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Insurance Tidbits

Newsletter: Autumn 2019

In this issue...

  1. Medicare Updates for 2020
  2. APS Statutes and the Senior Client
  3. Insurance Fraud Statistics
  4. Upcoming Webinar Schedule
  5. My Writing
  6. Contact Me
  7. Seeking Your Advice...
I just created a Facebook page, LindaMcHenryWrites, feel free to drop by and start some action by saying hello and receiving my appreciation for "liking" the page. You can also message me on Facebook at @lindamchenrywrites.

Hello!

I hope you are well as the outside world faces into winter. I'm looking forward to the holidays with family, as well as the numerous insurance and writing projects on my To-Do list in the upcoming months.

As the year winds down, I'd like to thank all of you loyal CE clients who still read my newsletters after all these years. I'd also like to thank you new subscribers for your interest.

Stay warm, happy, and healthy as 2019 turns into a new blank page upon which you have the opportunity to write a new chapter in the story of your life.

Happy Thanksgiving!
- Linda

Medicare Updates for 2020



Did you know the following facts about Medicare?
  1. Most people are NOT automatically enrolled in Medicare
  2. Once enrolled, you can only change your plan at certain times
  3. The cost of Medicare Advantage Plans can be less than the cost of Original Medicare - and sometimes doesn't generate a monthly cost at all
  4. If you are 65+ and are still working, you absolutely need to talk to your group health plan benefits administrator before enrolling, or NOT enrolling, in Medicare
Here's the scoop:
  1. Unless you are already receiving benefits from Social Security (e.g., retirement or disability benefits) YOU MUST ENROLL YOURSELF in Medicare.
    • To be eligible for Medicare, you must:
      • Be a U.S. citizen or present in the U.S. lawfully
      • Have earned wages for which Social Security taxes were paid under FICA
      • Have worked a specified number of calendar year quarters, and earned at least a specified amount of earnings each quarter
    • You can enroll in Medicare online at Medicare.gov, at SSA.gov, or by contacting a Social Security office (by phone or in person)
    • If you don't enroll in Medicare during your initial enrollment period, you may wind up paying a late enrollment penalty if you enroll later
      • Your initial enrollment period is a 7-month period that begins the first day of the month 3 months before the month in which you turn 65 (i.e., if your birthday is July 4, your initial enrollment period begins April 1)
  2. Once you enroll in Medicare, you can only change your plan at specified times during the year. If you're in Original Medicare, you can change plans during annual Open Enrollment (11/15 to 12/7). If you're in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch plans at certain other times.
  3. Medicare Advantage plans are regular health insurance plans, sold by regular insurance companies that contract with Medicare. They REPLACE Original Medicare. Although Original Medicare does NOT use provider networks, most Medicare Advantage plans do. Medicare Advantage plans MUST provide at least the same coverages Original Medicare does, and most offer more coverages (e.g. vision and dental).
  4. If you are still working when you turn 65, do NOT enroll in Medicare until you've talked to your health plan. You CAN have both Medicare AND group coverage, but each group plan has certain requirements about coordinating coverage. You don't want to enroll (or not enroll) in Medicare and then find out that you've surrendered or lost benefits to which you would otherwise have been entitled.
The Medicare website is VERY easy to navigate and understand, and the Find a Plan feature was update for 2020.

APS Statutes and the Senior Client

Financial exploitation of seniors is an increasing problem in this country. The vast majority of the seniors who are victimized never report their abusers. Current statistics estimate that for every crime that's committed more than 40 go unreported!

FINRA and the SEC have alreaday implemented certail rules and guidelines for financial and insurance professionals with respect to reporting suspected abuse. In many cases, YOU MUST report your suspicions. The same goes for the federal Senior Safe Act.

Here are some resources for you to check out to see what YOUR professional obligations are with respect to reporting.
  1. Bressler Amery Ross has a webpage that allows you to click on an interactive map that provides you with the Senior and Vulnerable Investor laws in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. You need to register for an account, but that's free.
  2. FINRA Rules FAQ
  3. National Adult Protective Services Association interactive state map with resources in each state for Adult Protective Services (APS)
  4. Survey results about seniors and financial exploitation by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA)

Insurance Fraud Statistics

I am constantly amazed by the creativity of fraudsters, and by how pervasive the crime of insurance fraud is. If only criminals used their talents and smarts for good instead of evil...

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud has an EXCELLENT website to provide you with a never-ending array of information and resources to help you detect and prevent insurance fraud--even at the agency level.

Want News, want Scam Alerts? The website has them. Want insurance fraud statistics, the website has them, too. It also has links that provide you with fraud statutes and legislative news, details of recent arrests and convictions, and TONS of other resources.

Here is a partial list of recent insurance fraud convictions. You can access the entire list, which is updated daily, by clicking here:
  • False liability claim in Seacoast, New Hampshire
  • Workers' compensation fraud in Sacramento, CA
  • Arson-for-profit in Fletcher, North Carolina
  • Life insurance fraud in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Phony homeowners claim in Boise, Idaho
  • Insider fraud in St. Joseph, New York
  • Medicare/Medicaid Fraud in Atchison, Kansas
  • Drug diversion in Union County, Georgia
  • Phony auto theft claim in Omaha, Nebraska

My Writing

I attended the New England Crimebake in early November, which is a writer's conference hosted by the New England Chapters of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. I attended the conference for the first time last year, after being a member of both organizations (and their national, parent organizations) for decades. I came away from both conferences with a ton of information, and more than enough motivation to keep me going for months.

So, you might be wondering, where am I at with my non-insurance writing? Here's the short story:
  • A book cover artist is currently designing a new cover for the business book I published, Taking the Mystery Out of Business. That book was originally published in 2010 and is out of print. Once the book cover design is completed, I'll be publishing the 2nd edition on Amazon, in both eBook and paperback. I'll keep you posted about the pub date, once I have it.
  • The same book cover artist will then design a new cover for the mystery novel I published in 2009, Second Time Around. That book is also out of print and will be republished on Amazon in both eBook and paperback.
  • I'm currently writing two fiction novels, and am about 1/3 of the way through one and halfway through the other. More on those projects later.
With respect to my insurance writing, if you're interested in me publishing information on my website, you might want to take the survey I mention at the end of this newsletter to provide feedback. Currently, I'm writing and developing CE courses for A.D. Banker & Company, the firm for whom I teach insurance CE webinars.

Upcoming Webinar Schedule

11/22 - Emerging Technologies & Markets in Insurance
12/03 - Ethics in Action
12/04 - Insurance Fraud
12/05 - Financial Exploitation: Protecting the Senior Client
12/10 - Driving into the Future: Uber, Drones, and Driverless Cars
12/17 - Personal Auto Coverages and Claims
12/19 - Driving into the Future: Uber, Drones, and Driverless Cars
12/23 - Ethics in Action
12/31 - 4-hour Annuity Suitability
01/02 - Driving into the Future: Uber, Drones, and Driverless Cars

For more information and/or to register,
visit the CE Webinar Schedule on my website.

Seeking Your Advice...

I am considering offering more services to clients, including FREE webcasts and products for sale on my website.

I'd love to hear your suggestions about what types of services and products you're interested in. The survey can be taken at Survey Monkey by clicking this URL:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WCXQCL3

Thanks!

How to Contact Me:

Website: https://LindaMcHenry.com
Email: linda@lindamchenry.com
Office phone: 774.203.3157

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Linda McHenry · 73 Branch Avenue · Attleboro, MA 02703-4820 · USA

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