Category Archives: Investing and fiduciary requirements

One in five health insurance apps rejected

By January 24, 2013 • Reprints
Having trouble getting health insurance? You’re not alone, according to new data.

Analysis from HealthPocket shows the health insurance industry
averages an application rejection rate of 22 percent of submitted
individual and family applications nationally.

And some states are much worse: Montana has the highest percentage of
area insurer rejections with 45 percent, followed by Alabama (40
percent), District of Columbia (37 percent), Arkansas (35 percent) and
Alaska (34 percent). Plus, some insurers have declination rates greater
than 70 percent, analysts found.

“Clearly there is great variability across states and within states
in terms of how frequently an insurer rejects a health insurance
application, but nationally it seems to be occurring more frequently
than industry analysts had assumed,” says Kev Coleman, head of research
and data at HealthPocket.

For example, Kaiser Permanente plans in Georgia have a declination
rate of 34 percent, but in Hawaii the same company has a much lower rate
of 22 percent, analysts said.

HealthPocket, a free website that compares and ranks all health
plans, analyzed publicly available insurance records of 9,450 plans for
individuals and families under the age of 65 to determine the average
declination rate of health insurance applications, and compared this
average to the declination rate of individual insurers.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, under the Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act, insurers are prohibited from discriminating against or
charging higher rates for any individuals based on gender or
pre-existing medical conditions.

“What is unclear is whether some insurers have increased their
declination rate in order to improve risk pool health and profitability
prior to 2014, when [the pre-existing provision goes into effect],”
Coleman says.

The research called out the plans with the highest declination rates.
They are: South Dakota’s John Alden Life Insurance Company (73
percent), Utah’s Assurant Health (71 percent), North Dakota’s Assurant
Health (58 percent), Kentucky’s Time Insurance Company (56 percent), and
Idaho’s Assurant Health (56 percent).

Additionally, some non-profit insurance companies have higher
declination rates than for-profit insurers, analysts found. Kaiser
Permanente in Georgia, for example, has a declination rate of 34 percent
while Humana, a large for-profit insurer in Georgia, has a declination
rate of 23 percent.

But East Coasters fare the best with their chances of getting health
insurance. Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Vermont all
have zero declination rates.

NOTE-  Thats because these states have community rating, guaranteed issue… Reeve

Fourth Quarter Economic Update


While the S&P 500 had its first negative fourth quarter in four years, it didn’t
stop the index from having a great 2012. The NASDAQ and Dow also lost ground
for the quarter, but the losses could have been worse – Europe was for once
relatively free of alarm, Wall Street seemed to take fiscal cliff fears in
stride, and key indicators held up even after a massive storm delivered a punch
to the economy on the east coast. The Fed let investors know exactly where it
stood when it came to raising rates. Our real estate sector showed real
improvement. Congress added a whole bunch of drama – a deal was struck right at
the edge of the fiscal cliff, one which provided a partial solution to the
dilemma (as well as higher taxes).1

Congress technically missed the year-end deadline for addressing the fiscal cliff issue,
but it managed a fix on New Year’s Day – and the resulting tax law changes were
major. A repeal of the 2% payroll tax cut meant higher taxes for working
Americans across the board in 2013. The top marginal tax rate was reset to
39.6%, and the top estate tax rate was hiked to 40% while the individual
exemption fell slightly to $5 million. The bill had a considerable upside: the
Bush-era tax cuts were made permanent for 98% of Americans, unemployment
insurance was extended for another year, and the idea of taxing dividends as ordinary
income was jettisoned (the legislation capped both dividend and capital gains
taxes at 20%).2

The Federal Reserve told the country exactly when it would make a move on interest
rates. It said it would do so when the unemployment rate hit 6.5% or inflation reached
2.5%. Operation Twist expired at the end of the quarter, but the central bank
said it would buy $45 billion in longer-term Treasuries come January. Reports
out of Washington hinted that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Fed
Chairman Ben Bernanke were considering leaving their jobs by 2014 or earlier;
in fact, it looked as if Geithner would resign in January.3,4,5,6


