5. September 2018 11:28
by Nicki

Health Care Decoded

5. September 2018 11:28 by Nicki | 0 Comments

If you find the world of health insurance to be confusing, you’re not alone. Many people have a difficult time sorting through the buzzwords and terminology to figure out exactly what they need to know about their health insurance coverage. We’ve rounded up some of the top health insurance terms you’re likely to hear. And we’ve broken them down to explain what they really mean. It’s health care – decoded.


Click any of the terms below to jump right to the information you need:


Many health insurance plans today have something called a deductible, which is the amount you must pay for covered health care services before your health insurance company begins to pick up the tab. If your cost exceeds that amount, your plan will cover the remainder, or a percentage of the remainder. (If you’re in the process of choosing a health insurance plan, it is useful to know that plans with higher deductibles tend to have lower premiums.




Your copay is the set amount that you pay for a health care service, like a doctor visit, or a trip to urgent care. The amount depends on your plan and the type of service you receive.

Keep in mind that if your plan has a deductible, you may be responsible for meeting your deductible first. Then, your copay will take effect. In addition, prescription medications also require copays, and they will vary depending on the medication 


Coinsurance is the percentage of the bill you pay for a covered product or service. Unlike a copay, which is a flat amount, coinsurance is based on the cost of the service.

If your health plan has a deductible, the coinsurance is the amount you’re responsible for after your deductible is met. If you receive services from an out-of-network doctor, you may be responsible for additional charges above the coinsurance.


The bottom line: deductibles, copays, and coinsurance are all terms that add up to how much you owe. Get details on how much health insurance costs you. 

Out-of-Pocket Max


Many people don’t realize that every health insurance plan sets a maximum for the amount you will have to pay, referred to as the out-of-pocket maximum (OOP max). Once you have reached your OOP max, your health insurance company will begin to pay 100% of your costs for covered care. Different plans have different OOP maximums.



A drug formulary is a list of prescription drugs your insurance company will pay for, based on the efficacy, safety, cost-effectiveness, and overall value of the drug. A formulary is typically divided into three tiers, with varying copay amounts (Tier 1 with the lowest and Tier 3 with the highest).

Knowing and understanding your formulary is important for several reasons. First of all, it’s important to establish whether the drug being prescribed is covered. Once you have determined a drug is covered, understanding your formulary will allow you to ask your doctor the questions to get the most effective medication possible – for your health and your wallet. 


Explanation of Benefits (EOB)


At first glance, it may appear to look like a bill – it’s not. An EOB is a statement from your health insurance company after you receive a health treatment or service. It tells you how much the doctor charged, how much your insurance allowed, how much your insurance paid, and the amount you may owe. 

Prior Authorization


Sometimes your health insurance plan requires that certain medical services are approved prior to your receiving them. This is called pre- or prior authorization, prior approval, or precertification. It allows your health insurance company to ensure that the care you are receiving is medically appropriate and delivered at the appropriate location. 

While you may be familiar with the terms emergency room (ER), urgent care, and primary care physician (PCP), do you know which to visit for a health issue – and when? Deciding the best course of action can be critical in getting you the most effective care for your medical needs. A PCP knows your medical history and can treat you with your unique health needs in mind, while an urgent care can be very convenient when your doctor’s office is closed. Of course, the ER is the best option when immediate care is needed.


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24. July 2018 05:25
by Jamie

Car Insurance For Teenagers

24. July 2018 05:25 by Jamie | 0 Comments

When Is The Right Time To Get Car Insurance For A Teenager?

Driving for the first time is scary and exciting for both teenagers and parents. But the question of when to get auto insurance for your new teen driver is an important one, that we all must ask ourselves when the time comes. For too many people put off getting insurance for their teenager. New drivers are highly prone to get in a car accident within their first couple years of driving for obvious reasons. This is why it is so important for a new teenage driver to be insured.

When should you add your teen to your car insurance?

Unfortunately, this high tendency of getting into car accidents, whether fender bender or full blown accident, has led to a steep incline in auto insurance rates for this age group. This generally leads to procrastination. The fact is, as an inexperienced driver, it is essential that your teen be insured from the day they get their license.

