Do You Know These 4 Common Myths about Car Insurance?

Misconceptions surrounding car insurance abound and can impact the decisions you make on which car to buy or lead you to lose money. Many of these misconceptions are untrue. To aid you in making an informed decision, below are five common myths about car insurance.

Myth: More expensive cars cost more to insure

Fact: False. Not every expensive car costs more to insure than a mid-priced car. Insurance rates are determined by a variety of factors, including how frequently a specific car type is stolen, the amount of times a vehicle needs repairs, and how much those repairs cost.

Myth: Red cars are the most expensive to insure

Fact: The color of a car has absolutely no bearing on the price of insurance. While the make and model will undoubtedly influence the price you’ll pay, you can pick the color worry-free.

Myth: Traffic tickets make your insurance premiums rise

Fact: Traffic tickets are not helpful to your insurance premiums, but for drivers with clean driving records, a ticket for a minor traffic infraction may not have any impact whatsoever. There are also several steps you can take to reduce the number of points from your license in some states to minimize the impact.

Myth: Carrying the minimum amount of insurance is acceptable, and comprehensive insurance covers everything

Fact: Double false. The minimum amount of liability insurance will satisfy state law but will most likely not cover extensive damages in case of a crash. Comprehensive insurance can cover many situations, but it is specifically for damage done in a non-collision event.

If you’d like to learn more about these common myths and what other factors impact car insurance prices, call us today. We are happy to answer any questions.

Should You Buy an Extended Warranty or Not?

Protecting your investment is always top of mind, no matter how affordable or costly your purchase was.

From televisions to cars, extended warranties offer you the peace of mind for a low cost, either up front or built into your monthly payment. These extended warranties can prove to be lifesavers or costly “investments” depending on how and what they are used for.

For example, an expensive extended warranty that covers almost everything is probably only a good investment if you plan to keep the item for an extended period of time.

Otherwise, any repairs made to the item in the short term may not amount to the full cost of the warranty. Additionally, some customers may forget they have a warranty on an item and then still pay out of pocket even when they don’t have to.

Another vital thing to consider when it comes to extended warranty coverage is the amount and breadth of coverage that an extended warranty will provide.

If there are many exceptions to a policy or a few places where the policy is valid, then no matter the “deal” you’re getting on this warranty, it may not be worth the time or trouble, as it is essentially worthless.

Deciding on whether to buy an extended warranty is an individual decision with a few important factors involved. Reach out to us today, and we can help you evaluate the risks, needs, and potential benefits of an extended warranty if you are considering one.

Are You Making These Business Insurance Mistakes?

Many business owners believe that once they get one insurance policy, they are fully covered for every possible instance that they will encounter. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Some businesses need specialized coverage, or, as insurance policies continue over time, business owners don’t adjust their coverage to account for growth or new circumstances. Below are seven business insurance mistakes that you should avoid or immediately correct.

You don’t have the insurance you need. For some business owners, a general liability policy is all they think they need. For insurance to be truly effective, you should ensure that you are covered up to the amount you need and probable events are not excluded from coverage.

You don’t tell your agent the whole story. Some people believe that by withholding crucial information, they will get a lower price on insurance coverage. The only thing this will do is ensure you get a policy that doesn’t fit your needs. You must tell your agent everything so they can help provide the most appropriate coverage for you.

You don’t keep records and rely on memory instead. When it comes to filing an insurance claim, records are everything. If you don’t keep the necessary records, your claim may turn out to be for less than you need or may be denied. Keeping records will help substantiate your claim of losses and make life easier when you need cash the most.

You don’t read the fine print. Business owners are fastidious about everything related to their businesses, but they sometimes do not read the fine print of insurance contracts. Make sure that you know your coverages limits, insurance exclusions, and everything else. If you see a hole in potential coverage, the best time to address it is before you sign the agreement.

You don’t shop around for the best price. While you never want to sacrifice coverage for price, there’s nothing wrong with trying to get the best coverage for the least expensive price. Losing money for the same coverage only diverts funds that could be used to grow your business.

You don’t look at the value, only at the price. Some insurance quotes will always be the lowest price, but that’s because they are providing less coverage than the competitors. Sometimes, paying even a marginal amount more will guarantee more comprehensive coverage and value, which will benefit your business in the long term.

