Minuteman Health Exits New Hampshire

Information for this blog comes from FOXNews broadcasted on June 28, 2017 and an article written by Todd Bookman Minuteman Health, Inc. To Stop Selling Insurance in N.H. dated June 23, 2017.

Minuteman Health of Massachusetts and New Hampshire announced that they will be leaving the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Exchange as of January 1, 2018. The company will no longer be selling health insurance policies in the granite state as of January 1, 2018. Minuteman was created as a co-op for the Obama healthcare. Currently, they insure roughly 27,000 people in New Hampshire. They have assured the NH Insurance Commissioner that they have the resources to pay all claims for current clients through 2017.

The company cited financial challenges due to the uncertainty of ACA. With Minuteman leaving the state, only three options will be available on the Exchange as of the New Year. The remaining companies are Anthem, Ambetter (direct sales only) and Harvard Pilgrim Elevate. Harvard Pilgrim Elevate is a joint venture between Elliott Hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock and Harvard Pilgrim. Harvard Pilgrim Insurance has also indicated that parent company, Harvard Pilgrim of NH will not be selling health insurance in 2018. These withdrawals have caused Gov. Chris Sununu to state, “Minuteman Insurance’s departure is more clear evidence that the ACA has failed and that our nation’s healthcare system requires reform. This further underscores why Washington must act now to reform our healthcare system and take actions to stabilize the individual health insurance market,” Sununu concluded.

Minuteman executives are diligently working to relaunch the insurance company as a for profit insurance company. They fully intend to sell health policies in NH in 2018. A new for-profit Minuteman will need to obtain regulatory approval from the New Hampshire Department of Insurance by August 16, 2017. Upon completion of approval, Minuteman executives promise a smooth transition for current insureds into the new company starting January 1. This is a monumental task as it requires access to a substantial capital reserve and involves the filing of numerous documents necessary to gain permission from the state to sell policies. More information should be available near the end of August.

At Brownell Insurance, it is our promise to stay up to date on this ever-changing marketplace of personal and group health insurance. All individuals who have personal health insurance with Minuteman Health or Harvard Pilgrim of New Hampshire will need to migrate to one of the remaining carriers, effective January 1, 2018. All health insurance clients of Brownell Insurance will be contacted starting in October for an appointment to discuss Open Enrollment which begins on November 1. At that time, we will have a better understanding of your options to assist you in making an informed decision. Open Enrollment ends on December 15. Please feel free to call us at 603-437-1992 if you have questions or concerns that you would like to discuss before October.

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Renter’s Insurance = Peace of Mind

Many apartment dwellers think that renter’s insurance is too expensive and out of reach for budget conscious consumers. The truth is, renter’s insurance could cost as little as $200 annually. Is that too much money for peace of mind?

Picture this: You’re coming home from work and notice your front door ajar. When you get to the open door you find that someone has broken into your apartment. Noticing that your television set, computer and several other items are missing you begin to panic. If you are not covered by renter’s insurance, you will be without these items indefinitely, unless the police can find and return them to you. Following your report to local police, an up to date renter’s policy would help replace the stolen items.

Now picture this:  Returning from an evening out, you see firefighters tackling a fire in your apartment building. Dense black smoke is pouring out of your apartment windows. As you stand there helpless, firefighters douse your apartment with water in an effort to tame the fire. It could be several hours or possibly days before you are able to get inside your apartment. Finally re-entering you discover that severe fire damage as well as water damage has occurred to your belongings thus destroying most. You will have to find temporary living arrangements and replace almost everything you own.

It is a common misconception that a landlord’s insurance will cover that type of loss. In fact, building owners carry insurance that covers the structure and equipment (such as appliances) only. Do not wrongly assume that you didn’t need renters as you will quickly learn that the damage to your personal property is not covered. All contents housed within the walls are the responsibility of the renters or lessee.

Renter’s insurance can also help protect you if you are sued due to accidents that occur at your apartment. A typical scenario might start with an invitation to several people to enjoy a party at your home. At the end of the event several of your guests leave with a blood-alcohol level higher than allowed under state law. Sadly, they are in a severe car accident resulting in many injuries. Found liable for serving alcohol and allowing people to leave drunk, you could have to pay legal fees plus any monies awarded to the victims. If you have renter’s insurance, the insurance company will provide legal protection if the claim is covered. The general liability portion of your renter’s policy will also cover any monies awarded up to the limit purchased on your policy.

An important option available on renter’s insurance is full replacement value coverage. This coverage provides full replacement value for most of your belongings. You will be reimbursed the cost to purchase new items that are comparable values. An example would be if you had a large screen TV that was for five years old. Your insurance would cover the cost for you to purchase a new large screen TV of like kind and quality. If this inexpensive option is not taken, the insurance company would depreciate the value of the television set plus minus your deductible and pay you the difference. This amount of money would not be enough to replace your television set.

