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Roper St. Francis Joins Blue Option Network!

Great news! Starting January 1, 2015, BlueChoice Health Plan Blue Option individual members will have access to the Roper St. Francis network. This includes hospitals, diagnostic centers, urgent care centers and doctors in the Lowcountry. BlueChoice has once again expanded their Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) network throughout the state. As a reminder, Spartanburg Regional Hospital joined the network earlier this year.

If you have any questions, please email info@sandhillsinsurancegroup.com or call (843) 251-4896.

!!SUBSIDY ALERT!!

 

The below notice is being sent to individuals who enrolled in ACA plans through Healthcare.gov

Dear Client:

Thank you for choosing Sandhills Insurance Group as your local agency and insurance service provider.

As you know, you purchased individual health insurance coverage through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (aka. the FFM or Healthcare.gov).  Any subsidy you received is paying a portion of your monthly premium payments.  This IRS approved subsidy was granted to you based on statements you made on your application to Healthcare.gov with respect to your income and other factors related to subsidy eligibility.  The amount of subsidy which you initially qualified for was conveyed to you via the Eligibility Notice sent to you by Healthcare.gov in response to your application. You may contact the FFM at  to obtain a copy of your Eligibility notice at : (800) 318 – 2596.

As a reminder, when you applied for health insurance through Healthcare.gov, you had the option of having a portion, none, or all of your subsidy amount specified in the Eligibility Notice to be applied to your monthly insurance premium payments.  The Insurance Carrier providing your coverage is charging you the difference between the total premium and the portion of subsidy granted in your Eligibility Notice that you requested.  The calculation is as follows:

  Monthly Insurance Premium

– Subsidy portion amount requested by applicant

= Amount due per month

Therefore, the monthly amount you are paying for your health insurance is directly linked to your election to have some or all of the subsidy you qualified for applied to your monthly payments.

Any changes in income, such as ones caused by a promotion, the loss of a job, or the taking on of additional jobs or work, may impact your eligibility for subsidy and/or the amount of subsidy for which you are eligible.  Likewise, changes in other eligibility factors such as the number of dependents claimed, or the addition/ deletion of dependent income can affect your eligibility for subsidy and the amount of subsidy for which you qualify.

Per your Eligibility Notice and your application, you were advised to contact Healthcare.gov if any changes to your income or if any changes to other eligibility factors occur throughout the tax year.  

The consequences of not reporting changes in income or changes in other eligibility factors could mean that you might have to repay subsidy amounts you claimed throughout the year at the end of the tax-year for which you took subsidy payments.  In the state of South Carolina, it is of particular concern if your income falls below 100% of federal poverty, or if your income rises significantly above the percent of federal poverty you reported you earned at the time you applied for your subsidy via Healthcare.gov.  In either case, you could end up owing substantial amounts of subsidy payments you received to the IRS if you fail to report changes to Healthcare.gov.

It is your responsibility to report any changes in your income or changes in other eligibility factors to Healthcare.gov.  If your income has changed significantly, if you are no longer claiming dependents you claimed on your application, or if your eligibility otherwise has changed, we urge you to contact Healthcare.gov immediately.  Neither Sandhills Insurance Group, nor its agents, nor the Insurance Carrier providing your coverage have any legal authority or legal responsibility to report eligibility changes to Healthcare.gov.  Such changes must be reported by the applicant receiving the subsidy.

For more information regarding available ACA plans, to schedule an appointment for the coming open enrollment, or for questions, please email info@sandhillsinsurancegroup.com.  Thank you!

NOTICE TO CONSUMER REGARDING APPLICATIONS FOR INSURANCE COVERAGE
Sandhills Insurance Group, LLC is a fully licensed agency domiciled in South Carolina, agency license # 182413.  Licensed agents who write health insurance through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM)  have completed necessary training required by CMS, the federal agency overseeing the appointment of agents to offer insurance plans through Healthcare.gov and to enroll applicants in coverage through Healthcare.gov.  In addition, the same complete necessary training required by the carriers offering health insurance and related coverages both on and off the FFM.  The licensed agents contracted with or working for Sandhills Insurance Group have authority to represent insurance products, advise applicants on coverage features, and assist in the application process.  Representations made on applications for coverage impact both eligibility for coverage and the cost of the coverage.  Any material misrepresentation, either intentional or unintentional, could result in delay of or denial of claims, or an adjustment in your monthly premium due.  Neither Sandhills Insurance Group, LLC nor its agents are responsible for material misrepresentations made on applications for coverage by applicants.  It is the policy, practice, and procedure of Sandhills Insurance Group to provide a copy of the application for coverage to each applicant via physical or electronic means.  A copy of an applicant’s application for coverage can be obtained by contacting Sandhills Insurance Group or by contacting the carrier providing coverage.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to report any inaccuracies or errors on their application for coverage.
NOTICE TO CONSUMER REGARDING APPLYING FOR COVERAGE THROUGH THE FFM
While Sandhills Insurance Group and its agents may assist consumer’s in applying for coverage through the FFM and navigating the Eligibility application process through , neither Sandhills Insurance Group nor its agents are responsible for misrepresentations made on any application through Heatlthcare.gov. .  A copy of an applicant’s application for Eligibility and an applicant’s Eligibility Notice can be obtained by contacting  at  or calling (800) 318 – 2596.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to report any inaccuracies or errors on their application; likewise, it is the responsibility of the applicant to report any changes in status or eligibility to  at  or calling (800) 318 – 2596.
While Sandhills Insurance Group and its agents may assist consumer’s in applying for coverage through the FFM and navigating the Eligibility application process through Healthcare.gov, neither Sandhills Insurance Group nor its agents are responsible for misrepresentations made on any application through Healthcare.gov.  A copy of an applicant’s application for Eligibility and an applicant’s Eligibility Notice can be obtained by contacting Healathcare.gov at https://www.healthcare.gov or calling (800) 318 – 2596.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to report any inaccuracies or errors on their application; likewise, it is the responsibility of the applicant to report any changes in status or eligibility to Healthcare.gov at https://www.healthcare.gov or calling (800) 318 – 2596.

