Saturday, 23 February 2019

Everything about insurance (Health Insurance)

Everything about insurance (Health Insurance)
welve insurers offer 2019 health plans through state's exchange; the state extended open enrollment through January 31, 2019.
Louise Norris


Health insurance & health reform authority
December 16, 2018
Health insurance in New York

New York’s operates its own health exchange NY State of Health.
New York has long been a leader in health reform.
Twelve insurers are offering 2019 coverage through the state exchange.
Open enrollment for 2019 was extended through January 31, 2019. After that, residents would need a qualifying event to enroll in an ACA-compliant plan.
On average 2019 premiums have increased 8.6%
About 253,000 New York residents enrolled in 2018 QHPs through the state exchange.
Another 739,000 New Yorkers enrolled in the Essential Plan.
New York adopted Medicaid expansion in 2013. Medicaid enrollment has grown by 14% since 2013.
The state’s Health Republic CO-OP closed in 2015.
The state’s uninsured rate has dropped 47% since 2013.
New York does not allow the sale of short-term plans.

3.5 million New Yorkers are enrolled in Medicare.
New York overview: Taking advantage of all the ACA has to offer
New York has fully embraced the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The state expanded Medicaid, established its own health insurance exchange, and even created a Basic Health Program (BHP) for people who earn more than the Medicaid eligibility threshold, but not more than 200 percent of the poverty level. BHPs are allowed under the ACA, but only New York and Minnesota opted to create them.

New York’s health insurance marketplace
The health of New York’s state-based exchange, NY State of Health remains strong heading into 2019. The exchange has robust insurer participation, and premiums are still lower for 2019 than they were in 2013. (That’s not the case in most states, but New York had guaranteed-issue coverage long before the ACA, but without a mandate requiring people to buy coverage and without premium subsidies for middle-class enrollees. As a result, coverage was expensive in New York pre-2014.)

Enrollment in NY State of Health – including QHPs (private plans), the Essential Plan, Medicaid, and Child Health Plus – reached more than 4.3 million by the end of January 2018 (when open enrollment ended for QHPs). That was an increase of 700,000 over the prior year’s total enrollment.
New York is a progressive state that embraced health care reform decades ahead of most of the rest of the country. The Affordable Care Act has smoothed out some rough edges in the New York insurance market, and since implementing Obamacare, the state has continued upon these improvements. In January 2017, prior to the inauguration of Donald Trump, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced that repealing the ACA would cause 2.7 million New Yorkers to lose their health insurance coverage.



Although Republican leaders spent 2017 attempting to repeal the ACA, most of their efforts fell short. All of the ACA repeal bills that were considered in 2017 failed to win enough support to pass, although the GOP tax bill, enacted in December 2017, did repeal the individual mandate penalty, starting in 2019 (there is still a penalty for being uninsured in 2018, which will be assessed on tax returns in early 2019, but there will not be a federal penalty for being uninsured starting in 2019).

A few states have implemented their own individual mandates for 2019 and beyond, although New York is not one of them. But Governor Cuomo took action in early 2017 to protect New York residents’ access to birth control and abortion coverage, regardless of the future of the ACA. The Governor also worked to ensure continued robust insurer participation in the individual market, and ongoing access to essential health benefits. Lawmakers once again considered a single-payer system during the 2018 legislative session — it passed the Assembly, but fell short in the Senate, just as it did in 2017.

Compare plans and rates in your ZIP code
2019 exchange carriers
New York has a very robust individual health insurance market, with 12 carriers offering plans in the exchange, and two that offer plans only outside the exchange. All of them will continue to offer coverage for 2019, with average rate increases (before subsidies are applied) of 8.6 percent. (Details about approved average rate changes for each plan are available here). The following insurers offer individual-market plans in New York’s exchange:

Capital District Physicians Health Plan
Empire BlueCross and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield
Excellus (Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield in Central New York and Univera in Western New York)
Fidelis Care
Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York (EmblemHealth)
Healthfirst New York
HealthNow New York, Inc. (BlueShield of Northeastern New York, and BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York)
Independent Health
MetroPlus Health Plan
MVP Health Plan, Inc.
Oscar Insurance Corporation
United Healthcare of New York, Inc
Two insurers – Crystal Run Health Plan and HealthFirst Insurance Company – will continue to offer off-exchange plans in 2019.

In the small-group market – where more than a million New Yorkers get their health coverage – employers with up to 100 employees can purchase ACA-compliant plans. With the exception of Fidelis, all of the individual-market carriers offer small-group plans, in addition to Aetna Life, Oxford, and some additional divisions of a few of the companies that offer individual market plans.

Fifteen New York health carriers offer plans under the state’s Basic Health Program. Also known as the “Essential Plan,” this coverage is for people with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level and does not include a deductible or premium. New York and Minnesota are the only states that have established BHPs.

New York State of Health enrollment tops 4.3 million
Open enrollment for 2019 coverage will run from November 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019 for qualified health plans. (Enrollment in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan continues year-round.)

Open enrollment for 2018 coverage followed the same November to January schedule, ending on January 31, 2018. In May 2018, New York State of Health published an enrollment report, noting that total enrollment in public and private plans through the exchange (including Medicaid, the Essential Plan, Child Health Plus, and private plans) had reached 4.3 million people by the end of January, which was an increase of 700,000 people compared with the year before.

At the end of the open enrollment period for 2018 coverage, enrollment was as follows:

253,102 people had enrolled in private health plans, aka QHPs.
738,851 people had enrolled in the Essential Plan (a Basic Health Program for people with income up to 200 percent of the poverty level)
374,577 people had enrolled in Child Health Plus
2,965,863 people had enrolled in Medicaid
New York’s QHP enrollment numbers dropped in 2016, which was due in part to the Essential Plan becoming available. The Essential Plan also reduced the percentage of QHP enrollees who received premiums subsidies, dropping from 70 percent in 2015 to 55 percent in 2016. That had increased to 59 percent by 2018.

Read more about the New York health insurance marketplace.

Health Republic CO-OP closed in November 2015
One of the available plans during the first two open enrollment periods was an ACA-created Consumer Oriented and Operated Plan (CO-OP). Under the ACA, the federal government awarded $2 billion in start-up funding to CO-OPs in 22 states.

In New York, the CO-OP was Freelancers Health Service Corporation (also known as Health Republic), which received $174 million in federal funding. The CO-OP was highly successful in terms of enrollments, garnering about 20 percent of the individual market in New York in both 2014 and 2015. However, it struggled financially, and in September 2015, state and federal regulators shut down the CO-OP.

Learn more about the Affordable Care Act’s CO-OPs.

New York Medicaid/CHIP enrollment
Medicaid/CHIP enrollment in New York increased by 14 percent from the fall of 2013 to July 2018. The state’s acceptance of federal funding to expand Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of poverty has played a significant role in New York’s Obamacare success.

The ACA called for Medicaid expansion nationwide, but in 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that states could opt out, and 19 states have not yet expanded their Medicaid programs.

During the first open enrollment period, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that about 43 percent of the 2.2 million non-elderly uninsured residents in New York would be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP under the expanded eligibility guidelines created by the ACA. Eligible applicants can enroll in New York Medicaid year-round, so total enrollment has continued to increase, further lowering the uninsured rate in New York.

The addition of the Essential Plan in 2016 helped to smooth the transition between Medicaid and private health plans. People with income a little too high for Medicaid (139 percent to 200 percent of the federal poverty level) qualify for the Essential Plan instead of having to enroll in a subsidized private plan. Enrollment in the Essential Plan had reached 740,000 people by 2018, and will continue to have premiums of $20/month or less in 2019.

Read more about Medicaid expansion in New York.

Short-term health insurance in New York


The state of New York requires health plans to be guaranteed renewable and cover essential health benefits. As a result of those two regulations, the state does not allow the sale of short-term health plans, despite new federal short-term rules.

Read more about short-term health insurance in New York.

How Obamacare has helped New York
In most of the United States, individual health insurance was medically underwritten prior to 2014, meaning that people with pre-existing conditions were often unable to purchase private coverage. But in New York, former Gov. Mario Cuomo signed a law in 1992 that required all policies in the state to be guaranteed issue, regardless of medical history. They also switched to a community rating system, with the same premiums charged for everyone, regardless of age.

Although the 1992 law was heralded by consumer advocates as a victory, it lacked two of the major market stabilization components that the ACA has now enacted. There were no open enrollment periods (people could buy coverage anytime they wanted), and there was no individual mandate, so people could wait until they were in need of care before purchasing health insurance.

