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Deerfield Beach, FL  33441
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Healthcare Insurance Deerfield BeachHealthcare Coverage

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 561-477-9339 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Health Care Insurance Agent in Deerfield Beach will help you find the best deal for you.

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Florida Healthcare  Insurance Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance

This year’s legislative session was unique. The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School prompted action from lawmakers, shifting the agenda toward the end. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s Legislature passed the fewest bills in two decades. The lack of progress could be due to the unexpected gun debate that took place. In response, legislators passed gun-control measures for the first time in 20 years.

Many of the same issues, along with some new debates were brought up again among lawmakers. Let’s look at what passed and what fell short.


A bill to repeal the no-fault auto insurance system, requiring drivers to carry personal injury or PIP Coverage.

“Florida lawmakers have argued over eliminating PIP and replacing it with a fault-based system for years. It seems to never gain enough momentum to become law,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance company.

An effort to ban fracking, the controversial oil- and natural- gas drilling process.

A ban to red-light cameras.

A proposal allowing law enforcement officers to pull people over for texting while driving. A practice, the National Safety Council reports causes 1,600,000 accidents a year.

Creation of new specialty license tags.

Guns at church.


Tax cuts by $168.6 million- including a property tax break for homeowners displaced by hurricane Irma and nursing homes that purchase electrical generators. It also includes back-to-school holiday exempting sales tax on clothing and school supplies and reduces sales tax on business rents.

“It adds an 18 percent reduction in penalties for non-criminal traffic infractions for drivers who attend driving school,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance company.

Permanent daylight saving time.

Permits trained school employees to carry concealed weapons in school, raises the age requirement for gun purchases from 18 to 21, imposes a three-day waiting period for rifles and other long guns, allows police to seize weapons from those who pose a danger to themselves and others, and bans the sale of bump stocks.

A bill to make threats of mass shooting and terrorist attacks a second-degree felony.

Expansion of mental health services in public school.

K-12 -Creates voucher-like scholarships to pay for students who are bullied in public schools so they can attend private schools. Requires all schools to visibly display the Florida state motto, “In God We Trust,” and allows tenants of commercial property to direct tax revenue of up to $57.5 million in rent into the account of two scholarship programs.

More money for the state’s Bright Future’s merit scholarship program.

A homeowners’ insurance policy must visibly state that hurricane insurance does not include flood insurance.

Creation of the first Florida Slavery Memorial built on Capitol grounds.

Prescription limits on opioids and money for addiction treatment.

A resolution declaring pornography a health risk.















The post Winners and Losers from the 2018 Florida Legislature appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

The Florida Highway Patrol reports recently, that an elderly man was driving the wrong way on a Florida highway in an RV. The RV struck a truck head on, killing the truck driver and passenger. Three days later, the RV driver also passed from his injuries. Not only was the senior driver driving the wrong way, his lights were not on at the time of the crash. 29 days before the accident, he passed a driving test in his home state of Michigan.

After hearing a tragic story like this, it’s tempting to set age restrictions on a driver’s license. “Keep in mind, people age at differing rates,” reminds Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent auto insurance agency. One 75-year-old can barely get out of bed in the morning, while another person the same age, does yoga and goes for a run.

A decline in vision, cognitive functioning (the ability to reason and remember), physical limitations along with medical conditions and prescription medication can hinder the ability to drive. The most common condition the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) decides to restrict a license is for failing cognitive skills including memory, coordination and flexibility.

Although, more options are available for aging drivers. “Driver programs and car innovations are readily available to meet the challenges of senior drivers,” said Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance agency.

For example, The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), has developed the Florida GrandDriver program for aging drivers. It is an education and outreach initiative that provides information and resources on driving safely and how to plan for safe transitioning from driving. Also, Driver Rehabilitation Specialists offer refresher courses to keep driving skills sharp.

While it is important for senior drivers to maintain their driving independence, eventually elderly drivers and their family must have the difficult conversation about when driving capabilities are beginning to diminish and causing potential danger for others on the road and themselves. Consumer Reports found safety is the biggest motivator for handing over the keys.

How do you know it is time to have that awkward discussion with your loved one? AARP, has some warning signs that indicate a person should begin to limit or stop driving.

Delayed response to unexpected situations.

Becoming easily distracted while driving.

Decrease in confidence while driving.

Having difficulty moving into or maintaining the correct lane of traffic.

Hitting curbs when making right turns or backing up.

Getting scrapes or dents on car, garage or mailbox.

Having frequent close calls.

Driving too fast or too slow for road conditions.

