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September 25, 2020
September 25, 2020
As we approach annual enrollment periods for Medicare and The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), we are still mindful of the necessity to exercise care when communicating with our clients and prospective clients. We will be using the follow methods of contact:
telephone – our phones will be answered from 8AM to 11PM except on Sundays, from noon to 11PM. We are allowed to take some enrollments via phone, but that varies from company to company
Zoom conference – request a Zoom conference for yourself, individually, or for a group.
Hello Sign/DocuSign – when you have decided on enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan or applying for other kinds of insurance, you may opt to receive and sign documents electronically.
U.S. Mail – It may be necessary to mail forms for signature. When received you may sign and either return via fax or text message.
Federal Express – when time is of the essence, we may send forms for signature via FEDEX.
Regardless of how we connect, please be mindful your place in any space, and remember the three Ws: Wear a mask; Watch your distance; Wash your hands.
February 23, 2020
Each year, millions of Americans plan or hope to increase their income and save more money. The National Crime Prevention Council wants to help Americans work toward those goals and protect the financial security of their future. To accomplish this, they offer a variety of tools for protection against investment fraud and identity theft. The tools are available at NCPC.org, and site visitors will also find a variety of helpful publications with tips for protecting themselves against identity theft, mortgage fraud and investment fraud.
Consider these identity theft statistics:
· In 2017, 6.64 percent of consumers became victims of identity fraud — that’s about 1 in 15 people
· Overall, 33 percent of U.S. adults have experienced identity theft, which is more than twice the global average
· One in five victims of identity theft have experienced it more than once
· Over 1 million children in the U.S. were victims of identity theft in 2017, costing families $540 million in out-of-pocket expenses
· There’s a new victim of identity theft every 2 seconds
· Identity theft is one of the most common consequences of data breaches, and exposed consumer records jumped 126 percent in 2018
· Emotional distress is reported by 77.3 percent of identity theft victims
In other words, if your chances of winning the lottery were 1 in 15, like the odds of being an ID theft victim, we would all have family, friends, and colleagues who are millionaires.
Identity thieves have several ways to steal information. They may rummage through garbage cans, hack into Internet-based financial accounts or use electronic devices to steal credit card numbers. When they have an individual’s location information, they may even file a change of address form to receive that person’s mail and steal financial information.
The NCPC offers the following tips for preventing identity theft:
· Never provide a Social Security number over the Internet or phone.
· Memorize all passwords, and never store passwords on a computer. Okay, that works for some of us, but if your password list goes on for pages and pages, consider an electronic vault or any online password security service.
· When buying items online, always use a credit card for the benefit of being able to dispute bad transactions.
· Do not use an ATM when someone is within close range.
· Shred documents that contain personal identifying information. No shredder? Go to a local office supply store that offers shredding services. They charge a reasonable fee, by the pound.
· Beware of sites that offer free giveaways and prizes, and do not enter financial information on such sites.
· Take advantage of developer-based browser add-ons and antivirus software to enhance Internet security.
· Tell children to avoid giving out their address, phone number or Internet-based contact information.
· Do not let children plan to meet any friends from Internet sites or chat rooms.
· Avoid posting public photos of family members, a home, a vehicle or other identifying information on the Internet.
· Be sure that Internet access at a child’s school is controlled by teachers or other designated responsible adults.
The NCPC offers additional tips, information and statistics on their site. If all Americans work together to prevent identity theft, millions of incidents can be prevented. Another important step for adults to take is to check their credit history every year. Each American adult is entitled to a free credit report copy, which is obtained at AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the only site approved by federal authorities for obtaining a free copy. View the report to look for any account, address and employment discrepancies, and dispute them if there are any. Suspicious accounts may be a sign that someone has stolen personal information and is misappropriating it.
Also, be aware of any odd-looking devices on ATMs, gas pumps and other places where cards are swiped. Thieves place logging devices that detach from these places. If a piece detaches or looks suspicious, report it to the establishment immediately.
Consider purchasing identity theft protection. To learn more about staying safe from identity theft and the impact of identity theft, discuss concerns with an agent.
February 19, 2020
We are regularly asked about dental insurance. Oral health, like eye health, offers clues about overall health.
Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, certain medications — such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants — can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease. [Source – Mayo Clinic]
Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease — might play a role in some diseases. Poor dental health has been linked to cardiovascular and kidney disease, certain cancers, respiratory infections, pregnancy complications, erectile dysfunction and infertility, among other maladies. In addition, certain diseases, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can lower the body’s resistance to infection, making oral health problems more severe. While oral health is an important aspect of overall good health, most insurance plans offer only limited coverage, and many times there is disappointment in that coverage, based on what it costs.
As with other types of insurance, individual dental policies may not have as broad a coverage as group policies. (Large numbers generally help with spreading the risk.) Under the Affordable Care Act, dental coverage is required for children, and if not included in their medical insurance coverage, must be added. This rule does not apply for adults. Some Medicare Advantage plans include some dental coverage, but this is an added benefit and not required.
Another disappointment: dental insurance plans are not likely to cover implants or cosmetic procedures. If implants are covered, there is still the limitation of the plan’s maximum coverage, which typically will not the cover the cost of an implant.
Regardless of where your efforts to improve oral health, remember that most dental insurances require waiting periods for major procedures. It is best to start now than later.