MEDICARE MAZE

Whether this is your first time applying for coverage, or you’re looking to make changes on existing coverage, it can be a difficult maze of information to go through.

  • For new timers enrolling in Medicare, whether 65 or older, there are enrollment periods to consider, and trying to decide on going with a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan. To help you with this, our Agency conducts Medicare Made Clear educational meetings once a month, from March through August, to help those who are applying for the first time. You can learn about your Medicare choices and we’ll share tools and resources to help you understand what coverage may be right for you.
  • For those looking to make changes, from a Supplement plan to an Advantage plan or from one Advantage plan to another Advantage plan, you have more enrollment periods and coverage changes to consider.   For current Advantage plan members watch for your “Annual Notice of Change” booklet, that comes to you every September, right before the Annual Enrollment Period of Oct. 15 – Dec. 7th. This booklet shows you what plan changes have been made for the coming year and whether or not you should consider looking at other options.

Let us help you get through the Medicare Maze.

Storm Chasers

Your home just suffered damage at the hands of a storm. Whether it is from hail, a tornado, high winds, or another form of weather, you need to be prepared for what comes after the storm passes. It is becoming more and more common for storm-chasing contractors to show up at your front door looking to scam you with the promise of quick work and low costs. Don’t take the bait and end up on the raw side of a bad deal like many homeowners. Before signing anything, you should take some time to educate yourself. Here are some tips to get you started.

Report storm damage to your insurance company. It is important to promptly notify your insurance company of damage that will result in a claim. Keeping them in the loop early can help with processing your claim and getting you back on your feet quickly.

Get multiple bids. While it might seem convenient to have the contractor come to your door with a sweetheart deal, it isn’t reality. Don’t agree to the offered terms until you’ve obtained a few bids and can compare.

Do your research. Make sure a reputable company will be working on your home. Working with a local contractor can make this easier. A quick and easy search with the Better Business Bureau can give you insight into how the company is run and what others might have to say about their work. Be wary of a contractor saying he is through the government or FEMA.

Get references. Have them prove their quality of work with customer reviews or referrals. A company shouldn’t feel put out by such a request and hesitation on their part could be a sign that their work isn’t high quality.

Ask to see their license. Be sure they are who they say they are. If they are licensed or certified to do the work, they should have no problem proving it.

Make sure they’re insured. A contractor should have insurance to cover themselves and their workers while on your property. Be sure they have coverage to avoid having any work-related injury claims made against your homeowners insurance.

Know what your homeowners policy says. Make sure you understand what your policy does and does not cover to avoid being talked into repairs that aren’t needed and aren’t covered. Also, reasonable expenses resulting from your efforts to protect your property from further damage may be covered.

Never pay for work upfront. Avoid paying with cash and don’t pay for the whole project all at once. Cash does not leave a paper trail in the event the contractor does not perform the work as promised.

Remember, not all contractors who come to your door are scammers, but you should be cautious. Do your research, get things in writing, and don’t sign a contract until you are comfortable.

Information provided by Addie B homeowners specialist and product development at Acuity. Acuity is one of our carriers providing homeowners insurance.

Looking into the life of Amy Kriener

When I was asked to write a “personal” blog for our website, I found myself bumping up against resistance…big time! I heard myself saying things like, “I’m not interesting”….” I have nothing to share”? So I started jotting down things that tug at my heart strings, my personal interests and what lies ahead for me.

For anyone who knows me, they know that I LOVE my kids and grandkids. While that’s a pretty common statement for most, in our situation it always comes with layers of complexity. You see, my husband and I moved to the Burlington area almost 40 years ago; I guess you could say we’re transplants of sorts. With no family close by, it was always a big deal and special when we went to visit the grandparents and family. I guess history does repeat itself. Our children don’t live close by either so we make a lot of trips to see them. It’s always a fun time, with many special outings being planned so we make the most out of every moment spent together. We have two beautiful daughters, two fun loving sons-in-law, and 4 adorable grandchildren ranging from7-12 years of age. Their lives are pretty hectic, so it’s easier for us to go to them….in most cases. While our youngest daughter lives in Waunakee WI, our oldest daughter lives much farther away, in Tasmania Australia! Yep you can’t get much farther away than that (maybe Antarctica). So you see pre-planning for spending family time is a must. There’s never a dull moment when we all get together to catch up, which is something that definitely tugs at my heart strings often.

