Celebrating the 22nd Anniversary of Fixed Indexed Annuities

FIAs were first introduced to consumers on February 15th, 1995. FIAs can be a smart option for most ages and savers at any level. Join the growing movement by taking advantage of the benefits of FIAs to help create a sustainable retirement future.

  • The retirement landscape is evolving – people are living longer and Social Security is becoming less secure. Coupled with market volatility, the future is uncertain. Adding an FIA to your retirement portfolio can help generate steady, lifetime income.
  • Other retirement products have limits that hinder flexibility and savings growth. An IRA or 401(k) might control how much you’re able to contribute, but FIAs do not have annual contribution caps.
  • Balancing your portfolio can help your retirement dreams come to life. Diversifying your account through using both employer offered programs and products like an FIA can create opportunities for traveling, spending time with friends, or investing in your grandchildren’s future

Check out our Video at: http://www.thomrichardsoninsurance.com/financial-services/insurance-based-products/annuities/

The Republican ACA replacement bill

headacheThe Republican ACA replacement bill was released yesterday amid much controversy.  Republicans fell into 2 camps over the the key provisions of the bill.  Democrats and other groups also took shots at the bill.  7 Key Provisions of the new bill are either “great” or “draconian” depending on who you talk to and who you believe.

While I do try to remain neutral in this post I do get concerned that consumers as well as broker/agents like myself get bounced around by Washington.  I do hope that we come to legislation that truly has all of our citizens in mind.

Quite honestly I know that the ‘devil will be in the details’.  How many people will lose their coverage under Medicaid, (Medi-CAL here in California)?  Tax breaks instead of subsidies, does that favor everyone equally, does it hurt anyone?  These are just 2 provisions that I will closely keep my eye on.  Here are 7 provisions of the bill, what do you think?

https://www.dig-in.com/list/7-key-provisions-of-the-republican-aca-replacement-bill

Thanks to the good folks at DigIn.com for this article.

 

 

IRS Increases Tax Deductions for Long Term Care Insurance

The facts speak for Alzheimers LTCthemselves.  70% percent of us will need some form of long term care.  40% of us will need nursing home level of care. The average cost for this level of care in 2014 was $87k annually.  That’s expected to rise to $123k by 2024, and $144k by 2034!

There are only 3 ways for you to fund this care.  You can fall on the good graces of the government, you can fund it yourself out of pocket, or you can fund it through long term care coverage.  Obviously Long Term Care insurance is the most preferable.  But what about the cost??  Well what if that cost was 100% tax deductible?  Well now IRS Increases Tax Deductions for Long Term Care Insurance.

According to the Insurance Insider Newsletter, IRS reports for 2014 reveal that nearly 5.1 million tax filers with incomes of $40,000 to $100,000 reported medical expenses that exceeded adjusted-gross income limits. Starting in 2017, all individuals can deduct qualified medical expenses that exceed 10% of adjusted gross income for the year. The limit is 7.5% of adjusted gross income for 2016, for individuals 65 and older. The IRS allows individuals to deduct medical expenses including preventative care, dental and vision care, prescription medications, glasses, contacts and hearing aids. Traditional long-term care insurance premiums can be included in the term “medical care.”

“For retired seniors,…reduced income and increased medical costs means that the cost of traditional long-term care insurance can be all or mostly tax deductible. Many seniors have medical expenses that don’t meet the adjusted gross income limit. But they exceed the limit when the cost of long-term care insurance is included, which provides a significant tax deduction. This is a real benefit for the 23 million individuals age 65 or older who file federal tax returns,” says the article.

In the end, a thorough understanding of your current financial situation, your current health, etc. is the optimum way to determine what you need and which policy is right for you.   Read more at the link below then call me, let’s discuss it.

http://www.thomrichardsoninsurance.com/annuities-long-term-care/

 

Medicare’s little known penalty trap!

All, This morning I’ve sent the following email to my clients who are 64 or older, you should definitely read it! It’s about Medicare’s little known penalty trap! Don’t get snared…

To all my Medicare clients… good morning.

Many of my clients who have turned 65, and are still working, and who remain on their company’s health  plan, should know that there is little known trap that you must become aware of.  Even though you remain on your employers health plan, you must/should up for Medicare Part B anyway.  This is because when you turn 65 you have the ability to sign up for Part B Medicare but you are not required to do so.  However, if you don’t, there are potential penalties.