By December, the jobless rate had declined to 7.8%, down 0.5% in five months; the
long-term unemployed comprised 39.1% of jobless Americans, down from 44.3% two
years before. Good news, yet the looming fiscal cliff stressed households. The
Conference Board’s consumer confidence poll and the University of Michigan’s
consumer sentiment survey saw big drops in December after reaching multiyear
highs in November, respectively falling 6.4% and 9.8%.6,7,8,9
As for consumer spending, it was up 0.4% in November after a 0.1% October retreat.
Consumer incomes rose 0.6% in November, the best advance in 11 months. In
related news, the Bureau of Economic Analysis put the final estimate of Q3 GDP
at 3.1%, a sea change from the initial 2.0% assessment. Retail sales decreased 0.3%
in October, then rebounded 0.3% in November even with the effects from
Superstorm Sandy (gasoline sales plunged 4% while automakers reported the best
month of new car sales they had seen in four years).9,10,11

Consumer inflation was not yet a factor, even as QE3 progressed. In fact, the CPI
declined 0.3% in November and only rose 0.1% in October. By November, yearly
consumer inflation was just 1.8% (the annualized core CPI increase was 1.9%). Producer
prices fell 0.2% in October and 0.8% in November after rising 1.1% in

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing PMI again flirted with
contraction territory – it was at 51.7 in October, 49.5 in November and 50.7 in
December. ISM’s service sector PMI was stronger: 54.2 for October, 54.7 in
November and 56.1 for December.13,14


outlook grew brighter for China in late 2012. HSBC’s China PMI topped 50 in
November (the first time that had happened in 13 months), and the International
Monetary Fund forecast 8.2% growth for the PRC in 2013 (2012 was shaping up to
be the poorest year for China’s economy since 1999, with Q3 GDP at just 7.4%).  The IMF projected overall 2013 Asia-Pacific
growth at 6.0% for 2013, which was also its projection for India. While
Australia’s benchmark PMI came in at 44.3 in December, manufacturing gauges in
China, South Korea and Taiwan all surpassed the 50 level.15,16,17

Europe’s four-year-old debt crisis was hardly settling down. Bank lending to companies
declined in the eurozone by 1.8% in both October and November; the European
Commission approved a collective €37 billion rescue package for four key
Spanish banks during the quarter. On the upside, S&P upgraded Greece’s
credit rating to B-. Germany’s unemployment rate hit 6.7% in December. The
Markit PMI for overall EU manufacturing sank below 47 in November and December,
a strong hint that the eurozone recession would extend for a third quarter.18,19

Foreign stock markets saw big gains in Q4 2012. Key Asia Pacific indices did very well,
and the Nikkei 225 led them all with a 17.2% advance. Australia’s All
Ordinaries rose 5.9%, the Hang Seng climbed 8.8%, the Sensex rose 3.6% and the
Shanghai Composite gained 8.9%. The MSCI World Index rose 2.1% for the quarter;
the MSCI Emerging Markets index advanced 5.2%. Momentum also gathered in Europe.
Here are some Q4 gains from that region: CAC 40, 8.5%; IBEX, 6.0%; FTSE 100,
2.7%; STOXX 600, 4.2%. Greece’s ATHEX Composite rose 23% last quarter.17,20,21

Generally speaking, the fourth quarter was rough on the commodities sector. In New York,
silver and gold both dropped 12.6%; platinum fell 7.6%, yet palladium gained 9.8%.
(Gold and silver did respectively advance 7.0% and 8.3% on the year.) The
quarter was not good for some key crops: corn futures lost 7.3%, wheat 13.8%, and
soybeans 11.4%. (However, wheat futures rose 19.2% across 2012 while soybeans
gained 18.4%.) Natural gas futures soared in the quarter en route to a 12.1%
yearly gain; oil’s red Q4 contributed to its 7.1% 2012 descent. The U.S. Dollar
Index ticked down 0.2% in Q4 2012.22,23,24,25

