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Jack Kelly

Feeling charitable?  Have a charity that you are especially interested in benefitting?  Think about a life insurance bequest.  There are several different methods to structure these, both for new and existing policies.  Receive an income tax deduction now and leverage your contribution to create a real legacy for your chosen charity.  A good alternative in these challenging economic times.  Call us for more information.


Prescription drug coverage tightening.  Insurance carriers and self-insured health plans are stepping up their scrutiny of covered drugs.  When a generic equivalent or Over-The-Counter (OTC) medicine comes close to doing the job, many plans will practically force subscribers to use them unless doctors provide a good reason why their patient needs the brand.  Nexium seems to be on every carrier’s hit parade and one carrier, American Community, has completely ceased coverage for Proton Pump Inhibitors (Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, Aciphex, Prevacid, even generic omeprazole), claiming that OTC medications are just as effective.  We know many people who would disagree. . . .


Stock market jitters??  We’ve been hearing from many that they’re sick and tired of giving back all (or even more) of their stock market gains when the market “corrects.”  We’ve been talking for years about investment products, provided and guaranteed by some of the largest financial institutions in the world, that gain when the stock market rises and then lock these gains in and guarantee not to give anything back when the market falls. 


Is now the time to crash-proof your portfolio?  In a word – probably.  Some of the greatest political and economic minds predict some type of negative “event” sometime in the near future.  While we’re the eternal optimists and we sincerely hope nothing happens to negatively impact the market, it makes sense to build in some protection;  especially when you don’t have to give anything up to do so.  So, ask us about. . . .


Equity-Indexed Annuities.  Though not always appropriate for every portfolio, they do make sense as a component in many.  We’ve just come through an intense assessment of the equity-indexed annuity market and have the low-down on the good, the bad and the ugly.  Some results are surprising. 


Individual life insurance underwriting continues to be mixed.  Some carriers have become more liberal, some have tightened and some have gone away!  US Financial, one of our most aggressive and forward-thinking life insurance carriers, shut its doors to all new business last year after being acquired by AXA/Equitable.  Existing policies are not affected but no new contracts will be written.  Too bad.  They were an excellent market for diabetics, cardiac impairments and other challenges.  Meanwhile, talking about Individual Life Insurance. . . .


Now is an excellent time for a check-up on your life insurance portfolio  Level term life insurance premiums appear to be bottoming out.  Does this signal a possible increase in rates?  Well, maybe.  Probably not, but we’re likely seeing the bottom of the rate-lowering trend. 


Also, we recommend taking a look at your Universal life and other permanent life insurance policies that have premiums and premium-payment periods dependent on interest and dividend rates; these make up the vast majority of permanent policies.  Insurers’ portfolios are heavily weighted in government bonds due to conservative regulatory requirements, and bond interest rates have been steadily declining.  So, many policies thought to be “just fine” are actually close to burning themselves up due to low interest and dividend creditings.  We can help you check on yours.


For those trying to decide between term life insurance and permanent we have a new approach that bridges the gap between the two.  Call us for an explanation and proposal.


Parents with grads going off their health insurance plans should check individual plans with our office.  Blue Cross and several commercial carriers offer some good choices.  Check www.vectorbenefits.com and click on “Free Quote” or “My Blue” for initial information then call our office for assistance.


Health Savings Accounts (“HSA’s”) still have not made the inroads many (especially the current presidential administration) anticipated.  We have, however, been successful in arranging them where it’s a “can’t lose” situation.  All depends on the current level of coverage and the mind-set of the employees involved.  Liberalized regulations, using IRA’s for initial funding, catch-up provisions for participants over age 55, etc. have made them more attractive.  Maximum contributions for calendar year 2008 are $2,900 for a single, $5,800 for a family.  For 2009, the limits increase to $3,000 for a single, $5,950 for a family.  As always, contact us for further information.







Jack Kelly, C.L.U. and the Staff of Vector Benefits Inc.

- Newsletter


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