Blue Cross in Georgia to limit emergency room coverage

The Obamacare exchange may survive next year in rural Georgia. But patients who depend on its last remaining insurer are now learning there’s a catch.

Over the past week letters have arrived at homes throughout the state giving patients a jolt. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, the only insurer on the exchange for 96 of the state’s 159 counties, is telling patients with individual policies that if they go to the emergency room and it’s not an emergency, they’ll be stuck with the bill.

“I am very concerned,” said Dr. Matthew Keadey, who leads an organization of ER doctors. He fears patients who need the ER but aren’t sure they do will avoid it now. “If this is fully implemented, I think we’re going to have deaths out there because of it.”Read more

Obamacare exchange hangs on in Georgia; Blue Cross may stay next year

Obamacare in Georgia has survived another day.

The last insurance company to still serve patients on the Affordable Care Act exchange in all regions of the state says it won’t back out, at least not yet.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, the only remaining company to serve all 159 counties in the state, has filed its annual plans for next year’s insurance market. In its initial filing, it submitted plans for the entire state, said spokeswoman Debbie Diamond. Big questions remain, however, including how much the company will charge. Read more

Trump voters in South Georgia come to terms with GOP health plan

By Craig Schneider and Misty Williams – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Kenneth Peek had a rough year. The South Georgia farm where he and his wife grow corn, wheat and soybeans faced a drought and lost money in 2016. So he’s working construction jobs to make ends meet.

The 64-year-old hoped to catch a break on his health care costs. He has insurance through the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, but the premiums and bills keep going up and up. That’s one reason he voted for Donald Trump, hoping “he gets this old country straightened out.” Read More

Local Producer Signs With Foremost Insurance Group



June 1, 2017

CONTACT: Kirk Lyman-Barner

(229) 942-9025

Kirk Lyman-Barner of Client First Insurance Solutions is now offering superior insurance products from the Foremost Insurance Group of Companies, headquartered in Caledonia, Michigan. As a Foremost producer, Kirk Lyman-Barenr will offer customers a wide range of insurance products. Foremost has been a leading insurer since 1952. Foremost offers auto, home, umbrella, manufactured home, motor home, travel trailer, dwelling fire, specialty homeowners, motorcycle, snowmobile, off-road vehicle, boat, personal watercraft and collectible auto insurance programs that can be customized based on what coverage individual customers want. “With Foremost, Client First Insurance Solutions is even more capable of providing customers the insurance products and the coverage they want, for the things that are important to them” Kirk Lyman-Barner said. “I urge all my friends and customers to call me if they’re in the market for insurance for any of these products.”



Kirk Lyman-Barner recognized as top performing agent

AMERICUS – Americus resident, Kirk Lyman-Barner, was recently recognized as one of the top performing agents and brokers in the country by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This nationwide recognition as a member of the Champions Circle goes to agents and brokers for their success during the 2017 Health Insurance Marketplace SM1 Open Enrollment. Agents and brokers, who are certified through a registration process in order to assist people in enrolling in health insurance through the Marketplaces via, receive recognition when they exceed 20 consumers making plan selections on

“Agents and brokers, like the ones we have recognized, are there for people in the community,” said Kevin Counihan, Marketplace CEO. “They help people get the coverage they need for their families, when they need it.”
The Champions Circle recognizes the hard work of agents and brokers who improve access to health insurance in the community during Open Enrollment. Agents and brokers in the Champions Circle go above and beyond to enhance the community through service to their customers. These exceptional agents and brokers help CMS connect to and meet the needs of these consumers.

To learn more about Marketplace Open Enrollment via, you can contact Lyman-Barner at 229-942-9025 or by visiting this website at

How are life insurance premiums calculated?

IEurekaMoment-revisedf you’re thinking about life insurance, you’re probably wondering how much your premiums will cost. Your premium is the regular payment you make to the life insurance provider. While everyone’s situation is different, most life insurers follow a similar process to calculate your premium. The following outline will help you understand the steps involved.

