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The Jordan Insurance Group - Blog

With over 76 years of experience, The Jordan Insurance Group is an industry leader in Life Insurance strategies and Employee Benefits. We strive for excellence through our due diligence in selecting products to satisfy our clients’ needs with proven benefit designs and tax strategies. Our Team utilizes a diversified multi-level approach in preserving, protecting and growing wealth for our business and individual clients.

Need to know: Trump rolls back the Obama-era guidance re: classifying Independent Contractors vs. Employees (June 2017)

Author WilliamJordanSr , 8/28/2017
  This press release from the Department of Labor has to be the shortest release I’ve ever read:https://www.dol.gov/whd/workers/Misclassification/AI-2015_1.pdf What it means for business owners: In 2015 and 2016 the Department of Labor, under the Obama administration, issued guidance that many businesses had been wrongly classifying some employees as independent contractors, avoiding certain employment expenses and liabilities that they would otherwise have had to pay. They said they were going to begin looking much more closely at anyone identified as an independent contractor to determine the accuracy of this classification. This new DOL guidance means that employers most likely can expect less scrutiny when it comes to employment classification under the Trump administration. Additionally – the Department of Labor guidelines from 2015 have been deleted from their website. “Page Not Found” – I’d say that’s pretty telling. As “added value” (read: free) every client of Jordan Insurance Group has access to our HR 360 platform and can speak with our own licensed HR Specialist about any of their employment questions or issues at any time. If you have any questions about the DOL guidelines, HR 360, or how we can help your organization save time, money, and grow your business, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at 410-312-0811 or shoot me an email at BJordan@JordanIG.com. Regards, Bill Jordan

Stories from the front: Why I dropped off a $21,000 check to a client last month (hint – it was their money to start with).

Author WilliamJordanSr , 8/28/2017
Last month I did something that’s starting to become my favorite part of running
this benefits agency – I dropped off a big refund check to a client. You see, this client – a small construction business in Maryland with less than 500
employees – recently stopped buying their health insurance directly from one of the major carriers. For the first time in their company’s history, they worked with
the team at Jordan Insurance Group to switch from a traditional fully-funded plan to a level-funded health plan. Here’s how they switched to level-funding, and what that means:
  1. When you and your employees pay one of the major insurance companies
(Carefirst, Aetna, Cigna, United, etc.) each month, you’re paying for 4 things: payment of your health claims;
administrative costs of the plan; and profit/returns for the insurance
company.
  2. If you go to a level-funded plan, you still have access to the same large
physician networks as the big plans - you simply cut out their profit and keep it for your company/your shareholders.
  3. Switching to a level-funded plan is easy: you simply choose the provider
network that’s best for your employees (many times you can keep the same one you have now); you set up a bank account that you pay your health insurance premiums in, just like you in the past would have paid to the insurance company; you select a company to handle all the paperwork, support, and claims payments from that account; and at the end of the year you keep what’s left instead of it just hitting the profit line of the insurance companies.
But what if our employees and their dependents have a lot of claims, more than what we’ve paid into the bank account? That’s just it – the most important piece of a level-funded plan is a very simple stop-loss insurance policy that’s built into every plan. With one simple policy, you are guaranteed not to pay over a certain amount (you choose the ceiling/amount based on your risk tolerance) no matter what claims are filed in that period. The Result Instead of a (roughly) 33% increase in your health care costs in 2018, you could see savings (that’s right – a reduction in your healthcare costs) of approximately
10-20%. With a level-funded plan, and the right stop-loss insurance policy, the worst-case scenario is that your health costs remain flat from 2017. Either way – you win. What most small business owners don’t know: 86% of businesses in the U.S. with 200+ or more employees switched to level-funding insurance plans years ago rather than buying directly from the carriers; it just makes sense. Insurance companies are making their profit from small and medium sized business. Every time another company goes level-funded – they raise their rates to make up the difference. We’re helping companies put together a plan to move from the big insurance companies to a level-funded plan. If your rates keep going up – let’s talk. Call me at 410-312-0811 or email me at BJordan@JordanIG.com and we can set up a time to talk.

