All posts by joevl

Married, 3 children. Independent financial services professional for over ten years. Reside in Pittsburgh, Pa (Shaler Township). Prior to financial services, business owner as Manufactuers' Rep, and prior to that, Air Force (pilot) I'm working well past normal retirement age and the reason is: I need to if I want to have a desirable life style. Reason: I was never educated or exposed to the procedures and tools to make retirement the classical experience. Because of this, I'm motivated to help mr and mrs "middle America" to be able to retire without a pay cut and to have a pleasant and dignified retirement experience without just "getting along".

Health Insurance Options for you in 2017 Starting NOW

Obamacare, or health insurance for people under age 65 is listed first because there’s more “of you” than there are Seniors.  You care about one thing: What can we do for you to help you with Affordable Health Insurance.

Rule #1: If you can get someone else to pay for a part of it, that’s a good deal.  This is your first place to go.  Unfortunately so many of the firms we represent have dropped out of the marketplace we need to use a 3rd party that is with those that remain.  To see if you might qualify for help, and how much that is, CLICK HERE.


Some of our visitors to this page are either completely opposed to the fact they MUST sign up for insurance, or face a fine  OR they don’t qualify for financial help and the cost of a conventional plan is way outside the budget.      There is an alternative plan and it provides help in medical issues AND frees you from any liabilities to be fined.

These plans are available year round and not only in open enrollment. In addition, after a waiting period, maternity is covered.

I have a 6 slide presentation that walks you through what this is about, so if this alternative might interest you, take 5 minutes to get to know what’s available. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE PDF FILE.


Short term plans ARE like the “old” (preObamaCare) health insurance and can cover a person for a year. Because they are health insurance but not compliant with Obamacare Rules, having one does not exempt you from the fine for not having insurance.  They require underwriting, have caps on the max benefits paid, and have other limitations. Because of the caps and limitations (such as no maternity), the costs, while not cheap, are lower than some of the ACA or Obamacare Plans if you do not get a subsidy.  Contact me in person by phone, or use the form on the web site to reach me.

2017 ACA (Obamacare) Plan Info and Availability

As of Oct 25, announced the plans that will be available for 2017.  Many of our directly appointed providers are no longer offering plans in many areas, but we still can help you through a collateral provider and bring you plans similar to what you  are familiar with.

For our web site to help you, including subsidy information, CLICK HERE.

We’ll also be offering short term plans and a faith-based plan. Information on this will be posted here within a week.

Call me if you have questions.


About Term Life Insurance Quotes…some basics

Since changing focus from Health insurance to Life Insurance and speaking with 6-15 people daily, mainly those seeing a quote and “shopping”, some obvious trends and ideas people hold have become clear. This post is to set the facts straight.

First, what people want is a close and firm number as possible to make a decision.

Here’s two facts:

  1. From any one insurance company, for any given policy type, issued under the same medical conditions for the applicant, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE IN PRICE.

2.  A quote may be provided by a sales agent but it is at best an estimate of where the applicant will fit. It looks at ht, wt, age, and smoking status,  and possibly a general health picture. The sales agent then consults the various quoting references and offers a number.

Depending on the criteria the agent applied, that number can easily vary +/-10  or even 20 percent, leaving the applicant wondering “what’s going on?”, hoping for the best and lowest, and starting the application.

The process starts, and in many cases “locks up” the applicant. In way too many cases, the agent in this cut-throat, competitive business, will offer the lowest price.  Sometimes to get there, they will use valid health criteria but turn to a B rated company (vs A or A+) and the applicant does not even know to ask”what’s the rating of that company?”

Let’s say the quotes are all A or A+ companies. The application is taken, and is processed, returning to the prospect (YOU?) the final and official and ONLY GOOD number.  In over 50% of the cases, the applicant (YOU) is displeased, but accepts that number and the contract.  Why?  Because the process of applying is not enjoyable; a new application may require a new paramed.

Half my peers.. I call them “scum agents” to this regularly, and get away with it.  I will not lowball you.

Do you want max protection and get real numbers? Then apply with 2 or more companies. It costs nothing to apply.