Insurance Types For Teens

Let’s take a look at the types of insurance available for teenagers. An insurance policy might include one or more of the following types of coverage:

  • Liability Coverage – Liability coverage covers the expenses resulting from damages you are responsible for. This includes property damage and personal injury to others. In these days of multi-million dollar insurance settlements, not having liability coverage can easily ruin a family’s life.
  • Collision Coverage – Collision coverage covers the cost of repairing damages to your own vehicle. This is the most common type of auto insurance coverage and is required by law in most states. Tip – Choosing a large deductible will lower your collision coverage rates.
  • Comprehensive Coverage – Comprehensive coverage covers the expenses resulting from things other than collisions. Common examples of things covered by comprehensive coverage include theft, fire damage, water damage, damage from animals, and natural disasters.
  • Medical Coverage – Medical coverage pays the medical costs to you or other parties for accidental injuries resulting from damages done by your automobile.
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage – Having uninsured motorist coverage will protect you in case you are involved in an accident with a driver who has insufficient insurance coverage and is unable to pay for the damage to your vehicle.

Now that you are educated in the basic insurance coverage types for teens, you are probably asking yourself – how much does auto insurance cost for a teenager? Well, unfortunately there is no simple answer to that question. Insurance premiums depend on many things including: the type of car, how often your teen will drive, for what use he/she will drive (why, where to, etc.), and what discounts apply. Often times, teenagers can pay as little as $400 a year for insurance and other times, they can pay over $4000 a year for insurance. It truly all depends. Fortunately, there are a bunch of things you can do to help your teen find the best possible auto insurance rate.

Getting Discounts On Teenage Driver Insurance

Auto insurance rates are based on the amount of risk a company has to take on my insuring the car and its driver in question. Most insurance companies will be pretty uneasy about offering discounts to fresh teen drivers, but as always, shopping around will typically provide you with some satisfying results.

If you read our article about auto insurance discounts, you will see many similarities with the tips below. A majority of the discounts available to adults are also available to teens in one way or another. They are simple ways to reduce risk and build trust with your insurance company, in turn, reducing your premiums.

When it comes to teen drivers, there are seven things that teenagers and parents can do to save money on insurance rates:

  1. Get under your parents policy – More often than not, it is cheaper to put a teen on their family’s policy than it is to insure them separately. This is an easy and cost effective way to get the large amounts of coverage you may believe your teen needs. Not only will adding them to your current policy reduce paper work and time, but will also allow them to get a much higher level of coverage than they would be able to get with a policy of their own.
  2. Get good grades – Most insurance companies offer “good student discounts.” All you have to do is maintain a B average and you can get rate deductions up to 25%. This may be more difficult for some, but getting a solid GPA of 3.0 or more can earn you some great discounts. Talk to your teen about this, it may encourage them to improve their grades, especially if they are paying for a portion of their coverage. This is assuming your teen is a full time student.  Read more about insurance for college students here and insurance for international students here.
  3. Get experienced – If teenagers take a driving course, they are eligible for a 10% discount. Call your insurance company to ask for more details. Many states and counties require driver improvement classes to begin with. But if you can get them enrolled in a driver improvement class, you can take a lot of stress off the insurance company, resulting in lower rates; not to mention the stress it will lift off your shoulders.
  4. Don’t get tickets! – Every ticket and traffic citation teenagers receive will have huge effects on their insurance premiums. After a certain number of citations, some insurance companies can decide to cancel your policy.
  5. Drive a vehicle that is cheap to insure – Most teens would prefer to drive a flashy sports car, but the fact is, the boring, safer cars are the cheapest to insure. Grandma’s old station wagon might not be such a bad option if you are looking for cheap insurance.
  6. Make sure you have safety features – Discounts may be available for cars that have automatic seat belts, airbags, anti lock brakes, etc.
  7. Shop around – Teenage insurance rates can vary by hundreds of dollars. Make sure you shop around to find the best rates possible!


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18. July 2018 01:39
by Nicki

Six tips for staying sober this summer

18. July 2018 01:39 by Nicki | 0 Comments

As humans, we are creatures of habit. Your friend suggests meeting at your favorite restaurant and it’s about 1.2 seconds before you’re craving the pasta puttanesca. It’s what you always get, and at this point, there’s somewhat of an emotional attachment.

