Serving Huntington Beach, Buena Park and Orange County
Serving Huntington Beach, Buena Park and Orange County
INDIVIDUAL HEALTHCARE OPEN ENROLLMENT DATES:
Beginning in 2020, having health coverage is the law if you live in the state of Ca. If you don’t have it, you may have to pay the penalty to the California Franchise Tax Board.
We’re here to help you avoid the penalty. For the first time, the state is now offering extra financial help to make health coverage more affordable. Already, half a million people with lower incomes see average savings of $600 a month.
About the Penalty
A typical family of four that goes uninsured for the whole year would face a penalty of at least $2,000. But with the new financial help, eligible households are getting an average of $504 per month, lowering their monthly premium by nearly half. That’s why it pays to see how affordable your coverage can be and avoid the penalty.
Starting in 2020, California residents must either:
- Have qualifying health insurance coverage, or
- Pay the penalty when filing a state tax return, or
- Get an exemption from the requirement to have coverage
Generally speaking, the penalty will be $695 per each adult and $347.50 per each dependent child under 18 in the household (up to $2,085 per family) or more when you file your 2020 state income tax return in 2021. The penalty will be applied by the California Franchise Tax Board when you file your state tax return. For information about the penalty, including the amount your family could owe for not having coverage in 2020, visit the Franchise Tax Board’s website.
You are allowed a gap of three consecutive months without penalty unless you qualify for an exemption. Partial-month coverage counts as full-month coverage.
Please call us today, and we can help you find the coverage that meets your needs.
IF YOUR COBRA IS RUNNING OUT
|IF YOU’RE ENDING COBRA EARLY||IF YOUR COBRA COSTS CHANGE BECAUSE YOUR FORMER EMPLOYER STOPS CONTRIBUTING AND YOU MUST PAY FULL COST|
|During Open Enrollment||Yes, you can change||Yes, you can change.|
|Outside Open Enrollment||Yes, you can change — you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.||No, you can’t change until the next Open Enrollment Period, your COBRA runs out, or you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period another way.|
Can I Buy Health Insurance Across State Lines?
The Short answer: No.
You will need to buy health insurance in the state in which you have your permanent address. If you move to another state, you will need buy a health insurance plan in that state. National carriers with larger networks, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield or Anthem, may also offer out of state benefits on certain plans. If you own a residence in more than one state, you can purchase a plan in either state if they are considered permanent residences and not rental income properties.
**Note: Emergency coverage is covered in the continental US under current ACA-compliant plans, regardless of the state where you reside. Check your individual plan details for more information.
Can I Use My Health Insurance Plan Outside of My State?
The Short Answer: : All plans cover emergency services at any hospital in the United States, regardless of what state plan was purchased from, with the exception of Hawaii. As long an emergency is considered life-threatening, it will be covered as in-network, regardless if the hospital is in your plan’s network. Of course, there are some limitations.
The Long Answer: Your out-of-state coverage is going to really only cover emergencies, and not much else. Keep in mind there are also loopholes to what is considered an Emergency. In most cases, insurance companies are required to pay for reasonable emergency medical expenses regardless of the hospital you go to. This means that if you’re involved in a car accident and taken by ambulance to a hospital outside of your network, your insurance company should still be responsible for paying this expense.
Individual/Family Medical Insurance
We can help you find a medical insurance plan that fits your budget, this can be anything from a plan that offers generous coverage to a high-deductible plan designed primarily to protect your family from the cost of catastrophic illness. These plans will meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act health care reform law. You can also buy supplemental insurance plans that will pay some of the costs your health insurance plan won’t cover. These supplemental plans include hospitalization insurance (or hospital indemnity insurance), critical illness insurance and cancer insurance. Supplemental insurance plans will also pay benefits that you can use however you choose if you are hospitalized or suffer a covered illness.
***You can read more here about the different medical insurance plan types: EPOs, HMOs and high-deductible plans.
Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plans:
As a member of an EPO, you can use the doctors and hospitals within the EPO network, but cannot go outside the network for care. There are no out-of-network benefits.
Preferred provider organization (PPO) plans:
PPOs are the most common type of health plan today. A PPO contracts with a network of doctors; plans typically reimburse a higher percentage of fees for in-network doctors. Members can use non-network providers but will have higher copayments. Plans usually include features to avoid unnecessary health expenditures, such as requiring pre-authorization for elective procedures or a primary care physician’s referral for visits to specialists. Most plans also include wellness or disease management benefits designed to keep your employees healthy and control your claim costs.
