TPG Friday LI

Brian Fleury assists in answering this week’s FAQ. Brian joined The Prewitt Group in 2019 as a Personal Lines and Small Commercial Distribution Leader.

Long-term care insurance helps pay for a wide range of services for those who need it and is mainly designed to assist with costs of custodial and personal care. While most of these services do not include the cost of medical care, coverage can include staying in an assisted living facility, nursing home, or adult day care. These policies pay for the cost of care due to chronic illness, an injury, or a disability. Often, just the effects of aging requires people to need help, and long-term care coverage can help.

As you go through your financial planning process, it’s important to understand long-term care costs as you approach retirement age. We have risk advisors that can walk you through this process and make sure that you are covered properly.

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National Preparedness Month (NPM) is recognized each September to promote disaster and emergency planning. It reminds us to be prepared for disasters and emergencies in our homes, businesses and communities. This year’s theme is “Be Prepared, Not Scared.”

We’ve all heard the saying, “Preparation is the key to success,” and it certainly applies to disaster and emergency planning. While we still hope for the best, preparing for the worst can mitigate your expenses and protect your assets.

Be Prepared in 3 Steps:

  1. Create an emergency fund. First and foremost, recovering from a disaster can be financially burdensome. It’s vital to prepare for emergency expenses. Create an emergency fund for your family, home and business so that the money is there when you need it.
  2. Make emergency plans. Inform your family and/or employees of the location of fire extinguishers and first aid kits. Create a fire evacuation and severe weather plan, and then communicate it clearly to your household and workplace. Planned procedures and processes will keep your family and employees safe.
  3. Purchase proper insurance policies. Having the right insurance policies in place is an integral step in disaster preparation. Meet with an insurance consultant to make sure you have the proper coverage for the disasters and risks your family, home and business face. There are many different types of coverages, which are all subject to limitations and exclusions, so make sure you understand your deductibles, the limits of your insurance and the nature of your coverage.

Since 1974, The Prewitt Group’s mission has been to expertly handle all of your insurance needs whether personal or professional, with the utmost attention to detail and comprehensive protection from anticipated risk. We strive to protect our clients from danger, risk and unpleasant experiences. That’s “The Power to Mitigate Risk.”

We offer various commercial, personal and life and health coverages to fit your unique needs. Contact a risk consultant to review your current coverage or purchase additional policies as a step in your disaster planning process.

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It’s that time of year again: back-to-school! Are you sending a child off to college? If so, don’t forget to review your insurance coverage before they go back to campus. Remember, your insurance needs change as you and your family members reach certain life milestones. Plus, college is expensive enough without incurring unexpected expenses of an accident uncovered by your current policies.

Health Insurance

Is your child staying on your health insurance policy? If so, he/she is covered until they turn 26. If your child is going to school out of state, check with your insurance company to see how their out-of-state coverage works and ensure that there are in-network providers near the college. If not covered by their parent’s policy, college students have other health care options, such as enrolling in the student health plan offered or purchasing an individual policy.

Car Insurance

Is your child taking a car to campus? Be sure they are covered on your policy or have an individual policy that provides enough coverage. If they are going to college out of state, make sure they at least have the minimum coverage required by that state. Even if your child isn’t taking a car to school, it’s smart for them to remain insured so they are protected when driving a borrowed car.

Homeowners or Renters Insurance

Unfortunately, theft and burglary are very common on college campuses. Whether your child is living in a dorm, apartment or house, you will want to protect their valuables. Students who live on-campus are usually covered by their parent’s homeowners insurance policy as long as they are listed as a dependent on their policy. However, the extent of coverage depends on policy specifics and limitations, so it’s a good idea to check your policy before relying on it.

Students who live off-campus should obtain a renters insurance policy to protect their valuables and their bank accounts in the case of unfortunate situations, such as fire, theft or on-premise injuries. While renters insurance does NOT cover the building itself, it does cover the stuff in your rented house/apartment, like furniture, valuables and cash. A renters insurance policy can also cover liabilities and additional living expenses, if needed. Renters insurance is fairly affordable, but it’s important to understand the coverage and limitations of your policy.