Are you 65? Turning 65 soon?

Author WilliamJordanSr , 2/23/2017
Did you know that at the age of 65 you qualify for Medicare? Our Medicare Specialist, Pam Long, wants to help you better understand the ins-and-outs of Medicare eligibility and benefits. By setting up a phone conference or appointment with Pam, you'll be able to make informed decisions prior to turning 65 or even evaluate your current coverage options. Put an end to the questions by reaching out to Pam at 443-542-9719 to set up an appointment today!

Benefits of a Health Savings Account

Author WilliamJordanSr , 2/2/2017
Health Savings Account BenefitsA health savings account (HSA) covers your current and future medical expenses. It's a smart investment since it provides 12 key benefits.
  1. You control the account. That means you decide all the details, including how much to contribute (there are limits), the bank that handles the account and how to spend the money. You also retain control over the interest earned.
  2. Choose to invest some of your HSA savings into a mutual fund. Here, your money has more potential for growth over time.
  3. It's available to anyone under 65 years of age. As long as you fit into this age range, you qualify.
  4. The money rolls over. Money in a flexible spending account (FSA) must be used by the end of the year or you lose it. HSA funds continue to be available until you retire.
  5. Your HSA account stays put. It's available to you even if you change jobs, become unemployed, switch insurance carriers, move or get married or divorced.
  6. Contribution limits are high. In 2017, individuals may contribute $3,400, the family limit is $6,750 and individuals over 55 may contribute an additional $1,000.
  7. Enjoy a prolonged contribution period. You can make contributions to your HSA from January 1 to April 15 of the following year, which allows you to increase both your HSA and tax savings.
  8. There is no income requirement to open an HSA. You can make lots of money or have no earned income and still contribute.
  9. You receive triple tax savings. The money you contribute to your HSA is tax deductible up to the contribution limit, your savings grow tax-free and you don't pay taxes on the money you withdraw as long as it is used to pay for eligible medical expenses.
  10. It supplements your high-deductible health plan (HDHP). Use it to pay your deductible or any eligible expense.
  11. The money pays for a variety of eligible medical expenses. They include the costs of disease and illness diagnosis, cure, treatment and prevention and cover doctor, surgeon and dental fees in addition to the costs of diagnostic devices, equipment and supplies. Check with the IRS for more details on eligible expenses.
  12. An HSA covers current and future medical expenses. Use it now to offset your high-deductible coverage or let the money grow until you need it for a major medical expense in the future.
A health savings account can be a wise decision for you. Consider these 12 key benefits and talk to your health insurance agent for more details.

Think For Yourself

Author WilliamJordanSr , 1/24/2017
professional-people-at-work-smallYou either choose your story for yourself or let others choose it for you. As Don Miguel Ruiz reminded us: we can become domesticated into our stories. This means that they’re often not of our own making. As I say, they are gifted to us. Often these stories are so familiar to us that we’re unaware that they even exist. They can affect us both good and bad for a lifetime. It took a revealing experience in my mid-thirties which caused me to become an independent thinker. In a workshop, I had the highest winning score ever in a betting game designed to teach win/win thinking. The only instruction they gave, or would give, was to win as much as you can. There was a guy in the corner with a megaphone continually barking out this instruction to the participants. I dutifully manipulated the game (as instructed) and won more than anyone else by a large measure. Heck, being a lawyer, the game of manipulation came natural. Of course, this meant I helped generate a number of really bad…and upset… losers. During a group de-briefing afterwards, I was asked if I could see that I could have played a win/win game where all participants could prosper. I said sure I could see that, right away in fact, yet I justified my high score by saying “I was only following instruction! Those were the game rules and we lawyers are trained to follow rules. In addition I was raised by a 6’3” Marine Corps Sergeant. (I felt like his last soldier at times.) You better believe I learned about following rules early on in life!” The facilitator then asked me an insanely powerful question: He said “Do you always listen to the noise?” My brain stopped dead in its tracks! Wow. The noise. Why did I blindly follow instruction? What other “rules” am I following that aren’t of my own making? Do they really make sense? As Gurdjieff might ask, “Am I truly an automaton?” From that day on, I determined to think for myself; to become 100% responsible for my lot in life. I decided that I could no longer do the safe thing, the thing I had trained myself to do, the thing I did so well; but rather to evolve and do what I should do. For 17 years as a plaintiff’s attorney, I had been feeding off the story that litigation was how I could make a difference. When I stopped listening to the noise and reality hit, I had a midlife crisis. I couldn’t live my passion using litigation to actualize it. Nobody wins a lawsuit. There had to be a better way! Sometimes we question our sanity when reinventing ourselves. Change is fearful even if it’s exciting. Will they let me champion this idea I have? Is this new career or business going to survive? Am I going to go bankrupt – again? Will a competitor come along to put me out of business? Do I really want to do this anymore? Am I too inexperienced to do it? Am I nuts? If you try to do the exact same thing, the exact same way for the next three – or 30 – years, you’ll be guaranteed to turn into that automaton and regret missed opportunities. Don’t listen to the noise. Don’t let others decide what your story will be. Think for yourself.

