2 years ago ·
by Alston ·
Comments Off on Don’t Buy Short Term Health Insurance Until You Read This!
There are several reasons why I no longer recommend Short Term Health Insurance and recommend ACA compliant health insurance policies almost exclusively.
The main reasons are:
- You will still pay the tax penalty!
- You can have a claim denied due to pre-existing conditions
- Better and less expensive options may be available to you
- You can typically cancel the better, “long term” plans any given month
You Will Still Pay The Tax Penalty!
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and therefore the IRS, treats short term insurance about the same way it treats a parakeet. You cannot avoid paying the tax penalty for not having health insurance by telling the government that you have a parakeet.
Why? The Affordable Care Act doesn’t consider a these plans to be health insurance.
Why? Neither short-term plans nor parakeets provide Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC). To be ACA complaint, an insurer cannot limit what they pay for hospital stays or doctors’ visits. You will find these limits in short term insurance. Health plans that are ACA complaint cannot deny claims based on preexisting conditions and must also meet other standards that short-term plans do not.
You Can Have A Claim Denied Due To A Pre-Existing Condition
In my opinion this is even worse than getting denied for a health insurance policy. When you apply for a short-term policy it is generally issued right away. Your insurer won’t take the time and expense of checking your medical records. So shortly thereafter you will get your policy and think everything is copacetic. If you file a substantial claim they can and probably will, dig through your medical records and try to deny your claim, shattering the false sense of security the policy gave you a just short while ago.
Better less expensive options are often available!
ACA-compliant health insurance is probably your best option if you are not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or coverage from work.
If you qualify for a subsidy, and almost half of all Americans do, you may find that your premium for a much more robust policy that meets the minimum standards is lower then the cost for a short-term health insurance policy.
Get a rate quote for a Medical Insurance policy that meets or exceeds the Affordable Care Act before considering a short-term policy.
You can cancel most “long term” plans any given month
Most so called long term plans can be cancelled any given month. You can usually cancel a policy by faxing or mailing in a form. Some let you do it by phone. Ask your carrier for their rules and if they require that you cancel a certain number of days before your requested termination date.
Unfortunately you can only apply for a compliant plan during the open enrollment period unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. If you cannot buy a compliant plan now, make sure that you consider doing so during the next open enrollment period.
When is the Open Enrollment?
The Open Enrollment period for 2016 started November 1, 2015 and will end January 31, 2016. The Open Enrollment Period for 2017 and future years is scheduled to be October 15th to December 7th.
Buying Outside the Open Enrollment
If you experience a life event that causes you to gain or lose eligibility for health insurance, you may qualify to enroll after the open enrollment period. Examples include: losing employer-sponsored coverage, losing Medicaid, turning 26 moving to another state, getting married or divorced.
Other Plans to Consider:
As an insurance agent with over 30 years of experience I think it is unconscionable for an agent to offer a consumer a short-term plan when they qualify for an ACA compliant plan. An ACA complaint health insurance policy cannot deny you coverage due to a pre-existing condition, can help you avoid the tax penalty and has no upper limit on the major benefits.
3 years ago ·
by Alston ·
Comments Off on How To Get Health Insurance When You’re Pregnant
Pregnant women who needed health insurance to cover their maternity costs were faced with few choices in 2013 and the years prior. They might search the plans from top to bottom and find none to buy that provided coverage for maternity-related services. However, the Affordable Care Act has dramatically increased the options available for pregnant woman.
You can find price quotes for maternity insurance on this site.
Maternity insurance didn’t start with the “Obama Care” law. Prior to the effective dates of the mandates, many if not most, group health insurance policies covered the costs of childbirth. Some non job-related plans covering individuals and families also covered these medical expenses as did Medicaid and Medicare.
However, a woman who was not insured when she conceived would be denied for most plans. She would have been considered to have had a preexisting condition since her pregnancy started before the effective date of her policy.