Assessing your risk

When you apply for life insurance, the provider will review your personal situation in order to calculate the risks associated with offering coverage to you. To do this, they begin by considering the following:

  1. Your age – While it’s never too late to get life insurance, for lower rates, the earlier you start, the better. As you get older, the same coverage costs more, regardless of what type of insurance you select.
  2. Your health history – If you have health problems when you apply for life insurance, you could pay higher premiums. Insurers may also look at your complete medical history and could inquire about family health history.
  3. Your lifestyle – If you smoke or are seriously overweight, you will likely be classified in a certain risk group and will likely have higher premiums. Likewise, if you regularly engage in high-risk activities such as sky-diving or have a dangerous occupation like a firefighter, this could also affect your premium.

Reviewing the big picture

In addition to reviewing your personal information, a life insurance provider may also look at the costs associated with providing life insurance when determining how much premium they need to charge. These include:

  1. Statistical information – mortality (death) and morbidity (sickness) tables that estimate the average life expectancy for different age groups and enable the provider to spread the risk across large groups of people
  2. Economic climate – the expected interest that will accrue from investing premiums before the death benefit would need to be paid
  3. Cost of doing business – a life insurer’s operational costs (e.g. rent, salaries, legal fees, etc.)

Life insurance can seem overwhelming but it’s one of the most important decisions you can make. It’s also probably cheaper than you think. A recent survey showed that Millennials overestimate the cost of life insurance by 213%!1

However, everyone’s situation is unique and a life insurance agent can take the time to understand your personal circumstances and help you choose the coverage that best meets your needs. Foresters™ is an international financial services provider organization which offers quality life insurance and investment products.

Foresters™ is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9; its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark.

1 Source: 2015 Insurance Barometer Study, LIMRA and Life Happens.

This article was originally published in

Put down the phone and drive!

Want to know how to save a ton of money with your cell phone? Ignore it. Yep, while you’re driving, put the thing away. Georgia has had a particularly bad year for accidents, and the one glaring, major cause is distracted driving. The majority of times, that’s going to mean the use of a cell phone. The state already has a ban on text messaging or “the sending of internet data,” but you’re liable to get stopped if a police officer so much as sees you with a phone in your hand if it’s not up against your ear. Easiest way to save yourself $150 and a point against your license? Turn the phone off, pull over to answer it, or hand it to a passenger.

That said, phones can still be extremely dangerous even when your eyes are still on the road. Mythbusters is a favorite of ours, and they did the dirty work for us to discover that a phone conversation can actually be as detrimental to your driving as having a blood alcohol level high enough to get you put away for DUI. Whether your eyes are on the road or not, if there’s a phone occupying your attention, you’re putting yourself and others at serious risk, even though it’s not illegal (yet) to talk on the phone while driving.

So, think of it this way. Even if the state doesn’t penalize you for talking on the phone, any use of it while driving has the potential to lead to an accident that could have disastrous consequences for your auto insurance premiums, let alone the fact that you could seriously harm or even kill others. Nearly everyone who’s been involved in an accident related to cell phone usage will say that whatever conversation they were having at the time was simply not worth the damage it caused. So please, if the conversation is that urgent, it’s important enough to pull over for.

My dog doesn’t bite… neither should my insurance company!

At Client First, we are, among other things, dog lovers. Statistically speaking, according to the Humane Society, there’s a pretty good chance you are too – in fact, nearly half of all American households have at least one dog. Rusty is our little mascot and like most dogs, he’s affectionate and fun, if a little excitable for his age. Unfortunately, as companies, many insurance providers aren’t too fond of dogs, especially dogs of certain breeds. If you own one, you might face higher homeowner’s insurance premiums, limited coverage due to restricted policy options, or even outright denial.

In most cases, this is just an unfortunate roadblock for homeowners that also happen to be responsible for dogs that are for all intents and purposes, harmless. That said, the CDC reports millions of bites each year, and the insurance claims that accompany the serious bites average in the neighborhood of $30,000 each. One method insurance companies will take in order to safeguard against this (in the states where this practice is legal, which isn’t all of them) will look at the dog breeds that are most often responsible for those bites and create breed blacklists which they use to adjust your coverage depending on the breed you have. This is designed to make sure owners of Chihuahuas and similarly harmless breeds don’t have to pay out based on a risk of violence that those breeds aren’t really capable of, in theory.

