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and elsewhere throughout Pennsylvania.

“Well, so what?” You’re probably thinking. “I might have underestimated the cost of long-term care, but my Medicare will be there to foot the bill.” Well, maybe not

Medicare Falls Short When It Comes to Long-Term Care

It's wise to consider long-term care insurance to supplement Medicare. Here's why: If you are recovering from an acute illness, condition or injury, Medicare will cover the services performed by a skilled medical professional. Your physician must certify to Medicare that these specialized services are necessary and that you are required to be housebound to receive these services. Any custodial care--bathing, eating, dressing, etc.--will be covered by Medicare only if the care accompanies your need for skilled acute care and is concurrent with it.

If you require long-term care in a nursing facility, Medicare will pay at least a portion of your care for up to 100 days, but only after you have satisfied a hospital stay of at least three days and you still need daily medical attention. For instance, physical therapy following a joint replacement or wound care after surgery would qualify.

Note: Medicare will cover 100% of your full costs for the first 20 days only. You are responsible for a co-payment of $157.50 per day on days 21 through 100. If you have Medicare Supplement insurance, it will pick up this co-payment. After 100 days of skilled nursing care, you are on your own for all costs. 

Why the confusion over Medicare?

Much of the misunderstanding arises because Medicare helps to cover certain services at home, but only if these services are medically necessary due to an acute medical need. But Medicare specifically excludes from coverage custodial care from chronic and disabling illnesses. As previously noted, custodial care refers to ongoing assistance with the activities of daily living such as bathing, eating, dressing and toileting. Skilled acute care and custodial care are decidedly different, yet skilled nursing facilities and home care agencies provide each type of care, which just adds to the confusion.

What about Medicaid?

People often do not distinguish between Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid does cover 100% of long-term care custodial costs within a state licensed and certified Medicaid nursing facility. But Medicaid is a program for individuals and families with low income and insufficient resources to pay for health care. Additional confusion comes from not knowing this distinction.

You are responsible for your health care

Long term care can deplete your assets and shift the burden to your loved ones. You can ease these costs by properly planning for your future long-term care insurance needs. Doing so will help to preserve your savings and assets while providing you with options for the type of care that best meets your needs, whether it’s assisted living or in-home care. 

 

Contact Us for Help in Evaluating Your Long-Term Care Insurance Needs 

Contact us for help in evaluating your long term care insurance needsSeek professional assistance before planning for your long-term care. There are a variety of policies from which to choose, from traditional long-term care insurance to hybrid plans that will return your premium should you not need care. There are also decisions to be made within each policy type that may require expert advice.

To learn more about long-term care insurance, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Call or click today to get started!

Tags: Long Term Care Insurance, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Allentown, Health Insurance Reading PA, Health Insurance Philadelphia, Health Insurance Lancaster, Health Insurance Harrisburg, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance

Paying for Long-Term Care Insurance: Myth vs. Fact

Posted by David Ross on Fri, Apr 01, 2016

Affordable long term care insurance in Philadelphia, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Need something to jolt you awake faster than your morning espresso? Try these government statistics: About 70 percent of people over age 65 will need some type of long-term care during their lifetime, and more than 40 percent will need care in a nursing home at some point.

If you’re one of the many Americans who are not overly concerned about long term care insurance because you believe your kindly Uncle Sam will foot the bill, you should continue reading. 

What is Long-Term Health Care?

When someone requires help with physical or emotional needs over an extended period, this is long-term care. It involves a variety of services—from bathing and dressing to managing money--designed to meet these needs for a short time (several weeks or months) or a much longer period. These services help people live as independently and safely as possible when they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own.

Who Will Likely Need It?

While no one can predict how much or what type of long-term care insurance a person might require, there are several factors that can increase the chance of needing it:

  • Age: The risk increases as people get older.
  • Gender: Because women live longer, they are at a higher risk than men.
  • Marital status: Single people are more likely than married people to need care.
  • Lifestyle: Poor diet and lack of exercise can increase a person's risk.
  • Health and family history: These factors also affect risk.

