Run for Food in Chico

It’s the season for giving and our team at Sweeney & Sweeney enjoys finding fun ways to combine charity and exercise. If you’re staying in town for Thanksgiving, we hope you’ll join us for the 9th annual Run for Food. This 5K run/walk will begin at Bidwell Park’s One Mile Recreation Area on Thanksgiving day, Thursday, November 27th at 9:00am.

What is now a Chico tradition, the Run for Food began in 2006 when community members and business owners came together to raise money for the Jesus Center. Funded entirely by community support, the Jesus Center helps those in need by providing daily meals, shelter for women and children, and assistance finding housing and work. All proceeds from the Run for Food are donated to the Jesus Center to support their mission.

The event will include both a timed 5K run and an untimed 5k run/walk. The course is paved and free of traffic, making it easily accesible for strollers, wheelchairs, and children. Registration for the event can be completed both online and in person depending on your preference. The cost for participating is as follows:

  • Untimed Adults – $30
  • Timed Adults – $35
  • Children 12 and under, untimed with bib & shirt – $25
  • Children 12 and under, timed with bib & shirt – $30
  • Children 12 and under, untimed, no bib or shirt – FREE

For more information, please visit

Chico Christmas Preview

Ready or not, Christmas is coming! The Sweeney & Sweeny team couldn’t be more excited for the holidays. Whether you’re already feeling the holiday cheer or need a little boost to get you in the Christmas spirit, we invite you to join us for the 37th annual Christmas Preview in downtown Chico. Bring your family and stroll the streets on Sunday, November 23rd between 4:00pm and 8:00pm as the community comes together to welcome the holidays.

This free event offers something for everyone. Merchants show off their holiday décor inviting guests in for refreshments. Christmas carolers walk the streets filling the air with holiday jingles. Even Santa will be there! Stationed at the corner of 3rd and Broadway, Santa will stop by to visit and take pictures with the kids.

Business and organizations from all over town will flood the streets with holiday attractions including the following:

  • Free Train on Wheels rides via Max’s Miracle Ranch
  • A sneak preview of the play “Believe”
  • Fun photos on the Snapshots Photo Bus
  • Christmas Karaoke via Mix 95.1
  • Santa’s Sleigh Toy Drive sponsored by Mix 95.1 and The Chico Fire Department
  • Treats from Mary’s Gone Crackers
  • Holiday family photos at Nantucket Home
  • Bell-ringers for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign
  • Limited edition T-shirts designed by Jake Early
  • Runaway Prevention info provided by Sixth Street Center for Youth
  • And much more!

A guaranteed good time for all, this Chico tradition is sure to put a smile on your face and a jingle in your step as you greet the holiday season with cheer. Click here for more information. Hope to see you there!

Top 4 Reasons to VOTE NO on Proposition 45!

Here at Sweeney & Sweeney Insurance, we pride ourselves in providing exceptional customer service to our clients. We regularly go above and beyond to ensure that our customers are receiving the best possible health coverage available to them at the most reasonable price. It is not often that we ask something of our clients in return. However, we have found ourselves fighting a battle we cannot win alone.

When you head to the ballot box on November 4th, we urge you to take extra consideration when casting your vote for Proposition 45. This misleading initiative backed by special interests groups looking to make money will…

1. Give One Politician Too Much Power

One politician will be responsible for determining co-pays, deductibles, benefits, and even treatment options offered by health insurance providers. Not only will this individual have sole power over these issues, but he/she will also be allowed to accept campaign contributions from special interest groups leaving no protection against corruption.

2. Create More Costly Bureaucracy

Although there is already a system in place to review health care options, Proposition 45 calls for the creation of a duplicate regulation program. It is estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars annually for the bureaucracy, salaries and benefits required to run the new program. The extra costs will ultimately be paid for through increased health insurance premiums making health care more expensive.

