MDA Insurance Insights

Association-sponsored MEWA is an alternative health benefit solution

Posted by Cindy Hoogasian on Tue, Feb 03, 2015 @ 08:40 AM

American flag umbrella covering peopleFor many years, trade and professional associations were able to offer individual health insurance to their members at special rates based on the association group’s claim experience. The association, in turn, received revenue from insurers for their administrative and marketing role. The arrangement was a win-win. Association members had access to good benefits at a favorable premium, and the association developed a healthy non-dues revenue stream. The Affordable Care Act changed all that by eliminating the ability to form these industry-based risk pools and forcing all individuals into one giant risk pool with the goal of smoothing rates for everyone.

Time will tell whether that theory proves true. But meanwhile, people who were in these association-sponsored plans have been forced into the individual insurance marketplace to buy ACA-compliant plans, and associations are smarting from the resulting lost revenue. But some associations have been able to implement an alternative means of providing health benefits for their members. They have established a multiple employer welfare arrangement, or a MEWA, to provide group health plans for their members and their members’ employees.

What is a MEWA?

Simply stated, a MEWA can provide various employee benefits such as medical, surgical, hospital care, accident, disability or life insurance to people who work for an employer who is part of a MEWA. A MEWA is regulated by the state in which it is created. In Michigan, a MEWA is formed by an organization that is established to serve the general needs of a specific industry or profession—not just to provide employee benefits. It is approved and regulated by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services, which exerts strict oversight in its formation and ongoing administration. It isn’t easy to set up a MEWA. It requires a substantial financial reserve to ensure there are adequate funds immediately available to pay claims. This is a major stumbling block for most organizations attempting to form MEWAs.

Here’s an example of how a MEWA works.

MDA Health Plan: For more than 30 years, the Michigan Dental Association offered a proprietary health insurance plan to its members. The ACA made it impossible for that plan to continue. Craig Start, president of MDA Insurance, a for-profit subsidiary of the MDA, initiated the establishment of a MEWA in order to offer MDA members (employers) and their employees an alternative for health benefits apart from plans offered by commercial insurers.

The MDA-sponsored MEWA, called the MDA Health Plan, is a self-insured program with six plan designs that were inspired by the coverages that were popular with members in the past. Because the plan is self-insured (meaning the members of the MEWA are responsible for paying the claims through their monthly contributions to the plan), the plans do not have to conform to all aspects of the ACA. For example, the MDA Health Plan does not require its participants to purchase pediatric dental or vision insurance.

Members of the MDA are able to join the MDA Health Plan if they meet group participation requirements. This video explains what they are. By joining the MDA Health Plan and choosing a plan or two to offer to their employees, dentists can help their employees meet the requirement to have health insurance. However, if the dental office has fewer than 50 employees, offering the plans to employees does not mean the dentist has to pay anything toward the health plan for their employees. Of course, many pay a flat-dollar amount or a percentage of the monthly fee. Employees pay their share, whatever it may be, through payroll deduction. Some employers set up a Section 125 premium only plan that allows employees to pay their health plan contribution using pre-tax dollars. That minimizes the impact on an employee’s take-home pay. Like any group health plan, the employer may not discriminate with regard to how much they contribute to their employees’ plan: the rules must be the same for everyone who is eligible and participates in the plan.

A new win-win

Establishing a MEWA can be a win-win for association members and their association. Members can have access to health plans designed with their needs in mind, with participation rules developed by their own organization, and often at lower prices than they would pay for commercially available plans. The MEWA earns money by charging an administration fee. And the association provides a unique service to its members that they cannot obtain elsewhere. A MEWA can be a great solution for organizations with the knowledge and financial resources to build and administer it properly. There are many more aspects to a successful MEWA than are discussed here. But this provides food for thought about how to address the thorny problem of providing health care benefits to association members in the age of the ACA.