Reporting a 5.9% gain in existing home sales in November, the National Association of
Realtors also said residential resales had increased 14.5% in the past 12
months. October’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed a 4.3% annual gain in
home values across 20 cities – the best yearly advance it had seen in 29
months. Building permits for single-family construction were up 25.3% annually
by November, with single-family housing starts up 22.8% in the past year. By November, median new home prices were 3.7%
higher year-over-year; new home sales were down 3.5% in October but up 4.4% a
month later. Pending home sales were up for a third straight month in November,
rising 1.7%.26,27,28
Home loan rates descended in Q4 2012, with a helping hand from QE3. Back on
September 27, interest rates on mortgages averaged as follows, according to
Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey: 30-year FRMs, 3.40%; 15-year FRMs,
2.73%; 5/1-year ARMs, 2.71%; 1-year ARMs, 2.60%. In the December 27 PMMS, the
averages were: 30-year FRMs, 3.35%; 15-year FRMs, 2.65%; 5/1-year ARMs, 2.70%;
1-year ARMs, 2.56%.29

Note the 6.15% difference in the annual performance of the
Dow and S&P for 2012. The gap hasn’t been that broad since 2002. As a
footnote, the Russell 2000 finished 2012 just 1.8% under its all-time closing
high of 865.29 from April 2011; it rose 14.63% for the year. Another thing
about the Russell 2000: it didn’t lose any ground last quarter. The Dow,
S&P and NASDAQ all beat notable retreats over the past three months. The
Dow ended the year at 13,104.14, the S&P at 1,426.19 and the Nasdaq at 3,019.51.1,30,31

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.

These returns do not include dividends.
Is the worst behind us? Is the wind in our favor? Economists have talked for
months about how the market could have a great 2013, if only a solution could
be found for the fiscal cliff … and Europe’s debt crisis … and the threat
of higher taxes … and so forth. Well, the market spent most of 2012 worrying
about these things and had a good year anyway. Wall Street’s optimism is pretty
entrenched at the moment, and it may be bolstered in Q1 2013 if fundamental
indicators continue to improve and earnings surprise to the upside. The faith
in this bull market has yet to fade.

Reeve Conovers Disclosure:

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net
Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor
their affiliates. Marketing Library.Net Inc. is not
affiliated with any broker or brokerage firm that may be providing this
information to you. This information should not be construed as investment, tax
or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any
Federal tax penalty. This is not a solicitation or recommendation to purchase
or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be
relied upon as such. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index
of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is an
unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded
on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities
considered to be representative of the stock market in general. It is not
possible to invest directly in an index. NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates
two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE
Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange).
NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data
products and services. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the
world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading
forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions
– the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and
the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. Nikkei 225 (Ticker: ^N225)
is a stock market index for the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE). The Nikkei average
is the most watched index of Asian stocks. The All-Ordinaries Index is the most
quoted benchmark for Australian equities, comprised of common shares from the
Australian Stock Exchange. The Hang Seng Index is a freefloat-adjusted market
capitalization-weighted stock market index that is the main indicator of the
overall market performance in Hong Kong.  BSE Sensex or Bombay Stock Exchange
Sensitivity Index is a value-weighted index composed of 30 stocks that started
January 1, 1986. The SSE Composite Index is an index of all stocks (A and B
shares) that are traded at the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The MSCI World Index is
a free-float weighted equity index that includes developed world markets, and
does not include emerging markets. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a float-adjusted
market capitalization index consisting of indices in more than 25 emerging
economies. The CAC-40 Index is a narrow-based, modified capitalization-weighted
index of 40 companies listed on the Paris Bourse. The IBEX 35 index is
comprised of the 35 most liquid stocks traded on the Spanish Continuous Market.
The FTSE 100 Index is a share index of the 100 most highly capitalized
companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. The STOXX Europe 600 Index is
derived from the STOXX Europe Total Market Index (TMI) and is a subset of the
STOXX Global 1800 Index. The Athex Composite Share Price Index is a benchmark
index of Greece’s stock market that includes over 30 stocks. The US Dollar
Index measures the performance of the U.S. dollar against a basket of six
currencies. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such
as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in
accounting standards. All information is believed to be from reliable sources;
however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. All
economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future
results. Market indices discussed are unmanaged. Investors cannot invest in
unmanaged indices. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting
or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised
to engage the services of a competent professional.


