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James Cimorelli, Agent

386-446-0317

160 Cypress Point Pkwy - C-102
Palm Coast, FL  32164
Fax : 386-446-0355

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Do you need Health Care Insurance?

GreatFlorida Insurance is committed to helping Floridians make informed decisions about their health care. Health insurance is designed to protect individuals and families from the high costs of health care.

Whether you are facing a pre-existing health condition, an emergency situation or just want preventative and wellness care, health insurance will pay part of your costs.

GreatFlorida Insurance offers coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, also known as Florida Blue.

We can help clear up any confusion about recent health reform, the Affordable Care Act, (ACA) and answer any of your questions concerning health care.

How does health insurance work?

Your health insurance plan is a contract between you and your insurance company.

You pay a monthly bill called a premium for the health plan and the insurance company agrees to pay part of the costs for covered medical services.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has four levels of coverage, bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

The plans have varying costs and coverage to meet your needs and budget. Another option includes a Catastrophic Plan for single people under 30 who qualify through financial hardships.

GreatFlorida Insurance can help you understand your choice of plans and options for health care through Florida Blue.

We will help you apply for and enroll in a plan that works best for you.

Affordable Care Act

In March 2010, President Obama signed into law, comprehensive health reform, Affordable Care Act, (ACA). The law makes preventative care more accessible and affordable for many Americans.

The health care law is designed to provide better benefits and expanding coverage while creating a stronger Medicare program.

What if I do not get health insurance in 2014?

If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you will be penalized and must pay a fee. The fee in 2014 is 1 percent of your yearly income or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher.

The fee increases every year. In 2016 it is 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person, whichever is higher. In 2014 the payment for uninsured children is $47.50 per child.

New Options Include:

Floridians can find out if they are eligible for lower costs for private insurance or health programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, (CHIP) and enroll in health coverage.

Parents can keep their children on their health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.

Insurers can no longer deny coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions such as asthma or diabetes.

In 2014, health insurers will no longer be able to charge more or deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition.

Health insurance companies now have to spend at least 80 cents of your premium dollar on health care or improvements to care or provide you with a refund.

Insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more.

Insurance companies are banned from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits. The law also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014.

Preventative services such as colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits and flu shots for all children and adults, will be covered with no deductible or co-pay required.

Increases funding to community health centers

Strengthens Medicare Program

Increasing coverage for brand name and generic drugs

No deductibles or co-pays for preventative services seniors and people with disabilities

Extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by ten years

Simply call 386-446-0317 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Health Care Insurance Agent in Palm Coast will help you find the best deal for you.

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Florida Healthcare  Insurance Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance
2/21/2018

Across the country hearts are heavy, grieving the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. “These tragedies impact our communities-our parents, our children, our school professionals, our first responders-the mental health of our whole country,” reminds the professionals with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“Even if someone is not involved directly traumatic events, especially within our state, burden our hearts and minds,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance provider.

Many people experience sadness, anxiety or anger. Some have trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating. Their minds are dominated by the details of the event. These symptoms typically decrease over time.

Effective and healthy ways to cope during this time include:

Talking to your children about the incident, discuss how it makes them feel.

Limit news and social media exposure. Continuous exposure causes a person to relive the trauma. Also, descriptions and images in the media can cause fear in kids going to school.

Maintain your normal routine.

Connect with people in positive ways. Talk with people and take the time to listen to others. Tell people you care about that you love them.

“Doing something for others can help you channel stressful feelings,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent health insurance provider.

However, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), points out that in some cases the anxiety will continue and interfere with everyday life. For people who continue to experience the effects of trauma, it is important to get professional help. Signs to look for include the following:

  • Worrying a lot or feeling very anxious, sad or fearful
  • Crying often
  • Having trouble thinking clearly
  • Having frightening thoughts
  • Feeling angry
  • Having nightmares or difficulty sleeping
  • Avoiding places or people that bring back disturbing memories and responses.

Our world seems to be experiencing tragedy and stress on a more frequent basis. Be sure to slow down and be kind to yourself as well as others.

The post Coping with tragedy appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
2/14/2018

“Central and south Florida beaches are seeing what looks like blue balloons wash up on shore but beware of the sting,” warns Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent boat insurance agency.

Strong east winds along with ocean currents are propelling thousands of Portuguese man-of-wars toward Florida’s east coast beaches, from Jacksonville to the Florida Keys. Lifeguards are flying purple flags to warn beach goers of the “dangerous marine life.” Over the weekend, hundreds of people were treated for stings.

What is a Portuguese man-of-war?

Usually found in groups of 1,000 or more, Portuguese man-of-wars are often mistaken for jellyfish. According to National Geographic, it is a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of individual organisms. The typical size measures 12 inches long, 5 inches wide with long, thin tentacles that can extend up to 165 feet. The tentacles contain stinging nematocysts, venom-injecting capsules, used to paralyze and kill fish and other small creatures. It has a balloon like gas-filled bladder that sits above the water. The man-of-war can come in purple, pink or blue.