Cravings for drugs and alcohol work in much the same way, and that’s why summer barbecues can be especially tricky for recovering alcoholics.

When you picture summers at the beach or at backyard barbecues, you probably imagine a cooler filled with beer within reach.

For recovering alcoholics, it’s not just a problem to see the alcohol in person. Much like your craving for the pasta puttanesca, anticipation and desire begin long before the event. There’s an emotional attachment to drinking with friends at summer parties.

Fortunately, there are some great work-arounds for you to use. It starts with breaking your unhealthy emotional attachments and forming new ones.

  1. Acknowledge the craving for what it is. Cravings are a normal part of recovery. Your desire to have a drink isn’t something to be ashamed of, and it doesn’t mean you’re about to relapse. It simply means you’re human.
  2. Don’t succumb to triggers. For some people, especially those who are new to recovery, the desire to drink in certain situations is too great to overcome. For example, you may not be able to stop yourself when your friends are standing by the pool and everyone is cracking open a beer. If that’s the case, avoid the situation entirely. It’s better to decline politely than to relapse. Know that you may one day be happy in that situation with a root beer in hand.
  3. Stick with a friend. You don’t need to drag a sponsor to every event, but try to go with someone who knows your struggle and desire to stay sober. This person may help keep you away from situations that may trigger you. At the very least, knowing someone is watching may help keep you on the right path.
  4. BYO non-alcoholic beverage. If you’re going to a pool party or backyard barbecue, bring a non-alcoholic beverage that you truly enjoy. Maybe an ice-cold lemonade will do the trick, or maybe it’s a fancy tropical mocktail. Experiment with a combination of seltzers, juices, and teas to come up with something healthy to crave.
  5. Get active. Give yourself other reasons to avoid drinking. For example, maybe you’re training for a marathon or a 5k. It doesn’t have to be extreme, but when you align yourself with healthier goals, it’s easier to say no to alcohol. It becomes more about your good health and less about deprivation.
  6. Hang with a different crowd. There’s no need to shun supportive friends just because they have an occasional drink, but if the people you hang with are drunk more often than not, it’s time to run with a new crowd. Look for other recovering alcoholics or people who have healthier relationships with alcohol. They’re less likely to want to meet up at a bar, and things become much easier when that temptation is removed.

The feeling of missing out is what so many recovering alcoholics struggle with in the summertime. But with a little advanced planning and a slight adjustment to your way of thinking, you’ll get through these months with your sobriety intact.

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31. May 2018 12:09
by Harry

August is National Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

31. May 2018 12:09 by Harry | 0 Comments

August is National Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. While you’re likely focused on back-to-school shopping and planning, this is a reminder to schedule your annual eye exams as well. Eye exams are especially important at a young age since good eyesight leads to better learning.

How can an eye exam help my child?

Eye exams can identify a number of complications that are easily treated early on. Children’s eye exams can not only tell you if your child needs corrective lenses but can also spot astigmatisms and “lazy eyes” and correct them.

When should I schedule my child’s first eye exam?

The American Optometric Association (AOA), recommends that a child’s first eye exam should be at six-months old. At this age, doctors can ensure that your child’s eyes are developing normally.

The AOA suggests school-aged children receive annual examinations, especially outside of school-offered vision screenings. As children grow, their eyes can change quickly, so annual check-ups are a great way to spot and track any changes.

How can I pay for my child’s eye exam?

Paying for glasses and contacts can be expensive. However, vision insurance can help cover the costs of eye exams, as well as part of the costs associated with glasses and contacts.

How can I get the most out of my vision insurance?

There are multiple ways to get the most out of your vision insurance aside from scheduling annual check-ups. At your checkup, ask to try on glasses so a doctor can give you accurate measurements for your glasses size. Consider buying glasses and contacts online rather than at the eye doctor. Purchasing online is most often the cheaper route, and sites like Warby Parker even offer a free home try on the package.

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20. May 2018 12:50
by Harry

How Does Life Insurance Benefit You?

