Archive for March 2014

Making Sense of the New Health Care Transition Policy

On March 5, 2014 President Obama’s Administration made another significant health care announcement.  In order to accommodate more Americans, the White House announced a two-year extension to the transition policy for individual and small group health plans that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act’s market reforms.

These requirements will render many major health insurance plans illegal, due to tighter restrictions that are designed to protect consumers from huge bills and debt. During this transition policy, which will be in effect through October 2017, plans that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act won’t be terminated, and consumers won’t be penalized for keeping them.

This isn’t the first extension since open enrollment began on January 1, 2014.  Widespread website issues prevented many from signing up for health care coverage, so tax penalties were waived for the rest of 2014.  Now they’ve been extended another month.  So what does all of this mean? Americans without health care now have until February 15, 2015 to take advantage of open enrollment and get insured. Those who already have health care — but who faced cancellation because of stricter rules — have more than three years to seek compliant coverage.

To learn more about health insurance coverage options in Austin, Texas, contact the experts, onlinehealthexchange.com, working with Insurance Agency of Dean Davis.

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Enroll in Affordable Care Act Plans Before the Deadline

The health insurance marketplace for Affordable Care Act plans does not remain open for enrollment throughout the year. Currently, 2014 enrollment closes on March 31st, 2014. The only way you sign up for insurance outside of the enrollment deadline is due to major life changes. Some changes that qualify for an enrollment include having a child, getting married, losing your job, or getting divorced. 

If you do not enroll during the open enrollment period, you have to get insurance through another provider or potentially pay a tax penalty for not having insurance coverage in 2014. 2015 enrollment begins on November 15th, 2014, and runs until February 15th, 2015. Small businesses are not bound to the enrollment period and have the option of setting up insurance plans for their employees at any time of the year.

For more information about health insurance in Texas, contact the experts onlinehealthexchange.com, working with Insurance Agency of Dean Davis in Austin.  

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Finding the Right Safety Features for Your Teen’s Car

When your teen starts driving, there are a number of options available to help keep them on the road. As a parent you want to follow some basic guidelines when car buying for your teen driver. You want whatever vehicle your teen is driving to be safe and affordable. Your teen will likely express a desire for something stylish. And whatever you choose, you’ll want to take a hard look at how that choice will affect your auto insurance premiums.

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention reveals that teens aged 16-19 are involved in more crashes than any other age group, and in 2010 more than a quarter million teens wound up in emergency rooms after a wreck. Many were not wearing their seatbelts. While parents can discuss the importance of taking safety precautions as a driver, they can’t always be there. However, there are several features that may come in handy if your teen is ever in a bind. Some of these are standard on newer cars, but are available on older more affordable vehicles as well. Here are some features to look for

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)- First appeared in the 1980s, required on 2012 and later models
  • Anti-lock Brake Systems (ABS) – required as of 2012, first available for cars in 1978
  • Airbags – first required in the late 90s

It’s also important to check the condition of the tires on your teens’ car, and replace them if necessary. As for other safety features on the car, make sure to educate your kids to make sure they know how to activate the safety features if they need them. However, no safeguard is as effective as a skilled and attentive driver, so whatever car your teen has, it’s important to keep the conversation open on how your teen can fulfill that role no matter how responsible they are or how often they get behind the wheel.

Of course, the right auto insurance is also a big part of keeping your teen driver safe. At the Insurance Agency of Dean Davis in Austin, Texas we have been committed to helping families find the right auto insurance for their situation, and will look for affordable options based on the safety features of a vehicle, and the responsibility level of the driver. Our family owned, independent agency has been around since 1969 and our agents have 100 years of combined experience in the industry, as well as extensive knowledge not only about auto insurance products, but life and commercial insurance products as well.

To learn more about how to find the best policy for your family contact the Insurance Agency of Dean Davis today.

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No health insurance? See if you still qualify after open enrollment closes

Deadlines for open enrollment for health insurance coverage through private insurance agencies are quickly approaching. Open enrollment is expected to close at the end of March. Soon, those without health insurance will not be able to enroll until next year‘s open enrollment period, unless they have a qualifying event. Those with a qualifying event will be able to enroll for health insurance after the March 31st deadline, however, they must enroll within 60 days of the event occurring.

