WHY ARE THOSE WOMEN WEARING RED?

Wonderful Church Bulletins

Sermon this morning: "Jesus is Walking on the Water". The sermon tonight:' "Searching for Jesus.'

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

And finally

Don't let worry kill you off – let the Church help.

WHY ARE THOSE WOMEN WEARING RED?

February is American Heart and Stroke Prevention Month. Lots of us are wearing red dresses to remind you to make a few small changes for a healthier heart.

Here are suggestions from Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, Chairman of the Dept. of Preventative Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

  • If you smoke, quitting should be your first priority.
  • Drink more water. Substitute for soda.
  • Stay weight stable. Even before trying to lose, make a plan not to gain. Eat real food including lean protein. Grab fresh fruits and veggies instead of sweets for snacks.
  • Be Active. 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week is recommended. Try 3 10 minute segments a day where you raise your heart rate.
  • Sweet Sleep not only helps weight control and blood pressure, it increases your alertness and decreases cravings for junk food.

Here's how we'd like to reduce your heart stress: 15 For Life!, a remarkable life insurance platform that earns available, tax free money, can provide access to Long-Term Care and lets you choose to pay premiums for only 15 years after which your benefits continue to grow.

This month, pick any of the ways (including a call to us) to make your heart happy. A change in this short month, could make for a long, healthy life.


Tips for Flawless Winter Skin

A car gets a flat tire on the Interstate one day. The lady driver eases it over onto the shoulder of the road. She carefully steps out of the car and opens the trunk. She then takes out two cardboard men, unfolds them and stands them at the rear of the vehicle facing oncoming traffic. The lifelike cardboard men are in trench coats and appear naked to approaching drivers.

Not surprisingly, the traffic became snarled and backed up. It's not very long before a police car arrives. The Officer, clearly enraged, approaches the lady yelling, "Did you put these obscene things out on the road?"

"Oh yes", says the woman, calmly.

"What the hell for?" asks the Officer.

"Well, those are my emergency flashers!" she replies.

Tips for Flawless Winter Skin

By Josie Tenore, M.D. | FreshSkin Medical Spa & Wellness Center in Highland Park, IL

Low outdoor temperatures and dry indoor heat not only dry your skin, they cause a thickening of dead skin cells.  Neglecting your skin makes damage worse.

Here Are Top Five Must-Dos for the Winter:

1 – Exfoliate dry skin. At home use a Clarisonic daily, or a light-grit exfoliator twice weekly. For in-office treatments, HydraFacial and light chemical peels are great options and only take 30 minutes.

2 – Moisturize + Hydrate. Use a heavier-consistency moisturizer or layer a serum with a moisturizer. Drink plenty of water! The goal is half your body weight in ounces of water, daily.

3 – UV + Environmental Protection. Your skin care regimen should include protection against UV exposure and environmental exposure that include external toxins like air pollution.

4 – Make your skin a priority and be consistent. The right regimen is simple and applied consistently. You'll have great results, and less time and money spent.

5 – Know that there is a difference between cosmetic-grade and medical-grade skincare. Begin with a complimentary Skin Consultation and VISIA Complexion Analysis.

Join us at our ReFresh with FreshSkin Cocktail Hour on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 6pm as we discuss the latest anti-aging advancements to get your skin back to healthy.

Exclusive promotions available to event guests only. Limited Space. RSVP required. Call 847-681-8821.

While people often think about death when we talk about life insurance, we really want to help you live a wonderful life with a smile on your face. Women, especially should have a conversation with us. Call us at 847-362-8888.


Open Enrollment Continues for Blue Cross Policy Holders

1. You have until 12/31/17 to reject Blue Cross’ choice for replacing your 2017 plan and get a plan with coverage starting January 1, 2018.

If you want to do that, please call us as soon as possible so we can help you apply for the plan you do want. 847-362-8888.

2. You accept Blue Cross’ choice and then change to another plan within the next 60 days.

Because your plan was cancelled, you are now eligible for a Special Enrollment. Apply for a new plan by January 15, coverage starts Februrary 1. Apply for a new plan by February 16, coverage begins March 1. Apply for a new plan by February 28, coverage begins April 1. You can even get premium assistance.

3. If you are eligible to form a small group, you may do so at any time.

There are group PPO plans with access everywhere. Ask us about the qualifications.

4. Make sure your 2018 Blue Cross plan is in place.

January premiums for migrated plans may not be taken until as late as January 2. Watch your checking account if you’re on Direct Deduction of if you submitted a new application. Make sure you got an invoice and paid it if you’re on monthly billing.
Check your Member Access account at bcbsil.com or call 855-414-6175 to confirm your 2018 plan.

