Tag: Medicare Piqua Ohio

Look who’s turning 65…

Famous & 65

 

 

 

 

 

I know many of you enjoy this post, so I’m sorry I’ve missed it for a few months.  So let’s catch up and see who turned 65 in:

October

November

December

January

Next Troy Workshop announced!

Our next Solving the Medicare Puzzle Workshop will be held on Thursday, December 13 at 5:30 pm in our Troy office at 1385 Stonycreek Road, Troy. Seats may be reserved by calling our office at 937-492-8800 or online by clicking https://seniormark.com/workshops/ .

If you know someone who would like to or should attend, please share this post with them!

Attention Seniors…Beware of Sharks!

A feeding frenzy is about to begin.  No, I am not talking about real sharks.  I am referring to the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).  The Annual Enrollment Period is the time of year, set aside by Medicare, during which Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in or change their Medicare Advantage or Prescription drug plans.  The AEP runs from October 15 to December 7, although insurance companies and agents can begin marketing to you beginning October 1st.

The problem arises due to the fact that this is the only time of the year that insurance companies and agents can market their Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans to you – unless you are new to Medicare.  In my opinion, this leads to very aggressive marketing behavior.  Now don’t get me wrong, just like every shark in the ocean is not out to bite you, not every agent and insurance company is out to take advantage of you, but you do need to be aware.

So what steps can you take to protect yourself?

Know what you have.  It is extremely important to know what type of plan you have.  Do you have Traditional Medicare Parts A&B paired with a Medicare Supplement policy, or do you have Part C of Medicare which is a Medicare Advantage plan?  If you have a Medicare Supplement policy, what plan do you have (A – N)?  If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, do you have a HMO, PPO or PFFS plan?  Do you have a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan or is it part of your Medicare Advantage plan?  These are all important questions to ask yourself.

Know what you should do.  The first thing you should know is that you don’t have to do anything, unless your plan is terminated for some reason.  If that is not the case, and you are completely happy with your plan, you can just leave everything “as is.”  With that said, it is important to review any benefit, premium or formulary changes to your plan.  If you have a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug plan, your plan will send you an “Annual Notice of Change” packet explaining any changes to your plan for 2013.  Don’t assume that because your medication was covered this year that it will automatically be covered next year.  Finally, don’t let any agent or insurance company lead you to believe that you have to make any changes.

Know what you can/can’t do.  There are a lot of rules surrounding Medicare, so be careful when you do make any changes.  Some changes could get you disenrolled from a plan you didn’t intend to get disenrolled from.  Don’t assume all agents know these rules.

Know what agents can/can’t do.  It is important to know that agents cannot cold call you in any way, meaning that if you didn’t invite them, they can’t contact you – except by mail.  Be careful when requesting free information whether by mail or on the internet.  Many times when you request this free information, you have just given an agent permission to contact you.  If you have made this mistake in the past, you know how many phone calls you can get.  The Ohio Department of Insurance put out an excellent flyer called, “Medicare & You: Understanding & Protecting Yourself from Predatory Sales practices.”  You can view this form on their website.

Work with a trusted advisor.  When you do have questions or need to make changes to your plan, make sure you work with a trusted advisor.  An advisor is someone who listens to you and helps you find a plan that is right for you based on all the options available.  A salesperson is someone who will tell you what you want to hear so they can sell you a product.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, so do your homework on this one.  How long have they been in the business?  Are they a jack of all trades or do they focus on senior insurance?  Do they have a local office?  Do they have a website to help you research your options?  Do they work with someone you know who can vouch for them?  Are they available during working hours to help you, or do you just get their voicemail?

If you will do your homework and become knowledgeable in these five areas, you will have come a long way in protecting yourself and making sure you don’t get bitten when the feeding frenzy begins October 1st.

Stock Market Returns without the Risk…Are you kiddin me? Part 2

There are many problems with these products, but the biggest is that the caps and participation rates they quote you when you first buy the annuity are typically not guaranteed contractually.  In fact, many of the “promises” they make up front are not guaranteed.  They may give you a participation rate of 100% initially, but if you read the contract they have the right to lower it at their discretion.  So if the markets move in a direction that hurts the insurance company, you may find out that they have the right (contractually) to lower your payout to 50%, or your cap to 3-4%.

