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Open Enrollment for Affordable Care Act Coming Soon

| October 01, 2019
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Each year, open enrollment allows new enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This period also gives those already enrolled a chance to review their coverage, change deductibles, and fine-tune their ACA plans.

For example, according to CNN, the average deductible for a Bronze plan is about $5,900, with an average out-of-pocket limit of a little under $7,000. Upgrading to a Gold, Silver, or Platinum plan will cost more per month; however, this could allow you to lower your out-of-pocket costs. How? A Bronze plan covers about 70 percent of your medical costs per year while a Platinum plan covers about 90 percent of your yearly health care costs.

Our no-obligation consultation about your 2020 ACA coverage can help you determine if you should stick with your current plan or consider upgrading to save on annual health care costs.

We do get busy during open enrollment, so do not hesitate to call us now. We can discuss your options and help you determine if you want to make the switch when open enrollment begins November 1, 2019. If you miss the last day of open enrollment (December 15, 2019), you will not be able to enroll for 2020 unless you qualify for coverage due to a special life event, like losing your group insurance.

Do not wait until the last minute to discuss your ACA options with us. Plans sold during the 2019 open enrollment period go into effect on January 1, 2020. If you had coverage under the ACA in 2019, your re-enrollment is automatic. However, your plan’s cost may increase, or you may find that you have different medical needs and would like to switch plans.

Don’t struggle alone with the online options when professional help is available. Contact us today.

 

DNA Kits Are Helping Adoptees Find Birth Parents

At-home DNA kits have soared in popularity in recent years, spurred by a growing curiosity to know more about our health and our heritage. According to a recent study by MIT Technology Review, more than 26 million people have taken DNA tests purchased from consumer genetics companies like Ancestry, 23andMe, MyHeritage, and Gene by Gene.

Amongst those people are adoptees who, either by design or accident, discovered their birth parents after submitting their cheek swab results to one of these genetics databases. It’s an incredible by-product of a test that wasn’t ever marketed as a way to reunite families.

For most adoptees who have discovered biological ties this way, the process looks something like this: they complete the test, they receive the results, and then they get a notification that they share a significant percentage of DNA with someone else using the database.

That was the case for John Larson, who recently shared his story with Reader’s Digest. He was adopted in the San Francisco Bay area in 1967 after his birth mother ended her engagement to Larson’s father and headed west. With incredible adoptive parents, Larson never thought about looking for his birth family.

After completing a 23AndMe kit, he was notified that his DNA was significantly similar to that of Rachel Brill, a woman who turned out to be Larson’s half-sister. Brill told Larson that not only did he also have a half-brother, he had a birth father who had been looking for his lost son his entire life.

 

Don’t Let Halloween Décor Haunt You

Will your porch feel incomplete without a jack-o-lantern on your doorstep this Halloween?

If you plan to carve up a pumpkin to greet your trick-or-treaters this year, use the following tips to make your sculpting simpler and safer.

Bottoms up: Rather than cut a hole in the top of your pumpkin, remove the bottom. The hole will allow you to place your carved pumpkin on top of a candle rather than reach inside to awkwardly place or light one.

Knives down: For the best results, don’t try to carve a pumpkin with the same tools you use to prepare dinner. Kitchen knives aren’t designed for jack-o-lantern creation, but pumpkin carving kits are. These are fairly inexpensive and can be found in most big-box stores. They include specially designed tools that can cut through rinds, scoop innards, and poke intricate holes to create the fantastical face you desire.

Candles out: If you light your pumpkin with a candle, never leave it unsupervised. It might be tempting to leave that jack-o-lantern burning while you trek the neighborhood trick-or-treating, but this puts your home at risk. Always blow out candles before leaving the home or going to bed for the night. 

Flames in: Another precaution with candle-lit pumpkins is location. You want to ensure that the flames stay within the pumpkin. Keep lit jack-o-lanterns far from objects such as window treatments and other décor. Keep in mind that hay bales and other straw decorations are often quite flammable. The National Fire Protection Association reports that decoration fires result in an average of 41 injuries and $13 million in property damage each year, and nearly half of these incidents are started by candles.

Kids’ costumes can be flammable, too, so place jack-o-lanterns strategically so they don’t come in contact with flowing capes or large tutus that make their way onto your porch.

Lights on: To reduce the risk of fire, consider using lights inside your jack-o-lanterns instead of candles. LED candles or other similar products are widely available now. Some even flicker to imitate natural flames. It’s worth the investment to avoid a fire. Plus, you can reuse these next Halloween, so you don’t have to buy fresh candles every year!