My personal interests include my friends, who we are blessed to have an abundance of; yoga, which strengthens and grounds me; reading, traveling, and enjoying my husbands’ cooking! My husband is an awesome cook, and I’m happy to say that he prepares the majority of our meals. I’m definitely spoiled!!!! And of course, along with that cooking I tend to enjoy a glass of wine…or two.

In addition to my Office Manager duties at Mangold Insurance, I enjoy working with individuals who are preparing for retirement. I help them understand the options available to them when entering the world of Medicare. This has been a very rewarding experience for me because I can relate to where they are at this point in their lives, and I can honestly say that it has helped me as much as I have helped them. It is immensely rewarding to support people’s transition into this exciting stage of their lives. I am looking forward to my own retirement in a few years, and with that there will definitely be more traveling, family, yoga, food and wine ahead of me!

Making It Official

It’s almost that time of year again, wedding season, a time to get dressed up, reminisce with old friends, celebrate the union of a couple, take over the dance floor, and perhaps partake in a few adult beverages. This year is stacking up to be another busy one as I will be a best man in 2 weddings this year, a groomsman in another, and attend several others. I guess it’s safe to say that it is inevitable at my age. At this point in my life I have performed almost all the roles in a wedding. I have been the groom, the best man, a groomsman, an usher, a reader, and even a bridesmaid, but until last year I had never had the chance to be an officiant.

Last year I had the distinct honor of being asked to officiate the wedding of two of my good friends. After the excitement of being asked had worn off, I quickly realized I had no idea what being an officiant of a wedding entailed, so I turned to the one place that has all the answers, google. I was surprised at how easily one can become an ordained minister, and quickly finished my requirements. From there I spent some time with the couple to figure out how they wanted the service to flow and to gather content for a message.

Now, public speaking has always been something that I enjoy, but something about this was different. As I sat down to put pen to paper, I truly started to feel the weight of the day. I honestly spent weeks putting together the ceremony. I went through dozens of drafts, often just changing a word or two, to try to get it just right.

It would all pay off in the end, to see the smiles and tears of the bride and groom was truly special. If you ever get the opportunity to officiate a wedding I would highly recommend it. It may be stressful leading up to the wedding, but it is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. It was an honor to do, and something I will never forget.

Christmas Cabin

Our office is pretty fun throughout the year with various parties we throw and overall humor in the office. But holidays are especially fun.  We get a little competitive at Christmas as we have a couple of contests like office decorating and ugly sweater. This year we had some great office decorating ideas and we decided to have the public vote on our facebook page.  After all the “likes” were counted, this year’s winner was Lora Bonn with her Christmas Cabin.  If you would like to see the other office decorations check out our facebook page and while you’re there, give us a “like”.  Merry Christmas!

The Rut

Yes it is that time of year again. As the rut begins and Mother Nature takes on a cooler attitude, November can be a high time for comprehensive claims due to deer hits.

Early morning and early evening are feeding times and mating times for our antler friends. As daylight savings time falls back an hour we will see shorter days and more deer activity.

These are some basic guidelines to follow to help keep you safe and your cars in once piece:
• Blow your horn, if you spot a deer standing on roadside slow down and blow horn. They can pinpoint sounds with their pivoting ears and can hear where “danger” is. Be cautious since you don’t know what direction they will take.
• A doe will usually be followed by a couple bucks in line. So don’t assume that’s the only deer. Drive slowly and be prepared to stop.
• Be careful not to swerve into the oncoming lane. Sometimes collision is unavoidable but the reaction of swerving and shifting lanes can make the situation worse and more hazardous hitting a barrier or another car head on. This could take a comprehensive loss to a collision loss level by colliding with another car or object. This might be fatal.
• Deer in general see very well in low light your headlights can cause the “freeze effect” or night blindness so proceed with caution when deer are on side or in the road. It is suggested that you use your high beams in dark or low light situations such as rural roads to spot deer however; the high beams left on can leave them frozen in place.
• Be aware of Deer Crossing signs these are placed on heavy deer traffic areas.

Deer hits can happen year round; however, bucks during the rut are less cautious than usual. Let’s all be cautious and enjoy this great fall weather!!

Per Wisconsin DNR website: The Average Breeding Date for Wisconsin is November 15th to the 17th. If does are not successfully bred in first cycle, they will generally come into heat again about 28 days later. A common misconception among hunters is cold weather causes the rut.