How to Pay for Long Term Care — the Myths

  • Family members: Depending on a person's needs, long-term care can be provided at home by unpaid family members and friends. This option is becoming less reliable, however, as the ratio of available help for each aging family member continues to fall. Today there are about seven potential caregivers for one eighty-year-old requiring long-term care. By 2030 that ratio is expected to fall to 4-to-1 and by 2050 it could be as low as 3-to-1.

  • Medicare: Many people mistakenly assume that Medicare will cover most long-term care costs. And while it does pay for some part-time services for people who are homebound and for short-term skilled nursing care, it does not cover ongoing personal care at home, like help with bathing, dressing, and eating. It may cover the first 100 days in a nursing home, but there will be some hefty co-payments, and nothing will be covered after that.

  • Medicaid: This Federal and State health insurance program for people with limited income and resources can provide help only if you have less than $2000 in assets.

  • Medicare supplement policies: These are not designed to meet long-term care needs, but some policies do cover co-payments for nursing home stays that qualify for Medicare coverage.

  • Reverse mortgages: People who are considering tapping their home’s equity through a reverse mortgage in order to pay long-term care should be aware of the high closing costs, fees, and interest rates. This is not a viable solution for most people.

Long-Term Care Insurance—the Real Solution

Depending on the coverage options you select—from in-home help to nursing home care--long-term health care insurance can help you pay for the care you need. The insurance might also provide payment for adult day care, care coordination (helping you to find appropriate care services) and, in some policies, help pay costs associated with modifying your home so you can continue living in it safely.

Contact Us for Assistance with Long Term Care Insurance

Because the insurance can be set up many ways to pay for a wide range of services and support, it can be complicated. We recommend you spend time with one of our specialists to establish a policy based on your preferences, needs, and budget. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Health Insurance Allentown, Long Term Care Insurance, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Philadelphia

Should Your Business Consider Disability Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Jul 14, 2015

Is disability insurance right for your company? Tips on selecting health disability insurance. Serving Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Bill is 50-year-old department manager for a mid-sized manufacturer. Even though he has never been seriously ill and has a clean family health history, he was recently told that he has cancer.

While the treatment will be long and difficult, Bill can take comfort in knowing that his employer-sponsored health insurance will pay most of his hospital and physician costs.

But Bill is about to be blindsided for a second time when he realizes that he will have no income to help support his family as he recovers from the difficult medical treatments.

Disability Insurance Myths - An Employee’s Perspective

During the working years, an employee is over three times more likely to be disabled than to die. At Bill’s age, the odds are still 1.8 to 1 in favor of a disability. In fact, thanks to advances in medical treatments over the last twenty years, deaths from the major illnesses (cancer, stroke, and heart disease) are down nearly one third, while disabilities from these same diseases are up by over 50%!

Yet Bill, like many workers, is only protected against the lesser risk.

Based on these statistics, you would think that every employee would ensure that he has disability insurance coverage. Unfortunately, many of today’s workers do not see the necessity for this insurance because, like Bill, they have been lulled into a false sense of security by a lifetime‘s worth of good health or the naive belief that unforeseen illnesses and accidents happen only to the unlucky few.

Disability Insurance Considerations From an Employer’s Perspective

Unlike the readily understandable benefits like paid vacation or health and dental insurance, disability income insurance can be more difficult to use as an incentive for workers to remain loyal, yet in time of need it will be the most appreciated part of the benefit package. Workers of all ages (yes, even those young employees who believe they are invincible) need protection from those surprises that can neither be predicted nor prevented. Disability Insurance is a benefit that a caring employer can provide, even if it is never needed, and it will engender a sense of loyalty when it is established with a thorough explanation.

