19. October 2018 10:02
by Jamie
0 Comments

Term Life Vs. Whole Life: Which Insurance Is Right For You?

19. October 2018 10:02 by Jamie | 0 Comments


Build your life with love. Protect it with life insurance.

We work hard for the good things. The security. The comfort. The joy. The premium channels and the soft toilet paper. We work to buy houses, and we work to make sure they feel like homes for the people we love. We work to help things grow…our knowledge, our careers, our experiences, and our families.

From the Ground Up

The bigger and better things get, the more important it becomes to protect them. It’s easy to convince yourself, in the warm glow of a good life, that love is all you need. Love is a perfect foundation (and if you’ve ever bought a house, you know how important the foundation is), but without the walls you build upward and the roof above it all, it doesn’t offer much protection.

Every good decision you make contributes to the strength of those walls. The degree you earned. The career you’ve built. The money you invest. The relationships you’ve established. The tough questions you’ve asked, and the tough answers you’ve gritted your teeth and accepted.

These reinforcements are ultimately what hold things together when they might otherwise come crashing down, and insurance is your roof, extending to every edge to make sure you’re covered.

Life insurance means that nothing, not even the very worst thing, can blow that roof completely off. It means that your love, bolstered by careful planning, will always provide shelter, even after you’re gone.

Choosing a Blueprint

There are a lot of options to consider when you’re looking for the right insurance policy, and that’s why we’re here to help guide you. There are two main types of life insurance to consider, and that’s a good place to get started.

TERM LIFE INSURANCE

Term life policies might be the way to go if…

  • You’re looking for the most affordable life insurance rates
  • You’re not ready to commit to a lifetime policy
  • You want the simplest, most straightforward option
  • You’re in good health right now and have a relatively clear family medical history

This type of policy covers you for a finite period of time (usually 10, 20, or 30 years). Because of its temporary nature (and therefore the decreased likelihood that a payout will take place), premiums are generally much lower, especially if you’re young. Once the policy term is over, it’s over…just like car insurance, no matter how long you’ve been insured in the past, if you’re not insured at the time of an incident, it won’t help. So with term life, you’ll need to renew (usually at an increased rate as you grow older) or convert to a whole life plan at some point for continued coverage.

WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE

whole life policy may be the best route if…

  • You can afford a higher premium in your monthly budget
  • You like the idea of paying for coverage that you know will help your loved ones in the future
  • You love the idea of only having to shop for life insurance once
  • You’re in good health now, but may be at higher-than-average risk for future health concerns based on family medical history

These policies typically cost more up front, but the upside is that they provide lifetime coverage (so you don’t have to worry about shopping again) and typically offer level premiums, which can help you keep your monthly budget on track, especially when the kids start begging for the latest gaming system. Whole life insurance typically combines death benefits with cash value. In some cases, the policy owner can access this cash sum to use if they should need it…so while peace of mind and security for your family are still the primary motivation, you know that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get it.

Savvy Shopping

As you decide which option is right for you and your family, here are a few tips to help you keep costs as low as possible while still getting what you need:

  • Get multiple quotes from different providers to find the most competitive pricing. Whether you’re looking for the best term life insurance policy or you’re more interested in whole life insurance quotes.
  • Watch out for unnecessary riders. Riders are add-on provisions to the basic policy. Sometimes they’re things you might actually need, but sometimes they’re just things that sound good. 
  • Identify your specific needs and priorities. Life insurance, unlike your buttery soft leggings, isn’t one size fits all. If you’re on a tight budget, maybe you just need basic life insurance that will help to get your family through if you pass away sooner than you would hope. 

No Time Like RIGHT NOW

Here’s the best advice we can give: DON’T WAIT.

The younger you are, and healthier you are, the less your insurance will typically cost. And the sooner you work it into your budget, the more it will start to blend in with all your other important expenses, like electricity and lattes.

The real reason not to wait, though, might be sitting right next to you on the couch while you read this. Or sleeping upstairs on the top bunk. Or the bottom bunk. Life insurance gives you a chance to take care of the people you love for longer, and that’s worth an awful lot more than your monthly premium will be.

