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Martin Vreman, Agent

941-721-9888

2823 US-301 - Suite 1
Ellenton, FL  34222
Fax : 941-721-9801

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Healthcare Insurance PalmettoHealthcare 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 941-721-9888 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Health Care Insurance Agent in Palmetto will help you find the best deal for you.

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Florida Healthcare  Insurance Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance
8/9/2018

“Being on the water, provides a sense of calm and clarity,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent boat insurance agency.

In his book, Blue Mind, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, marine biologist, explains that being on, in or near the water improves creativity, emotional health and relaxation. It can also heal the mind and body.

In the book, he describes the state of a “red mind” and its antidote, a “blue mind.” A red mind is characterized by stress, anxiety and fear, whereas a blue mind is described as calm, peaceful and happy. A blue mind can be achieved by being in, near, on, under or around water. Such as being on a boat. He describes to Discover Boating, that a blue mind, gives our minds a break, it helps us to disconnect from tech and connect with our thoughts and insights as well as with other people.

Research shows walking on the beach, hanging out at the lake or even taking a dip in the pool can calm you down while sparking creativity. He shares with Huffington Post some additional benefits to being around water.

Water gives our brains a rest.

Water can induce a meditative state.

Water can inspire us to be more compassionate and connected.

Exercise by or in water is good for our brains and our bodies.

“These findings explain why we feel so much joy when boating,” observes Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent boat insurance agency.

Boat rental website, Carefree Boat Club, explains that boating allows you to create bonding experiences and enjoy memories with family and friends. They report, according to studies, boaters respond to stress or stressful situations in a manner better than non-boaters.

So, the next time you are debating that fishing trip or all-day outing at the beach, remember, it can benefit your health, body and mind.

The post Can Boating Help Us Be Our Better Selves? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
8/1/2018

Over the last two months, U.S. health officials have issued several warnings regarding certain foods associated with foodborne illnesses. “While food poisoning might just seem like something you have to ride out, some symptoms can be quite serious,” reminds Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

Below are details about foods it is best to continue avoiding.

Salads and Wraps

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a public health alert for salads and wraps from Trader Joe’s, Walgreens and Kroger. The food is possibly contaminated with the cyclospora parasite from a lettuce contamination. The tainted food contains beef, poultry or pork and was distributed by Caito Foods, LLC. It is also the cause for McDonald’s to stop selling salads at over 3,000 of their locations this summer. Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness that causes diarrhea, stomach cramps, pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting fatigue and fever.

Ground Beef

Win Opportunity Knocks recalled more than 6,000 pounds of frozen and fresh ground beef from St. Petersburg due to an E.coli contamination.

Snacks

The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a public health alert for foods that contain whey powder. The powder is produced by, Associated Milk Producers, Inc. (AMPI). The recall was prompted by a positive test for salmonella. A few companies have issued voluntary recalls of their snacks containing whey powder. Recalled items include:

Ritz Crackers-Ritz Bits and Ritz Cracker Sandwiches and mixed cookie and cracker variety packs.

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers-The recalled flavors include, Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar, Flavor Blasted Sour Cream & Onion, Goldfish Baked with Whole Grain Xtra Cheddar and Goldfish Mix Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel.

Swiss Rolls– Swiss Rolls are distributed nationwide under a variety of brand names.

Another snack food to avoid is Taco Bell Salsa Con Queso Mild Cheese Dip for possible botulism. Botulism is a potentially fatal form of food poising. It can cause dizziness, double vision, trouble with speaking or swallowing, difficulty in breathing and constipation.

Cereal

Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal recalled in June and again in July is responsible for over 100 people falling ill in 33 states with salmonella.

On a side note, as of July 26, the CDC declared the melon outbreak was over and it is safe to consume again.

“If you experience any symptoms you feel might be related to food poisoning, seek immediate help from your doctor or healthcare professional,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent health insurance agency.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimate that each year 48 million people fall ill from food poisoning, while 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. While it seems more foods are contaminated this year

Experts credit legislation and updated technology to the increase of food recalls by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The post Food Recalls: Products to Avoid appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
7/12/2018

“Fishing, tourism and public health are vulnerable to algae this year in Florida”, observes Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent boat insurance company.

