GreatFlorida Healthcare Insurance - Fort Walton Beach, FL - Bryan McGehee
Healthcare Insurance Agency in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Healthcare Insurance Agency in Fort Walton Beach, FL

Bryan McGehee

Bryan McGehee - GreatFlorida Insurance - Fort Walton Beach, FL.

850-314-0111

745 Beal Parkway
Unit C-2 |
Ft. Walton Beach, FL  32547
Fax : 850-314-0099

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Healthcare Insurance Fort Walton BeachHealthcare Coverage Florida - FAQs

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 850-314-0111 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Health Care Insurance Agent in Fort Walton Beach will help you find the best deal for you.

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About Healthcare Insurance in Fort Walton Beach, FL

You might be the picture of health, or have suffered with health issues for years. No matter your situation, there is no denying Fort Walton Beach, FL residents need health insurance.

GreatFlorida Insurance can help you navigate through the process of selecting the right coverage level for you and your family.  Our relationship with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida or Florida Blue, offers our customers quality healthcare services with a broad range of network doctors and healthcare specialist in Fort Walton Beach.

Bryan McGehee at GreatFlorida Insurance Fort Walton Beach, FL will explain the new healthcare laws, plan features and benefits as well as co-pays and deductibles. We will make sure to find a plan that fits your budget while leaving you feeling comfortable about your future healthcare plan.

Your local GreatFlorida Insurance Agent in Fort Walton Beach can help you find the right Healthcare Insurance policy at the right price. more...

Florida Healthcare  Insurance Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance
9/8/2016

If your kids don’t like needles, we have some bad news.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) back the flu shot over the flu nasal spray. Their professionals do not feel the nasal flu spray effectively protects against the spread of the flu this season.

“Getting a shot will not come as welcome news to children but we hope it does not deter parents from getting a flu vaccination for their kids,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

Recent studies by the CDC, reveal the flu nasal spray, FluMist did not protect against certain flu strains. Researchers have concluded, last year only three percent of children ages 2-17 reaped its benefits. In comparison, the injected vaccine proved 63 percent effective. Furthermore, studies show the ineffectiveness of FluMist over the past three flu seasons.

More than a third of all children vaccinated received the flu nasal spray last year. FluMist is a weakened form of a live virus strain sprayed into the nose. Astra Zeneca, the manufacturer of FluMist continues to stand behind their product. They said in a statement that it disputes the CDC’s findings. Astra Zeneca claims the effectiveness rate of FluMist is 46 to 58 percent.

flu-vaccine-infographic

The flu can develop into serious illness. “The flu shot is covered at no cost to the patient by most health insurance plans, including Medicare Part B,” reminds Buck from GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance agency.

Additionally, the CDC urges that everyone 6 months and older receive a shot for the 2016- 2017 flu season. They advise children with medical conditions including asthma and diabetes get vaccinated to reduce their risk of flu complications. Also, healthcare personnel and child care providers should receive a shot.

Likewise, pregnant women should get vaccinated. The shot is safe at any point in the pregnancy. Expectant mothers can get very sick if they get the flu.  Also, vaccinated moms can pass some protection to their baby.

You can get a flu shot this year from October 2016 (possibly earlier) until June 2017.

The flu vaccine is convenient.  Find it available at many pharmacies, walk-in clinics, public health facilities and your doctor’s office.

To keep updated of national and state flu activity, check out the Florida Health Department’s web page at: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/influenza/index.html.

GreatFlorida Insurance is committed to helping Floridians stay healthy. Our experienced agents can offer you  quality health insurance policies to fit your needs while staying within your budget. Call us at 888-478-7801 or go online to www.greatflorida.com for a free quote today.

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The post Doctors Against the Flu Nasal Spray appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
8/16/2016

You are having difficulty breathing, you are experiencing agonizing pain in your side, or your baby is howling and pulling at his ear-this is not when you want to try and find a doctor. A trip to the emergency room can cost you a significant amount of time and money. Your local walk-in clinic is closed. You need a personal physician who can help.

“Whether you are new to town, are dealing with a new health insurance policy, have a new baby or are just ready for a second opinion on your well-being, selecting a doctor can be intimidating,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of Great Florida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent healthcare insurance agency.

Generally speaking, word of mouth is the most common method for choosing a doctor. Ask around and see who the people in your life recommend. Review sites and online tools, such as the “doctor finder,” provided by the American Medical Association, can help in your search for a referral.

If you have healthcare insurance check to see what doctors are “in-network.” These healthcare providers will have discounted rates so you pay less out of pocket.

Likewise, some logistical information to think about includes:

Where is the doctor’s office located?

