Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Senate Agrees To Postpone Medicare Physician Payment Cut

The NAHU Newswire reports good news concerning Medicare cuts that were to take place Dec 1st have now been postponed.

The AP (11/19) reports, "The Senate late Thursday voted to postpone a massive cut in Medicare pay for doctors, agreeing to pay doctors at current levels through Dec. 31. If the House goes along, Congress would stave off a 23 percent cut in doctors' pay scheduled to take effect Dec. 1." The AP adds, "The cost of the one-month postponement, $1 billion over 10 years, will be paid for by changes in Medicare reimbursement for outpatient therapy services." AARP Senior Vice President David Sloane "hailed the Senate vote and urged to House to follow suit to avoid what he called 'a potentially devastating pay cut to doctors in Medicare, ensuring seniors can continue to see their doctors during the holiday season.'"

The New York Times (11/19, Pear) reports in The Caucus blog, "The American Medical Association says many doctors are already limiting the number of Medicare patients they treat. The continuing threat of cuts could worsen the problem, the association said." Likewise, "AARP, the lobby for older Americans, urged Congress to act immediately." AARP CEO Barry Rand said, "Over 80 percent of our members are concerned that a Medicare pay cut will threaten access to their doctors. ... With baby boomers starting to retire, it's more important than ever that Congress take action to keep doctors in the Medicare program."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Winner!

Congrats to Matt Webb from 97.9 KLO Radio Station who won the drawing at our booth for the Top of Utah Business Expo on Oct. 13th! Matt won a leaf blower in our drawing. Thanks to all those who stopped by our booth at the expo and talked to one of our agents Shanna Long about their insurance needs. Give our office a call at 801-622-2626 for a free quote today!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Halloween!


From all of us here at The Insurance Center we would like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Healthcare Premiums Rising

The Los Angeles Times (9/28, Helfand) reports, "Healthcare premiums paid by large US employers have more than doubled over the last decade, but the costs to their employees more than tripled, a study released Monday found." And "next year companies can expect healthcare costs to rise nearly 9% on average -- the largest increase in five years -- as they confront an aging workforce, large medical claims and changes brought by healthcare reform." Employees "face higher costs as companies shift an ever-larger share of insurance premiums and healthcare costs to them." The "recently adopted healthcare reform package also is expected to drive up insurance rates and saddle employers with new costs," in particular the new rule that allows "adult children to remain on their parents' health insurance plans through age 26."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Golf Tournament

Congratulations to Shawn Iverson and Scott Millward from our Ogden office, along with Creed and Nick from ASA Insurance for taking First Place in the annual Progressive golf tournament held at Bountiful Ridge on Wednesday, September 15th! Way to go guys!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Congrats

Congratulations to Dave Batchelor who ran the bases at our night at the Ogden Raptors. His time was the fastest this season and he won a new watch!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Health Care Reform Provisions

The first section of the health care refrom takes place on September 23, 2010. Here are some of the changes that will be in effect according to Humana to new policies . This changes will take place on policies already in place on their renewal.


-Adult children will be allowed to remain on their parent's plan until they reach age 26.
-Plans will have an unlimited lifetime maximum
-No annual dollar limits on covered essential health benefits.
-Plans will cover services for emergency medical care administered in a hospital's emergency facility at the in-network benefit level.
-Plans will will cover in-network preventive care services at 100 percent. Members will not pay a copayment , coinsurance, or deductible.
-Pre-existing condition limitaions will not apply to a covered person under age 19.
-Covered person will have the right to an internal appeal and external claims review.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Employers Shifting More Healthcare Costs to Workers

The LA times reports that “the average annual cost of a family health plan is reaching $13,770. Workers picked up 30% of that bill. The average plan for an individual cost $5,049." The Times adds that "the squeeze...could further complicate the Obama administration's efforts to rally support for the law, which is expected to do relatively little in the short term to contain rising medical bills."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Get A Life!

September is "Life Awareness" month and here at The Insurance Center we sell a variety of life insurance products to meet your needs from whole life to simplified issue policies. We even have life insurance policies that do not require your blood to be drawn! Life insurance is an important financial investment that can help you to take care of your loved ones after you are gone and help to secure a sound financial future for them. Give us a call today for a free quote!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Customer Appreciation Night!



Two of our customers got to participate in the bat spin at the Raptors game on Aug. 3rd. Joan Iverson who is in the black shirt and Rachel Julien, who is behind her in the pink shirt, from Avantguard Monitoring Systems spun 10 times around the bat and then had to run to a base. Joan Iverson narrowly won the contest. More pictures will be posted soon showing all the exciting action from the evening.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Raptors Night!

Every year The Insurance Center treats our clients to a free night of baseball watching the Ogden Raptor's baseball team to say thank you for giving us your business. This year our customer appreciation night at the Raptor's will be on Tuesday August 3, 2010. We have free tickets that can be picked up at our office so stop by today and get yours!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Health Care Reform Bill signed March 23, 2010

2010:
• Small business tax credit
• National risk pool is created. However there is a question on how many this will help given the limited amount of funding
• Lifetime benefit limits are not allowed and cancellation of insurance based is not allowed unless fraud is involved
• Preventative services will be paid for by insurance companies
• Allows your dependents to be covered until age 26
• No Pre-existing condition exclusions for dependent children 19 or younger

2011
• Forms and documents will be uniform with a goal to compare plans easier
• Insurance companies are required to allocate a larger portion of revenue to health care
• Your W2 will now have the value of your health insurance paid by your employer
• Annual fee for manufacturers of brand name drugs
• Community health insurance offices will be funded for those without insurance

