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We’ll post information here from time to time to advise you of deadlines, new developments, changes in the law that may affect your insurance, and the like. Let us know if there’s a topic you’d like to know more about.

Our First Blog Post: 2022 Recap

In the waning days of 2022, I’m excited to unveil our revamped web site, which features this blog page, expanded content, and a site search capability. The new content won’t show up in the site search until Bing’s robot next indexes our site, which could be a few days or weeks from now. I dusted off my computer science degree and coded all of this myself in HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP. It was fun to get geeky again and catch up on modern day web technology!

The reason I had the time to do this was the sale of our property and casualty insurance division to O’Donnell Insurance Services on . Our focus is now exclusively on health, life, and disability insurance, which has left me with more time for family and hobbies (and programming this web site😊). My former employees have all found work with other insurance agencies. We’re now open Monday through Friday from 9AM to 5PM, with office hours by appointment only, as I’ve rented out the office to eXp Realty and use their conference room to meet clients. Please call O’Donnell for service on an existing P&C policy that we wrote or for quotes on new P&C business.

2022 was a busy year on the legal and regulatory front, with several changes affecting our industry:

  • Since , we’ve needed to record all phone calls that involve Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plan products. We also need to print a disclaimer on our web site and other Medicare-related communications and read it out loud on the phone calls we must record. A new California law will also require emails we send starting January 1st to include our insurance license numbers. My emails have always contained my license number, but now it will have to appear on a different line of my email signature; I’m sure you’re as thrilled as I am about this dramatic improvement. Seriously though, most regulations come about due to a few bad apples whose misdeeds we all end up paying for through increased oversight. At some point, the regulatory overhead sucks the joy out of the job; that was a major reason why I stopped selling investment products in 2018. Medicare oversight is heading in that direction, but hopefully the call recording regulations will be enough to weed out the bad apples.

  • The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 eliminated the Affordable Care Act’s subsidy cliff for people earning over 400% of the federal poverty level, but only for 2021 and 2022. The Inflation Reduction Act extended this through the end of 2025. Since Congress usually looks at a bill’s cost over ten years and this is a very costly benefit, in all likelihood it will keep deferring the subsidy cliff for a few years at a time instead of applying a permanent fix.

    The Inflation Adjustment Act also made substantial changes to Medicare drug plan coverage, but to keep the ten-year cost of the bill down these changes are being phased in over the next few years. The only change for 2023 is that the cost of insulin will be capped at $35 for a one month supply.

  • The ARPA prohibited states from removing people from Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) during the federal COVID emergency. This has led to wasteful absurdities: a person who got laid off from a high-paying job could apply for and get Medi-Cal, and then keep it after getting a new high-paying job. The 2023 omnibus spending bill, which was just signed into law, allows states to resume income-testing Medi-Cal recipients and disenrolling them, starting in April of 2023.

Finally, I’m pleased to announce that my wife Nancy obtained her health and life insurance license last month. Just as I advise my clients to hope for the best and plan for the worst through life insurance and estate planning, getting Nancy licensed was key to our own estate plans, to prevent a forced sale of the agency if I were to suddenly die. I will acquaint her with the agency’s operations over time so that she could eventually step in if I needed help. It’s a great comfort having plans in place to take care of the people you love! Call us if we can help you with your own contingency plans using disability and life insurance products.

Best wishes for 2023.

signature of Robert