Do you want a doctor close to home or close to your office?

What are their office hours and what days are they open?

What hospital are they associated with?

Can you get a last minute appointment if you are sick?

Is someone accessible in you have an important medical question after office hours?

Do they communicate online or via email?  

What is their primary language?

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“When looking for a doctor it is important to find a professional who is caring and communicates well,” says Buck, of Great Florida Insurance, Florida’s top independent healthcare insurance agency. “Competency is also a crucial variable.”

A caring doctor should take the time to listen and ask questions. They will talk to you in a manner that you understand. But, do not let their bedside manner replace the importance of skill and ability. Competency is paramount. Check your potential physician’s education and see if they are board certified.

There are several types of physicians that are considered primary care physicians. Blue Cross Blue Shield helps to define the difference so you can choose the best for you and your family.

Pediatrician– Provides health, physical, behavior and mental health care for children.

Family Practice– A family practice physician treats patients of all ages. They treat a wide variety of conditions as well as some that would normally require a specialist.

Internal Medicine– An internal medicine doctor cares for adults and specializes in prevention, diagnosis and management of disease and chronic conditions.

General Practitioner– These physicians treat any age or gender. You can also find specialty doctors in this category, such as osteopaths. Osteopath doctors specialize in the study of the musculoskeletal system.

Looking for a doctor when you are experiencing a health crisis is not a good plan, being proactive will pay off.

GreatFlorida Insurance can help you select the right healthcare insurance for you and your family. Our partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida offers our customers top quality healthcare services, from a large selection of healthcare providers in Florida.

GreatFlorida Insurance is a authorized vendor of health insurance for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

GreatFlorida Insurance is a authorized vendor of health insurance for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

The post Tips for Selecting a Doctor appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
7/22/2016

The General Mills Flour recall linked to an E. coli outbreak is making its way into other foods, causing several products to be removed from store shelves. Experts believe more recalls will come as a result of the tainted flour.

“Seniors, the young and those with a compromised immune system are at a greater risk for developing food borne illnesses,” said Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent healthcare insurance agency.

So far, 42 have been reported as being sick across 21 states from E. coli. This particular strain, E. coli 0121, is a potentially deadly strain of bacteria that causes bloody diarrhea and dehydration.

Recalled products include:cake-mix-recall

  • Gold Medal Flour
  • Gold Medal Wondra flour
  • Signature Kitchens Flour
  • Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Party Rainbow Chip Cake Mix
  • Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Carrot Cake Mix
  • Krusteaz Blueberry Pancake Mix
  • Marie Callender’s Cheese Biscuit mix
  • Kabob’s Acquisitions Pre- Made Appetizers
  • For more information on the recalled products, click here:

http://www.generalmills.com/flour

General Mills has expanded the recall, “out of an abundance of caution.” Many of the products were made with the possibly tainted flour. The most recently reported illnesses are linked to the consumption of raw cake batter.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against eating raw dough or raw baking mixes due to uncooked flour. “Most people are familiar with warnings against raw mixes because of raw eggs and the link to salmonella, says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance agency.

“General Mills initially recalled 10 million pounds of flour, but expanded that to include another 20 million pounds after lab tests linked more of the flour to the outbreak,” reports Food Safety News. General Mills is working with health officials to ensure safety to its customers.

GreatFlorida Insurance provides reliable and affordable health insurance to Floridians across the state. Contact us today for a free quote.

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The post General Mills Expands Flour Recall to Other Brands appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
7/11/2016

In a season that should be thriving with business and beach goers, along Florida’s Treasure Coast, the only thing blooming is blue-green algae. The algae growth has caused some beaches and waterways to be closed.

“The detrimental water conditions are keeping many residents indoors,” says Ellsworth Buck, vice president of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent healthcare insurance agency. Florida residents have described the algae as; “thick,” “slimy,” “greenish gunk,” smelling, “atrocious,” “worse than the sewer” and “putrid”.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reports, blue-green algae also known as, “cyanobacteria” typically develops in nutrient-rich lakes that contain high levels of phosphorous and nitrogen. Standard conditions in Florida, such as high temperatures, warm water and ample sunlight provide ideal conditions for the toxic blooms to thrive.

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The harmful algae blooms did not occur overnight. The Tampa Bay Times reports that in May, water managers discovered a 33-square mile algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee.

In January, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started dumping water from the lake into the St. Lucie Estuary due to flooding from heavy rains. The discharges from Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s largest freshwater lake- also considered heavily toxic, began to flow into surrounding waters including the ocean.

According to samples taken by the DEP, the alga is toxic. The governor has declared a state of emergency twice this year. Affected areas include: Martin, St. Lucie, Lee and Palm Beach counties.

