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3 Things 10-16-23

Thing One


It’s Health Insurance Season

The annual enrollment period (AEP) for Medicare officially started yesterday and the open enrollment period (OEP) for those under 65 starts at the beginning of November.  If you haven't settled on your healthcare plan for next year and you’re having trouble deciding, here are three key items you should have in your decision-making matrix:1:  Is your doctor in the new plan’s network? 


If you have a longstanding relationship with your current physician and care about preserving it, make sure he’s in your potential plan’s network.  If he’s not you’ll either be forced to pick a new one, be “balance billed”, or potentially be responsible for the entire out-of-network cost of care.2:  Is the deductible math favorable and have you picked a plan that matches your consumption and resources to your deductible?Some insurers offer versions of the identical benefits package at different deductible and premium levels.  The idea with these plans is to give the consumer the option of buying his way into a lower coinsurance threshold with increased monthly premiums or vice versa.  In the case of wanting a lower deductible, do the quick math to make sure it is worth it.  Multiply the monthly premium increase by 12 and compare it to the amount of deductible reduction and make sure it makes sense. In other words, don’t do something like paying an extra $2000 annually to lower your deductible by $1000.That said make sure that you understand your healthcare consumption pattern.  If you see a doctor so often that you will easily meet a higher deductible, that type of plan may be the right option for you, especially since your plan might qualify for a Health Savings Account as well.  But if you're afraid you may have a problem paying the out-of-pocket costs while you're paying down the deductible, you might be better off with a higher premium plan.3:  Do you understand the catastrophic math?  


Providing a financial backstop against serious injury and illness is the basis for medical insurance.  You should have some sense of your catastrophic protection level going in.  Add the total annual premium payments to the maximum out-of-pocket limits and see if you are comfortable with the result.  If you are, you can proceed with that plan.  If you aren’t, see if there is a plan that offers you more comfort.Got it?  Good.Need help thinking it through or know someone who does?  Get in touch.



Thing Two


Loyalty Isn't Always A Good ThingIt’s good to be loyal to your country.  It’s good to be loyal to your spouse or significant other.  It’s good to be loyal to your friends.  But it may not be so good to be loyal to your current home and auto insurers.For a whole host of reasons, you may not be getting the best deal.  Among those reasons are: Your credit score may have gone up or down.You’re movingYou’re adding a driver.You have an old moving violation (5 years or more) in the calculations of your rate with your current insurer. 

And on and on...

The point is that inputs that determine your rate are fluid so the opportunity for you to get a better deal is always there. The same thing goes with homeowners insurance. Constantly changing conditions on the insurer's side with respect to their total claims payouts relative to their required margins means they may pass on a rate increase to you.  Since the increase is typically just added to your monthly mortgage the insurers don’t think much about it because they know from experience that you won't think much about it either. But you should because you might be missing out on a lower rate elsewhere.And don't get sucked into the idea that by sticking with the same company for the long haul you're getting a lower rate.  While it might be true that they’re giving you some kind of loyalty or multi-policy discount, you might be paying a higher starting rate that offsets the discount.The bottom line?  You should shop your property policies at least annually.  It’s not hard at all to do and you'll likely save some money and gain some valuable knowledge about how it all works.


Let us know if we can help.


Thing Three


Just A Thought


"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." - Henry David Thoreau


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