What Bernie Handles

Health Insurance – In most jurisdictions, a group must have two or more people working in a company. Spouses don’t count! In Virginia sole proprietors are a lucky bunch. All you need as proof is a Schedule C or a K-1. If there are employees, you need to show a quarterly payroll tax report.

As noted, there are five players in health Insurance, one of which is the Blues: Care First for all of Maryland and DC, plus Northern Virginia east of Route 123 plus Fairfax City. Anthem has the rest of Virginia. The Blues are the only ones among the five who do Individual Plans with a really comprehensive network (for those poor souls who do not have an employer sponsored plan or are not self-employed).

Life /Living Benefits (Long Term Care)/Retirement Insurance – The list of companies goes on and on, but there are a few that I like in particular. One is Midland National, whose products are geared towards wealth accumulation for Retirement as well as for Income Protection and Living Benefits (i. e., Long Term Care) and One America, whose plans are designed as a chassis for LTCi.

There are also a number of different types of Term Life Insurance plans, depending on what you might need it for. Some offer living benefits. Midland National is one of the few Triple A rated companies also offer Living Benefits as part of a Term Policy.

Medicare – As I mentioned before, there are two different types of Medicare Supplement plans... Traditional Medicare & Medicare Advantage. Which type you choose is a matter of preference. Here are the basic differences:

Traditional Medicare (Medigap) -- There are a number of different plans (all of which are the same from whatever company you choose – although not every company offers all plans available). There is a monthly premium; the most popular plans have a very modest annual deduction. There is no network. You may use any doctor that accepts Medicare (In the DMV area, that means most practitioners).

Medicare Advantage (Med/Adv. – also known as Part C) – These are all network-based plans. Some have no premiums, but all have copays, deductible and Out-of-Pocket maximums.

Prescription (also known as Part D) – Having an Rx plan is mandatory! Most Med/Adv plans include it, but it may not fit your Rx requirements, you must check this very carefully, for once you select a plan, it is very difficult to change until the next year. There are many Stand Alone Plans. Each year you can change them. It is wise to take advantage of this. Go to www.Medicare.gov where you can compare plans and prices. It must be remembered that all companies can and do change their mix of plans and prices every year.