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Greg Karlik Joins Our Benefits Team

Greg KarlikGreg Karlik has joined the benefits division at Allen Insurance and Financial to work with individual and group health insurance clients.

Following a three decades-long career in the television broadcasting industry, Karlik has spent the past three years as a licensed insurance professional in the individual health insurance market place, helping customers manage and better understand, what, for many, is a stressful decision-making process.

He is a graduate of the University of Vermont and the University of San Francisco, where he earned a Master of Business Administration.

Karlik and his family live in Northport. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife, their children and two dogs as well as gardening and exploring the Maine outdoors.

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Schedule of Medicare 101 Workshops – September 2022

Allen Insurance and Financial is offering a series of  Medicare 101 workshops in September. We hope you can join us.

All workshops are free and open to everyone, though registration is required. All will be offered via Zoom and run from 5 to 6:30 p.m.  Zoom information will be send upon registration. Here is the schedule, which is  also available online at AllenIF.com/Medicare.

  • Tuesday, Sept. 13: Register via email with  Hope Library at email hidden; JavaScript is required.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 14: Register with Medomak Valley Adult Education; register at msad40.coursestorm.com.
  • Thursday, Sept. 15: Register with Belfast Adult Education; belfast.maineadulted.org.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 21: Register with Five-Town Adult Education (Camden Hills): fivetowns.maineadulted.org
  • Wednesday, Sept. 28: Register with Medomak Valley Adult Education; register at msad40.coursestorm.com

During these workshop, Jo-Ann Neal and Anna Moorman of Allen Insurance and Financial’s Benefits Division will help answer questions, including:

  • What does Medicare cover?
  • What does Medicare NOT cover?
  • When can I enroll in Medicare?
  • What is a Medicare Advantage Plan?
  • What is a Medicare Supplement Plan?
  • What plan is best for me?

Anna Moorman and Jo-Ann Neal specialize in Medicare and will be available for a question and answer session following the presentation.  Meet Anna and Jo-Ann in this YouTube video.

 

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Anna Moorman Now Licensed as an Insurance Consultant in Maine

Anna Moorman

Anna Moorman, a member of the benefits team at Allen Insurance and Financial specializing in individual health insurance and Medicare,  is now a licensed life & health insurance consultant in Maine.

“Anna’s efforts demonstrate her deep commitment to continuing professional development,” said Mike Pierce, company president. “This commitment is important to all of our insurance divisions but it is especially so in the always-changing field of employee benefits.”

Moorman has been with Allen Insurance and Financial since 2012. She lives in Thomaston with her family.

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The Value of Disability Insurance to Employers and their Employees

By Sherree Craig, CEBS

Sherree L. Craig, CEBS

Sherree L. Craig, CEBS

Companies in Maine and across the country face the challenge of rewarding employees and this struggle rose to the surface significantly during the pandemic. Striking the balance between a workable company budget and the satisfaction of the company’s human capital is critical.

One of the most affordable and valuable forms of financial protection for employees is disability insurance. Offering a disability plan emphasizes a company’s commitment to the health and financial well-being of its workforce, providing employees with an income when recovering from an accident or an illness. An employee can recover peacefully without the burden of worrying where the next paycheck might be and allows them to place their focus on immediate medical needs.

In addition to being a deductible business expense, this offer could have an impact on the company’s workers’ compensation status. Once an employer sponsored disability plan is purchased, conversations with business insurance and accounting partners should take place.

Disability insurance is designed as short-term and/or long-term policies.

The short-term disability benefit is paid weekly. Pricing for the group plan is determined by the design of the contract and the group demographics (age, wages, industry). The following are some plan design considerations:

  • How many days will the employee be disabled before the payments begin? One frequent plan design option is the first day following an accident and the eighth day following an illness. We see these go as high as two weeks, which would keep the costs exceptionally low, but could come at the expense of the employee’s satisfaction.
  • How long will the payments last? Options typically are 13 weeks or 26 weeks.
  • What percentage of earnings will be replaced? Disability insurance does not normally cover full replacement. Insurance theory dictates that full replacement might encourage malingering – an incentive to remain disabled and not return to active capacity as soon as they are able.

Like the short-term disability, long-term disability policies are priced on the demographics of the company and design of the plan. The long-term disability benefit is paid monthly rather than weekly, and the elimination period (the length of time from the start of the disability until payment begins) can be dovetailed to start at the end of the short-term disability benefit. The benefit period may depend on the company size but should be designed to last a minimum of five years or all the way to the normal social security retirement age.

