What does King vs. Burwell mean for me?

If you are one of the approximately 160,000 Hoosiers who get their health insurance from healthcare.gov and receive a subsidy, the decision handed down yesterday is great news for you!

In 2010 the Affordable Care Act was passed. Federal subsidies to offset the cost of insurance premiums were (at that time) only going to be provided to states who set up their own exchanges. Many states feared the long term cost, the uncertainty, and other factors that could crop up and decided to rely on the Federal exchange. At first, those insureds were told they couldn’t receive the subsidies if their state didn’t set up their own exchange. That was changed and all Americans were told they qualified for the subsidies whether their state set up their own exchange or not. The states who set up their own exchange were angry that the states who chose not to set up theirs would still be allowed to receive the subsidies. What was the point to setting up theirs if other states would be allowed to get the benefit without putting in the work? The case went to the Supreme Court saying that extending those subsidies violated the wording of the law.  The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday basically said the wording was wrong, and all qualify.

This has been quite confusing and baffling to many.  The bottom line is this: Even if you live in a state that did not set up their own exchange, you will still receive your subsidy. The almost 160,000 Hoosiers must be grateful. While many oppose it even more so today than they did yesterday.

 

For specific questions, or a health insurance review, please contact Melanie Collicott, licensed health specialist at 765.446.8999

 

MWXC Contest Rules 2015

Blevins Insurance will be giving away a $50 value gift for each MWXC race of the 2015 season. The prize could be a gift card, a voucher for use at another vendor, cash, or an item valued at $50.

To be entered into the drawing you agree that an agent will contact you for an insurance quote. Each policy you allow to be quoted will enter you into the drawing more than once. For example, a house, 3 cars, a boat, and 2 quads will count as 4 entries. Purchase is not necessary to win. Quoting is necessary to be entered.

There must be at least 10 entrants for each drawing. If there are less than 10 entries at an event, those entries will be carried over to the next race.

The winner will be announced each Monday after the race on Facebook. Like our Facebook page and allow notifications so you’ll be one of the first to know about our winners.  The gift will be available for pick up at the next MWXC race.

Winner allows their name (at least first name and last initial) and photo to be displayed on the MWXC and Facebook pages.

If a voucher or store credit is the prize, the store owner may have an expiration date that applies, check for details.

For more detailed information, please contact the office at 765.446.8999

 

Going away for Spring Break? Review our home safety tips

If your family happens to be flying or driving somewhere warm and sunny for spring break, we have a few safety tips for you!

 

1-Have a family member or neighbor check on your house.  They can bring in your mail or newspaper, turn on some lights, check that there are no water leaks anywhere, water your plants, and even take your dog out if your dog doesn’t handle being kenneled.  Your family has a routine with lights on and off, noises coming from inside the home (many families keep a tv or radio on while they’re gone), etc.  Nothing screams “no one is home” like a mailbox overflowing with mail and a pile of newspapers on your porch.

 

2-If having someone check on your house daily isn’t an option for you, invest in timers to turn your lights on and off for you at their regular intervals.  Stop the newspaper, and go online and have the USPS hold your mail. You can even set it to have the old mail delivered all at once when you return. You’ll save  yourself a trip to the post office to pick it up.

 

3-This isn’t a home safety tip, but a driving tip: have your vehicle serviced before you drive thousands of miles.  Change the oil and filter, have your fluid levels checked and topped off. Air your tires to the proper inflation. Check your insurance policy. Do you have emergency roadside assistance? Allied Insurance provides roadside assistance to all household members even if they’re passengers in a car that they don’t insure! What a relief to know that your (almost) adult child would have a number to call if their friend’s vehicle broke down on the way to PCB.

 

Lastly, some experts warn about posting pictures on social media advertising you’re far from home on the beach! Set your privacy settings to “friends only” if you must post and be cautious.

 

Above all else, have fun and enjoy your time away~

 

 

Open enrollment coming to a close

If you are one of the many who do not have health insurance, please don’t let open enrollment close before getting a quote. A majority of policies sold through the Marketplace qualify for a tax subsidy that offsets the out of pocket cost for the premium.  Melanie Collicott can assist with the enrollment process if you’re interested in a Marketplace plan or a private plan.