“The toxic nature of the algae blooms can cause serious health problems leaving children and pets vulnerable,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent healthcare insurance agency.

The blue-green algae can cause skin rashes, nausea, respiratory issues, cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Long term problems include; liver, kidney and nervous system damage. If you leave in the affected counties and begin experiencing unusual symptoms, see a doctor promptly.

Environmental damage includes, killing seagrass, and small animals such as shrimp, crabs and even fish.

To help ease the algae bloom problem, the Army Corps began reducing the flow into the St. Lucie and the Caloosahatchee Estuaries. Officials will continue to monitor the algae’s toxicity levels.

Blooms can last, days, weeks or months depending on conditions. Scientists cannot predict how long the blooms will last. The blooms run their course and dissipate naturally to prevent the spreading of toxins.

You can report algae blooms in your area by calling 1-855-305-3903 or visiting www.reportalgalbloom.com.

GreatFlorida Insurance provides customized and affordable health insurance policies to suit you and your family, contact us today.

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The post Toxic Algae Bloom in Florida appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
6/29/2016

The sun’s rays are strongest during the summer months so it is important to take care of your skin while you enjoy the outdoors.

“It is crucial to use some sort of sunscreen to protect your skin while out in the strong Florida sun,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that everyone use sunscreen regardless of age, gender or race, everyone can get skin cancer.

There is a lot of information out there about sunscreen, let’s start with the basics.

SPF-Sun Protection Factor, SPF is a product’s ability to block out the sun’s harmful rays. If you use a sunscreen with SPF 15, you can stay in the sun 15 times longer than you can without sunscreen before you sunburn.

UVA/UVB-The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains, there is only notable protection up to 50 SPF. Claims with an SPF higher, are most likely false.

Use of broad spectrum coverage is suggested. This means a product offers ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) and ultraviolet B radiation protection (UVB). UVA rays, aging rays, penetrate deeper into the skin and cause wrinkling. UVB rays, burning rays, are the primary cause of sunburn and skin cancer.

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Water-resistant/Waterproof-Water-resistant sunscreen provides 40 minutes of effectiveness in water. Waterproof products offer 80 minutes of protection in water.

Types of Sunscreen-This is where the subject of sunscreen can be divisive. Doctors and organizations differ on their opinions over the types of sunscreen that are best for you.

“Lotions, oils, gels, spray and sticks- picking the right sunscreen for you and your family is a matter of personal choice,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent healthcare insurance agency.

Mineral-based/physical sunscreen-Commonly referred to as “natural” and considered more of a sun block. Containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, these products tend to sit on the skin’s surface. Many feel they are messy and they can leave a white or colored film on your skin.  Manufactures have made some improvements to their products over the years, so it is not true for every mineral based sunscreen. Some, such as Consumer Reports, reveal that most of these sunscreens do not live up to their SPF claim on the label.

Chemical sunscreen-These products contain ingredients that act as filters to reduce ultraviolet radiation penetration to the skin. They act as chemical absorbers.  Most popular commercial sunscreens are chemical sunscreens. In a recent report, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) warns many products rely heavily on an active ingredient, oxybenzone, a proven hormone disruptor and allergen. Another harmful ingredient is methylisothiazolinone, a proven serious skin allergen. While vitamin A seems good, it can heighten sun sensitivity.

Sprays are convenient and easy to use but they are currently under review by the FDA due to an inhalation risk.

Some AAD recommendations regarding sunscreen are as follows:

  • Use at least a 30 SPF, broad spectrum sunscreen
  • 1 ounce, enough to fill a shot glass is the right amount to use on your body
  • Reapply
  • Check the expiration date but your sunscreen should be good for three years
  • Babies under 6 months old should not use sunscreen

You cannot depend on sunscreen alone to keep you from dealing with skin cancer. If you are looking for a caring and knowledgeable health care provider, contact GreatFlorida Insurance for all your healthcare insurance needs.

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The post The Truth About Sunscreen appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
6/9/2016

Buzzing in your ear and sucking your blood, mosquitoes are not only annoying, but they are considered the deadliest creatures on the planet. Recent concerns over Zika have Floridians on edge when it comes to mosquito- borne diseases.

“Mosquitoes are an irritation we have to put up with living in a tropical environment,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency. “It is easy to forget about the different illnesses mosquitoes can carry.”

Florida Cases

The Florida Department of Health monitors outbreaks across the state of mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile, Zika, Eastern encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue and chikungunya virus along with malaria. Currently, Monroe County is under a mosquito-borne illness advisory. Nineteen Florida counties are under a declared public health emergency due to travel related Zika infections.