You renew the same policy every year and aren’t proactive. As your business changes, you might need more coverage for a larger operation. The best plan of action is to reevaluate your insurance needs every year to help ensure that you and your business are protected no matter the incidences that befall you.

Insurance coverage is a vital part of owning a business, and ensuring you’re protected should be a top priority. It is a top priority for me when taking care of my clients. Call me today for an assessment of your current insurance situation and for a review of your current and potential future needs.

What Types of Insurance Do Online Businesses Need?

With many businesses needing to shift gears so they can work remotely these days, the type of insurance they need may not be top of mind when navigating a lot of other day-to-day changes. Below are a few types of insurance that online businesses and virtual offices can benefit from.

Cyber liability: A cyber business’s storefront is the Internet. Cyber liability insurance covers any ransomware attacks, business interruption, restoration of any computer systems, and legal or public relations fees related to the incident.

General liability: Even if you don’t have a physical location, if someone is injured by your product, you could be liable for the damage your product causes someone else.

Employment practices liability: As you grow and expand your business, you may see fit to hire employees. To be sure that your interests are protected, employment practices liability insurance protects you against claims for harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, and allegations that can be leveled against you by an employee.

Workers’ compensation: No matter how careful you or your business is, accidents happen. Workers’ compensation insurance covers accidents and illnesses related to work in addition to any litigation related to the incident.

Seller suspension insurance: For any suspension of your seller account that could occur on a large online platform, you could face a significant amount of lost income. This insurance helps you replace lost income while you work to get back to business.

Reach out and let me know how I can help support you during these times of unexpected change. I’m just a call or email away. Let me help.

Why Virtual Medical Care is a Good Idea

Virtual medicine, the use of technology to treat health symptoms, is rapidly growing. According to eVisit, a group of health practitioners and patients whose goal is “to simplify health care delivery for everyone, everywhere,” more than half of today’s US hospitals offer a telemedicine option. eVisit reports that nearly 75% of the US population would use telehealth services if available. Employers welcome virtual healthcare to reduce workers’ absences, and employees embrace it to avoid high emergency room (ER) visit copays.

Here are some benefits of virtual medical care.

  1. Your cost to visit a virtual practitioner is usually equal to or less than an office visit. It’s certainly lower than an ER visit, which can start at a $50 copay and run much higher. In fact, USA Today reported that by 2019, ER costs had risen 176 percent in the past decade.
  2. You can avoid travel expenses and work absences.
  3. You can usually avoid long wait times for an appointment.
  4. You can obtain a second opinion from virtual medicine. You’ll need to furnish underlying diagnostics, like X-rays, to the virtual provider.
  5. Your provider can easily contact you if you require follow-up treatment.
  6. You may be concerned about COVID-19. You can visit a provider without having to leave your home.

According to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), patients report a greater level of satisfaction with virtual medicine. The ATA calls it “the future of healthcare.” While it may seem impersonal, if your primary care physician is unavailable, you would see a different provider in that practice if needed. You may wait weeks for an appointment with a specialist. It’s often much faster to “see” a specialist through telemedicine.

In these uncertain times, you may have many questions about your options. I am always here to help and happy to answer your questions. I am just a call or email away.

Understanding Key Terms under Your Health Insurance Policy

A few definitions can help you understand what you pay under your health plan and what your insurer pays.

Your health plan generates an explanation of benefits (EOB). It shows you how much they paid your provider and the amount you owe. According to the American Medical Association, almost 20 percent of EOBs contain errors, so review each EOB. If you don’t agree with or understand an EOB, contact your health insurer, not your provider. Your EOB statements arrive electronically or by mail.

Your deductible is what you pay before your plan begins paying your covered services. Submit all your treatments to your health plan to receive all the credit against your deductible.

You should monitor your maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) costs. MOOP limits the amount per calendar year you pay for covered costs. You are always responsible for the entire cost of uncovered services. Acupuncture costs, for example, may not apply to your MOOP. And you are always responsible for your copays.

Your copay is the fixed amount you pay when you receive treatment. Seeing your primary care physician usually involves a lower copay than seeing a specialist. Urgent care centers impose lower copays than emergency rooms.