2 Types of Disability Insurance

There are two basic types of disability insurance: short term (STD) and long term (LTD), neither of which should put an undo strain on a company’s budget. Employers have the option of adjusting the waiting period (the interval from the injury or illness to the start of payments) and the benefit period (the maximum amount of time for which the worker will receive payments).

In the case of STD the waiting period is generally up to two weeks, while the benefit period can be as little as thirteen weeks or as much as two years. With LTD the waiting period ranges from six months to two years, and the benefit period would last from a few years to a lifetime.

Employers also have the flexibility to require employees to contribute a portion of the premium, or they may choose to pay the entire amount themselves. There are a variety of paths that an employer can take to establishing a plan that fits the company’s budget and, at the same time, addresses the potential needs of the workers.

Disability Insurance - Putting it all Together

There is little doubt that disability insurance has advantages for both your employees and your company. Consider these:

  • Group rates are lower than individual rates and, with the option of employee contributions, a plan can be established at a reasonable cost
  • There are no medical exams, so all of your employees are automatically covered regardless of medical history
  • Those valued employees who become temporarily disabled return to the company with a sense of loyalty and gratitude
  • Waiting and benefit periods can be adjusted, which gives your business flexibility in designing a plan
  • Hiring managers can use this benefit as a recruiting tool for inducing new talent to the company

Get help finding the right disability insurance for your company. Contact us today.Get the Right Disability Insurance Coverage

To learn more about your disability insurance options, give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or click here to contact us. We offer health and disability insurance protection from multiple competing insurance providers, so unlike single-brand companies, we're free to shop around to find the best deal on quality insurance protection. Contact us today to get started.

Tags: Health Insurance Reading PA, Health Insurance Allentown, Health Insurance Harrisburg, Disability Insurance, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Berks County, Health Insurance Philadelphia, Health Insurance Lancaster, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance

Affordable Care Act and Small Business Health Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Jun 03, 2015

Small business health insurance and the Affordable Care Act. Contact us for assistance with your health insurance needs in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Lebanon, Harrisburg, Reading, Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Do you live under a rock?  No?  Then it’s pretty safe to say that you’ve heard about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Also known as Obamacare - that was signed into law in March 2010. 

It may also be safe to say that you don’t completely understand it and the implications it imposes on your small business, including health insurance requirements for your employees.  We would like to simplify it for you.

What is Affordable Care Act?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act or ACA) created several health insurance reforms that were designed to ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health insurance. 

What are the Health Insurance Impliccations for Small Business Owners?

The ACA requires that all employers with 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees or more must offer health insurance to full-time workers or pay a penalty.  If you have less than 50 FTE employees, you are not required to provide health insurance.

Although it’s important to understand its implications, you may be surprised to learn that ACA doesn’t affect as many businesses as you might think.  According to obamacarefacts.com,

  • 90% of US firms have less than 20 full-time employees
  • About 96% of firms have fewer than 50 full-time employees.
  • Less than 0.2 percent of all firms (about 10,000 out of 6 million) face employer responsibility requirements.
  • More than 96 percent of firms with 50 or more employees already offer health insurance to their workers.

Here are three provisions of ACA specific to health insurance for small businesses: 

1) Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)

The SHOP Marketplace - an online health insurance exchange - is open to employers of 50 full-time employees or less. Insurance plans in the Marketplace are offered by private companies and cover the same essential health benefits. No plan can turn you away or charge you more because you or your employees have an illness or medical condition. The idea is that pooling insurance risks will increase small business purchasing power, provide more choices for them, and simplify the paperwork.

Insurance plans in SHOP are available through insurance brokers – like American Insuring Group - at no additional cost to you.

2) Health Tax Credits

ACA offers incentives to small businesses that employ less than 25 full-time low- and moderate-income workers.  Credits may be worth up to 50 percent of an employer's insurance premium costs – helping to offset the cost of providing health insurance coverage for employees.

