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Do you need Health Care Insurance?

GreatFlorida Insurance is committed to helping Floridians make informed decisions about their health care. Health insurance is designed to protect individuals and families from the high costs of health care.

Whether you are facing a pre-existing health condition, an emergency situation or just want preventative and wellness care, health insurance will pay part of your costs.

GreatFlorida Insurance offers coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, also known as Florida Blue.

We can help clear up any confusion about recent health reform, the Affordable Care Act, (ACA) and answer any of your questions concerning health care.

How does health insurance work?

Your health insurance plan is a contract between you and your insurance company.

You pay a monthly bill called a premium for the health plan and the insurance company agrees to pay part of the costs for covered medical services.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has four levels of coverage, bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

The plans have varying costs and coverage to meet your needs and budget. Another option includes a Catastrophic Plan for single people under 30 who qualify through financial hardships.

GreatFlorida Insurance can help you understand your choice of plans and options for health care through Florida Blue.

We will help you apply for and enroll in a plan that works best for you.

Affordable Care Act

In March 2010, President Obama signed into law, comprehensive health reform, Affordable Care Act, (ACA). The law makes preventative care more accessible and affordable for many Americans.

The health care law is designed to provide better benefits and expanding coverage while creating a stronger Medicare program.

What if I do not get health insurance in 2014?

If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you will be penalized and must pay a fee. The fee in 2014 is 1 percent of your yearly income or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher.

The fee increases every year. In 2016 it is 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person, whichever is higher. In 2014 the payment for uninsured children is $47.50 per child.

New Options Include:

Floridians can find out if they are eligible for lower costs for private insurance or health programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, (CHIP) and enroll in health coverage.

Parents can keep their children on their health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.

Insurers can no longer deny coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions such as asthma or diabetes.

In 2014, health insurers will no longer be able to charge more or deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition.

Health insurance companies now have to spend at least 80 cents of your premium dollar on health care or improvements to care or provide you with a refund.

Insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more.

Insurance companies are banned from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits. The law also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014.

Preventative services such as colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits and flu shots for all children and adults, will be covered with no deductible or co-pay required.

Increases funding to community health centers

Strengthens Medicare Program

Increasing coverage for brand name and generic drugs

No deductibles or co-pays for preventative services seniors and people with disabilities

Extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by ten years

Simply call 888-478-7801 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Health Care Insurance Agent in Florida will help you find the best deal for you.

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Healthcare Insurance Florida Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance
7/15/2019

Beginning today, July 15 through July 21, state troopers and local law enforcement across Florida are cracking down on speeding drivers. “If you have a lead foot, slow down or you will get pulled over,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance agency.

“Operation Southern Shield 2019” will focus on drivers who are breaking the law by traveling above the speed limit on interstates, major highways and local roads. In addition, law enforcement in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina will also be participating.

The focus is to encourage motorist to slow down, therefore reducing crashes and providing a safer experience for motorists. “The goal of Southern Shield is to not write a lot of tickets but to show drivers how speeding drastically increases their chances of being in a crash,” Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said. “We are warning drivers now so those who do not want to see blue lights in the rearview mirror will follow the speed limit, wear their seat belt, and drive alert and sober.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports in 2017, speeding killed 9,717 people, accounting for more than a quarter (26%) of all traffic fatalities that year. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles says more than 10, 590 crashes in 2018 in Florida involving speeding or driving too fast for conditions. Speeding was also a contributing factor in 8.7% of all crash fatalities statewide, resulting in more than 270 fatalities.

“Getting a speeding ticket can cause a hike in your auto insurance,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance agency.

According to DMVFlorida.org, If you get a traffic ticket in Florida, you have 30 days to pay off your citation, go to traffic school or request a court appearance. Speeding fines vary across the state, from county to county.

GreatFlorida Insurance offers dependable and affordable car insurance. Give us a call today for your free quote.

