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Don’t Miss This Year’s Shortened Open Enrollment

| February 22, 2020

If you’re wondering about that tension in the air, it’s not because Mercury is in retrograde. It’s because thousands of people are struggling with enrolling for or renewing Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage for 2020.

Yes, we are in open enrollment, that critical time in healthcare from November 1, 2019, through December 15, 2019. Notice anything? The enrollment period is extremely short, so do not delay. Under the current presidential administration, enrollment time is shorter and advertising budgets leaner, meaning more people might miss the enrollment period.

If you fail to act by December 15, 2019, you won’t be able to enroll in ACA coverage unless you have had a qualifying event such as a job loss. If you are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, you can apply throughout the year. Although the government has extended ACA enrollment in the past, do not count on that this year. If you miss the ACA deadline, you may purchase other health insurance, but it will not guarantee the kind of comprehensive coverage that ACA plans provide. People covered by Medicare do not need ACA coverage. However, Medicare pays an estimated 80 percent of costs, so a Medicare Advantage Plan is almost a necessity in this time of rising medical costs.

If you enroll in a plan during open enrollment, your coverage begins January 1, 2020. We’re in the middle of the enrollment period, so there’s no time to waste! If you enroll online yourself, the HealthCare.gov website can be difficult to use, and only one coverage choice remains in some states. Working with a licensed health insurance agent who can help you choose the right ACA plan for your medical needs is always the best way to obtain health insurance. Contact us today so you don’t miss that looming deadline!


How a Blind Man Taught Himself  to See

Daniel Kish is the real-life Batman. Not because he fights crime by night with his vigilante sidekick, but because of his extremely skilled use of echolocation, a process of determining where items are located in a physical space using sound waves and echoes.

It’s how bats are able to navigate in the pitch black, and how Kish, blind since he was just over a year old, moves through the world.

Now in his early fifties, Kish has been clicking his tongue since he was two. He never received any formal training on how to use the self-made sounds to create echoes that would help him understand his surroundings; it was a natural instinct that Kish was able to hone an incredible skill, thanks to an innate desire to explore and the absence of any special exemptions due to his blindness. “There was no one to explain it, there was no one to help me enhance it, and we all just kind of took it for granted,” Kish told Men’s Journal.

Using echolocation, Kish can ride his bike through traffic. He goes hiking
by himself. He travels, camps, swims, and dances. He can see without his eyesight.

Kish has attracted worldwide attention for his use of echolocation and the level of independence it has afforded him. His mission now is to share his gift with blind people around the world.

His nonprofit, Visioneers, is focused on equipping the blind with the skills, including echolocation, that they need to become self-confident and self-reliant.


Terrible, No Good Holiday Disasters to Avoid

It’s a time for celebration and remembrance; a time to be surrounded by loved ones, eat well, and rejoice. But holidays are also frequently the days when disasters strike.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that Thanksgiving is a peak day for home cooking fires, and US fire departments respond to over 800 home fires per year that are started by holiday decorations.

On top of these dangers, insurance companies report that burglary rates jump by 6 percent during the holidays.

To protect yourself, your family, and your home this holiday season, make sure you have the proper insurance policies in place to recover from these common disasters. Following are two of the top holiday incidents that homeowners insurance will cover.

Burning More than Dinner

Whether it was chestnuts roasting on an open fire or a stove-top disaster in the kitchen, your holiday fire is covered. NFPA reports that $12 million in property damage is caused by Christmas tree fires each year, and another $11 million in damage is caused by other holiday decorations. Insurance companies report the median cost for fireplace-related fires is over $10,000.

If you suffer from a household fire, it’s crucial to have insurance to pay for repairs. Typical homeowners insurance coverage will pay for interior damage as well as trees, plants, and shrubs in your yard damaged by fire.

A Visit from the Grinch

If someone helps themselves to what’s under the tree or stashed in the closet, your homeowners policy will cover the theft. Most policies provide coverage totaling up to 50 or 70 percent of the home coverage.

If you purchase a luxury item, keep in mind that there might be limits to your policy, so consult with your insurance agent to see if you need supplemental coverage.

I’m happy to review your policy with you and help you make any adjustments needed to ensure you and your family are fully protected this holiday season.


