Friday, August 5, 2011

Is Your Preventitive Healthcare Free?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) And What It Means To You.

Effective September 23, 2010 insurers are prohibited from charging co-payments or deductibles for Level A or Level B preventive care and medical screenings on all new insurance plans.

How long have you been on your current plan and is this a significant enough development to warrant considering a change to a new plan?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force publishes it's list of recommendations that must be considered covered preventative care and include such things as:

Blood pressure screening in adults

Cervical cancer screening

Colorectal cancer screening

Diabetes screening

Osteoporosis screening: women

Cholesterol abnormalities

Obesity screening

For a complete list as well as full descriptions go to

For many people wellness is the only cost that they routinely encounter on a yearly basis and many existing policies provide for some basic preventative care but is it adequate to meet your needs? And, if it isn't, should you consider changing to a plan that includes the mandated preventative care features?

Of course there are other considerations that must be taken into account before you decide to look for a new plan.

Has anyone in the family been diagnosed with any medical condition that was not present at the time of your application to your current insurer?

Have preexisting conditions worsened or have your medications changed?

Has anyone in the family had a surgery or been hospitalized?

Are your current premiums still competitive or could you save money by switching to another plan?

With all the changes to health care that have already taken place and in light of all the changes we have seen with individual insurance companies it's a good idea to speak with an insurance broker who deals with a wide range of companies to ensure that you are getting the most comprehensive information so that you can make the most informed choice.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Paying For Doctors You Don't See

Have you ever heard the phrase “You get what you pay for”? Well what about paying for something you don’t get? Many people are in just that situation when it comes to their health insurance.

I found that by examining my policy closely that I was paying for doctors that I never saw and you may be too.

Everything has a cost. When you buy a car and add the GPS there is a cost. Add the leather interior and the cruise control and you wind up paying extra. Why should we think that health insurance is any different?

Everything in life has a cost associated with it. Actuaries in the insurance industry make their living by evaluating the revenue that an insurance company takes in and comparing it to the claims that it historically pays out and they price plans accordingly. That means that every part of your policy has a cost associated with it; Doctor visits, prescriptions, lab exams, ER visits, surgeries and hospitalization costs can all be charted and as a result they can be priced accordingly.

I recently reviewed my personal plan and realized that $142 of my monthly premium was providing me with a co pay when I went to the doctor even though I rarely go more than one time a year. That adds up to over $1700 a year so that I would have a co pay of $30 dollars when I actually saw a doctor. Does that make sense?

Granted I’m not a 35 year old male, but even if it means that $30 or $40 a month of my premium simply provides a co pay I may still be wasting money most of the time.
And, in a year where I do encounter medical issues if I am covered correctly once I meet my deductible my medical costs are covered including follow up doctor visits.

Let’s take a step back and look at the larger picture. Most of us don’t go to the doctor on a regular basis. Sure there are the colds, flu’s, minor aches and pains, checkups, (now covered by Obama Care), and minor cuts and scrapes. But, what do we really have insurance for in the first place? I call insurance protection for the “what ifs”. Things like heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes, etc.

We all have life insurance in case we die. We worry about serious illness or accidents, disability and long term care, but was insurance really ever designed to cover every cost that we as humans can encounter? ; Of course not.

My point is simply this, we are all different and we all have different needs, but we all need to evaluate the way we structure our healthcare the same way we evaluate our auto and homeowners insurance to insure that we are purchasing the proper level of coverage that meets our unique insurance needs.

But you still have to be careful. For instance I meet people everyday who make the mistake of not accepting prescription coverage simply because they are not taking medications today. This can put them at risk for expensive prescriptions or even chemotherapy treatments that are many times considered prescriptions later in life and then it’s too late.

An agent that works for one insurance company or a telemarketer that represents an online site needs to sell you a product, their product. That’s why you need an independent broker that has the flexibility and the knowledge to present a wide range of options that best meet your unique needs so that you make an intelligent decision that provides you with the best coverage at the best price.

What Homeowner's Insurance Doesn't Cover

We all have homeowners insurance, but just what does it cover and are there other things that I should be concerned about?

Sure it covers damage to property from fire, theft, wind, hail, explosion and smoke as well as many other things but what about your personal items?

Many people are not aware of the Maximum Limits of Liability that are a part of all homeowner’s policies. For example there are many special limits of liability that are applied to protect the insurance companies.

There is a $200 limit of liability on paper money, bank notes, bullion, gold, platinum, coins and medals.

Also common is a $1,000 to $1500 limit for theft of jewelry, watches, furs, precious stones, watercraft, watercraft trailers and grave markers and that is NOT per item.

The insurance company will pay up to $2,500 for loss of firearms due to theft and they typically will pay $2,500 for loss of silverware, silver plated ware, gold ware, gold-plated ware, and pewter ware due to theft.

When was the last time you inventoried your personal valuables? Have you acquired items that have not been added to your policy by means of an endorsement?

Coverage can be relatively inexpensive considering the exposure you may have without the added coverage. For example a Fine Art rider for a painting valued at $10,000 can cost as little as $11.00 a year or less than $1 a month!

Don't be caught in need of personal property homeowners insurance when it's too late, make sure you are covered for the items you value by contacting your agent today.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Take Control of your Web Presence!!