The post Law Enforcement Plans to Crack Down on Speeding Motorists appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
7/8/2019

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has issued a directive encouraging Florida homeowners to kill green iguanas they find on their property. “It might sound a bit barbaric, until you better understand the threat these reptiles can cause,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency.

Green iguanas are not native to Florida and are an invasive species from Central and South America.  The reptiles damage structures such as seawalls, sidewalks and roofs. They also destroy landscape plants with flowers and foliage as well as some fruit and any vegetable plants. The creatures can also transmit salmonella to humans through contact with water or surfaces contaminated by their feces.

“It is important to check your pools to prevent contamination,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

No permit is required to kill green iguanas on your property, however they are protected by Florida’s anti-cruelty law, so the execution must be considered humane. A hard blow to the head- a quick death, is recommended. It is illegal to poison, drown or freeze the reptiles as well as relocate captured iguanas. You cannot kill or set traps in common areas in communities and condos owned by an HOA. In these instances, it is best to contact a professional removal service.

The Miami Herald reports iguanas have burrowed into sewer lines and under roads, popped-up in toilets, and shopping centers.

The FWC website says, green iguanas can live on the ground, in shrubs or in trees in a variety of habitats including suburban developments, urban areas and agricultural areas. The reptiles are excellent swimmers and tolerate both fresh and saltwater. They can submerge themselves for up to 4 hours at a time. Contrary to their name, the retiles are blue, brown, orange, black and pink. The males can grow to over 5 feet long. Their population is difficult to control, since they can lay over 70 eggs a year and have no known predators.

If you have green iguanas on your property you want to get rid of the FWC has some advice on how to drive them from your place.

Fill in holes to discourage burrowing.

Hang wind chimes or other items that make intermittent noises.

Hang CD’s or décor with a reflective surface.

Spray the animals with water or use a sprinkler.

The post Iguanas Overrun Florida appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
6/26/2019

Summer is in full swing, which mandates a trip to the beach. With the most beautiful beaches in our backyard, it’s a shame not to take full advantage.

“Open water swimming at the beach is adventurous and can provide a challenging workout,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent boat insurance agency.

While swimming in the ocean is fun, changes in water depth and hidden currents also make it unpredictable.  Here are a few tips to keep your beach trip enjoyable and safe.

Swimming at the Beach

The American Red Cross recommends to always stay within your fitness and swimming capabilities.

Swim in a supervised, marked area with a lifeguard present, and swim with others. Never swim alone.

“Continually supervise children around water and never leave young children unattended around water, says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent boat insurance agency.

Stingray season is from April – October, when entering the water look around the edge, where they generally hang out. A purple flag at city beaches will provide a warning.

Rip currents and undertow currents are the biggest dangers to swimmers at the beach. Swim in an area where there is a lifeguard on duty or ask other swimmers about the conditions in the water. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.

If you find yourself pulled out to sea by a current, don’t panic. Try to keep calm to conserve energy. Relaxing is also the best way to stay afloat. Breathing deeply draws more oxygen into your body, lowering your overall density and thereby buoying you up in the water. Laying back also helps you float, because it makes it more difficult for water to flow around your outstretched body and force it downward compared to when you’re upright. If necessary, kick your legs and wave your arms very gently, cupping your hands to push water downward and turning them on edge to slide them upward.

Do not swim at any beach right after a heavy rain. Runoff following a heavy rain may result in a high bacteria level.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has a beach flag program to alert beach goers of surf conditions. Also, to check conditions before you head out, go to visitbeaches.org/ for updated information on specific beaches.

GreatFlorida Insurance provides Floridians with boat insurance policies for various kinds of watercraft. For more information call us at 888-478-7801 or visit us online at www.greatflorida.com.

The post Let’s Go Swimming appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
6/19/2019

“Several popular food items have been recalled over the past month,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

The following are a list of the food products to check.

The Sprouts Farmers Market grocery chain is recalling conventional and organic frozen spinach manufactured by National Frozen Foods. Food Safety News reports the recalled bags were shipped to retailers in 19 states including Florida. A random sample tested positive for Listeria. The contaminated bags have a, “Use By Date” of 12/3/21.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a public health alert, warning consumers that several frozen berry products manufactured by Townsend Farms Inc. were found contaminated with Hepatitis A. Among the products in question are frozen berries from Kroger and Costco.