Two decades later, health insurance premiums in New York were the highest in the nation, and coverage options were very limited, with few carriers choosing to participate in the market in New York.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Private Health Insurance in California

Private Health Insurance in California
style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on">Obamacare requires that most Californians enroll in a health insurance plan or face tax penalties. Many Californians buy their plans through Covered California, but the state-run health insurance exchange isn’t the only option. You can purchase health insurance outside the marketplace.

People who qualify for subsidies benefit a lot from buying through the exchange. But if you’re not eligible for lower premiums on a health plan because your income is above 400-percent FPL, selecting health insurance outside the marketplace is logical.

Open Enrollment Outside Covered California
The primary thing you should know about enrolling through the private market is that you must still sign up during the open enrollment period. In 2014, all private insurance carriers in the market adopted the open enrollment period of Obamacare. Outside this period, you’ll only find short-term plans that don’t meet the minimum essential requirements and won’t protect you from tax penalties.

Why Shop Outside of Covered California?
There are many reasons to shop for health insurance outside Covered California:

You don’t earn enough income to qualify for the government subsidy. The annual income limits to be eligible for the government subsidy for 2017 are $47,520 for an individual and $97,200 for a family of four. The government subsidy is available only through the Covered California marketplace, but even if you don’t earn enough, you may use it to compare plans.
You want a wider variety of plans. Because not all plans in California are sold through the marketplace, shopping health plans outside the exchange may be necessary to gain access to all the available plans on the market.
It’s outside open enrollment or you’re looking for short-term insurance. Unless you qualify for special enrollment, you may only purchase marketplace health plans during the open enrollment period. If you wish to buy a short-term plan or travelers insurance, you may need to shop outside Covered California during as well as outside of open enrollment.
You’re eligible for catastrophic coverage. Although catastrophic health coverage isn’t offered through the Covered California marketplace, there are situations where you can qualify you for catastrophic coverage. In such instances, you’ll need to buy outside the marketplace.
Will I Pay More if I Buy Insurance Outside Covered California?
Without taking the government subsidy into account, you won’t pay more for a health plan regardless of where you shop. In most cases, you’ll be reviewing the same health plans if you buy through Covered California or not.

Prices are highly regulated. The only factors that can affect the cost of your health plan are your age, family size, income and contributions from your employer. Your health history won’t affect the price of the plan.

Should I Shop for Health Insurance Outside Covered California?
If you’re barely or not eligible for the government subsidy, you should weigh all your options. You might still choose a plan in the marketplace, because even the costliest subsidized plans are generally cheaper than an unsubsidized plan. But again, health care costs sometimes go above premiums, and the more healthcare services you need, the more practical it will be to compare all your options.

The good news is you’ll never be restricted to one plan under the Affordable Care Act. You can switch your plan anytime during the open enrollment period. But once open enrollment ends, you’ll be restricted to the plan you’ve chosen until the next open enrollment period. In general, the more government subsidy you qualify for, the practical it becomes to shop outside Covered California or buy a non-marketplace plan.

How to Buy Private Health Insurance Plans in CA
If your income doesn’t qualify you for the government subsidy, you can buy private California health insurance plans in three ways:

Directly from the insurance company
With the help of an insurance agent or broker
From an online health insurance seller

Affordable Health Insurance for California Consumers

Affordable Health Insurance for California Consumers
With approximately 39 millions people, California ranks as the most populous state in the United States. Keeping a diverse group of people healthy with affordable health care options has been California's ongoing challenge. That is why the Marketplace for private and small group medical insurance in California plays a significant role in maintaining happy, healthy individuals.

The California Health Exchange
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obama Care California brought a new solution of affordable California medical insurance to the golden state through the state-based exchange, Covered CA. Through the Covered California website, qualified individuals and families can sign up and receive subsidies through the form and up-front tax credit to help them pay for their medical coverage. This enables thousands of qualified Californians to obtain inexpensive, if not the cheapest health plan available from some of the best insurance companies in the state.

Purchasing California health insurance through the State Exchange is like going to an online shopping mall. State approved Obama Care California health plans include carriers such as Blue Shield of California, Anthem Blue Cross, Kaise Permanente and others. Benefit packages include Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels of coverage that can be viewed in an apples-to-apples comparison. Premiums range from cheap to more expensive depending on the level of coverage desired.

The Covered Californa Website
The Covered CA website allows you to view Covered California income limits, get quotes, shop plans and submit an application online all from the convenience of your own home. If you need additional assistance regarding affordable health insurance for California, contact a certified agent by calling this toll free phone number: 1-877-752-4737. Or, visit a local coverage CA Storefront. These services are all offered free of cost.

Through the dedicated efforts of many California health insurance agents, navigators and assisters, our state experienced a drop in the number of those uninsured. From 2013 to 2014 the number of uninsured went from 15% to 10% (Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts for California). These are still more people to reach, but as these numbers prove, consumers are hearing Obama Care California's message that..."It isn't just health care, it's life care."

Finding Affordable Health Insurance in California
The state of California offers a wide variety of affordable health care insurance options, from plans that give you and your family long-term coverage to short-term plans that protect you from gaps in between insurance plans. You can rest assured you’ll find exactly the plan you need.

Who Requires Coverage?
When Obamacare was passed in 2010, it required all U.S. citizens and permanent residents to have health insurance that meets the minimum essential requirements. Everyone must be enrolled in a health plan all year ‘round. If you go without health coverage, you will pay a tax penalty.

Where Can I Enroll in a Health Plan?
Health for California gives you quick and instant access to quotes for Obamacare individual, family and business plans. Our process is fast, easy and free. Simply tell us a few things about yourself, and we’ll give you the best quotes from multiple providers in your area.

When Can I Enroll?
The 2019 open enrollment period is now open. This means anyone can sign up for health coverage. Act fast. The 2019 open enrollment period will close on January 15 in California. If you’ve experienced a qualifying life event such as losing a job, having a baby or changing homes, you may be eligible to enroll outside the open enrollment period, or 60 days after the event date.

What Is Available?
You can find the following types of plans:

Individual and Family Healthcare Plans: Since the passing of the Affordable Care Act, all health insurers are required to meet minimum essential requirements with their healthcare plans. This means they must provide coverage for things such as hospital stays, emergency care, preventative and wellness care, and prescription drugs. These plans are ACA compliant and offer high-quality, affordable coverage to everyone, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions.
Short-Term Plans: Short-term health plans offer medical coverage for a short period. They vary in length and are an excellent option for people looking to fill healthcare insurance gaps, people who want to cover special events and those who missed the open enrollment period. These plans are not ACA compliant and won’t protect you from huge medical bills or tax penalties.
Medicare: Medicare is granted to qualifying individuals over the age of 65 who suffer from chronic illnesses or disabilities.
Medicaid: Medicaid is offered to individuals and families with low household income

Health Insurance Through Covered California

Health Insurance Through Covered California
These health insurance companies meet all the state and federal requirements for plans as well as additional standards established by Covered California. They represent a mix of major insurers and smaller companies, regional and statewide doctor and hospital networks, and for-profit and nonprofit plans. They deliver exceptional value and choice with affordable premiums, a wide choice of benefit levels and good access to doctors and hospitals in all areas of the state.

For more information about the health insurance companies Covered California works with, visit the Contact Your Health Insurance Company page.

Californians with limited incomes may be eligible for Medi-Cal. For information about the Medi-Cal program, visit the California Department of Health Care Services website.

2019 Plans Booklet Thumbnail
2019 Plans Booklet (preliminary rates)2016 Plans Booklet Thumbnail
2018 Plans Booklet (preliminary rates)
Patient-Centered Benefit Design
Covered California is leading the way for consumers by using a patient-centered benefit design. What this means is consumers can shop across our different health insurance companies knowing that the benefits are the same, depending on metal tier, no matter which company they choose. Consumers get an apples-to-apples comparison about co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs up front so there are no surprises when they use their plan. The consumer has their choice of coverage level based on a metal tier system to select a plan that best fits their needs. For a detailed look at the patient-centered benefit design, please refer to the charts below.

When you have health insurance, we’re here to help with medical costs. As soon as you start the monthly payments on your California health plan, you’ll be covered for check-ups and preventive care. Most preventive care is free or costs a fee called a copay.

For other care, you might be asked to pay for your care up to a certain amount. That’s reaching your deductible. Once you reach it, we’ll start paying for a percentage of your costs. You just pay the rest. That’s called your coinsurance. Finally, every plan has an out-of-pocket limit that you can reach if you spend a lot in one year.