Health maintenance organization (HMO) plans:
An HMO requires members to use physicians within the HMO’s network; HMOs typically do not pay anything for out-of-network treatment, except in case of emergency. HMOs give you less flexibility in provider coice, but often cost less and involve lower out-of-pocket expenses.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
If you want protection from catastrophic illness but you want to pay less in premiums you can take advantage of a high-deductible health plan linked to a health savings account. These plans offer lower premiums than a plan with full coverage. You can use the savings to build funds in a health savings account, which you can use for any tax-qualified healthcare expense.
Only individuals with an eligible high-deductible health plans and no other health insurance can have an HSA. You use account balances to pay for qualified health expenses; funds can accumulate from year to year.
Some employers fund their employees’ HSAs; employer contributions to an HSA are not considered taxable income. Contributions you make, up to the annual maximum, are tax deductible. Withdrawals used for eligible medical expenses are not taxable, and interest on your funds is also not taxable.
Life insurance is the foundation of any family’s financial plan.
Life insurance can help ensure that your family can maintain its lifestyle if a breadwinner dies suddenly or unexpectedly. Many insurance experts advise purchasing life insurance equivalent from five to eight times the individual’s income.
Life events that affect your need for coverage include:
- Birth of a child
- Buying a home
- Children attending private school or college
- Retirement savings
- Estate planning and protection
- Desire to make a charitable bequest
Whole life (AKA permanent) life insurance also offers tax-advantaged savings for retirement and estate protection.
Term life insurance provides pure death benefit coverage for a specific time (one to 30 years) and has no cash savings.
Permanent life insurance, or cash value, programs provide death benefits plus some additional benefits, including the tax-deferred accumulation of cash.
Whatever your life insurance needs are, we can help you find both term and whole life coverage at competitive rates.
You can read more here about term life and permanent life insurance.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance comes in several varieties:
- Renewable. Policy owners can renew coverage at the end of their policy term without having to submit new medical information, though the premium rate will generally rise with each renewal.
- Convertible. A convertible policy allows the insured to convert term coverage into a permanent policy without providing evidence of insurability (usually a medical exam), in exchange for a higher premium, which remains fixed after conversion.
- Level. Level-premium policies have a fixed premium for a certain number of years (usually 10 or 20), while the death benefit remains unchanged. Although the rate locks in for the policy period, it can jump considerably upon renewal.
Permanent Life Insurance
Permanent life insurance provides lifelong protection and includes a savings element that grows on a tax-deferred basis and may become substantial over time. Premiums are generally higher than for term insurance, but they remain fixed.
All permanent insurance has a face value and a cash value. The face amount is the money that will be paid at death, while cash value is the amount of money currently available to the policyholder. Permanent life offers other benefits–purchasers can withdraw some of the money, obtain a loan using the cash value as collateral or use the cash value to pay premiums, provided there is enough money accumulated.
The different types of permanent life policies include:
- Whole or ordinary life. The face amount of the policy is fixed, while premiums remain level and must be paid on a regular basis. It offers a death benefit and a savings account, which grows based on insurance company-paid dividends.
- Universal or adjustable life. More flexible, employees can pay premiums at any time, in virtually any amount, and may change the amount of the death benefit, although an increase usually requires a medical examination. After accumulating sufficient funds in the cash value account, employees may alter premium payments, a useful feature if an employee’s economic situation has suddenly changed.
- Variable life. This policy combines death protection with a savings plan. Cash value will vary with the performance of the underlying investments, although some policies do guarantee a minimum death benefit.
- Variable-universal life. The employee has the investment risks and rewards of variable life insurance, coupled with the ability to adjust the premiums and death benefit available under universal life.
Dental Insurance Plans
Dental insurance encourages preventive dental care, which saves an estimated $4 for every $1 spent by eliminating the need for expensive, invasive, and painful procedures.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new (non-grandfathered) health insurance plans in the individual and small employer markets to include dental coverage for children age 18 and younger as an “essential health benefit.” This means if you’re obtaining coverage for someone 18 or younger on an individual or small group plan, dental coverage must be available as part of the plan or in a stand-alone plan.
Although the health care reform law requires most people to have health coverage or pay a penalty, this doesn’t apply to dental coverage. Although insurers must make dental coverage available to individuals age 18 or younger, you don’t need to have dental coverage, even for children, to avoid the penalty.
Even if you don’t need dental insurance to avoid penalties under the Affordable Care Act, dental insurance helps many people afford expensive dental care.
Most dental insurance plans cover:
- Twice-yearly cleanings and exams
- Annual x-rays
- Restorations (fillings and crowns)
- Periodontics (treatment of gum disease)
- Endodontics (root canals)
- Bridges and dentures
Some dental plans also cover orthodontics. Many dental insurance plans let you see any dentist, while some use a network of dentists.