Qualifying events include:

• Getting married
• Change in family size by having a child, adopting and the placement of a child
• Relocating to an area with different health plan options
• Losing health coverage
• A change in income or household status that would affect eligibility for tax credits

Those seeking health insurance coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program can apply at any time, regardless of open enrollment or qualifying events.
This year’s open enrollment ends March 31, 2014 and next year’s proposed open enrollment will not begin until November 15, 2014.

For more information about your health insurance needs in the greater Austin, Texas area contact the Insurance Agency of Dean Davis. The agency and health insurance expert, onlinehealthexchange.com can help get you signed up for your health insurance coverage.

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St. Patrick’s Day Events in Austin, Texas

The St. Patrick’s Day holiday falls on Monday, March 17, 2014.  There are many wonderful events taking place that are sure to entertain you and your family. Join the community for St. Patrick’s Day Austin to be held at Shoal Crossing Event Center, or enjoy fun activities at the Shamrock Austin Festival and Parade.  Another choice is the ever popular outdoor party at Fado Irish Pub.  For a quiet and more upscale experience, be sure to make reservations at The Emerald Restaurant to savor authentic Irish cuisine.

St. Patrick’s Day Festival

Time: Noon – 9:00 p.m.

The St. Patrick’s Day Austin 2014

Shoal Crossing Event Center

8611 N. Mopac Expressway

The festival promises fun for the whole family and includes large groups of entertainment. Listen and/or participate in all styles of Irish music that includes singers, dancers, pipes and drums.

Shamrock Austin Festival and Parade

4th and Guadalupe

This block party celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with dueling bands, lots of Irish food, a beer garden, activities for kids, and a leprechaun photo opportunity.

St. Patrick’s Day 2014 – 18th Annual Huge Outdoor Party

Fado Irish Pub

Warehouse District

214 W. 4th Street

This lively street festival offers many forms of entertainment including live music with singing and dancing, beer gardens, and a variety of food stations.

The Emerald Restaurant

13614 W. Hwy 71

512-963-4272

This is an upscale Irish restaurant that is run by Marge Kinsella, of Ireland, and her husband Paul. The ambiance is relaxing, the cuisine is exceptional, and the service feels personal. Because this is a popular dining choice for St. Patrick’s Day, reservations are recommended.

For many folks, St. Patrick’s Day is spent socializing and this year there is an abundance of community entertainment. Choose from festivals, a parade, an outdoor pub party, or a special dining experience. Irish traditions, food, and alcoholic beverages are sure to be enjoyed, but please celebrate responsibly. As always, drinking and driving should be avoided. Plan to have fun while remaining sober or traveling with a designated driver. St. Patrick’s Day activities are sure to bring added excitement to Monday, March 17, 2014.

Contact The Insurance Agency of Dean Davis for your auto insurance needs in Austin, Texas. The Insurance Agency of Dean Davis is here to provide you with the level of protection you need for you and your family. Whether homeowners, car, or business coverage is needed, the Insurance Agency of Dean Davis is here to provide affordable options for your situation.

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Daylight Saving Time Continues to Confuse

Twice each year, clocks are adjusted by a full hour.  Over the years, people have debated the wisdom of this confusing practice.  In our fast-paced, 24-hour society, one must wonder if this practice still has merit.

  • Why? – Saving energy during the summer hours was the primary motivation for shifting clocks forward one hour during the late winter.  World War I had created significant demand for energy to accommodate weapon’s production.  By 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act to standardize the number of weeks in Daylight Saving Time.
  • Which is which? – A catchy phrase, “Spring Forward, Fall Back,” was written to help everyone to remember which way to set the clocks. 
  • When? – On March 9, 2014 at 2 am, Daylight Saving Time will begin again.  From the second Sunday in March, until the first Sunday in November, most of the nation will follow “summer time.”
  • Who? – All states and territories, except Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa will follow Daylight Savings Time.  Locations near the equator are less affected by the length of each day.

For more information about your insurance needs in Texas, contact Insurance Agency of Dean Davis in Austin.

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