1 -

2 -

3 -

4 -

5 -

6 -

7 -

8 -

9 -

10 - [12/20/12]

11 - [12/13/12]

12 - [12/13/12]

13 - [1/2/13]

14 - [1/4/13]

15 -

16 -

17 - [12/31/12]

18 -

19 -

20 -

21 -

22 -

23 -

24 -

25 - [1/4/13]

26 -

27 -

28 -

29 -

30 -

31 -

32 -

32 -

32 -

32 -

32 -

32 -

33 -

34 -

35 -

35 -

35 -


Save a little more for retirement.

Time to boost your IRA balance. In 2013, you can contribute up
to $5,500 to your Roth or traditional IRA. If you will be 50 or older by the
end of 2013, your contribution limit is actually $6,500 this year thanks to the
IRS’s “catch-up” provision. The new limits represent a $500 increase from 2012
January is an ideal time to max
out your annual IRA contribution.

If you are in the habit of making a single annual contribution to your IRA
rather than monthly or quarterly contributions, try to make the maximum
contribution as early as you can in a year. More of your money should have an
opportunity for tax-deferred growth, not less. While you can delay making your
2013 IRA contribution until April 15, 2014, there is no advantage in waiting –
you will stunt the compounding potential of those assets, and time is your
friend here.2

Do you own multiple IRAs? If you do, remember that your
total IRA contributions for 2013 cannot exceed the relevant $5,500/$6,500
contribution limit.3
Your IRA contribution may be tax-deductible.
Are you a single filer or a head of household? If you contribute to both a
workplace retirement plan and a traditional IRA in 2013, you will be able to
deduct the full amount of your IRA contribution if your modified adjusted gross
income is $59,000 or less. A partial deduction is available to such filers with
MAGI between $59,001-69,000.4
The 2013 phase-outs are higher for married couples filing jointly. If the spouse making
the IRA contribution also participates in a workplace retirement plan, the
traditional IRA contribution is fully deductible if the couple’s MAGI is
$95,000 or less. A partial deduction is available if the couple’s MAGI is between
If the spouse making a 2013 IRA contribution doesn’t
participate in a workplace retirement plan but the other spouse does, the IRA
contribution may be wholly deducted if the couple’s MAGI is $178,000 or less. A
partial deduction can be had if the couple’s MAGI is between $178,001-188,000.
(The formula for calculating reduced IRA contribution amounts is found IRS
Publication 590.)5

You cannot contribute to a traditional IRA in the year in which you turn 70½ or in
subsequent years. You can contribute to a Roth IRA at any age, assuming your
income permits it.1
What are the income caps on Roth IRA contributions this year?
Single filers and heads of household can make a full Roth IRA contribution for
2013 if their MAGI is less than $112,000; the phase-out range is from $112,000-127,000.
For joint filers, the MAGI phase-out occurs at $178,000-188,000 in 2013;
couples with MAGI of less than $178,000 can make a full contribution. (To
figure reduced contribution amounts, see Publication 590.) Those who can’t
contribute to a Roth IRA due to income limits do have the option of converting
a traditional IRA to a Roth.7

As a reminder, Roth IRA contributions aren’t tax-deductible – that is the price you
pay today for the possibility of tax-free IRA withdrawals tomorrow.8
Can you put money in an IRA even if you don’t work?
There is a provision for that. Generally speaking, you need to have taxable earned
income to make a Roth or traditional IRA contribution. The IRS defines taxable
earned income as…
*Wages, salaries and tips.

*Union strike benefits.

*Long-term disability benefits received before minimum retirement age.

*Net earnings resulting from self-employment.
Also, you can’t put more in your IRA(s) than you earn in a given year. (For example,
if you are 25 and your taxable earned income for 2013 amounts to $2,592, your
IRA contributions for this year can’t exceed $2,592.)9

However, a spousal IRA can be created to let a working spouse contribute to a nonworking
spouse’s retirement savings. That working spouse can make up to the maximum IRA
contribution on behalf of the stay-at-home spouse (which does not affect the
working spouse’s ability to contribute to his or her own IRA).