Coinsurance is the portion of the allowed amount on a covered service that you pay. The allowed amount is the limit your insurance sets for covered medical services. Once you’ve reached your MOOP, coinsurance no longer applies, although copays continue. Are you confused by a definition under your health plan? Call us.

Why You Should Not Skip out on Life Insurance

As the economy struggles and market volatility rages from COVID-19 impacts and more, nearly a third of US households are going without life insurance coverage. This may be a bad idea.

Only 59% of Americans have life insurance, and about half of those with insurance are underinsured, according to industry-funded research firm LIMRA. Nine million households have only group life insurance (for example, through employers), which LIMRA says is not enough.

Why are people going without life insurance?

The obvious answer is that many people feel that they cannot afford it right now, especially when they are fearful about the economy and their investments. They may wish to put the money they would allocate to premiums into a rainy day fund. They may even need the money they would allocate to premiums to meet everyday living expenses.

Another reason may be declining availability. Many people rely on their employers for life insurance, and some employers have scaled back or eliminated coverage.

This has forced individuals to buy their own life insurance, but many just do not know where to go for life insurance, so they simply do without.

But going without life insurance isn’t a good idea for many people. Many households, for example, would have trouble meeting immediate living expenses if their primary wage earners die. Some may even have trouble meeting their own end-of-life expenses.

We can help you determine if you need life insurance and, if you do, purchase a policy that is right for you based on benefits and affordability.

Please reach out to us today. We’re here to help.

What Types of Home Insurance Do You Need?

In most typical homeowners insurance policies, there are a few items of standard coverage that help ensure that losses are mitigated. Below are the types of coverage you can expect to see in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.

Dwelling: This type of coverage is for the structure of the home, from roof to floors and ceilings to walls. Dwelling coverage provides the peace of mind that you have protection up to the limit of your individual policy when natural disasters, theft, and other incidents occur.

Contents: This coverage ensures that your valuables at home are replaced in the event of a covered loss, so that you don’t have to worry about your furniture, clothing, electronics, and other items that fall under this policy.

Personal liability: Accidents can happen in your home, but luckily, insurance can help cover injuries to an invited guest in your home. Additionally, if property damage occurs, your policy may cover it if it happens as a result of a qualifying accident.

Understandably, there are unique situations that call for additional coverage, depending on your circumstances, which every homeowner should take into account. Residents in areas with high amounts of rainfall might consider flood insurance, depending on the likelihood and severity of floods, while those in areas with earthquakes should consider appropriate coverage. Additionally, homeowners who want updated replacements of damaged items might consider replacement coverage that provides for new items, as most insurance policies will only cover the value of items when they were damaged, not their original price.

No matter your home insurance needs, we’re here to help determine and customize homeowner’s insurance coverage that is right for you. No two homeowners are the same, so contact us today to get the policy that will offer you maximum protection.

4 Ways to Reduce Your Auto Insurance Premiums

Auto insurance premiums always seem to be on the rise. For some, that’s unavoidable. However, for many, there are a few easy ways to reduce auto insurance premiums.

Utilize the same insurance company: Unlike the stock market, diversification does not usually lower your insurance costs. Being a loyal customer of one insurance company for several insurance products (home, auto, life) can help bring down total costs.

Reduce your driving distance and risks: Auto insurance companies make some of their decisions about premiums based on the amount of time you spend on the road and your driving history. If you can reduce your time on the road and any negative marks on your driving record, you’ll probably see a clearer path toward reduced premiums.

Choose your vehicle wisely: It’s no secret that an expensive hot-rod sports car will be more expensive to insure and, to some, may be more likely to be involved in a crash. Doing a little bit of research about the vehicle you plan to purchase on websites like www.kbb.com and www.edmunds.com or exchanging your vehicle for a safer one could go a long way toward reducing your auto insurance payments.

Ask your insurance agent: Many drivers are unaware there are discounts based on safe driving, age, professions (such as teaching and military service), and other factors that can help bring their premiums down. Asking your insurance agent will help ensure that you’re getting every discount you can to reduce your auto insurance premium.

If you want to see where you can save on your policy, give us a call.