There’s definitely an argument to be made against breed blacklisting, and many argue that one breed isn’t inherently more aggressive or violent than another, but that’s currently the way things are. This isn’t to say that the insurance companies are big evil dog haters or anything, and they’ll often take things like fences and obedience training into account and adjust your insurance according to your efforts to make sure your furbaby plays nice with visitors to the property. Insurance companies are businesses though, and they can’t provide coverage that’s more expensive to them than what they’re paying out in claims.

So, if you’ve got a dog or are considering getting one, give us a call and we’ll take a look at your situation with you and make sure you’ve got an insurance solution you and the pup can both agree on!

Get to know your homeowners (HO) insurance options

“HO” insurance coverage – you could certainly use it, and if you’re not already familiar with the term, we promise that’s not an insult. It actually just refers to homeowners insurance, but can also apply to renters’ insurance as well. Whenever possible, it’s extremely important to have your dwelling covered. Your residence is likely one of your biggest, if not actually your biggest financial asset, and getting insurance coverage can mean the difference between a temporary setback and a major disaster if something happens to it. Of course, you never need this kind of coverage until you do, so if it’s something you can budget for, do it.

Fortunately, there are different kinds of coverage, so depending on what your home is at the greatest risk for, you might be able to choose a cheaper option. The following nomenclature is standard everywhere except Texas, so talk to your agent for more info if you’re looking for coverage there.

HO-1, HO-2 and HO-3 policies are all homeowners’ policies from specific perils. HO-1 is the most basic, and usually the most affordable. HO-2 will include coverage against things like damage from falling objects or ice, which isn’t really as big of a risk factor if your home is in, say, Arizona. In most cases, if you’re living in a place like that, you can stick to HO-1 and save yourself some money. HO-3 covers everything that’s covered in an HO-1 or HO-2, as well as anything that isn’t specified with the exceptions of damage from war, a nuclear plant malfunction (read: *kaboom*), an earthquake, or a flood. This option is great if you want absolute protection.

HO-4 is renters’ insurance, and is usually more affordable than you’d think. It protects your personal property from everything an HO-2 would cover except for the building itself – it’s your landlord’s responsibility to insure that. An HO-5 is a bit of an uncommon policy. It’s total coverage against basically everything for both the building and personal property. It’s pricier, as you might imagine, and there aren’t very many situations where an HO-1, HO-2, or HO-3 wouldn’t do the trick just as well. HO-6 is a condominium policy, and carries special protections for such situations. The HO-8 is similar to an HO-1, except that it covers repairs or the actual cash value of an object that gets damaged. It’s useful in situations like an historic building that has greater replacement value than its market cost.

The terminology may differ depending on carriers and other factors, but this should give you a good idea where to start with your agent when you’re ready to get covered. Don’t hesitate to contact Client First if you have any questions!

In Sickness and Health – Merging Insurance Companies

Concerned about all the merging insurance companies? Wondering if your coverage will change now that another company bought your health insurance provider? 

The health insurance marketplace can seem like an uncharted frontier lately. With new health insurance laws always at the forefront of legislative discussion and action, there’s a lot in flux right now, and one thing that everyone can benefit from being in the loop about is the mergers that are occurring as the health insurance field shifts and stirs.

Take Aetna’s purchase of Humana, for example; it’s a 37 billion dollar deal, and the largest in insurance history. A purchase of this size and scope will inevitably impact consumers, and certainly faces antitrust issues. That said, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for you and your family. Mergers have some different effects as they concern consumers, but depending on your situation, they might actually be a boon instead of a setback.

A bigger market share for one insurer will tend to mean fewer policy options. Antitrust procedures reduce the likelihood that one big bad insurer could exploit this, but in general, it means that there is less competition, and that usually tips the scales against the little guy. Don’t despair, however – the silver lining is that these acquisitions mean that the number of doctors that are considered “in network” increases substantially. So you may actually have an increased likelihood of having access to the care you need.

The process of merging insurance companies is huge and complex. If your carrier is merging and you’ve got questions about how it could affect your coverage, don’t hesitate to give Kirk a call or stop by the office and chat – health care may be a hot button issue in the political realm, but at Client First, there are no politics. It’s just you, the best possible coverage at the most comfortable price point, and whatever it takes to make a connection between the two.