How to Join the MDA Health Plan
If you are a member of the Michigan Dental Association and an employer, you are eligible to participate in the MDA Health Plan. Call MDA Insurance at 877-906-9924 to find out how to get a quote, or visit the MDA Health Plan web page by clicking here.

Tags: group health insurance, group health plans, health plans for groups, health insurance quotes, health insurance quote, Affordable Care Act, health insurance, MDA Health Plan, MEWA

Individual Health Insurance Open Enrollment Ends Feb. 15

Posted by Cindy Hoogasian on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 @ 04:30 PM

If you do not yet have health insurance for 2015, you have until Feb. 15 to sign up for a plan. That is the last day of Open Enrollment for 2015. Feb 15 calendar dateIf you are uninsured for more than three months during the calendar year, you will be required to pay a “shared responsibility” penalty of up to 2.5 percent of your income when you file your tax return in 2016.

The Affordable Care Act requires almost everyone to have health insurance for nine months of every year. Although most Americans continue to obtain health insurance from an employer group plan, a growing number must buy health insurance on their own. These are called “individual” health plans.

Where to buy individual health insurance

There are several ways to buy an individual health plan. A licensed health insurance agent is probably your best resource. He or she can explain the new “metal tier” health plans, how they work and what the benefits are. Be aware that health insurance agents are appointed by insurance carriers. You may find an agent who only sells Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, or another that sells only Priority Health plans. Some agents are appointed by multiple carriers. Some agents are approved to assist you with selecting a plan on the federal health insurance marketplace,

If you are looking for an individual health insurance plan, you will want to find out whether you are eligible for a subsidized health plan. That’s when the federal government pays a portion of your monthly premium, reducing how much you have to pay for coverage. If you earn up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, you may be eligible for a subsidized plan. To find out if you’re eligible, to go and click “See plans and prices.” Fill out the requested information and you’ll learn if you can get help paying for your health care. Better go there quick though. You won’t be able to buy a plan on Feb. 16!

You can always contact health insurance carriers directly.  You can shop on the insurer’s website or call their customer service number to sign up for a health plan. Many customer service reps are able to help you find out about subsidized plans, too.

General subsidy guidelines

The information below is a general guideline for qualifying for a health insurance premium subsidy in 2015. You may be eligible for a subsidy if your household income is:

  • Up to $46,680 for a single person
  • Up to $62,920 for two people
  • Up to $79,160 for three people
  • Up to $95,400 for four people

Qualifying for Medicaid

Michigan has expanded Medicaid coverage to low-income adults. You can find out if you may be eligible for Medicaid by going to and clicking “See plans and prices.” When you input your county, household income and the ages of the people in your family who need health insurance, the website may inform you that you could be eligible for Medicaid. In Michigan, adults who earn 133 percent of federal poverty level, about $1,293 per month for one adult, could be eligible for the Healthy Michigan Plan.

The good news is that if you are eligible for the Healthy Michigan Plan or other Medicaid plans like MIChild, you can enroll at any time of the year.  You can learn more by visiting

Get help with individual health insurance

If you need help getting individual health insurance, agents at MDA Insurance can provide assistance with federal health insurance marketplace plans and all the MyBlue individual health insurance plans offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Click the button below or call us at 877-907-9924 for help.

Get Help with Health Insurance

Tags: group health insurance, group health plans, health plans for groups, health insurance quotes, health insurance quote, health insurance, family health insurance, open enrollment, Marketplace plans, Healthy Michigan Plan, Medicaid

High-Deductible Health Plans: Creative Funding Options

Posted by Cindy Hoogasian on Wed, May 07, 2014 @ 08:44 AM

stethoscope and dollars

High-deductible health plans are very common today. It's not at all unusual to have to pay $2,500 out-of-pocket before your health insurance will pay a dime for health care services or prescription drugs. Typically, people establish health savings accounts to fund their out-of-pocket health care costs, and HSAs are a great tool for this purpose. Any time you can save money pre-tax for expenses you know will be inevitable, it's smart to do so. But there are other ways to get access to sums of cash to pay for unexpected health care costs: accident and critical illness insurance.