Short-term health insurance in New Jersey

Short-term health insurance in New Jersey
New Jersey has long-standing regulations that prevent the sale of short-term health insurance.
Louise Norris
Health insurance & health reform authority
October 1, 2018
Buying short-term health plans in New Jersey
Long-standing New Jersey law does not allow short-term health plans to be sold in the state.
New Jersey requires all plans to provide full-year coverage, comprehensive benefits, and be guaranteed-issue and guaranteed-renewable.
New Jersey will continue to prohibit the sale of short-term plans, so the new federal rules do not apply in the state.
New Jersey regulators have cautioned that expanding short-term plans in other states will ultimately be detrimental for consumers.
Sale of short-term plans is prohibited in NJ
The sale of short-term health insurance plans has, for all intents and purposes, been prohibited in New Jersey since 1993. New Jersey statute 17B:27A-3 governs individual health insurance plans, and does not allow short-term limited duration plans to be sold to New Jersey residents.

The statute requires all plans sold to individuals in New Jersey to provide full-year coverage, “comprehensive benefits that exceed the requirements of the Affordable Care Act” and must be guaranteed issue and guaranteed renewable. These terms are not compatible with short-term plans, so short-term coverage is essentially prohibited in the state.

The ban will continue
In April 2018, after the Trump Administration had proposed new rules to change the federal definition of “short-term, limited duration” (rules that have since been finalized), the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance submitted comments noting that short-term plans have not been sold in New Jersey for 25 years, and clarifying that the state’s ban on short-term plans would continue, regardless of any changes at the federal level.

New Jersey’s acting insurance commissioner also cautioned that expanding access to short-term plans in other states would ultimately be detrimental to consumers. The comments noted that the coverage offered by short-term plans is inferior to the coverage offered in the ACA-compliant market (and in New Jersey’s state-regulated market), results in adverse selection for more comprehensive plans, and could ultimately lead to insurers withdrawing from the ACA-compliant market in states that allow short-term health insurance plans.

Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.

Source: https://www.healthinsurance.org/new-jersey-short-term-health-insurance/
Follow us: @EyeOnInsurance on Twitter | healthinsurance.org on Facebook

New Jersey health insurance

New Jersey health insurance
Three insurers offer individual health plans for 2019 through the state's exchange.
Louise Norris
Health insurance & health reform authority
December 16, 2018
Health insurance in New Jersey
New Jersey uses the federally run health insurance exchange so applicants enroll through HealthCare.gov.
Open enrollment for 2019 coverage in New Jersey ended on December 15, but enrollment is still possible for residents who have qualifying events.
Three insurers are offering 2019 coverage in New Jersey’s individual market.
The average premium for 2019 is decreasing.
Almost 275,000 New Jersey residents enrolled in 2018 coverage through the exchange.
New Jersey has accepted the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.
Short-term health plans are not available for purchase in New Jersey.
New Jersey’s CO-OP, Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey, stopped offering plans in 2017.
New Jersey’s health marketplace
New Jersey uses the federally run exchange, which means residents enroll in exchange plans through HealthCare.gov.

Open enrollment for 2019 coverage ended on December 15, but enrollment is still possible for residents who have qualifying events.

Three carriers – AmeriHealth, Horizon BCBS and Oscar Health – offered plans in the New Jersey exchange last year and they are offering plans again for 2019. Health insurance premiums on average will decline by 9.3 percent in 2019, thanks to a state reinsurance program approved in August 2018.

Compare plans and rates in New Jersey
New Jersey enrollment in qualified health plans
A Kaiser Family Foundation study released in the fall of 2013 found that about 628,000 New Jersey residents would be potential customers for the exchange, and that about 400,000 of them would be eligible to receive premium subsidies. So the state enrolled about a quarter of its eligible population in the first open enrollment period, leaving plenty of room for growth.

During 2014 open enrollment, 161,775 people had enrolled in qualified health plans through New Jersey’s exchange by mid-April, and 84 percent of them had received premium subsidies.

A total of 288,573 people enrolled in New Jersey exchange plans during the 2016 open enrollment period. Enrollment grew to 295,067 for 2017, but dropped down to 274,782 during the open enrollment period for 2018 coverage.

Read more about the New Jersey health insurance marketplace.

Medicaid in New Jersey
New Jersey adopted the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and began utilizing federal funding to provide health insurance for the newly eligible population starting in 2014.

As a result, New Jersey’s Medicaid enrollment increased by 36 percent – nearly 460,000 people – between the fall of 2013 and November 2017. Total Medicaid/CHIP enrollment in New Jersey as of late 2017 stood at nearly 1.75 million people.

Read more about Medicaid expansion in New Jersey.

Short-term health insurance in New Jersey
Despite new federal short-term health insurance regulations that have rolled back restrictions on short-term plans, the plans are not for sale in New Jersey. A New Jersey statute that governs individual health insurance plans includes requirements that are not compatible with the short-term plans, so short-term coverage is essentially prohibited in the state – and short-term plans have not been sold in the state for 25 years.

And that’s not likely to change any time soon: the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance has submitted comments noting that New Jersey’s ban on short-term plans would continue, regardless of any changes at the federal level.

Read more about short-term health insurance in New Jersey.

How did Obamacare help New Jersey residents?
New Jersey opted to let the federal government run its health insurance exchange but expanded Medicaid in 2014. Has access to affordable health insurance improved for its residents under the Affordable Care Act?

In 2013, according to US Census data, 13.2 percent of New Jersey residents were uninsured. By 2016, that had fallen to 8 percent. Across all states, the uninsured rate started out higher than New Jersey – at 14.5 percent – and fell to an average of 8.6 percent.

There is no doubt that the reduction in the uninsured rate is due to the ACA, and to the state’s acceptance of federal funding to expand Medicaid.

New Jersey’s health insurance CO-OP
Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey was the trade name for Freelancer’s CO-OP of New Jersey, a Consumer Oriented and Operated Plan (CO-OP) established under the ACA. CO-OPs in 22 states received a total of $2 billion in grants from the federal government to establish their programs; Freelancer’s CO-OP of New Jersey received $109 million.

Most of the CO-OPs have since gone out of business; only four remain operational in 2018. New Jersey’s CO-OP was among the seven still in operation as of September 2016. But that month, the NJ Department of Banking and Securities placed Health Republic into rehabilitation and the CO-OP was no longer sell new policies. Existing Health Republic policies terminated at the end of 2016; as a result, nearly 35,000 individuals needed to find new health plans for 2017.

Initially, the hope was that state regulators would be able to stabilize the company enough for it to return to the marketplace in 2018, but that did not come to pass. On February 3, 2017, an order of liquidation for Health Republic was filed. All of the CO-OP’s assets were liquidated to repay creditors to the extent possible.

Medicare enrollment in the state of New Jersey
As of May 2015, New Jersey Medicare enrollment was nearly 1.5 million – about 17 percent of the state population compared with 17 percent of the U.S. population enrolled in Medicare.

About 87 percent of New Jersey Medicare beneficiaries qualified based on age alone, while the remaining 13 percent were eligible due to disability.

Per-enrollee Medicare spending for New Jersey trends higher than the national average at $9,686 per year compared with $8,970. As of 2009, the state ranked 9th in the nation for overall Medicare spending.

Medicare Advantage plans offer New Jersey Medicare participants a way to gain more healthcare benefits; they are an alternative to Original Medicare. In New Jersey, 21 percent of Medicare enrollees select a Medicare Advantage plan; nationwide, an average of 33 percent of Medicare beneficiaries select Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Part D plans offer New Jersey Medicare recipients stand-alone prescription drug coverage. In 2017, Part D enrollees accounted for 59 percent of New Jersey’s total Medicare population, as opposed to 44 percent nationwide. This makes sense, given that a larger portion of New Jersey’s Medicare enrollees have Traditional Medicare (versus Medicare Advantage) than the US population, and stand-alone Medicare Part D plans are designed to supplement Traditional Medicare.