To qualify for the tax credit…

  • you must have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees,
  • your average employee salary must be $50,000 per year or less,
  • you must pay at least 50% of your full-time employees' premium costs, and
  • you must offer coverage to your full-time employees through the SHOP Marketplace.

3)  Reporting and Notifications

The IRS has implemented new ACA-reporting requirements that small business must follow.  Some businesses…

  • may be required to report the value of the health insurance provided to each employee on W-2 forms
  • may need to officially notify their employees in writing about the new health insurance Marketplace.

Get help with small business health insurance - contact us today.Get Help - Find the Right Health Insurance for Your Small Business

Contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.  We can help you:

  • Determine if your business has 50 or fewer employees and is eligible for SHOP
  • Apply for health insurance for your employees
  • Review and compare price, coverage, quality, and other important features of available SHOP plans
  • Enroll in the SHOP plan you choose
  • Help you understand eligibility for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
  • Answer your questions and guide you through the process
  • Help you after you’re enrolled
Contact us for your health insurance needs

Tags: Health Insurance Reading PA, Health Insurance Allentown, Health Insurance Harrisburg, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Berks County, Health Insurance Philadelphia, Health Insurance Lancaster, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance

4 Kinds of Business Insurance Employers Must Have

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Apr 30, 2015

4 types of business insurance for employersYou’re about to become an employer.  Maybe you’ve been in business for a while, but now you’re ready to hire your first employee.  You’re excited; this means your business is growing.  Or, maybe you’re just starting a business and you need employees to help run that business. 

Either way, being an employer comes with many responsibilities, including ensuring that you purchase the right business insurance.  You may be asking yourself, “What insurance is required by law and what is optional?  What’s in the best interest of both my business and my employees?” 

There are four primary types of insurance every employer should take a look at – Workers Compensation Insurance, Unemployment Insurance Tax, Disability Insurance, and Health Insurance.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers Compensation Insurance coverage ensures medical and wage-loss benefits to employees who are injured on the job. Plus, it helps protect employers against lawsuits filed by injured workers. Worker’s Comp insurance requirements vary by state.  In Pennsylvania, if you employ one or more employees - whether they’re part-time or full-time (including family members) workers’ compensation insurance coverage is mandatory.

If you are a sole proprietor, Workers' compensation insurance is not required by law, which can save you money; however, if you’re ever injured on the job, workers’ compensation insurance can help pay medical bills and supplement lost wages until you’re able to go back to work.

Click here for information about workers compensation insurance requirements in other states.

Unemployment Insurance Tax

Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a joint state and federal program financed through federal and state employer payroll taxes. It provides temporary payments to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own.  Each state has its own unemployment insurance program, which includes additional eligibility requirements, but they all follow guidelines established by the federal government.

Most employers must pay federal employer payroll taxes if they pay employee wages of $1,500, or more, in a quarter or if they have at least one employee during 20 weeks in a calendar year.  Most employers are also required to pay state unemployment taxes. In Pennsylvania, all employers providing employment to one or more workers must register Form PA-100 with the Office of UC Tax Services.

Employment that is not covered under the UC law includes the following:

  • An individual employed by his or her son, daughter or spouse
  • A child under the age of 18 who is employed by his or her parent
  • A student in the employ of an organized camp that did not operate more than seven months in the preceding calendar year

Disability Insurance

Some states require that employers provide partial wage replacement insurance coverage to their eligible employees for non-work related sickness or injury. Currently, if your employees are located in any of the following states, you are required to purchase disability insurance:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island

In Pennsylvania, there are two types of disability insurance available if you decide to purchase it for your employees: short-term and long-term.

Again, if you are a sole proprietor, Disability Insurance is not required in Pennsylvania; however, if your family relies on your income, you may want to consider disability insurance for yourself to help pay medical bills and supplement lost wages if you become sick or injured.