 

Worth Reading

These 11 Pro Tips Will Help You Carve the Perfect Pumpkin

By Liz Borod and Heather Finn

Good Housekeeping

You can carve a great pumpkin without being an artistic genius. This article lists 11 ways to improve your carving. Some may seem counter-intuitive: cutting from the bottom instead of the top, or carving on your lap and not always at a table. (Stay safe!) Some are more creative: putting cinnamon in your pumpkin, making accessories for your pumpkin from scraps, or creating a chimney for the candle. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth1019a

 

90+ Fall Decorating Ideas for a Beautiful Autumn Season

Southern Living

Fall gives plenty reasons to celebrate, and there are many ways to incorporate seasonal favorites like pumpkins, leaves, and pinecones into your décor. Scroll through this slideshow for inspiration and instructions for making autumn wreaths, centerpieces, and plant holders, among other items. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth1019c

 

10 Tips for Fall Fitness

By Barbara Russi Sarnataro

WebMD

A new season is a natural time to reinvigorate your workout routine. Students are beginning classes, so you might as well try a new fitness class. Or you can lift weights or stretch while rooting for your home team, or while catching up on missed episodes of your favorite shows. The beauty of fall provides enough motivation: the colors and crisp air are best enjoyed actively outdoors. Don’t let the cooling temperatures and decreasing daylight keep you inside and inactive. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth1019b

 

What Are the Options? Coverage for All Situations

Just as there are many types of families, there are many types of life insurance policies. This can make it challenging for couples to decide what coverage is best to meet their family’s needs.

Do you know what coverage would be best for your situation? Here’s the breakdown for a few of the most common scenarios.

Growing families: Parents with small children often have the greatest need for life insurance. The children will not be capable of caring for themselves financially for many years.

If one partner passes away, he or she is leaving behind a big burden to shoulder alone. If both parents pass way, the children will be in definite need of funds to help cover their care.

Empty nesters: Older couples with grown children can also use life insurance. This is especially true if one spouse works and the other does not, or one earns significantly more than the other. In this case, life insurance should be purchased for the life of the higher-earning partner so the lower-earning partner does not face a bill he or she can’t pay at some point in the future.

DINKS and SINKS: Dual income no kids (DINKS) and single income no kids (SINKS) couples may also want to carry life insurance policies. The benefit can help the remaining spouse pay off a mortgage or cover other expenses that will be hard to pay without the help of the deceased.

Unconventional circumstances: These can create even greater challenges. Consider, for example, a couple who has lived together for a decade but never married. Perhaps the woman has significant assets, including the house the couple lives in. The man has fewer assets, but he has heavily contributed to renovations on the house.

If the woman plans to leave the home to her children from a previous marriage, a life insurance policy can provide funds to allow the man to purchase a different house on his own after her passing.

Wondering if one of these might be a good fit for your needs? Contact our office to discuss your situation and receive professional insight into the best insurance solutions for your unique needs.

5 Things You Probably Never Knew About Autumn

Ever wonder who first thought of using a stick and straw figure to frighten off crows? You may be surprised to learn that nobody knows for sure.

No one can name the inventor because evidence shows that as early as 2500 BC, Greek farmers were protecting their crops with wooden scarecrows, and Egyptians were defending their wheat fields with netted structures along the Nile.

What other fun facts does fall hold in store? Here are a few other things you probably never knew about autumn.

Fall foliage: Are you aware of the biology behind the beautiful colors? Scientists explain that leaves change color because reduced daylight decreases chlorophyll production (the source of the vivid green we see in summer leaves). Reduced chlorophyll makes other leaf compounds with red and yellow pigments more visible.

Fall births: Interestingly, this colorful time of year is also a high season for births. While researchers are still noncommittal about the exact reasons for the fall baby boom, they note that the season falls roughly nine months after the winter holidays, when people often spend time celebrating together or taking romantic getaways.

And guess what? Animals are friskier in the fall, too. For animals with shorter gestation periods than humans, autumn conception ensures a springtime birth, giving newborns time to grow strong enough to survive their first winter.

Fall migration: You’ve heard of birds flying south for the winter, but did you know Monarch butterflies migrate in the fall? These insects travel up to 2,500 miles to find nicer weather for the season, flying up to 25 miles per hour during their journey.

Fall skies: If you’ve ever feasted your eyes on the Northern Lights, you know it’s a sight to behold. This natural light show in the night sky occurs more often in the fall due to the season’s clearer, longer nights.

While there may be nothing new under the sun, the shift in sunlight produces new and amazing wonders to enjoy each fall!

 

Worth Quoting
This month, some famous quotes on coffee:

If it wasn’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.

David Letterman

I like coffee because it gives me the illusion that I might be awake.

Lewis Black

I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time.

Steven Wright

Science may never come up with a better office communication system than the coffee break.

Earl Wilson

I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.

Ronald Reagan

Our culture runs on coffee and gasoline, the first often tasting like the second.

Edward Abbey

 

 

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