By Cathy Wharton
For Hometown News
Now that 2013 has arrived, the federally mandated health care program, also known as Obamacare, will go into effect. How to pay for it, who will pay for it and how it will affect individual lives has become a hot topic at the proverbial kitchen table.
With the cost of health care soaring higher each year, health insurance has become a major concern for many people. Few can afford out-of-pocket expenses for a system that has grown beyond the reach of most income levels. There are, however, options available that will help pay health expenses, and can be tailored to an individual's specifications.
One of the most experienced agencies in the area is Murray Insurance Agency. And one of the most experienced agents in the company is Richard "Dick" Adams, an expert in the insurance field.
Founded in the early 1980s by Ed Murray, the business started out as a general insurance agency, but later contracted with Blue Cross-Blue Shield. The business grew to include offices in a number of central Florida locations.
Mr. Adams has been with Murray's east Volusia office since 1986. Over the years, he has dealt with numerous clients in a host of situations. In a previous interview, Mr. Adams said, "Whether people are working, retired or between jobs, they should check to see what kind of rates they can get. There are many types of policies available." Indeed, when it comes to health insurance policies, there is rarely a simple or all-inclusive answer.
While a lot of information is available online or directly through an insurance company, a licensed insurance agency allows a more direct approach to a client's personal needs -- and at no increased cost. Another advantage in dealing directly with an insurance agency is the old-fashioned touch -- flexibility and personal service. When clients call to make an appointment, they can either come to the office, or the agent will come to their home. "We still make house calls," Mr. Adams said.
In addition to his many years of experience, Mr. Adams has several advanced certifications in the insurance field. They include Chartered Life Underwriter, Registered Health Underwriter and Licensed Underwriter Training Council Fellow. Mr. Adams also has trained others to become insurance agents.
Murray Insurance offers a number of insurance plans, each geared to specific needs, age groups and income levels. Among the many plans and products available are group insurance, life insurance, travel medical insurance, disability insurance, short and long-term medical insurance, dental insurance, Medicare and Medicare supplements.
Examples of health insurance plans are hospital-surgical, which includes check-ups, for those who need a lower premium; and major medical, a standard 80/20-ratio policy, with or without co-pay. Clients can also opt for a catastrophic add-on plan. Another insurance plan available is a Health Savings Account --- a tax-free product. The plan has a high deductible, but is well suited for business owners and professionals, as it is tax-deductible.
Clearly, such a variation in clients' needs or type of coverage requires expert advice.
"People need to call an agent," Mr. Adams said. "We're here to answer questions about (health insurance) products."
Mr. Adams has seen a lot of changes during his career, including the relatively recent consolidation of the two east Volusia offices, Ormond Beach and South Daytona. Though the Ormond office is closed, its phone number is still in use at the South Daytona office.
But probably the biggest change of late is the healthcare bill. The details of the 2,000-page bill is not an easy study for anyone. Although parts of the program won't begin until October, the time to think about insurance is now.
Of particular interest are insurance plans for the under-65 age group and those with pre-existing conditions. For individuals under the age of 65, major medical plans are available.
Those with pre-existing conditions, however, are currently handled on a case-by-case basis.
Whatever a person's concerns or needs may be, there are answers. "But don't wait until October," Mr. Adams advised, "Call now with questions."
Murray Insurance Agency is at 3133 S. Ridgewood Ave., Suite 3, South Daytona. Hours by appointment. (386) 673-0691.