Worth Reading

How to Build an Exercise Plan

By Harvard Health Publishing


A healthy diet includes a variety of good foods, and a healthy exercise plan includes different kinds of activity. Here’s some advice to help you meet the recommended national requirements for weekly aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises. There are also tips about when to buy exercise shoes, what to wear when working out, and when some exercises are more harmful than helpful. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth1119a


10 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries at Work

By Caroline Castrillon


Creating and maintaining a healthy work-life balance is the all-consuming, ever-elusive goal of most workers today. This list addresses the different stages of making boundaries, determining what boundaries need to be set, creating and implementing boundaries, and maintaining boundaries while responding to challenges to them. A key takeaway: while boundaries are personal, they involve many people. Others can help you determine what limits you need, and your team is equally important in helping you maintain them. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth1119b


The Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing

By Franklin Houser


Here’s a comprehensive guide about 3D printing. These 101 questions and answers address a wide range of topics including the history of the technology, its uses throughout various sectors, pricing and expenses, and ethical concerns (like the idea that 3D printing can be used to make guns, or that it could be used to replicate human organs). More: https://tinyurl.com/worth1119c


The Dos and Don’ts of Purchasing Life Insurance

Life insurance can be one of the most important financial purchases of your life (and your heirs’ lives), so let’s review some common dos and don’ts for purchasing this important policy.

DO: Understand why you need life insurance. When buying life insurance, most people think about their own financial responsibilities, such as covering their mortgages.

It may be better to take a broader view and think of life insurance from the perspective of the loved ones you would be leaving behind. What will they need to obtain financial stability when you are gone?

DON’T: Buy too little life insurance. Sometimes people buy too

little life insurance because they purchase it from an automated system (such as an employer, which offers a multiple of your salary in life insurance). To avoid this mistake, it is advisable to work with an experienced agent to carefully calculate your life insurance needs.

DO: Buy the right kind of life insurance. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of life insurance products on the market. The differences can significantly affect your beneficiary should you pass away.

At a minimum, understand the difference between term life insurance policies (which cover your dependents for a specific time period) and whole life insurance policies (which cover your

dependents for your entire life). Keep in mind that there are many other nuances that are important to understand as well.

DON’T: Get overwhelmed. All of these nuances can make the purchase of life insurance overwhelming at times. So, when you decide to purchase a life insurance policy, it is always advisable to find an agent who understands your unique needs and can guide you through the selection process.

DO: Ask for help. It is a good idea to seek out the assistance of a professional who knows the ins and outs of life insurance. Please reach out to us if you need help. We can review your future goals and establish a solid policy to meet them.


How to Shop Smart This Season with These 6 “Tiny” Shopping Habits

Whether you enjoy the adrenaline rush of last-minute holiday shopping or you like to get it done long before the season arrives, this year offers buyers more choices than ever. Try these six smart shopping habits to get the most out of your shopping.

1) Let technology keep you on track so you aren’t stressing and overspending: For iOS users, relying on an app like GiftPlanner lets you set and balance your budget for each gift. It also helps you bookmark items that you’re browsing online. Plus, you can even use it to remind you if you’ve wrapped the gift or not, by taking a photo and storing the info in the app. Android users can turn to an app like Gift List Diary. You can set a budget for each person on your list. It also allows you to mark when you have purchased a gift and when you have wrapped it. Not only that, you have the ability to share your list with your contacts.

2) Take advantage of rewards programs when you shop online and in stores: Rakuten can get you cash-back rewards at many different online stores. Another option is Ibotta. When you provide proof of purchase for certain products, you earn cash-back rewards that you can use for holiday purchases.

3) Use coupon-tracking browser extensions to save online: Honey and RetailMeNot Genie (both free) automatically apply coupons that may be applicable to your purchase as you check out. You don’t even have to search for the coupons!

4) If you’re shopping for someone who doesn’t want or need any more “stuff,” go the charitable route: Pick a charity or cause that you know they would appreciate and make a charitable donation in their name.

5) Figure out your backup plans ahead of time: After making your list of gift recipients, pick three potential gifts for each person on your buying list. This way you won’t go nuts when the gift you’ve decided on is maybe too expensive or can’t be found.

6) Reduce the temptation: If you know you are susceptible to sales and buying more than you probably should, consider leaving your credit cards at home and just take your debit cards or cash when you go shopping for gifts.


Worth Quoting
This month, some famous quotes on vision:

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.

Helen Keller

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.

Jonathan Swift

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.

Warren Bennis

The best vision is insight.

Malcolm Forbes

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Without vision, even the most focused passion is a battery without a device.

Ken Auletta

True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision.

Edith Wharton