Prevent your next HR nightmare!

Think you don’t need an Employee Handbook or that yours is sufficient as is? Think again. It is extremely important to keep a current Employee Handbook.

Some misconceptions of business owners or HR directors may be:
• No time or resources
• It’s too much work
• Afraid we’ll miss important compliance/law changes
• Not a company priority
• Don’t think a Handbook is necessary for our business
• We’ve already finished our updates this year

Your Handbook does a lot for you that shouldn’t be overlooked, such as:
• It tells your story and you have the opportunity to be a really great narrator
• It sets the tone for your company culture and clearly communicates the mutual expectations with your employees
• It explains your purpose, your why and your how
• It defines and explains the benefits you offer to your staff, adding value and morale to your operation
• Your openness and transparency will go a lot further than you might expect
• Delivers brand or information change promptly and efficiently

There could be substantial consequences of not having an accurate, up-to-date Handbook:
• Your exposure to legal action being taken against you
• Missing or inaccurate information is misleading
• Employees may not feel comfortable going to management when they should be able to refer to the Handbook to avoid feeling hesitant
• Staff will not feel confident if there’s a lack of guidance and support from their leadership
• Changes in state/federal laws that affect your policies will be overlooked
• Harassment and discrimination issues could be avoided

As always, if there are ways we can help with your Employee Handbook or implementation of it, please contact us any time at (352)371-7977 or info@mcgriffwilliams.com.

No more Medicare Plan F supplement in 2020?

Believe it or not, Open Enrollment season is upon us! There’s been a lot of talk lately about the Medicare Plan F supplement going away in 2020. Here are some helpful facts to clarify what our new reality looks like.

For decades now, the Medigap Plan F has been by far the most popular supplement purchased for Medicare eligible individuals. The fact that it covers all deductibles, coinsurance and copays easily justify that. For many, this has been the first time they’ve ever had no out of pocket expense when receiving medical care such as a doctor visit, lab work, or even a surgery or hospital stay. This is what some may refer to as “first dollar coverage” since whichever company you got the supplement from pays immediately. Sound too good to be true? Well, if you weren’t eligible for it by the end of 2019, it is no longer available.

Along with Plan F, the Plan C supplement is, although less popular, also no longer available starting January 1, 2020. The common denominator between the two is that they both cover the Medicare Part B deductible. Based on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, Congress has decided that they no longer wish to have plans available that pay the first dollar, without any deductible to meet, because patients may access care more often or unnecessarily.

For those already on Plan F (or even eligible but not yet enrolled), the good news is that you can keep it! You are “grandfathered” in on that supplement, at least for the time being. Rates may increase over the years but that’s always a possibility. For others moving forward, the Plan G will be the next best option for a Medigap supplement. G covers everything that F does except for that Part B deductible… but often times, the difference in premium comes out to be almost the same in the end.

Medicare can seem like a very overwhelming, stressful transition in health insurance, especially when there are heavily regulated guidelines and changes like this. We are happy to discuss how this affects you or your loved ones and help guide you to the best protection for your needs.

Please email info@mcgriffwilliams.com or call (352) 371-7977.

Misconceptions of Life Insurance

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month so what better time to clarify a few misconceptions.

According to LIMRA (Life Insurance and Market Research Association), Life Insurance Ownership in Focus, U.S. Household Trends, there are approximately 37.5 million households in the U.S. that have no life insurance coverage at all. And almost half of households that do have it, don’t have enough to replace their income in the event they needed it.

But why is that? It seems like a no-brainer to have coverage for your family’s financial burdens if something happens to you, right? So why do so many Americans go without?

Lincoln Financial Group’s research shows that the #1 reason people say they don’t have it is because it’s too expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. In some instances, it can cost less than your monthly utility or cell phone bill.

Another LIMRA study showed that about 108 million Americans say that they have coverage through their employer but they may not even know how much or what company it’s with. That won’t do you much good!

Some people may be so intimidated by the process that they just avoid it. However, there are some life insurance policies available now that can be bound within 24 hours with no blood test or medical exam.

Others may think it isn’t necessary if they don’t have children or they aren’t sure who to make the beneficiary, but you can always have multiple people as beneficiaries and it doesn’t have to be a blood relative.

Same goes for those that think because they don’t own a home, life insurance isn’t necessary. That’s a common misunderstanding that we hear often. However, a mortgage isn’t the only financial burden your loved ones could face in your absence.

Stay-at-home Moms tend to think they don’t need coverage because Dad’s income wouldn’t stop if something happened to Mom. Who will care for the kids? Mom was awfully nice to do it for free but it’s highly likely to cost a pretty penny for anyone else to step in.

We think life insurance is extremely important all year round but wanted to share these tidbits to hopefully spread some awareness this month in particular. Make smart choices and don’t let unpaid bills overshadow the legacy you’ll leave when you’re gone.