20. May 2018 12:50 by Harry | 0 Comments

If you are the sole or primary breadwinner in your family, it is imperative that are covered by a life insurance policy. Going through life without life insurance is not only irresponsible, it could lead to financial ruin for your spouse and children. If they were dependent on your income for their survival, they would be left destitute if you were to die suddenly. If you still owed money on your house, they would lose that as well. Having life insurance prevents these horrific scenarios from occurring by giving your surviving family members money to support themselves. You might also consider getting medicare supplement insurance. This type of policy helps to pay for some of the costs not covered by Original Medicare, such as deductibles, coinsurance and copayments. Here are some of the benefits of being covered by a life insurance policy. 

It Protects Your Family
The primary purpose of life insurance is to provide the means for a family to live comfortably when the main or primary breadwinner is no longer around to support them. Along with paying for the mortgage, rent, groceries and utilities, life insurance can also be used for college tuition and the estate taxes that the families of deceased people will need to pay.

You Can Use the Money While You Are Alive
If you need money for some reason while you are still alive, you will be able to take out a loan against your life insurance policy's value. One of the really great things about borrowing money in this manner is that the interest rates are much smaller than those that are charged by banks, credit unions or various online lenders. You will have the option to repay the amount of money you have borrowed in installments or all at once. 

Premiums Do Not Change
This is true in the case of term life insurance. When you are covered by this type of policy, you do not need to worry about your provider raising the price of premiums. You will be locked in at a set rate for the complete length of your agreed upon term.

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9. May 2018 11:48
by Harry

Umbrella Insurance for a Very Rainy Day

9. May 2018 11:48 by Harry | 0 Comments

Many consumers are not aware of the benefits provided by an umbrella policy and many may not even be aware of the existence of such a policy. Others might just view it as an “upsell” offered by insurance companies and agents hoping to make some extra income. However, the policy actually offers significant benefit to individuals and, according to the Insurance Journal, the state of Maryland’s Insurance Administration has issued a consumer advisory explaining the policy’s benefits. If you don’t currently have an umbrella policy, you’ll want to read on to understand better what it can do for you and your family.

In your standard home insurance policy, there’s a limit of liability for personal liability claims. The usual coverage that’s automatically provided is generally $100,000. However, given today’s litigious society and the cost of medical care, a claim can easily exceed that amount. If you are a homeowner, your assets, including your house, can be attached in the event of a judgment against you. This is where an umbrella policy can really help out.

The personal umbrella policy is given its name because it acts as an umbrella over more than just your personal liability policy. Most people who have umbrellas use the policy as extra protection for both their personal liability and automobile liability coverages. For example, if you have a $1 million umbrella policy, it will provide the $1 million in protection if either your personal liability or auto liability policy limits were exhausted.

Keep in mind that this is a liability policy and not a property policy. Therefore, even though your home insurance policy has two main types of coverage, the umbrella only applies to the personal liability portion of the coverage. As an example, if you have not insured your home for the proper amount and have a large claim, the umbrella policy will not provide you with any benefit. On the other hand, if someone is injured on your property and sues you, the umbrella policy will be prepared to step in if your home insurance policy’s personal liability limit is exhausted.

It’s common for people to consider the umbrella policy as an optional item and not necessary. Even if they are aware of the existence of umbrellas, many people choose not to purchase them, thinking that a very large loss will never happen to them. Unfortunately, when something unforeseen actually happens, it’ll be too late to purchase the coverage. Umbrellas are generally inexpensive when viewed in relation to how much coverage they provide. That low premium is a good sign of the relative infrequency of loss contemplated by the insurance companies in underwriting the policies. However, just because everyone thinks it’s rare for a loss to occur doesn’t mean they don’t believe it will never occur.

You should also keep in mind that there might be some ways to save on insurance premiums by purchasing an umbrella policy. Because many insurance companies offer a multi-policy discount, you might find that it’ll defray the cost quite a bit. When I first started purchasing an umbrella policy, the discount I received from adding it to my existing home and auto policies with the same insurer almost covered the entire cost of the umbrella! Given its low cost and potentially great benefit, you should really invest in an umbrella policy.