The man-of-war sting is agonizingly painful but rarely deadly. Even though they are washed up on shore they can still sting for up to a week. Severe stings can trigger chest pain, difficulty breathing even death. More commonly, they cause pain for 20-40 minutes and welts. They can be especially dangerous to those who are allergic, which are people who also suffer from bee sting allergies.

How to treat the sting

“Do not buy into the misinformation of  popular urban myths that suggest treating the sting by applying alcohol, urine, baking soda, shaving cream,” cautions Buck, with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent boat insurance agency.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii found the best remedy for the sting is vinegar, to remove stingers and tentacles left on the skin. Then immerse in hot water or apply a warm compress for 45 minutes. Additional treatment includes the following:

Alert a lifeguard.

Do not try to remove the tentacles with bare hands. Take a towel and use it to gently unwrap it from the skin.

Rinse with seawater, not freshwater and try to avoid cold water.

Take Benadryl or apply a topical cream.

Currently, Florida is in the height of the Portuguese man-of-war season that is expected to last until late April or early May.

The post Thousands of Man-of-Wars take over Florida beaches appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
2/7/2018

“Cell phones are no longer just phones, but so much more,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance agency.

They store our calendars and photos, provide access to our favorite stores and emails. Checking our cell phones on a regular basis has become a habit for many. However, the lure of instant information is an unhealthy attachment and cell phone addiction is real.

A poll conducted by the non-profit, Common Sense Media found 50 percent of teens feel like they are addicted to their mobile devices, with 78 percent admitting to checking their devices at least hourly. Nevertheless, this is not only a teen problem. The study reports 27 percent of adults feel they are addicted to their mobile devices with 69 percent checking them at least hourly.

What is wrong with a cell phone habit?

Countless studies show too much time on your cell phone is bad for your focus and mental health. “Most people check their phone every 15 minutes or less, even if they have no alerts or notifications,” Larry Rosen a psychology professor and author of The Distracted Mind, tells CNBC. “We’ve built up this layer of anxiety surrounding our use of technology, that if we don’t check it as often as we think we should, we’re missing out.”

Additional health issues that can develop from cell phone addiction include, poor posture which affects your spine respiratory functions and even emotions. Also, sleep. The blue light emitted from your phone can stop melatonin production in your body. Melatonin is the hormone that makes us feel sleepy and regulates out circadian rhythm. Sleep is essential to our health, especially the health of teens who are still developing.

“Aside from health and mental health problems, cell phone use continues when many drivers get behind the wheel,” reminds Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance agency.

Nearly half of adults in the U.S. admit to reading or sending a text while driving. Almost one in three teens ages 16 to 17-years-old said they have texted while driving.

How to ween yourself and your family?

Below are some tips on how to disconnect from your cell phone.

Do not sleep with your phone. If you need an alarm clock, buy one. Do not depend on your phone. Place it away from your nightstand or bed.

Stop alert notifications. Designate a time to check in and stick to it.

Utilize the “Do Not Disturb” setting on your iPhone or place your phone to the airplane setting for a break from screen time.

When spending time with your friends and family, put it away so you won’t see it or hear it.

Try a detox. Set aside a weekend or holiday where you turn the phone off and put it away. Do not pick it up for a couple of days.

The post Cell Phone Addiction appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
1/30/2018

Most people do not look forward to filing taxes, especially with a new tax law in place for the first time in decades. Those changes can induce confusion and stress. This will be the last year for several tax credits as well as the beginning to benefit from some new ones.

Several tax credits are eliminated for the 2018 tax year. However, they are still available for your 2017 tax return.  “This will be the last year to take advantage of some deductions, so it’s important not to miss out on them,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

Investing information company, The Motley Fool, reports this will be the last year to take advantage of the following tax breaks.

Personal exemptions

Property tax deductions

Mortgage interest deduction on home equity loans

Moving expenses

Unreimbursed employee expenses

Tax preparation fees

Investment-related legal and accounting fees

Job search costs

While several tax breaks will expire after this year, there are new ones are available for this year’s returns. “This year is unique with overlapping changes, so make sure your taxes are filed correctly, to avoid overpaying the IRS,” warns Buck Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency. Error rates for returns filed on paper are at 21 percent, while error rates for those filed electronically are less than one percent.

Some changes in tax deductions and credits are listed below.

Tax brackets expand. According to personal finance resource, GOBankingRates, “the federal income tax system uses a progressive tax structure, meaning that as you earn more income, your tax rate goes up as well.”

The Standard deduction, will experience a slight increase.

Health savings account– an increase to the contribution limit.

Earned income tax credit– the maximum income you can have while still qualifying for the EITC increased for each filing status. Also, you can have up to $3, 450 of investment income annually while still qualifying for the EITC.