All in all, it’s best to inform your insurance agent that you have a child going to college and discuss the additional coverage he/she needs depending on your current policies.

Insurance for Every Milestone

“When should I buy life insurance?” “Do I need renters insurance?” “What is disability insurance?” “I’m starting a business. What insurance do I need?”

These are just a few questions that are frequently asked by individuals who are planning for their future and/or entering a new season of life. As your life changes, so should your insurance coverage. While insurance isn’t the most exciting purchase, it is essential for protecting yourself, your loved ones and your wealth.

From buying a car to starting a business, certain life milestones call for reevaluation of your insurance coverage. Some policies are required, while others are strongly recommended. As you reach these common milestones, here are the policies you should consider purchasing:

When you buy a car: Before hitting the road in your new ride, you need personal auto insurance. Many factors impact how much you pay for your premium, including what you drive, your driving history, how often and how far you drive and your credit history, as well as your age, sex and marital status. That being said, your premium may increase or decrease as these factors change throughout your life.

When you start “adulting:” As you enter the workforce and move out from your parents’ home, consider purchasing these policies to protect your livelihood:

  • Health insurance: Children can stay on their parents’ policy until age 26, but once your 26th birthday comes around, you’re required to obtain your own policy.
  • Disability insurance: If you’re relying on your income to live, purchasing disability insurance could be a lifesaver if you become disabled and unable to work for a period.
  • Renters insurance: While it’s not a requirement, renters insurance is something any renter will be glad to have in the case of a fire, leak, or storm.

When you buy a home: If you own a home, homeowner’s insurance is a necessity. Most policies cover the house itself, your belongings and the liability of someone being injured on your property. Depending on the location of your home, you may need to purchase additional coverage, such as flood insurance.

When you get married and start a family: While you can purchase life insurance at any time, the importance of life insurance increases when you get married and/or start a family. In the event of your death, life insurance offers protection for your family and home by replacing your income. Acquiring life insurance at a younger age is smart because you’re not only healthy, but you also pay the same rate over a period of time.

When you start your own business: As soon as you start your business, no matter the size, you should consider getting commercial insurance. The type of coverage you need will vary based on the type of business you open.

At The Prewitt Group, we are committed to understanding your needs for every stage of life and delivering customized services to fit those needs. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss the coverage you need with each life change.

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Are you ready for summer? While your kids may be on summer break, risks never take a vacation. In fact, summer activities like these often lead to more mishaps.

  • Road trips: During the summer, the roads are more crowded, which makes driving more dangerous. Whether you’re taking a road trip in your personal vehicle or a rental car, be sure your auto insurance policy covers collisions. If your auto policy does not include driving in a rental car, consider purchasing the liability insurance offered at the rental counter.
  • Pool parties: By having a swimming pool, you take the risk of someone getting injured or drowning on your property. If you haven’t already, consider increasing the liability coverage on your homeowners policy to reduce this risk. Also, be sure to take measures to prevent accidents, such as building a fence around the pool and making sure children never swim unattended.
  • Summer storms: Strong summer thunderstorms can wreak havoc on your home and cause water damage. While homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, you can purchase a flood policy to reduce this risk.
  • Boating: Boating-related accidents seem to increase every summer. While small boats like kayaks and canoes are often covered by your homeowners insurance, you usually need a separate policy for large watercrafts and jet skis. The cost can vary depending on your liability coverage, the value of your boat and where it’s kept.
  • Vacation home rental: When you rent out your vacation home, you run the risk of tenants damaging the property. Homeowners insurance may provide coverage for an occasional short-term rental, but if you regularly rent out the property, you may need an additional rider or a commercial landlord or host policy.