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7. April 2018 14:03
by Jamie

Medicare Enrollment: 5 Things to Know

7. April 2018 14:03 by Jamie | 0 Comments


If you’re covered by Medicare, now is the time to make changes to your health plan and prescription drug coverage. Medicare’s annual open-enrollment period is open until December 7th.

With so many plans to choose from, shopping for a new Medicare Advantage and/or Part D prescription drug plan can seem like a daunting task.

Here are five things to consider when shopping for your Medicare coverage options:

1. NOT shopping can cost you.
Each year, cost and benefit details of Medicare Advantage and stand-alone Part D drug plans change – even if just a little.

Those changes can be costly.

According to a recent survey of 49,000 people using eHealthMedicare.com to compare Medicare plans, people who switched to a new Part D drug plan saved nearly $ 700 in 2015. In addition, they were 20% less likely to hit the prescription drug coverage gap.

The bottom line: Even if you’re happy with your current coverage, shop your options during this open enrollment period to make sure you still have the plan that best meets your needs.

2. Look beyond premiums.
A plan with a low monthly premium may be more expensive in the long run if doctor visits or prescriptions come with high out-of-pocket costs throughout the year.

To get a true sense of what you’re healthcare costs are likely to be, look beyond your monthly premium to understand each plan’s deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance.

3. Make sure your drugs are covered.
Expect to pay more when you fill your prescription drugs next year. Across the board, Part D plan deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses are rising.

Confirm that the medications you need are covered by your plan. And, check on the details of cost-sharing tiers, which are very common in most plans. Generics on the lowest tiers cost the least, while brand-name and specialty drugs on the highest tiers come with the highest out-of-pocket costs.

Finally, don’t forget to check which pharmacies participate with your plan, and which tiers the plan has placed them on. Prescriptions cost less when you fill them at a pharmacy identified as one offering “preferred cost sharing.” And beware: Not everyone lives near a pharmacy with preferred prices.

4. Is your doctor in-network?
Making sure your doctors participate with your health plan is one of the most important parts of picking the right policy. Out-of-network care can be very expensive. In fact, a recent report by America’s Health Insurance Plans found that out-of-network providers charged patients on average 300% more than Medicare rates for certain procedures and treatments, such as MRIs and chemotherapy.

5. Check star ratings.
Medicare has a quality rating system in which plans are ranked from one to five stars, with five the highest. Try to choose one with no less than 3.5 or 4 stars. 

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31. March 2018 14:25
by Harry

Lost Your Job? These Are Your Health Insurance Options

31. March 2018 14:25 by Harry | 0 Comments

Losing a job is one of the worst feelings on the planet, especially if it’s a job you actually enjoyed.

In addition to the feelings of anger, depression, fear, and grief, you’re now saddled with the responsibility of finding new health insurance if your company was the one providing your coverage.

Luckily, you have a number of options available to you after losing job-based coverage that you should begin to explore as quickly as possible, starting with ...

Primary Options For Coverage After a Job Loss

Coverage from Your Spouse or Domestic Partner’s Employer

If your spouse or domestic partner’s insurance plan is open to family members, you may be able to join now that you no longer have insurance through your employer.

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you have 30 days from the time that your former employer stops paying for your insurance to enroll in your spouse or domestic partner’s plan. This rule stands even if your loss of coverage doesn’t occur during an open enrollment period.

Coverage from the Marketplace


Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you can enroll in a health plan in the Marketplace during a Special Enrollment Period if you lose your job-based coverage outside of the normal open enrollment period. You may even be eligible for subsidies for reduced premiums and you might qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs.


Coverage from the Individual Market


If you don’t qualify for a subsidy for reduced premiums from the Marketplace, you can simply sign up for a new plan off of the marketplace through the individual market. Not sure whether or not you’ll qualify for a subsidy? This interactive tool on the Marketplace’s website can help you determine that.

Continuing Current Coverage Through COBRA


The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives you the right to remain on the health plan that you had with your former employer. (COBRA does not apply if your employer had fewer than 20 employees, if your employer went out of business or if you were fired for “gross misconduct.”)

If you are eligible for COBRA benefits, you will receive notice from your former employer or the health plan and can enroll within 60 days after receiving the notice.