Many people use the word “Obamacare” and don’t really know what that means. You cannot buy “Obamacare” as it is not a product, but a set of mandates, laws, and health care reform. The true name is “Affordable Care Act” and some highlights are: Adult children can remain on parent’s policy until the age of 26 even if not a full time student. Maternity is included in all plans. Pediatric dental visits are included. You cannot be turned down for pre-existing health conditions. There are more, but these are the major ones. All policies sold must now comply with these rules. You can buy plans privately using all private dollars. Or you can buy a Marketplace plan using your own dollars and the available tax subsidy.

 

The penalty for not having health insurance kicks in this year. The IRS will deduct the penalty directly from your tax refund check. According to Healthcare.gov, the penalty for 2014 (filed by April 2015) is

The fee for not having coverage in 2014

If you didn’t have coverage in 2014, you’ll pay the higher of these two amounts when you file your 2014 federal tax return:

  • 1% of your yearly household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, about $10,000 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a bronze plan.
  • $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $285.

That fee will increase each year as shown:

The fee in 2015

If you don’t have coverage in 2015, you’ll pay the higher of these two amounts:

  • 2% of your yearly household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, about $10,000 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a bronze plan.
  • $325 per person for the year ($162.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $975.

The fee after 2015

  • The penalty increases every year. In 2016 it’s 2.5% of income or $695 per person. After that it’s adjusted for inflation.

Check out and share this video. Melanie Collicott is licensed and certified to offer these products and more. Contact her before February 15, 2015 for coverage. After that date, only a qualified life event will allow you to purchase a policy.

UHC Video

How you can prevent frozen pipes

photo

We are consistently experiencing freezing temperatures nightly and your home is at risk of frozen pipes.   What can you do?

We’ve made a list of some of the most simple and effective ways to keep your home dry and claim free:

  • Turn off the main water supply to your home if you’ll be away for an extended period of time.  One of our claims last year occurred almost 3 months prior to it being noticed by the homeowner. The home was a secondary residence and the homeowner didn’t go there much. The heat was turned off, but the water was left on. A neighbor noticed water seeping out from under the doorway. By that time, mold had grown, ceilings had collapsed, and the home was deemed a total loss and torn down.

 

  • If leaving your home for a few days or so, make sure your thermostat is set to a minimum temperature of at least 55 degrees.

 

  • If you have a security system, contact your security system provider and inquire if they offer alerts for temperature drops below 55 degrees, and even high water use (water bursting and then running for days)

 

  • Take a few minutes and inspect your outdoor water spigot. Last  year, 2 separate insureds had frozen pipe claims after the thaw. The outdoor water spigot copper line had split about 6 inches into the home. When the homeowner turned on the water spigot outside, they were unaware that water was gushing through their home.  Turn off the water supply to your spigot if your home doesn’t have the safety pipe that automatically does that.  Remove your garden house from the spigot. And cover your spigot with an insulated cover to prevent freezing.

Our agency has purchased 20 spigot covers for you. Please come in, have a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and pick one or two up and take them home and install them immediately. While we handle any claims as best we can, our goal is to prevent claims from happening in the first place.

Stop by!   We look forward to seeing you and answering any other safety questions you may have. While here, check out our 2015 wall calendars and our snow scrapers. Don’t let winter sneak up on you.

Fireplace Safety

The weather outside is downright COLD! And from what forecasters are saying it will remain that way for much of our winter.  We at Blevins Insurance want you and your family to be WARM, but also SAFE!  Here are a few quick tips on fireplace safety:

  • The National Fire Protection Association recommends having your fireplace cleaned once a year by a certified chimney sweep. This will remove creosote and any debris build up from last year. They will check for birds nests or anything else that may prevent smoke from getting outside where it belongs.
  • Check your chimney for cracks, any missing mortar, missing bricks, and the liner for any cracks.
  • Never use lighter fluid or any other flammable liquids to start your fireplace fire. Use kindling, if necessary, or a designated fire starter log or product.
  • Only burn seasoned hardwoods. Don’t burn leftover construction materials, cardboard, newspapers, etc.
  • Remember to open the flue. You might be surprised how many claims occur by smoke damage because the flue was closed and the smoke could not get outside.

42%  of home heating fires are caused by fireplaces or wood burning stoves.  It pays to take a the necessary precautions today to prevent a fire tomorrow.

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