I know this to be true first hand as my Dad purchased one.  Believe it or not, he was told his participation rate would be 110%.  And it was for the first year!  But when his anniversary date rolled around he received a letter from the insurance company.  You guessed it…they were reducing his participation rate down to 50%, and there was nothing he could do about it because the annuity had a 7 year penalty period if he cashed out early.  And can you guess what his participation rate was for the remaining 6 years?  You got it…50%.  And I’ve heard the same thing from clients of mine who have had these products with caps that started at 10-12% and are now down to 4%.  And if you have one that charges a fee, that fee can be raised contractually.

Another problem with these annuities is the length of time you are locked in to the agreement, called a “surrender period.”  Most of the ones sold today lock you in for 10 years, meaning if you take your money out early you will pay a penalty.  The number one selling EIA in 2011 had a 10 year surrender period and the penalty was 10% for the first 3 years on the contract.  I have also seen higher surrender periods and penalties.  I met with a client a year ago and her surrender penalty was 17% in the first year with a surrender period of 15 years.

So how do you protect yourself?  The easiest way would be to avoid these products altogether, as there are better options for you.  If you ARE considering an Equity Indexed Annuity, then make sure you do your homework.  Make sure you are getting your advice from the right person, which is probably not the person who is pitching it to you.  I recommend getting a second opinion from an advisor who doesn’t earn a commission from the product.

If you have had any experience with an equity indexed annuity (good or bad), please share it with us by leaving a comment below.

Stock Market Returns without the Risk…Are you kiddin me? Part 2

There are many problems with these products, but the biggest is that the caps and participation rates they quote you when you first buy the annuity are typically not guaranteed contractually.  In fact, many of the “promises” they make up front are not guaranteed.  They may give you a participation rate of 100% initially, but if you read the contract they have the right to lower it at their discretion.  So if the markets move in a direction that hurts the insurance company, you may find out that they have the right (contractually) to lower your payout to 50%, or your cap to 3-4%.

I know this to be true first hand as my Dad purchased one.  Believe it or not, he was told his participation rate would be 110%.  And it was for the first year!  But when his anniversary date rolled around he received a letter from the insurance company.  You guessed it…they were reducing his participation rate down to 50%, and there was nothing he could do about it because the annuity had a 7 year penalty period if he cashed out early.  And can you guess what his participation rate was for the remaining 6 years?  You got it…50%.  And I’ve heard the same thing from clients of mine who have had these products with caps that started at 10-12% and are now down to 4%.  And if you have one that charges a fee, that fee can be raised contractually.

Another problem with these annuities is the length of time you are locked in to the agreement, called a “surrender period.”  Most of the ones sold today lock you in for 10 years, meaning if you take your money out early you will pay a penalty.  The number one selling EIA in 2011 had a 10 year surrender period and the penalty was 10% for the first 3 years on the contract.  I have also seen higher surrender periods and penalties.  I met with a client a year ago and her surrender penalty was 17% in the first year with a surrender period of 15 years.

So how do you protect yourself?  The easiest way would be to avoid these products altogether, as there are better options for you.  If you ARE considering an Equity Indexed Annuity, then make sure you do your homework.  Make sure you are getting your advice from the right person, which is probably not the person who is pitching it to you.  I recommend getting a second opinion from an advisor who doesn’t earn a commission from the product.

If you have had any experience with an equity indexed annuity (good or bad), please share it with us by leaving a comment below.

New and improved website~

Things are changing all over the place at Seniormark! We are so excited about these changes, because it means we will be able to provide the same excellent service our clients are used to, while being able to add even more ways of teaching and expanding the knowledge base of our clients.

Today’s exciting announcement is that our website has been completely redesigned and has a fresh new look! We hope you will head over there and take a peek. We will continually update it with new videos, keep our prices current, etc.  Bookmark it and visit often for changes!

Please check out the new website at https://www.seniormark.com and let us know what you think!

We moved!

 

Our Sidney office has moved!  It’s just temporary, but for the time being our office is located at:

1271 Wapakoneta Avenue 

Sidney, OH 45365

(Yes, we are just down the street from our old office!)

Our phone number is staying the same….so you can still contact us at 937-492-8800 or toll free at 877-492-8803.

Our Troy office is not affected by this move.

The Two Faces of Your Financial Planner

I recently read an excellent article in AARP Magazine about the inherent conflict of interest that many so called “financial planners” have and what they do to hide it from you.  It’s the same thing I have been teaching people about for over 15 years and why I am a “fee only” Certified Financial Planner™.

Definitely worth the time…what you don’t know can hurt you!