Retirement savings credit-there is an increase in income limits.

Increased employer-paid parking or transit tax breaks

If you are looking for affordable and reliable homeowners insurance, give GreatFlorida Insurance a call.

The post Changes this tax season appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
1/24/2018

An appeal of Florida’s current No-Fault/Personal Injury Protection(PIP) system for auto insurance, is gaining momentum this legislative session. The Florida House voted 88-15 to repeal the State’s PIP system.

“For some time, Florida lawmakers have argued over eliminating PIP and replacing it with a fault-based system,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance company.

Under House Bill (HB19) drivers would be required to purchase bodily-injury liability coverage at $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. According to a 2016 actuarial study commissioned by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, drivers could save up to $81 per vehicle.

“While the House and Senate both look to eliminate No-Fault auto insurance coverage the version of their proposed bills are quite different,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance company.

The Senate proposal (SB 150) would replace the PIP system in 2019 requiring all drivers to carry bodily injury coverage of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident as well as mandatory medical payment coverage(MedPay), of $5,000. Coverage would increase to $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident after three years. Under the Senate bill, Florida drivers could see and increase or decrease depending on the area they live. Opponents of the Senate bill are concerned about the cost increase to drivers. They also believe requiring mandatory medical payments is unnecessary for those with current health insurance plans.

No-Fault auto insurance was designed to reduce litigation across the state by creating money for anyone injured in a crash. Unfortunately, it created a flood of lawsuits which lawmakers hope to eradicate with the repeal. Since Florida’s adoption of a No-Fault system, fraudulent claims have cost the state a tremendous amount of money. In a report from The Division of Insurance Fraud, they found a 275% increase in fraud auto claims between 2007-2012. In 2012, duplicitous auto claims cost the state over $1 billion, driving the cost of insurance premiums higher for Florida drivers.

The post Big changes to Florida auto insurance? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
1/17/2018

A chill in the air is good motivation to make warmer travel plans for 2018.  “Before you book plans for spring break or summer vacation, make sure your destination is safe,” reminds Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent travel insurance agency.

Last week, the U.S. State Department, launched a new Travel Advisory system. “Improvements will provide U.S. citizens with clear, timely and reliable safety and security information worldwide. Under the new system, every country will have a Travel Advisory, providing levels of advice ranging from 1 to 4.”

Level 1, Exercise normal precaution

Level 2, Exercise increased precaution

Level 3, Reconsider travel

Level 4, Do not travel

 

Warning regarding Mexico

Along with the new system, the department alerted Americans, “do not travel,” to five states in Mexico. Those include, Tamaulipas, Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan and Sinaloa. According to the Los Angeles Times, violence has increased across Mexico over the last several years. In 2017, Mexico recorded more homicides than in any years since the government began releasing data in 1997. Certain areas have seen more bloodshed than others. Most of the violence is drug cartel related and visitors are often targets. Homicide, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery is rampant in these states.

Overall, Mexico’s most popular tourist areas were given a Level 2 rating (exercise increased precaution). However, The State Department advises U.S. citizens that it has limited ability to provide emergency services in much of Mexico.

Travel insurance

So how do you know if travel insurance is necessary for your trip? “Take into consideration if your booking a year in advance, traveling abroad, going on a honeymoon or other important trip, or if the trip is costly,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent travel insurance agency.

Travel insurance covers: trip cancellation, medical expenses, emergency evacuation as well as lost or stolen items.

 

The post International Travel Advisory for Mexico appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
1/9/2018

Romaine lettuce is believed to be the source of serious illness across the United States. Over the past several weeks, 59 people in the U.S. and Canada have fallen ill from a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria, likely from romaine lettuce. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are investigating reports of the illness possibly linked to romaine lettuce or other leafy greens, according to a statement issued by the CDC.

“E. coli is dangerous, especially in young children, the elderly and those with a compromised immune system. That’s why we suggest taking precaution,” says Ellsworth Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance agency.

Because the investigation is ongoing, the CDC is not yet recommending that consumers should avoid the food. However, Consumer Reports food safety experts and doctors feel there is enough evidence to avoid romaine lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is identified. Experts also advise avoiding salad blends and salad mixes containing romaine. Washing leafy greens and vegetables will not protect against E. coli.

This strain of E. coli (0157:H7) produces a toxin that can lead to serious illness, kidney failure and even death. Symptoms of the infection include: severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Some may experience a slight fever.

“See a doctor if your symptoms last more than three days,” advises Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance provider.

Interestingly, a recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the FDA is taking too long to remove contaminated food from shelves. The report states, “The FDA did not always have an efficient and effective food-recall process that ensured the safety of the Nation’s food supply.” Federal investigators reviewed 30 of 1,557 food recalls between 2012 and 2015. The investigation shows it took an average of 57 days to recall items after the FDA was informed of the possible threat.

 

 

 

 

The post Put Down the Salad! appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.