What Happens Without Class Act?

To reduce the number of uninsured individuals in the country, the health care reform’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) had established the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act) but before the latter can be implemented it reached the dead end.

The Act would’ve served as a voluntary, self-funding long term care insurance program for members of the working class who are discouraged by the price tag attached to a standard long term care insurance (LTCI) policy.

In spite of its impressive concept that would’ve made it a good alternative to private insurance, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) later announced that the program is unsustainable. The government cannot help but cite the probability of getting more enrollees to the program who are at higher risk of care will inevitably increase the premium rate which is payable in five years.

One of the key components of the Act is affordable premiums but if it ends up paying more in benefits and receiving a very small amount of total premiums in 2017, there might be a possibility that not all claims can be paid.

To avoid the occurrence of such an unpleasant event, the government decided to repeal the said LTCI program for the time being. According to the Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, before the program can resurrect it has to be financially stable for 75 years for it to be affordable to the consumers.

What CLASS Act Did Not See

Reviewing everything that has been said and written about the Act will reveal its actual selling point which is accessibility to affordable long term care (LTC) for anybody from ages 18 and above regardless of health condition.

For as long as an individual is still active at work he can enroll in this program, while students who are 18 years old and individuals with a monthly income below the poverty level will only pay subsidized $5 monthly premiums.

Looking back, everything seems so easy and possible. After a thorough review of this voluntary LTCI program, though, HSS realized that the individuals who will actually take interest in enrolling to this program are those who have either been rejected by a private insurance company due to pre-existing conditions or have realized that they cannot afford the annual premium of a policy anymore because they are too old.

Those who did not show much interest in the closedown of the said federally-supported LTCI program have a genetic predisposition to a serious illness and would need nursing home care someday.

Since the minimum daily benefit amount which the Act had intended to pay its qualified members is only equivalent to a home health aide’s three-hour service, elderly folks who are looking at receiving care in a nursing home never saw it as a good option for LTCI.

Meanwhile, majority of LTCI experts believe that the government has to consider restructuring Medicaid eligibility again now that CLASS Act has folded up since a bigger population will need assistance with their long term care come 2030.

How To Create A Premium Pricing Strategy

The idea behind premium pricing strategies is that products offering more than the average also deserve top price. Luxury items are famous for their premium prices. The real question becomes are they worth the price? If business owners want to sell at premium prices, they need to explain them to the buying public. Luxury brands take advantage of brand perception. Items perceived as rare or special sell at higher prices. Consumers also choose products with premium price tags due to concrete differences in products.

What Makes a Product Premium?

Before choosing the price of a new product, manufacturers must consider several factors.

– Are there are any other products like it available?

– What does it offer that sets it apart?

– Is it a “luxury” brand offering?

All of these questions decide whether the product can make it as a premium item. Marketing is the key to generating a successful product launch. Part of marketing a premium product is focusing on the positives. Instead of discussing the faults of similar products, unapologetically phenomenal products market their own incredible features. This shows that they are comfortable as an industry leader and secure as a luxury brand.

Unique items and services can command almost any price. Couture fashion items sell for more than ten times their production cost on a regular basis, due to the limited numbers available. Pharmaceuticals also sell for incredibly high prices since they are patented and only available from one manufacturer. An item that is completely new to the market automatically qualifies for premium status, but branding is important.

Avoiding Branding Mistakes

A noted discount brand cannot successfully introduce a premium product without some intermediate marketing steps. Luxury and low prices are incompatible in the mind of the consumer. If a business has an established brand that deals with consumption quality goods, it may need to develop a new brand before introducing a top of the line product. Decide on the highest price before bringing a product to market. It is almost impossible to increase a price, but discounting it is always a possibility.

Before dropping prices, consider brand integrity importance. Devaluing a brand is permanent. A tough economy is tough for everyone, but when luxury companies drop prices to compensate, those price drops are permanent. Don’t play the pricing game with competitors. They will quickly find out the hardship that goes along with insufficient cash flow. Stand by the product and reinforce the traits that make it worth the extra cost.

