Friday, May 30, 2014

Oregon Governor Seeks Justice for State Incurred Health Expenses

Governor John Kitzhaber is seeking immediate legal action against Oracle, the California based tech company. The state hired Oracle to build there health insurance website but found an overwhelming number of glitches upon delivery. Governor Kitzhaber has recruited the support of many leading political figures in his fight demanding Oracle to refund the money paid out by the state. This article details Kitzhaber's mission to ensure justice is served.
"The time has come to hold Oracle accountable for its failure to deliver technology that worked on the timelines the company committed to," Kitzhaber said, according to prepared remarks delivered to the state legislature on Thursday. "I believe the law is on our side. I believe justice is on our side,” he said. Kitzhaber also reached out to the federal government over the controversy in a letter to Health and Human Services Inspector General Ellen Rosenblum. He also pushed Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to help reclaim funds paid to the company. 

Should Parents Help Their Kids with Debt?

Student loans and credit card debt continue to soar among teenagers and kids in their 20-30's. However the economy of this sandwich generation has led adult children back into the homes of their parents and made them more dependent than ever. Parents are forced to decide if stepping in to rescue them is a smart idea. This article offers advice for digging kids out of debt and keeping them out.
One thing's for sure: A lot of them do need help. The typical 25- to 29-year-old owes more than $35,000, according to a recent study from PNC Financial Services -- and only about 40% of them say their debts include student loans. No wonder that between credit card balances, car payments, and other bills, 78% of the millennials with debt reported in a new Ameriprise survey that they feel woefully overextended. If your child is one of them, of course you want to help. These steps will let you do that—without undermining his autonomy or risking your own financial security. 

Group Health 101

Many employees depend on group health plans provided by their employer. A growing amount of employees have group coverage but are not quite sure what it entails. Here are a few background points about group health from our online Insurance Resource Center. A group health insurance policy is insurance coverage applied by the employer with an insurance company. The employer usually pays a part of the premium of the group medical insurance policy. A group health insurance policy gives an employer the advantage of not paying the whole premium for the insurance policy in order to cover his employees.  

Flood Insurance Reform

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The Reinsurance Association of America is working toward changes for the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The RAOA, has given tremendous support to U.S. Senate legislation focused on promoting growth in the private-market flood insurance industry.This article highlights their recent efforts to level the playing field in flood insurance. 

“Reinsurers have an appetite to underwrite flood risk, and this legislation will facilitate the development of a private insurance market for flood risk,” Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America, said in the statement. “The RAA looks forward to working with Sens. Tester and Heller to advance this legislation in the Senate.” The association said the legislation will provide homeowners with more options as well as reduce the federal government's role in providing flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. 

Shinseki Officially Resigns as Secretary of VA

Shinseki officially submitted his resignation to the President last Friday afternoon. The former Secretary of VA Affairs, stated that he may have been too trusting of the reports submitted to his office in regards to patients' wait time. Shinseki hopes that his resignation will divert public attention back to the most important matter at hand, improving the medical care of our veterans. This article shares more about Shinseki's resignation and his meeting with the President.
President Barack Obama said Friday that he decided to accept Eric Shinseki's resignation after previously supporting his Veterans Affairs secretary because of Shinseki's "belief that he would be a distraction from" making the needed fixes to the troubled VA medical system. Obama said problems with VA reporting systems "did not surface to the level" where Shinseki or the White House were aware of them. Obama said there was "a need for a change in culture" at veterans hospitals "and perhaps the VA as a whole" to make sure that problems and "bad news" don't get covered up, but get reported and fixed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Visit Our Online Insurance Resource Hub

Navigate your way through the maze of insurance with our Insurance Resource Hub. A place created specifically to break down the walls of inundated information regarding the most important decisions of your life. Sometimes reading through the fine print can be difficult and that's where we step in.Contact our insurance experts for help with your insurance needs.
A life insurance policy protects your family financially if you or your spouse dies. Insurance companies understand that life is constantly changing, so there are a variety of life insurance policies to meet your changing needs. Because many families depend on two incomes just to make ends meet, insurance companies offer policies that can insure more than one person, protecting the total family income.

