Open Enrollment 2018: Key Information, Dates and Reminders

Doctor visit

If you are currently without health insurance, Open Enrollment for individuals is here. Open Enrollment is your opportunity to purchase this coverage so that you can be covered on January 1, 2018.

It is important to be aware that if you are earning an income above the Federal Poverty Level, you will be required to pay a penalty for any three consecutive months that you are without health insurance. If you have lost your coverage previously sponsored by an employer, or you no longer qualify to be on your parent’s plan because you are over 26 years old, Open Enrollment is your time to take action to purchase health insurance.

Here is how you can take advantage of this sign-up period to secure health insurance and avoid any subsequent penalties.

What is Open Enrollment?

This is a period during which an individual can apply for health insurance with fewer restrictions than any other time during the year. It is important for those uninsured individuals to make note of this eligibility period. Open Enrollment for the calendar year of 2018 extends from November 1st through December 15, 2017. During Open Enrollment, insurance companies    waive underwriting guidelines and any requirement for evidence of insurability. When Open Enrollment ends on 12/15/17, individuals seeking coverage need to be “qualified” for Special Enrollment, or they will be required to wait until the next scheduled open enrollment period for 2019.

What is Special Enrollment?

This is a period outside open enrollment during which you are given an exception and can purchase health insurance following a qualifying life event, including divorce, marriage, birth, adoption, moving, death and loss of employer sponsored coverage.

How can individual insurance be purchased?

A number of Health Insurance Companies are offering Individual health coverage either directly through health carrier websites, via the New York State Health Exchange, or off the Exchange through independent insurance brokers.

What penalties will you be responsible to pay if you are not covered?

In 2018: $695 or 2.5% of income (individual) and $347.50 (child). The maximum penalty will be set at $2,085.

Health insurance is extremely important for all individuals, even for those with a clean bill of health. Accidents happen, as do unforeseen illnesses.  The cost of emergency room visits, x-rays, MRIs, hospital stays and doctor visits can all add up and be a financial burden to you and your family. We urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to purchase health insurance.  Please contact us with any questions you have about Open Enrollment.

Great Tips For Keeping Your Cyber Information Secure

Technology provides us with great opportunities to make obtaining and sharing information easy, both in the workplace and our personal lives. While the below video from IIABNY refers to the insurance industry, it’s important for us all to be careful when communicating with others. You can come up with proper risk management procedures to prevent cyber liability. With October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month, this video is a great reminder with tips for the best practices.

How Will Purchasing Life Insurance Benefit Your Family?

Family dog

As part of Life Insurance Awareness Month, we would like to take this opportunity to shed light on the valuable benefits of purchasing life insurance. This is a chance to ensure your family is protected, accommodated, and comfortable in the event of your absence. Allow us to share some of the ways life insurance can take care of your family and potentially mitigate pressing expenses.

Income Replacement: If you’re the primary earner, your family depends on your livelihood. Life insurance can help your family cover the costs of expenses such as:

Mortgage: A mortgage may prove to be difficult to pay for as your family transitions to living life in your absence. The death benefit could help cover this cost while they adjust.

College Expenses: The death benefit could help cover tuition expenses for your children. It may take your spouse some time to find a job in your absence. Even then, there will be other expenses to account for and this benefit would allow your children to continue college with a smoother transition after their mourning period.

Family beachChild Care: If your spouse must work additional hours in your absence to supplement income or require assistance watching over young children, there may be a need for child care services. The death benefit can help pay for this expense.

Final Expenses: Your life insurance can also cover expenses related to your death, including:

  • Funeral
  • Burial
  • Last Rights
  • Medical expenses you leave behind that may not have been covered by health insurance.

Life insurance will offer your family some peace of mind while going through this sad and difficult time. Everyone’s situation is different, so feel free to contact us and we can tailor a plan that best fits your family’s needs in your absence.

Why Should Young Adults Consider Life Insurance?

Young Athlete

When’s the best time to purchase life insurance? The answer is NOW. If you find yourself thinking you’re too young to purchase life insurance, we urge you to stop and keep reading as we debunk other common life insurance myths with an assist from “Life Happens.”

It’s too expensive. In the ever-burgeoning budget of a young family, things like day care and car payments and possibly student loans eat up a good chunk of the money each month, and a lot of people think that life insurance is just outside those “necessities” when money’s tight. Life insurance is often not nearly as expensive as you might think, especially when you can get a good policy for less than the cost of a daily cup of coffee at the local café, and well, if money’s tight now, what if something happens to you? In other words, you cannot afford NOT to have life insurance.