3. Hurt Small Businesses & Employees

The new insurance commissioner could interfere with the insurance market for small businesses by increasing the amount employers must pay to have their employees insured. This amplified cost could force small business owners to reduce or even eliminate health insurance plans offered to their employees.

4. Interfere With Your Treatment Options

The insurance commissioner would also have authority over treatment options available under your health insurance plan. This would mean that a single politician would be responsible for deciding which health care options patients are allowed to receive.

Proposition 45 does nothing to guarantee reasonable insurance rates and quality coverage, but instead leaves the decision making to a single politician with no safeguard against fraud. We at Sweeney & Sweeney Insurance believe health care decisions should be made my individuals and doctors, not someone with a political agenda. Help us help you by voting no on Proposition 45. To learn more please visit

What to Expect When Enrolling in Covered California

If you’re reading this you’re likely interested in signing up for health insurance through Covered California, but probably have some questions. Don’t worry. We know it can be a bit confusing. Here at Sweeney and Sweeney we are ready and waiting to help you choose the perfect plan for you and your family.

See If You Qualify

Covered California offers a variety of coverage options and financial assistance programs. The first step is determining which of these programs you qualify for. Eligibility is based on your annual income and family size. A quick look at the following chart will tell us which options are available to you. Take a look for yourself and see where you fit.

qualifying chartDo you qualify for Medi-Cal? If so, this means you are eligible to receive free public health insurance through the county in which you live.

Do you qualify for financial help? If so, this means you are eligible to receive discounted rates on your insurance. In other words, the government will pay your health insurance provider a subsidy so that your monthly bill is lower. Depending on your income level, you may also get discounted rates on your out-of-pocket costs such as doctor’s visits, medication, lab work, etc.

If you don’t qualify for Medi-Cal or Federal Assistance, don’t fret. You can still purchase quality, affordable health insurance through Covered California.

Compare Your Coverage Options

This brings us to our next step: Choosing the best coverage option for your needs and budget.  If you don’t qualify for, or don’t wish to enroll in Medi-Cal, you will be asked to choose from one of four benefit levels. These levels are explained in the chart below. However, before checking it out, keep these tips in mind.

  • Platinum or Gold options are best for those who need a higher level of medical care. If you choose one of these levels you will pay more per month and less when you need medical services.
  • Silver and Bronze options are best for those in good health who require less medical care. If you choose one of these levels you will pay less per month, but more when you need medical services.
  • The minimum coverage plan is only available to people under the age of 30 or to individuals experiencing financial hardship. If you choose this plan, you will pay very little each month, but you can’t receive financial assistance to help you out.

coverage levels chartChoose a Provider Network and Plan

After choosing which benefit level works best for you, your agent will help you select a provider and plan. Covered California works with a number of private insurance companies who have been selected based on their trustworthiness, quality coverage, and affordability. Regardless of which plan and provider you choose, you will receive the same benefits. Your decision here will be depend on your preference of doctor and hospital networks.

Affordable health insurance is just a few steps away. If you haven’t done so already, give our office a call to set up a meeting with one of our Covered California Certified Agents.


Costumes for a Cause

We hope you enjoyed the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K last weekend! If you missed it or are looking for another opportunity to exercise for a cause, we encourage you to participate in the Jesse Kohen Halloween Run this Saturday, October 25th.

Community members of all ages are invited to this family-friendly event at Bidwell Park One-Mile Recreation Area. The marathon begins at 9:00am and will include both a 5k run and a 2.5K walk. Participants are encouraged to wear their Halloween attire as prizes will be awarded to the best costumes.

Although registration for the marathon is free, donations will be accepted. All proceeds benefit the Jesse Kohen Scholarship awarded annually to Chico State University students who share Jesse’s passion for working with special needs students in public schools.

This is the 5th annual memorial run held in honor of Jesse Kohen. A physical education major at CSU and youngest volunteer member of the Chico Fire Department, Kohen was an inspiration to everyone he met. He was an avid runner and participated in many marathons himself. He carried this same enthusiasm into his work with special needs children. Although we lost Kohen in a car crash in October 2010, his contribution lives on through the Jesse Kohen Foundation.