Fortunately, you can mitigate these risks by making sure you have the proper insurance policy in place. As summer draws nearer, determine if these risks are relevant to you and contact a representative at The Prewitt Group to be sure you have the coverage you need.

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Have you met Tyler Hudson? In 2018, Tyler joined The Prewitt Group team as an Employee Benefits Broker. He strives to create a better benefits plan that positively impacts a client’s or prospective client’s bottom line. When he is not working with organizations to tailor specific group insurance, healthcare and disability income products to their needs, you may find him travelling with his wife, enjoying lunch at Saw’s Juke Joint or cheering on The Tide. To learn more about Tyler, check out this Q&A:

Q: How did you get into the insurance industry?

A: Before The Prewitt Group, I worked at ADP helping companies streamline their back-office HR functions/software. I worked heavily with Benefits Administration systems, which eventually led me to a position as an Employee Benefits Broker.

Q: Are you seeing any new trends in the industry?

A: Yes, the only constant regarding the employee benefits industry is that it is always changing. One area in particular is employer-provided health insurance plans. On average, an employer now pays about $20,000 annually for a family health insurance plan. It is an upward trend from years past and the burden is being shouldered by both employees and the employer. Services for emergency room visits, surgical hospital admissions and administered/pharmaceutical drugs are rising, which increases the healthcare costs. My job is to help these organizations navigate through these rising expenses to find a better solution.

Q: What’s your favorite part of working for The Prewitt Group?

A: The people. I have a great working relationship with my colleagues and work with some very talented and caring people. I’m grateful to have great mentors who have helped me grow professionally. They have gone above and beyond to help me and take an interest in my personal well-being. I’m very thankful for that, and it makes it a great environment to work in.

Q: Who’s your biggest role model?

A: My dad. Unfortunately, I lost him when I was 18, but he was a great role model and a great man.

Q: Favorite travel spot/vacation?

A: I guess it would depend on the time of year, but my wife and I really enjoy travelling. In the spring and summer, we travel to Smith Lake and 30A often. In the fall, you can probably find us in Tuscaloosa and Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Q: Favorite spot to hang out in Birmingham? (Restaurant, park, brewery, bar, etc.!)

A: I’m a dive bar and BBQ fan, so I’ll go with Saw’s Juke Joint here. We live nearby and generally eat there a couple of times a week. I’m a huge fan of the Smoked Wings and Sweet Tea Chicken Sandwich but will give you an “off-the-menu” pro tip here – try the Loaded Baked Potato on a bed of French Fries served Roll Tide (With Red and White BBQ sauce) and bring your appetite.

Q: Hobbies?

A: I like spending time with family, playing golf, and attending sporting events.

Q: Anything you want to add about family, pets or personal life?

A: My wife, Kensey, and I got married in June of 2017. We are expecting our first child (baby girl) in a short two months! We also have a goldendoodle named Finn.

short term disability

By: David Murdock, Life Insurance, Healthcare and Group Benefits Risk Consultant at The Prewitt Group

Short-term disability (STD) insurance is an insurance product that replaces a portion of an employee’s income for a short period of time, usually 3 to 6 months, when they experience an unexpected (or expected) medical condition that prevents them from working.

Essentially, if an employee uses all his/her sick and/or vacation days, the STD plan is there to provide economic support in a time of uncertainty. Pregnancy and maternity leave, back injuries and joint disorders and behavioral issues are the most common causes of short-term disability. STD plans are designed to only replace a portion (up to 67 percent) of an employee’s income, which encourages them to return to work to earn 100 percent of their income.

While this product clearly benefits employees in times of need, having an STD policy in place is also a big benefit for employers. Why? Most importantly, employer-paid STD prevents employers from having to make difficult decisions about employees who can’t perform their job due to unforeseen illnesses or injuries. Having a comprehensive STD plan enables employers to adopt a sick-pay policy that applies equally to all employees. For many employer groups, a disabled employee may cause you to pay someone to not be there while having to hire another employee to do their job. Fortunately, an STD policy mitigates that risk.