  • COBRA generally guarantees coverage for 18 months but may be longer depending on your circumstances.
  • Each family member can make a different COBRA election, even if your entire family was once covered under your employer’s health plan. Or, your child(ren) may elect COBRA on your plan and you may find coverage elsewhere.
  • You are responsible for paying the full COBRA premiums, which includes the amount you used to pay while employed, the amount paid by your former employer and an administrative fee. This can make COBRA coverage very expensive.

We recommend exploring the first 3 options above before looking into COBRA coverage as COBRA is likely to be your most expensive option for continuing coverage.

Secondary Options for Coverage After a Job Loss

State-Sponsored Programs

There may be state laws that complement federal COBRA regulations or other consumer protection statutes. They include:

  • Mini-COBRA plans. If you worked for an employer with 20 or fewer employees, your state may have mini-COBRA laws that allow you to obtain the same benefits by paying the full premium (or more in some states).
  • Conversion policies. If you cannot continue coverage with your former policy, your state may require insurers to convert your policy into an individual plan.

Protections Under HIPAA

Under this federal law, at least one insurer must sell you a health plan if you can meet the following conditions:

  • You previously had 18 months of coverage without a break for more than 63 days.
  • The last day of your coverage was through your employment.
  • You do not have a COBRA or mini-COBRA option available.

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Reauthorization Act and Health Coverage Tax Credit

If you lost your job due to a trade policy (moving your job overseas), you may qualify for 72.5 percent of the cost of your health insurance for up to three years under TAA. 

Medicaid, The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or VA Coverage

Medicaid is available for low-income individuals and children, parents with dependent children, permanently disabled individuals or those over 65. Eligibility varies from state to state.

  • Though you may not qualify for full Medicaid benefits, you may be eligible for screenings for breast and cervical cancer or assistance with tuberculosis or sickle cell anemia treatments.
  • Consult your local health department for more information about public coverage options in your area.
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13. March 2018 10:51
by Ammelia

Life Insurance Child Rider That Requires No Medical Information

13. March 2018 10:51 by Ammelia | 0 Comments

Life insurance for children… sounds a little creepy, but it can actually be an extremely beneficial way to plan ahead for your children’s future.  Adding a child rider onto your term life insurance policy is the easiest way for you to purchase life insurance for your child.  How it generally works is that you pay a few extra dollars on top of your life insurance policy’s monthly premium and then each of your current children under the age of 18 and any future children you may have are covered with a small amount (typically anywhere between $1,000 – $100,000) of life insurance coverage.

Losing a child would be unimaginable and the funds a child rider provides could be used to pay for a funeral and allow the parents to take time off work to grieve.  While this death benefit is one aspect of what a child rider can offer, another benefit is that purchasing a child rider guarantees your children’s future insurability.  What this means is that once your child is of age (typically 18-25) you can convert the child rider into a permanent life insurance plan and your child would not be required to prove, via medical exams and records, their insurability.  If your child happened to develop a medical condition that could otherwise prove difficult to insure this guaranteed insurability would be a lifesaver.

Most life insurers require parents to complete a questionnaire form providing information on their children before they would approve the child rider coverage.  Depending on the insurer, some forms are simple with a few questions and some are much more inquisitive.  Below are a few screenshots of one company’s child questionnaire form.

child rider form

child rider form part two

child rider form part 3

That form would be an example of an insurer who requires more in-depth information on children before approving child rider coverage.  If any children have been, for example, diagnosed with any chronic illnesses they may be denied coverage.  So, what can a parent do?

Are there child riders that do not require medical underwriting?

Principal Financial is one life insurance company in particular that does not require any medical or lifestyle information on a child for rider approval.  They offer a maximum coverage of $25,000 and allow you to convert the rider to a permanent life insurance plan up to three times the amount of the rider in accordance with the conversion deadline in their contact.  For parents with children who have special needs or have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition, this child rider can be extremely beneficial.

In a previous blog post titled Everything You Want to Know About Life Insurance Child Riders we wrote an overview on child riders.  In this post we touched on an example in which Principal’s child rider would be especially advantageous.  Let’s dig a little deeper into that situation.