Other tips: Make sure you are being quoted on the policies with the same features and benefits.

For any given amount of benefit, there may be savings by using a combination of different products.. see our main PAGE (not post).

If all agents offer the same price for the same given product,  how do you know what to do or how to have the best for your money? The answer is first shop with an agent who you feel might be trustworthy, and then second, who can offer and show you  a comparison of companies and rates… not just an agent with only 1 or 2 choices.

Thank you for reading.  Your comments to this post are welcome.


The Latest News in “under 65” Health Insurance

The “bottom line” is that a large number of Health Insurance companies no longer sense a need for agents. People are going to come to them on their own, generally via the internet, self enrollment on health, and other sources.  Obmacare has standardized benefits to a degree most of the plans seem to the consumer to be identical, and the  only differentiating factors now are price/cost and network composition.

Insurance companies feel they can more defectively  sell a plan based on price, and the only way to reduce price is to cut costs in some place they can control.

Agent commissions are one such place, and two national companies, Assurant and Golden Rule have done just that, cutting commissions to zero.  Others will probably follow.

As such, Leech Insurance, being a firm whose primary revenue has been commission based,  can no longer invest time to pursue new ACA or under 65 business.  We will continue to support educational knowledge for those  wanting help in making a selection, and  of course,  will remain here to support existing clients with customer service issues.

At the same time,  we recognize that health insurance covers only one part of the financial burden in the event of a need for medical attention, particularly in a long term recovery situation.  We will continue to offer ancillary products such as Critical Illness, supplemental accident plans and others.

We appreciate your business and understanding.

Our thrust now is primarily toward the senior market.


What’s for “Leech Insurance” after open enrollment? An update for you

Probably many, many, many health insurance agents/brokers are asking the very same question.  Essentially as of the end of open enrollment, other than for the occasional person coming up on a Special Enrollment Period, we have been put out of business until the next one.


It would be nice to think we had jobs / businesses /careers that we could earn a nice living in only working 3-4 months a year, but I just don’t know of any individual agents that earned that kind of money during Open Enrollment.

Of course there’s always “ancillary” programs to offer such as Dental, critical illness, etc. and these are good… but the time barely covers expenses.

So with some strong market research and seeing what our training has provided us with for helping people, a vast parallel market literally jumped out at us.  This is in the area of personal retirement planning. It’s not that there’s that many people who have No retirement plan, but a ton who have a poor one that really is not going to let them be financially independent by the ago of 65.

We’ll start with you, anywhere in the nation, to discuss your circumstance and situation. There’s no charge for this service.  If you have a great plan, we’ll confirm this for you. If you don’t, we’ll be happy to provide a plan and proposal based on your individual circumstances. We’ll make it affordable and we’ll include your benefits  so you have an income tax free retirement plan, but if you qualify, also along the way we’ll make sure you have some living benefits so that if you get side tracked by a critical illness you have money to keep your plan up and live. We’ll give you the flexibility  so that if you have kids in, or approaching college, you’ll have a leg up in getting financial aid.

Anyway, this is the direction that Leech Insurance, now “Leech Insurance and Financial Services” is going, and if you’d like a little more specific information, CLICK HERE to visit our new web site,

See you there!


What do you do if you missed open enrollment (in Obamacare rules)

If you missed the open enrollment and you were eligible to enroll, and had not made any attempt and were not essentially int he category, “could not get through”, essentially you have had it! Sorry to be so blunt, but you get to pay the non enrollment fees until you do enroll which can and will come up in the 2014 fall open enrollment period..

BUT…. there’s some ways around this–specifically qualifying for one of the Special Enrollment Periods.  See for the official explanation.. but unofficially some are change of marital status (you got married or divorced), loss of illegibility for a group plan, major financial circumstance.

In the meantime… you don’t want to be “out there” literally bare naked from any help with medical expenses, and we understand that.

For you there are at least two options, both in the form of GOOD, but non qualifying plans which mean you can enroll.  They are not governed.  That’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that they have  limits or caps on benefits and they often are underwritten which means any pre existing conditions get consider. The two general plan types are defined benefit plans and short term plans. The defined benefit are most likely to be indemnity type plans where the short term are more conventional with a deductible, co pay. etc.