Bills under consideration in the state legislature in 2018
Lawmakers in New Jersey considered a variety of health care reform bills in 2018, including:

S.564 — would prevent any health insurance policy from being sold in New Jersey unless it meets NJ statutes. This bill was introduced to prevent the proliferation of association health plans that could crop up as a result of Executive Order 13831, which President Trump signed in October 2017; short-term plans, which the EO calls for expanding, are already prohibited in New Jersey. But on the other end of the political spectrum, A.283 would allow out-of-state insurers to offer plans in New Jersey without having to comply with the full list of NJ regulations.
S.1877 — would implement a state-based individual mandate in New Jersey, to replace the ACA’s individual mandate that will be eliminated at the end of 2018.
S.1878 — would direct the state to propose a 1332 waiver in order to establish a reinsurance program to stabilize the individual market, using federal funding that would otherwise have been spent on higher premium subsidies.
A.352 — would require that exchange insurers remain in the exchange if they wish to be contracted with the state to offer Medicaid managed care plans.
A.469 — would allow sole proprietors to join a state-based small employer health benefits purchasing alliance, as opposed to only businesses with two or more employees.
A.1343 / S.561 — would create a public health insurance option in New Jersey, which would compete with the private market options.
A.2039 — would protect patients from surprise balance bills if they receive treatment from an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility.
S.924 — if a primary care doctor leaves or is terminated from an insurer’s network, patients would be able to continue to receive in-network care from that doctor for up to 12 months.
A.710 — out-of-network care for a catastrophically ill child would be covered as in-network (as long as referred by an in-network provider) under Medicaid, CHIP, and private plans.
A.377 — would require hospitals to assist uninsured patients with the process of creating an exchange account on HealthCare.gov.
New Jersey’s legislative session continues throughout the year. Keep an eye on those bills.

Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.

Source: https://www.healthinsurance.org/new-jersey/
Follow us: @EyeOnInsurance on Twitter | healthinsurance.org on Facebook

7 Realistic Ways to Make Money Online

7 Realistic Ways to Make Money Online
Whether you're looking to make some fast cash, or you're after long-term, more sustainable income-producing results, there are certainly ways you can make money online today. The truth is that making money online isn't as difficult as most make it out to seem. It does require some discipline.

However, if you're looking for realistic ways you can start earning money online now, then it really truly does boil down to seven paths you can take towards profit. Some will provide you with immediate results, helping you to address your basic monthly necessities such as rent, utilities and groceries, while others have the potential to transform your life by revolutionizing your finances in the long term.


No matter what method you select for generating your online income, there's one very important thing to understand. Money can be earned and spent, saved and pilfered, invested and wasted. Not time. That's why time is far more valuable than money. You can't recreate time. Once it's spent, it's gone forever.

When you lack the luxury of time, making money on or offline can seem like an impossible task. How are you supposed to do that when you're working at a life-sucking nine-to-five job? While the stability of full-time employment might allow most to sleep well at night, it doesn't empower your creative juices to search for new income-producing strategies.

No matter what method you end up using to generate an income on the web, you need to adjust your mindset to help empower rather than discourage you. The truth is, making money online can be fraught with avoidable pitfalls. Cancel the noise by keeping a few fundamental guiding principles in mind.

If you're at all serious about generating a full-time income and possibly more from your online activities, then you need to focus on passive income as opposed to active income. Sure, the active income will help you survive. That's the scarcity mentality at play. But it's the passive income ideas that will help you thrive.

Considering that you have a finite amount of time, passive income should make up a large part of your work. If you're serious about generating any semblance of income online, then passive income should be one of your sole goals and ambitions. Why? Wouldn't you prefer to do the work one time and get paid repeatedly as opposed to relying on your time to generate that income? Invest the time at the front-end so that you can reap the benefits on the back-end. This means putting in a bit of sweat equity and not getting paid today. Rather, you'll get paid somewhere down the road. And you'll continue getting paid whether you keep building that passive income stream or you stop.

Anyone interested in making money online should be pursuing passive income, while also working on active income. There are loads of ways to generate an income passively on the internet, many of which start at the foundation of having a blog, generating substantial traffic and building an audience and a list. It's not easy, but it's worth it.


That doesn't mean you need to start a blog to make money online today. You could opt for a non-blog-starting route, but if you're looking for longevity in your income-producing abilities on the internet, then a blog should be your primary aim.

Related: How Can App Makers Improve Revenue and Keep Users Engaged?

1. Leverage the app economy
If you're looking to address some immediate financial needs, then the app economy is likely right for you.

Uber or Lyft: If you're in a locale where you can find Uber or Lyft, or  one of the many competitors around the world such as China's Didi, the hours are flexible and you can work as you see fit, making it perfect, even if you currently have full-time employment but are looking to make some money on the side.

Postmates: You don't even need a car in some locations to make money with this app. In some major metroplitan areas like Manhattan, a bike would suffice.

iBotta: Earn cash back rewards by purchasing featured products at major retailers. All you have to do is add rebates, go shopping, then snap a photo of your receipt to earn your cash back. Simple and effective.

Task Rabbit: Another simple and straightforward app for making a bit of side-hustle income is the Task Rabbit app. Tasks can be anything from simple repairs to more exhaustive undertakings. The app carefully vets each service provider to ensure the highest quality, and it's a great way to make some extra income on the side on your own terms.

Ebates: This app offers a simple way to make money online by buying whatever you're already buying and then getting a cash-back reward. With eBates, there's no scanning receipts. Simply click a link in the app and buy from the store. You'll automatically be credited your cash rewards upon purchase along with receiving an email confirmation. 


Swagbucks: With Swagbucks, there are a number of ways you can make money. You can shop online, watch videos, answer surveys and surf the web. The app gives you both cash back and gift cards as a reward for your efforts.

Inbox Dollars: Another app you can use to make money online is Inbox Dollars, which pays you for watching television, taking surveys and shopping. There are cash offers here and it's relatively similar to some of the other apps in this arena. 

Related: What You'll Really Earn on Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit Every Month

2. Use existing websites
You could also opt to use existing websites for making money. These include both active income and passive income methods. For example, you could sell some used items or invest in creating some digital designs that then can be sold on merchandise. Again, devote a sizable portion of your time to passive income so that you can slowly build up earnings that will arrive on autopilot without any extra added effort.

Of course, a large portion of these sites do have their own respective apps. But these are certainly less involved in the gig economy, and more so in the longer term projects that exist in the fields of photography, online marketing, graphic design and web development, for example.

Craigslist: This site has been the go-to resource for over a decade now for people that are looking to make a bit of extra money online. You can easily sell your used stuff, rent out a spare room in your home or apartment, and offer up your services to the world.

Upwork: This website offers a great marketplace for selling just about any professional service. You don't need a merchant account, website of your own or anything else for that matter. All you need to do is be able to provide a high-quality service at a reasonable price. But be informed, you will have to compete with many others that are constantly bidding on open jobs.

Cafe Press: This website allows you to create digital designs that can then be sold on the platform. You'll earn a commission for everything that sells and you'll never have to deal with logistics like printing, warehousing and customer service. If you have some graphic design skills, then this is a great potential source for your web-based income.

Fiverr: Israeli-based Fivver was started in 2010 by Shal Wininger and Micha Kaufam. You can offer gigs as low as $5 but also get paid much more for upgrades and add-ons. 


Mechanical Turk: Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a resource for doing human-intelligence tasks, or as the site commonly refers to them, HITs. You get paid a very small fee for any given HIT and you'll need a good deal of volume to make a substantial amount of money. But it is a resource you can use in your spare time to generate a small income online.

Flippa: If you have a penchant for buying and selling, you could use Flippa, and its higher-end counterpart, Deal Flow Brokerage to buy and sell websites for a profit. You'll need to know what you're doing here, but you could easily make a sizable income by flipping income-generating websites for profit.

Etsy: While Etsy's popularity has declined recently, it's still a great resource for selling handmade items online. No need for complex ecommerce sites or merchant accounts or any sort of automation. The company takes a commission of every sale and charges a small listing fee per item. But many still use Etsy as their primary source of income. The best part is that you can also sell digital products on here such as poster designs.

Shutterstock and iStockPhoto: Have a keen eye for photography? Why not sell photos on some of the leading photography sites. You'll need some design software skills to tag along. But if you do have skill in this arena, it's a great potential source for passive income.

Threadless: Similar to CafePress, Chicago-based Threadless also allows you to sell digital designs in the form of t-shirts and other merchandise such as phone cases, mugs, beach towels and so on.

Zazzle: Another great resource for selling online is to use Robert Beaver's Zazzle. The site is somewhat similar to Etsy and virtually anyone can make money online selling a variety of items here. From art to handmade items and customizable products, you can pretty much sell anything here.

Related: 5 Ways to Make Enough Side Money to Eventually Quit Your Job

3. Sell your own stuff
If you're ready to enter the ecommerce fray, you could sell your own stuff. Of course, along with selling your own stuff on your own website comes a whole slew of both responsibilities and technical configuration and requirements. For starters, you'll need a website and a hosting account. You'll also need a merchant account like ones offered by Stripe or PayPal. Then you'll need to design that site, build a sales funnel, create a lead magnet and do some email marketing.