But before I go any further let me explain the difference in the parts of Medicare.  There are basically 2 parts, Part A and Part B.  If you’ve worked 40 quarters or the equivalent of 10-years over your lifetime, you are automatically enrolled into Part A.  Part A covers hospitalization & is free of charge.  You can also enroll into Part B but it is not required.  Part B covers doctor visits & non-hospital services.  There is a monthly charge for enrolling in Part B, and depending on where you live and some other factors, that charge will be between $99 and $104 every month here in California, I suspect cheaper elsewhere.  Often folks simply have it automatically taken out of their Social Security check each month.  Because of this charge, many people don’t sign up for part B.

However if you don’t enroll into Part B, and later you want your Part B benefits, (you’ve now left the company plan), you will be penalized for not enrolling into Part B when you were first eligible. The penalty is 1% for every month you were not enrolled.  So let’s say you do not enroll into Part B because doctor visits are covered under your employee coverage, and you figure, “Who needs Part b?” but 2 years later when you leave the company plan & now want/need Part B coverage, the penalty will be 1% for every month you were not enrolled!  In this case of 2 years, you will be charged 24% more each month for Part B coverage and that penalty is permanent!  That’s the little known Medicare Part B trap you may have already fallen into… if you have questions be sure to get in touch…  

-Thom

Suppose that a person turns 65, and they or a spouse keeps working and maintains employer health coverage instead of retiring and enrolling in Social Security. They must sign up for Medicare, especially Part B, which covers physician and other outpatient care. Otherwise, they risk coverage gaps and expensive lifelong Part B late-enrollment penalties. People who delay Social Security retirement benefits until after 65 get no official government notice about how to avoid penalties or gaps in coverage.

This problem is likely to worsen as the full Social Security retirement age reaches 67 for those born in 1960 or later and more Americans work past 65. Since 2000, the proportion of Americans enrolling by age 65 has dropped by 20% to 61.5% in 2014. Avoiding penalties when people continue to work past age 65 depends largely on whether their employer coverage is primary or secondary to Medicare. That depends on whether coverage is based on employment and the number of people employed by employer. In some cases, an individual must enroll in Medicare during a special enrollment period or face lifelong Part B late-enrollment penalties and go up to 16 months without coverage.

Even with extensive online and print resources, many beneficiaries need personalized counseling to make informed choices. The SHIP state-run programs get federal grants train and manage a network of staff and volunteer Medicare counselors who provide free counseling to beneficiaries. Medicare beneficiaries are inundated with mail and ads about Medicare plans when they turn 65 and during the annual fall open enrollment period. Feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start, some beneficiaries seek out a SHIP or BROKER. Others may want a second opinion after doing their own research.

That broker would be me!

Repeal & Replace Healthcare, a Sticky Situation

We could define a ‘sticky situation’ as an activity that is aggravated by ones additional involvement with it.  To repeal & replace Obamacare is indeed such an activity.  Like drinking salt water to quench your thirst, which leads only to more and increased thirst, we’re seeing that repealing & replacing the nations healthcare plan gets more complicated even as reformers begin to suggest remedies.  It’s like getting cotton candy on your wool slacks.  Picking it off or brushing it off just spreads the problem further.

“Repeal? Replace? Reform? Repair? This Year? Next Year?” is an excellent article written by Steve Silkin for the Insurance Insider Newsletter.  His cogent analysis will set you to thinking. Like a game of Jenga one must be very careful before they start pulling out parts without careful forethought less the entire structure collapse.  Use the link below and give this article a serious read.  Repeal & Replace Healthcare, a Sticky Situation…

-TSR

http://www.calbrokermag.com/insurance-insider-newsletter/repeal-replace-reform-repair-this-year-next-year/#healthcare

When you die have no regrets!

On the way to our ‘death beds’ and we are all surely headed that way… it is found that there are 5 regrets that people have more than the other regrets.  Find out what they are so that you can avoid them and live longer and happier.  When you die have no regrets!

-TSR

http://bit.ly/2krXJzk

Nice View

Nice View

Calls come for Delay on Repeal of Obama-Care

Hello all,
As I’ve told many of you, my clients who are contacting me regarding their insurance coverage with the new administration vowing to repeal it, we are likely looking at a ‘repeal & delay’ result.  Having spoken with various colleagues and read what I can from industry insiders I’ve told my clients that it is unlikely that they will see any changes in 2017 until the ACA’s replacement is cobbled together. Now calls come for delay on repeal of Obama-Care
 
There are many reasons I’ve come to this conclusion mostly because of the investment that has been made in the program.  I’m talking about the investment beyond the monetary.  I’m speaking to the investment made by carriers in retooling their operations to accommodate the ACA, the state government’s underestimating the growth of Medi-CAL by 1.09- billion.  There are many Americans who are in the middle of an extended medical treatment for cancer or kidney disease; if the ACA is suddenly repealed what happens to them and their treatment regimen?
 