Share or Bookmark this post…

25. September 2018 10:46
by Nicki
0 Comments

Latest Benefits & Features to Look Forward to in Life Insurance

25. September 2018 10:46 by Nicki | 0 Comments




Traditionally, we have always associated life insurance covers with security against unforeseen circumstances. They are widely considered to be a part of one’s portfolio for emergency situations, providing a Lump sum Payout to the nominee in the instance of the Life Assured’s death.

However, more often than not, these covers cater to the needs of the family post the death of the breadwinner. What happens to the insurance cover if the breadwinner was involved in an accident and becomes permanently disabled? He survives the accident but now is unable to pay the premiums associated with the term plan, or if he/she is critically ill and can’t continue to pay premiums? Or if he is diagnosed with a terminal illness and his death is certain anyway?

In such instances the cover might lapse and with that the protection umbrella which the breadwinner had planned for his family in his absence, fades away.

What if we could have a provision for those cases where the life assured doesn’t have to pay any further premiums if he is involved in an accident and becomes permanently disabled? This way at least the protection umbrella that he had made for his family, remains intact.

Similarly, with increasing risks to health due to lifestyle changes, there is a need to look at critical and terminal illnesses very seriously. A critical illness might force the breadwinner to retire from his job for a few years coupled with additional financial outflow during the treatment and recovery phase. This would again make it challenging for the Life Assured to pay his premiums towards the Life Insurance cover. On the other hand a terminal illness cannot be cured and results in the death of the patient within a short span of time. In such a situation, it would really help if the lump sum payout is given at this stage itself.

In view of the above, life insurance companies have started launching covers that come with differential plan options to cater to the diverse needs of the people. Some of the areas that the new plans have started addressing are:

Waiving your premiums & accelerated benefits

Some life covers waive future premiums in case of permanent disability caused by an accident and also on diagnosis of certain critical diseases. This is relieving of a major financial burden, while retaining the protection it offers, is one such highlight that will allows the family of the policyholder to be financially secure in such an unexpected situation.

Moreover, it accelerates the payout of death benefit to the family if life assured is diagnosed with any terminal illness. This helps the family to deal with the financial stress by helping them pay medical costs associated with the terminal illness and also ensures that in the long run the family does not have to compromise upon the dreams that the breadwinner had planned for them due to financial restraints.

Replacing your income

Think of a typical salaried person’s life in our country. He is the bread winner for the family. The household’s expenses, his children’s education expenses are all provided for by his monthly salary.

But what if fate has some other plans and an untoward incident befalls the family. Apart from the policyholder’s lifetime savings in some FDs and other instruments, there is no substitute for his monthly income. Especially if the person is a private sector employee, the family will have to face a lot of difficulties in terms of managing the day-to-day expenses.

This is where a life cover comes in handy. Some term covers are now providing an option that allows the family to receive a monthly income even in the absence of the policyholder. Not only is this income provided till the end of the policy term or 4 years whichever is higher, but it may also increase every year, based on the income projection provided by the policyholder and the plan type chosen by him. And along with this, the family also receives a lump sum amount at the time of death of the policyholder.

Such a tailor made solution ensures that the family’s lifestyle and dreams are not compromised upon and the household will still run smoothly

Share or Bookmark this post…

5. September 2018 11:28
by Nicki
0 Comments

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:

Deductible

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.

 

Copay

 

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

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.

Formulary

 

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.

 

Share or Bookmark this post…

24. July 2018 05:25
by Jamie
0 Comments

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!

 

Share or Bookmark this post…

18. July 2018 01:39
by Nicki
0 Comments

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.

Share or Bookmark this post…

31. May 2018 12:09
by Harry
0 Comments

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.

Share or Bookmark this post…

20. May 2018 12:50
by Harry
0 Comments

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.

Share or Bookmark this post…

9. May 2018 11:48
by Harry
0 Comments

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.

 

Share or Bookmark this post…

7. April 2018 14:03
by Jamie
0 Comments

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. 

Share or Bookmark this post…

31. March 2018 14:25
by Harry
0 Comments

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.
Share or Bookmark this post…