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"I have worked with Andrea Levine over the past five years and have always experienced very prompt responses to my numerous requests. She is extremely knowledgeable in her field as well as courteous. I would consider Andrea to be a resource as well as a friend." - Practice Manager

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In This Issue-May 2011
Video: Health Reform Explained
Monitoring Your Employees' Electronic Communications
Reducing Medicare Age of Eligibility Means Increased Cost for Employers
Employers Have No Obligation for Medical Marijauna Users
Spotlight on Health Savings Accounts

 Video: Health Reform Explained 

Health Reform Explained Video:
Health Reform Explained Video: "Health Reform Hits Main Street"



Monitoring Your Employees' Electronic Communications

Consider these best practices:

  • Establish a policy that explicitly states employees have no privacy rights in communications on company systems.
  • Ensure the policy covers company-owned equipment as well as equipment the employee bought that was reimbursed by the company.
  • Reinforce these policies periodically.
  • Avoid rash reactions to perceived employee criticisms of electronic communications.
  • Respect the privacy of personal, password-protected electronic communications.
  • Be cautious, as case law continues to develop.

Questions about your liability as it relates to your employees' communication? Contact Kristin Stepien at 720-858-6297.


Source: Legal experts from "Business Insurance" Feb. 28 2011

Potential Deficit-Reduction Plan of Raising Medicare Age of Eligibility Means Increased Cost for Employers, Study Says

While raising Medicare's age of eligibility from 65 to 67 would reduce Medicare spending for the federal government, the burden of cost would shift to seniors and employers, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation projection of the potential change suggested by several deficit-reduction plans. 


In the absence of the health reform law, raising Medicare's age of eligibility would result in an increase in the uninsured as many older Americans would have difficulty finding affordable coverage. With health reform, virtually all 65 and 66-year-olds would be expected to obtain alternative sources of coverage. According to the new analysis, 42 percent are projected to obtain coverage through employer-sponsored plans, 38 percent through plans offered through health reform's insurance exchanges, and 20 percent through the expansion of Medicaid for low-income adults.


What does this mean for employers? The study finds that costs would increase by an estimated $4.5 billion in 2014 as employer plans become the primary payer for 65 and 66-year olds who would no longer be eligible for Medicare.


Could Your Life Insurance Do More?

When you can access benefits if you become chronically ill, then yes, it can.


A chronic illness can be just as financially and emotionally devastating to your family as an untimely death. Studies have shown about 70 percent of the U.S. population will need some kind of chronic illness care by the time they are 65 or older.


Recently, several insurance carriers have introduced universal life insurance policies that will pay out long-term care benefits during your lifetime if you become chronically ill.


One carrier, the Hartford, offers a universal life policy with a "Life Access" rider that will pay monthly up to 2 percent of the lifetime death benefit based on becoming certified as "chronically ill" by a physician. This means being unable to perform at least two activities of daily living (bathing, continence, dressing, toileting, eating, transferring) or suffering from a cognitive impairment that requires substantial supervision. For example, a $300,000 policy with the Life Access rider could provide $6,000 a month for potential long-term care related expenses. Unlike a traditional long-term care policy, during your lifetime any benefits not spent will be paid out to your beneficiaries as a tax-free death benefit.


There are no restrictions or other qualifying expenses to you use your Hartford Life Access benefits. You can pay for medical and non-medical expenses, such as family (informal) care, home health care, skilled nursing care, adult day care, home remodeling, transportation, etc.


Although the rider is not intended to fulfill all of your potential long-term care needs and is supplementary to the primary death benefit protection, it can be an excellent way to maximize your resources and enhance your overall financial plan.


Contact Mike Edwards, LUTCF at (720) 858-6289 for more information. 


Securities offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA, SIPC. COPIC Financial and Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. are not affiliated entities.


Recent Court Decisions Say Employers Have No Obligation to Keep or Hire Medical-Marijuana Users

It might be legal, but employers do not need to accommodate it.

In fact, employers could face liability should a known medical marijuana user with marijuana in his system injure someone on the job. Currently there is no clear consensus on how to deal with marijuana impairment.


What should employers do to protect themselves? Although the law is currently on your side, it's important to revisit your internal drug policies, ensuring that your intolerance for medical-marijuana use in the office is clear.


Also, because it's not know whether an insurer will cover the errors and omissions of an employee under the influence, employers need to be diligent and clear when communicating office policies.


Questions? Contact Kristin Stepien at 720-858-6297.


Spotlight on Health Savings Accounts

What is a health savings account (HSA)?


A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available to those who are enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).  Funds contributed are not taxed at the time of deposit. You own your HSA, meaning you control how the funds are used and there is not a "use it or lose it" provision. Should you no longer be covered by a HDHP, you can't contribute to your HSA but you can use the funds for qualified medical expenses without tax liability (you are taxed if you use the money for non-qualified expenses).


Who is eligible to open a health savings account (HSA)?


You must be enrolled in HDHP and cannot be covered by a non-HSA compatible plan. You cannot be enrolled in Medicare, be a dependent on another person's tax return, or have received VA medical benefits at anytime in the past three months.


What are some examples of qualified medical expenses?



         Birth control pills


         Contact lenses, including saline solution and cleaner

         Dental treatments including braces and dentures

         Eyeglasses including laser surgery

         Fertility treatments, including in-vitro

         Hearing aids

         Lab fees

         Nursing home

         Psychiatric care




Questions about HSAs? Contact Andrea Levine at 720-858-6287.  

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!

Wendy Heckman
President, COPIC Financial Service Group
COPIC Better Medicine, Better Lives
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Copyright 2011 by the COPIC Trust. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be produced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher.

  COPIC Financial Service Group, Ltd. is an insurance brokerage firm representing a variety of insurance carriers. Products offered by COPIC Financial are not issued by COPIC Insurance Company.