Extra Licensing for Arizona Health Care Navigators Passes Senate April 17th, 2014

Posted on April 17th, 2014 as Insurance for , , , , ,

This story is taken directly from the Associated Press. 

The Arizona Legislature has approved a measure requiring extra licensing and background checks for navigators who help people buy health insurance on the federal marketplace.

The Senate approved House Bill 2508 with a 19-10 vote on Wednesday after exempting workers on tribal lands who have already passed a background check. The House agreed with the changes on a 34-21 vote later in the day, sending the bill to Gov. Jan Brewer.

The bill requires the state Insurance Department to license navigators.

Republican proponents say the requirements protect consumers from identity theft. Democrats call them an attempt to slow down enrollment in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul and unnecessary because navigators have contracts with the federal government.

Navigators help people pick insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange.

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Healthcare Spending Increased from 2012 April 16th, 2014

Posted on April 16th, 2014 as Insurance for , , , ,

According to industry reports and healthcare experts there is a steady rise in medical care being sought out by consumers. Over the past few years spending on healthcare services has been down but it appears to slowly be on the rise and the slowdown in spending may be ending with many newly insured Americans finally able to seek treatment. According to the report, spending on medicines in 2013 rose 3.2 percent to nearly $330 billion. This is a rebound from the 1 percent decline in 2012.

So what are some of the leading factors in this increased spending? Part of this increase can be linked to the higher use of cheap generic brands of drugs, which made up 86 percent of all filled prescriptions in the US.  Also, in 2013, patients were given access to 36 new medicines. A decline in unemployment, allowing more Americans health insurance through their employer, might be playing a contributing role as well.

According to Michael Kleinrock, of IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, “The recession was officially over a long time ago, but what has taken a much longer time is for the [healthcare services] demand to recover… In late fall of 2012, we started to see a beginning of the recovery in terms of new therapy starts… We saw patients see more specialists than primary care for the first time… Incurring a primary care visit co-pay in order to be referred to see a specialist certainly doesn’t feel like value for money, so many patients may be self-referring.”

The trend in increase of physician office visits, hospitalizations, and prescriptions filled is expected to continue.

Many are worried that these rising costs will continue to grow.  David Axene, of the Society of Actuaries said, “Many exchange health plans got better discounts than anticipated from providers, but there is really a strong pushback now from hospitals and physicians who are concerned about having enough money to cover their costs. I hope we can stay south of double digits, but there’s no guarantee we will.”


U.S. healthcare usage and spending resumes rise in 2013 -report

More U.S. consumers are seeking medical care, report shows



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National Retirement Planning Week April 9th, 2014

Posted on April 9th, 2014 as Insurance, Securities, Uncategorized for , , , , , ,

Each day about 10,000 Baby Boomers enter their retirement years. They are members of a generation who are largely unsure of their financial future as seen in the latest research findings from the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI). For four years, IRI has seen Baby Boomers’ confidence in their financial preparations for retirement steadily dropping, with only about a third optimistic about their situation.

While Baby Boomers have redefined life at every corner, their lasting legacy may be in how Americans prepare for their retirement years. Through the course of their working years, a unique set of challenges has emerged, including changes in employee benefits, longer life spans, uncertainty with Social Security and Medicare, as well as rising cost of health care. As a result, preparing for and financing one’s retirement is now increasingly difficult, with more Americans shouldering the burdens themselves. This new paradigm is largely responsible for the confidence deficit observed among Baby Boomers.

But the National Retirement Planning Coalition – a group of prominent education, consumer advocacy and financial services organizations – says this does not have to be the case. Crafting a holistic financial plan for retirement can restore confidence and build savings for those post working years. To help spread its message, the coalition has organized National Retirement Planning Week®, a national effort to help consumers focus on their financial needs in retirement TesTeachers is proud to announce that it will be supporting National Retirement Planning Week® 2014, which will take place from April 7 to 11.

We understand how the challenges of every day priorities and the pressures of looking at the future can make planning for retirement initially seem daunting, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. Carving some time out on a routine basis to review your finances and assess you financial preparedness for retirement is an achievable first step. Being proactive about planning and seeking professional guidance when warranted can help Americans achieve financial freedom.