Health Insurance

If you have more than 50 employees you are required to provide health insurance benefits to your full-time employees.  If you have more than 50 employees and don’t offer health benefits, you may be subject to a penalty call the shared responsibility payment.  96% of employers in Pennsylvania are exempt from the shared responsibility requirement. 

Learn more about all your business insurance needs and options. We serve Reading, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, Lebanon, York, Pottstown, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond with high quality commercial business insurance.Contact Us for All Your Business Insurance Needs

If you’re an employer, contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 for more information about required and recommended business insurance, including health insurance, disability insurance, workers compensation insurance, or any other insurance your business may need. We've been helping businesses like yours acquire affordable, high-quality insurance for over 25 years.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Lancaster PA, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, workers comp, workers comp insurance, Disability Insurance, Health Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Commercial Insurance Berks County

Long Term Care Insurance for the Sandwich Generation

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 18, 2015

Welcome to the Sandwich Generation?

PA Long Term Care Insurance Policies. Serving Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, York, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, Newcastle, Lebanon, and beyond.Our world is changing.  The “typical” family has changed and people are living much longer due to advances in medicine.  These two ingredients have created a new generation – known as the Sandwich Generation. Gone are the days when a “typical” family consisted of a working husband, a stay-at-home wife and a couple of children.

Today, only 22 percent of all children under 15 are being raised by the “typical” family, according to a report for the Council of Contemporary Families.  Another 23 percent are being raised by a single mother, 7 percent live with a parent who cohabits with an unmarried partner, 3 percent live with a single father, and 3 percent live with grandparents.  In addition, nearly half of all American married couples are dual-career couples according to the Harvard Business Review. 

Plus, people are living longer.  When the 20th century began, life expectancy at birth in America was 47 years.  Today, newborns are expected to live 79 years. If we continue increasing life expectancy at the rate we have been, people will be living to 100 by the end of this century.  This means an increase in the number of aging parents – who are experiencing changing needs - will require some type of assistance.

According to Pew, “Nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older).” Nearly 30 percent of those aging parents need some type of assistance.

Long Term Care Insurance: Relief for the “Sandwich Generation”

Today, many individuals are responsible for the care of an aging parent.  Some turn to professionals for help – hiring a caregiver or relocating their parents to a facility that can meet their changing needs – but paying for this long-term care can quickly drain your bank account. Long term care insurance can help ease the financial burden.

Here are some average costs of long-term care in the US, according to Longtermcare.gov: 

$205 per day or $6,235 per month for a semi-private room in a nursing home

$229 per day or $6,965 per month for a private room in a nursing home

$3,293 per month for care in an assisted living facility (for a one-bedroom unit)

$21 per hour for a home health aide

$19 per hour for homemaker services

$67 per day for services in an adult day health care center

This financial burden often forces individuals to take it upon themselves to become the primary caregiver for an aging parent.  In fact, more than 65 million Americans are the care giver for an adult family member.  Before deciding to take this route, you should consider all of the “costs” this decision can create.

Financial Costs

There is almost always a financial impact if you become the caregiver.  Nearly half of family caregivers spend more than $5,000 a year on out-of-pocket caregiving expenses, and about a third spend more than $10,000 according to a recent survey. Those who leave the workforce to provide care lose an average of more than $300,000 in income and benefits.

Health Costs

As you focus on the needs of your loved one, it’s very easy to forget to take care of yourself.  About one in five family caregivers believe their health has gotten worse as a result of their responsibilities.  Between 40% and 70% of family caregivers of older adults have significant symptoms of depression. Other common health problems of family caregivers include increased anxiety, heart disease, hypertension, sleep problems and fatigue. Therefore, quality health care insurance coverage is key.

Career Costs

Becoming a primary caregiver can also affect your job.  Consider these statistics for working caregivers: 

• 60% say their duties have had a negative impact on their jobs

• 68% make work accommodations

• 64% arrive late, left early and/or took time off in the middle of the day

• 17% took a leave of absence

• 9% reduced hours or took a less demanding job

• 5% turn down a promotion

Relationship Costs

Being a full-time caregiver can change your family dynamics and put a strain on your relationships with your spouse and children. It can also create stress and conflict with siblings when it comes to topics like financial support and sharing the caregiving responsibilities.