I’m strong and healthy! You eat right, you stay active, and everyone admires how grounded and centered you are. You passed your last physical with flying colors! That’s GREAT! You’re neither immortal nor indestructible. It’s not even that something could happen to you—though it could—so much as when you’re at your strongest and healthiest, there’s no better time to get a policy to protect your loved ones. If you fall seriously ill or suffer significant injury later, it will make it tougher to get that kind of policy, if any at all. Simply put, purchase it now while you are healthy and it’s less expensive, so that it’s there for you and your family when cost/availability is out of reach in your mature years.

I don’t have kids. Kids are a big reason why some people get life insurance. That’s not the only litmus for needing protection. If there is anyone in your life who would suffer financially from your loss—your spouse or domestic partner, a sibling, even your parents—a life insurance policy goes a long way in making sure everyone’s still OK even if something happens to you. For peace of mind, purchasing life insurance now is key.

Check out more information from “Life Happens” during Life Insurance Awareness Month.

13th Annual Petschauer Insurance Team Building Outing

 

Petschauer Insurance recently completed yet another successful team-building experience at our 13th Annual Team Building Outing. We spent the day working on our professional development skills so that we always remain mindful and present when consulting and communicating with our loyal and valued clients. We did this all while having fun and learning to dance with Heather Berman at the Garden City Dance Studio! By supporting one another through the emotional intelligence process of turning our challenges into successes, these strategies enable us to continue being the best insurance professionals we can be for you! Watch our video and let us know what you think.

What Car Insurance Discounts Do Student Drivers Qualify For?

Girl in new car

The start of a new school year signifies a wonderful and exciting time filled with the promise of a bright future! As a parent, there’s so much to look forward to for both you and your children as they embark on this next phase of their lives. It’s an opportunity for you to celebrate the young men and women they’re becoming as you provide a healthy foundation of love and support.

As your children blossom into young adults, they may take this opportunity to begin driving to school! With that in mind, we’d like to share the various discounts that could apply to the young drivers on your policy.

  • For students attending college over 100 miles away, many carriers offer an Away From Home Discount.
  • If you have chosen to purchase a new car for your child as they head off to school, you may also qualify for a New Car Discount if the car is less than three years old.
  • Completed Driver’s Education courses help young drivers sharpen their skills and add to their knowledge, all while earning a discount at the same time.
  • It could also be especially motivating for your kids to know that they could be rewarded for doing well in school. A Good Student Discount is often awarded to full-time students (25 years old or younger) that maintain a “B” average or sit on their school’s Dean’s List or honor roll.
  • Defensive Driving courses are easily completed online and offer substantial discounts for primary drivers in the household.  Visit our website for more details.

As your kids prepare for this next adventure, we wish them a successful school year filled with new beginnings as you reap the benefits of automobile discounts! Feel free to contact us if you need more information or have additional questions.

Have You Considered A Job In The Insurance Industry?

Job Interview 2

Congratulations! You’ve completed your collegiate career and are excited to use what you learned and embark on a new career. Celebrate your accomplishments! You have earned it!

As you enter this amazing time in your life and reflect upon where the next road leads, we encourage you to stay positive during what can be an overwhelming and challenging time.

As an ambitious professional looking to dive in head first and get real world experience, where can you turn?

We are here to share with you the many rewarding and lucrative areas of the insurance industry!

There are so many possibilities the insurance industry can offer with your versatile talents.

Check them out!

  • Customer service
  • Claims
  • Underwriting
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Information Technology
  • Social Media
  • Human Resources

In addition, there are many perks to working in insurance.

• With various careers and respective roles to choose from, you will find of plenty of room for creativity, growth, and stability. Companies are often looking for young, energetic talent to train, nurture, and develop to help fill these roles.

• Insurance will be around forever! Insurance will always be needed regardless of the economic climate, so there will always be a place for you! Therefore it will provide ambitious individuals with the groundwork for job security. With varied roles to fill, you are bound to meet co-workers with diversified talents and personalities. No work day is ever quite the same.

• Most rewarding, you will come away with a sense of purpose. You’ll be part of an industry dedicated to helping people protect themselves, their assets, and their families in hopes of securing the best future and overall quality of life.

With all of this to look forward to, what are you waiting for? Visit our career page to stay on top of the opportunities we may have for you moving forward!

New York Paid Family Leave Law: Key Information, Dates and Reminders

Newborn with parents

New York’s new Paid Family Leave (PFL) law will go into effect on January 1st, 2018. This is a mandatory benefit for all New York employees, and employers have the option to approach their employees to make early deductions. Beginning July 1st, 2017 employers can start making these deductions. In the interest of sharing more information, Petschauer Insurance would like to answer some pressing questions to help readers understand how this law impacts you.

What is PFL & who qualifies for this benefit?