The coalition, led by IRI, recognizes that the need to educate Americans on retirement planning is an ongoing effort and is committed to making this a national priority. National Retirement Planning Week® and other coalition activities will demonstrate that it is possible to “Retire On Your Terms” if comprehensive retirement plans are properly developed and managed. To support these education efforts, the coalition has collected the latest resources to help consumers and financial professionals focus on long-term financial goals. These tools are available year-round at www.retireonyourterms.org.

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7 Million Enrolled Under The Affordable Care Act, According to White House April 2nd, 2014

Posted on April 2nd, 2014 as Insurance for , , , , , , , ,

The open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act ended this past Monday, March 31st. The White House announced yesterday that the numbers were in and more than 7 million Americans had enrolled in private healthcare. It is well known that this has not been an easy task for many Americans with healthcare.gov not adequately set up to handle the amount of traffic it received. It seems third time is the charm, with the website handling over 4.8 million visits.

On top of the 7 million enrolled during this open enrollment period many more have been covered by state Medicaid expansions, and young adults have received extended coverage under their parent’s until the age of 16.

Overall, these last-minute sign-ups surpassed many expectations. Obama stated:

The truth is, even more folks want to sign up.  So anybody who was stuck in line because of the huge surge in demand over the past few days can still go back and finish your enrollment — 7.1 million, that’s on top of the more than 3 million young adults who have gained insurance under this law by staying on their family’s plan.  That’s on top of the millions more who have gained access through Medicaid expansion and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Making affordable coverage available to all Americans, including those with preexisting conditions, is now an important goal of this law.

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Obamacare Enrollment Extended Again March 27th, 2014

Posted on March 27th, 2014 as Insurance for , , , , , , , , ,

According to an article in The New York Times, the Obama administration has decided that it will extend the sign-up date for enrollment in the healthcare exchange for those who were unable to apply due to technical problems.

This special enrollment period will be allowed on a case-by-case basis. Several states who are running their own exchanges (Maryland, Minnesota, and Nevada) are also implementing a similar extensions.

Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stated, ” Open enrollment ends March 31,… we are experiencing a surge in demand and are making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment either online or over the phone.”

HealthCare.gov appears to be running more smoothly than it was back for the December deadline but still has issues on occasion. While some of the administration believes the website is prepared to handle the surge of registrations following up to the deadline, many are still concerned that it may freeze up if the demand is too large. Hopefully, this extension should help concerned registrants who encounter problems in the coming week.

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Happy Savings and Studying! March 26th, 2014

Posted on March 26th, 2014 as Promotion for , , , , , , , , ,

Everyone loves a good bargain. We here at TesTeachers would like to make sure you know of all the ways you can save when you sign up with us for your studies.

Currently, if you visit and like our Facebook  we have a 15% discount code that works on any purchase from TesTeachersOnline (excludes live schools and publishing products).

We also do a Question of the Week every Monday on our Facebook ,which allows one lucky person who manages to answer the question correctly to win a 20% discount code, same rules apply.

Or if you are more of a LinkedIn user. you can also visit and follow our page to receive 15% off.

This of course doesn’t mention any corporate discounts you might receive if you sign up through your company. Be sure to check out all your options.

Happy Savings and Studying!

(Please note that these discounts can change at any time.)

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How is Obamacare doing? March 19th, 2014

Posted on March 19th, 2014 as Insurance for , , , , , , , ,

According to an article on Insurance Journal, recent reports by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that  Obamacare enrollment has had little effect in creating competition in the health insurance market. Most of the main big insurers maintain to make-up most of the marketplace, though divided slightly more evenly than in previous years.

Cynthia Cox, from Kiaser stated, “There are some examples of smaller or newer plans being able to get a sizable piece of the market in the exchanges, but by and large a lot of the players in the exchanges that are the biggest were the biggest before as well,”

Though Kristin Binns, a spokeswoman for WellPoint, is cautious to draw conclusions from the Kaiser data, as it does not include plans that were renewed prior and those who signed up outside of the exchange.

Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, explained that around 95 percent of Americans have a choice of two more insures on the exchange and that 25 percent of the companies offering plans are new to the individual market. She explains that the ultimate goal is transparency in making an informed decision when purchasing health insurance.

For those who have yet to purchase health insurance please remember the open enrollment for the exchange closes the end of this month, March 31st.

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Sales Tips for New Insurance Agents March 5th, 2014

Posted on March 5th, 2014 as Insurance for , , , ,

Over the past few months we have been posting sales tips for those new to the insurance industry on our Facebook. Here are all the tips we’ve released so far so they can be found in an easy and convenient location.  Please be sure to like our Facebook page if you’d like to continue to get sales and study tips.