Caring for Parents vs. Caring for Spouses

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Planning properly for your parents transition into senior citizenship is a huge concern for most middle aged Americans. However, recent polls show that there is more stress associated with the care of a spouse than an actual parent. This role reversal often leads to high stress levels for the caretaker, bearing them with the responsibility of caring for multiple sets of dependents at one time.
A third of Americans in this age group are deeply concerned that they won't plan enough for the care they'll need in their senior years, and that they'll burden their families. Yet two-thirds say they've done little or no planning. About 32 percent say they've set aside money to pay for ongoing living assistance; 28 percent have modified their home to make it easier to live in when they're older. In contrast, two-thirds have disclosed their funeral plans. Anthony Malen, 86, of Gilroy, California said he and his wife Eva Mae, who has a variety of health problems, never discussed a plan for caregiving as they got older."She doesn't want anyone in the house. She doesn't want any help. She fusses about it so much, I just give up on it. But if it gets any worse, we're going to have to have it," Malen said. "I'm getting older too."

Rascal Flatts Gives More Than Music

The Rascal Flatts crew are famous for their catchy tunes but recently it was their generosity that took center stage. This article highlights the humanitarian efforts of the group and their desire to help sick children receive the care they needed. They frequent the Vanderbuilt Children's Hospital to  put on impromptu concerts for the children and their families but ultimately they give much more than music. Learn more about the giving hearts of Rascal Flatts...
The band members—Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney—are humble about their efforts, but the truth is that they have raised more than $3 million for this hospital. They’ve given so much, in fact, that the surgery center at Vanderbilt Children’s is now called the “Rascal Flatts Surgery Center.” Zoey Jones has had 11 surgeries at the center. The eleventh is actually taking place today, as I write this article. She suffered a setback since we've last seen her: she's had three strokes--one of them major--that have kept her in critical condition. Her mom, Tori, told us that without the care Zoey's received at Vanderbilt, "she wouldn't be alive. There's no way. If she didn't have it, she'd be dead." Tori and her husband, Blake, had the chance to thank the band in person after their performance.

Massachusetts' Public Health Reform

A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health reported a significant decline in the number of deaths in Massachusetts, after the implementation  of Massachusetts' health reform policies. This study sheds light on the highly debated topic of public health reform and whether expanding the reach of health insurance can preserve lives. Learn more about the published medical study...
In the first four years after Massachusetts instituted comprehensive health reform in 2006, mortality in the state decreased by 2.9% compared with similar populations in states that didn't expand health coverage, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. They estimated that Massachusetts' health reform law, which provided near-universal coverage, has prevented approximately 320 deaths per year - one life saved for each 830 people gaining insurance. 

Which Term of Health Insurance is Best For Me?

Choosing the right health insurance is important. Health insurance can determine the quality of life experienced by you and your family. The task of identifying which insurance is best for your current stage in life is crucial. So don't put it off another day. Let our insurance experts help guide you through the process.  
Short-term or Long-term, which one to buy? If you are not able to decide on the term of health insurance, you need to have a clear picture of the benefits of both in order to decide on tenure. A short-term health insurance policy is right for those who are currently living in the U.S., waiting for another plan or between jobs. It is also suitable for those without any sort of medical health coverage, and students who have just graduated. The tenure of cover of a short-term health insurance policy ranges from one month to a year.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Why Do People Pay Different Levels of Premium?

          Why do different people pay different levels of premium?
Knowing the ins and outs of life insurance is important for choosing the right policy for you and your family.  The price you pay for life insurance depends mainly on your age, health, lifestyle, and occupation. So if you are older, have health problems and smoke, and happen to work in a dangerous environment, you will have to pay more for life insurance than someone who is younger, healthier, a non-smoker, and in a low risk occupation. Get the answer to all of your insurance questions on our Frequently Asked Questions Page.