Jane Doe is 40-years-old and she is planning on purchasing a $500,000 20-year term life insurance policy from Principal.  She wants to add a child rider onto her policy as well.  Jane does not smoke and is quite healthy.  She qualifies for the Preferred risk class.

Product Age Sex Class Death Benefit Annual Premium
Term Policy 40 Female Preferred Non-Tobacco $500,000 $396
Children Term Insurance Rider       $25,000 $125

Jane’s payment options:

  • Annually: $521
  • Semi-Annually: $267
  • Quarterly: $137
  • Monthly: $46

Jane has four children – a 22-year-old daughter, twin 15-year-old sons, and a seven-year-old daughter.  Jane’s eldest is older than 18 so she would not be covered by the child rider; however, her twins and her seven-year-old daughter who has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia fortunately will be covered by Principal since they do not require medical underwriting for child riders.

Today, most childhood leukemias thankfully have very high remission rates.  If the worst should happen though and her daughter passed away, Jane would receive $25,000 which would allow her to pay for a funeral and take the needed time off work to grieve and spend with her other children.

The child rider benefit of guaranteed future insurability is also particularly advantageous for Jane’s seven-year-old daughter.  Applicants with a history of acute lymphoblastic leukemia would typically only be able to qualify for Table B ratings, and this would only be available nine years post-treatment (on average).  Table B means the applicants would have to pay 50% more than Standard premiums (see table below for reference).   However, Jane’s daughter would be able to convert to a $75,000 permanent policy at Standard regardless of the status of her leukemia.

Table Rating
Table Rating
A 1 Standard + 25%
B 2 Standard + 50%
C 3 Standard + 75%
D 4 Standard + 100%
E 5 Standard + 125%
F 6 Standard + 150%
G 7 Standard + 175%
H 8 Standard + 200%
I 9 Standard + 225%
J 10 Standard + 250%

As beneficial as a child rider would be for Jane and her children, the Principal child rider would be even more beneficial to a parent who has a child with special needs, such as Down’s syndrome.  Unlike leukemia which can go into remission, Down’s syndrome is a lifelong condition with considerably reduced life expectancy.  You would be hard-pressed to find a carrier to approve an applicant with Down’s syndrome.  Some insurers will approve coverage if the condition is mild, but the applicant would be highly rated (Tables H-J likely used) ergo the premiums would be very expensive.  With Principal, however, a special needs child would be covered by the child rider and could later be converted into a permanent policy.

When you apply for term life insurance online at Quotacy, during the process you will receive a form in which it asks if you have children and if you would be interested in adding on a child rider.  If you have a child with special needs or a serious medical condition, consider choosing Principal when applying.  Not every applicant or policy will qualify for a child rider, for example, most insurers do not give the option of adding a child rider if an applicant is over the age of 55.  But for the majority of applicants who need a child rider, the option is there.  Adding a child rider onto a policy is quite inexpensive and can be very beneficial to your family.  Contact us or comment below if you have any questions or want more information about child riders

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8. March 2018 10:55
by Ammelia

Why Having Debt Makes Life Insurance More Important

8. March 2018 10:55 by Ammelia | 0 Comments

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make.  On what else would you ever be willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars?  Buying a home for your family now is just as desired and important as it was fifty years ago; however, the financial profile of the typical American is much different today than in generations past.

In earlier generations, retiring employees were often eligible for employer-sponsored financial benefits, such as the guaranteed lifetime income provided by traditional pensions and retiree healthcare coverage.  Households also typically drew two Social Security benefits in retirement – often a worker benefit and a spousal benefit based on the breadwinner’s work record.  Most Americans were able to pay off their mortgage by the time they retired as well.

Today, Americans bear a much greater financial burden.  Pensions are all but extinct.  Most employees are largely responsible for saving for their own retirement through defined contribution plans (e.g., 401(k)) and other retirement savings vehicles.  Retiree healthcare benefits are increasingly rare in the private sector, requiring households to fund their own healthcare costs in retirement beyond what is covered by Medicare.  As households increasingly rely on dual incomes, Social Security benefits stand to replace less of the households’ earnings in retirement.