The Jesse Kohen Halloween Run is the primary fundraiser for the foundation. In addition to the marathon, the event will include a variety of music, games, and food vendors. Have fun with a purpose this weekend and head out to Bidwell Park for the Jesse Kohen Halloween Run.

For more information visit the event page here or contact Robert at 893-1631.

The Fight Against Breast Cancer Comes to Chico

Did you know breast cancer is the most common cancer among women across the globe? 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. However, a breast cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. In fact, the number of breast cancer related deaths is steadily decreasing as women are catching the disease sooner and treatment options are improving.

Each year in October millions of individuals dedicate their time to fighting against breast cancer and the battle is coming to Chico! On Saturday, October 18, hundreds of people will flood Bidwell Park to show their support for the fight against breast cancer.

This incredible event, called Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, serves to unite the Chico community in an effort to honor survivors, inform the public of risk reducing options, and raise money to find a cure. The primary focus of the event will be a non-competitive 5K marathon beginning at 8:00am. Participating individuals will gather together, many wearing the signature pink clothing, and will walk to show their support. Multiple booths will be set up in the area to provide attendees the opportunity to learn more about the cancer and the cause, receive a free mammogram, and purchase Making Strides merchandise.

Over 65 walking teams and nearly 400 participants have signed up for the event as of now. We at Sweeny & Sweeny Insurances Services encourage community members to join in this courageous cause. To participate in the 5K you may sign up here or simply show up to Bidwell Park One Mile Recreation Area between 7:30 and 8:00am.

For more information on this particular event and more ways to help please visit

Covered California Made Simple

What is Covered California?

Covered California is the state of California’s response to the Affordable Care Act passed in 2012. It is a state-run program that makes quality, affordable health care accessible to all California residents by eliminating denial due to income level or preexisting conditions. Through Covered California, individuals and families are able to compare a variety of health plans then choose the option that best fits their needs and budget.

Who qualifies?

Covered California accepts applicants based on income and family size. The following chart is used to quickly determine who will qualify for MediCal and Federal Assistance. If you don’t fit into the categories listed below, have no fear. Covered California has many health care options that will fit your budget.


When can I apply?

Open enrollment for Covered California is scheduled to begin on November 15th and will remain open until February 15th of next year. During this time new applicants can apply for coverage. Those who apply for Covered California before December 15th will have their health coverage begin on January 1, 2015.

How do I sign up?

Sweeney & Sweeney Insurance Services has spent the last couple months preparing our team members to serve as your Covered California guides.  We encourage you to take the first step towards affordable health insurance by calling to set an appointment with one of our team members. When you come in for you appointment please bring the following:

  • Proof of current income
  • California ID or driver’s license
  • U.S. passport, resident card, or certification of citizenship
  • Each family members’ social security number, birth date, and ZIP code

Health Care Reform: ACA Taxes

A little information about the new taxes to come in 2014 courtesy of Blue Shield:

What is it?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that taxes be collected in order to fund certain provisions of health reform. Beginning January 1, 2014, there are two new taxes that will go into effect. Below is a summary of what they are and how you can prepare.

The Health Insurer Tax – This annual tax is designed to offset a portion of the expenses related to providing premium subsidies and tax credits to qualified individuals purchasing coverage through exchanges. This tax will be applicable to all small groups effective January 1, 2014, and is expected to be approximately 2.3% of dues and/or premiums.

Transitional Reinsurance Contribution Program Tax – This tax will be used to fund transitional reinsurance programs in each state to help cover costs of the highest-risk individuals in the non-group market. It is effective from 2014 to 2016 and applies to all small groups as of January 1, 2014. In 2014, the tax is estimated to be $5.25 per Blue Shield member, which is approximately 1.5% of dues and/or premiums.

