Tag Archives: Covered California

Health Insurance Open Enrollment Ends Soon


Open Enrollment for health insurance ends January 31, 2017. This is the deadline to change or get health insurance.

Please call Integrity First today @ (805) 495-1122. We can help find the best coverage available for the lowest premium.  We can help with Covered California, the marketplace exchange, or direct.  You may eligible for a subsidy to help pay your health insurance.  We offer Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente and more.

After January 31, 2017 you will need a special exception to buy medical insurance. If you do not have medical insurance there will be a fee/penalty.

The fee for not having health insurance in 2016 & 2017

The fee is calculated 2 different ways – as a percentage of your household income, and per person. You’ll pay whichever is higher.

Percentage of income

2.5% of household income
Maximum: Total yearly premium for the national average price of a Bronze plan sold through the Marketplace
Per person

$695 per adult
$347.50 per child under 18
Maximum: $2,085

Please call us today @ (805) 495-1122

Understanding Car Safety Ratings


Although newer vehicles are generally more expensive to insure than older ones, consumers can often get discounts if their new vehicles have the latest safety features. Advances in crash and accident avoidance technology mean that consumers who buy a new vehicle equipped with the latest safety features are often less likely to be seriously injured in a car crash.

Safety ratings are a function of two major factors: prevention—how well the vehicle is designed to prevent an accident—and, crashworthiness—how well the vehicle performs in a crash.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranks its Top Safety Picks based on good, acceptable, marginal or poor performance in high-speed front and side crash tests, a rollover test, and evaluations of seat / head restraints for protection against neck injuries during rear impacts. Crash tests are conducted on a half-dozen types of vehicles, including large cars, mid-sized cars, small cars, minivans, mid-size SUVs, and small SUVs. You can also visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website for a full report on recalls and defects.

Currently, some of the top-rated safety features are:

  • Adaptive front airbags
  • Side airbags
  • Side curtain airbags
  • Knee airbags
  • Electronic stability control
  • Anti-lock braking systems
  • Brake assist
  • Tire pressure monitors
  • Back-up sensors
  • Park assist
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Smart headlights
  • Crash-alert systems (such as OnStar)
  • Built-in car seats

Technology is ever-improving, and, as time goes by, manufacturers and the government are standardizing these features. Doing your homework ahead of time and knowing what your options are can make the decision-making process smoother and get you into that new car faster!

Insurance 101 for College Students … And Parents Too

college-student-insuranceMoving away from home to go to college is an exciting time for most kids. It’s their first real taste of independence, but this newfound freedom also comes with increased responsibility.

Mom and dad aren’t around anymore to nag you about the hours you spend on your smartphone or to wake you up for school in the morning, but this also means they aren’t there to fix problems either. What, for example, would you do if someone were to steal your precious smartphone?

Students can easily get swept away in the excitement and bustle of the college social scene, forgetting that not everyone they meet at school has the best of intentions. Crime exists in most communities, and college life is no exception. According to the FBI, 97 percent of crimes reported by college students in 2012 were property crimes and a whopping 41 percent of these crimes occurred on campus grounds.

Students bring many pricey belongings from home – electronics like laptops, smart phones, tablets, televisions and gaming systems are common dorm room items. They may also have a skateboard, bike, vehicle or combination of all of the above.

Another on-campus threat to personal property is fires. Firefighters responded to an average of 3,870 college housing structure fires per year1. These fires caused an annual average of $15 million in personal property damage and losses.

So, how can you protect your belongings while you’re away at school? The first step is to check with your insurance agent to see if your stuff is covered under your homeowners insurance policy. Some policies, like those offered by Mercury Insurance, will extend coverage to college students living away from home.

Another option is to purchase renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance is designed to protect property owners in the event that their belongings are stolen or damaged in a fire. It will also provide liability coverage in the event someone is injured while visiting your apartment or dorm room.

To maximize your college experience, here are a few tips to protect personal property:

Cover personal belongings with an insurance policy. Students who live on-campus may have coverage available through their parents’ homeowner’s policy. Some companies have policy options that extend personal property coverage for students away from home. Students living off-campus may not be covered by their parents’ policy and should look into purchasing renters insurance.
Create an inventory. Record the value of all personal property to determine the right amount of coverage needed in the event of a loss.
Always lock doors. Talk to roommates and make sure to communicate the importance of securing personal belongings.
Conceal valuables. Never leave electronics or other valuables out in plain sight, and do not advertise their presence on social media.
Secure valuable electronics, like TVs and laptops, to stable fixtures with locking mounts in your room so they can’t be easily removed. Also, protect personal electronics with passwords to guard accessibility and discourage theft.
Use a bicycle lock when you’re out and about or for added security while on-campus. Steel and titanium locks are difficult to cut and provide thieves with a challenge. Reinforcing these locks with cable locks, which can be threaded through wheels, will provide extra security.
Install or activate an alarm if you have a vehicle on-campus. Insurance companies frequently offer discounts for vehicles equipped with anti-theft devices. Students with good grades – at least a B average – may be eligible for an additional discount as well.
Ensure your auto insurance is up-to-date. Coverage for vehicles left at home while in school should be maintained to protect the vehicle from theft or any damage that may occur while it is parked. This will also protect you if you forget to notify your agent to add coverage back to your vehicle when you return.