  • Kroger: Private Selection Frozen Triple Berry Medley, 16 and 48 oz. and Private Selection Blackberries 16 oz.
  • Costco: Kirkland Signature Brand Three Berry Blend

“Bakers beware of an ongoing flour recall,” warns Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent health insurance agency.

Three flour brands including Pillsbury, King Arthur and ALDI have been recalled after the FDA discovered an ongoing E. coli outbreak tied to Archer Daniels Midland Co. Seventeen reported cases of the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections have been reported with three hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Pillsbury Best Bread Flour 5-pound bag
  • King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour 5-pound bag
  • ALDI Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour 5-pound bag

Ragu recalls three flavors of pasta sauce. The company that makes it, Mizkan America Inc. reports they may contain plastic fragments. The products in question are listed below.

  • Ragu Chunky Tomato Garlic & Onion, 45 & 66 oz.
  • Ragu Old World Style Traditional, 66 oz.
  • Ragu Old World Style Meat, 66 oz.

If you are in possession of any of the following tainted food items, click on the links in the article for more detailed information. You can also return them to the store for a refund and toss them out immediately.

GreatFlorida Insurance wants to keep you safe by keeping you informed. We offer dependable health insurance options through Florida Blue, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida. Give us a call today.

The post Check Your Food Pantry and Freezer appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
6/12/2019

Lightning is wreaking havoc in Florida. In the past week, lightning struck and killed two giraffes at the Lion County Safari in Loxahatchee. As if that was not unusual enough, a motorcyclist was struck and killed on his bike, while driving on I-95, in Volusia County.

“Lightning is such a common occurrence in Florida we often dismiss its dangers” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent motorcycle insurance agency.

Motorcyclist are especially vulnerable to lightning strikes because they lack the protection of a car’s metal shell, reports The National Lightning Safety Council, John Jensenius. It is a common misconception that the rubber on the tires of the bike will keep you safe.

Jensenius was also quick to debunk another myth, that a motorcyclist can outrun lightning, if you are traveling fast enough you cannot be struck. However, lightning travels too quickly to be outrun by humans.

The Weather Channel reports the motorcyclist who died in Florida is the 12th person killed in a motorcycle-related lighting death in the U.S. since 2006.

Lightning kills and injures more people in Florida than any other state. The Red Cross reports, more people are killed every year by lightning strikes, than tornadoes and hurricanes. Thunderstorms produce lightning along with damaging winds and heavy rain that can cause flooding.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates, 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in the U. S. every year. Lightning can strike more than 10 miles from where it is raining. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to pose a threat.

All thunderstorms produce lightning. Lightning strikes cause horrific injuries. Being struck can cause burns, serious lifelong pain and permanent neurological disabilities, as well as cardiac arrest and death.

“Every year claims for lightning losses total in the hundreds of millions, reports Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent motorcycle insurance agency.

Some safety tips to heed during a thunderstorm are listed below.

When thunder roars, go indoors. There is no safe place outside during a thunderstorm. If you are in the water, get out immediately. Avoid open structures such as gazebos, porches and baseball dugouts.

Lightning tends to strike the tallest object in the area and you do not want that to be you. If you are caught in an open area, such as a golf course or ball field, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you crouch down into a ball position, with your feet and knees together with your head tucked and your hands over your ears. The idea is to get low without touching the ground. Lightning causes electric currents along the top of the ground that can be deadly from over 100 feet away.

If you are in a group spread out from one another to reduce the number of injuries if lighting strikes the ground.

Wait to go outside for 30 minutes after you hear the last thunderclap.

Someone who is struck does not carry and electrical charge and requires medical attention immediately.

Don’t let a storm rob you. GreatFlorida Insurance provides top notch motorcycle insurance to fit your budget. Give us a call today.

The post Lightning Striking Again appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.