Both are among the fastest-growing "voluntary" insurance products. Those are insurance products that people elect to purchase for themselves, either in a group program (offered through an employer) or on an individual basis.

Accident Insurance Explained

This is a policy that pays a cash benefit when you suffer an accidental injury. Some accident policies cover accidental injuries that occur while you're at work, at home or at play. Other policies cover only accidents that are not work related. Since  workers' compensation insurance is required of every Michigan employer, accidents that occur at work are generally covered by that insurance program. But if you are a corporate officer or partner and do not include yourself on your workers' comp policy, you won't be covered for work-related accidents. This means you may want an accident policy that covers you at work, too.

Accident insurance typically has a schedule of benefits and pays according to that schedule. For example, there's a specific benefit paid for a dislocation or a fracture, a hospital confinement associated with an accidental injury, an ambulance service, admission to intensive care due to an accidental injury, surgery to repair tendons, ligaments, a rotator cuff or knee cartilage, etc. Typically, accident policies also have an accidental death and dismemberment feature. Again, a schedule of payments applies.

In general, policies will pay multiple benefits on an accident claim. For example, if you are in an auto accident and suffer a broken arm and leg, you would be paid for both breaks and for the ambulance transport to the medical facility. If you are hospitalized due to the accident, that is another benefit that will be paid. Benefits are paid up to the limit of the policy.

Critical illness insurance explained

Critical illness insurance pays a benefit when the covered person is diagnosed with a covered critical illness, such as cancer, heart attack or stroke. Some policies also pay benefits for those afflicted with advanced Alzheimer's disease, advanced Parkinson's disease and paralysis of two or more limbs. Again, there is a schedule of benefits that dictates how much of the elected benefit limit the policy will pay for various conditions. Some policies will pay a benefit when an insured person has a second occurrence of a condition for which a benefit was previously paid. For example, a second heart attack or a second cancer diagnosis.

How the plans work

Like any insurance policy, a claim has to be filed when a covered event occurs. A policyholder simply completes the claim form, along with the required documentation such as an explanation of benefits form, a hospital bill, an accident report from law enforcement if applicable, and submits the claim. The insurance company processes the claim, determines the amounts payable and sends a check and an explanation of the benefits to the policyholder or his/her heirs.

These funds can then be used to pay for health insurance deductibles, the cost of prescription drugs, or for any other purpose the insured wishes.

Premiums for accident insurance and critical illness insurance are usually quite low and are paid on a monthly basis. Typically, the premium structure is based on whether you are purchasing insurance for yourself only, you and a spouse, you and your child or children, or your whole family. Critical illness insurance premiums are age-rated, so it is less costly when you are younger and more costly as you age.

Accident insurance makes a lot of sense for active families and for children who play sports. Critical illness can strike anyone at anytime. It is a smart choice for everyone.

MDA Insurance offers off-the-job accident insurance to members of the Michigan Dental Association and their employees, as well as critcal illness insurance. Call us at 800-860-2272 for more information on how these voluntary insurance programs can help you pay out-of-pocket costs for for high-deductible health plans, or get cash to help meet your financial obligations while you recover from an accident or critical illness.


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Tags: accident insurance, critical illness insurance, high-deductible health plans, voluntary benefits

Disability Insurance Can Help Repay Student Loans

Posted by Cindy Hoogasian on Mon, Mar 24, 2014 @ 09:10 AM

student debtDental students in Michigan spend about $250,000 on their dental education and often graduate with crushing student debt. That debt is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the burden of debt may make it unappealing or unaffordable to buy into a practice. The good news is that dentists have high earning potential. Because of that potential, students in their final year of dental school have access to a disability insurance plan that will reimburse them for student loan payments. Practicing dentists up to 45 years old may also have this option available to them.