Consult with your local Mercury agent to learn more about renters insurance and they’ll help build the protection plan that best suits your needs.

The bottom line: with greater independence, comes greater responsibility.

1 The National Fire Protection Association reports this annual average occurred during the five-year period from 2009-2013.

Still Don’t Have Health Insurance? Don’t Worry!

Special Enrollment Period for Health Insurance

Even though the open enrollment period to invest in health insurance ended on February 15th, you still have a chance to enroll in a policy to ensure that you do not have to pay the fine. Covered California is offering a special enrollment period for those who were not aware of the tax penalty for not having health insurance in 2014, or learned that they may now face a fine in 2015.

The special enrollment period runs from now until April 30th, and gives people the chance to be covered with the right health insurance policy if they are not already. In order to qualify, you must prove that you were not aware of the penalty for not having health insurance by selecting the “Informed of Tax Penalty Risk” on the Covered California website.

Along with the new special enrollment period, there are other qualifying life events that can qualify you for a special enrollment period so that you can sign up for health care. Some of the most common qualifying life events include:

  • Getting married, entering into a domestic partnership, or getting a divorce.
  • Having a child, putting a child up for adoption, or adopting a child.
  • Moving your permanent residence to a different state that does not offer the same health plan that you are currently enrolled in.
  • Having a change in your income that effects your eligibility for cost sharing reductions or other government assistance.
  • Being a member of a federally recognized Alaska Native or American Indian tribe. If you fall into this category, you can change your health insurance plan, or enroll in a plan once a month.

Contact the insurance professionals at Integrity First Insurance in Thousand Oaks, California for all of your Conejo Valley health insurance coverage needs.

Covered California Health Plans…we can help you get quotes and apply.

You may be eligible for a subsidy for your health insurance based on your income.  Covered California is a new program that was put in place as part of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, that was enacted by President Obama.  We are certified Covered California representative agency and Certified Healthcare Reform Specialists, CHRS.  We can help you and your family find the right health insurance coverage at the most affordable premium.

Have you signed up for your 2015 health insurance through Covered California? If you have not, make sure that you do so before the Open Enrollment period ends on February 15, 2015. Covered California is a relatively new program that was put in place as part of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, that was enacted by President Obama.

Covered California is a health insurance marketplace that is easy to use. You and your family can find the right amount of health insurance coverage through Covered California. The marketplace allows you to compare quality, affordable health insurance options so that you can choose the policy that best fits your specific needs. Through Covered California, your health insurance coverage cannot be denied or dropped if you get sick or if you have pre-existing medical conditions. There are also many programs in place to help you get financial assistance to make your health insurance coverage more affordable.

Enrolling in a health insurance plan through Covered California is the best way to ensure that you and your family are protected in case of any unfortunate situation. Having the right insurance coverage makes sure that you have vital access to medical care in case you are injured or sick.

Covered California works in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, or DHCS. DHCS strives to provide low-income residents with access to high quality, affordable health care. Working with Covered California allows them to provide you the best health care coverage, including mental health, medical, and substance abuse treatment services.

Contact Integrity First Insurance Services in Thousand Oaks, California for all of your Conejo Valley health insurance needs. We are here to answer any of your questions about Open Enrollment or Covered California to ensure that you have the right health insurance coverage.

Covered California SHOP Can Save Small Businesses Money

If you have a business in Ventura County, Covered California™ and their SHOP feature will save you money, as you comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014.Covered California unveiled the SHOP online health insurance for businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

These health insurance plans will be effective on January 1, 2014. SHOP online health insurance programs deliver valuable benefits, outstanding providers, choices for insurance companies and affordable prices. Business owners and employees will have at least three or four healthcare carriers in each of 19 California regions.

Consider a top California insurance agency, such as Integrity First Insurance Services, Corp., to get the help you need to navigate these new choices and requirements. Integrity First Insurance has been serving area individuals and businesses since 1981. Independent agents, working for you, not one company, can give you their expertise, experience and commitment to their clients, without regard for the limitations of one specific insurance carrier.

To access this expertise and valuable advice, contact Jason Mayling, President, Integrity First Insurance Services,Corp.. If your business is in the Thousand Oaks area, you can even visit their office on Hampshire Road, after examining the Covered California™ SHOP online health insurance options. However, if you’re located anywhere in California, Integrity First Insurance is here for you and your employees.

What is Covered California?

With the health insurance reform laws going into effect in the new year, it is important that you start to get an understanding of what this will mean for you. One of the options for health insurance for California residents is Covered California. It is important to know what this is and what it can do for you.


What is Covered California?

Rather than being just one health insurance plan, this offers a marketplace of different options. Since the funds are pooled together with people across the state, you are able to get a better price than if you went with an insurance plan as an individual.


Who is it For?

This is really for anyone that needs health insurance, though it was designed for small businesses and families that will not have the coverage they need from their employer.


What it Can Do

One of the nice features is that it will let your compare the aspects of the different insurance plans so you can ensure you are getting the one that will be right for you. With this, you will find that you will have all medically necessary features covered and yet still have affordable insurance.


To find out more about Covered California, contact Integrity First Insurance.