The DHSMV requires that Florida drivers age 80 or older who renew their license undergo a basic vision test.


The post Too old to drive? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

Across the country hearts are heavy, grieving the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. “These tragedies impact our communities-our parents, our children, our school professionals, our first responders-the mental health of our whole country,” reminds the professionals with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“Even if someone is not involved directly traumatic events, especially within our state, burden our hearts and minds,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance provider.

Many people experience sadness, anxiety or anger. Some have trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating. Their minds are dominated by the details of the event. These symptoms typically decrease over time.

Effective and healthy ways to cope during this time include:

Talking to your children about the incident, discuss how it makes them feel.

Limit news and social media exposure. Continuous exposure causes a person to relive the trauma. Also, descriptions and images in the media can cause fear in kids going to school.

Maintain your normal routine.

Connect with people in positive ways. Talk with people and take the time to listen to others. Tell people you care about that you love them.

“Doing something for others can help you channel stressful feelings,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent health insurance provider.

However, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), points out that in some cases the anxiety will continue and interfere with everyday life. For people who continue to experience the effects of trauma, it is important to get professional help. Signs to look for include the following:

  • Worrying a lot or feeling very anxious, sad or fearful
  • Crying often
  • Having trouble thinking clearly
  • Having frightening thoughts
  • Feeling angry
  • Having nightmares or difficulty sleeping
  • Avoiding places or people that bring back disturbing memories and responses.

Our world seems to be experiencing tragedy and stress on a more frequent basis. Be sure to slow down and be kind to yourself as well as others.

The post Coping with tragedy appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

“Central and south Florida beaches are seeing what looks like blue balloons wash up on shore but beware of the sting,” warns Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent boat insurance agency.

Strong east winds along with ocean currents are propelling thousands of Portuguese man-of-wars toward Florida’s east coast beaches, from Jacksonville to the Florida Keys. Lifeguards are flying purple flags to warn beach goers of the “dangerous marine life.” Over the weekend, hundreds of people were treated for stings.

What is a Portuguese man-of-war?

Usually found in groups of 1,000 or more, Portuguese man-of-wars are often mistaken for jellyfish. According to National Geographic, it is a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of individual organisms. The typical size measures 12 inches long, 5 inches wide with long, thin tentacles that can extend up to 165 feet. The tentacles contain stinging nematocysts, venom-injecting capsules, used to paralyze and kill fish and other small creatures. It has a balloon like gas-filled bladder that sits above the water. The man-of-war can come in purple, pink or blue.

The man-of-war sting is agonizingly painful but rarely deadly. Even though they are washed up on shore they can still sting for up to a week. Severe stings can trigger chest pain, difficulty breathing even death. More commonly, they cause pain for 20-40 minutes and welts. They can be especially dangerous to those who are allergic, which are people who also suffer from bee sting allergies.

How to treat the sting

“Do not buy into the misinformation of  popular urban myths that suggest treating the sting by applying alcohol, urine, baking soda, shaving cream,” cautions Buck, with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent boat insurance agency.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii found the best remedy for the sting is vinegar, to remove stingers and tentacles left on the skin. Then immerse in hot water or apply a warm compress for 45 minutes. Additional treatment includes the following:

Alert a lifeguard.

Do not try to remove the tentacles with bare hands. Take a towel and use it to gently unwrap it from the skin.

Rinse with seawater, not freshwater and try to avoid cold water.

Take Benadryl or apply a topical cream.

Currently, Florida is in the height of the Portuguese man-of-war season that is expected to last until late April or early May.

The post Thousands of Man-of-Wars take over Florida beaches appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

“Cell phones are no longer just phones, but so much more,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance agency.

They store our calendars and photos, provide access to our favorite stores and emails. Checking our cell phones on a regular basis has become a habit for many. However, the lure of instant information is an unhealthy attachment and cell phone addiction is real.

A poll conducted by the non-profit, Common Sense Media found 50 percent of teens feel like they are addicted to their mobile devices, with 78 percent admitting to checking their devices at least hourly. Nevertheless, this is not only a teen problem. The study reports 27 percent of adults feel they are addicted to their mobile devices with 69 percent checking them at least hourly.

What is wrong with a cell phone habit?

Countless studies show too much time on your cell phone is bad for your focus and mental health. “Most people check their phone every 15 minutes or less, even if they have no alerts or notifications,” Larry Rosen a psychology professor and author of The Distracted Mind, tells CNBC. “We’ve built up this layer of anxiety surrounding our use of technology, that if we don’t check it as often as we think we should, we’re missing out.”