The whole idea behind disability income insurance is to replace income that is lost when the policy holder is too ill or injured to work and produce earnings. It's somewhat surprising that a student, who often does not have earned income, can purchase disability insurance. Because the insurance industry recognizes the earning potential of a new dentist, it is possible to purchase this type of insurance policy before you start your practice.

Why is disability insurance with a student loan rider useful?

Here are some facts for new dentists.

  • Your debt will be the highest while your income is the lowest.
  • One in four of today's 20-somethings will have a disabling injury or illness before retirement.
  • Federal student loan debt cannot be discharged by bankruptcy.
  • It's difficult to qualify for Social Security Disability Income and the payment will not be adequate to meet your financial needs and obligations even if your claim is approved.

For as little as $20 a month, you can get student loan protection that covers up to $2,000 a month in student loan debt if you become totally disabled. The disability policy reimburses you for your student loan payments, it does not assume responsibility for paying your student loans. But once the reimbursement cycle begins, you can use the reimbursement from one month to pay the loan for the next month. You can choose a student loan protection rider for terms of 10 or 15 years, up to age 45. There is a waiting period for this benefit to begin. Called an elimination period, student loan protection begins after the first 90 or 180 days of total disability. A 90-day elimination period means reimbursement would be available after 120 days (four months) have elapsed; benefits begin after 210 days with a 180-day elimination period.

What's the catch?

It's not really a catch, but it's important to know that the student loan protection is a rider on the basic disability income insurance policy. Translation: You have to buy at least $500 in monthly disability income insurance benefits in order to add the student loan protection rider. This insurance is still very affordable.

Eligibility and Limits

You are eligible to apply for disability insurance with a $2,000 per month student loan protection rider if:

  • You are a senior dental student beginning 60 days before your senior year. The most disability insurance you can purchase is a benefit of $2,100 per month.
  • You are a first-year dentist from six months before graduation through the first 12 months as a practicing dentist. The most disability insurance you can purchase is a benefit of $4,000 a month.
  • You are a first-year pediatric dentist, endodontist, periodontist or prosthodontist. The maximum disability insurance limit is $6,000 per month.
  • You are an oral surgeon or orthodontist. The maximum disability insurance limit is $7,500 per month.

Special discount available

A 10 percent discount on disability insurance, with or without the student loan protection rider, is available for graduates of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry who apply within between 60 days before your senior year and 60 days of graduation.


Protecting your earning potential and your creditworthiness is easy when you purchase a disability income insurance policy with a student loan protection rider. This policy is available from MDA Insurance, the insurance agency of the Michigan Dental Association. Special discounts are available for U of M dental school students. Getting disability income insurance is usually easy when you are young and healthy, as most dental school students are.

Contact MDA Insurance at 800-860-2272 for more information on disability income insurance with a student loan protection rider. Our carrier is the only insurance company that offers this unique and attractive combination of insurance protections.

Learn more here.

 Get a Disability Quote with Student Loan Protection


Tags: disability insurance, disability insurance dentists, disbility insurance-dentists, disability insurance for women, Student loan protection, student loan debt insurance

Are You Eligible for an Individual Health Insurance Subsidy?

Posted by Cindy Hoogasian on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 @ 03:46 PM

 health care premium subsidy

President Obama's Affordable Care Act aims to get every American enrolled in a health insurance plan. Providing government subsidies to help people who earn up to 400 percent of federal poverty level pay their individual health insurance premium is supposed to make health insurance "affordable" for everyone. In order to get the federal subsidy, you have to buy your insurance through the online Marketplace.

For Michigan residents, that means filing a subsidy application on the online Marketplace at to find out if you are eligible for a subsidy. If you are, the website tells you how much subsidy you may be eligible to receive. Then, you have to figure out which of the insurance plans on the Marketplace is the best one for you and enroll in it. All of this is a lot more complicated than it seems. Unless you know a lot about health insurance, you may end up with a plan that really isn't affordable--despite having some of your premium paid by your fellow taxpayers. You may end up with big out-of-pocket costs. But before we go there, let's look at some guidelines for subsidy eligibility in the 48 contiguous states.