You'll also need ecommerce software, fulfillment software, worry about warehousing, customer service and refunds. But that's not all. You'll also need traffic. Think search engine optimization, Facebook ads, and other social media campaigns. It is hard work, especially on your own. You could opt for Amazon's platform, which might be the easier route. But, then again, at the end of the day, this is a serious business, which could produce significant profits. So you're either all in or you're not.


Shopify: Want to build your own storefront? You could opt to create a Shopify store. You could also install WooCommerce as a plugin and run your ecommerce store from your blog. You'll need an SSL certificate and a way to process payments, but you might find this easier to get up and running fast to start selling immediately.

Fulfilled-by-Amazon (FBA): You could  start selling on the largest online store in the world and not spend the time to build out your own infrastructure or worry about traffic. You will need to pay a commission, but most of the other processes will be automated for you.

Drop-shipping: Amazon offers one form of drop-shipping, but there are other resources for drop-shipping products that you'll never actually have to see or handle yourself. You'll simply need to close the sale. Providers like SaleHoo, Worldwide Brands, and many others, offer you a resource for drop-shipping your products. 

High-ticket consulting or coaching: You could sell your own high-ticket consulting or coaching products from your website. You'll still need a website, merchant account, sales funnel, lead magnet and many other items. But you can easily earn a substantial amount of money from each individual customer, making it well worth the arduous setup required.

Related: Making Money Online: 5 Major Online Selling Opportunities for Any Entrepreneur

4. Sell as an affiliate
There are loads of resources for making money online as an affiliate. You could source products from ClickBank, Commission Junction, Rakuten Marketing, Share-a-Sale, Impact Radius and many others. Plus, many of the larger companies have their own affiliate programs as well. Do your due diligence and find the right company with a relevant product or service to your audience that you can sell as an affiliate.

In some cases, you will need an active website with substantial traffic to get approved. Selling as an affiliate isn't easy by any means, but if you do have the audience, it can definitely amount to a substantial amount of income.

Related: Why Affiliate Networks Are So Important to Online Affiliate Marketing

5. Start a blog
If you're serious about making money online, start a blog. Blogging is one of the easiest and most sustainable income sources. As long as the blog is setup the right way, in the right niche, with the right content targeted at the right audience, and the offer is complementary to the content, you could make a tremendous amount of passive income from a blog.

While some might think that starting a blog is an arduous effort, when you understand the precise steps you need to take, it becomes far easier. It all starts in the decision of choosing a profitable niche and picking the right domain name. From there, you need to build your offers. You can easily sell things like mini-email courses, trainings and ebooks.

Related: 6 Ways to Turn Your Blog Into a Money Maker

6. Email marketing
If you're interested in online marketing, setup email software and create a lead magnet that you can use in your sales funnel. Then, build up that list. It's often said that you can expect to earn about $1 per subscriber per month. If you have a list of 10,000 subscribers, that means you can earn roughly around $10,000 per month. You will need to deliver value and not pitch them on every email, but it is a very achievable goal in a short period.

There are many ways to get people onto your list. Lead magnets are one such resource. For example, you can build ebooks, checklists and cheat sheets. But you can also do content upgrades, such as PDF versions of an article with added resources in them, four-part video training series, and more. Think about your audience and what you can offer them to better serve them, then treat them with some respect and you'll eventually reap the rewards.


Related: One of Facebook's First Employees Explains Why Email Marketing Is Better Than Social Media Marketing

7. Webinars trainings
Webinars are quite possibly one of the most potent ways you can make an exorbitant amount of money online. You'll need an audience to train and you'll need to know what you're talking about. Of course, this usually requires having a website and some semblance of an online presence. However, people can still do webinars without all of that. For example, you might have a sizable social media following and you train them every week on something to do with social media. But you will need a product to embed and sell at some point. Don't worry about it in the beginning. In my experience, the best webinar platform out there is GoToWebinar.

No matter what method you choose to make money online, understand that you might be able to make some money fast, but for the sizable returns, you'll need significant sweat equity. However, a year from now, you'll be happy you started today. Remember, time is far more valuable than money. Focus on creating passive income streams that will free up your time so that you can quit the rat race and focus on the things that matter. 

Top 10 Online Business Opportunities to Make Money

Top 10 Online Business Opportunities to Make Money
Money makes the web go around. Whether you’re on a mission to find a new source of income or just looking to increase your paycheck with a side gig, the internet can offer a variety of solutions for you to choose from.

With such a great selection it’s easy to get lost. And although trial and error is a method we usually would recommend, it’s probably not a good idea to invest time and resources on experimentation when something so crucial as your income is at stake.

The solution? Research, and fortunately for you we can save you time with that. Below is a list of 10 online business opportunities that have a high potential for generating profit. Read through and consider which of these options might work for you.

Teach Online Classes

Do Affiliate Marketing

Write for Pay

Design Wix Websites

Open an Online Consulting Agency

Use Your Research Skills

Get with the Retail Program

Offer Text Editing & Translation Services

Become a Social Media Marketer

Create Custom-Made Art or Music

Top 10 Online Business Opportunities to Make MoneyTop 10 Online Business Opportunities to Make Money
01. Teach Online Classes:
Your expertise and knowledge can be very useful to you when you start your online business. Whether you’re a certified chemistry teacher or a knitting master, you can create an online course and charge students for access to the study material.

Teach Online Classes:Teach Online Classes:
02. Do Affiliate Marketing:
On the web, affiliate marketers are people who promote various online services and receive a commission for making sales. Many online services have an affiliate program –  Wix.com has one as well! This type of business is especially worthwhile if you already have a blog or a website set up and can simply start working on promoting your affiliate goods.

03. Write for Pay:
If you happen to be a gifted writer, your skills could be valuable to a huge variety of target audiences, from companies that need tech manuals, to college applicants who need help writing their resumes, or small businesses looking for good newsletter content.

Write for PayWrite for Pay


04. Design Wix Websites:
You have no idea how many times we’ve seen this pattern – a person in need of a website creates one using Wix’s web publishing platform, is very pleased with the process and the outcome, publishes the website and then receives offers from friends and acquaintances to design a site for them as well. The idea behind Wix is that everyone can create websites, but not everyone has the time or the will to do it, so why don’t you step in and fill the need?

05. Open an Online Consulting Agency:
Provide professional and specialized observations based on your field of expertise – health and wellness, finances, law and more. Here you can choose whether you want to work solely online or combine face-to-face service with your digital one.

06. Use Your Research Skills:
The internet created a neverending source of data. Companies searching for business intel, an individual interested in family genealogy or an author in need of background material do not always have the ability to search this vast pool of knowledge with a fine-tooth comb. In these examples and others, they would prefer to hire someone to perform online research. Might that someone be yourself?

Use Your Research SkillsUse Your Research Skills
07. Get with the Retail Program:


With online sales continuously on the rise, selling products to web shoppers is definitely a worthwhile path to follow for business purposes. Using Wix to create your own online store, you can set up a retail business with minimum effort and costs.

08. Offer Text Editing & Translation Services:
It’s the most straightforward process you can imagine. A customer sends you a text for proofreading, literary editing or translation purposes, you do your work and send them a document back. This kind of hassle-free operation will leave you plenty of time to focus on promoting your service.

09. Become a Social Media Marketer:
Small business brands and professional freelancers often require help with promoting their work on social media platforms. You can train yourself to understand the fine art of social media marketing and offer to either take over their social marketing efforts or to provide consulting services on the matter. The Wix Blog will provide you with an abundance of reading material on how to market on social media.

Become a Social Media MarketerBecome a Social Media Marketer
10. Create Custom-Made Art or Music:
If you want to support yourself as an independent artist without having to take on an office job or wait tables, why don’t you use your talent to make extra money? You can offer people from all over the world the option to commission illustrations, caricatures, sculptures, video art, designed candles, custom-ordered songs or anything that your creative force is able to produce.

Auto Accident Lawyers New Jersey

Auto Accident Lawyers New Jersey
Recovering from an auto accident injury caused by the negligence of others can be physically, financially, and emotionally difficult, which is why we offer our legal services to help. If you or a loved one have been involved in any kind of auto accident in New Jersey, contact Corradino and Papa, LLC to get details on the options available to you with our experienced and compassionate New Jersey auto accident lawyers. Call us now or contact us through the form on our website. We will assist in making an assessment that will help in protecting your rights and getting you the financial compensation you deserve.

The reality is that insurance companies do not want to compensate their policy holders based on what they deserve – they are concerned about settling your case for the least amount possible. There are various auto accident law firms, but you need a legal expert who will help you receive the maximum compensation for what you have lost. Corradino and Papa have highly skilled attorneys that have won thousands of dollars in damages for our clients. Automobile accidents happens everyday and we are here to assist whenever we are needed.

