Connie Hobson – Insurance Preserves a Family’s Way of Life

Bill Hobson had always been active. He met his wife, Connie, at a softball game in 1986 when she went to watch a friend play, but ended up watching Bill instead.

When Bill developed a weakness in his right hand in 2003, he and Connie thought it was a judo injury. It wasn’t, and his doctors delivered the devastating diagnosis: Lou Gehrig’s disease. Bill continued to work for several more years as a product demonstration specialist at AT&T, but eventually had to retire.

The last year and a half of Bill’s life was especially difficult, as he lost much of his muscle function. Ultimately, he had difficulty breathing and could not feed himself. The Hobson family rallied. The couple’s daughters, Carleigh, Paige and Cari, took turns caring for him between classes and work; Connie did the same during her lunch hour at a dentist’s office. Bill finally succumbed to the illness over Thanksgiving weekend of 2009.

But Bill’s illness and passing didn’t devastate the family financially, thanks to insurance planning. Short- and long-term disability insurance benefits through AT&T helped the family make ends meet when Bill could no longer work. Through a group life insurance program, his company provided one times his annual salary in life insurance benefits, and Bill bought supplemental coverage to increase the benefit to three times his salary. He also had an individual life insurance policy that he purchased on his own.

Financial representative Jim Loken, ChFC, FIC, helped Connie turn the death benefits from Bill’s various policies, and his pension and 401(k), into an income stream. It has helped Connie remain in the family home, and take an occasional vacation with the girls.

“The goal was to live a similar lifestyle to what we were living when Bill was working,” Connie says. “Not fancy, but comfortable.”


Daily Word …7

Daily Word

Friday, September 27, 2013
I am healed and renewed.
Today I express my gratitude to God for healing: Thank You for the divine blueprint of wholeness and perfection within me and for my natural state of health, vitality, and strength.
Thank You for Your presence in me, renewing, restoring, and sustaining me. Every organ, cell, and function of my body is being restored to wholeness through the healing power of Divine Life in me.
I behold my true nature as Your child and I see myself as a picture of healthmoving, speaking, working, playing, and functioning with ease, confidence, and purpose.
I love and care for my body, for it houses the sacred being I am. I am healed and renewed, and I am grateful.

The Lord, your God, is in your midst he will renew you in his love.Zephaniah 3:17

HHS delays SHOP Web enrollment launch | LifeHealthPro

HHS delays SHOP Web enrollment launch

Gary Cohen (House Energy screen capture)

The U.S. Department of Health Human Services (HHS) is pushing the launch of the federal small-group public exchange Web enrollment system back to November.

The delay in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) online enrollment system start affects only the states in which HHS will be running federally facilitated exchanges (FFEs).

States that are running their own state-based exchanges can still get their Web-based SHOP enrollment systems going Oct. 1, the official launch date for the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public health insurance exchange system.

The delay will also have no direct effect on the FFE individual exchange program.

Reuters is reporting that Obama administration officials told it that small employers in FFE states will still be able to enroll in SHOP plans Oct. 1 by filling out paper forms or calling an FFE call center.

John Greene, a vice president at the National Association of Health Underwriters, said his group has learned that agents and brokers will be able to sell SHOP plans Oct. 1.

“It won’t be an electronic train,” Greene said. “It will be a little horse and buggy. But they can still get it done.”

Having the ability to start the SHOP enrollment process before the federal exchange Web enrollment system could help brokers get an edge over that system in the SHOP market.

The initial exchange enrollment rules call for employers to make payments by Dec. 15 to have coverage take effect Jan. 1.

The SHOP will be open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees. Some small employers that sign up for coverage through the SHOP and have relatively modestly paid employees can qualify for temporary small-group health insurance tax credits. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that the SHOP program will be much smaller than the individual exchange program and may attract employers with only a few million employees.

The initial exchange enrollment rules call for employers to make payments by Dec. 15 to have coverage take effect Jan. 1.

The SHOP will be open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees. Some small employers that sign up for coverage through the SHOP and have relatively modestly paid employees can qualify for temporary small-group health insurance tax credits.

HHS is saying that it will open a call center aimed specifically at small employers Oct. 1. Employers can call the center at (800) 706-7893 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.

HHS also is working with the Small Business Administration to organize SHOP webinars.

About 40,000 agents and brokers have been trained to sell SHOP coverage, HHS says.

See also:

Randy Kelley

eMail: Kelleytx

HHS releases federal exchange rate ranges


HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (AP photo/Charles Dharapak)

With the public exchanges preparing to open their phone lines and their Web enrollment sites Tuesday, the Obama administration is getting closer to revealing what federal exchange plans might actually cost.

A health policy office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a report showing what the average cheapest price for individual bronze, silver, gold and catastrophic exchange coverage will be for a 27-year-old in each state in which HHS will be running a “federally facilitated exchange” (FFE).

The report also shows what the starting price for each level of individual coverage will be in the biggest city in each FFE state; what a 27-year-old individual coverage buyer with an annual income of $25,000 and access to exchange tax credits would pay for the lowest-cost coverage out of pocket; and what a family of four with an annual income of $50,000 would pay out of pocket if it did have access to the tax credits or did not have access to the tax credits.

In Texas, for example, the average cost of the cheapest bronze coverage available to a 27-year-old would be $139 per month. The average cost of the cheapest gold coverage available would be $225 per month.

In Houston, the state’s largest city, bronze coverage for the 27-year-old would start at $138 per month.

A look at medically underwritten 2013 rates available from for a 27-year-old who lives in Houston suggests that typical carriers there would now charge that consumer about $100 to $300 for coverage per month, with a majority charging $100 to $200 per month.

The family of four might have to pay $727 per month for silver exchange coverage in 2014 if it had no tax credits. Tax credits could cut the monthly cost of the coverage to $282.

Vermont posted preliminary Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchange rates in April, and State Refor(u)m has posted a map showing that 27 states and the District of Columbia had at least posted preliminary rates for their state-based or federally facilitated exchanges as of Monday.

HHS — the parent of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency running the exchanges — has repeatedly postponed the release date for FFE rate information without explaining why.

Some states have used state public records laws to justify releasing FFE exchange plan information on their own.

Other states, including Texas, have treated the FFE plan rates as confidential information.

HHS officials said the cost of the “second lowest cost silver plan” in the District of Columbia and 47 states is 16 percent lower than what HHS had expected, based on Congressional Budget Office projections.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement that high prices have shut many consumers out of the health insurance market in the past.

“We are excited to see that rates in the marketplace are even lower than originally projected,” Sebelius said”.