Health Insurance Premium Subsidy Guidelines:

  • One-person household: Income between $11,490 and $45,960
  • 2-person household: Income between $15,510 and $62,040
  • 3-person household: Income between $19,530 and $78,120
  • 4-person household: Income between $23,550 and $94,200
  • Add $16,080 for each additional household member who is a dependent for tax-filing purposes.
  • If you are married, you must file a join income tax return

Look on your most recent 1040 tax return (line 37), 1040A (line 21) or 1040EZ (line 4) and find your Modified Adjusted Gross Income. Add to that any income of your dependents, even if they file a separate tax return. That combined figure is your household income for subsidy-eligibility determination.

What subsidies are available?

That depends on your household income. Subsidies are applied on a sliding scale. The more you earn, the less subsidy you qualify for.

  • Michigan has expanded Medicaid, so if you are single and earn up to 133 percent of federal poverty level (about $15,200), you probably quaify for Medicaid and will have to contribute 2 percent of your income to a state-administered health savings account to pay for out-of-pocket expenses under the plan. Your total costs won't exceed 5 percent of your modified adjusted gross income.
  • If you're single and your income is below 250 percent of federal poverty level (about $28,725) you qualify for a policy with reduced deductibles, copayments and lower maximum out-of-pocket costs.
  • If you're single and make less than 400 percent of federal poverty level ($45,960), you may get an advanced premium tax credit, commonly called a subsidy. But beware. If you get a subsidy and your income increases during the year, you have to report that increase to the health care Marketplace. Any subsidy you are receiving could be affected. If you don't report an income increase, you may end up repaying unearned tax credits when you file your 2014 income tax return.

You are not eligible for a subisdy if...

  • Your employer offers you an "affordable" health insurance plan. If you are asked to pay 9.5 percent or less of your household income for the health plan's premium for one-person coverage (regardless if you are paying premium for your whole family), then it is an "affordable" plan. You cannot decline your employer's health insurance plan and receive a subsidy on the Marketplace.
  • You are Medicare eligible (age 65 or over)
  • You are now on Medicaid

Enrolling in a health plan

Let's face it. Buying health insurance is a lot more confusing that renting a car online or booking a hotel room. Mistakes made in selecting a health insurance plan can be costly. And you can't hop between plans because you learned you made a mistake. You're pretty much locked into a plan for the year. Unless you are really knowledgeable about health insurance, and understand what coinsurance, co-pays, deductibles, in-network and out-of-network mean, and unless you know the difference between a PPO and an HMO, you probably don't want to make this buying decision alone.

Your best best is to contact an insurance agent who is licensed to provide assistance with Marketplace plans. Yes, there are "navigators" on the Marketplace, and many of them will provide quality assistance. But if you work with an insurance agent, you always have the same point of contact for help.

MDA Insurance knows health insurance inside inside and out. We understand the Marketplace plans and can help guide your purchase decision. It doesn't cost a penny more to work with an MDA Insurance agent, but you will get first-rate service, assistance with subsidy determination and great guidance on selecting a plan. And you can always call our agent back for help. Remember, you have to be enrolled in a plan by March 31, 2014, or you won't be able to buy health insurance for the rest of the year, unless you have a qualifying event. That kind of an event is an involuntary loss of health insurance, such as the loss of a job that provided health insurance.

Call us at 877.906.9924 for assistance with your health insurance needs--on or off the Marketplace. Or, click the button below to get help with health insurance.

Help Me with Health Insurance


Tags: Affordable Care Act, individual health insurance, personal health insurance, family health insurance, buying family health insurance

Women to pay more for disability insurance in April

Posted by Cindy Hoogasian on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 @ 04:17 PM

disability insurance graphic

We can now add disability insurance to the list of things that cost more if you are a female. For more than 10 years, MDA Insurance has been able to offer female dentists unisex rates for disability income insurance protection. Unfortunately, our carrier has notified us that beginning April 1, 2014, it will conform to industry norms and begin charging gender-distinct rates for women and men. And naturally, those rates are higher for women.