 

Tropical Storm Alert: Protect Your Closings

 

The storm off the east coast, now named Arthur, has been upgraded to Tropical Storm status and is expected to intensify.

For this reason, homeowners insurance and commercial insurance companies have issued binding restrictions for our area.  If you have any closings scheduled this week, and the buyer has yet to bind insurance coverage, we are happy to help.

Just request that they email info@sandhillsinsurancegroup.com and their case will be handled quickly and confidentially.  Some of our carriers will shut down at midnight, and we expect most other markets to close in the next 24 to 48 hours.  If you and your buyers take action now, you can avoid postponement of closing dates.

 

Get the Most from Your Coverage, Pt 2

Why have more when you can have the most? The tips in this series show you how you can get the most out of your insurance.

Tip #4:  Get the Most with your personal Inventory.

It’s no secret that at time of claim, if you can produce an inventory of your belongings, be it equipment, furniture, clothing, appliances, or other property, you will enhance the speed and efficiency of the claim process.  The act of creating an inventory also serves as a terrific double check to make sure you have the correct amount of coverage.  That’s because the exercise of documenting and putting a value on your belongings allows you to calculate a total value figure.  You can then live large and compare that figure with your policy declarations to determine whether you have too much coverage, too little coverage, or just the right amount.

Tip #5: Get the Most by consulting with a qualified Local Agency.

Sandhills Insurance Group is your neighborhood insurance agency, less than one mile from Tournament Boulevard at 12303 Hwy 707.  Sandhills currently serves teachers, realtors, accountants, restaurant owners, first time home buyers, HOA boards, retail stores, vacation home owners, property management companies, attorneys, ministers, veterinarians, designers, dentists, doctors, moms, coaches, salesmen, musicians, nurses, children, architects, retirees, builders…people just like you.

Tip #6: Contact Sandhills Insurance Group Today and Get the Most from your Coverage.

Give us a call at (843) 251-4896 or email info@sandhillsinsurancegroup.com and get the most out of life, through life’s ups and downs.

Get the Most from Your Coverage

Why have more when you can have the most? The tips in this series show you how you can get the most out of your insurance.

Tip #1:  Get the Most by getting insured through a Quality Underwriter.

Sandhills Insurance Group works with world-class underwriters and reinsurers, because a tested underwriter can pay its bills, provide fast and efficient claim service, and is highly motivated to preserve its reputation and grow its business.

Tip #2:  Get the Most by Insuring to Value:

Don’t just look at the monthly premium amount to determine which coverage to buy; look at the coverage limits on your policy declaration pages.   Your home and property should be insured at least to 100% of its current value.  If you’re really smart, live large and add increased cost of construction coverage, to protect against unexpected rises in building costs.

Tip #3:  Get the Most by carrying Replacement Cost Coverage.

There are two methods applied to valuating damaged or ruined property: Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Replacement Cost (RC).  The contents portion of your coverage on the policy declaration pages will indicate either the ACV or the RC designation.  If it reads ACV, we need to talk.  ACV means the underwriter will depreciate the value of the insured property at time of claim.  That means you may only receive pennies on the dollar for your damaged or ruined items. On the contrary, with RC coverage, in the event of a loss, your insured items will be replaced at the full current value required to repair or replace with identical or like item in today’s dollars.

BlueChoice® Goes Green in 2014

BlueChoice HealthPlan is committed to “go green” in 2014 by offering paperless EOBs.

Whenever a claim is processed, an EOB that explains how it is paid is sent to the member. Each EOB is three to six pages long. By the end of 2013, BlueChoice® had processed approximately 1.6 million claims. That means a lot of paper and trees!”

How to Go Green with BlueChoice

Starting in March, members who have email addresses on file with BlueChoice Health Plan will now receive an email notification when a new EOB is available on www.BlueChoiceSC.com. They can log into their My Health Toolkit® accounts to securely view, download and print their EOBs 24/7 at their convenience. Later this week, BlueChoice® will send out a letter to members notifying them of this change.