STD plans can be employer-paid or voluntary. In an employer-paid plan, all employees are covered equally with the same plan design and cost-per-volume of covered payroll. However, like any disability plan, the cost for each employee will vary according to his/her earnings. The higher the income of an employee, the higher the premium. Shorter waiting periods (how long the employee must be disabled before the benefit kicks in) and larger weekly benefits also affect the premium cost.

From an overall cost perspective, an employer-paid plan provides some pricing advantages that voluntary plans do not. For instance, a voluntary STD plan may have age-banded rates, which places a burden on older employees. On the other hand, voluntary plans do offer more flexible plan design in terms of the amount of benefit, duration of benefit and waiting periods.

All in all, STD plans are a win-win solution for both employees and employers. If you’re interested in learning more about short-term disability plans, contact me today!

 

2019 healh resolutions

New year, new you? Are you resolving to improve your health this year? As healthcare costs continue to rise, being a smarter healthcare consumer can help combat these costs. However, being informed about healthcare and establishing these healthy habits starts with YOU.

Need some motivation? Here are 7 health-related resolutions to make this year:

  1. Review your health insurance policy: It’s important that you understand what your insurance policy really covers to make the most of your spending each year. Determine your deductible amount, out-of-pocket maximum, copays for regular office, urgent care and ER visits, and copay costs for generic, brand and specialty prescriptions.
  2. Consider obtaining secondary health insurance: By covering medical expenses that are not covered by your primary insurance plan, secondary insurance policies help bear the burdensome out-of-pocket expenses individuals and families encounter.
  3. Select health care providers: Visiting the emergency room after work hours or relying on urgent care visits is NOT a good practice. Before selecting a healthcare provider, seek recommendations from family and friends, check your health plan to see which physicians are in-network, and know what you want and need from a primary care provider.
  4. Schedule and attend yearly checkups and exams: Staying up-to-date with yearly checkups and age-appropriate health screenings and immunizations is vital to your health.
  5. Stock an at-home first-aid kit: Unfortunately, accidents and sickness occur from time to time. Be prepared for minor illnesses and injuries with a stocked first-aid or emergency kit at home.
  6. Eat healthy: While establishing a healthy and balanced diet is the overall goal, it’s helpful to start with baby steps. For example, aim to reduce your sugar intake, cut down on carbs or start meal prepping. Making and sticking to specific goals like these will help you establish a healthy eating plan that is sustainable for you.
  7. Exercise regularly: Like eating healthy, exercising regularly is vague and can be tough to stick to throughout the year. Whether it’s hitting the gym twice a week, getting 10,000 steps in a day, or trying a new training program, create an exercise plan that’s challenging, but doable.

With these 7 resolutions, you can make your health a priority this year. If you have questions about your health insurance policy or would like more information about secondary health insurance, contact The Prewitt Group today!

2019 coverage

The new year gives us the opportunity for a fresh start. It’s the season for goal-setting and resolutions. It’s also a good time to ask yourself, “What could go wrong this year?” and “How would my insurance company respond if the worst scenario occurred?”

Reflect on the happenings of the past year and evaluate your insurance policies to guarantee you’re covered in the coming year. Consider your family, business, property, home, health, vehicle, etc. A lot can change over the course of a year, and sometimes those changes may impact your insurance coverage. Here are a few items to asses to ensure you’re covered in 2019:

  1. Health insurance: Did you recently enroll or change your health insurance? Make sure you have your new insurance cards and before you visit a doctor and verify that they are in your provider network.
  2. Life insurance coverage: Major life changes, such as a birth, divorce, remarriage or even a new mortgage or new job, are indicators that you might need to make changes to your life insurance policy.
  3. Homeowner’s insurance: Take account of your assets with a detailed home inventory. This is the best way to determine the appropriate level of coverage needed. It’s also a good idea to know your deductible amounts and check to see if you’re eligible for any discounts.
  4. Auto insurance: Driving underinsured is not a good way to enter the new year. Examine your deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage. Talk with your agent to determine how raising or lowering this amount would affect your premium.
  5. Commercial coverage: Take inventory of your business. Be sure you have coverage for all locations and aspects of your business. If you’ve purchased new real estate or equipment, added new operations, expanded your online presence or made any other drastic business changes in the past year, be sure your insurance agent is aware.