Today there is also a greater access to credit.  Americans have simply developed, out of necessity, an increased comfort level with holding debt.  Individuals are now borrowing more over a lifetime in the form of:

  • Student loans
  • Auto loans
  • Credit cards
  • Mortgages
  • Home equity loans
  • Home equity lines of credit
  • Reverse mortgages

As a result, American households are now carrying greater amounts of debt into retirement and leaving behind greater amounts of debt to loved ones if they die prematurely without a back-up plan.

The Risks of Higher Debt on Retirement

Paying cash for homes, cars, or tuition is rare among today’s families.  Borrowing can be a helpful financial strategy for families at many stages of their lives.  However, this debt really affects an individual’s retirement outlook.

According to SmartAsset.com, about half of American households have no retirement accounts at all and approximately 29 percent of households age 55 and older have neither retirement savings nor a pension.  It doesn’t help that the cost of living seems to increase each year.  Over the last ten years, it has increased about 26 percent with the greatest increases being the cost of food.  What this means for Americans is that they are forced to either pay bills or contribute to their retirement – it’s a struggle to give both the attention they need.

For every dollar that would have gone toward retirement savings if not for debt obligations, households lose the value of that dollar and the investment growth that dollar would have experienced over time.  The impact is much more severe when foregone retirement savings also means missing out on potential employer matching contributions.

The Risks of Higher Debt on Your Loved Ones

The consequences of taking on higher debt become ever more dire when one spouse passes away, leaving a higher debt burden for the surviving spouse.  Although the surviving spouse could be male or female, this is often a woman’s issue.  According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, women have a life expectancy that is 4.6 years longer than men and (according to the U.S. Census Bureau) in nearly half of American heterosexual marriages, the husband is two or more years older than the wife.  So, going off statistics alone, it’s typically women that get saddled with the responsibility of managing this debt alone later in life.

The mortgage is the biggest threat to maintaining standard of living upon the death of a spouse.  When a spouse dies, the mortgage payment does not decrease, but household income suddenly does.  With no retirement savings, no emergency fund, and no life insurance, how does a family continue to pay bills upon the death of a breadwinner?  It’s beyond difficult.

Higher Debt Makes Life Insurance More Essential

Life insurance is especially important for young families.  It’s not unusual for a couple with young children to carry a large amount of debt.  They have many financial responsibilities which may include:

  • Two car loans
  • A mortgage
  • Medical expenses
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Educational expenses
  • Student loans

If a breadwinner were to die, can the surviving parent manage all the bills and maintain the family’s standard of living on one paycheck?  With no life insurance, the survivor may need to dip into the emergency fund or retirement account, if there was one, or rack up more credit card debt.  This sudden financial blow can affect not only the survivor’s current finances but their future financial outlook indefinitely.

With life insurance in place, the death benefit could be used to pay the mortgage, take care of the kids’ future college tuition, and ensure the surviving parent would not have to stop contributing to his or her retirement fund.  Now you may be thinking though “You just wrote all about how having debt is dangerous, why would I add another bill to the pile by buying life insurance?”  Well, thankfully, term life insurance is quite affordable and much cheaper than what people think especially if you’re relatively young and healthy.  Below is a screenshot of term policy pricing options for a non-smoking, 30-year-old male in good health.  Overall, $20 per month in exchange for leaving his family $500,000 if he died prematurely is quite reasonable.  It’s definitely worth the cost.  I bet you know a family who lost a loved one and witnessed the financial devastation it can bring.

I lost my father to cancer a little over a year ago and I am very thankful he had a life insurance plan in place.  As he was on hospice care, instead of worrying about how expenses were going to be paid, my family and I were able to focus on just being together.  My sister and I are adults (mid-late twenties), and as beneficial as his life insurance was to us, I can guarantee you it would have been even more beneficial had we been very young still.

As you are budgeting and managing your debt-to-income ratio, don’t forget about how your financial situation would affect your loved ones if you were to pass away.  Play around with our term life insurance quoting tool and see how you could fit the premium payments into your budget.  You may be surprised at how low the monthly premiums can be.  If you aren’t sure how much life insurance you need for your individual situation, our needs analysis tool can assist you with that.  If you prefer a more personal touch, you can contact us at anytime.  Our friendly agents would love to assist you in any way they can.

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