The Solution: Long-term Care Insurance

Providing long-term care to an aging loved one will always be an emotional and often trying experience for families. If you don’t want to become a burden to your family, you should consider long-term care insurance to protect your family’s finances, provide choices, and alleviate many of the “costs” associated with long-term care.  Most importantly, long-term care insurance provides peace of mind for both you and your family. 

Learn more about long-term care insurance. We serve Philadelphia, Reading, Berks County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, and beyond with long-term insurance policies.Take the first steps in learning about long-term care planning and find out how solutions like long-term care insurance can protect both you and your family.

For more information, contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.  

Tags: Health Insurance Reading PA, Health Insurance Allentown, Health Insurance Harrisburg, Long Term Care Insurance, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Berks County, Health Insurance Philadelphia, Health Insurance Lancaster

Managed Health Care Insurance & Workers Comp Insurance Savings

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Nov 11, 2014

The Birth of Managed Care for Controlling Health Insurance Costs

Health Insurance and Worker's Compensation Insurance for Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Reading, Pittsburgh, Erie, the Lehigh Valley and beyond.Managed health care started to become commonplace in the US after the enactment of the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973, which was created in an attempt to control health care medical insurance costs by stimulating greater competition within health care markets.  It marked a significant shift in the US health care industry by introducing the concept of for-profit health care to an industry that was traditionally not-for-profit. 

Many believe that managed care helped control medical cost inflation in the late 1980s.  On the other hand, many believe that these cost-control efforts also caused the health care industry to become more interested in saving money than in providing quality health care.  Whatever you believe, the fact is that managed health care has become ubiquitous in the US, with 90 percent of insured Americans enrolled in plans with some form of managed care, according to America's Health Insurance Plans.

So What is Managed Health Care?

Managed health care plans are a type of health insurance. Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) establish contracts with doctors, hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers such as pharmacies, labs, x-ray centers, and medical equipment vendors at a reduced cost.  These health care providers and medical facilities are known as the plan’s “network.”  Managed care health insurance plans typically cover a wide range of health services – from preventative care to diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. 

There are Two Basic Types of Managed Care Health Insurance Plans:

  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) – HMOs require you to use their "network" of hospitals and doctors only. Coverage is usually broader, with less out-of-pocket expense, but is more restrictive than a PPO. "Out of network" medical expenses are not covered under an HMO medical insurance plan.
  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO) – PPOs give you an incentive to use their "in network" hospitals and doctors. You can choose to go "out of network," which gives you freedom of choice, but usually with a higher deductible and co-insurance out-of-pocket expense than other forms of medical insurance.

 

Health Insurance and Worker’s Compensation Insurance Objectives

General health insurance and worker’s compensation have two slightly different objectives.

Health insurance (including managed health care) is "coverage that provides for the payments of benefits as a result of sickness or injury,” according to the Health Insurance Association of America.  It provides coverage for medications, visits to the doctor or emergency room, hospital stays and other medical expenses. 

Worker’s Compensation Insurance covers employees for work-related injuries, including not only medical expenses, but also lost wages incurred due to a work-related accident or injury.  Keep in mind that while Worker’s Compensation only accounts for about three percent of a company’s total health care costs (about $111 billion), more than half of that $111 billion is paid in lost wages.  Therefore, in addition to providing health care for employees, another objective of Worker’s Compensation Insurance is to get employee’s back to work.

How Can Managed Care Help Reduce Workers Compensation Insuance Costs?

By using some of the techniques used in managed care, companies can provide quality medical services to injured workers and get employee’s back to work. 

