Wednesday, 05 September 2012 / Published in Applications, Individual Health Insurance

Clients are often concerned that they will get “locked into” a long-term commitment when they purchase individual health insurance. The truth is that you may cancel your plan whenever you choose, and most companies will reimburse you for any time you have paid for, but not used.

However, your insurance company is required to continue to offer you coverage as long as you continue to pay the premium and have told the truth, to “the best of your knowledge and belief” on the application. Once your health insurance policy is in place, you cannot be singled out for premium increase or termination no matter how many claims you make. You must be treated like everyone else in you age group and Zip Code.

If you would care to know more about this, please give me a call at 303-541-9533.

Colorado Continuation/Conversion is a state law that assures an employee who leaves a company with less than 20 full time employees and has been covered by the firm’s health insurance plan for 6 continuous months, a continuation of their health insurance coverage for up to 18 months, except in cases of “gross misconduct.” For an employee leaving a Colorado based company with more than 20 employees, the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) applies.

The ex-employee will be responsible for the full premium (the combination of that which the employer and the employee were previously paying) plus a small administrative cost.

Within 10 days of termination, the employer must sent written notice to the employee of the right to continue. The employee then has an “Election Period” of 30 days from termination to notify the employer of acceptance.

If after this period the employee decides they do not want to accept Continuation coverage, they owe nothing. However, if they do decide they want to accept the coverage, they will owe premium back to their last day of employment.

One concern with smaller companies is that if the firm goes out of business and/or cancels their health insurance plan, this whole option disappears for the ex-employee.

Colorado Continuation/Conversion is a form of “group health insurance” and generally cannot exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions. However, because of this, the premiums are much higher than a relatively healthy person or family could obtain with an individual policy.

If you would like to know more about your options, please give me a call at 303-541-9533.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012 / Published in Uncategorized

This past weekend, August 17-19, 2012, I had a reunion with a couple of my closest friends from the time I was in the Peace Corps in Venezuela. I had seen Bob Buffin a few times over the past few years, but this was the first time since 1968 I had met up with Bart Briefstein. Sure, we are 44 years older, but in most ways it didn’t feel as though we had changed very much. We quickly fell into the same character and relationship rolls we had all those many years ago.

Bart’s Peace Corps experience was perhaps more impactful on him than it was on all the rest of us, as he met Marina in Caracas.

Bob’s time in the Peace Corps was important to him as well. After his two year assignment, Bob became a recruiter with the organization for a number of years. Later he earned a law degree from the. They have been married all these years with two grown children. Bart’s business career took the family from NYC to Minneapolis for many years. Later they had stops in Austin, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Prescott, Arizona. They presently reside in Reno and take advantage of all that city’s cultural offering to keep active. Bart is still as clever as always.

University of Wisconsin and eventually went to work for the National Labor Relations Board for 35 years. Bob recently retired after 42 years of government service. Bob lives with his long-time partner, Karen, in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco. Bob plans to get back into music (he played his guitar on many a long bus ride in training to entertain the rest of the trainees) and keep up with his wine making (we all agreed his Shiraz was excellent).

My service was important to me as well. The association with other volunteers, many of whom were quite high quality individuals, gave me the confidence and desire to do much more with my life than I had heretofore considered.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 / Published in Personal Interests

I was looking for a part-time job while attending East Los Angeles Junior College in 1964. I had a friend who was working as an usher for baseball games at Dodger Stadium in downtown Los Angeles and I asked him if he could help me do the same. He agreed, so I went down and applied and was accepted. I had to join a union and the rules were that the most senior members of that union had first preference in working the games. That meant if I showed up for a game that had a low attendance, I might not have work that day, because only a limited number of ushers would be needed. If not selected, I had the option of either going home or watching the game from the third deck. I worked the 1964 and 1965 baseball seasons.

There were two shifts, one started two hours before the ballgame and the other started an hour later. I always hoped to get on the first shift because your tour ended after four hours. The second shift stayed until the end of the game, even if it went into many extra innings. I think the pay was four dollars and hour and change. We wore company provided grey slacks, maroon double-breasted coats, clip on ties and straw hats. You provided your own white dress shirt.

The Los Angeles Angels Baseball team was formed in 1961 and played in the same stadium which they called Chavez Ravine. They played their home schedule when the Dodgers were on the road and, as their attendance was low most of the time, except when the Yankees were in town, I did not work as much for them. Having teams from both the National and American leagues come into town, I was able to see all the great players of the era; Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Al Kaline, Ernie Banks, Warren Spahn, Willie Mays, etc. Of course, there were all the Dodger greats like Don Drysdale and Maury Wills as well.

