2018 Open Enrollment: What You Really Need to Know

2018 Open Enrollment: What You Really Need to Know

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—open enrollment! Now this might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about this time of year, but for us here at Penny Insurance Agency, open enrollment is a great opportunity to receive health insurance coverage.

Things are looking different for open enrollment than they did this time last year. Keeping up with policy changes can feel overwhelming, so we’re breaking down what’s been happening in health insurance to keep you in the know:

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010, health insurance policy owners were given the opportunity to keep their health insurance. They would be “grandfathered” in so that they would not be required to purchase an ACA plan, i.e. Obamacare, and they could keep their existing coverage.

Since then, many of these grandfathered insureds chose to keep their grandfathered plan because they were significantly less expensive than their potential Obamacare plans. Granted, the plans did not offer some of the same coverages that the ACA plans offered.

It is important to know that all ACA plans include maternity coverage, regardless of the gender or age of the insured. This is one of the reasons Obamacare plans are more expensive. Additionally, with the ACA plans, there are several preventive coverages—like shots or screenings—that are free as long as you are going to a physician your policy covers.

Nonetheless, grandfathered insureds chose to pay the deductible for a procedure like a colonoscopy rather than change to a higher premium, or they did not need maternity coverage.

Annual Enrollment for 2018 is different than previous years in that it requires all grandfathered plans to purchase ACA plans. These insureds received notification from their insurance companies that their grandfathered days were almost over and they were “mapped” into an ACA plan similar to the old plan.

So why are people upset? The plan for 2018 contains all the “essential health benefits” contained in Obamacare plans. As a result, these grandfathered insureds have premiums that have doubled or tripled – depending on the coverage, or lack thereof, of the pre-2010 plans.

Obamacare plans provide dental coverage for children younger than 18. Obviously not all adults who purchase an ACA plan have children who will use this coverage; nevertheless, the coverage is built in. This is another reason the premiums are higher. All Obamacare plans have 10 “essential health benefits which must be paid for whether the insured uses them or not.”

Here at Penny Insurance Agency, we make it our priority to provide you with the most up-to- date policy information and comprehensive coverage plans. We know determining the proper health insurance plan for you and your family may seem like a daunting task, but you do not have to tackle it alone—our experienced and knowledgeable agents will be with you throughout the process.

Contact us today if you’re interested in speaking with a Penny Insurance Agency representative. Your protection is our priority.

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

Turkey in the oven, football in hand and family around the home—Thanksgiving is upon us! Thanksgiving often gets overlooked for its big brother, Christmas, but we here at Penny Insurance Agency relish in the opportunity to count our blessings and recognize all the people and experiences for which we are grateful. While this holiday is simply stuffed with gratitude and gravy, there are some insurance implications Thanksgiving brings about that may not be so obvious. With some many details to cover, loved ones to see and football games to watch, safety can often be the last thing on everyone’s minds during the holiday season. Check out our tips below on how you can have a memorable and safe Thanksgiving this year:

Kitchen Safety: Fires, Fryers and Fileting
Thanksgiving will be fraught with distraction but it is pertinent that someone is tuned into what is happening in the kitchen. Do not leave your deep-frying turkeys and flambéing brussel sprouts unattended. Fires are prevalent on Thanksgiving so be mindful of what’s in the oven and always remember to turn off your stove. Carving a turkey and food prep requires a lot of knife work so be aware of what you’re slicing and dicing. Dull knives actually do more damage than sharp ones, so be sure your utensils are prepped and ready for extensive use that day.

Food related injuries/illnesses are the biggest reason people visit the ER on Thanksgiving—from burns to cuts to food poisoning. It’s important to take precautions in the kitchen and minimize your risk.

Tipsy Guests
We all want to have a holly jolly holiday, but do not allow your guests cups to overflow with too much holiday cheer. Limit guests to a certain number of drinks and prepare a space in your home should someone need to spend the night. Keep alcohol out of sight and out of mind for minors.

Feisty Football
We all wish we could be watching the big game from the sidelines instead of the sofa on Thanksgiving. The second-best option is a rousing game of flag football in the backyard. Before you get ready to perfect your victory dance, establish rules for the game and ensure all parties adhere to them (i.e. no tackling). Injuries can happen and you are liable for what happens on your property. Have a first aid kit on hand should any minor injuries occur and put an end to game if it gets too rambunctious.

Holiday on the Road
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 40 percent of passengers killed on Thanksgiving are involved in crashes with drunk drivers, and about 60 percent of passengers weren’t wearing their safety belts. The holidays are an exciting time of year, but do not be in a rush to get to the party—give yourself plenty of travel time so you’re not speeding down the highway. Be aware of the weather patterns on your travel days—you may need to make other accommodations or change your travel dates if bad weather is impending. If you get caught in a nasty storm, slow your vehicle to a safe speed or pull over until the storm passes. While the holidays are a special and exciting time, they are not worth risking your safety.

Here at Penny Insurance Agency we are dedicated to helping you reduce your liability and protecting your hard-earned assets. Contact us today on further information on how you can be protected through life’s unexpected twists and turns.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!