Have You Outgrown Your Life Insurance Policy?

Life insurance can be invaluable, but it is easy to forget you have it, since you do not use it until a tragedy occurs. Is your policy, which you may have purchased years or even decades ago, still meeting your needs? If you do not know, it may be a good time to reevaluate your policy and make changes if necessary.

Life insurance is particularly important as we get older. We get married, we buy cars and homes, we have children, and we save for college. And we want to take care of our families if an accident or illness prevents us from giving them the financial support to which they have become accustomed.

But then our lives continue. Our children grow up, and we pay off our mortgages, we accumulate nest eggs, and we retire. And as we pass through those life stages, we still have the same life insurance policies. What should we do?

You may be tempted to let your policy lapse at this life stage. After all, the money you allocate to paying premiums could be used in other ways: to pay down debt, add to your nest egg, or invest in long-term care insurance, for example. But that may not be wise because life insurance can be useful throughout all life stages. Just because your children are grown, you have paid off your mortgage, or you are retired does not mean life insurance serves no purpose. Your loved ones could be affected by your death in myriad ways.

Ask yourself how the money from your life insurance might assist your loved ones if you pass away. You will likely come up with many ways, making it worth keeping your policy in effect.

Want to review your life insurance policy and see if changes are necessary? Please reach out to us. We would be happy to help.

Do You Need Supplemental Disability Insurance?

The Social Security Administration says disability will affect about one in four US workers at some time during their working years. Disability mostly impacts workers who perform manual labor. However, research shows that it strikes 10% of white-collar workers. If you cannot perform all or part of your job because you become disabled and your employer provides disability coverage, that coverage will replace some of your lost income. However, for most people, it’s not enough.

Short-term disability insurance begins on day eight of disability and provides coverage for up to six months. However, most employers don’t provide short-term coverage. Long-term coverage begins six months after disability occurs and lasts until age 65.

Your group plan may cover 60% or less of your income. Because disability insurance is taxable, you actually receive even less, maybe as little as 40% of your income. Certain events can affect your group disability coverage, such as changing from full-time to part-time and, of course, changing jobs.

Consider supplementing your employer’s disability insurance with a private disability policy. This could increase your coverage to 70% or 80% of your income. Here are three other benefits of supplementing your disability coverage:

  1. Most employer disability plans have a coverage limit (often two years). You choose how long your private supplement will cover you.
  2. The income from a supplemental disability policy is not tax-deductible.
  3. You may receive Social Security disability payments if you cannot work at all. These payments will reduce your employer disability payments. However, they will not reduce your private disability payments.

Financial experts believe that disability insurance may be the most important insurance coverage because it ensures you can cover basic living costs.

We can help you decide if you need additional short- or long-term disability insurance and help you find the right policy for your needs.

Preventive Services Available Under the Affordable Care Act

Preventive medical services focus on keeping you healthy. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers 63 preventive services, all of which are covered before meeting your deductible and without copayment. Depending on your age or gender, these services are available to you.

For adults, some covered services include the following:
Alcohol screening and counseling
Blood pressure checks
Cholesterol checks
Colorectal cancer screening in adults over 50
Depression screening
Type 2 diabetes screening for any adult with high blood pressure
Diet counseling for adults with risk of chronic disease
Immunizations, including Hepatitis A and B, herpes, influenza, measles, mumps, pneumonia, tetanus, and more
Obesity screening and counseling

For women, here are some preventive services:
Breast cancer genetic test counseling (BRCA)
Breastfeeding support and counseling
Cervical cancer screening
Contraception
Osteoporosis in women over 60
Well-woman examinations

Finally, here are some preventive services offered for children:
Autism
Behavioral assessments
Depression in adolescents
Lipid disorder screenings
Hearing screening
Height, weight, and body mass indexes
Immunizations, including tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and more
Vision screenings

Preventive services can keep you and your family healthier. In addition, if you catch medical problems before they become more severe, preventive services can greatly decrease your healthcare spending.

