Understanding the Basics of Medigap Policies

Medicare coverage can be a critical component for living a healthy life in retirement, as well as for maintaining your financial independence during these years. Yet, as important as it is, Medicare does not cover the full range of healthcare expenses you may experience in your golden years.

To fill the holes that exist in Medicare, Medigap insurance can be purchased by individuals over 65 to supplement Medicare.

A Medigap policy is designed to cover expenses such as copayments, coinsurance and even deductibles—the so-called gaps in Medicare. Coinsurance is only covered after you have paid the deductible, unless you select a Medigap policy that also covers the deductible.

From A to N

Medigap is private health insurance that must follow federal and state laws designed to protect you. In most states, you can only purchase standardized coverage packages, or Plans, each of which is identified by the letters A through N.

These standardized packages must offer the same basic benefits regardless of which insurance company is offering it. Cost is usually the only difference between Medigap policies with the same letter.

All insurance companies are required to offer the Plan A standardized package. Each Medigap plan option (A-N) will differ on the benefits offered and the percentage of coverage for these Medicare gaps.

To get a better understanding of what each of these plans offers, go to www.medicare.gov and click on the “Supplements & Other Insurance” tab at the top of the page. Then click on “How to Compare Medigap Policies.”

An Early Start at 65

You must have Medicare Parts A and B to buy a Medigap policy, and the best time to buy Medigap insurance is within the first six months you are both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. By doing this you will not need to undergo a medical underwriting. For those with existing health conditions, this enables them to buy a policy at the same price that is charged for people in good health.

A separate Medigap policy must be purchased for each spouse.

If you are nearing retirement, or have already discovered that these Medicare gaps can be expensive, it may be time to determine if a Medigap policy is right for you.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

What You Should Do About Insurance Following a Divorce

Divorce can be an emotionally and financially challenging life event. In the face of the many possible adjustments divorce entails, making changes to insurance coverage may be overlooked.

Here’s a look at each type of coverage:

Auto

If there is a change in auto ownership, you may need to obtain car insurance coverage to coincide with that change. You also may want to think about removing your former spouse from a policy to protect yourself against potential liability and ensure that his or her name does not appear on any claim check. Don’t forget to notify the insurance company of any address change.

Home

A divorce may mean a new place of residence for one or both spouses. Consider purchasing renter’s insurance if you are moving into a new apartment. If you are staying in your present home, you may want to remove your ex-spouse’s name from the policy and consider changes to any property coverage if, for instance, your former spouse is taking jewelry or other items of value from the premises.

Life

Life insurance is often purchased to cover financial obligations that may occur when a spouse passes away.¹ Life insurance policies may be an element of your divorce agreement. If possible, consider buying a policy on a former spouse’s life if he or she is providing alimony or child support.

If you do retain a pre-existing policy, be sure to review and amend the beneficiary so that it reflects your current wishes.

Disability

A disability may have an adverse impact on the ability of a former spouse to pay alimony or child support. As such, you may want to include the maintenance of such a policy in the divorce agreement.²

Health

If you or your children are covered under your former spouse’s employer group plan, you may want to contact the employer to continue coverage under COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). If you have an individual policy, you may want to consider adding your children to the policy. You may not want to duplicate coverage for your children.

  1. Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.
  2. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Federal and state laws and regulations are subject to change, which may have an impact on after-tax investment returns. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

The Cost of Medical Care

When uninsured people end up in the hospital, “sticker shock” can follow. Just a quick look at the current prices for medical procedures can be sobering.

How much does a CT scan cost? Between $300-$6,750, depending on where it is performed. Need a stent in your heart? The cost of that delicate procedure can cost between $11,000-$41,000. How about a knee replacement? The total cost adds up to an average of $37,300.1,2,3

Are these the only costs associated with a hospital or outpatient visit? Not quite. Think of the cost of the room, the medications, the anesthesia. Fortunately, many Americans have health coverage, so they only have to pay a fraction of the expenses linked to these and other procedures. Those without health coverage may find themselves in financial pain.

These days, you may take a big financial risk if you go without health insurance. Just one accident, one surprise trip to the hospital, and you may be left with a debt rivaling an auto loan.

If you need to pay for your own health coverage, the cost may be well worth it. Imagining that you can go without it for the next five or ten years may not be realistic, even if you are a millennial, or a member of Generation Z just leaving college. You might have a five-figure debt already; could you handle another one, perhaps with little or no warning?