Additional health issues that can develop from cell phone addiction include, poor posture which affects your spine respiratory functions and even emotions. Also, sleep. The blue light emitted from your phone can stop melatonin production in your body. Melatonin is the hormone that makes us feel sleepy and regulates out circadian rhythm. Sleep is essential to our health, especially the health of teens who are still developing.

“Aside from health and mental health problems, cell phone use continues when many drivers get behind the wheel,” reminds Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance agency.

Nearly half of adults in the U.S. admit to reading or sending a text while driving. Almost one in three teens ages 16 to 17-years-old said they have texted while driving.

How to ween yourself and your family?

Below are some tips on how to disconnect from your cell phone.

Do not sleep with your phone. If you need an alarm clock, buy one. Do not depend on your phone. Place it away from your nightstand or bed.

Stop alert notifications. Designate a time to check in and stick to it.

Utilize the “Do Not Disturb” setting on your iPhone or place your phone to the airplane setting for a break from screen time.

When spending time with your friends and family, put it away so you won’t see it or hear it.

Try a detox. Set aside a weekend or holiday where you turn the phone off and put it away. Do not pick it up for a couple of days.

The post Cell Phone Addiction appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

Most people do not look forward to filing taxes, especially with a new tax law in place for the first time in decades. Those changes can induce confusion and stress. This will be the last year for several tax credits as well as the beginning to benefit from some new ones.

Several tax credits are eliminated for the 2018 tax year. However, they are still available for your 2017 tax return.  “This will be the last year to take advantage of some deductions, so it’s important not to miss out on them,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

Investing information company, The Motley Fool, reports this will be the last year to take advantage of the following tax breaks.

Personal exemptions

Property tax deductions

Mortgage interest deduction on home equity loans

Moving expenses

Unreimbursed employee expenses

Tax preparation fees

Investment-related legal and accounting fees

Job search costs

While several tax breaks will expire after this year, there are new ones are available for this year’s returns. “This year is unique with overlapping changes, so make sure your taxes are filed correctly, to avoid overpaying the IRS,” warns Buck Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency. Error rates for returns filed on paper are at 21 percent, while error rates for those filed electronically are less than one percent.

Some changes in tax deductions and credits are listed below.

Tax brackets expand. According to personal finance resource, GOBankingRates, “the federal income tax system uses a progressive tax structure, meaning that as you earn more income, your tax rate goes up as well.”

The Standard deduction, will experience a slight increase.

Health savings account– an increase to the contribution limit.

Earned income tax credit– the maximum income you can have while still qualifying for the EITC increased for each filing status. Also, you can have up to $3, 450 of investment income annually while still qualifying for the EITC.

Retirement savings credit-there is an increase in income limits.

Increased employer-paid parking or transit tax breaks

If you are looking for affordable and reliable homeowners insurance, give GreatFlorida Insurance a call.

The post Changes this tax season appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

An appeal of Florida’s current No-Fault/Personal Injury Protection(PIP) system for auto insurance, is gaining momentum this legislative session. The Florida House voted 88-15 to repeal the State’s PIP system.

“For some time, Florida lawmakers have argued over eliminating PIP and replacing it with a fault-based system,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance company.

Under House Bill (HB19) drivers would be required to purchase bodily-injury liability coverage at $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. According to a 2016 actuarial study commissioned by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, drivers could save up to $81 per vehicle.

“While the House and Senate both look to eliminate No-Fault auto insurance coverage the version of their proposed bills are quite different,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance company.

The Senate proposal (SB 150) would replace the PIP system in 2019 requiring all drivers to carry bodily injury coverage of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident as well as mandatory medical payment coverage(MedPay), of $5,000. Coverage would increase to $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident after three years. Under the Senate bill, Florida drivers could see and increase or decrease depending on the area they live. Opponents of the Senate bill are concerned about the cost increase to drivers. They also believe requiring mandatory medical payments is unnecessary for those with current health insurance plans.

No-Fault auto insurance was designed to reduce litigation across the state by creating money for anyone injured in a crash. Unfortunately, it created a flood of lawsuits which lawmakers hope to eradicate with the repeal. Since Florida’s adoption of a No-Fault system, fraudulent claims have cost the state a tremendous amount of money. In a report from The Division of Insurance Fraud, they found a 275% increase in fraud auto claims between 2007-2012. In 2012, duplicitous auto claims cost the state over $1 billion, driving the cost of insurance premiums higher for Florida drivers.

The post Big changes to Florida auto insurance? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.