2012
• Hospitals are held accountable for preventable re-admissions and may face a reduction in payable Medicare benefits

2013
• Individuals making $200,000 a year or couples making $250,000 would have a higher Medicare payroll tax of 2.35% on earned income and a new tax of 3.8% on unearned income
• Flexible spending accounts can be funded up to $2,500 a year
• Itemized deduction for health care expenses are only allowed if the amount is 10% of income
• Manufactures of medical devices will have a 2.9% sales tax. Some exemptions apply
• Elimination of employer tax deductions for Medicare part D subsidy for employers that maintain prescription drug plans for retirees

2014
• Addition of new taxes on health insurers
• Coverage gap in Medicare prescription benefit is fully phased out
• Individual and employer coverage responsibilities are effective.
• Individual affordability tax credits are created and small business tax credits are expanded
• State health insurance exchanges are fully funded and operational
• All Pre-existing condition exclusions are prohibited
• Annual and lifetime dollar limits are eliminated for all essential health care
• Guaranteed issue, guaranteed renewability health insurance plans
• Tax (“Cadillac tax”) imposed on employer sponsored health insurance plans

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Reform Passes

According to a Humana newsletter after a long and sometimes contentious day of debate, at 10:45 p.m. Sunday night the health reform bill passed the House. The vote was 219-212, with all Republicans and 34 Democrats voting no. Since the bill already passed the Senate on Christmas Eve, it will become law as soon as the President signs it – probably in the next two days.

Less than an hour after the House passed the reform bill, it passed a package of fixes in the form of a budget reconciliation bill. That vote was 220-211. The reconciliation bill will now go to the Senate. Senate leaders say they are likely to take it up later this week – perhaps as early as Tuesday. At this point there is no way to know if the process in the Senate will go fast or slow. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he has the votes to move the bill quickly, but the Republicans may challenge whether some parts of it are appropriate for the reconciliation process.

The Senate bill would:
Mandate everyone must get insurance
Result in about 30 million additional people becoming insured
Subsidize coverage for people who can't afford insurance; increase the number of people eligible for Medicaid
Raise money to pay for these things through new fees, taxes and cuts to Medicare Advantage
Change the payment formula for Medicare Advantage
Make many changes in the way insurance companies operate, from saying they have to sell insurance to everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions and health status, to selling insurance to individuals and small businesses through an exchange

White House building support for health reform package

According to a newsletter from Aetna Insurance the White House last week continued to rail against rising health insurance premiums to help build popular support for his health care reform package. But the effort to focus the blame for rising costs on insurers was questioned, in particular, by state insurance experts and economists quoted in a New York Times story last week (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/health/policy/09rates.html?scp=1&sq=State%20Insurance%20Experts%20See%20Flaw%20in%20Obama%27s%20Plan%20to%20Curb%20Health%20Premiums&st=cse). Insurance commissioners said that trying to hold down premiums before costs were under control would be very risky. This approach could mean solvency issues in some cases, they told the Times. To help educate Americans about the true drivers of rising health care costs, America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry trade association, last week launched a new national ad campaign (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O8CxZ1OD58). The ad demonstrates that health insurance company costs represent a small slice of the overall health care cost pie.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Deem and Pass

A key focus of the media coverage of the healthcare reform debate was the House leadership's plan to use a legislative rule known as "deem and pass" or a "self executing rule," to pass the Senate bill without an explicit vote on the measure in conjunction with the reconciliation package of "fixes." Most media outlets noted that it has been used in the past by both parties, but not on landmark legislation, and that it has contributed to the growing partisan warfare on the healthcare issue.

Monday, March 8, 2010

White House Health Bill To Include GOP Ideas

According to a newsletter from NAHU the President's new healthcare reform plan will include ideas from Republicans. Some of the president's commentators suggest this is an effective strategic decision for improving his public realtions battle as well as improving the measure's prospects for a House passage. Americans are seen as disillusioned by the lack of agreement on healthcare between both parties. According to the "everyday americans" that were invited to the White House summit on healthcare they blame the Republicans' intransigence as well as the special deals Obama and the Democratic congressional leaders made in order to win votes. According to The Christian Science Monitor (3/3, Feldmann) Obama is not making any major concessions but simply incorporating small ideas from the Rebublicans to help his public realtions battle to show Americans he is working with both sides althought no Republican in the House or Senate was expected to sign onto the Obama plan on the basis of Tuesday's announcement.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dew Tour

A couple members of The Insurance Center were able to attend the Dew Tour at Snowbasin this year. They even cheered on Ogden native Lynn Neil who competed at the event. Both had a good time and enjoyed the amazing abilities of the athletes that participated.

Stalled Health Care Reform

Scott Brown wins in Mass Senate Race and evens the stake in the Senate. Now Democrats don’t have total control and are without the needed 60 votes that would have passed the healthcare reform bill. President Obama will have to come up with bipartisan health reform in order to get it passed. Many are saying the current bill should be scrapped and they should start from scratch to create a new bill that both parties can agree on. Only time will tell what the outcome will be.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone! The new year brings about the task of the Senate and the House merging their versions of the Health Care Refrom bill into one. According to UAIIA a House and Senate Democratic Leadership committee are formed and once they come to an agreement on a compromise bill, they will likely send the bill to the House for a simple majority vote and then the Senate where Democratic Leadership will once again need 60votes to fend off a filibuster from Republicans. Pending passage of both chambers, the bill will be sent to the President for his signature and then become law.