As always, we’re happy to help guide you on your life insurance journey and can answer questions anytime: 352-371-7977 or nick@mcgriffwilliams.com.

Hurricane Dorian claims information

As a precaution for the upcoming storm, Hurricane Dorian, we have created a comprehensive list of phone numbers you should call in the event that you need to file a claim. During this time, we will be checking our emails and main phone line messages as often as possible to be available to all of our clients.

 

For personal insurance claims:

AAA: 1-888-929-4222

Allied/Nationwide: 1-800-282-1446

American Integrity: 1-866-277-9871

Auto-Owners: 1-888-252-4626

ASI/Progressive Home: 1-866-274-5677

Avatar: 1-877-233-3237

Bankers: 1-800-627-0000

Capitol Preferred: 1-888-388-2742

Chubb: 1-800-252-4670

Citizens: 1-866-411-2742

Florida Family: 1-888-486-4663

Florida Peninsula: 1-866-549-9672

Florida Specialty: 1-866-554-5896

Geovera: 1-800-631-6478

Hagerty: 1-800-922-4050, ext. 4

Heritage: 1-855-415-7120

Homeowners Choice: 1-888-210-5235

Mercury:  1-800-503-3724

MetLife: 1-800-854-6011

Assurant (Flood): 1-800-423-4403, ext. 3

Olympus: 1-866-281-2242

Progressive Auto: 1-800-776-4737

Safe Harbor: 1-866-482-5246

Safeco: 1-800-332-3226

Security First: 1-877-581-4862

Southern Fidelity: 1-866-874-7342

Stillwater: 1-800-220-1351

St. Johns: 1-877-748-2059

Tower Hill Home: 1-800-342-3407

Travelers: 1-800-252-4633

Universal: 1-866-999-0898

UPC: 1-888-256-3378

Wright Flood: 1-877-270-4329

 

For business insurance claims:

American Capital: 1-866-274-5677

Auto-Owners: 1-800-437-6164

Guard: 1-800-639-2567

Hartford: 1-800-553-1710

Liberty Mutual: 1-844-325-2467

Nationwide: 1-866-322-3214

Old Dominion: 1-877-425-2467

Philadelphia: 1-800-765-9749

Progressive: 1-800-274-4499

Tower Hill: 1-800-342-3407

 

If you do not see a number listed for your personal insurance carrier, please email us at mwi@mcgriffwilliams.com, and we will be happy to assist you in whatever way we can. For business insurance, you can email comm@mcgriffwilliams.com. We hope everyone stays safe during this time. Thank you.

When do I need to sign up for Medicare if I’m still working?

TRUE OR FALSE: “I don’t need to think about Medicare until I’m 65 or retired since that’s when I become eligible.”

FALSE. Please tell us you answered FALSE.

Medicare is a federal health care program that is regulated by CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) and with that, comes a lot of important guidelines to follow. And breaking these rules can result in much more than a slap on the wrist. We’re talking financial penalties that can stick with you indefinitely. Forever. Or worse, make you ineligible for coverage.

Medicare is typically available to people at age 65 or retired, but is also offered to those under 65 if disabled or suffering from End-Stage Renal Disease/permanent kidney failure.

Here are a few scenarios that could get you a not-so-nice penalty:

  • Your group employer does not provide sufficiently credible coverage OR you enroll in Medicare but don’t think you need Part D because you aren’t currently taking any medications.
    • Result: Part D penalty that gets tacked on to your premium when you do obtain the correct coverage & will stay on forever. As of now, this is 1% of the base beneficiary premium for every month after age 65 that you didn’t have it.
    • How to avoid: Enroll in even a low premium Part D plan, regardless if you need it at the moment or not.
  • Your employer has fewer than 20 employees & you didn’t sign up for Part B since you’re still working.
    • Result: You could have major coverage gaps you aren’t even aware of.
    • How to avoid: Enroll in Parts A&B at age 65 if still working with 20 or fewer colleagues.
  • You’re still working & contributing to your HSA account.
    • Result: You are at risk for being assessed a tax penalty.
    • How to avoid: Stop contributing to your HSA 6 months prior to Medicare eligibility. You can still use the funds in that account for deductibles, copays or coinsurance but you cannot add any more money to it.
  • You elected COBRA coverage at the time of retirement but didn’t enroll in Part B.
    • Result: COBRA is now secondary to Part B so you must enroll in Part B in order to not have a coverage gap.
    • How to avoid: If you already have Medicare, you can get COBRA…. But if you become Medicare eligible while on COBRA, you cannot keep it.  Most importantly, losing COBRA does NOT qualify as a Special Enrollment to get Part B.

So much of this is situational and really depends on your personal circumstance. We are happy to discuss this individually and help determine exactly what you need to do and when.