Understanding Professional Liability Insurance

Some business owners believe standard insurance policies they have obtained will protect them from claims arising during the course of doing business. However, standard business insurance policies often do not protect professionals or professional services from claims against the professionals or the businesses for negligence, inaccurate advice, misrepresentation, and other serious allegations. This is where professional liability insurance comes in. It protects against these claims in a way a standard business insurance policy does not. In some states, professional liability insurance may be required by law, by a board of bar examiners for attorneys, or by other professional societies. However, even when professional liability insurance is not required by law, it is likely a good idea for a multitude of professionals.

Who needs to have professional liability insurance?

Professional liability insurance is a must for those who provide professional services. For example, accountants, architects, doctors, lawyers, consultants, realtors, engineers, and information technology professionals are just a few of those who should acquire professional liability insurance. In today’s litigious culture, a professional liability insurance policy can make the difference between salvation and ruin. A good rule of thumb is if you can be sued for the advice you provide, you should obtain professional liability insurance.

What does professional liability insurance cover, and what is not in the policy?

Professional liability insurance usually covers any judgments against you, settlements, professional board penalties, and legal defense fees associated with claims arising from your professional services. Aside from your deductible, professional liability insurance will cover you up to the limits of your policy. Thus, the amount of money any professional services business needs will be highly dependent on the services provided and the potential for negative consequences.

There are also two types of professional liability insurance policies to consider.

One is claims-based, which requires you to have been insured both when the claimed event occurred and when the claim is filed. For example, if a negligence claim occurs today, you need to have professional liability insurance covering you today for the claim that occurred today.

Another is classified as occurrence, which covers any event that occurs during the period of insurance, even if the claim is filed after the insurance policy expires. For example, if an accident happened last year, coverage for that year would protect you even if you do not have any active insurance coverage this year.

It is important to note that coverage will not apply to acts that are deemed to be dishonest or that occur with intent to defraud. Occurrence-based insurance is particularly compelling for those who plan to retire in the foreseeable future, as it takes the burden of worry off any lingering incidents that may come back to bite a business owner.

A lifetime’s worth of work can go down the financial drain due to just one claim. Work with us today to help determine the best type of professional liability insurance for you and your business in order to protect your years of hard work

What Is Not Covered by a Business Owners Policy?

You may believe a standard insurance policy will cover any eventuality that occurs in your business. For many issues, such as dwelling, liability, and business interruption issues, you are likely right. However, there are a myriad of other circumstances under which a standard business owners policy does not provide coverage. Below are a few examples of incidences for which a business owner might seek additional coverage.

Car accidents: If employees are driving on the job, a business owner might wish to obtain a separate auto insurance policy to ensure that every vehicular eventuality is covered.

Professional liability: For professions such as medicine, law, and other professional services that can be subject to malpractice suits, separate malpractice insurance is often a must for business owners. This specialized coverage is often essential to the survival of many professional services businesses.

Workers’ compensation: Any business can have an on-the-job accident, and workers’ compensation is the employee’s remedy for lost wages and medical bills. Businesses should consider ensuring they are covered beyond legal minimums so their out-of-pocket deductibles are not debilitating to business operations.

Health and disability: Business health and disability insurance must usually be negotiated separately and is based on a variety of factors.

Given the rise of specialized businesses, it may be folly for a business owner to assume a standard policy will do. Contact us today to help you determine the risks to your business and pick the right insurance policy for you.

Protect Yourself from Auto Insurance Fraud

Eighty billion dollars. That’s how much insurance fraud costs American consumers each year, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. This amount of money could buy new vehicles for 2.4 million people (which would cover every driver in Oklahoma.)

This alarming cost takes many forms. It might involve staging an accident to make false injury claims. Or it might include inflating damages to get a higher insurance payout.

Whatever scam is involved, the cost of the fraud ultimately gets passed along to consumers as they are forced to cover false claims, investigations, legal activities, and (potentially) higher insurance premiums.

To protect yourself from these costs, take the following precautions against insurance fraud.

Drive defensively: Never tailgate. Other drivers may take advantage of the situation to stage an accident.

Report accidents: Even if the damage is minor, always report any auto accident to the police. Be sure to obtain a copy of the police report. This will provide proof if the other driver tries to make false claims down the line.

Document everything: Take pictures of the vehicles involved in an accident. These images will document what damage (or lack of damage) is present to prevent false claims or exaggerations. Additionally, record the details of the incident. This should include license plate numbers, contact info and driver’s license numbers of all drivers, and contact info for any witnesses.