Why? Actuarial studies show that women have higher morbidity (incidence of disabling illnesses and injuries) during their working years than do men. So it is more likely that women will file a disability insurance claim.

The upshot: Beginning April 1, female dentists can expect to pay as much as 51 percent more for disability insurance. Rates for business overhead expense insurance (BOE) will jump even more, as much as 60 percent. BOE reimburses you for regular business expenses like rent, wages and salaries, utilities, insurance premiums, laundry, custodial services and more.

If you are a female dentist in Michigan, now is the time to purchase disability income insurance and BOE. If you already have disability insurance, you may want to increase your benefit limit to reflect income growth and your current needs. If we submit your application for new or increased coverage by March 31, the favorable unisex rates will apply.

If you work in a practice that provides you with group disability insurance, it is still wise to purchase a stand-alone policy. If you have a group plan and leave your place of employment, you may have the option to convert the plan to an individual plan, but it may be more costly. If you buy your own disability insurance plan while you are young and healthy, the premium is usually lower. Especially with unisex rates in effect!

It's also worth noting that the benefits you recieve are tax exempt if you purchase the disability insurance plan yourself. Benefits paid to you by a group disability plan provided by your employer are taxable to you as the recipient.

Disability insurance is one protection that is critically important, but is often overlooked. Insuring your income makes practical sense. Your income is what allows you to purchase food, pay your mortgage, your other loans and utilities and provide education and entertainment for your family. Without your income, you may be forced to tap into your savings or investments.

The goal of disability insurance is to provide a regular income stream that represents a significant amount of your pre-illness or –injury income—not to replace your income completely. It helps you keep your financial ship afloat while recovery and healing occur. Both those things happen more quickly without the stress of financial hardship.

Many people mistakenly believe that if they are disabled, they will receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). Not true. Qualifying for SSDI is difficult. Most applicants are initially denied coverage and must go through an appeal process. If your condition does qualify, there is a five-month waiting period for benefits to begin. And the amount paid will fall far short of your earned income.

Buying disability income is a smart investment in your financial security. If you’re a woman, the time to act is now, while you can still buy insurance at the favorable unisex rates. Contact MDA Insurance for an appointment to discuss disability income insurance and business overhead expense insurance. The time may come when you will be very glad you did.

Call 800-860-2272 for assistance or click below to schedule an appointment.

Get Help with Disability Insurance

Tags: disbility insurance-dentists, disability insurance for women

Data Breach Insurance is Must-Have Protection for Dentists

Posted by Cindy Hoogasian on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 @ 10:06 AM

Data breach download

Data breach coverage or information security insurance is essential for a dentist. It protects against liability arising from the loss of personally identifiable information (PII) due to network security breaches, improperly disposed of paper or electronic documents or the loss of media containing PII. The insurance industry sometimes calls this type of coverage cyber liability insurance.

Dentists are legally responsible for safeguarding incredible amounts of protected health information (PHI) and PII. This information has become increasingly susceptible to theft. Rules governing the safeguarding of PHI and PII include HIPAA-HITECH, which went into effect in September 2013, and state laws. HIPAA-HITECH spells out the responsibilities of any health care-related business that creates or has access to PHI and PII. Learn more about HIPAA-HITECH by watching this brief video.

In dental offices, confidential and protected information can be compromised in a number of ways. Your computer network or website can be hacked-- the cyber component. Paper or electronic documents can be improperly disposed of. Laptops, tablets or flash drives containing protected data can be lost or stolen.

The poster child for data breach insurance is the massive theft of PPI from the retail giant, Target. With the estimated number of people affected by this breach growing weekly (last estimated at 70 million people), this incident will be very costly both financially and to the chain’s reputation. The incident has also brought the ease of breaching networks to the forefront of public attention. If you were affected by the data breach, you understand what upsetting news this is from a consumer/patient viewpoint.