Have you seen my picture on the web? Have I ever seen yours? Is your business visible on the web?

If you are a small business owner like me in a service business your brand means everything. Sure your logo is important for brand recognition, but “people buy from people”, so your IMAGE is just as important for branding your business and helping you to stand out in a competitive marketplace as your company name or logo.

For the last several years most of the business that I attracted to my insurance agency came from purchased Internet leads. Business was good and I thrived, but all things change and that business model started to falter several months ago. When leads were scarce my business suffered; when lead quality became increasing worse, my business suffered. I recognized that my future success depended on developing a new marketing strategy that I could control myself.

That’s what led me to become more interested in my web presence. I Googled my name and found a famous photographer and an NFL player dominating all of the pages; I was nowhere to be found. Then I Googled my image and low and behold there I was back on about page 900 with some old obscure photo from the past. And, of course I had the same results when I searched for my business, Morris Associates, LLC.

At this point I began to look at the web differently and decided it was time for a major shift. The first thing I did was search out every free business directory that I could find. I diligently completed very detailed profiles about me and my business and ALWAYS uploaded as many images and logos as the site would allow. I listed my business in Google Places and created a personal/business page on Google.

While slow at first I began to see results. Suddenly I was beginning to see movement in my placement. I began to attend networking groups such as AZ Power Networking as well as others; I became more active with social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I began publishing articles on the web and on ezines. I started a blog and a newsletter and I continued to build the strongest business and personal profiles possible within these sites and loaded them with images.

Stop for a moment and Google Dennis Morris. Sure, the photographer is still there and so is the football player, but they no longer own the search results! Have you ever met someone and remembered their name but not the business name? Have you ever just decided to check someone out online before doing business with them? Are you visible? Is your business? Now go to Google again and this time search for me in “Images.” First page, row number one, not bad! Click on my image and what do you find? AZ POWER NETWORKING with my full business profile and contact information! With one affiliation with the right group I leaped to the FIRST PAGE! I’m no longer on page 900 and I’m not only just on the first page; go deeper in the search. Click on each photo and you’ll find the source of each posting.

Will my photos and logos make enough of a difference to matter? Decide for yourself. Consider that I have not done any advertising or done any special promotions and I have not purchased an Internet leads in 9 months. Still, my Google Analytics report for my business website shows my average website page views up 66.67% for the week and up 21.21% over last month so traffic is definitely increasing.

It’s a fast paced rapidly changing business environment and we all have to keep pace using the most cost effective and productive methods to maintain and gain market share. Take charge of your web presence today. Become more proactive in promoting not only your business but yourself! After all, YOU ARE YOUR BUSINESS!

Monday, February 28, 2011

AM Arizona TV 7 Interview

Learn about Social Media and the impact it can have in your everyday life. Can what you post hurt you? View my interview with Lew Rees and Tonja Mock on Channel 7 Am Arizona.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Valley Forward

Valley Forward Association

Wants to thank Dennis Morris with Morris Associates, LLC a for donating a projector to Valley Forward! They work with low cost insurance carriers including all of the top rated companies and a wide variety of products to service virtually any insurance need at the most affordable rates.

Valley Forward Association brings business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to promote cooperative efforts to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities.

Our metropolitan region will be among the best places in America to live, work, learn and recreate. This non-profit organization dedicates its resources to enhancing environmental sustainability in Arizona.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Health Care Changes For 2011

So much confusion has swirled around the new Health Care legistlation that was passed last year that I thought it best to highlight exactly what it means to the average policy holder.

Insurers must allow parents to keep an adult child up to age 26 on their health plan and those young adults can't be charged more than any other dependent. BUT, if your child has an offer of coverage from an employer, he/she might not be able to be added to your plan.

Insurers can't charge co-pays or deductibles for preventive services such as breast cancer screening and cholesterol tests. But: "Grandfathered" plans - those that don't make major changes from the previous plan year -- don't have to follow this requirement.

Insurers must cover children up to age 19 with a preexisting medical condition. New individual plans and all group plans can't refuse to cover a child. But: they can charge a higher premium for a child with preexisting conditions.

No additional payments can be required for out-of-network emergency room care. Insurers cannot require higher co-payments or deductibles if you have a medical emergency and seek treatment at an emergency room that's not in your health insurance plan.
But: Once again, "grandfathered" plans are exempted.

Annual limits on coverage will be going away.
But: First, they'll be raised to $750,000 for all employer plans and new individual plans, rising to $1.25 million after Sept. 23 of 2011 and then to $2 million the following September. Your existing plan may already have a high dollar limit.

Insurers cannot cancel coverage once you get sick, a practice known as "rescission."
But: If you committed outright fraud and intentionally hid something, your insurer can refuse to pay.

Consumers get direct access to physicians: You - not your insurance company - decide which primary physician, gynecologist, obstetrician and pediatrician you see among your plan's list of approved providers.
But: The usual obstacles remain, like whether the doctor is taking new patients or has an appointment available.

All plans, even "grandfathered" plans, will be prohibited from setting dollar limits on lifetime coverage. No "But" on this one.

I hope you have found this helpful. If you have specific questions regarding your current coverage, please call or email me.