Just how much does it cost to self-insure? Well, here is one estimate. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a hypothetical 40-year-old non-smoker making $30,000 per year is projected to pay an average of $452 per month for a benchmark health insurance plan for 2021. That works out to $5,424 for a year. The KFF reports, though, that the monthly cost could fall to as little as $149 with the help of a premium subsidy via federal or state government. This year, the mean monthly cost of a Silver plan after a premium subsidy is $195.4

Here is another projection. Looking at the 38 states in which residents buy coverage through Healthcare.gov, Investopedia calculates the average monthly cost of a benchmark plan at $413 for a hypothetical healthy 27-year-old, a price which could be lowered with subsidies applied.5

You can choose to put off paying a few thousand dollars a year for health insurance, but in doing so, you are also choosing to assume a great financial risk. A major medical procedure can cost as much as a new car, or a college education.

Keep in mind this article is for informational purposes only. It’s not a replacement for real-life advice so make sure to consult your financial or healthcare professional before modifying your insurance strategy.
If you are uninsured, take some time to look at your choices with someone who knows the insurance market. Do it today, as you never know what tomorrow could bring.

1. NewChoiceHealth.com, April 5, 2021
2. CostHelper.com, April 5, 2021
3. HealthGrades.com, September 9, 2020
4. HealthMarkets.com, April 5, 2021
5. Investopedia, March 13, 2021

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

Buying Auto Insurance For Teen Drivers

Driving may be a rite of passage for teenagers, but for parents, having a teenage driver can be stressful and expensive. Your child will need auto insurance coverage as soon as they receive their driver’s license. Here are some important considerations.

Determine Whether to Add Your Child to Your Policy or Purchase a Separate Policy

  • Check with your insurer to see how your premiums may be affected. Expect that they could rise dramatically; however, savings may be found through multi-vehicle and good student discounts.
  • If your child is driving an “old beater” that doesn’t require comprehensive or collision coverage, a separate policy, in limited instances, may save you money.
  • Discuss your options with your insurance agent.

Consider Your Teen Driver’s Coverage Choices

  • Most personal auto policies won’t cover a driver transporting goods or services in exchange for a wage. So, if your teen is planning on becoming a pizza delivery driver, for example, contact your insurance agent to determine if additional coverage is needed.

Find Ways to Save Money

  • Consider vehicles with high safety ratings over sportier, more-expensive cars.
  • Think about raising your policy’s deductibles.
  • Reassess your need for collision or comprehensive coverage.
  • Ask about “occasional” or “pleasure only” discounts, which may apply to children away at school.
  • Explore usage-based insurance, which involves installing a device in the vehicle that monitors driving behavior and rewards good driving. It’s also a way to keep tabs on your teen’s driving.
  • Have your teen complete a driver’s education course.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

Caring for Aging Parents

Thanks to healthier lifestyles and advances in modern medicine, the worldwide population over age 60 is growing. The United Nations estimates that by 2050 the number of people aged 60 and older will have more than doubled.¹ As our nation ages, many Americans are turning their attention to caring for aging parents.

For many people, one of the most difficult conversations to have involves talking with an aging parent about extended medical care. The shifting of roles can be challenging, and emotions often prevent important information from being exchanged and critical decisions from being made.

When talking to a parent about future care, it’s best to have a strategy for structuring the conversation. Here are some key concepts to consider.

Cover the Basics

Knowing ahead of time what information you need to find out may help keep the conversation on track. Here is a checklist that can be a good starting point:

  • Primary physician
  • Specialists
  • Medications and supplements
  • Allergies to medication

It is also important to know the location of medical and estate management paperwork, including:

  • Medicare card
  • Insurance information
  • Durable power of attorney for healthcare²
  • Will, living will, trusts and other documents²

Be Thorough

Remember that if you can collect all the critical information, you may be able to save your family time and avoid future emotional discussions. While checklists and scripts may help prepare you, remember that this conversation could signal a major change in your parent’s life. The transition from provider to dependent can be difficult for any parent and has the potential to unearth old issues. Be prepared for emotions and the unexpected. Be kind, but do your best to get all the information you need.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

This conversation is probably not the only one you will have with your parent about their future healthcare needs. It may be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue. Consider involving other siblings in the discussions. Often one sibling takes a lead role when caring for parents, but all family members should be honest about their feelings, situations, and needs.

