Monday, July 29, 2013

Obamacare's Big Plans for Small Businesses

We have all heard the debates over Obamacare and what it will mean for us as personal healthcare consumers. However, the current point of concern is how Obamacare will affect small businesses. Below is an article from Forbes magazine on the impending changes to small businesses via the implementation of Obamacare.

Is Obamacare Good For Small Businesses?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama two years ago. It was considered the signature accomplishment of the president’s first term. 
Obamacare was hailed as comprehensive health care reform that would not increase the deficit and would solve rising insurance costs for small businesses. Two years hence, here is evidence that seem to refute these claims. 
1.  The initial price tag for Obamacare was $940 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently reported the new estimate to be $1.76 trillion over 10 years, almost doubling the original claim. 
2.  Instead of the lower insurance costs small businesses were promised, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office expects costs for small group and individual insurance purchasers to rise faster now than without Obamacare.  And according to the Galen Institute, Obamacare’s early mandates contributed to employer costs rising three times faster last year than they did the year before. 
3. There are at least two parts of Obamacare that are causing small businesses to restrict growth plans and rethink compensation models and employment structure in anticipation of these provisions.
a) The employer mandate requires small businesses with more than 49 employees to provide “government-approved” health insurance or face a $2000 fine per employee, after the first 30. The employer mandate does not apply to part-time employees.
b) Obamacare does include tax credits for employers with fewer than 50 employees, but as the number of full-time employees and average compensation increases, the credits decrease.
These provisions seem to be at cross-purposes with much needed jobs and income growth. Also, even if the individual mandate currently being considered by the Supreme Court is struck down, the employer mandate and tax credit restrictions would still apply. 
4. We wanted to know how small business owners feel about Obamacare, so in our online poll recently, we asked this question with three possible answers: “On the 2nd anniversary of Obamacare, where do you stand on this law?” Twelve percent of respondents chose, “I like it and think it will be good for America,” while those who were “Undecided,” represented 10% of our sample.  But the rest, 78%, said “I don’t like it and think it should be repealed.” 
Write this on a rock…Obamacare is contributing to the economic uncertainty that small business owners are feeling.

If you have any questions or additional information to add, feel free to leave it in the comment section!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

BUSTED: homeowners insurance myths revealed #5

If you have homeowners insurance, all contents (including your valuables) will be covered in the event of burglary... right?

No, not really.

Most people don't realize that many standard homeowners insurance companies put a price cap on valuables. The standard price cap is usually between $1,500 - $2,500 for things like jewelry and art and about $500 for firearms. Therefore, if you have a few pieces of fine jewelry and more than one gun, you might be over the expressed limit for coverage.

That does not mean that your valuables will not be covered in the event of a burglary. However, they will only be covered up to that limit. Just a tip: if something is extremely valuable or unique, have it appraised and give the appraisal form to your insurance agent. That way, in the event that you need it replaced, you won't have to rely on the insurance company to value it - you will have its worth in writing.

If you have valuables that exceed the standard coverage cap, the solution is simple. Policy endorsements are relatively inexpensive and can increase your coverage limits for items such as fine jewelry, art, and firearms.

If you are not sure about your policy limits, I strongly suggest that you contact our agency immediately. Don't wait until you have to file a claim before you realize that you don't have enough coverage. Be proactive and protect your valuables.