In the aftermath of an auto accident, you may be in shock, sustaining injuries that are not immediately obvious and do not cause any pain. You should still seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you are in pain. Some injuries from auto accidents continue to become worse even after the accident is over. You may not be aware of how hurt you are unless you see a doctor.

One may not be able to make a full recovery after an automobile crash, but we can at least help make sure you recover financially as much as possible for another person’s faulty action. A crash can result in devastating injuries like paralysis, brain damage, amputations and spinal cord injuries that need vital medical attention and lifelong care. Surgical procedures, doctor visits, rehabilitative care, and lost wages from being out of work can quickly be felt financially. Taking lawful action, you may recoup monetary losses from those responsible for the following damages:
Pain and Suffering

Pain and Suffering
Loss of Enjoyment
Funeral Costs
Lost Abilities
Vehicle Damage
We want you to concentrate on your recovery, which is why we work hard to handle the legal aspects of your case for you. With our results-oriented, NJ auto injury lawyers, you can focus on getting healed while we confront the responsible party for just compensation. Call Corradino and Papa, LLC now for any auto accident inquiries and an assessment of the legal options available to you.

NO RECOVERY – NO FEE – FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION

How Much Will a Car Accident Lawyer Cost You?

How Much Will a Car Accident Lawyer Cost You?
If you're involved in a car accident, and another party is at fault, you'll be able to hire an attorney on a contingency basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
Get the compensation you deserve. We've helped 215 clients find attorneys today.
Please answer a few questions to help us match you with attorneys in your area.


How long ago did the incident occur? 
If you’ve been in a car accident, and someone else is to blame, you’ll be looking for a plaintiff’s car accident lawyer. We all know lawyers are expensive, but how much will you need to pay?

Most car accident attorneys charge clients in a fairly unique way -- as opposed to the hourly fee that many firms charge in other types of cases. The typical auto accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take an injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm will not get paid any attorney’s fees unless you recover money in your case. The lawyer or law firm will get paid a percentage of money received from any insurance settlement  or jury verdict.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can expect if you decide to hire a lawyer to handle your car accident case.

The Contingency Percentage
The percentage that a lawyer can receive in a contingency fee agreement varies from state to state. The percentage typically ranges from 25 to 40 percent, and 33.33 percent (or one-third) is pretty standard. If you have a 33.33% contingency fee arrangement and you recover $90,000 in your car accident case, your attorney will receive $30,000.

Some states have shifting percentages based on the stage of your case and the amount of money recovered in your case.

A contingency fee may depend on whether or not the wrongdoer (defendant) in your case has responded or answered your legal complaint in court yet. If the case settles before there is an answer to your complaint in court, the allowed percentage is typically lower.

However, if settlement occurs after the defendant serves a formal answer to your complaint or if the case proceeds to trial and a jury verdict is reached, the allowed percentage may increase.

As an example, suppose you sent a  demand letter  to the wrongdoer in your case and you quickly reached a settlement agreement for $90,000. In this situation, the attorney would again receive $30,000 (33%). However, suppose that the case instead ended in a jury verdict of $90,000 and your state allows an attorney to receive 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.

It is always important to speak with your attorney about the contingency fee and to carefully review the contract for legal services. If you do not understand the fee arrangement stated in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.

Also, just like everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is a "cut and dry" case - liability and damages are clear, the defendant is well insured or has "deep pockets", and there's plenty of evidence backing up your claims - you can certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. You don't need to give up a third of your compensation simply because you need the leverage of "lawyering up."

Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or may not be responsible for upfront court fees and other litigation expenses.

These fees and expenses include court filing fees, cost of serving summonses and subpoenas, costs of obtaining medical records and police reports, court reporter fees, and expert witness fees.

Many personal injury firms require the client to pay the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you are responsible for these costs, you can expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment as the fees become due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case will likely not proceed until there is a payment.

Other personal injury firms (typically large firms), will cover all fees and expenses. However, the fees and expenses will be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let’s say that you settled your car accident case for $100,000. This time, your contract stated that costs and expenses would be deducted from the settlement. Your attorney incurred $10,000 in costs and expenses. In this situation, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would end up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).

Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of the "net settlement" - that is, the amount left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to increase their pay by taking their money out first. Let them know that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to find another lawyer.

Other Fee Arrangements 
Not all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of your case. However, if you recover money in your case, the amount already paid to the attorney should be subtracted from the percentage that is due to the attorney at the end of the case. For example, if you paid $2,000 to the attorney as a retainer and recover $90,000 in a settlement, the attorney will receive $28,000 from the settlement ($30,000-$2,000 = $28,000).

Most car accident cases will not involve a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. In that case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.

Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost?
The general rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the greater the value of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a minor fender bender with little or no injury, you can probably negotiate an acceptable settlement yourself. You would be doing yourself a disservice to pay a lawyer a third of a simple -- and almost guaranteed -- settlement.

On the other hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the settlement value of your case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to get you to accept a very low settlement offer – they are in the business of making money, not spending it. This fact is evidenced by a 1999 study by the Insurance Research Council who concluded that, on average, claimants represented by a lawyer received 3

AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS

AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in an auto accident, you need a dedicated attorney on your side. The experienced auto accident lawyers at The Cochran Firm have a proven record of helping victims of injury get maximum compensation. We are here to take your case, fight for your rights, and help you get the justice you are due. If you are in need of an auto accident attorney, please contact The Cochran Firm online or by calling (800) 843-3476 today to be put in touch with a lawyer in your area.

Auto Accident Cases We Handle

Our auto accident attorneys handle all types of accidents involving motor vehicles. This includes:

Car accidents
Truck accidents
Motorcycle accidents
Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
Bus accidents
HOW WE CAN HELP
We also accept cases involving boating injuries and airplane accidents. No matter what type of vehicle you were in when your accident occurred, the auto accident lawyers at The Cochran Firm can help you get the compensation you need to make the best recovery possible. Our lawyers work with a network of experts to thoroughly investigate auto accidents and identify all contributing factors. We use this information to build solid, evidence-based cases that greatly improve the likelihood of a successful outcome. It is important to remember that without an auto accident attorney on your side, you are at the mercy of insurance companies who are often more concerned with profits than helping victims of injury. With our legal team on your side, you will be protected against the predatory tactics of these companies and are much more likely to receive the full compensation you deserve.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our auto accident attorneys, please contact us today. We maintain offices throughout the United States, better enabling us to fight tirelessly for the rights of injury victims in all areas of the country.


RECENT VERDICTS
Disclaimer
The attorneys with The Cochran Firm have extensive experience in trying personal injury cases in states across the country. The results obtained in numerous cases have made a significant impact on clients’ lives, communities and industry practices. We have highlighted some of the remarkable case results on the Results & Verdicts pages of our website. The facts and circumstances of your case may be different and must be evaluated on its own merit. The case results on these pages represent the full award of the case before expenses and fees were deducted.

Get a FREE Auto Insurance Quote Now

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Cheap Insurance Companies

Cheap Insurance Companies
Choosing a cheap car insurance company
How to get a cheap car insurance policy from a company you trust
There are many reasons you may be seeking the cheapest auto insurance option. Your household finances may be tighter than usual. Or maybe you don't drive a lot. Whatever the reason, a low-cost policy doesn't have to mean a no-frills experience with the insurance company. As you compare quotes from cheap car insurance companies, consider more than just price. Policies from leading carriers, such as Nationwide, may be exactly what you need. Here's what to look for:

A solid reputation
Over the past 80 years Nationwide Insurance® has grown from a small auto insurance company to one of the largest and strongest insurance and financial services companies in the world. You can’t say that about most cheap car insurance companies. The key to our growth has been simple: helping customers protect what’s most important to them while providing outstanding customer service.

Personal customer service
Why choose Nationwide auto insurance? As a Nationwide auto insurance policyholder, you’ll enjoy great customer service online or over the phone, as well as through our vast network of Nationwide agents and Nationwide-affiliated independent agents. But don’t take our word for it. We post our customers' auto insurance reviews online for you to read. Cheap auto insurance companies don’t do that.

24/7 access
Because difficult situations always seem to happen at the worst possible time, Nationwide's renowned On Your Side® Claims Service is available around-the-clock 365 days a year to get you back on the road as fast as possible. A cheap car insurance company can’t match that standard.

Lots of free extras
Look at cheap car insurance companies and see if they can provide free perks like our 24-hour claims service, an 800 number with a real person at the other end, our On Your Side Review (a free consultation to see if you have the insurance you need and the discounts you deserve) and Nationwide®AutoWatch®, which lets you monitor your covered auto repair online.