Red Tide

A patchy bloom of the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, persists in Southwest Florida. You might recognize red tide on the beach. It looks like thick mats of smelly, brown, seaweed and covers beaches along Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

Red Tide is a naturally-occurring microscopic alga that has been documented along Florida’s Gulf Coast since the 1840’s and occurs nearly every year. Blooms, or higher than normal concentrations of the Florida red tide alga, Karenia brevis, frequently occur in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reports some red tide produces toxins that have harmful effects on people, fish, marine mammals and birds. In humans, the toxin can become airborne and varying levels of eye and respiratory irritation can occur, becoming more severe for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma. Even touching the bloom can cause a rash.  MOTE Marine Laboratory & Aquarium issues daily beach conditions from beaches along the Southwest coast and along the panhandle. Try checking their website before you head out for the day.

Toxic Algae Bloom

Red tide is not the only algae growing in Florida. Two years ago, some Florida waterways and beaches were afflicted by what many described as a green, slimy, rancid- smelling algae. Well…it’s back. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reports the blue-green algae also known as cyanobacteria, typically develops in nutrient-rich lakes that contain high levels of phosphorous and nitrogen. High temperatures, warm water and abundant sunlight create ideal conditions for the toxic blooms to thrive.

Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River and St. Lucie estuary are filled with the toxic algae as it continues to spread to Cape Coral and Ft. Myers. “Just cleaning up the water will not help, points out Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent boat insurance agency. Both red tide and the blue-green algae are exacerbated by fertilizers and other pollution fed by runoff from the surrounding land.

The blue-green algae can cause skin rashes, nausea, respiratory issues, cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Long term conditions include; liver, kidney and nervous system damage.

Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency this week for seven counties around the lake to give state environmental and tourism agencies more resources to respond to problems caused by the algae. The order also authorizes flushing water south of the lake instead of down the rivers that run to the coasts.

The post Algae Plagues Florida Beaches and Waterways appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
7/5/2018

The interior of a parked car in Florida averages 150 degrees, according to researchers at the University of Central Florida.

“Every driver in Florida is familiar with the intense heat that greats you as you open the car door on a hot day,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent car insurance agency. Not only is a hot car terribly uncomfortable, but cooling your car down quickly can keep you from looking like a hot mess before you arrive at your destination.

Engineers at Consumer Reports found the best method for cooling off a hot car as soon as possible. The following are their instructions for how to do it.

“These tips will help you get the most from your air conditioning system while burning less fuel,” says Buck, with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent car insurance agency.

Don’t Pre- Cool

Don’t run the air conditioning in your car until you are ready to drive. The A/C works better when you are driving. Once you are on your way, open the windows and crank the fan to full blast. When cold air starts coming through the vents, close the front windows but keep the rear windows cracked open for another 10 – 20 seconds. This gets cold air to the back of the car and creates an easy path for the hot air to escape the cabin.

Go Low

Adjust the temperature and fan. Setting the temperature to the coldest temperature and adjusting the fans speed keep the air from drying out, making the A/C more efficient saving you some fuel.

Don’t Recirculate

If passengers are in the backseat, turn off recirculation mode. This takes air from the front of the car and pulls it back through the front system keeping the people upfront cool, but leaves the air in the back stale and hot.

Turn Off Start/Stop

Newer cars have an auto start-stop system, turn it off. This feature saves fuel, but it can also keep the air conditioning compressor from running when it shuts the engine off. In very hot weather, you will notice the lack of cool air quickly especially if you are stuck at a lengthy stoplight or in stop and go traffic.

Check the Air Filter

Check your cabin’s air filter to make sure it is clean. A dirty filter prevents air flow.

Automatic Climate Control

If you have automatic climate control in your car, lowering the temperature doesn’t make the car cool off faster. Most systems will do all the temperature and fan adjustments automatically, so you can just set it and forget it.

The post How to Cool Your Car Down Quickly appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
6/27/2018

On July 4th people across the country express their American patriotism by celebrating Independence Day.  A quick history refresher- On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted, declaring the 13 colonies liberated from England.

“Independence Day is a festive day to reflect on the privilege of freedom and democracy we enjoy in this country,” said Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

Below is some information you might find useful in commemorating this Independence Day.

FIREWORKS- What is legal and what’s not?

The 4th of July is all about fireworks.

In Florida, nothing airborne or exploding is legal including shells and mortars, tube devices, Roman candles, rockets and even firecrackers. Although, you can legally purchase fireworks if you sign a waiver. The waiver states that you will be using the fireworks to scare away birds from agricultural products or fish hatcheries, according to Florida Today. Lying on the form is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Illegally using fireworks is also a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, sparklers, snakes and party poppers are legal. Keep in mind, there is still a risk of injury using sparklers. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports 8 deaths were caused by fireworks in 2017 along with 12,900 emergency-room related injuries. Sparklers were the number one cause of injuries.

The South Walton Fire District recommends the following guidelines to light it up safely:

Keep a bucket of water close by or a garden hose.

