Serving over 200 companies and more than 2000 families since 1988

2882 Sand Hill Rd. Ste. 119 - Menlo Park, CA 94025 - (650) 854-8963 - (800) 564-4476
Pleasure Point - (831) 464-9600

Posts made in December, 2015


Each year, retirees who receive Social Security benefits look forward to an announcement about the cost of living adjustment (COLA). This adjustment to Social Security checks helps senior citizens cope with living on a fixed income, as prices continue to rise and strain their budgets. Unfortunately, there won’t be a COLA this year. For only the third time in history, the Social Security Administration has announced that 2016 benefit checks will remain the same as they were in 2015. This is because COLA is tied to the Consumer Price Index, which measures the rise in prices of goods and services. This year, the Index reflected an inflation rate near zero, and so the Administration was not able to raise benefit amounts. How this decision affects you. Experts often criticize the decision to tie COLA to the Consumer Price Index, because the index heavily weights items like gasoline prices yet offers lees consideration to health care. For retirees who no longer endure a daily commute, gas prices are often less important. And yet, the rising cost of health care affects senior citizens more than any other group. Many pension plans also tie their benefits to COLA. In years that Social Security checks don’t increase, many pension plans don’t either! That could be a double whammy for retirees who are experiencing rising costs, despite what the Consumer Price Index might say. Unfortunately, about 30 percent of Medicare recipients will be paying higher premiums this year. And out-of-pocket costs are increasing for everyone. With your budget potentially seeing more strain than ever this year, it’s important to review your Medicare plan to make sure it still suits you. Supplemental insurance can also help to lower your out-of-pocket expenses. If you’re worried about strain on your budget from rising medical expenses, call our office at (650) 854-8963. We can help you assess your situation and find ways to keep your budget under...

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As a small or mid-sized business owner, you understand the value of providing quality health insurance to your employees. Even better, the Affordable Care Act made it easier for business owners to opt into a group health insurance plan. But when you log into Covered California’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), you might feel overwhelmed at your options. How do you get started, and which plan is right for your employees? Here are a few pointers to get your started. Don’t look at price first. It’s human nature to look at the price tag first. But resist the urge to focus on cost, and compare the merits of different plans. Once you have done this, you will have a better idea of what type of group health insurance plan is right for your business. It’s best to discover what features are truly important to you. Then you can look at price tags and compare plans. Consider your coverage limits. Group health insurance plans offer coverage limits, or the amount of health care bills they will pay before you or your employees are responsible for the balance. With the cost of health care rising rapidly, you want to select a coverage limit that is realistic for the majority of situations. Remember that there are two types of coverage limits: Per claim limits and lifetime limits. A lifetime limit is exactly what it sounds like. A per claim limit refers to the amount your health insurance company will pay toward a single illness or incident. For example, a the emergency care, surgery, and physical therapy following a single car accident will count as one claim. Look for internal policy limits. Even if your per claim limit is reasonably high, your policy might impose further limits on coverage for certain types of medical care. For example, your employees might be limited by an internal policy limit of $5,000 for an appendectomy. If their medical bills exceed this amount, they will be responsible for the balance even if their per claim limit is much higher. Decide upon a network type. A plan might be a HMO, PPO, POS or EPO. This refers to the network of providers which you and your employees can access. A network-based plan can limit costs, and pass those savings on to you, but your treatment options might also be more limited. Consider whether a network plan includes enough providers in your area, and how your employees might feel about these limitations. As a business owner, you face complicated decisions every day. But since few are as important as the health of your employees, why not consult a...

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Thanks to the Affordable Care Act and Covered California (our state’s health insurance exchange), people who are not covered by an employer’s health insurance policy can now select and purchase their own plan. But when you log into the Covered California system to renew or sign up for coverage, the process can be a bit overwhelming. This is particularly true for people who are unfamiliar with how health insurance plans actually work. To make the process a bit easier for you, here are the main three thing you absolutely need to know as you begin shopping for your health care plan. There are four tiers of plans. Health insurance policies are separated according to level of coverage, and are referred to as Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These tiers don’t influence the quality of care you will receive. They simply refer to the percentage which the insurance company will pay toward your health care bills, your deductible, and of course your premiums. In general, plans that offer a higher level of coverage will have lower deductibles and higher premiums. Know the difference between a premium and a deductible. You will pay a premium every month, regardless of whether you use your health insurance plan. Your deductible is the amount you will pay toward your health care costs before your insurance coverage kicks in. For example, if you have a deductible of $1,000, you will pay the first $1,000 toward your medical care each year. Then your insurance plan will begin to cover medical bills to the extent that it allows. You need to consider both your premium and your deductible when deciding your level of comfort with out-of-pocket expenses. Keep in mind that you might receive a subsidy to help with the cost of your premiums. Research network types. These are referred to as HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO. Some networks will allow you to choose any medical practitioner or facility, while other plans only offer coverage to those in their network. This might be important information to you, if you want to use a particular doctor or hospital. We will assist you at no cost!  That’s right, you don’t need to deal with any of the hassle if you don’t want to!  Give us a call at (650) 854-8963 at schedule an appointment.  We’ll walk you through the process and make sure that you have a plan that fits your...

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