Members who don’t have email addresses on file can go green by choosing to receive EOBs electronically. The process to receive paperless EOBs is simple:

  1. Visit the BlueChoice website, www.BlueChoiceSC.com.
  2. Access My Health Toolkit and create a profile.
  3. After providing all necessary information to create a profile, choose an EOB delivery method.
  4. Select “online” and provide a valid email address.
  5. Any time a member receives health care services, an email notice tells him or her that a new EOB in My Health Toolkit is ready  to view, download or print. It’s just that easy.

Paperless EOBs are just one of the many ways BlueChoice Health Plan is working to reduce the impact of its business on the environment.

If you have any questions about this process, please email info@sandhillsinsurancegroup.com.

Inventory: Get the most of your coverage

An important feature in most homeowners policies is the personal property coverage.  The personal property coverage protects you against losses of precious belongings within your home, and this amount pays benefits additional to the cost of insuring the dwelling structure itself.  While most consumers are aware they have the coverage, few have really thought through what would happen in the event of a claim and asked important questions such as “How will I be compensated?”; and “How will I prove the value of my belongings?”; and “What are the standards for determining property value?”

A simple solution is to create a schedule (inventory)  of your belongings and store it in the cloud or in a safe place away from your dwelling.    This simple list should include

  • the type of article (such as oak table or antique chair)
  • the model or make of the item
  • the estimated replacement value of the item
  • A picture of the item if possible

Having an inventory is a great gift to yourself at the time of a claim.   It shows that you have thought through the process of actually having a claim and will speed the claims process, should a loss occur.

Introducing Consumer’s Choice Health Plan

The Affordable Care Act is now here.  South Carolinians are eligible for significant subsidies, making the purchase of health insurance a reality for hundreds of thousands of previously uninsured South Carolinians.  Many individuals in our state make less than $25,000 a year.  Most subsidy-eligible people in this income bracket are finding full major medical plans for between $0 and $75 premium per month!

Consumer’s Choice: an Insurance Choice Individual South Carolinians are Making in Droves

As part of the role out of the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM), the FFM approved Consumer’s Choice Health Pan Co-op as a provider for health insurance coverage.  Consumer’s Choice features new ACA compliant “metallic” plans with a price tag as much as 15-20% below other options available on the FFM exchange.  For those who enroll via the FFM, the provider network includes Grand Strand, Georgetown, Waccamaw, MUSC, and East Cooper hospitals.  Consumer’s Choice also offers a wider range of options in all metallic coverage categories – including bronze, silver, and gold – than other competitors.

 

Click the below links for more information or call (843) 251-4896 to set an appointment.

FAQ

Plan Options

Request A Quote

Practice Fireplace & Home Fire Safety

As the weather turns cold, there are few things more satisfying and enjoyable than a warm fire. An article by the U.S. Fire Administration and an accompanying checklist provide useful tips for protecting your home from the single greatest holiday season threat to your home: FIRE. – David

Fireplace & Home Fire Safety

Published: December, 2013 By U.S. Fire Administration, a division of FEMA
Photo by Brian Patrick Flynn (see Original_Brian-Patrick-Flynn-Holiday-House-fireplace-room)

More than one-third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in their homes. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the fire risks when heating with wood and solid fuels.

Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) encourages you to practice the following fire safety steps to keep those home fires safely burning. Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility …Fire Stops With You!.

Read More

The Affordable Care Act: Continued

The ACA- Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare”, is not a new law, but 2014 is the big year when the most impactful parts of the law get implemented.  By purchasing coverage through the Federal Exchange, individuals can qualify for tax credits called subsidies.

Changes in 2014-Subsidies

Subsidies are the most intriguing feature of the new law.  In fact, subsidies are precisely how Obamacare will make health insurance “affordable;” lower income individuals will qualify for a subsidy, funded by the tax-payors, to offset the cost of their premiums.  The below points summarize the parameters regarding subsidies:

  • A health insurance subsidy is a tax credit
  • The subsidy can be paid to the Insurer by the Government on a monthly basis, thereby lowering one’s monthly premium payment.
  • The “MAGI”-Modified Adjusted Gross Income- is the basis by which the amount of subsidy an individual qualifies for is determined.
  • Those earning between 100% and 400% of Federal Poverty qualify for a sliding scale subsidy: that’s about $11,500 to $46,000 for an individual and about $23,500 to $94,000 for a family of four. Only individual plans purchased through a Federally Facilitated Marketplace (the FFM) are subsidy-eligible.
  • (Small business owners qualify for additional tax credits by purchasing plans on the Small Business Health Options Program Exchange called the SHOP)

To date, four carriers – Coventry, Consumer’s Choice, BlueCross BlueShield of SC, and BlueChoice Health Plan – offer plans through the FFM.  If you think you qualify for a subsidy, contact Sandhills Insurance Group for assistance with applying for coverage:  info@sandhillsinsurancegroup.com or call (843) 251-4896.