It will be easy to repeal the ACA, on the books/for the record, but the devil will surely be in the details and while that is being figured out things will essentially go unchanged.  Here is an excerpt from California Broker Magazine where another group, Underwriters, is calling for a delay.  Bottom line there are many ‘investors’ in the ACA that will delay any automatic, or even sudden death of the program.  In fact some say things may stay this way into late 2018.
 
So as I’ve speculated before, look for “Repeal & Delay” of the ACA.  This will allow politicians to keep their promises without setting the health care world on fire.
-TSR
 
Health Underwriters Groups Calls for Delay on Some Repeal

The board of the National Association of Health Underwriters wants health insurance reform to proceed at an orderly pace and said that repeal of tax credits should be delayed until 2019 to allow for stability in the marketplace.

“Our industry is in for quite a ride as this new term gets underway,” the board of the state association noted in an email on Jan. 24. “All indications, including one of the first executive orders to carry Potus 45’s signature, are that the ACA will most definitely be undergoing swift and significant changes.”

The email further noted:

The National Association of Health Underwriters is working with House and Senate leadership, and committees of jurisdiction, on how to create a sustainable insurance marketplace that controls cost but also allows citizens to be protected and retain coverage.

NAHU’s position is that any efforts for the repeal of tax credits, cost-sharing tax credits, tax credit to territories and the small business tax credit be delayed to January 2019 in order to allow time for a replacement mechanism to be put in place to prevent a destabilization of the market.

Members of the California Association of Underwriters believe it is critical, as part of any health care reform at the federal level, to ensure that licensed agents are able to continue to help clients and consumers find and keep quality affordable health care now and in the future. California has its own statutory framework – distinct and apart from the federal law. California law will stand, even if the federal laws are changed, replaced or repealed, unless the federal statute also dictates a dismantling of California law.

Trump Order Fuels Uncertainty

President Trump’s executive order instructing federal agencies to grant relief to constituencies affected by the Affordable Care Act has begun to reverberate throughout the nation’s health-care system, injecting further uncertainty into an already unsettled insurance landscape, reported the Washington Post.

The political signal of the order, which Trump signed just hours after being sworn into office, was clear: Even before the Republican-led Congress acts to repeal the 2010 law, the new administration will move swiftly to unwind as many elements as it can on its own — elements that have changed how 20 million Americans get health coverage and what benefits insurers must offer some of their customers.

But the practical implications of Trump’s action on Friday are harder to decipher. Its language instructs all federal agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay” any part of the law that imposes a financial or regulatory burden on those affected by it. That would cover consumers, doctors, hospitals and other providers, as well as insurers and drug companies.

The prospect of what could flow from pulling back or eliminating administrative rules — including no longer enforcing the individual mandate, which requires Americans to get coverage or pay an annual penalty, and ending health plans’ “essential benefits” — could affect how many people sign up on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces before open enrollment ends Jan. 31 for 2017 coverage, as well as how many companies decide to participate next year.

Robert Laszewski, president of the consulting firm Health Policy and Strategy Associates, called the executive order a “bomb” lobbed into the law’s “already shaky” insurance market. Given the time it will take Republicans to fashion a replacement, he expects that federal and state insurance exchanges will continue to operate at least through 2018.

The entire article can be read at: http://www.calbrokermag.com/insurance-insider-newsletter/health-underwriters-groups-calls-for-delay-on-some-repeal/#healthnews

Consumers helping moderate cost of healthcare plans

Healthcare Money FlagThe purchasing of lower cost health plans means consumers helping moderate cost of healthcare plans.  According the Commonwealth Fund  “Covered California demonstrates—straight out of Economics 101—that if consumers have easy-to-understand, transparent information without being overwhelmed with too many choices, they will buy lower-premium products available on their tier,” write the researchers… -Thom

See the surprising key findings here: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/in-the-literature/2017/jan/consumers-buy-lower-cost-plans

Trump Administration & Healthcare – Insurance for everybody

headacheLike this lady sometimes I don’t know what to think!  As an insurance broker I again find myself in that strange place between the sometimes conflicting views of my clients and those of the insurance carriers that I represent, and that I represented to those clients.   Nevertheless I have built whatever reputation I have by taking a fiduciary approach with my clients & honesty with carriers.  With that said I share an article on the incoming Trump Administration & Healthcare.  “Insurance for Everybody” is the vow.  Your comments are welcomed as long as they remain civil.  Oh, and don’t kill the messenger…

-Thom

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2017/01/16/438910.htm