Fast Fact: The state with the oldest population is Florida, with 19.06% of its population over the age of 65. Maine is second, with 18.24%. 
Source: WorldAtlas.com, March 8, 2018

Don’t Procrastinate

The earlier you can begin to communicate about important issues, the more likely you will be to have all the information you need when a crisis arises. How will you know when a parent needs your help? Look for indicators like fluctuations in weight, failure to take medication, new health concerns, and diminished social interaction. These can all be warning signs that additional care may soon become necessary. Don’t avoid the topic of care just because you are uncomfortable. Chances are that waiting will only make you more so.

Remember, whatever your relationship with your parent has been, this new phase of life will present challenges for both parties. By treating your parent with love and respect—and taking the necessary steps toward open communication—you will be able to provide the help needed during this new phase of life.

  1. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2017
  2. Note: Power of attorney laws can vary from state to state. An estate strategy that includes trusts may involve a complex web of tax rules and regulations. Consider working with a knowledgeable estate management professional before implementing such strategies.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

How does umbrella insurance protect someone in Michigan?

Liability risk is something that people all over the Williamston, MI area need to take seriously. Even people that are careful and diligent run the risk of causing an accident that could lead to a loss. To ensure you are protected against the risk of liability, having insurance is very important. One form of coverage to consider getting is umbrella insurance. This insurance can protect someone here in many ways. 

Protects Against Wider Range of Risks

One of the ways you can be protected with an umbrella insurance plan is that it can protect against a wider range of risks. There are a lot of risks that someone faces that could result in a liability claim. Many of these may not be covered by other insurance plans. With an umbrella plan, you are going to have broad protection that could cover virtually any liability risk.

Protects Against Significant Claims

You should also consider an umbrella insurance plan to protect against more significant claims. If you are a vehicle or property owner, you likely already have insurance plans that offer some liability protection. However, there is a chance that a claim could exceed your policy. If this occurs, the umbrella insurance plan will offer the protection needed to cover claims that are in excess of your other plans. 

If you want to get an umbrella insurance plan when you are in the Williamston, MI area, it would be wise to speak with someone that understands this type of coverage. As there are a lot of options to consider, it would be wise to call the CG Insurance Agency. As you speak with the CG Insurance Agency, you can receive the support that is needed to choose a plan that will properly protect your organization. 

Can Group, Private Disability Policies Work Together?

According to the Social Security Administration, a 20-year-old has a 25% chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age.1

Loss of income for such a duration has the potential to cause significant financial hardship. And while Social Security Disability Insurance may help, it’s critical to understand that about two-thirds of initial applications are denied and the average SSDI payment is only $1,259 a month.2,3

Disability coverage may be available through your employer, who may pay all or a portion of the cost for your coverage.

Employer plans typically pay up to 50% of your income. This limited coverage might not be enough to meet your bills, which is why you may want to supplement employer-based coverage with a personal policy. Supplemental policies may be purchased to cover up to about 70% of your income.4

Taxation of Disability Benefits

When you purchase a personal disability policy, the benefit payments are structured to be income tax-free. Consequently, you may not be eligible for coverage that equals your current salary since your take home pay is always less.

If your employer paid for your coverage, then the income you receive generally will be taxable. If you paid for a portion of the employer-provided coverage, then the pro rata amount of the benefits you receive are structured to be tax-free.

Choices, Choices, Choices

Consider the waiting period before disability payments begin. A longer waiting period saves you money, but it also means that you may have to live off your savings for a longer period. You are the best judge of how much of this risk you are comfortable assuming.

You also may want to coordinate the waiting period with any short-term disability benefits you could have. For example, if your short-term disability covers you for 90 days, look to have at least a 90-day waiting period so that you can potentially lower the cost on the long-term policy.

Ask how a policy defines an inability to work. Some policies will say “the inability to do any job or task;” others will say “own occupation.” You may prefer the latter definition so you’re not forced to perform some less-skilled, lower-paid work. That type of work may not help you meet your bills.

1. Social Security Administration, 2021
2. Disability-Benefits-Help.org, 2021
3. Investopedia.com, 2020
4. Investopedia.com, 2021

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

How Much Home Insurance Do I Need?

Home insurance is one of the best investment decisions you will make in your life. When you buy home insurance from CG Insurance Agency of Williamston, MI, you protect your home, yourself, and family members when the unthinkable happens. While home insurance is pivotal, how do you know you have adequate home insurance coverage? Purchasing adequate home insurance ensures you avoid out-of-pocket expenses during the claim process. Here is a guide to help you determine the amount of home insurance coverage you need.

