|Don't let a disability ruin your retirement dreams|
If you've already started saving for your retirement, congratulations. You're on your way to fulfilling lifelong dreams and goals. But what would happen to your retirement plans if you became one of the millions of Americans to suffer a disabling illness or injury? Would you be able to continue saving for retirement without your income?
A disability could disrupt your retirement savings in more ways than one:
- Contributions to Social Security would stop.
- Contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan [such as a 401(k)] would also stop, as would any employer matching contributions.
- If you lose your job, you will no longer accrue additional pension benefits.
Fortunately, there is a way to ensure your ability to save for retirement in the event of a disability. Several insurance carriers offer a disability income insurance program that helps you continue saving for retirement. These types of programs are ideal, if you are serious about saving for retirement and have maxed out your personal disability income insurance benefits.
Upon a qualifying disability, this type of program would pay monthly benefits directly to a trust to help you continue saving for retirement. This trust then invests the benefits based on your risk tolerance. At a set age (varies by program, but typically age 65 or 67), you would start receiving income payments from the trust. These payments would continue until death or until the funds diminished.
When shopping for this type of offering, you should look for:
- A carrier that does not require you to validate your current retirement savings efforts
- Non-cancelable, guaranteed renewable coverage
- Benefit periods that will coincide with extended retirement ages (such as age 65 or 67)
- An offering that allows you to decide how to invest your benefits based on your risk tolerance level
Overall, look for an insurance company that is financially strong and has a track record of exceptional customer service and claims handling. If the unthinkable does happen, you'll appreciate the quality of the service you receive when you need it the most.
For more information, contact Mike Edwards
|Employers not faring well when it comes to employment-related litigation|
Employers take note: you are not faring well in our current liability climate. Employment litigation is on the upswing. Items to be aware of:
- The greatest increase in overall employment litigation is in the area of discrimination.
- The five year trend is toward higher settlements. Since the IRS code was amended to make settlements taxable as 1099/W2 earnings, settlements are increasingly costly.
- Employers have not fared well in defending claims. In 2008, claimants prevailed in:
- 62% of sexual harassment claim trials
- 60% of retaliation claims trails
- 61% of discrimination claims trials
In this environment, it's imperative to protect yourself. COPIC's wide-range of property/casualty products
and staff expertise can help make sure you're covered.
|Health Reform: What plans can be "grandfathered?"|
When the Affordable Care Act became law President Obama made it clear: "If you like your health plan, you can keep it." The regulation lets health plans that existed on March 23, 2010 to be "grandfathered" and thus be exempt from some of the new law's provisions.
From an employer perspective, which insurance plans and policies are eligible for grandfather status and which are not?
Whether or not a plan or policy is considered the "same" as it was on March 23, 2010 depends on the changes that it makes from that point forward. Grandfathered health plans will be able to make routine changes to their policies and maintain their status. These routine changes include cost adjustments to keep pace with medical inflation, adding new benefits, making modest adjustments to existing benefits, voluntarily adopting new consumer protections under the new law, or making changes to comply with state or other Federal laws. Premium changes are not taken into account when determining whether or not a plan is grandfathered.
Plans will lose their grandfathered status if they choose to make significant changes that reduce benefits or increase costs to consumers.
A plan loses its grandfathered status if, compared to the coverage in effect on March 23, 2010, it:
Significantly cuts or reduce benefits
Raises co-insurance charges
Raises co-payment charges
Significantly raises deductibles
Significantly lowers employer contributions by more than 5 percent
Adds or tightens an annual limit on what the insurer pays. Some insurers cap the amount that they will pay for covered services each year. If they want to retain their status as grandfathered plans, plans cannot tighten any annual dollar limit in place as of March 23, 2010. Moreover, plans that do not have an annual dollar limit cannot add a new one unless they are replacing a lifetime dollar limit with an annual dollar limit that is at least as high as the lifetime limit (which is more protective of high-cost enrollees).
Employers must maintain plan information that verifies and explains a health plan's status as a grandfathered plan and must provide notice to plan participants that the plan is believed to be grandfathered. These interim final rules give regulators the leeway to disregard plan changes that were adopted before June 14, 2010 that modestly exceed the changes allowed in these rules.
Even if you're not currently in the market for insurance products, we're always available to help make sure you're getting the best coverages at the best prices. Call us at 720-858-6280!
President, COPIC Financial Service Group
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