Custom options
Nationwide offers you a variety of options that allow you to customize your policy. Cheap auto insurance companies can't offer you great options like Roadside Assistance, Accident Forgiveness or Vanishing Deductible®.

Other insurance options
If you're looking for other insurance policies, Nationwide also offers discounts for everything from motorcycles and scooters to boats and RVs.

Insurance terms, definitions and explanations are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in individual insurance contracts, policies or declaration pages, which control coverage determinations. Such terms may vary by state, and exclusions may apply. Discounts may not be applied to all policy coverages.

The Best Car Insurance Companies for February 2019

The Best Car Insurance Companies for February 2019
When shopping for auto insurance, you want the best company for you — not to be swayed by funny commercials and catchy jingles, all promoting a positive experience.

A clearer picture emerges of the best car insurance companies when you look at customer satisfaction and complaints. For NerdWallet’s rankings, we analyzed customer service and claims satisfaction scores from both J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, along with complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. NerdWallet updates this list regularly. The analysis and rankings will be updated when the newest complaint data becomes available.

» COMPARE: NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool

Only insurers rated by both J.D. Power and Consumer Reports are included. That means many smaller insurers aren’t represented here — but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth considering, too.

Company NerdWallet Rating Shop around
Note: Not all insurers available in all states.
1. Amica Mutual
   
NerdWallet rating
2. Auto-Owners Insurance
   
NerdWallet rating

3. Automobile Club Group
   
NerdWallet rating

4. Erie Insurance
   
NerdWallet rating

5. Auto Club of SoCal
   
NerdWallet rating

6. Travelers Insurance
   
NerdWallet rating

7. Nationwide
   
NerdWallet rating
8. State Farm
   
NerdWallet rating

9. The Hartford
   
NerdWallet rating

10. American Family Insurance
   
NerdWallet rating

11. The Hanover
   
NerdWallet rating

12. Allstate
   
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13. Geico
   
NerdWallet rating

14. Farmers Insurance
   
NerdWallet rating

15. 21st Century
   
NerdWallet rating

16. CSAA
   
NerdWallet rating

17. Safeco
   
NerdWallet rating

18. MetLife
   
NerdWallet rating

19. Esurance
   
NerdWallet rating

20. Liberty Mutual
   
NerdWallet rating

21. MAPFRE
   
NerdWallet rating

22. Mercury Insurance
   
NerdWallet rating

23. Progressive
   
NerdWallet rating

*The following companies were scored, but were ineligible for ranking because they are only available to certain customers.
NJM [*At the time of ranking, NJM was restricted to members of certain professions. It will be ranked next year.]
   
NerdWallet rating

USAA [Only available to military members, veterans and their family members.]
   
NerdWallet rating

Methodology


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How To Trade Stocks For Free

How To Trade Stocks For Free
Whether you are a novice investor looking to get started or an active trader handling your own investments, it's important to understand that commissions and fees limit your total returns over time. By learning how to trade stocks for free, you'll not only save money, but your investments will potentially compound at a faster rate.

Investing in the stock market is commonly referred to as a zero-sum game: for every transaction, there must be a winner and a loser. Sometimes the buyer of the stock wins the game, sometimes the seller comes out ahead. Either way, the net gain or loss must always reach a balance of zero.

In this scenario, there is a third-party participant that always comes out ahead: the broker charging commissions to both the buyer and the seller. Regardless of who wins the trade, the broker makes money by charging both sides to play the game.


May Day

Historically, commissions were fixed-rate and were based on the share price and the amount of shares purchased. Shares of stock were usually purchased in even lots, or quantities of 100 shares. Professor Charles M. Jones of Columbia Business School published a study called "A Century Of Stock Market Liquidity And Trading Costs" and found that

"At the end of 1962, the average NYSE share price was $40. Trading 100 shares of such a stock would result in a one-way commission of $39, or 0.975% of the money involved. This is a substantial fraction."

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On May 1, 1975, deregulation allowed for brokers to charge variable commissions rather than fixed rates, encouraging competition and leading to the rise of Charles Schwab SCHW -1.57% and other discount brokers. This was a game-changer, opening the door for the DIY retail investor to participate in the market while paying more manageable commissions.

The rise of discount online brokers like e*Trade in the 1990s brought about a drastic reduction in commission charges. Competition for the active investor's business has heated up to the point that commissions have never been cheaper. Big names like e*Trade and TD Ameritrade charge $6.95 per trade, while Charles Schwab and Fidelity have lowered their commissions to just $4.95.

As if that wasn't cheap enough, I've found several methods for investors to trade stocks for free. If there's one thing consumers like more than low-cost services, it's something obtainable for free. Using these platforms to invest can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.

(Please note that this article should not be viewed as a recommendation or endorsement of any one of these services and we have no financial interest in anything mentioned. Investing in the stock market involves risk and you should always do your own due diligence before choosing an investing platform.)

Robinhood

Over the last few years, a disruptive Fintech company has changed the game again by offering a bare-bones mobile only trading platform that allows investors to trade stocks for free.

That app is Robinhood, a member of the Forbes Fintech 50 which I previously recommended as one of the Best Investing Apps for 2018. The company joined the unicorn club last year with a valuation of $1.3 billion. Could it become an acquisition target for a large brokerage house looking to attract millennial investors?

Besides being free, Robinhood's appeal lies in its minimalist design and ease of execution. There are a few basic charts, standard statistics like P/E ratio and dividend yield and a selection of news stories. If you rely on charting tools, income statements or research reports for trading, you'll have to look elsewhere.

So how does Robinhood make money? The company recently introduced Robinhood Gold, a monthly subscription service that allows members to borrow money to trade (i.e. a margin account), provides access to extended hours trading and allows instant access to funds instead of the typical three day settlement period. Robinhood also earns interest on the cash sitting in users trading account, and will stand to make more money should the Fed continue to raise interest rates.

Robinhood has its sights set not only on disrupting stock trading, but recently announced plans to expand into the world of free option trading and even free cryptocurrency trading. The company is also planning to expand from mobile-only to a (perhaps more robust) web platform. None of these expansions have been given a proper timeline — interested parties can join a waiting list of over a million people to gain access once they are available.


Matador

Another upstart mobile app with its eyes on Robinhood is a company called Matador, which launched in May 2017. Similar in design and concept to Robinhood, Matador also offers free trades and limited research, but its unique feature is its focus on social trading and community.

Users can browse their friend's profiles to see their holdings, trades and any accompanying percentage gains or losses. While browsing individual stocks, users can see what percentage of total Matador users own the stock, and a global newsfeed shows what the community trends are over time regarding the popularity of certain securities.

The concept of mirror, or copy trading is fascinating and the app, less than a year from its launch, shows long-term potential. Whether Matador will be able to lure investors away from and compete with Robinhood over the long haul or if Robinhood can just copy and implement the community features remains to be seen.

Open A New Brokerage Account Or Switch Brokers For Free Trades

More advanced traders will need to keep at least a portion of their accounts in full-service firms to take advantage of their research, charting tools and money management options. The discount brokers constantly run new promotions to entice investors to open new accounts or switch from their current broker. Promotions vary by firm, but they usually come in the form of free cash for depositing a certain amount into a new account or free trades.

For example, Fidelity currently offers 300 free trades with a $50,000 minimum deposit while TD Ameritrade offer up to $600 and 60 days of commission free trades, depending on the amount deposited.

As with almost anything in life, broker commissions can be negotiable. If you're currently an active trader, you can always try calling a customer service representative at your broker and try to negotiate a lower rate. Make sure you've done your homework beforehand and come armed with information about their competitor's promotions.

Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge, launched by Merrill Lynch in 2010, offers low-cost trading commissions similar to competitors like Fidelity and TD Ameritrade. What sets Merrill Edge apart, however, is their Preferred Rewards program, which offers up to 100 free trades per month with a $100,000 account balance or 30 free monthly trades with a $50,000 account balance.

It may be only a matter of time before the other brokerages follow suit with similar offers, but for now, Merrill Edge is the only discount broker that offers free trades on a continual monthly basis.

Whatever option you may choose, there's never been a better time to enhance your returns by keeping your trading costs down to a minimum. Not every trade you make may be a winner, but at least you won't be paying the house to play the game.



Karl Kaufman is the founder of American Dream Investing, a financial membership service. If you want to get text alerts each time we make a trade, sign up for a trial membership.