  1. Dress more professionally! You will be taken more seriously and it will boost your confidence.
  2. Don’t sell products, provide solutions. Explain how you are offering something that will fix a current problem or one that may arise down the line. In order to do this, you must first listen to the customer and find out their needs, then provide the appropriate solutions.
  3. Always be prepared with company and product literature or at the very least a business card. That way if your customer needs more time or has questions they can get in touch with you.
  4. Find common ground with your prospective client. Ask questions, find a similarity. It will help you connect and build trust.
  5. If your potential customer is concerned about your lack of experience, highlight the combined experience of your company. They aren’t buying just from you but also from your company.
  6. Follow the stock market. It will help you relate to a more mature and professional client base. You don’t have to be an expert but being able to discuss some basics will help make you appear more experienced!
  7. Don’t focus too much on product features and instead shift your focus to the benefits. Only a few features may appeal to your potential customer. Ask questions and identify their needs then explain the features that will satisfy those needs.
  8. Set SMART goals for yourself. S-specific, M-measurable, A-attainable, R-relevant, and T-timed. So instead of saying your goal is to set more appointments it should be something like “I am going to set 15 appointments this week, 5 of which will result in a closing sale by the end of the month.”
  9.  Learn something new! Set some time aside every day to work on improving and growing your sales knowledge. Read books or articles, listen to podcast or webinars. Make a conscious effort every day to learn something new in your field.
  10.  Are you young and new to the industry? Use it to your advantage! Sell to other young people. You have a unique opportunity that gives you an in with a new and emerging market that is going through a ton of life changes.

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Further Delays on Mandated Health Insurance for Medium-sized Businesses February 11th, 2014

Posted on February 11th, 2014 as Insurance for , , , , ,

On Monday, February 10th, the Obama Administration announced they would be further delaying the date by which medium-sized employers are mandated to provide their full-time employees with health insurance. Now employers with 50 – 99 workers have a grace period lasting until 2016 before they will be penalized for not providing health insurance. Originally these mandates were to go into effect Jan 1st, the same as for individuals, but was delayed until Jan 2015 and has now been delayed even further.

Many view this delay as an effort to avoid more controversy surrounding Obamacare. And while many in the business community are pleased with the delay other’s argue that it is unfair that business are being given preferential treatment over individuals.

According to administration officials they felt that the businesses “need a little more time to adjust to providing coverage.” They also announced that they will also be issuing rules for the kind and type of coverage a business must supply their employees. There is some confusion over what qualifies an employee as full time. For example, seasonal workers will typically not be considered full-time if they only work a half-year or less. And many companies are having problems figuring out hours of their employees, such as in the restaurant industry which is known for employees working odd and inconsistent schedules.

How do you feel about these delays? Is it fair to ask individuals to stick to a particular law when businesses are given an extended grace period? Do businesses need the extra time to implement the new laws? Let us know your thoughts!

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The National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB) February 5th, 2014

Posted on February 5th, 2014 as Insurance, Securities for , , , , , , , , , ,

This past Thursday, January 30th, legislation passed the Senate which would create a non-profit entity, The National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB). This change had been tacked onto the much discussed Flood Insurance Delay also known as the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.”

In the past the House has already passed a bill for NARAB three times, but the Senate, which was preoccupied with other issues, never followed through. Due to NARAB being attached to the Flood Insurance Delay bill the Senate is finally getting around to it.

NARAB aims to make it easier for agents and brokers to become licensed in other states than the one they currently reside. It will provide for streamlined non-resident insurance agent and broken licensing while preserving state insurance regulation and consumer protections, according to Robert Rusbuldt, Chief Executive Officer and President of Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Inc.

NARAB appears to have overwhelming support from those in the insurance industry.  It will keep the same strict guidelines but allow for a more streamlined system that should strengthen the licensing process. According to an issue brief by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) they “[recognize] the mechanics of non-resident producer licensing can be further streamlined by federal action, but this should not undermine state regulatory authorities to protect insurance consumers and take enforcement action against malfeasant producers.”

The NARAB board, under the most recent bill, will consist of 13 members, eight of which are state insurance commissioners appointed by the President. The remaining five will consist of insurance industry representatives.

For a more detailed article about NARAB hopes to accomplish and how check out this article from the Insurance Journal from October 3, 2013.

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