City to raise awareness about insurance coverage

Garrett Kluever, Biz and Tech Editor

The Whitewater Chamber of Commerce will host the “Insurance Made Simple” seminar for all community members to attend. The seminar will feature five local presenters with different jobs in the field spanning healthcare, disability, funeral funds, auto, home, life, recreational and business insurance.

Understanding health insurance is important this time of year as enrollment for federally subsidized health care coverage begins. Medicare pre-enrollment just began on Oct. 1, with regular enrollment ending Dec. 7. Health insurance enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.

“There’s significant [health insurance] expansion planning in Walworth County for next year, so it’s important making sure people know there’s going to be a lot of options available,” said Jean Linos.

Linos is a Medicare and health coverage expert who works for HealthMarkets, which has a local office in Whitewater.

Roughly 10 percent of people under age 65 in Whitewater do not have coverge, compared to the Wisconsin average of 6.2 percent, according to a 2015 American Community Survey (ACS).

“A lot of people come in here just curious about insurance in general,” Discover Whitewater employee Cierra Dickinson said. “It doesn’t seem like a lot of people know if they’re on the right insurance path.”

The city chamber puts together seminars with local experts based on expressed interest from the community. Last month, the chamber hosted a social media seminar that outlined not only the functions and how-to’s of social media, but also its dangers. Following this event, citizens wanted the same seminar approach to insurances.

“I think there’s a lot of people who don’t realize they have these resources available in the community, and so it’s necessary knowing they have area experts available,” said Linos who will also cover both disability and supplemental insurance, and how they both fit into plans at the seminar.

Peggy Smithson a life agent for Binning & Dickens Insurance, will explain life insurance options, including long term care options and funeral funding plans. Her co-presenter, Mike Dickens, president of Binning & Dickens will cover commercial insurance options.

“Anyone from the individual, single or married, in all phases of life, to the business owner who may need commercial coverage for his or her business or a buy/sell agreement to transfer ownership.” Smithson said. “Things are always changing in the insurance industry, and this is a great way to find out about the most updated products available to protect your family and your assets.”

“It is never too late to get a grasp on the types of coverage and support you may need,” Dickinson said. It “can be quite confusing at times; I think it would steer people in the right path and a better direction seeing as insurance is important and everyone needs it.”