In 2009- 2010, Key West had close to 90 cases of dengue fever reported. An outbreak of 28 cases of dengue, were reported August and September of 2013 in Rio and Jensen Beach.

As of June 1, 2016, 128 Zika cases were reported in Florida but none of them were acquired locally, although 11 cases in the United States were transmitted sexually according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC.zika-by-state-report-06-02-2016

Symptoms

“The symptoms can often mimic other illnesses so it can be difficult to discern if your mosquito bite is the cause. If you have traveled to an area where mosquito illness is found, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider immediately,” reminds Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent healthcare insurance provider.

The CDC explains,” Zika, dengue and chikungunya spread the disease through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. There are no vaccines or medicines for these diseases.”

Zika– Fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis are common symptoms, death is rare. Zika can cause birth defects in babies born to mothers have been infected.

Dengue-Most people infected with dengue exhibit no or mild symptoms which include, fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain or rash. Dengue symptoms can quickly become severe and even fatal.

Chikungunya-Rarely fatal, symptoms can include the sudden onset of fever and joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling and rash. Joint pain can severe and debilitating.

Prevention

  • Use insect repellent! Consumer Reports recently tested and rated their top picks which include-Sawyer Picaridin, Ben’s 30% Deet Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus.
  • Do a check and eliminate breeding grounds for insects such as standing water in bird baths, buckets, planters, kiddie pools and boats.
  • Cover up- wear long sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • If you are vacationing to a location where mosquito-borne illnesses are common, use a mosquito net around your bed and look for accommodations with air conditioning.

GreatFlorida Insurance offers a variety of health insurance plans to fit your needs and your budget. Contact us today.

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The post Buggin’ Out appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
5/9/2016

A listeria scare has triggered a substantial recall at hundreds of grocery stores nationwide.

“Food recalls should be taken seriously,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent healthcare insurance agency. “Some foodborne sickness can cause serious, life-threatening illness.”

CRF Frozen Food, a major supplier of frozen fruits and vegetables has issued a voluntary recall after discovering listeria at a major production facility in Pasco, Washington. The expanded recall affects 358 products under 42 different brand names.

Traders Joes leads the extensive list of suppliers that includes other stores such as Walmart, Safeway and Costco. Some of the brands that are affected include; Kirkland, Great Value, Organic by Nature, Parade and Panda Express.

The company reports the manufacturing process may have been tainted as long ago as May 2014. The recall extends to products with sell by dates between April 26, 2016 thru April 26, 2018.

Products include organic and non-organic broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, corn, edamame, green beans, Italian beans, kale, leeks, lima beans, onions, peas, pepper strips, potatoes, potato medley, root medley, spinach, sweet potatoes, various vegetable medleys, blends and stir fry packages, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, peaches, raspberries and strawberries.

A complete list from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is available hereimg1_thumb

Several people have been hospitalized as a result of the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports at least seven people from three states became ill and were hospitalized due to the listeria strain that can be traced back to the plant.

“If you are experiencing unusual symptoms you should see your healthcare provider right away, before the illness has time to develop into something more serious,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading health insurance provider.

The CDC reports listeria causes high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. In pregnant women it can cause miscarriages, premature delivery and stillbirths.

If you are looking for dependable health insurance for you and your family, contact GreatFlorida Insurance. Our agents can find affordable health insurance while remaining in your preferred physician network.

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The post Massive Frozen Food Recall appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
3/16/2016

According to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse survey, nearly one in five motorcyclists does not have motorcycle insurance.

“Florida law does not require motorcycle insurance,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent motorcycle insurance agency. “Motorcycle insurance is not required however, if a motorcyclist is charged in an accident, then they are financially responsible for injuries and property damage.”

AAA estimates the economic cost to society for each motorcycle death is $1.48 million. These costs include; lost productivity, medical costs, legal and court fees, emergency services, insurance administration costs along with property damage and workplace losses.

Florida has the most motorcycle fatalities in the nation, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Motorcyclists accounted for 19 percent of motor vehicles deaths in the state. Florida Department of Highway Safety reports in 2014, there were 449 motorcycle fatalities.

Further complicating the issue is the helmet law in Florida. A motorcycle rider is not required to wear a helmet in Florida.

“There are exceptions to the helmet law,” says Buck from GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent motorcycle insurance agency. “Those under 21 and anyone without a minimum of $10,000 of medical insurance coverage are required to keep their helmet on while riding.”

The helmet law is not without its controversies. In Florida, 32 percent of motorcyclists do not think they should be required to wear a helmet when riding.  “Since the repeal of the helmet law in Florida, motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled,” said Karen Morgan, Public Policy Manager, AAA.

The NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,630 motorists in Florida in 2013. They believe if all motorcyclists wore helmets, an additional 715 lives could have been saved.

GreatFlorida Insurance can create a custom policy for you regardless of the type of bike you ride. We have available moped insurancescooter insurancedirt bike insurancemotocross insurance, Harley-Davidson Insurance and more, there is a policy to fit every biker’s needs. Give us a call today.

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by GreatFlorida Insurance
2/1/2016

When filing your taxes, you want to take every opportunity possible to save money on expenses that can reduce your taxable income.

“Deductions are sometimes available on health programs and treatments such as smoking cessation, weight loss and alcohol and drug abuse, if it is not covered under your current health insurance policy,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent healthcare insurance agency.”

Below is a list of some commonly missed tax deductions and credits that could be available to you.deduct-home-business-expenses

  • State and Local Sales Tax Deduction– Floridians do not pay a state income tax making taxpayers eligible to deduct state income tax paid on purchases. If you purchased a large item such as a car or boat, you can add the sales tax paid to the amount sown on the IRS tax table.
  • Charitable Contributions-Money donated to your church, a charity or even if you purged your closet or home of household items and dropped them off at Goodwill, those can be counted. Out-of-pocket expenses such as food ingredients needed to prepare meals for a soup kitchen or if you drove your car for charitable activities, you can deduct 14 cents per mile.
  • Tuition-There are Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits, as well as the American Opportunity Tax Credit available for those taking classes. A tax credit is available for tuition, fees, books and other educational supplies for you, your spouse or dependents.
  • Health Insurance-“Health insurance premiums for self-employed people, are 100 percent deductible from their gross income,” reports Buck from GreatFlorida Insurance.
  • Job Relocation-Your moving expenses are deductible if you took a first job and moved more than 50 miles away. You can deduct 23 cents per mile of getting you and your household goods to the new area, including parking and tolls.
  • Casualty, Disaster and Theft-Casualty, disaster and theft losses can be deducted on your tax form, but the IRS has some stipulations. The IRS states, “You may not deduct casualty and theft losses, (generally covered by homeowner’s insurance) unless you reduce the loss by the amount of any reimbursement or expected reimbursement.”
  • National Guard-National Guard and Reservists can claim overnight travel expenses.
  • Gambling Losses-Your losses cannot surpass your winnings, which must be reported.
  • Child Care-A child care tax credit is offered, worth 20 – 35 percent of what you pay in childcare while you work.

Financial management company, Intuit suggests a tax credit is better than a tax deduction because it reduces your tax, dollar-for-dollar. As painful as filing your taxes is, take your time to think back over your finances for the year to save money on your taxes.

GreatFlorida Insurance is the leading independent insurance company in Florida, offering health insurance, homeowner’s insurance, car insurance and boat insurance. Call us today for a free quote.

The post Overlooked Tax Deductions appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
1/25/2016

“Everyone is familiar with the harmful health effects that result from smoking, but many smokers probably do not take the time to calculate the expense attached to the habit,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance provider.

For years Floridians have been educated on the dangers of smoking.  The American Lung Association reports, “More than 480,000 people in the U.S. die every year from tobacco use and exposure to second hand smoke. It is the leading cause of preventable death in this country.”

Cigarettes are loaded with cancer causing chemicals and are the primary source of lung cancer and COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also causes coronary heart disease and stroke with a list of other health issues.

You cannot ignore the addiction of smoking without being sympathetic to the difficultly in breaking the habit.  Nicotine is a physical, social and psychological addiction.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, close to 35 million smokers want to quit each year. Unfortunately, more than 85 percent of those who try to quit on their own relapse within a week.

“Most smokers confess that smoking is bad for your health, but that doesn’t make it easier to quit,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance.

If the above evidence isn’t enough to persuade you to quit, personal finance website, WalletHub.com recently published a study calculating the costs of smoking per state. “The study calculated the potential monetary losses including the cost of a pack of cigarettes per day over several decades, healthcare expenditures, income loss and other costs brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.”

Over a lifetime, the average smoker in Florida will spend, $1, 453,333. Healthcare costs are estimated at $163, 277. Over a year, the average Florida smoker will spend $28, 497 with healthcare costs totaling $3, 202.

Whether the figures are exact for each smoker or a mere generalization, the fact is smoking is a drain on your wallet, healthcare costs and more importantly your life.

GreatFlorida Insurance provides health insurance that covers the cost of programs designed to help smokers to quit. Check with our independent insurance agents across Florida today to see how they can help.

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