Is Your Boat Covered?

Summer is quickly approaching and with it comes the perfect weather for boating! Be sure your boat is covered! Our experience as a boat and watercraft insurance company allows us to provide the knowledge, expertise, and personal service you would expect from an industry leader. Our insurance specialists will help you select an insurance plan that best fits your requirements.

Including Financial Education In Our Education System

 Financial education is not a required subject in most schools across the U.S. The new DOE requirement course, Career Preparedness, is being tested in specific states. The course aims to educate and prepare students with basic skills required for business survival and basic money management. Learn more about new and innovative approaches to financial education in schools.
In some states, such as Alabama, personal finance is taught as part of another course. Alabama has been on the bottom of many state-by-state rankings for personal finance instruction, and a state-appointed commission had recommended better courses for high school students. Beginning this year, students there will have to pass a course called Career Preparedness to graduate, under new state Department of Education requirements. The course includes financial literacy, but also teaches basic computer programs, such as Word and Excel, needed in the workplace.

Money Tips for Your Thirties and Beyond

Our thirties are often viewed as the financial building blocks of our lives. Our decisions at this stage of life shape the potential of our future in many ways specifically financially. This article gives guidance in seven crucial areas for those in their thirties. Although the article focuses on thirty year olds the financial advice is timeless and can be helpful for all ages.
There are many things to consider when choosing a job, but the retirement benefits offered are vital to wealth-building in the long term. A 30-year-old who doesn’t carefully research his or her benefits and chooses to work for a company with no company match or retirement contribution could be way behind someone who works for a company with robust benefits. For example, a 30-year-old making $75,000 a year who saves 10% of his or her income in a 401(k) and earns an 8% average return would have a balance of just under $600,000 at age 55. Compare that to a 30-year-old who saves 10% at a company that matches 5% and adds a profit sharing contribution that averages 5% a year. He or she would have almost $1.2 million in their retirement account—double our first example’s amount—at age 55.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Learn How to Navigate Your Credit

Building and maintaining a great credit score can have a tremendous impact on your quality of life. With the onslaught of credit offerings, bank cards, store credits and financing opportunities available it can be difficult to navigate the confusing world of credit. However obtaining a better credit score is possible. Meet Nancy. Here she shares her personal story of improving her credit and her life.
There are advantages to maintaining a pristine credit profile. Primarily, having great credit means that you're more likely to qualify for loans and lower interest rates. There's also bragging rights. However, the path to achieving an excellent credit profile is not clear-cut -- credit-scoring agencies never reveal their scoring formulas. Fortunately for us, one woman -- Nancy, 39 -- was kind enough to share her credit report with us to see how she got a stellar FICO 8 Bankcard Score (score range of 250 to 900) of 873.
How to Get a Near Perfect FICO Bankcard Score

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Financial Tips for the Self Employed

As the tides of business change so does the structure of business culture. There is a growing trend of freelancers, remote employees and independent contractors among the small business and corporate communities. The transition to more flexible work structures creates the need for unique management of one's finances and a strategic plan for future financial goals.
More and more of us have jobs that produce uneven incomes. We will make a lot of money one month, but then very little for the month or two after that. The lessons of how to make those fat times cover the lean times are particularly useful at this time with an uncertain economy weighing on everyone’s mind. Having an uneven or uncertain income, may seem like a tough road for the salaried employee, but it is an everyday way of life for millions of Americans who work as realtors, mortgage brokers, commissioned sales people, freelance consultants, and many more.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Why Single Women Still Need Life Insurance