One of my favorite fellow ushers was a boxing instructor. I believe his name was Joe Crosetti or something close to that. He worked with fighters down at Los Angeles’ old Main Street Gym. The friend who got me the job (unfortunately I can’t remember his name) and I went down there and did some training with Joe, including some sparing with real boxers. I soon learned that I was not quick, tough or hungry enough to go much further. But my friend was real good and worked at it for a long time. I lost contact with him when I went into the Peace Corps after the second year of ushering. I wonder what happened to him?I did see Sandy Koufax pitch a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs, September 9, 1965 and worked all home games for the Dodgers when they won the 1965 World Series against the Minnesota Twins.

Many of the other ushers were Pakistanis with advanced college degrees, who were working for the same peanuts I was. One evening it was explained to me; they had come over to the U.S.on student visas and as long as they continued studying, they could stay here. Their visas only allowed them to work at part-time jobs, like ushering. Additionally, all of them had a wife and kids back in Pakistan. Their parents would not let them leave their home country without establishing these ties to assure their return.

There were a few venders that I got to know well. They would work their way up from selling the heavy things like soda and beer to the ultimate, peanuts. One peanut seller who really impressed me was a black law student with a big personality. He was wonderful at playing the crowd and worked really hard. He told me once that he could make $300 on a big three-day weekend! $300 to me was a lot of money in 1965.

Most of the time as an usher, after we helped people find their places, we would walk behind the last row of seats and ask people to “please stand behind the yellow line”. This painted line was about a yard back behind those seats and the reason we were required to do that was so that the seated patron would not have some drunk hanging over his shoulder spilling beer.

Many times I was selected to work the Club Level where I saw many of the baseball writers and celebrities who attended the games, like Angie Dickinson with whom I had a stilted (on my side) conversation with in an elevator one time. I always suspected, but never asked, the reason I worked there so much was that I was a clean-cut looking white kid.

I saw a few folks get hurt by being hit by line drive foul balls and flying bats, but nothing really ugly. Of course there was always the mad scramble for loose balls in the stands. When I go to a baseball game these days I have absolutely no interest in having any foul ball come near me.

One day in sunny Southern California, we had an extremely heavy downpour of rain and the game was called off. There was so much water on the field that one of the batboys decided to swim, not wade, between the dugouts.

Fights, drunks, cursing, bad behavior? Yeah, but not a lot, and that’s what the police were there for. It was Los Angeles, not the East Coast, baseball not soccer.

As a member of the union, I had the opportunity to work other events as well. One year I saw the circus 64 times. With this overdose, I have had little interest in going again.

All in all it was a good job and I’m happy I had the opportunity to do it.

If your in-box is anything like mine, you are receiving an endless stream of offers for on-line health insurance quotes. If you are perfectly healthy and know enough about health insurance to be able to select a plan that is well suited for your situation, then this system will work well for you.

However, if you are dealing with some, even minor, pre-existing conditions, or you have not been keeping up on all the changes in the health insurance industry, it might behoove you to speak to an experienced health insurance broker like, modestly, me.

Pre-existing conditions? I promise you that different health insurance companies look very differently at certain pre-existing conditions like; depression, asthma, recent operations, gout, build (height vs. weight), DUI’s and many others. An experienced broker can steer you towards the company who will give your application the best chance of being accepted.

The “right” plan? Low priced health insurance plans often have hidden “gotchas.” These might include excessive co-insurance charges, limited or no doctors’ office visits, no “branded” prescription coverage, additional “access fees” for hospital/ER visits, no mental health coverage, etc. Unless you know what you are doing or have someone to point these “holes in coverage” out to you, you may end up buying a policy that excludes the very things you most want covered.

And, best of all, it costs you nothing to work with a broker; the insurance companies pay our commissions. The cost to you is the same either way.

So, give me a call at 303-541-9533, if you want to make sure you are getting the health insurance coverage you are paying for.

Dr. Don SchmidtCanyon Chiropractic Center - Boulder, Colorado
Thank you for saving us money on our health insurance! We really appreciated your willingness to 'hand hold' us through the process. It can be a daunting task to choose from all the available insurance plans out there. You made it almost easy!
Don MartingMartin Auctioneering - Longmont, Colorado
I can't thank you enough for helping me and saving me a significant amount of money. I truly believe that you had my best interest at heart.