MDA Insurance has been spreading the word about its data breach/cyber liability insurance from specialty insurer Beazley. The Beazley Breach Response Select (BBR) insurance covers costs associated with notifying patients in accordance with state law, providing one year of credit monitoring and the investigative expense to determine the cause of a breach. It also provides protection against liability due to non-compliance state breach notice laws, failing to comply with your own privacy policies, as well as failing to administer an identity theft prevention program required by governmental regulation,  unauthorized system access, and theft of or destruction of data. It also provides coverages for public relations and crisis management expenses related to a covered breach.

As valuable as those protections are, dentists who purchase BBR Select have access to a great risk management program to help prevent such breaches and intrusions from happening.  BBR Select provides a suite of risk management tools. When you buy BBR Select, you get access to online compliance materials, expert online support, newsletters and instant alerts, webinars and audio and podcast training. With this type of education, you have a better chance of preventing a data breach or a cyber-attack.

You can learn more about BBR insurance by watching this short video, featuring Jeff Spindler, director of the MDA Insurance property/casualty programs.

Now is the time to investigate data breach and cyber liability insurance protection for your dental practice. Some professional liability insurance policies now include a base level of data breach protection. The MDA-endorsed Professional Protector Plan will be providing a base level of data breach coverage when policies renew in 2014. Other professional liability policies may also include or be adding some data breach coverage. If yours does, be sure you review the limits of liability carefully. You may need more coverage than the base level provides. We have found that purchasing stand-alone breach response and cyber liability insurance is often more cost effective than increasing the limits on the base policy. Have your insurance agent investigate the options you have available, and their costs.

Dental offices absolutely should have data breach coverage in place. Fortunately, it’s fairly inexpensive and readily available. We can generally provide the BBR Select coverage for about $400 per doctor in a practice. Give MDA Insurance a call at 800-860-2272 for more information, or click the button below for help.

Help Me with Data Breach Insurance

Tags: Cyber liability insurance, data breach, data breach insurance, privacy breach

Get Individual Health Insurance by March 31 or pay a penalty

Posted by Cindy Hoogasian on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 @ 01:56 PM

Obamacare subsidy application

If you’re still on the fence about getting health insurance, you have until March 31 to do so or be shut out of the health insurance market until 2015. Not only will you then be financially responsible for the cost of any medical services you receive, you’ll also be subject to a penalty for non-compliance with the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate.

Failure to have an in-force health insurance policy for 2014 will subject most citizens to a fine of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to $285 for a family, or 1 percent of household income―whichever is greater.

Are you exempt from the individual mandate? You are if you meet any of these conditions:

  • Part of a religion that opposes acceptance of benefits from a health insurance policy
  • On Medicare
  • On Medicaid/CHIP
  • On Tricare
  • Part of a veteran’s health program
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • Incarcerated
  • Member of an Indian tribe
  • Family income is below tax-filing threshold: $10,000 individual/$20,000 family for 2013
  • You pay more than 8 percent of your income for health insurance after applying a subsidy or employer contributions to premium

So, now is the time to find out if you are eligible for a premium subsidy that will pay part of your monthly health insurance premium, or if you’ve got to foot that bill yourself. As people become aware that the health insurance purchasing window will close at the end of next month, there is likely to be crush of people on the federal online marketplace website that Michigan residents must use to purchase a subsidized health insurance plan. But anyone who is not eligible for a subsidy has little reason to shop online for a plan.

Instead, people should rely on a health insurance agent for assistance. MDA Insurance agents are licensed to assist you with any plan available off or on the online marketplace. An MDA Insurance agent can provide assistance with subsidy determination as well. It costs nothing more to work with a representative of the agency, who will be your go-to person for follow-up questions and further assistance. This experience will be more pleasant and efficient than working with a random marketplace employee who may be difficult to contact with follow up questions or concerns.

