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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

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

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

Small Business Insurance Costs and the Affordable Care Act

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Apr 22, 2014

Business health insurance cost predictions under Obamacare (AFA) according to the Center for Medicaid ServicesHow Will the Affordable Care Act Affect Small Business Health Insurance Costs?

You would have to be living on a desert island or under a rock not to have heard of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).  But with all the partisan arguments about how wonderful or – conversely - how awful this new law is, it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.  So, as Sgt. Joe Friday said, we’ll try to stick with "just the facts, ma'am."

Affordable Care Act Facts:

FACT: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. 

FACT: On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court rendered a final decision to uphold the health care law.

FACT: Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace began October 1, 2013 and ended March 31, 2014

That’s probably where the “facts” end.  The stated intent of the ACA was to offer affordable health insurance to every American.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, the ACA “puts consumers back in charge of their health care. Under the law, a new ‘Patient’s Bill of Rights’ gives the American people the stability and flexibility they need to make informed choices about their health.”  Few would argue with the value of the law’s stated goals, which are summarized as follows on the HHS website: “All together, these reforms mean that millions of people who were previously uninsured will gain coverage, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.”

What Impact Will the Affordable Care Act Have on Small Business Insurance Costs?

The full repercussions of the ACA on small businesses and their health insurance costs – and whether it’s truly “wonderful” or actually “awful” - won’t be known for several years; however, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which spearheaded the implementation of the law, presented a report to congress with a few predictions.  In the interest of “sticking with the facts,” CMS’s report states, “There is a rather large degree of uncertainty associated with this estimate. The impact could vary significantly depending on the mix of firms that decide to offer health insurance coverage.”

CMS: 2/3 of Small Businesses to See Increased Costs

A recent Small Business Association poll found that 96 percent of small businesses said their health insurance premiums have significantly increased over the past five years, with average monthly insurance costs increasing from $590 per employee in 2009 to $1,121 in 2014.  CMS’s research indicates those rates will continue to rise.  The CMS report states that the new rules, such as requiring that insurers offer guaranteed health coverage and insurance renewal options to small employers and preventing insurance companies from varying their rates based on a company’s industry or the age of its employees, will most likely drive up the price of insurance for many small businesses. 

The report estimates that 65 percent of small businesses are expected to experience increases in their premium rates, while only 35 percent will see a reduction. Businesses with exceptionally sick or at-risk workers will benefit most from the new provisions.  The effect on large employers is expected to be negligible, since many larger companies run their health insurance programs in house. 

What Can You Do to Control Your Business’s Health Insurance Costs?

Affordable Care Act and Your Health Insurance: Get our free fact sheet and get the information you needAmerican Insuring Group can help you navigate through the complexities of the new ACA rules and ensure that you get the best health insurance premiums available.  Contact an agent at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 for more information about health insurance and the Affordable Care Act.

Want to learn more? Download our free report: 10 Things You Should Know About Health Insurance Under the Affordable Care Act

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How Health Insurance and Other Benefits Can Help Your Bottom Line

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 08, 2014

Providing employee health insurance and other benefits helps retain top talent. Do you believe employees are your most valuable asset? Contact us today for affordable employee benefits like health insurance, life insurance, and workers compensation insurance. We serve Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, York, Lebanon, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Do you believe that your employees are one of your most valuable assets?  Do you think of your employees as an investment rather than an expense?  

The fact is that happy, engaged, and loyal employees work harder, provide better customer service, and stay with you longer. That's why great benefits, especially health insurance, can be crucial to attracting and retaining the best employees.

Consider these facts:

  • The average cost of recruiting, hiring and training a new employee is close to $4,000, according to an article in Entrepreneur Magazine.
     
  • The companies listed on Fortune’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ list experienced stock prices that rose an average of 14% per year from 1998-2005, compared to 6% for the market as a whole, according to a study from the Jackson Organization. That's more than double the norm, and suggests a strong link between employee satisfaction and company performance.

If you truly value your employees, it's important to do more than just say that you value them, so prove it to them via their health insurance, life insurance, and other benefits!  If you don’t show you care about their needs, they'll be less motivated to care about your company or their work, and your bottom line will suffer as a result.  If you want to stand out as an employer and attract real talent, it’s important to do what you can to ensure that your employees are healthy and happy – both physically and financially.

Start with a Good Employee Benefits Package

A good employee benefits package is a great place to start.  Unfortunately, during these rocky economic times, many companies are tempted to cut employee benefits.  This “cost-saving” measure will most likely backfire on you by creating less motivated employees and a higher turnover rate.

Mandatory Employee Benefits

While some benefits are optional, all employers are required to provide employees with the following benefits:

  • Give employees time off to vote, serve on a jury and perform military service.
  • Comply with all workers' compensation requirements.
     
  • Withhold FICA taxes from employees' paychecks and pay your own portion of FICA taxes, providing employees with retirement and disability benefits.
     
  • Pay state and federal unemployment taxes, thus providing benefits for unemployed workers.
     
  • Contribute to state short-term disability programs in states where such programs exist.
     
  • Comply with the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Providing additional benefits, such as health insurance, dental, vision, and life insurance plans will attract better-qualified candidates, ensure higher retention rates, and increase your bottom line. 

We Can Help You Craft a Better Employee Benefits Package

Contact us for help in crafting a better employee benefits package that includes health insurance and life insurance.Contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to discuss affordable health, life, and workers compensation insurance plans to make yours a better company that attracts and retains the high-caliber talent you need to excel in the marketplace.

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