A group disability package has the added advantages of group pricing and are free from medical underwriting, making the plan simple to establish and administer.

Curious to see how your benefits stack up against other employers in your industry and community? Principal insurance has a great benchmarking tool. https://www.principal.com/businesses/compare-benefits

Principal Benefit Design Tool | Principal

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President Biden Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for Federal Employees and Large Employers

On Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, President Joe Biden signed executive orders requiring federal workers and contractors to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Biden also directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to draft a new emergency rule requiring all businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure all of their workers are either tested for COVID-19 once a week or fully vaccinated. This News Brief explains further.

President Biden Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for Federal Employees and Large Employers_001
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Individual Health Insurance Newsletter – June 2021

IRS Suspends Requirement to Repay Tax Credits

A premium tax credit or subsidy helps pay for health insurance coverage purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace (www.healthcare.gov). Eligible people can choose to have all, some, or none of the estimated tax credit (subsidy) paid in advance directly to their insurance company on their behalf.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 suspends the requirement that taxpayers repay their excess advance payments of the premium tax credit for tax year 2020. Excess APTC is the amount by which the taxpayer’s advance payments of the tax credit exceed the premium tax credit they are in fact eligible for.

If you have questions on how this may impact you, we recommend you reach out to an accountant who understands the tax code and how the American Rescue Plan affects your tax filing

Health Care Sharing Ministries in the News Again

The Boston Globe reported on a woman who now carries $75,000 in medical debt because her “health care sharing ministry,” OneShare, declined to pay for her double hip replacement. She decided to participate because of the cost of her health insurance premiums increased. What she didn’t realize is that the decreased costs meant decreased consumer protections.

Health care sharing ministries (HCSMs) are not health insurance.  They do not qualify as minimum essential coverage under the ACA, which means pre-existing conditions can be excluded. What’s more, the companies do not have the same legal obligations to its members. Members, who typically share a religious affiliation, do pay a monthly fee, but the fee is not a premium. It is a contribution to a shared fund to pay medical expenses of the members. Some people, have good experiences, while others do not.

In Maine, HCSMs are expressly exempt from the insurance code. Consequently, members have little or no recourse if things with the HCSM go sour. The burden is on consumers to understand precisely what they are “buying” when they participate.

Midcoast Senior Expo

We’re excited to announce that we will have a table at the Midcoast Successful Aging Expo, scheduled for June 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rockland Elk’s Club. This is our first in person event in more than a year and we’re looking forward to connecting with our clients and community. This event is free and open to the public.

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Medicare Newsletter – June 2021

Medicare & Medicaid Eligible

Have you recently qualified for Medicaid while also on Medicare? Did you know there is a set of special products that are available just for you?

These plans are intended for persons who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid and are called “dual eligible.” These dual eligible plans provide coverage above and beyond Medicare, including vision, dental, an over the counter allowance, transportation services, and many value added extras, typically at no cost to the member.

Eligibility requirements for Medicaid are not as straightforward as are the requirements for Medicare. The big driver here is income and asset limits which determine if you’re eligible and if so, what level of Medicaid you qualify for.

If you think you may be eligible for Medicaid, you’ll need to contact your local Medicaid agency.

Top 10 Social Security Myths Exposed

Given Social Security’s importance, concerns about its current and future state are understandable and widespread. Some of those worries, and the many changes to the program, have given rise to misconceptions about how it is funded and how it works.

Here are 10 of the most stubborn Social Security myths:
1)    Social Security is going broke
2)    The Social Security retirement age is 65
3)    The annual COLA is guaranteed
4)    Members of Congress don’t pay into Social Security
5)    The government raids Social Security to pay for other programs
6)    Undocumented immigrants drain Social Security
7)    Social Security is like a retirement savings account
8)    You don’t pay taxes on Social Security benefits
9)    An ex-spouse’s benefits come out of your own
10)  You lose benefits permanently if you keep working

You can read the truth behind these myths. 

Midcoast Senior Expo

We’re excited to announce that we will have a table at the Midcoast Successful Aging Expo, scheduled for June 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rockland Elk’s Club. This is our first in-person event in more than a year and we’re looking forward to connecting with our clients and community. This event is free and open to the public.