5. If you did not “migrate” and reapplied through Blue Cross or the Exchange, make sure your old plan is cancelled.

Call Blue Cross at 800-538-8833.

Of course, we are always here to help. 847-362-8888.


Open Enrollment: Confusing Correspondence

What to ignore

  • Marketplace mailings, email, even phone calls saying you must enroll or pick a plan when you don't get your health insurance through the Marketplace or you have enrolled and picked a plan.*
  • Notices from Blue Cross telling you some information they sent earlier is incorrect but not giving any information about what plan they're talking about.

What to pay attention to

  • Marketplace requests for information from you regarding past or current transactions with them. Not doing so could result in loss of coverage and/or tax penalties
  • Invoices for 2017 premiums from your current insurance company. If you are not paid up for December, January 2018 will be applied to 2017. If you remain 30 days behind, your policy could be cancelled.
  • If you got your 2018 health insurance through the Exchange with assistance, the insurance company whose plan it is will notify you that they have received your application from the government. They’ll provide information on how to pay your portion.

*If you are not buying this year's health insurance through government sites, but bought last year's health insurance through the Marketplace, call 800-318-2596. Cancel your account. The government is assigning health insurance plans that may override your Off-exchange choice for 2018.

Open Enrollment ends December 15.
If you don't have your health insurance for 2018, call us. We're here to help. 847-362-8888.


Week One Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment for those folks under 65 who buy their own health insurance began November 1. It runs to December 15.

Despite confusion about cost-sharing and premium assistance, people who qualify are receiving help at proper levels. Call us to find out if you qualify and how to pick the plan that gets the best help. 847-362-8888. (Not all agents are certified to take you to the government for this help.)

  • As in previous years government sites (online and on-phone) had to pause from overload. The phone lines shut down last Sunday. They are expected to do so every Sunday except December 10.
  • Blue Cross 2018 renewal packets were expected to reach 98% of their policy holders by November 1, but we’re hearing from clients who still have not received them. Watch your USMail.
  • The link to open Blue Cross quotes generated through their site and agents was not working Tuesday. Try today. If you can’t open your quote, call us. 847-362-8888.
  • Provider-Finder sites online are proving inaccurate. Northwestern Hospitals have people to help at 312-926-8400, Northshore University Health System 847-570-4202. Better still, call the doctor you want to use to ask what insurance they take. Make sure they know you are on an individual plan. Group plans have different coverage.

Your best bet for getting the insurance plan you need for 2018 is to work with an Illinois licensed and CMS certified agent. They know the federal rules and, more important, the local situation. Their services are free.

It takes a conversation. Call today to get health insurance for 2018.


WHAT TO DO ABOUT YOUR CANCELLED BLUE CROSS PLAN

We know you’re concerned because you still haven’t received your Blue Cross Renewal Packets as of November 3rd.
We can see into our clients’ accounts that renewal packets have been sent. But we cannot see the content yet. (Technical glitch, being fixed, yadayada.)
While we don’t know the specific plans Blue Cross is offering to migrate you to, here’s what we do know.
1. All On-Exchange policies must go back to the Exchange before December 15 for 2018 coverage. We’re making appointments and will be calling you by Monday. You can help by sending us an email confirming the network you want to stay in or change to, if your 2018 income projection remains the same, if the people covered by the plan remain the same. rbloomfield@jpearlsteinltd.com.
2. Off-Exchange Renewal (Blue Cross’ only continuing plan is Blue Choice Preferred Silver PPO 102)
• If you want to keep your plan there is no need to re-enroll. Just keep your payments up to date and you may continue to use your coverage. You’ll be covered January 1, 2018. We will remain our agents.
• If you want to enroll in a different plan, (Silver to Bronze or to a different hospital network), we must submit a new application for you by December 15th. Call us 847-362-8888 or rbloomfield@jpearlstein@aol.com.

3. Off-Exchange Discontinued (This affects 98% of Blue Cross policy holders.)
• If you like the plan Blue Cross has selected for you there’s no need to re-enroll. Just keep your payments up to date and you may continue to use your coverage. You’ll be covered starting on January 1, 2018.
• If you want to enroll in a different plan let us know. We’ll discuss options, send quotes. We must submit a new application for you by December 31st.

Net Net: We will take care of everyone in a timely manner.
On-Exchange (those with premium assistance) must apply by December 15 for a January 1 start.
Off –Exchange accepting the plan Blue Cross offers should do nothing but be in good standing paying your premiums. Automatic start January 1.
Off-Exchange Discontinued wanting a plan other than what Blue Cross proposes, let us know immediately. We have until December 31st for a January 1 start.

We know there are others out there as perplexed as you. Please send them to us.

Thank you.


LATEST NEWS FROM BLUE CROSS

Blue Cross has released the 2018 plans.

