Signs Your Child May Need More Support During Pandemic

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for most of us, children and teens often have an especially difficult time dealing with the lack of activities and social interaction if they are distance learning.  Depression has skyrocketed during the pandemic as a result of isolation, lost jobs and/or having family members that have fallen ill or died from coronavirus. Also, mental health visits are at an all-time high, even if many people are seeing counselors remotely by video conferencing.  The ongoing stress, fear, grief and uncertainty created by the pandemic can wear anyone down, but children and teens may have…

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Why Everyone Needs Life Insurance

People who are considering life insurance usually debate whether they need it or not. If anyone will suffer financially after a person's death, that person should have life insurance. This death benefit is meant to help surviving family members or dependents cope with the financial difficulties of losing the deceased's income and paying for final expenses. Life insurance isn't subject to federal income tax. In order to determine how much life coverage to buy, it's important to consider what surviving loved ones would need if death occurred suddenly.  Be sure to consider monthly living expenses, debts and final expenses when…

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New Fitness Guidelines for Children and Adults

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued new fitness guidelines that recommend adults get two and a half hours of moderate exercise every week, at a minimum. The slogan of the new guidelines is "move more, sit less," in an attempt to address the two main reasons many of us don't get enough exercise. This new guidance is the first update to the guidelines since 2008, when they were first released. Here are the report's main suggestions: Adults At least two and a half hours of "moderate-intensity aerobic" exercise a week. Exercise should be done in intervals…

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Health Insurance Rates Mostly Holding Steady

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, personal and family health insurance rates are staying stable going into 2021. In fact, it's the third year in a row of premiums barely moving in most areas, while the number of insurers writing policies in the personal market continues to grow. According to the ACAsignups.net website, which tracks enrollment, the average requested premium increase for 2021 is 2.1%, and in 18 states where regulators have approved rate hike requests, the average increase was just 0.4%. Under Affordable Care Act rules, insurers every summer must file proposed rates for the next year with the states they…

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Fewer Medicare Advantage Plans Receive High-Quality Ratings

There are fewer Medicare Advantage plans receiving high-quality ratings for their 2021 offerings than for this year's.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has reported that 49% of 400 Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage received four stars or more (the maximum is five), compared to 52% in 2020. Also, there are fewer people enrolled in plans that will have four or five stars in 2021.  The star ratings measure the quality of service enrollees receive and are based on actual experience of seniors with their plans.  The CMS rates Medicare Part C plans according to hundreds of specific…

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Executive Orders Take Aim at Medicare Drug Costs, More

President Trump in late September issued three executive orders that would affect Medicare outpatient drug prices, protect people with pre-existing conditions from health insurance pricing discrimination and end surprise billing.The main, and most substantive, order would fix prices that Medicare pays for outpatient and pharmacy-sold pharmaceuticals to the lowest prices offered in comparable developed countries.The Trump administration had announced in July that it would release an order on Medicare outpatient drug prices pending negotiations with the pharmaceutical industry. But after those talks failed to yield the results the administration had hoped for, the president decided to release the latest version…

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The SECURE Act Eliminates the ‘Stretch IRA’ – Here’s What to Do

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) eliminates the stretch IRA for most non-spouse beneficiaries, beginning with deaths in 2020.That means many taxpayers should look at revising their estate plans. Here's why. New IRA rulesPrior to the SECURE Act, which was a tax measure signed into law in December 2019, the law allowed heirs to "stretch" IRA distributions over their entire life expectancy. This means you could theoretically leave a large IRA to a grandchild, for example, and the distributions could be spread out over decades. This provided a significant tax deferral benefit for younger…

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Protect Your Boat with Insurance, Winterization

Now that summer's over and the weather is cooling down, if you own a boatyou have likely pulled your vessel out of the water and parked her at home orsome other dry dock.While it's sad to think that you won't be back on your boat until next year,you also need to ensure that you keep her primed and protected by properlypreparing for fall and winter. We are offering up the following tips, but remember to also read yourowner's manual for the manufacturer's recommendations for keeping your boatprotected during the colder months: The engine Follow the manufacturer's instructions when winterizing the engine, but…

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