Best Online Stock Trading Brokers for 2019

Best Online Stock Trading Brokers for 2019
If you’re looking for a way to build more wealth in 2019, getting started with one of the best online brokerage accounts is a solid first step. Doing so will allow you to invest outside your traditional retirement accounts and on your own terms. The best part is, the best online brokerage firms charge little or no fees and offer excellent resources that can help you learn more about investing along the way.

Of course, not all brokerage firms are created equal, and that’s why we took the time to break down each of their details and rank the top options on an array of factors.

If you’re looking for a new way to invest this year and are ready to strike out on your own, the following online brokerage accounts should be at the top of your list.

The Simple Dollar’s Top Picks Best Online Brokerage Accounts in 2019
Optionshouse – Best Discount Broker (also Best Options Broker)
Scottrade – Best Support and Service
E*TRADE – Best Trader Resources
TD Ameritrade – Best For Developing Traders
What Matters When You Trade Stocks on Your Own?
Managing your own money can be a stressful endeavor. To minimize this, and to minimize information overload that tends to come from watching the markets 24/7, there are a few must-haves to look for in an online broker.

Clean interface. When I trade, I want to be able to easily find my order entry ticket. I don’t want it buried under a number of drop downs. This interface should have intuitive access to see your balance, available cash, positions with real time P/L and all be easily navigated.
Quick access to basic charting. A chart tells me where the stock has been recently. I don’t trade minute to minute anymore, so I don’t need complex tools like stochastics or retracement lines. All that’s important is that I have a basic chart on a yearly, monthly, weekly, daily and intra day time period. I use a chart to see current price relative to those time periods, mainly to avoid purchasing at a bad price.
Low fees. One of the biggest roadblocks to building wealth is fees incurred to invest your hard-earned dollars. Because the fees charged by different brokerage firms vary so dramatically, it’s crucial to seek out options that charge low fees (or no fees) for account management and trades.
There are over 50 online brokerages where you can open an account. Beyond the my three rules above, best online brokerage accounts aren’t just for trading stocks. Sure, many of them started as online stock trading accounts, but now they’re full-fledged trading, saving, investing, retirement planning, and banking machines.

This industry is more complex than the average person thinks. You shouldn’t just pick any online broker and sign up for an account. The best online broker for one person is often completely different for the next person. Use this resource as a guide to your decision process. Figure out what features are best for you, and make your selection.

What Makes a Great Online Broker?
I analyzed a number of elements to come to my decision on which brokers are the best. Later in this post, I provide full details on how I selected the best online brokerages.

When you take all the features, resources, trading platforms, and technology into account (while also considering every type of trader), the full-service brokers, like E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade are the best for the largest number of people.

For those simply looking to make cheap trades, I would recommend going with Optionshouse.

If you’re a very advanced trader, high-volume trader, or a professional who manages money, I recommend going with Interactive Brokers. However, I didn’t include Interactive Brokers on my list because they’re best for a very small group of traders and the platform is very complex.

Top Qualities of Standout Online Trading Platforms

Quality trading tools and technology
Multiple trading platforms for all levels of traders
Excellent mobile trading features
Solid navigation that displays the relevant information where you want it
Quality educational resources and research for trader development
There’s more to selecting an online broker than price. You have to consider the resources you’re getting for the cost you pay per trade.

For example, my colleague, who is also an ex-trader, likes to use a combination of stock and options trade in his longer-term trading. He recently switched over to Fidelity because he really liked the cash management features, but was very disappointed by complex order entry, sub-par options execution and frustrating navigation. He’s currently making the switch to one of the brokers I profile here.

Analysis of the Best Online Brokers

Best For:

Options Traders
High-Frequency Traders
Deal Seekers
Get Started

Optionshouse
Best Discount Broker


When it comes to getting a deal on a stock or options trade, it’s tough to beat OptionsHouse. Along with the low costs and fees, you’ll also have access to proprietary tools and technology. OptionsHouse isn’t a “full-service” broker like TD Ameritrade, which means you won’t find the same comprehensive financial resources and access to every investment product. OptionsHouse is good at what they do — providing very affordable trading prices, low margin rates, and unique tools for stock and options traders.

NOTE: OptionsHouse was acquired by E*Trade at the end of 2016, but no changes are expected to OptionsHouse pricing or trading platforms.

Costs & Fees


Reasons to Sign Up


Reasons to Avoid

OptionsHouse Costs and Fees
Stock Trade: $4.95 for new traders, $3.95 for current traders>
Options Trade: $4.95
Options Contract: $0.50
Mutual Funds Trade Fee: $20
Futures Contract Cost: $2.00
Margin Rates: 1.5%-5.0%
Minimum Deposit: $0


Best For:

Beginners
Long-Term Investors
Research-Based Traders
Get Started

TD Ameritrade
Best Support and Service


For years, Scottrade has been known as the best online brokerage for customer service. TD Ameritrade doesn’t just let you open an account and ignore you. They thrive on building relationships with their clients, which is pretty rare these days. Scottrade is behind the times with some of their features, but they also don’t charge as much money per trade as the other full-service brokerages. If you’re a new trader or you just like being taken care of regardless of how much money is in your account, I don’t think you can do better than Scottrade.

Another reason to consider TD Ameritrade: They were recently acquired by TD Ameritrade. The deal closed around the fall of 2017 and a full conversion to TD Amertrade’s systems is expected to be in place this year. You’ll be well-served with Scottrade’s amazing service for beginning traders and TD Ameritrade’s breadth of offerings for traders of all levels.

Costs & Fees


Reasons to Sign Up


Reasons to Avoid

Scottrade Costs and Fees
Stock Trade: $7
Options Trade: $7
Options Contract: $1.25
Mutual Funds Fee (Load): $0 to buy, $17 to sell
Mutual Funds Fee (No-Load): $17
Futures Contract Cost: N/A
Margin Rates: 5.75%-7.5%
Minimum Deposit: $2,500 (recently updated), $0 for retirement account


Best For:

Low-Frequency Traders
Long-Term Investors
Research-Based Traders
Multiple Market Traders
Get Started

E*TRADE
Best Trader Resources


E*TRADE is right there with TD Ameritrade and Scottrade if you’re looking for the all-around best online brokerage. What’s interesting about this comparison is that E*TRADE excels in several different areas compared to TD Ameritrade and Scottrade, but also has many similar offerings. E*TRADE’s web-based platform is incredibly advanced and a breeze to use, as is their mobile app. However, you have to pay for these features because E*TRADE is just as pricey as TD Ameritrade and requires a $500 deposit to open an account (TD Ameritrade is free).

Costs & Fees


Reasons to Sign Up


Reasons to Avoid

E*TRADE Costs and Fees
Stock Trade: $6.95
Options Trade: $6.95
Options Contract: $0.75
Mutual Funds Fee (Load): Varies by fund
Mutual Funds Fee (No-Load): $19.99
Futures Contract Cost: $1.50
Margin Rates: 4.14%-8.14%
Minimum Deposit: $500


Best For:

Traders of all levels
Long-term investors
Low-frequency traders
Beginning traders who want to advance
Get Started

TD Ameritrade
Best For Developing Traders


I’ve actually had a TD Ameritrade account for over 15 years now. Back in the day, it was TD Waterhouse and then it merged with Ameritrade to form one company. TD Ameritrade is one of the all-around best online brokers because any level of trader can be satisfied here. While the costs and fees are on the high end of the industry, you get access to comprehensive research materials (both third-party and in-house) as well as education resources that can help you advance as a trader.



Costs & Fees


Reasons to Sign Up


Reasons to Avoid

TD Ameritrade Costs and Fees
Stock Trade: $6.95
Options Trade: $6.95
Options Contract: $0.75
Mutual Funds Fee (Load): $0
Mutual Funds Fee (No-Load): $49.99
Futures Contract Cost: $2.25
Margin Rates: 6.25%-8.75%
Minimum Deposit: $0

Choosing the Best Online Brokerage Accounts
Choosing the best online brokers is no easy task. There’s so much variation in this industry from company to company, and then you have to factor in the type of trader or investor who’s opening the brokerage account.

Here’s how I got started:

I conducted research to compile a list of every online broker.
I narrowed the list down to just under 50 brokers by eliminating those that did not allow U.S. stock trading.
I individually researched each broker, visited their websites, and analyzed rankings and reviews across the web.
I concluded that there were 15 online stock brokers worth digging into.
My next step was to come up with measurable data to compare these brokers.

I had to be aware that comparing a full-service broker to a discount broker or options broker was going to be difficult. I didn’t want to penalize companies for specializing, but I also needed to reward the full-service firms for offering additional resources.