What does this mean to me and my employees?

When these taxes go into effect, customers’ dues and/or premiums will increase by an amount that covers the new taxes. Starting with January 2014 bills, the new taxes will be included as a percentage of the dues and/or premiums.

Small group employers will continue to have a 12-month rate guarantee and the plan base rates will continue to be in effect for 12 months. As mentioned above, however, in January 2014, the two taxes will be added to plan dues and/or premiums.

Holiday Treats and Toys!

Looking for a cute new way to spruce up the normal Christmas decorations and treats? Look no further! We’ve compiled a few cute ideas to get you started on your creative, DIY journey this holiday.

Rice Krispie Christmas Tree – Just some green food dye and M&Ms make a pretty cute—and tasty—display.

Christmas Tree Appetizers – Some guac or coloured humus on a cut of pita bread sprinkled with chopped veggies. Adorable and yummy!

Christmas-shaped Treats – Use cookie cutters to pour fudge and brownies into for festive shapes!

Easy Frosting – Pick up some cheap condiment containers at your local restaurant supply store to store frosting in for easier frosting dispensary!

Fun for the Kiddos – Make some snow slime!

Snow Men Cookies – Just a couple circle pretzels, fruit roll-up pieces, and frosting for this cutesy holiday treat!

Candy Sleighs – Looking for cheap, easy gifts for your kid’s classmates and/or teachers?

Whipped Cream Shapes – These are just a cute, easy way to glam up some boring hot coco. Make up a batch of whipped cream, spread it out on a cookie sheet, stick some cookie cutters in there, and pop it in the freezer. Then presto! Not only do they help cool down your coco, but it’s darn cute.

Cookie boxes – Plastic wrap and aluminum foil boxes make great boxes for gifting cookies!

Easy DIY Holiday Nails – Probably the easiest nail art in the world, even if you’re as inept as I am!

Hope these little treats help to make your holiday a little brighter and even more fun. Everyone here at Sweeney & Sweeney is wishing you a wonderful and safe Holiday!

Pet Holiday Safety

As you hang your stockings on the mantle, mistletoe under the threshold and prepare for the festivities of the season, we want to take a moment to remind our clients about the potential dangers of the holiday. To echo a holiday favorite in light of the season, we have compiled The 12 Holiday Tips – feel free to hum the famous tune with the partridge in a pear tree in your head as you read; but we can’t promise the same melodious effect!

  1. Hang tinsel high on the tree, out of your pet’s reach.
  2. Hide or cover exposed wires from electrical outlets to avoid electrocution.
  3. Keep lite candles away from curious noses and wagging tails.
  4. Consider decorating with fake poinsettias, holly and mistletoe instead of the real things, which are poisonous to cats and dogs. Should your pet come in contact with any of those toxins, please contact ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435 or visit them online.
  5. Forgo edible tree ornaments or decorations like popcorn or candy canes as they are just asking for your pet to jump on the tree to sneak a taste.
  6. Don’t leave wrapping supplies, such as scissors, unattended.
  7. Hang fragile ornaments on the top of the tree where they are not only prominently displayed, but are also less likely to be broken or ingested by pets.
  8. Confine your dog if hosting a party to avoid them escaping through the ever-revolving door or jumping on guests, soiling their festive attire.
  9. Try to keep edible or appealing-scented packages out of reach to avoid seeing the contents strewn across the floor before opening the packages!
  10. Maintain a consistent feeding route to keep sensitive tummies in stride through the hectic holiday season.
  11. Fasten the tree securely to avoid an accidental fall and vacuum excess pine needles often to avoid punctures or consumption.
  12. Give your pets appropriate gifts that make them feel loved on this holiday but don’t upset their stomachs!

Pay attention to these great holiday tips for your pets, courtesy of Valley Oak Veterinary Center! And, as always, everyone here at Sweeney & Sweeney is wishing you a happy and safe holiday season, as well.