|Despite recent discussions on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one thing is clear: The deadline for 2018 ACA enrollment is looming. And it will be a shorter period than in previous years. |
Don't procrastinate: Open enrollment begins on November 1, 2017, and ends on December 15, 2017. All plans are set to take effect on January 1, 2018.
Generally, you cannot enroll or change plans after December 15, 2017, unless you experience a "qualifying event." This may include loss of "minimum essential coverage" such as employer plans, Medicaid, or TRICARE; becoming a US. citizen; a permanent move to another state; and marriage or divorce.
Don't miss the deadline: In many states, insurers have left the exchanges that provide coverage, so choices may be limited. Since open enrollment this year is brief and choices are possibly narrower, be sure you don't miss the deadline.
Safety first: If you enroll through the Health Insurance Marketplace and are contacted by phone, ensure the caller is an authorized representative who will provide a first name and agent identification number. Never give your Social Security number, or your credit card or banking information, to anyone not affiliated with the Marketplace.
Work with an agent: Working with a licensed health insurance agent is always the best way to obtain health insurance. He or she can review your medical history and suggest alternatives to the Marketplace if you are eligible. And note: Be sure to contact your agent as soon as possible, because most become very busy as enrollment time approaches.
Open enrollment begins November 1 and ends on December 15, so please make an appointment with us this month so we have time to plan your needs. Call us at 772-546-7292.
Your Visiting Ghosts and Goblins Have Quite the History
Have you ever wondered why large numbers of kids show up at your door on October 31, dressed in crazy clothing and demanding candy? It does seem a bit bizarre. But while it's always been part of our lives, the trick-or-treat tradition traces its roots way back. |
In fact, trick-or-treating is the modern version of several practices that began in ancient times, with indications of both pre-Christian Celtic and Christian traditions:
Celtic: More than two millennia in the past, Celts celebrated the festival of Samhain on October 31. They believed the dead returned to earth on this day, and gathered to pay homage to the deceased with food offerings. Some villagers dressed in costumes to drive away unwelcome spirits, and from this grew the tradition of dressing as scary creatures and performing antics for food or drink.
Christian: Once Christianity spread to Celtic regions, traditions blended and new practices emerged. The church declared November 2, All Souls' Day, as a time to honor the dead. However, the October 31 traditions of Samhain, such as bonfires and costumes, continued with the added practice of "souling." In souling, the poor visited the wealthy and received soul cakes for praying for the homeowners' dead relatives. However, when children took up this practice, they asked homeowners for gifts in exchange for their prayers. In some regions, souling became "guising," when guising children dressed in costume and performed tricks to collect treats.
Today, we don't make children perform tricks for their candy. Apparently, looking adorable is more than sufficient.
How to Get the 'Steal Me' Sticker off Your Car
|No one wants to attract the attention of thieves. Yet the actions of many vehicle owners practically beg thieves to take a crack at their cars. What are you doing that might tempt thieves? And, just as important, what are you doing to deter them? |
Vehicle owners can easily reduce the risk of car theft and resulting insurance claims with a few simple steps. To properly protect your asset, consider the following list of dos and don'ts:
- Lock your vehicle at all times. Even when you're in it. When choosing their prey, car thieves look for the easiest mark. It doesn't get much easier than an open car.
- Etch your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into each of the windows. Stolen cars are stripped of their identity for resale. Thieves would rather not replace all the glass.
- If necessary, take a longer route to avoid high-crime areas. It's worth the extra few minutes to protect yourself and your car.
- Park in well-lit areas. This removes the dark and shadowy atmosphere that thieves prefer for their work.
- Install an anti-theft system. Good options include steering wheel locks, ignition cut-off systems, alarms, and police-signaling systems. Check with your insurance agent to see which systems might make you eligible for a discount on your premium.
- Leave your keys in your car, and NEVER leave it running unattended. This seems obvious, but many car owners are guilty of this one.
- Leave valuables visible in your vehicle. Nothing says "smash my window for some quick cash" like a purse, electronic device, or other potential prize sitting out in plain view.
- Leave ownership information in your car. If a thief steals your vehicle, you don't want him or her to also have "proof" that they own it.
Avoid These Mistakes When Buying Life Insurance
Life insurance is one of the most important financial choices you make in your life, and that means any mistakes can have significant repercussions. Here are some common errors, and ways to avoid them.
Buying life insurance for the wrong reasons
When buying life insurance, most people think about their own financial responsibilities, such as covering their mortgages, their auto loans, and their other debt. Instead, try to think of life insurance from the perspective of the loved ones you would be leaving behind. What do they need to obtain financial stability when you're gone?
Buying too little life insurance
Typically, people buy too little life insurance because they don't know how much they really need. This may happen when purchasing life insurance via an automated system (such as an online form that suggests you buy X times your salary in life insurance). To avoid this mistake, it's advisable to work with a professional, who can consider all factors in assessing your life insurance needs.
Buying the wrong life insurance policy
There are hundreds of life insurance products on the market. You may not understand the many differences, some of which could have a significant impact on your beneficiaries. This can make the purchase of life insurance overwhelming at times.
Most important is to understand the differences between term and whole life insurance policies. Term life is defined by Investopedia as "(providing) a stated benefit upon the death of the policy owner, provided that the death occurs within a specific time period." Whole life pays a predetermined amount to cover your dependent's needs however long you live.
When you decide to purchase a life insurance policy, it's advisable to discuss it with an advisor who understands your unique needs. Call us today.