Avoid scammers: If anyone appears at the scene of an accident and attempts to guide you to an attorney or a specific doctor, turn them away. This is a red flag that they are attempting insurance fraud. The same is true for doctors who insist that you file an injury claim even if you’re not hurt. If this is the case, you may need to find a new doctor.

Consult quickly: Regardless of fault, report auto accidents to your insurance company as soon as possible. We’re here to help you navigate any claims and protect you from insurance fraud.

Weather Forecast: High Chance of Auto Claims

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

While it’s not the official motto, this inscription found on the James Farley Post Office in New York City is often referenced as the slogan for the US Postal Service.

But how do those drivers manage to keep their trucks on the road and safely deliver all the mail? They most likely follow some of these best practices for navigating roads in inclement weather.

During heavy rain, don’t try to drive on a flooded road. Just six inches of water can cause you to lose control, and it can stall most cars. Keep in mind that it’s hard to tell the depth of the water, and the road below it may be washed out. If your vehicle starts to hydroplane, take your foot off the gas, keep the wheel straight, and brake softly if necessary.

Hail is another element that can cause havoc on the road. If you encounter hail, don’t try to plow through it. As soon as it is safe to do so, pull over to the shoulder of the road.

Better yet, attempt to find shelter to minimize the damage to your vehicle commonly associated with hail. As you stop, allow plenty of room for braking.

When the roads are covered in snow, the best thing you can do is slow down. Drive slowly, accelerate and decelerate slowly, and put more distance than usual between your car and other vehicles.

Of course, if you’re not on the Post Office payroll, you might have the option to simply stay home during inclement weather, which is highly recommended.

Three Tips for Buying Life Insurance

Life insurance isn’t usually in our daily thoughts, but it can be one of the most important financial choices you make, so thinking about it sooner rather than later is critical. Here are three tips that will help you as you think about which type of life insurance is right for you.

Understand your reasons for purchasing life insurance. When purchasing life insurance, most people think about their financial responsibilities, such as covering their mortgages and other debts. But, likely, you are purchasing life insurance for those you will be leaving behind, such as your spouse and children. What do they need to obtain financial stability when you are gone? For example, do they need the payout to cover your salary for several years or simply help with funeral expenses?

Determine the amount of life insurance you need. Investors are more likely to buy too little than too much life insurance. In fact, among those with life insurance, 20% admit they do not have enough, according to LIMRA’s 2018 Insurance Barometer Study. Sometimes this occurs because they purchase life insurance using an automated process (for example, one that says simply to buy X times your salary in life insurance). To avoid this mistake, we recommend you understand your life insurance needs and work with an experienced professional to fulfill them.

Buy the right kind of life insurance policy. There are many types of life insurance products on the market with varying features. These differences can have a significant effect on your beneficiary should you pass away. At a minimum, understand the difference between term life insurance policies (which cover a specific period) and whole life insurance policies (which cover your entire life), but there are many other nuances to life insurance as well.

Purchasing life insurance can feel overwhelming, so when you decide to buy a policy, it is always advisable to work with someone who understands your unique needs and can guide you through the selection process.

Please feel free to contact me for assistance. I’m here to help.

It’s Not Too Late to Get That Flu Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends flu vaccination early in the flu season. Still, it also suggests vaccination later in the season as well. So if you haven’t yet had your flu vaccine, it’s a good idea to get one.

While flu season peaks between December and February, influenza viruses can strike as late as May. According to the CDC, respiratory issues and flu viruses peak in December, January, February, and March. And while we expect flu viruses to taper off in spring, early 2019 saw flu viruses continuing later into the year, according to WebMD.

The flu can lead to serious health problems, especially in children and elderly people. For those with chronic medical conditions (for example, chronic pulmonary disease), the flu can be deadly.

The CDC has reported between 36,400 and 61,200 flu-related deaths from October 1, 2018, through May 4, 2019.

Older patients are especially vulnerable if they have conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes. Because patients with chronic conditions may not be able to cough as readily as non-compromised patients, they are less able to clear their airways, which can lead to secondary infections such as pneumonia. And as we age, our ability to generate an immune response weakens.