The Prewitt Group is committed to mitigating risk by understanding your needs and delivering customized services to fit those needs. We would be happy to meet with you and discuss strategies that will empower you and/or your company in fulfilling insurance needs for the new year. Contact us today!

 

healthcare apps

By: David Murdock, The Prewitt Group Life, Health and Group Benefits Consultant

We are all aware of increasing healthcare costs and how they impact our lives. However, good health doesn’t just happen on its own. Consumers play a key role in healthcare, and by being smarter healthcare consumers, we can combat the rising healthcare costs. Practicing effective healthcare consumerism and taking an active role in your health is the best way to prevent sickness and disease, receive great care and reduce costs.

First, maintain a healthy lifestyle and take care of yourself. Being a better healthcare consumer starts with YOU, and establishing healthy habits starts with you. Eating healthy, exercising regularly and reducing stress are important aspects of your overall health and wellness in the short and long term. Stay up-to-date with yearly checkups and age-appropriate health screenings and immunizations. Plus, be prepared for minor illnesses and injuries with a stocked first-aid or emergency kit at home.

Secondly, understand what your insurance policy really covers. This way, you can make the most of your spending each year. Know your deductible amount, out-of-pocket maximum, copays for regular office, urgent care and ER visits and copay costs for generic, brand and specialty prescriptions.

Next, carefully select your healthcare providers. Having a primary care provider is vital to being a smarter healthcare consumer. Visiting the emergency room after work hours or relying on urgent care visits is NOT a good practice.  Instead, seek recommendations from family and friends, check your health plan to see which physicians are in-network, and know what you want and need from a primary care provider.

You can also seek ways to save money. There are many ways to save money when it comes to healthcare, such as using in-network doctors and facilities, asking for generic equivalents at the pharmacy and checking your medical bills and explanation of benefits for accuracy. When you need special testing and treatments, shop around for a cost-effective option.

healthcare apps

Lastly, with the technology available to us today, we can use resources with reliable information. Gather facts and advice based on sound medical research using reliable websites and mobile applications. For instance, if you have BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama, you can use its app, Alabama Blue, to access your plan details, such as common copay amounts, HSA balances and claims, file a drug claim, locate in-network doctors and more on the go! Below is a list of other helpful healthcare apps that I rely on regularly:

  • GoodRX—Gathers current prices and discounts to help you find the lowest cost pharmacy for your prescriptions.
  • myRXplanner—Combines medication reminders and a scheduler application that is intended to assist users in being compliant with their prescribed or directed dosages for themselves, those they care for, and family members or loved ones.
  • EyeMed—Allows you to check your benefit details for eye exams, eyeglass frames, contacts and lenses on the go.
  • Alabama Blue Health Handbook—A comprehensive source for accredited reference information on diseases and medical conditions, medical procedures, and prescription or over-the-counter medications.
  • My Cancer Coach—Provides information about personalized cancer treatments to help manage your cancer’s progression.
  • WebMD—Research conditions, check your symptoms, access drug and treatment information, get first aid essentials, check local health listings and find the latest health news on the go.
  • Best Doctors—As a Best Doctors member, you can have your medical diagnosis, treatment plan and any medical questions reviewed and answered by a carefully selected expert physician who specializes in your condition. You can also start and track the progress of your case!
  • TeleDoc—Connects you with a board-certified doctor 24/7/365 through the convenience of phone or video consults.

These are just a few of the countless resources available that can equip you to be a smarter healthcare consumer! Put these tips into practice today!