Another option that you can add to a renter’s policy is scheduled personal property such as jewelry, guns, furs or other collectibles. You will need to get the items appraised and then the insurance company will insure them up to that amount. This is a very valuable option. If you were to lose a diamond ring or even the diamond out of the setting, it would not be covered under a standard renter’s policy. With the scheduled personal property option, your ring or your diamond if lost or stolen would be replaced with the same like kind and quality as you had.

In any of these scenarios, you could have help recovering from this scary nightmare. Renters insurance provides coverage for your personal possessions. Under both of these conditions, you could easily spend thousands of dollars to get back into the financial condition that you are in before the loss. With the cost to replace the average renter’s belongings at about $30,000, the cost of renters insurance seems a small price to pay for peace of mind. Renter’s insurance can ease your worries in the event that something goes wrong. We at Brownell Insurance will gladly answer any further questions that you may have. Please feel free to call us at 603-437-1992. You might also be pleasantly surprised that many of our companies will also give you a discount on your auto insurance if you purchase renters insurance. Give us a quick call today!

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IMPORTANT Health Insurance Announcement!

Open Enrollment is here!

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It could be very costly for you to miss the open enrollment window! Everyone must review their current coverages with Healthcare.gov! We can handle that for you.

We are certified health insurance experts ready and willing to help you and/or your business meet the Federal mandates.

Our knowledgeable agents are glad to help you sign up on the Marketplace and discuss with you all the different options available.

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Wise Advice for First-Time Renters

School is finally over. It is time to go out and look for your own new apartment. After an exhaustive search and a barrage of confusing paperwork, you are finally ready to move in to your first apartment. You have managed to furnish new home with everyday essentials and are eager to begin living in your own place for the very first time. But let’s slow up for a minute! There are other things you should be considering as you are moving into your new apartment. It is important that you consider buying renters insurance before getting too comfortable in your new place.

For little cost, renters insurance can help protect you from fire, smoke, vandalism, and theft-related losses. Imagine that you had to completely replace all of your belongings due to a fire, would you be able to afford that? There are two different ways you can insure your belongings on a renters insurance policy: actual cash value and replacement cost. Although replacement cost policies are a bit more expensive than actual cash policies, they help reimburse you for the full cost of replacing your belongings. An example of the differences would be: if you purchased a flat screen TV, and it was stolen while you are on vacation. Actual cash value replacement would give you money to replace the belonging by assigning a marketplace value to your TV and then subtract depreciation (for it is no longer new). If you had replacement cost the insurance company would replace your TV with one of like kind and quality to what you had before.

Your renters’ insurance policy also covers liability protection in the case that you are sued for bodily injury or property damage. Most first-time renters are not aware that if you invite someone in to your home and they get hurt or if you cause bodily injury or property damage to someone else, you could be liable to pay for their medical and/or pain and suffering expenses. For example – picture you had a party at your home on a Saturday night, which included alcohol. When your guests leave your home, they are intoxicated and get into a serious automobile accident. You could easily be sued for allowing your guests to leave your home intoxicated. This lawsuit could simply cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), only 31% of renters have renters insurance. This low percentage is likely caused by the common misconception that landlord’s insurance covers damage to personal possessions. The truth is, your landlord’s policy probably covers only damage to the building and provides you no coverage your belongings or for liability coverage if you are sued. Renters insurance is also a good idea if you’re a college student living away from home. You should check to be sure that your belongings would be covered by your parents’ homeowner’s policy. Most homeowners policies have a small amount coverage for belongings off premise of your home. This amount might not be nearly enough coverage to place your belongings. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you look into renters insurance:

  • Make sure to keep a record of your belongings that may need to be replaced, such as a video or photo inventory. Make sure to store this in a safe place separate from your apartment.
  • If you are living with a nonrelative, your roommate may not be covered by your policy and have to get a policy of their own.
  • Be sure to also insure your jewelry or collectibles on your renters policy.
  • If you carry auto insurance, purchasing renters insurance could provide you with a discount depending on the insurance company you go with.

Did you know that you can be reimbursed under some renters policies if you become a victim of identity theft? Or that your policy rate may be discounted if your rental property has a burglar alarm? We at Brownell insurance center are a great resource for coverage options and potential discounts under your renters’ policy. Once you find a policy that fits your needs, you’ll finally be ready to begin living in your new apartment — with a lot more peace of mind. Best of luck!

Information for this blog provided by Safeco Insurance.