Quantify the Return on Investment

With any product, a company must show buyers a reason to buy. Quantify everything that sets a product apart from any competition. For consumer products, building a brand identity is often enough to validate a higher price tag, but services need more. Customer service is one of the most commonly referenced justifications for premium pricing. Unfortunately, many companies don’t offer truly exceptional customer service. Service is about much more than a warm smile and friendly employees. Good service is encompassed by an ability to anticipate customer needs. Constantly looking for ways to improve customer experiences is an important part of offering the next level in service.

If a product is unique, a luxury item or backed by a superb guarantee of service it certainly deserves to stand as a premium offering. Build a marketing campaign to show off those distinctions, and launch the next big product today.

Quick Glance at How a Pension Annuity Calculator Works

Retirees that are about to exchange their pension pot for their retirement income would be well advised to use a pension annuity calculator to help them figure out how much income they will get.A pension annuity calculator is a simple piece of software that quickly displays the annuity rate that an individual might get for a certain size of pension fund given the options they require.

Retirement planning is a confusing time for many retirees,it is not something they do every day,it is a once in a lifetime event.There are many options that can be selected and you need a way to figure out what each might cost you,this is where the pension annuity calculator can use the calculator you need to enter all your personal details such as name,address,postcode,date of birth, if you are married your spouse date of birth,the amount of pension fund you have to purchase an information is the fixed information that will not change,you then need to consider the options you wish to purchase with your pension fund. The option choices are:

Single or joint life � you need to make a decision on whether you need an income for a spouse or partner in the event of your death.

Level or escalating income � you will get a higher income from a level pension but its purchasing power in 15 or 20 years will be much less than when it starts

Guaranteed payment period � choice of none,5 or 10 years

Payment frequency � do you want your income paid monthly,quarterly or annually,also do you want it in advance or in will get more income if you choose arrears but will have to wait longer for the first payment.

These are the main options and the pension annuity calculator will allow you to select and deselect the options to see how it affects the retirement income you will way,you can decide if the options you wish to include will be value for money or not.

Financial Executives- Have You Secured Your Businesses "Life Jacket" In A Sinking Economy?

As we all know, a company’s receivables count for approximately 40-50% of their actual assets. With the economy in chaos we need to revise the rules of the game. Or at least start the game over and play by the rules! Face it friends, businesses are sinking, and if you wish to stay afloat, you must safeguard your “life jacket”. In this day, age, and market, our life jackets ARE our receivables. Let’s talk about how this differs from previous years though. It USED to be that we needed to ensure that potential clients that we bring in and extend credit to were financially “healthy”. We would insist that we had credit applications, personal guarantee’s signed, received business credit analysis reports on ALL new clients BEFORE extending credit terms to them. We would set terms and conditions and didn’t look back UNTIL there was a red flag signal. Today we still must ensure that we do all of this pre emptive research before we extend credit terms and conditions to possible new clients HOWEVER we also must make sure that our clients ( even long term customers) receive their daily financial checkups!

For instance, when a baby is first born, they are checked out thoroughly by the Doctor before they leave the hospital. Once they receive a clean bill of health, they are sent home to begin their new life with their family. Yet there are many checkups along the way. Several the first year and then as the child grows, although they are seen less, they still receive annual physicals. We should treat our clients with the same care. In the beginning of a new relationship, after credit is extended, we should monitor their habits closely in the beginning but we should also ensure that we “check up” on our clients as the relationship matures. In my business, you constantly receive calls from clients that say, “They have been our clients for 15 started getting behind I simply blamed the economy, I never would have thought they would buy from me in November and file Chapter 11 in December”. I have heard that constantly this month. So HOW can we ensure that our receivables are “healthy”?

First ensure that your Front Line work is Clear and Complete ….