How much would it cost to rebuild your home?

When purchasing home insurance, it’s essential to plan for the worst. How much would it cost to rebuild your home in case of a total loss? To determine this figure, instead of using the cost you incurred while building your house, it’s essential to consider the cost of renovations and the cost of building your home in your area.

While you may use the cost of rebuilding your home as the home insurance value in the first year, it’s vital to keep updating your home insurance plan to factor in significant renovations and changes in local construction costs. This way, you will ensure that your house isn’t underinsured. 

What’s the value of your assets?

How much would it cost to replace your furniture, clothing, electronics, and other assets in case of damage or loss from fire, vandalism, or theft? To avoid underinsuring your personal belongings, take an inventory count of all your assets from room to room. Next, come up with a realistic cost approximation, bearing in mind how much it would cost to replace that item today.

Likelihood of being sued

Home insurance protects you against bodily injury, property damage, and legal suits for losses you cause to other people. While the default liability insurance may have a limit of, let say, $100,000, how do you know this amount is adequate? As a rule of thumb, your liability insurance should cover all your assets. Besides, you can boost your home liability insurance with umbrella insurance for optimal protection.

Are you still unsure of how much home insurance you need? Please contact CG Insurance Agency for more information. Better yet, you can visit our Williamston, MI offices to speak to one of our agents in person.

Insuring Your Business Against Cyber Liability

One study found that 43% of cyber attacks target small business, and 60% of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyber attack.¹

Business owners are also required to protect their customers’ personal information. In 47 states, and the District of Columbia, businesses are required to notify individuals of security breaches involving personally identifiable information.²

As evidenced by news of large-scale data breaches, online hacking has become another form of risk that businesses now face everyday. Like many risks, businesses can insure themselves against the financial damage a cyber-attack may inflict.

Cyber liability insurance may cover a range of risks, including:

  • Data Breach Management: Pays expenses related to the investigation, management, and remediation of an incident, including customer notification, credit check support, and associated legal costs and fines.
  • Media Liability: Covers third-party damages such as website vandalism and intellectual property rights infringement.
  • Extortion Liability: Reimburses for expenses associated with losses arising from a threat of extortion.
  • Network Security Liability: Covers costs connected with third-party damages due to a denial of access and theft of third-party information.

Cyber liability insurance is fairly new so expect a wide divergence of coverage and costs. It may be purchased separately or as a rider to your current business insurance policy. Be prepared to comparison shop to get a better understanding of coverage and costs.

Small business owners might also keep in mind that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” There are steps you can take to protect your business from becoming a cyber victim.

Consider steps to protect your data.

  1. Maintain robust malware detection software and keep existing software updated.
  2. Train employees not to open links contained in emails from unknown senders. Research shows that 48% of security-related incidents are caused by employee behavior.¹
  3. Encrypt your important data, such as bank account information, customer credit card numbers, etc.
  4. Perform a security audit.

As obvious and simple as these precautions may sound, some businesses fall victim to cyber-attacks because of their failure to take them.

  1. SmallBizTrends, January 3, 2017
  2. National Conference of State Legislatures, 2017

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

The ABC’s of Auto Insurance

The questions around auto insurance center not so much on whether to have it—it’s mandated by state law, required by your lender, and serves to protect your assets—but what kind of coverage you should purchase.

Types of Coverage

There are several forms of coverage that a car owner may purchase, some of which are required, others of which may be optional.

The coverage requirements in all states include:

  • Bodily injury liability (pays for the cost of injuries you cause to another individual), and
  • Property damage liability (pays for the damage you cause to another’s car or to objects or structures you hit).

Some, but not all, states will require that you have coverage for:

  • Uninsured and underinsured motorists (covers the costs associated with being hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, or in the case of a hit-and-run accident), and
  • Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP) (pays for medical treatment for you and your passengers). PIP coverage is available in “no-fault” states and may also cover lost wages and funeral costs.

If you borrowed to purchase your car, the lender may require collision and comprehensive coverage.

Collision coverage reimburses you for damage to your car resulting from a collision with another car, object, or structure; a pothole; or from flipping over.

Comprehensive coverage is designed to pay for car damage not arising from a collision, e.g., theft, hail, windstorm, flood, fire, and hitting animals. This coverage may also pay for windshield repairs.

If you own your car outright, you may want to consider purchasing collision and comprehensive coverage if your car has a significant market value. You may find that the potential economic loss is sufficient to warrant the cost of collision and comprehensive protection.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.