Don’t light anything on dry grass, look for a flat surface.

Never try to re-light a “dud” and light one item at a time.

Do not use unwrapped items or items that may have been tampered with.

Only purchase fireworks from a licensed vendor.

Light up in an open area.

Never allow young children to play or light fireworks.

Keep any part of your body from being directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.

Never carry sparklers in your pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

DRIVING

More people are killed in car accidents on Independence Day than any other day of the year. “The staggering amount of traffic contributes to that grim statistic, reminds Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance and car insurance agency.

Along with a high traffic volume, drinking and driving adds to dangerous road conditions. Alcohol also exacerbates dehydration, intensifying the effects of alcohol and causing drowsiness. Distraction from fireworks, is likewise a source of car accidents.

GreatFlorida Insurance is available 24/7 to help with your insurance needs. We offer quality and affordable homowners insurance coverage to Floridians across the state. Call us at 1-888-478-7801 or check us out online at www.greatflorida.com.

The post Make Independence Day unforgettable-in a good way appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
6/13/2018

“Even with health insurance, prescription medicine is sky rocketing,” observes Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.

Thankfully, change is coming. A Florida law beginning July 1 may save you some serious money. Florida lawmakers are placing a ban on the “gag clause.”

A “gag clause” forbids pharmacists from telling consumers when they could save money by paying cash instead of their health insurance copay. The practice has frustrated pharmacists for years.

For example, you might pay a co-pay of $43 for cholesterol medicine but customers paying cash pay, $19 and until now, the pharmacist was restricted from telling you it was cheaper to pay cash.

According to the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), “If pharmacists violate the gag clauses, PBMs (Pharmacy Benefit Managers) may end the contracts or otherwise impose penalties-a practice widely criticized for inhibiting price transparency and contributing to rising health care costs for patients.”

PBMs claim to negotiate discounts for consumers with drug manufacturers while they receive a rebate. But their practices are being questioned due to their lack of transparency. In a recent report, “Reforming Biopharmaceutical Pricing at Home and Abroad”, The White House Council of Economic Advisers said that large pharmacy benefit managers “exercise undue market power” and generate “outsized profits for themselves.”

“Banning the gag clause is a step in the right direction for our state, in reducing healthcare costs,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance.

CNN reports, $3.2 trillion a year is spent on healthcare in the U.S. That is almost $10,000 per person. It is more than any other country in the world. Why is healthcare so expensive in the U.S.? Medication costs, expensive tests and procedures as well as administrative costs and the frequency in which we run scans and tests drive up the cost of our healthcare compared to other countries. Unfortunately, we are not healthier.

The best way to fix our healthcare problems is to focus on better individual health.

The post New Florida Law Stops Overpaying for Prescriptions appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
5/16/2018

The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November 30. “Current research proves hurricanes are growing stronger and occurring more frequently,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance agency.

Colorado State University predicts a slightly above average Atlantic hurricane season, with 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Whereas, The Weather Channel, is predicting 13 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

While thunderstorms commonly occur in Florida, hail is not as common. It is a type of frozen precipitation that occurs within strong to severe storms any time of the year. Hail causes approximately $1 billion in property damage annually nationwide.

Hail can dent your automobile’s hood, trunk and doors. It can break and crack mirrors and windows and cause damaged or stuck doorjambs.

“It is really tempting to observe the novelty of anything frozen falling from the sky but hail can be dangerous, especially if it is sizable,” reminds Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance agency.

If you are out driving when a hailstorm hits, don’t panic. Below are tips to stay safe on the road.

Slow down and be aware of other drivers around you who make not know how to react when driving in a hailstorm.

Create distance between you and the driver ahead of you.

Safely, get off the road. The impact of hail is greater on a moving object, so your car is at greater risk of damage when it is moving forward.

Look for coverage close by such as a gas station awning or garage.  Avoid trees, falling branches can cause more damage.

If you stop under a bridge or overpass be sure to pull completely out of traffic lanes and onto the shoulder.

Do not leave your car.

Try and keep your car at an angle so hail hits it from the front. Windshields are reinforced to withstand pelting objects. Side windows and back glass are not, they are much more vulnerable to shatter or break.

If the hail is severe, cover your eyes or the eyes of any passengers with a blanket. Get face down in the backseat or floor, face away from any windows.

Stay clear of culverts or ditches that quickly fill with water.

Most comprehensive auto insurance policies will cover hail damage. Once the hail damage is accessed, work with your insurance agent to file a claim and get your car into an auto body shop to repair any dents or other damage caused by the storm.

The post Protect Your Car from Hail Damage This Storm Season appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.