Benefits and the FMLA Leave

Author WilliamJordanSr , 1/19/2017
health_it_costs___benefits_database_5d-smallThis question was recently asked of the ThinkHR Hotline team: What benefits must be continued while an employee is on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave? What should we do with an employee who is not making his share of the co-payments while out on leave? Their expert answer: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations require that employers continue to provide group health benefits under the same terms and conditions as if the employee was actively at work. There is no requirement under the FMLA to continue other types of benefits offered by the employer. Whether or not an employee’s other benefits continue depend on an employer’s established policy. Any benefits that would be maintained if the employee was on another form of leave should be maintained while the employee is on FMLA leave. Part of the requirement to continue health insurance benefits “under the same terms” means that both the employer and employee must continue to pay their portions of the group health insurance premium, unless the employer has a different policy for managing premium payments during leaves. The employer is required to notify the employee of the payment requirements while on leave, including the amount of the payment, date due, and where the payment should sent. If the employee fails to pay his or her portion of the premium, the employer may be able to suspend group health benefits for the remainder of the FMLA leave. In order to suspend benefits for someone on FMLA leave, the employer must allow the employee a 30-day grace period to make payment after the original payment due date. The employee must receive written notice at least 15 days prior to the actual suspension, and the best employer practice is to send a pending suspension notice once the employee is 15 days past the payment date. One important item to note is that even if an employer suspends an employee’s health coverage under these terms, the employer is required to restore coverage without penalty or delay once the employee returns from FMLA leave to a level of coverage that is equal to what the employee had prior to the leave and had not missed premium payments. If the employee does not return from FMLA, the employee whose coverage was suspended for failure to pay premiums during the leave would be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage. Don Phin, Esq. is VP of Strategic Business Solutions at ThinkHR, which helps companies resolve urgent workforce issues, mitigate risk and ensure HR compliance. Phin has more than three decades of experience as an HR expert, published author and speaker, and spent 17 years in employment practices litigation. For more information, visit www.ThinkHR.com.

Wellness Tips For Flu Prevention

Author WilliamJordanSr , 1/17/2017
4092914530_97262bd71b_z-smallWe’re in the depths of flu season – which makes it more important than ever for you and your family to stay as healthy as possible. Although your first step should be to get immunized for influenza, you should also focus on keeping your immune system strong. Dr. Bruce Underwood, a certified nutrition and preventive care specialist with Healthy Futures, Inc., recommends these “best practices” for maintaining wellness:
  • Get enough rest. To keep your immune system as robust as possible, experts recommend six to eight hours a night of sound sleep.
  • Exercise regularly, but don’t overdo it. The Surgeon General urges adults to walk at least 10,000 steps, or about four miles a day. However, Underwood notes that both lack of exercise and over-exercising can weaken the immune system – so exercise common sense.
  • Make sure you get the right amount of essential nutrients. These include: 1) about 1,000 milligrams a day of vitamin C (from fruits vegetables, and certain cuts of meat) to counteract such toxins as cigarette smoke and air pollution, and the physical and psychological effects of stress; 2) 10 to 40 milligrams a day of zinc (from meats, seafood, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and whole grains) can help maintain a healthy immune system, however, taking more than 100 milligrams a day can lead to fever, fatigue, and other problems; and 3) 440 milligrams a day of fatty acids, especially omega-three acids of the EPA and DPH types (from fish, fish oil, and flax) for overall health, according to the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids.
An ounce of prevention!

