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Enjoy the read because what you don’t know can hurt you.


7 December 2020

Our 5 Most Common Wintertime Claims and Easy Ways to Avoid Them


Our 5 Most Common Wintertime Claims and Easy Ways to Avoid Them 1. Frozen pipes, or rather pipes that WERE frozen but have since thawed. Why it happens: When a pipe freezes the water that’s inside it expands which can compromise the structural integrity of that pipe. Once the pipe has been compromised and the ice finally melts that pipe can leak water slowly or fully burst. Either way it’s not something you want going on inside your home. Frozen pipes most commonly occur in parts of your home where you may not go very often, for example a guest bathroom, in any pipes that are in an exterior wall, or when the heat is left too low in the home for an extended period of time. How to avoid it: If you have a bathroom in your home that isn’t used much then leaving the door to the bathroom as well as the cabinet doors under the sink open to let the warm air from the rest of the house get to the pipes that are under the sink. Maintain a constant level of heat in your home, especially if you’re out of town or out of the home for an extended period of time, we recommend setting your thermostat to at least 50 degrees in order to maintain a level warm enough to keep all of your pipes warm enough. As a backup to keeping the heat at a warm enough temperature if you’re out of town, have…

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7 December 2020

Are You Shopping For The Best Price For Your Health Care Cost?


Are You Shopping For The Best Price For Your Health Care Cost? Most New Yorkers today have a high deductible health plan (HDHP) where we must pay some, if not all, of the deductible costs out of pocket before the insurance company pays anything, yet we aren’t shopping for the best price for those services. We shop for the best prices for the car we want, the TV we are going to watch, and the groceries we are going to cook with but we blindly go to the doctor or hospital. Why aren’t we using the tools available to us to get the best price? I think the biggest reason is that people don’t know that they can shop for a price for services including surgery, maternity care, radiology, and prescription drugs just to name a few. But you can! Many major health insurance companies have treatment cost calculators on their websites that allow you to compare the price for a procedure or x-ray between different providers, but these resources are largely underutilized. They are made to be easy to use and understand, so don’t be intimidated by the idea of having to shop your procedures, in fact the insurance companies have customer service departments that will be more than happy to walk you through it. According to Commwealth Fund, a nonprofit foundation supporting research on health policy reform, in 2018 New Yorkers spent an average of 10.4% of their annual income on premium contribution and deductibles. It’s time for…

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7 December 2020

Why It’s Important to Shop Local this Holiday Season


Why It’s Important to Shop Local this Holiday Season With Black Friday coming up this week we feel it’s important to make sure that you think about your holiday shopping BEFORE you get out there and start buying! Below we’ve listed some statistics that we got from an article published on Nov. 6th 2019 by Score.org about shopping local: 1. For every $1 you spend locally $0.67 of that $1 stays in the local community. 2. $0.44 of that $0.67 goes to the small business owner and employee wages. 3. $0.23 of the $0.67 gets reinvested into other local businesses. That means that almost 70% of your spending stays within your local community, helping your local community to grow and thrive! Supporting your local businesses is also important because the people who own and operate them are the same people who support local kid’s sports teams, donate products, gift certificates or money to local charitable organizations, give scholarships to local high school and college kids, employ your neighbors, and much more. Bottom line, local businesses participate in their local communities, when was the last time you remember seeing a big box store name on a kid’s t-ball uniform? Or saw a huge restaurant chain on a soccer jersey? Have you’ve ever gone to a big box store asking for a donation to your organization? You’ll be asked to fill out paperwork and submit it to a corporate office for an answer that hopefully comes in a few weeks. When you…

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7 December 2020

Are You Effectively Using Your HSA?


Are You Effectively Using Your HSA? Posted in Uncategorized on November 20th, 2019 No Comments There are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure that you’re utilizing your HSA as efficiently as possible. Everybody uses their health savings account (HSA) a little differently, and that’s OK. In fact, flexibility is one of the many advantages of an HSA. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure that you’re utilizing your HSA as efficiently as possible. Be Smart with Your Contributions What are you contributing? Is it enough? Or are you constantly draining your funds? Remember, HSA funds roll over and are triple-tax advantaged. This means you can contribute up to the maximum allowed amount without losing out on any money you don’t use this year. Now is a good time to determine if what you are contributing is enough and if you are contributing what you expected to. Recordkeeping 101 Do you have your receipts? Ultimately, it’s up to you to keep all your receipts. This is critically important if you aren’t using an HSA debit card and plan on reimbursing yourself for eligible expenses later. Remember, the IRS has a long memory, which highlights the need for you to remain organized with your expense recordkeeping. Be a Wise Health Care Consumer Are you shopping around for your health care? Remember, this is your money, and service costs vary greatly by location. As always, follow your doctor’s advice, but do your due diligence…

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7 December 2020

What is an HSA?