Don’t worry about trying to figure this all out now as I’ll be happy to explain your choices and provide quotes (this is a blog of an agency web site so I’m allowed to sound like “a plug”. If you want my help, send an email or call, 321 821 5394.  One of these can probably hold you until Open Enrollment.

What to Do If You Can’t Afford ObamaCare–or simply plan to refuse?

First, from the “street talk” I hear, you are not alone. The “talk” I hear seems to be split pretty evenly between those who simply can not afford the new plans, and those who for various personal grounds say words I can’t print here and still be polite and politically correct.

In both cases, I understand. There are those people who prior to Obamacare were living pay day to pay day and just barely making ends meet.. and that’s even working two jobs.

Ideally you recognize that it’s important to have some health care coverage, if nothing else but to give yourself some choices and options.  In a true emergency, very few hospitals or providers will let you die. A major hospital, particularly if it’s a “for profit” hospital and not a city hospital make stabilize you and transfer you to the local or closest hospital that takes those with no insurance or funds… but you probably will not be left to die.

If you have another medical problem that is not life threatening such as a bad earache, a sinus infection, or a broken arm, you may be turned away from certain private urgent care centers unless you can show a way to pay… in which case you have to find transportation to the closet place that takes “charity” cases.. and I hate to use that word.

To prevent that, you should have SOME kind of insurance or way to pay.

You also want to stay clean with the govt.

So step one, y ou decide in this year to eat the fine. It’s rather minimal, and a heck of a lot less than the cost of the insurance… but make sure you have checked out the bronze plans and your possible indemnity before you jump to a conclusion.

If after your check out, you find that you just can’t afford the metal Obamacare plan, you still have a couple options, generally in the type of plans known as Indemnity Plans. These do not qualify for major medical plans under Obamacare, but you will get help, and some of it is significant.  You may not care that you don’t have maternity or have a $2Mil cap, and you are not too concerned about not having pre existing coverage.

One of the plans we could show you and quote is the Assurant Health Access plan, and then there are the plans by FL Home as per this LINK. 

If you open it and it is vertical, your browser should have an option to rotate clockwise.

Rather than go without any help and losing all choices and pride, consider this as an option.

Contact us if you’d like further help. Joe, 321 821 5394


Senior Strategies for Paying the Least In Health Insurance and Health Costs

This discussion is offered primarily for those people who have tentatively made the decision that a Medicare supplement plan is their best choice, and that in turn is based on the knowledge that the total out of pocket in a bad year medically would be less with a supplement compared to a Medicare Advantage program, or they simply want the flexibility, and their research has shown that over the years the price cost increases of the two types of plans have been significantly less with the Med Sup. Of course, these people recognize there is an up front cost but they are willing to pay for it and can afford it.

For this group of people the primary question is: “Is there a way to minimize costs with a Medigap Plan?” and the answer is yes. You CAN save substantially, and about the only cost will be a little inconvenience of having two insurance bills and firms to contend with.

Many Medicare Supplement companies–but not all–offer what is known as a  HiDeductible Plan F, or also known as a “PlanF +”. As is true with all other letter plans, the benefits are identical across the board for all companies offering this plan.  But we should mention that a great number of even major companies such as Untied Health (also known as the AARP Plan) do not offer it, and if you have a relationship with a non offering company agent, you may otherwise never learn of it. But today you are lucky, and you are learning as you are reading this.

The Plan F+, like standard Plan Fs covers 100% but AFTER the deductible is met, and that deductible runs around $2100.

Whoa!   Your thoughts might be focusing on that number. STOP right now!  First, the cost of the F + is in general about 1/3rd of the cost of the standard F!

Now think for a moment where are you most likely to get hit with a major bill at one time? One that might hurt.. if you did not bank the savings.  HOSPITAL ADMISSION, right?  Regular Part A deductibles apply and you just got admitted.  Now we enter the other part of the plan.