Often times we think of life insurance for a traditional family consisting of two parents and dependent children. However there are many types of families unique in structure, all needing the safety net of life insurance. The average number of households led by single women in the U.S. continues to climb. This addresses the need for life insurance for single women, single mothers, divorcees and widowers.
Did you know that only 4 percent of all life insurance policies sold in 1997 were purchased by divorced or widowed women (“The Women’s Market: Myth & Reality,” LIMRA International, 1999)? This startling fact means that a majority of the 11 million single moms in the U.S. today are without life insurance. As a single mom, if you do not have life insurance, you run the risk of not having your children’s basic needs met should you die unexpectedly, especially if there is not a father in the picture. Note: In addition to providing for your children’s college tuition and living expenses, single moms may need to factor in additional expenses such as child care and domestic help that a life insurance policy could cover. Purchasing a life insurance policy as a single woman is a critical step to securing yours and your family’s financial future. In fact, recent studies show that 60% of American women will be living alone by the time they are between the ages of 80 and 85 years. Currently half of these numbers of women live in poverty because they neglected to buy life insurance and benefit from the cash values in a policy.

Life Insurance + Tax Deductions

Did you know that your life insurance premiums may be a deductible business expense? The April 15th tax deadline may have already passed but here's a great tax tip for your next filing cycle. If you filed for an extension, you may still have time to put this smart tip to good use. Learn how you can benefit from paying your life insurance and how to properly set up your policies for tax advantages.
Life insurance premiums are deductible as a business-related expense, and the death benefit is generally tax-free for individual policy owners. Although death benefits for business-related beneficiaries are often tax-free as well, there are certain situations in which the death benefit for corporate-owned life insurance can be taxable. However, employers offering group-term life coverage to employees can deduct the first $50,000 of premiums that they pay, and amounts up to this limit are not counted as income to the employees. Life insurance premiums can also often be deducted for most types of non-qualified plans, such as deferred compensation or executive bonuses. Usually, the premiums are considered compensation for key executives under the rules of these plans. However, in some cases the deduction cannot be taken until the employee constructively receives the benefit.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

3 Types of Insurance Every Small Business Should Have

The list of responsibilities accompanying the role f an entrepreneur can be daunting but that's no reason to leave the list undone. Business owners are at risk for many financial liabilities. It's very important to be sure that your business is properly insured from every aspect. This article recommends 13 types of insurance for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Don't stop after the first three. Keep reading for the full list...
1. General Liability Insurance: Every business, even if home-based, needs to have liability insurance.  The policy provides both defense and damages if you, your employees or your products or services cause or are alleged to have caused Bodily Injury or Property Damage to a third party.
2. Property Insurance:  If you own your building or have business personalproperty, including office equipment, computers, inventory or tools you should consider purchasing a policy that will protect you if you have a fire, vandalism, theft, smoke damage etc.  You may also want to consider business interruption/loss of earning insurance as part of the policy to protect your earnings if the business is unable to operate.
3. Business owner’s policy (BOP): A business owner policy packages all required coverage a business owner would need. Often, BOP’s will include business interruption insurance, property insurance, vehicle coverage, liability insurance, and crime insurance . Based on your company’s specific needs, you can alter what is included in a BOP. Typically, a business owner will save money by choosing a BOP because the bundle of services often costs less than the total cost of all the individual coverage’s.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

4 Life Insurance Tips Everyone Should Know

Life insurance is an important investment for you and the loved ones who depend on you. Securing the proper life insurance is the foundation of solid personal finances. Knowing that your loved ones are financially secure, should something happen to you prematurely, is usually the reason most people invest in life insurance. This article offers four core principles to consider before choosing your life insurance.
Understanding the potential needs of your beneficiaries can also help you decide how much insurance you should have. Don’t follow any “rule of thumb” guidelines you may read. Your needs are specific to you. Your decision will depend on the math. How much money do your dependents need each year and for how long? Because your children are likely different ages, that number is different for each beneficiary. Calculate the needs of each dependent annually, multiple times the number of years support is needed and then add those numbers together so all dependents have what they need.