Some of these techniques include:

  • Medical Case Management
  • Provider Network
  • Precertification
  • Record Analysis
  • Utilization Review
  • Fee Schedule Compliance
  • Independent Medical Evaluations

Managed Care Worker's Comp Insurance Savings Example

John is an employee for XYZ Manufacturing.  His normal job is lifting 50-lb bags onto a truck.  One day, while he’s lifting one of those bags, he twists his back, which causes a lower back injury.  The physician advises John not to lift anything over 20 pounds.  Using managed care techniques, John could go back to work on light duty rather than missing work completely, saving XYZ Manufacturing the cost of lost wages for John.

How to Save on Quality Health & Worker's Compensation Insurance

Save on Workers Comp Insurance and Health Insurance with American Insuring Group. We provide high quality, affordable Workers Compensation Insurance and Health Insurance for businesses in Allentown, Reading, Philadelphia, Hanover, York, Lancaster, Lebanon, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, the Lehigh Valley, Erie, PA and points in between.For more information about MCOs and Worker’s Compensation Insurance and to find the right insurance for your business, please contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. 

We have been supplying affordable, high-quality worker's compensation insurance and health insurance for over 25 years. And, as a Trusted Choice independent insurance agent we specialize in offering multiple insurance offerings from competing insurance brands. We'll help you get the right coverage at the the right price. Call today.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Disability Insurance, Health Insurance, Accident Insurance, Managed Care Insurance, Commercial Insurance

Think You Don’t Need Disability Insurance? Think Again!

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

Only 44% of people have long term disability insurance protection. Get covered - call us today. We offer disability insurance for businesses and individuals in Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Lebanon, Allentown, York, Harrisburg, PA and beyond.Let's Get Honest About Disability Insurance

Ah, disability insurance. You’ve probably heard that you’re supposed to have enough savings to pay your living expenses for six months.  Can you honestly say you have that much saved?   According to a 2013 Bankrate survey, less than one in four Americans do.  Approximately three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings. 

So, what happens if those paychecks stop coming in due to an injury or an illness that prevents you from working? 

This is where disability insurance kicks in – it helps protect your paycheck. If you can’t work due to an injury or illness, disability insurance will pay a portion of your salary until you can return to work.  This can be a life-saver (or at least a "financial life" saver!).  So, why is it that only 49 percent of U.S. workers have short-term disability insurance and only 44 percent have long-term disability insurance? 

Here are the three misguided reasons why many individuals believe they don’t need disability insurance:

MISGUIDED REASON #1: I’m young and healthy.  Disability insurance is for older people.

THE TRUTH: The Social Security Administration estimates that the average 20-year-old worker faces a 3 in 10 chance of being disabled at some point before they retire.

MISGUIDED REASON #2: The government will take care of me.

THE TRUTH:  Most long-term disabilities are a result of an injury or illness that is not work-related, which means it wouldn’t be covered by Workers’ Compensation. If you’re relying on Social Security disability benefits, you should know the average monthly payment is just $1,100, which is lower than the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty level for a family of two.

MISGUIDED REASON #3: My employer will take care of me.

THE TRUTH: According to the US Department of Labor, seventy percent of private employers don’t offer long-term disability insurance. 

 

The Bottom Line on Disability Insurance

Contact us to learn more about obtaining the proper disability insurance coverage to protect you and your family. We offer disability insurance from competing insurance companies to customers near Reading, PA, Berks County, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.The average long-term disability claim is 34.6 months (just shy of 3 years!).  If you rely on your paycheck (and who doesn't?) you should have disability insurance. 

American Insuring Group can help you determine if you have enough disability insurance coverage or if you need an individual disability insurance policy to fill any gaps in the event of an injury or illness.  Contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610)775-3848.

Tags: Health Insurance Reading PA, Health Insurance Allentown, Health Insurance Harrisburg, Disability Insurance, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Berks County, Health Insurance Philadelphia, Health Insurance Lancaster