***You can read more about the various types of plans here.
Most insurers offer managed care plans designed to encourage wise use of dental benefits, with lower out-of-pocket costs for preventive services such as exams, x-rays and cleanings. Many plans also offer benefits for orthodontics, but pay a lower percentage for orthodontics than for restorative services such as fillings, root canals, etc.
Dental Insurance Plans
The different types include:
Under this “traditional” insurance plan, the plan pays dentists according to a formula—usually a percentage of the dentist’s fee, up to a “usual and customary” maximum. The dentist can bill insureds for the difference, or copayment. Most plans also have patients pay a deductible per visit or per series of treatments as well.
Preferred provider organizations (PPOs):
A dental PPO consists of a network of providers who agree to accept a certain discounted payment for their services. PPO plans give insureds financial incentives to use these “preferred providers” by paying higher percentages of claims they submit than for those submitted by non-preferred providers. Insureds pay the uncovered portion out of pocket.
Dental health maintenance organizations (HMOs):
In an HMO, dentists agree to provide specified dental services to members in return for a periodic per-capita payment—usually monthly. Payments do not depend on the number or type of services rendered, and the HMO accepts the financial risk for providing covered dental services to members.
Most plans require participants to use an HMO dentist, but some plans provide reduced benefits for members who use out-of network dentists. A participant may have to pay a deductible, co-payment, or any amount exceeding plan coverage levels.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new (non-grandfathered) health insurance plans in the individual and small employer markets to include vision benefits for children age 18 and younger as an “essential health benefit.” This means if you’re getting coverage for someone 18 or younger on an individual or small group plan, vision coverage must be available as part of the plan or in a stand-alone plan. This benefit covers an annual eye exam and one pair of glasses or contact lenses for children. The law does not require plans to offer vision benefits for adults.
And as with dental benefits, you do not need to have vision coverage, even for children, to avoid penalties under the Affordable Care Act.
Still, vision coverage encourages individuals and families to get regular eye examinations. An estimated 11 million Americans have uncorrected vision problems, ranging from refractive errors (near- or far-sightedness) to sight-threatening diseases such as glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration. Regular eye examinations can also identify other health conditions, such as diabetes, that can affect the eyes even before the individual experiences noticeable symptoms.
***You can learn more about vision insurance here.
Vision insurance generally covers the following basic services:
- Annual eye examinations, including dilation
- Eyeglass frames
- Eyeglass lenses
- Contact lenses
- LASIK and PRK vision correction at discounted rates.
An estimated 11 million Americans have uncorrected vision problems, ranging from refractive errors (near- or far-sightedness) to sight-threatening diseases such as glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration. Vision insurance encourages people to take care of their vision and health. Regular eye examinations can also identify other health conditions, such as diabetes, that can affect the eyes even before the individual experiences noticeable symptoms.
For those who don’t have employer-provided medical benefits, many individual medical plans offer vision coverage as an add-on. You can also buy a separate individual vision insurance policy. You can read more here about the various vision plans available.
Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
Accidental death and dismemberment insurance, or AD&D insurance, provides valuable coverage from accidental death or injury that causes loss of a limb, sight, or hearing. AD&D insurance is particularly valuable for younger individuals, who are more likely to die or become injured in an accident than older people. As a bonus, AD&D insurance is inexpensive—it can be as little as $5 per month.
AD&D pays a set benefit if the insured dies in an accident. You can add AD&D coverage to a life insurance policy; in this case, if you die in an accident, the insurer will pay a “double indemnity,” or twice the death benefit.
AD&D also pays a portion of the death benefit if you lose or suffer the loss of use of an extremity, hearing or sight due to accident. This makes AD&D valuable protection for the vast majority of people who do not have individual disability insurance. AD&D insurance can provide their families protection from certain types of disabilities for very little cost.
***You can read more here about “double indemnity” and some of the main features of AD&D.
Unintentional injury ranks as the fifth leading cause of death among all Americans. AD&D policies provide a set payment, typically $100,000, to beneficiaries of people who die from injuries suffered in an accident.
AD&D coverage doesn’t help just the family of a deceased, however. The “dismemberment” part of the policy’s name comes from the fact the policy also pays a benefit if an insured loses a limb or its use in an accident. The extent of benefits payable depends on the extent of loss. For example, a policy might pay half of the death benefit to the insured for the accidental loss of one hand or arm or one foot or leg. If the insured lost two or more limbs (combination of arms and legs), the policy would pay the entire face value (death benefit) to the insured.
AD&D policies may also cover the sudden loss of vision or hearing. The same principles apply. If an insured loses one eye (or its use), the policy would pay one half the benefit. If he/she loses both eyes, then the insured will receive the entire face value of the policy.