PFL supplements part of an employee’s income while they are out of work. Full-time employees who have worked 26 consecutive weeks and part-timers who have worked a minimum of 175 days are all eligible.

When can you take PFL?

Paid Family Leave can be taken for newborn bonding and/or foster adoption (within one year of birth/placement), the caring of a seriously ill family member, or family exigency/military leave. The need for exigency leave will arise if a covered military family member is on covered activity duty or active duty status.

How much will PFL pay?

In 2018, employees will be eligible for 50% income replacement for a maximum of 8 weeks. An employee’s approved time off and income replacement percentage will continue to increase through 2020.

How much will PFL cost?

Employees fund PFL through payroll deductions. The premium or contribution will be equivalent to .126% of an employee’s weekly wage, capped at $1.65 per week for New York’s average wage of $1,305.92.

Will you have job protection?

All eligible employees have job protection while out on Paid Family Leave.

Have more questions about Paid Family Leave? Please contact us today! 

Keeping You Safe Through the Sunshine & Fun Summer Season

Family Dog Outdoors

After eagerly awaiting through the cold winter months, we’ve finally arrived at summertime! This is an opportunity to soak in the sun, go for a swim, grill up some burgers, and participate in a number of other fun outdoor activities.

Along with the incoming heat wave, however, comes a need for safety and increased awareness.  Taking cues from some of our carrier partners, we’d like to highlight ways to practice safety while still having fun this time of year.

BBQ

HOW TO BE SAFE WHEN MAKING a dynamite meal FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS: It’s important to check your propane tank for leaks before you begin. As you start cooking up that delicious food, make sure kids and pets are both far away from the grill.   Afterwards, be mindful to clean the grease/fat buildup off the grill and respective trays so that you are ready for your next fabulous meal!  For more suggestions, Travelers offers a full pre, during, and post grilling guide here.

Help your pets enjoy summer, too! Sometimes the blazing heat can just be too hot for us to bear on a summer day. There’s a good chance that our pets feel the same way. According to the ASPCA, it only takes ten minutes for the inside of a car to reach 102 degrees on an 85 degree day.  Please, do not even think about leaving pets in the car, even for a minute while you run into a store!  This can lead to hyperthermia or WORSE! There are ways to make your furry friends comfortable during the sunshine.  Here are a few: when traveling outdoors with your pet, carry large amounts of cold water, exercise during cool parts of the day, find shady areas or bring umbrellas, walk in the grass and be sure they always wear a life vest if they are near the water or on a boat.

Pool PartyMake a positive splash! It’s always an exciting time of year when opening the pool. If you have young kids around, there are ways to ensure a safe environment before you officially hit the water. It would be best to secure the perimeter with fencing, a gate, and/or locked entrance. You can also equip the pool area with life preserver rings and rope, as well as a reaching pole with a rescue hook. Trusted Choice provides more pool safety/maintenance tips here.

One small step for “man”, one giant leap for safety!  The warm weather allows us to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities we look forward to all year round. For some, that includes jumping on a trampoline, using fire pits and waterfalls. Coverage on your homeowner’s policy may vary depending on the carrier so call your agent today to be sure your guests are covered in the event of an unforeseen accident. There are carriers that provide coverage based on certain safety measures being met. For your convenience, Nationwide offers insight as to how you can forge ahead with caution.  In addition, Travelers has you covered as well!

We’re all excited for summer and we wish you a safe and fun time!  Enjoy the start of the season!

2017 Father’s Day Message From President Heidi Petschauer

Heidi JP_Page_1

As I reflect on my dad’s (our founder) life and legacy on this Father’s Day, there is a common theme that resonates how he lived his life at work and with family and friends. He valued working together as a team or family to achieve a common goal. I so value this as well. My dad instilled this in me and I continue to carry this theme throughout my own personal life and here at Petschauer Insurance. In our professional office environment, we now call this theme “JPI Team Collaboration.” I truly believe this theme encourages and allows every team member to feel that their contributions at JPI have value. My deep belief is that if everyone feels this sense of having value, we can increase our level of competency and confidence to be the best insurance consultants we can be – even in the presence of our challenges or obstacles.

Team collaboration also holds true when working together at home with your family and friends.  This value will allow you to be more open to sharing and communicating with those you love and hold dear. My dad was on to something here! The more successes you experience and the more value you feel, the more you will grow as a company and as a family. To me, that is what life and living is all about!

As you are being honored and celebrated by those that love and respect you this Father’s Day, my message is simple: whether you are a dad, mentor, coach, teacher or in any other position of influence, may you always maintain the value of team collaboration!

Today in particular, as I honor the memory and legacy of my dad, this value always lives in me.

Happy Father’s Day!