What is an HSA? Posted in Uncategorized on November 13th, 2019 No Comments A Health Savings Account, or HSA, is way to save for medical expenses and reduce your taxable income. Qualifying for an HSA If you are enrolled in a high-deductible health insurance plan (HDHP) as defined by the government. These plans are re-defined each year by the IRS, which determines the minimum deductible they must have and the maximum amount a planholder can spend out-of-pocket. Below are the minimums and maximums for 2020. Bear in mind some plans have high deductibles but don’t qualify you for an HSA. Look for plans specifically tagged “HSA-eligible” if you want the account option. How an HSA works Some employers that offer high-deductible health plans also offer HSAs. If yours doesn’t, you can open a separate HSA account as long as you have a qualifying plan. Each year, you decide how much to contribute to your HSA account, though you cannot exceed government-mandated maximums. If you have an HSA through your workplace, you can set up easy automatic contributions directly from payroll. You will receive a debit card or checks linked to your HSA balance, and you can use the funds on eligible medical expenses. This includes deductibles, copays and coinsurance, plus other qualified medical expenses not covered by your plan. Please note insurance premiums usually cannot be paid for with HSA funds. HSA balance rolls over from year to year, unlike your Flexible Spending Accounts, so you never have to worry about losing your…

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7 December 2020

Healthy Hints


Healthy Hints Posted in Uncategorized on November 6th, 2019 No Comments Vaccines Prevent Illness Approximately 90 percent of all children in the United States are vaccinated for common ailments, which makes going to a day care facility and school safer for all children, when their risk of passing illnesses to one another is high. Did You Know? Some of the most fatal childhood diseases, such as measles, mumps, whooping cough, smallpox, polio and diphtheria, have been wiped out because of vaccines. Though choosing to vaccinate your child may be a controversial issue for one reason or another, prevention is always more desirable than treatment. What Are Vaccinations? Vaccinations, or immunizations, contain killed or weakened disease organisms (typically inactive bacteria or weakened viruses). These organisms cause the body to produce antibodies in the immune system, which attack harmful elements inside the body. • While fighting the virus or bacteria, the antibodies learn how to recognize the real one so they can attack it later, if and/or when the body is exposed to it. • In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviews all tests conducted on vaccinations before approving their use for the public. When Should My Child Be Vaccinated? Newborns are immune to many diseases because of the antibodies they have acquired from their mothers in the womb. Yet, these antibodies last only for approximately one month to a year after birth. Therefore, it is wise to vaccinate children while they are still babies. • If you are unsure when…

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7 December 2020

Tips for a Safe Halloween


Tips for a Safe Halloween Posted in Uncategorized on October 23rd, 2019 No Comments With Halloween right around the corner this week we’re talking about tips for a FUN & SAFE Halloween! 1. Always remember to look both ways before you cross the street, and use a crosswalk if you can! It’s important to go to houses on both sides of the street, that way you get the most candy! 2. Carry a flashlight in case you’re in a particularly spooky spot! 3. If you have food allergies always check the wrappers BEFORE you eat the candy. 4. Never eat candy that has a ripped or open wrapper. 5. Don’t eat too much candy on Halloween, you’ll want to save some so you have it for the next time you want candy! 6. Use the buddy system, your buddy can be a friend, a sibling or even your parent! 7. Make sure your costume is super cool but will also be warm enough to wear out at night, you don’t want to have to go home early because you’re cold and miss out on all the candy! 8. Make sure you bring a bag big enough to fit all of the candy you’ll get! 9. Don’t forget to have FUN with your friends and family! Happy Halloween!

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7 December 2020

4 “Good” Reasons NOT to Buy Life Insurance:


4 “Good” Reasons NOT to Buy Life Insurance: Posted in Uncategorized on October 16th, 2019 No Comments 1. We just got married and have no kids, why do we need life insurance? Besides we both owe thousands of dollars in college loans, all of our money has to go to those right now! 2. Life insurance? We just bought our first house and need all of our money to pay the mortgage and taxes. 3. I would love to get life insurance but we have a kid on the way. You know how much a kid costs, not to mention that it’s time to start saving for their college! 4. I just borrowed money to start this new business, maybe I can afford it a few years down the road. 4 GOOD Reasons TO Buy Life Insurance: 1. We just got married and we both owe thousands of dollars in college loans, I don’t want my partner left high and dry if something happens to me before we can pay them off. Life insurance would provide them a means to pay off the loans without me. 2. We just bought our first house and life insurance allows us the peace of mind knowing that if something happens to me, my partner can use the policy to stay in our home. 3. We have a kid on the way, if something happens to one or both of us our policy would ensure that our child or children have some financial stability when we’re gone.…

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