Beginning April 1, you will not be able to purchase an individual health insurance plan unless you suffer an involuntary loss of health insurance coverage. An example would be the loss of a job and the health plan that came with it. Failing to pay premium to keep a policy in force doesn’t qualify as involuntary loss of coverage. So don't think you can quit paying your premium and change to another plan at any time, because you can't.

Why risk your financial future and your health? Investigate health insurance options that are available both on the federal online marketplace and off it. Many plans that are available are not listed on the online marketplace.

Want to learn a little more about the Affordable Care Act, but feel overwhelmed by all the insurance jargon? Watch a six-minute video that gives a great overview of the Affordable Care Act and its requirements.

Give MDA Insurance a call at 800-860-2272 or click below for assistance.

Help Me with Health Insurance.

Tags: Affordable Care Act, individual health insurance, Obamacare

Motorcycle insurance and the no-helmet law

Posted by Cindy Hoogasian on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 @ 10:04 AM

Motorcylists without helmets

Motorcyclists finally succeeded in their efforts to be able to ride without helmets in Michigan, but you'll want to check your motorcycle insurance policy before shedding that protective headgear. Motorcyclists have to carry a minimum limit of $20,000 in medical payment coverage, and meet  some experience guidelines. You are eligible to ride without a helmet if you are at least 18 years old and

  • have had a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years or
  • successfully complete a motorcycle safety course.

MDA Insurance has been asked whether people who have health insurance need to have the medical payment coverage. The answer is yes. Medical payment coverage, usually called med pay, has nothing to do with health insurance. It is a part of vehicle insurance.

Med pay insurance pays for medical costs associated with an injury that occurs while on the insured motorcycle. Typically, though, health insurance will be primary. Med pay picks up costs that your health insurance plan does not cover, or pays up to the policy limit if no health insurance is in place.

Passengers on motorcycles who wish to ride without a helmet must also be covered by a minimum of $20,000 med pay. Some motorcycle insurance provides per person, per occurrence med pay coverage, which extends to passengers. Others cover only the operator.

Of course, your proof of insurance will not show what the med pay limit is. That is shown on your Declarations page. If you don't know what your med pay limit is, you should contact your insurance agent before deciding to ride without a helmet. If your coverage doesn't meet the minimum limit, you could be liabile for a civil infraction.

Riders risk death or severe brain injury if they are in an accident when riding without a helmet. For riders who do not have health insurance, $20,000 med pay will be eaten up quickly iif an accident occur.

All motorcyclists should weigh the risk associated with traumatic brain injury with the feeling of freedom that comes from riding helmetless. That choice could be life changing.



Tags: motorcycle insurance, michigan helmet law, medical payment insurance, med pay insurance

High-Risk Malpractice Insurance Program Available

Posted by Cindy Hoogasian on Wed, Jun 06, 2012 @ 10:36 AM

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If you're a dentist who needs high-risk malpractice coverage, MDA Insurance can help. We offer a surplus line professional liability insurance program for dentists unable to obtain coverage in the standard market. The program, underwritten by Columbia Casualty, a subsidiary of CNA Insurance Company, caters to dentists who have experienced numerous or severe malpractice claims in the past. 

While surplus lines coverage is not as comprehensive as is normally found in the standard market, it does offer the opportunity to obtain adequate limits of coverage with a highly rated carrier. Once in the program, dentists will be evaluated annually to determine eligibility for the standard-market Professional Protector Plan (PPP) program, also underwritten by CNA, and available exclusively through MDA Insurance. When eligible, policyholders may transition to the PPP without having to purchase tail coverage from Columbia Casualty. Avoiding this expensive transaction offers a huge cost advantage over other surplus lines agencies.

If you’ve recently been non-renewed by a standard market carrier or are otherwise unable to secure malpractice coverage due to claims history, this program is for you! For more information, please call MDA Insurance and speak with Misty Ward at (800) 860-2272 #449 or email her at

Tags: malpractice insurance, high-risk malpractice insurance, malpractice insurance dentists michigan, professional liabiity insurance dentists