Uncle Sam Beefs Up Mental Health, Addiction Coverage

Author WilliamJordanSr , 1/12/2017
123beb9dc10c6d48e3a9d84a6e2667c5_5d195eb_image_slide_despair-smallFederal regulations under the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) require insurance companies and health care providers to treat mental illness and addiction in the same way as physical ailments. That’s good news for everyone with health insurance. The ACA prohibits denying coverage or charging higher premiums to due pre-existing conditions, which include mental illness, while expanding coverage for screening and behavioral assessments and eliminating co-payments or out-of-pocket fees. The rules beef up the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008 by closing loopholes and setting implementation guidelines– an advance that Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius calls "the largest expansion of behavioral health coverage in a generation." Under the regulations, mental health benefits must match those for medical and surgical treatment, including copayments, deductibles, number of visits to providers, residential treatment, and outpatient services. The regulations could affect 62 million people, including 23 million substance abuse addicts. Administration officials called the new rules a response to the need to help the mentally ill get help before they commit such violent acts as the massacres in Aurora, DO and Newtown, CT. Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, Executive Director of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, and American Psychiatric Association President Jeffrey Lieberman praise the rules for providing expanded care. "Health plans have supported MHPAEA and worked to implement these requirements in a manner that’s affordable, safe and effective,” adds Karen Ignagni, President of America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group of health insurance companies. "The new regulations enable patients with mental and behavioral health conditions to keep benefitting from the innovative programs and services that health plans have pioneered.” To learn more about how these rules will apply to your health insurance, feel free to get in touch with us.

Coat Drive

Author WilliamJordanSr , 1/10/2017
coat-drive-small The Jordan Insurance Group has teamed up with Sarah's House Charities to collect coats for people in need. If you happen to have any new or lightly used coats in any size that you are willing to donate to a person in need please bring it to The Jordan Insurance Group (address below) by January 13th. Thank you in advance for your kindness.

The Jordan Insurance Group 7230 Lee Deforest Drive, Suite 103 Columbia, Maryland 21046


Don’t Stick Your Loved Ones With Student Debt

Author WilliamJordanSr , 1/5/2017
student-education-loans-2012-smallCollege students are graduating deeper in debt than ever, as tuition and fees keep escalating while family incomes stagnate. The average student debt jumped to nearly $30,000 for the Class of 2012, compared to $26,000 in 2011, according to the Project on Student Debt at The Institute for College Access and Success. Average student loans in 2012 were even higher for newly minted physicians ($167,000), veterinarians ($152,000), and attorneys ($125,000). If you’re a young professional with debts on this scale, you might well find it difficult to pay off these loans during the early years of your career, before you earn enough to build up savings. If you died before paying your loans, who would be responsible for the balance? Although federally financed student debts are forgiven in case of the borrower’s death, the burden of payment for a private loan would fall on your family or the guarantor (co-signer) of the loan – most likely your parents. Not to worry. A term life insurance policy can cover this risk, so your loved ones won't take a financial hit when they're already reeling from grief. The policy will cover you for a fixed period, such as 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. You can either buy coverage for as long as the loans are likely to be paid off, or have a co-signer (for example, your mother) purchase a policy on your life, with herself as the beneficiary. You can obtain this financial peace of mind for pennies a day. A 20-year, $250,000 term life policy for a healthy 30-year-old costs only about $150 a year, according to LIMRA, a life insurance trade group. For more information, just give us a call. We’re always here to help.