� Have EVERY new potential client complete and sign credit applications. These credit applications should not only give you the necessary information to “check” their financial health but it should also outline your credit terms and conditions in detail. Add a clause that states if accounts are past due by 30/45 (your preference) days there will be an interest charge. Explain that the client will be held responsible for any and all legal or collection fees if the debt exceeds credit terms. Make sure that you secure your rights in the very beginning, because once terms are giving, it is hard to change them (or get an additional signature down the road).Also, in the credit application process, ask identifying questions, such as how much product do you expect to purchase on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis? Do you expect your purchases to grow as time passes? Give them additional space to explain their answers. This allows you to also see what the client will expect of you along the way. It can also be used when determining credit terms. We will address this shortly.

� Although it used to be extremely difficult to have new clients sign personal guarantees, most understand this request in our “rocky” economy. I have suggested to many clients to simply add the PG statement at the bottom of the credit application. This seems to work best then giving a separate form for the potential client to complete.

� Of course having a client complete a credit application is only � of the work. YOU MUST FOLLOW THROUGH! Make sure that every single reference is called. KNOW what questions to ask! Then take the extra steps. If you do not have access to credit business reports, you can still check online with the secretary of state in their licensing state to ensure they are active and check for any recent judgments or liens. Google them. Take those few extra steps to give your receivables “peace of mind”.

Now we need to work on slowly “training” our clients moving forward…..

� Once you establish their financial things slow. Allow your client to earn your trust through a quarterly reviewed credit line. This will give them something to work toward and protect you along the way. You would be surprised how many of my clients simply extended new clients a full credit line of up to $100,000.00, the new client placed two orders, never paid and disappeared. In these cases, we implemented a new process. This may work for some, and not others, if you have particular challenges, call me and we can discuss at no cost!!! The process they began (and has been working quite well) begins with the credit application process, where they asked those predictive purchasing questions. They utilized this information and offered 50% credit terms (based on average predicted order cost) for the first 6 months. This means the client would pay 50% upfront COD and were extended the remaining 50% on credit with either net 15 or net 30 terms. Additional orders are not accepted until the balance is paid in full for the first 6 months. Then at the end of their 6 month term, there is a review. Were payments made on time? Were orders consistent? Were there any invalid dispute claims? Take all of this information into consideration before moving forward with a 75% credit line the second half of the year. And the process continues and is revisited upon their one year anniversary. This process has worked well for many clients in not only safe guarding their receivables but earning the respect and trust of their clients. It also gives you time to “get to know” your clients. If they order 100 crates for 9 months and suddenly order 1000 is a red flag. If the first six months they pay by net 30 and suddenly they are late the following two months, this may be a red flag. Taking the time to learn your clients’ habits is important because the slightest change, in this economy, could be trouble.

� Last but certainly not least, just as a child needs structure and boundaries to mature and thrive, so do clients! When boundaries are set and then broken, there must be consequences. Although there is the occasional exception to the rule (if client has a valid dispute, if they request payment arrangements ONCE and follow through, if there was an error on your part) but the occasional exception should not be the norm. If your clients know that at 35 days past due there will be a hold placed on their credit, at 55 days there will be a final demand notice offering them a “last payment option” to avoid collections, and as 65 days they will be sitting in the collectors office (so to speak) they will ensure that YOU are their priority! If your clients know what to expect (as you should outline in the beginning as a part of your credit application), then you will only earn their respect through the process. If your clients see that you waiver many of your policies, they will utilize you as a second bank. This is not healthy for either of you. So you must have a WRITTEN Receivables POLICY in place and ensure that everyone involved with your company follows this structure. Keep in mind that your sales department should also be aware of these guidelines, and not make false promises or speak of your policy as if “anything really goes”. If everyone in your organization is united regarding receivables, it will only strengthen your company’s bottom line as a whole!

So the rules may not be changing, as much as we have to adapt to actually live by them. These are all basic Accounting 101 procedures, however for so long we have been complacent and so concerned about our clients that we have lost sight of our own bottom lines. We must restructure, reinvent, and reinforce our A/R process if we wish to survive and thrive in the years to come.