Here's what's important for you to know at this time:

You'll get Renewal Packets by November 1.

They contain:

  • If your health plan is continued or not and what Blue Cross suggests
  • How to keep the current plan if you can, go to the suggested 2018 plan or get a new plan of your choice
  • Changes to coverage comparing what the current plan covers and what it costs
  • Dental plan renewal letter (if applicable)
  • Important updates to the pharmacy benefits

We were told we will be able to go into your account and see this correspondence. As of right now, we can look at plans and prices, but can't send them to you yet.

If you got your current plan at the Market Place (On Exchange) and you have any changes in plan or projected 2018 income, we must go to the Market Place.

If your plan is discontinued, Blue Cross is offering an application extension to December 31 for January 1 effective date.

Don't Panic. You don't need to call in. We're organized and ready to take care of everyone. We'll contact you by email and phone when all the information is there.

You're the best.

Jerry S. Pearlstein   Rebecca Bloomfield


AFFORDABLE CARE ACT OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR 2018

November 1-December 15

Who needs to act during these 45 days?

  • Individuals/families under 65 who buy their own health insurance
  • People who want to change their current plan.
  • People who may be notified their current plan is not available in 2018.
  • People who are receiving premium assistance and must re-certify with the government to continue it.
  • People who are receiving premium assistance but will not be eligible in 2018.
  • People who have not previously qualified for premium assistance but will in 2018.
  • People who may be eligible to form a small group

Blue Cross will notify you if your plan will automatically re-up for 2018. We expect their letters to get to you by October 1. We expect plan cancellations and premium increases. You must make the changes you want for 2018 within the Open Enrollment Period.

Except in clearly defined circumstances, 2018 Affordable Care Act health insurance cannot be bought or changed after December 15, 2017.

If you do not act between November 1 and December 15, you will be stuck with what you have for all of 2018.

We recommend that you do not go online or the Exchange yourself. Neither the system nor the navigators understand how to get you the plan that gives you access to the doctors and hospitals you want.

We have completed our re-certification for participation in the Affordable Care Act On Exchange and Off Exchange. We are up-to-date with what is available in our area. We have a 99% success rate in obtaining Premium Assistance and Cost Sharing.

Please watch our emails. Let us know when you get your letters. (847-362-8888) We'll be setting up appointments with those clients receiving premium assistance.

We're here to take care of you.

Jerry Pearlstein   Rebecca Bloomfield


SMALL GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE FOR 2018

SPECIAL ENROLLMENT NOVEMBER 15-DECEMBER 15

From November 15 to December 15 only, we can offer Small Group Health Insurance and waive two requirements:

  1. No required minimum percentage of participating employees
  2. No required employer contribution to employees’ premiums.

Groups are most advantageous because they offer a PPO that gives access to all Chicago area hospitals and doctors. Currently, individual/family Affordable Care Act compliant plans do not.

Blue Cross Small Group plans also offer features such as combined deductibles that their individual ACA compatible plans do not.

At least two entities are required to qualify for a small group.

  • A Partnership of at least 2 partners with a formal partnership agreement. They must be working partners putting in at least 30 hours per week. A group can be created even if only one of the partners takes the insurance.
  • Sole Proprietor or LLC, S or C Corp with an employer/owner plus a fulltime employee paid a salary (minimum $1000/month) for whom the owner files a state quarterly wage report (IL340). The FT employee cannot be the spouse of the owner or a child of the owner under 26. OR a part time employee of any age, working any number of hours. In both cases the employer must be filing IL340 Quarterly Wage Report.

    The insurance must be offered to all employees. Some may waive joining because they have insurance through their spouse, union, Medicare. Military or Medicaid.

    The owner (and family) can have one policy with group coverage even if the employee doesn’t take insurance.

**IMPORTANT** Establishing a small group is a multi-step process: You must request a Proposal to confirm that the business qualifies for Small Group, provide a census that includes genders and birthdates of all who will be offered the insurance so we can generate proposed plans and prices, return signed applications from each participant and the Binder Payment for the first month.

Start now to submit a completed application between November 15 and December 15 to take advantage of the Special Enrollment requirement waivers.
Call us at 847-362-8888.


MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT OCTOBER 15 – DECEMBER 7

Who is affected?

  • Over 65, uninsured and have not yet signed up for Medicare Part A, B, C or D benefits. Read “Five Myths About Medicare“.
  • Want to change Part D plans
  • Want to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to a Medicare Supplement (Medigap). Read about both.

You can sign up for Medicare if you turn 65 in 2018 3 months before or after the month of your birthday. Benefits can begin the first day of your birthday month. The Open Enrollment is only for those already over 65.

We’re happy to help you through the process. 847-362-8888