Golden & Cohen Makes Washington Business Journal’s Prestigious Book of Lists
Hello, and thank you for taking the time to review our July newsletter. We are very excited to announce that this year, once again we have made the list of the Top 10 largest health insurance firms in Washington Business Journal’s Book of Lists.
We are incredibly proud of our accomplishments, as we have built our business brick by brick. We want to thank all our loyal clients, many of whom have been with us since our inception. We will continue to work hard everyday to make sure each and every client is receiving world-class service and the best possible insurance strategy for their needs and budget. In fact, making Washington Business Journal’s prestigious list just spurs us on to rank even higher — because making this list, or any list, merely reflects the real driver of our growth and success: whether our clients are satisfied and are referring us to their clients and friends.
So a warm welcome to all of our clients, — and potential new clients — with this, our monthly e-news blast. Our goal is to help you get the most out of your health insurance — and to that end, below you’ll find need-to-know information about timely changes in term life insurance, a new health-insurance subsidy for small businesses in Maryland, and the work we are doing with the Greater Washington Association of Health Underwriters. You’ll also find quick summaries of two recent healthcare articles we think you should know about, along with our reactions to them. And finally, we leave you with some parting thoughts on what we consider to be the meaning of success.
If you enjoy reading our monthly newsletter, we’d be thrilled if you would tell a friend. Simply click the button at the top of this page, or send us the emails of anyone you’d like us to reach out to and we’ll extend a personal invitation.
Here’s to your health!
Term Life Insurance: What are the best strategies as rates rise?
An interview with Scott Golden, CFO, Golden & Cohen
“The smart consumer needs to shop his/her term insurance every 3 to 5 years” advises Scott Golden, co-owner of Golden & Cohen. “Although term rates may be going up, it is not drastic in most cases. In fact, even though costs have gone down over the last several years, you can still save money now — and it’s important to make sure your policy covers your evolving life situation.”
A person’s needs change every 5 years, Golden says, making it critical to revisit one’s term insurance policy. “The term [where rates are level] may need to be increased or decreased depending on the situation. The amount of insurance should be considered, too, especially if there are life events like a new baby, marriage, or a new house with a bigger mortgage.”
Buyers should be aware that term rates are rising to meet the requirements of regulators for stability and adequate reserves — a short-term phenomenon. “I do not seeing rates going up forever, as I did not see rates going down forever either,” Golden notes. “So if you haven’t looked at your life insurance policy recently, now would be a good time to assess your needs to be sure you have enough coverage.”
For more information about term life insurance, send Scott an email at Scott@golden-cohen.com.
Maryland’s New Health Insurance Partnership for Small Businesses
In July 2008, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law a program to reduce the number of uninsured Marylanders. The Working Families & Small Business Health Coverage Act establishes the Health Insurance Partnership (HIP) — a program tailored to small employers who don’t currently offer health insurance to their employees.
Under the partnership, a small business with 2 to 9 full-time employees, which has not offered health insurance to its employees during the previous 12 months and meets specific wage and salary requirements, is eligible to receive a subsidy for up to 50% of its employees’ premium costs. In addition, under HIP:
- Family coverage may also be subsidized. Once enrolled in HIP, the business is likely to continue to be eligible for the family subsidy in following years.
- To receive the subsidy, an employer must establish a Section 125 premium conversion plan, and must also purchase a wellness benefit as part of the health plan.
- The subsidy goes both to the employer and to the employee. Enrollment will be capped to stay within HIPs approved annual budget.
“This is one of the best-kept secrets in Maryland insurance,” says Jon Read, Golden & Cohen’s director of projects and initiatives, who has helped dozens of small companies and organizations take advantage of the government subsidy. Read has also worked with the Maryland Healthcare Commission on upcoming changes to the legislation, and recently received a letter of appreciation from Governor O’Malley thanking him for his service.
For more information about HIP, contact Jon Read at Jon@golden-cohen.com.
Parting Thoughts: The meaning of success
While mainstream media tend to focus on doom and gloom, millions of hard-working men and women are succeeding in ways large and small every day — but we rarely get to hear from them, says broadcaster Noah St. John, of Noah Talk Radio.
Stephanie Cohen and Scott Golden couldn’t agree more. In response to St. John’s query, they shared their personal philosophy of success. Perhaps these 8 insights will ring true for you. Have a great July!
- Live every day with perspective.
- Never get too high. Never get too low.
- It is important that you define what makes you a success. Listen to yourself.
- Success should be realistic in scope. “I am 5'6",” shares Scott, “so success for me cannot be defined as dunking a basketball in a 10 foot basket.”
- Success should be measured in definable steps so you know how you're doing along the way.
- Have multiple goals. Remember, it is important to be a success in business, with your health, with your personal development, with your marriage, as a parent, etc.…
- Throughout life’s long process, remember to enjoy the trip. Have fun, laugh, poke fun at yourself, take chances and go outside your comfort zone.
Success can be anything you want it to be — but it must be personal.
In the News
Agreement Reportedly Near on Health Bill
Late in June, “Senate healthcare negotiations were closing on a $1 trillion healthcare bill that would be fully funded by tax increases, Medicare cuts and new penalties for employers who do not offer health insurance,” according to a June 26 Washington Post article by reporters Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery.
The Senate Finance Committee said its members would consider a menu of policy and financing options over the July 4 recess. The goal is to produce a deficit-neutral 10-year bill early in July.
The Post reporters noted, “The Senate health committee is considering a separate reform bill, but the finance version is crucial because it will include provisions to pay for the subsidies and tax incentives that Congress is seeking to expand.”
Read the entire article here.
Golden & Cohen point of view: Any change of this magnitude to health insurance will not happen fast. The media as well as the politicians do not fully grasp the complexity of the problem. As more analysis is done, the process will slow down. In the end, the price tag will dictate what will get done. There will no doubt be compromise between all the competing factions. No particular party will be totally happy, but there will be a sincere attempt to fix the problem. The two biggest problems are that healthcare costs too much and there is a big pool of uninsured. The first issue can be addressed with little or no cost, given concessions from the insurance and pharmaceutical companies and some governmental monitoring. The second issue will have a huge price tag, for the government and then for the taxpayers.
Is Entrepreneurship a Route to Better Health Insurance?
In the May 27 issue of the Wall Street Journal, an article entitled, “Hard-to-Insure Find Novel Way to Get Coverage,” focused on the fact that many people who have lost employer-provided health insurance through layoffs or retirement are resorting to forming their own small businesses to buy their own policies.
“People who have lost their employer-provided health insurance because of a layoff, early retirement or other reasons are turning to a little-known strategy to get coverage: forming a small business, or using an existing one, to buy a group policy,” writes reporter Kelley Greene. “This strategy is used by groups as small as one person, and is particularly useful for people with chronic health problems — so-called pre-existing conditions — that insurers refuse to cover or that result in steep premiums. Group health plans, under federal law, are required to cover such conditions as long as the individual doesn’t go uncovered for more than 63 days.”
Read the entire article here.
Golden & Cohen point of view: Although this approach of forming small businesses to gain health coverage can be a creative solution, it is not a rampant activity. We think that there are other, more traditional avenues to address this problem that can work just as well and with less hassle, such as the individual market.