Married couples who file jointly can do this. The IRS rule is that you can contribute
the maximum into this IRA for each spouse as long as the working spouse has
income equal to both contributions. So if both spouses will be older than 50 at
the end of 2013, the working spouse would have to earn taxable income of
$13,000 or more to make two maximum IRA contributions ($12,000 if only one
spouse is age 50 or older at the end of 2013, $11,000 if both spouses will be younger
than 50 at the end of the year).6,9


So, to
sum up … make your 2013 IRA contribution as soon as you can, the larger the

«representativename» may be reached at «representativephone» or «representativeemail».



This material was prepared by
MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the
presenting party, nor their affiliates. Marketing Library.Net Inc. is not
affiliated with any broker or brokerage firm that may be providing this
information to you. All information is believed to be from reliable sources;
however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please
note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future
results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other
professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage
the services of a competent professional. This information should not be
construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the
purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is not a solicitation or a
recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or
service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and
are not illustrative of any particular investment.




– [1/9/12]






– [12/17/12]



Ascensus, Inc. completes acquisition of ExpertPlan, Inc.

Here is the press release from Bob Guillocheau, the CEO of Ascensus, about the purchase.  I will be in Expertplans offices on Tuesday to meet with them and make sure that I fully understand the ramifications of the purchase for my clients – Reeve


“We are excited to have the ExpertPlan associates
join the Ascensus family, and look forward to working together to
deliver high quality services to you and your clients. The combination
of ExpertPlan and Ascensus creates the largest independent,
open-architecture investment platform retirement plan servicing company
in the nation, with over 42,000 plans serviced. This size and scale
will allow for continued investments in ExpertPlan to ensure we deliver
on our high quality service promise.

ExpertPlan will continue to service your business
from the main service center in East Windsor, NJ, and will operate under
the “ExpertPlan, an Ascensus®company” branding you see above in the new
ExpertPlan logo.

ExpertPlan’s core capabilities in web-based plan recordkeeping and administration
plus defined benefit plans are not services offered by Ascensus.
This means that you and your clients will continue to be serviced by the same
dedicated and knowledgeable employees who will
continue to offer value-added services in their current capacity.
At Ascensus, our core values of People Matter, Quality First and Integrity Always® inform our decisions and are the cornerstones
of who we are and how we think about our client relationships. This
means we work closely with our clients to determine the appropriate approach to help
them reach their business goals. We look forward to working with you and
your clients by providing the innovative solutions that have always
been delivered by ExpertPlan.

We appreciate your business and look forward to continuing to work together in providing world-class
financial and retirement solutions. If you have any
immediate questions, please feel free to reach out to your client
service representative.


HHS awards $1.5 billion for exchanges

By January 17, 2013 • Reprints

The federal health department Thursday announced $1.5 billion in
new grants to support states building health insurance exchanges under
the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

California, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Vermont all received
funding—either one-year or two-year grants, depending on their progress
on building the exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services

“These states are working to implement the health care law and we
continue to support them as they build new affordable insurance
marketplaces,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.
“Starting in 2014, Americans in all states will have access to quality,
affordable health insurance and these grants are helping to make that a

Exchanges—or marketplaces—are a central component of President
Obama’s health reform law. They offer consumers an online one-stop shop
to shop for their health insurance. Failure to purchase health insurance
will result in a penalty beginning next year.

A total of 49 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories
have received grants to plan their marketplaces, and 34 states and the
District of Columbia have received grants to build their marketplaces,
according to HHS.

Though initially states were supposed to have already notified the
government about their decision to run exchanges or defer to the
government, officials have extended deadlines, as some governors have
expressed their dissatisfaction with a lack of guidance on how to do so.

“To ensure states have the support and time they need to build a
marketplace, states may apply for grants through the end of 2014 and may
use funds through their start-up year,” the department said Thursday.

Blog Archives

Reeve Conover is a Registered Representative. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/dealer member FINRA/SPIC. Cambridge and Conover Consulting are not affiliated. Licensed in SC, NC, NY, CT, NJ, and CA. - SIPC - Brokercheck