We take a small part of the savings and purchase a Deductible Saver and this link gives you some typical rates.  Add the two and you are still saving money. Alot of money. That leaves your doctor or Part B costs to be covered before you hit the deductible. You have just one “chunk” to “eat” and that’s the annual $147 Part B deductible.  You probably covered that with the first month’s plan prem difference.  Now the rest comes in small bites of your 20%s until you hit the deductible.. if you do.  If you had a healthy year, you really made out.

In fact, you’ve made out to the point  we’d suggest you now can add in an inexpensive cancer plan, probably a good dental plan, and other things you otherwise could not have afforded.

While  this discussion is a little general, contact us for an appointment to provide specific quotes on the High F for you (varies with age, location, and smoking status). If you are beyond the eligibility age for the Deductible Saver, we also have other plans that can help you with that deductible. In fact, we should compare them because the Hi F plan is like “renting” and if you did not have a claim or use that month, the money is gone. With the alternative, you put money in and if you don’t have a claim where you need to draw on the money, you get to keep it. It may take a few months to build up to the $1000 for that Part A, so you would be at risk during that time… but if you went on a couple years, your money is there, will be safe from any losses, and will earn interest.

Call, email, or reach out to us for YOUR quote, and lets compare this to the other options.

CONGRATULATIONS! You have just mastered a new skill in saving money on your health care expenses.


Strategies for Paying the Least In Health Insurance

In our last leech-insurance site and on the site “How To Buy Private Health Insurance” we provided information valuable at the time, but now rather obsolete. The principle is the same.. don’t pay for something that you are very unlikely to use. An example was to pay monthly for substantially reduced doctor office visits, when statistically you are unlikely to use more than 4 or 5 a year.  The same idea is why pay a lot more for a low deductible when you are not likely to have a major medical expense. The largest expenses come from hospital stays, and again, statistically, the average person only has a hospital stay every 4.1 years.

Of course, averages are just that, and there are people more likely to use services and some less likely, and so it’s a “play the risk or numbers game”… but don’t we do that every day any way?   If so, we should make the numbers work for us.

Now in the new Obamacare structure, we have a far lower choice range, but the old rules still apply… the less risk we take (lower deductibles, lower co pays), the more we pay in monthly premeums, and conversely.. the higher we set our deductibles and copays, the less we pay.

Before when we could choose a very high deductible… around $10,000 and choose a 50-50 copay, we could save a ton of money.  We could logically conclude that the highest probability of major expenses would come from a critical illness or an accident,  So we’d take the high deductible but back this up with a couple of ancillalry products or riders. One of them was a critical illness plan that upon first diagnosis of a critical illness would pay us a lump sum of cash… enough to both cover the deductible and provide some living expenses during the recovery period.  Then we also added in an good accident plan that left us responsible for only the first $100 and paid up to $5000, and this made sense.  The majority of accidents are handled for under that amount, and larger benefits were available.

Today, the same strategy applies, only the product mixes are a bit different.

What makes the most sense is to pay the least amount monthly for your insurance, which is to say, purchase the Bronze plan with the highest deductible and copay.  Now get your pencil out and note the difference between this and the Platinum plan or Gold plan, and you will see substantial differences in costs.

Take that difference, or a small part of it and purchase as second plan which is a supplement plan covering those doctor visits (which in Bronze will not be covered until the deductible is met, other than for the mandatory and prepaid wellness visit or physical), and this plan will cover, on an indemnity basis the majority of the more routine costs. THIS LINKwill take you to a company’s plans that we recommend as a first choice, and in fact, for most people, the best choice. (Link shows Fla rates, call for rates in other states). We must say however that there is one “catch”; that catch is to qualify for this plan,  the principal on the plan must be working at least 30 hours per week as evidence of being healthy enough for insurability. Also, pre existing conditions are not covered under this plan for a year in most cases.. but with ObamaCare, it doesn’t matter.

This link gives an expanded perspective on the logic just discussed.

The referenced plan is available from us at Leech Insurance and you can call for enrollment help.. prices are shown on the attached sheet and if the principal is working at least 30 hours per week at the time of enrollment, issue is guaranteed.  If not working, call any way as there are still options available.