You can obtain coverage in a separate AD&D policy, or by simply adding coverage to term life policies you already have in place through an accidental death and dismemberment rider. With an AD&D rider, the insurance company will pay a “double indemnity.” This means if a covered accident caused the insured’s accidental death, the beneficiary would receive the life policy’s death benefit, plus a benefit under the AD&D rider.
AD&D policies do not cover death by any form of illegal or crime-related activities. Policies also don’t cover death by suicide or death by a malfunction of the body. And because they don’t cover death from illness, an AD&D policy is no substitute for life insurance coverage. Nevertheless, AD&D policies provide a valuable benefit for young people and those who use their bodies to earn their livelihood, who might be more likely to die in an accident than due to illness.
Long-term Care Insurance
With nursing homes costing an average of $83,000 annually (this can be even more in urban areas), long-term care needs can stretch the finances of almost any family. Medicare and Medicare Advantage do not cover custodial care in a nursing home, assisted living or home healthcare setting. Unless you have savings or long-term care insurance, when you can no longer take care of yourself, you would have to spend down your assets until you qualify for Medicaid.
• Long-term care insurance (LTC) can help you pay for the cost of nursing homes and other long-term care for yourself or for an elderly dependent.
A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that people who reach age 65 will likely have a 40 percent chance of entering a nursing home. About 10 percent of the people who enter a nursing home will stay there five years or more.
You can read more here about what LTC covers, what features to look for and tax considerations.
What LTC covers
LTC policies vary widely. However, they all cover non-medical custodial care services excluded by medical insurance (including Medicare and Medicare Advantage). Coverage kicks in when the insured cannot perform two or more “activities of daily living,” such as eating, toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing or continence, or when he/she becomes cognitively impaired due to senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
What to look for
Guaranteed renewability and inflation protection
To qualify for tax advantages, LTC plans must offer these features, although insureds can elect not to buy inflation protection.
Coverage for home healthcare
Many disabled individuals do not require nursing home care, but simply need help with activities of daily living. A policy that provides benefits for home healthcare can help the insured stay in the comfort of his/her own home.
Under an individual policy, insureds can include LTC premiums they pay with other unreimbursed medical expenses, subject to a cap that increases with age. Benefits received from LTC policies generally do not count toward taxable income, as long as the benefits do not exceed an insured’s actual long-term care expenses.
Many Americans are in danger of outliving their retirement savings. Annuities have many uses in financial planning, but one of the most important is providing a guaranteed income during retirement.
You can buy annuities through life insurance companies—in fact, annuities are a form of life insurance and, like life insurance, usually require a health questionnaire or medical exam. In exchange for paying a premium, the insurer will provide you with a monthly benefit for the term you select, which can be as long as the rest of your life…no matter how long you live.
Annuities come in many varieties.
You can buy single-premium annuity that will, with just one payment, give you a guaranteed monthly payment for a set period or your lifetime.
Joint-and-survivor annuities protect couples by paying a monthly benefit to one spouse and, when he or she dies, to the survivor.
Amber Star Insurance can help you find the type of annuity that best meets your financial needs.
You can read more here about the different types of annuities, including fixed period, variable, single life and tax-sheltered annuities.
Annuities are contracts that require one party to make regular payments for more than one full year to another (the annuitant). In exchange, the annuitant pays a premium, as with life insurance. In fact, annuities are a form of life insurance. If you want to buy an annuity, you will likely have to undergo some sort of underwriting process.
Annuities fill many different needs in financial planning, so over the years, insurers have developed many different types, including:
Fixed period annuities
– pay a fixed amount to an annuitant at regular intervals for a definite length of time.
– make payments to an annuitant varying in amount for a definite length of time or for life. The amounts paid may depend on variables such as profits earned by the pension or annuity funds or cost-of-living indexes.
Single life annuities
– pay a fixed amount at regular intervals during an annuitant’s life, ending on his or her death.
Joint and survivor annuities
– pay a fixed amount to the first annuitant at regular intervals for his or her life. After he or she dies, a second annuitant receives a fixed amount at regular intervals. This amount, paid for the life of the second annuitant, may be the same or different from the amount paid to the first annuitant.
Qualified employee annuities
– a retirement annuity purchased by an employer for an employee under a plan that meets certain Internal Revenue Code requirements.
– a special annuity plan or contract purchased for an employee of a public school or tax-exempt organization.
Annuities have many uses in financial planning, particularly in retirement planning. Some require a securities license to sell, in addition to a life insurance sales license.
LAST UPDATE: 27th April'20 at 11:46am