We simply don’t respond as well to infections. This can make a “simple flu” a severe life-threatening condition in some cases.

If you decide to get a flu shot and your doctor is out of vaccines, call your local pharmacy or health department to see which facilities still have some available. This simple preventive measure just might save your life.

Should I Consider Dental Coverage?

Proper dental care is a vital part of staying healthy. MedicareAdvantage.com  reports that poor dental care can lead to severe health conditions, including heart and respiratory disease, strokes, diabetes, and cancer.

Due to these concerns, you may want to consider dental coverage as part of your Medicare options. Medicare Advantage Plans (plans offered by private healthcare companies) provide Part A and Part B Medicare benefits, and some plans now cover many dental health procedures.

A plan that includes dental coverage usually covers standard procedures, such as oral exams, x-rays, cleanings, extractions, and fillings. Some policies also cover crowns, bridges, implants, dentures, and gum disease treatment. However, some plans limit coverage in specific ways, such as the number of cleanings, extractions, or x-rays included per year.

To find the best plans, seniors should look for those that address dental conditions seniors often encounter, such as dry mouth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), physicians prescribe more than 500 medications that cause dry mouth in seniors who have conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. The ADA describes dry mouth as a frequent cause of cavities in older adults. The ADA also reports that gum disease and mouth cancer often occur in seniors.

The cost of dental care is another reason to purchase a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes dental coverage. The average annual cost across the US for an individual dental insurance policy is between $348 and $546. Paying for dental care out of pocket is prohibitive for most seniors, who need two annual checkups (which include exams, x-rays, and cleanings) and cost an average of $576 per year for both exams.

The average premium for a Medicare Advantage Plan that covers dental is about $420 per year. That plan also may cover prescriptions and eye care.

If you’re approaching enrollment age for Medicare, be sure to contact us for more information on finding the best plan for your medical and dental needs.

New Employee Orientation Checklist

Dave is new to the team. He’ll start working with your company in a couple of weeks. You’re excited about what he has to offer, and you’re looking forward to welcoming him to the business.

But how exactly should you do this? What’s the best way to integrate Dave and allow him to help your business succeed?

For the best results, follow a three-step new employee orientation checklist.

1. Prep

Make room for Dave: The specifics for this will vary depending on the type of product or service you offer. It might mean clearing a desk space for Dave. It might mean creating an inbox for him. Maybe it means ordering Dave a company uniform. Whatever Dave will need to work as one of your employees, get those items ready.

Send emails: Send Dave an email that welcomes him to the business and provides any information he will need for his first day on the job. This could include where to report, who to ask for when he arrives, and any documentation he may need to bring as a new hire. Send a second email to the rest of the team to let them know Dave is joining your company.

Gather documents: Prepare handouts that outline any important information Dave will need on his first day. These could include company policies, an organizational chart for the company, or a to-do list for his first week.

2. Onboarding

Orientation: On Dave’s first day, orient him to the company. (Introduce him to other team members, give him a tour of your facility, etc.)

Policy review: The key to this orientation is a review of safety policies, accident reports, and security access. To prevent future incidents, injuries, and insurance claims, it is essential to ensure Dave understands the proper procedures in each of these areas. If Dave is accessing sensitive information, be sure to establish protocols for how this will happen and what you expect of Dave regarding this access.

Documentation: Ask Dave to sign any necessary disclosures or liability forms based on the type of work he will be doing for you. He should also sign a form stating he has received and reviewed all your company procedures.

3. Follow-up

One-week check-in: Check-in with Dave after a week to make sure he has completed any paperwork, benefits enrollment, or new hire training that should be completed in the first few days of employment.

Two-week meeting: Schedule a time to meet with Dave two weeks after he starts. Ask him how things are going and take time to answer any questions Dave has.

Three-month review: After 90 days, provide an informal review of Dave’s performance. Let Dave know about this meeting in advance, including what he can expect at the meeting.

Following these steps will help you establish a smooth process for onboarding new team members. By keeping everyone on the same page with company policies, you can also minimize your risk for costly insurance claims.

If you have any questions about what policies to review with your team, feel free to contact me. I’m just a phone call or email away.