 

 

 

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Identity Theft – What You Need to Know – What to Do to Stay Safe

Christmas about two years ago, I remember going up to purchase some Christmas presents only to find that my bank card was declined. I was really confused for I knew that there was plenty of money to cover the charges that I had made. After trying my bank card several times, I had to use a different method to pay for my purchases. Being completely frustrated, I called my bank to see what the problem was. I was told that my account was in the negative. There was absolutely no way that this was possible I told the teller. She listened to me sympathetically and said that there was a transaction for $1986.20 done yesterday. When she gave me the information regarding this transaction, it was for a business located in London, England. I was fortunate that I could prove that I was not in England anytime close to the time this transaction supposedly happened. My bank did put the money back into my account but it did take several days. This really could have ruined my Christmas but fortunately I had other funds that I could use.

Most of us have faith that our identities are safe but identity theft turned into a common serious crime. Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. In 2013, a movie was made called “Identity Theft” with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. In this “comedy,” Jason Bateman’s character, Sandy had his identity stolen. His identity theft had disrupted his finances, his work, and his family life to such a point that he had to abandon everything to find the woman that had stolen his identity and was charging exorbitant amounts to his credit cards. In this case it was Hollywood that was imitating life.

There are plenty of red flags of identity theft. Some examples are:

  • Mistakes on your bank, credit card, or other account statements such as withdrawals or purchases that you know you have not made.
  • Mistakes on the explanation of your medical benefits from your health plan that do not coincide with when you were either in the hospital or at your doctors.
  • Your regular bills and account statements don’t arrive on time or look like they have been tampered with.
  • You receive bills or collection notices for products or services that you have never received or asked for.
  • You start receiving calls from debt collectors about debts that certainly don’t belong to you.
  • You receive a notice from the IRS that someone has used your Social Security number to either secure a job, a loan, or an apartment.
  • You receive mail, emails, or calls about accounts or jobs in your minor child’s name.
  • When you check into your credit reports you find that there are unwarranted collection notices on your credit report.
  • You go into businesses and they turn down your credit cards or refuse to accept your checks.
  • You are turned down unexpectedly for a loan or a job.

How to protect your information from being stolen:

  1. Read your credit reports often. You have the right to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. You can order your credit reports from all 3 credit reporting companies four times a year at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1– 877 – 322 – 8228.
  2. Read your bank, credit card, account statements, an explanation of any benefits from your health plan. If this statement has inaccurate information or doesn’t come in on time contact your supplier.
  3. Shred all documents that show any personal financial or medical information before you throw them away.
  4. Don’t respond to any text phone or email that requests personal information from you. Be sure to delete the messages, for legitimate companies do not ask for information in this manner.
  5. Create passwords that mix letters numbers and special characters. You should never use the same password for more than one account.
  6. If you do your banking or shopping online, be sure to use websites that protect your financial information with encryption. An encrypted site uses “https” at the beginning of their website address.
  7. If you use a public wireless network, don’t send information to any website that isn’t fully encrypted.
  8. Use antivirus and anti-spyware software and a firewall on all your computers.
  9. Set your computer’s operating system, web browser, and security system to update automatically.

If your identity is stolen you should:

  1. Flag your credit report –Be sure to call one of the nationwide credit reporting companies and ask for a fraud alert on your credit report. This company must contact the other two credit reporting companies to put fraud reports on your files. An initial fraud report is good for 90 days. The nationwide credit reporting companies are:
    • Equifax 1– 800 – 525 – 6285
    • Experian 1 – 888 – 397 – 3742
    • TransUnion 1 – 800 – 680 – 7289
  2. Order your credit reports – Each company’s credit report about you is slightly different so be sure to order a report from each company. Be sure to read your reports carefully and verify all the information is correct. If you find the report to be inaccurate or show signs of fraud, be sure to contact the credit reporting company immediately.
  3. Create an identity theft report – An identity theft report can help you get fraudulent information removed from your credit report, stop a company from collecting debts caused by identity theft, and get information about accounts a theft opened in your name. To create an identity theft report you should file a complaint with the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint or call 1 – 877 – 438 – 4338. Your completed complaint is called an FTC Affidavit. You will need to take your FTC affidavit to your local police, or to the police where the theft occurred, and file a police report. Be sure to obtain a copy of the police report. You will need both of documents to comprise an Identity Theft Report.

I hope you found this information helpful. It is very important that we all work together to ensure that our identities remain protected. Most of the information for this blog was provided by the Federal Trade Commission. They can be contacted at FTC.gov/IDtheft or by telephone at 1 – 877 – ID – THEFT (438 – 4338). As a further note, be sure to call your insurance agent for most homeowners insurance policies can add identity theft as a rider to your existing policy.

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