Things have changed. Pre existing conditions including pregnancies cannot be used as a reason for a company to deny coverage for policies with that are effective on or after January 1, 2014. Nor can a person’s medical history be used to increase the cost of their coverage. This means that the carrier is required to offer the cancer patient the same options, at the same premiums as the person who runs marathons and has a pristine medical record. (Providing they both live in the same area and are the same age.)
Before 2014, many could not afford health insurance with maternity coverage. In areas where this coverage was available at all it was generally an optional benefit. Families that didn’t want children could save money by choosing not to have this coverage. Today the cost of maternity coverage is borne by men and women whether they plan to conceive or not. This may seem unfair, and perhaps it is, but it raises the cost of everyone’s coverage by a very small amount instead of raising the cost of a few people’s coverage by a lot.
(Although it is true that all contracts have to say that they will cover maternity costs, It is not true that a 65 year old woman pays for it. However, a 30 year old man will pay for it. When all is said and done, the insurers add up the cost of providing medical care for all the people they insure in your age group who have a particular policy – regardless of gender – and divides that cost evenly amongst them. If no one in your age group gets pregnant, you never pay a portion of someone else’s pregnancy even if your contract says that it covers maternity costs.)
For some, the best health insurance for pregnancy was Medicaid. Other women who didn’t meet the eligibility requirements for the Medicaid program may not have been eligible for coverage at any cost.
Neither the pregnant woman, the athlete nor the cancer patient will be able to purchase private individual health insurance outside of the open enrollment period unless they qualify for an exception. (They may be able to sign up for government-sponsored plans like Medicaid or employer-sponsored plans at other times of the year.) The next Open Enrollment period will start on November 15th of 2014 and will end on Valentine’s day of 2015. After that, open enrollment periods will start on October 15th and end on December 7th of each year.
What are the Exceptions to the Open Enrollment rule?
If a person has lost health insurance coverage, due to no fault of their own, they are likely to qualify for an exception. If, for example, they were recently laid off and lost coverage they could apply for a policy outside of the open enrollment period. If they lost coverage due to a failure to pay premiums, they would not be able to purchase a policy.
Exceptions to the Open Enrollment Period include:
- Birth or Adoption of a Child
- Losing other coverage
Insuring the Baby
When you look at the statistics, the first year of life is a dangerous one. A baby with a birth defect who isn’t covered by insurance may not get the care she needs. A medical catastrophe is more likely to happen before a child’s first birthday than any other year during childhood.
For this reason, it is important that, even if you cannot get health insurance for the pregnancy a woman should make sure that she insures her child as soon as she can. Childbirth is an exception to the open enrollment rule.
All plans that the meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act must cover maternity costs subject to the plans deductible, co-pays and other cost shares as well as prevention related expenses such as annual check-ups.
If you would like our help finding affordable health insurance with maternity coverage, please request quotes on this site for ACA qualified policies.
4 years ago ·
by Alston ·
Comments Off on Can I Get Health Insurance for Traveling Overseas?
Several companies cover insurance for those who travel overseas for business or pleasure. These international health insurance plans are inexpensive and provide coverage for trips to most areas of the world.
You can get quotes for a travel insurance policy on this site.
6 years ago ·
by Alston ·
Comments Off on Buying Nursing Home Insurance
There are several things to look for in a long term care or nursing home insurance policy. You want to buy from a company that will keep its promises to you. You want to get the right amount. You want inflation protection. You want the right length of coverage. You want a good price.
Since the cost of nursing home care is so expensive today, this can be one of the most important parts of planning for your financial future. Failure to sew up the hole in your pocket can mean that you wind up with nothing, no matter how much money you put in.
Medicare provides very limited coverage for nursing homes and home health care. You may have to spend virtually all your savings, assets and income on your care before Medicaid will pay. (This means that the money you saved all your life goes to the government instead of your children.)
When buying nursing home insurance or any other type of insurance, you want to buy from a company that will be there when you need them. The companies that do the most advertising are often the most financially stable, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to only those companies.
You can Start Researching Companies by Taking the Following Steps:
- Ask your state’s department of insurance to see if a given company is approved to sell in your area. (You can also ask them for a list of approved companies that sell a given line of insurance.)
- Ask your department of insurance about complaints against the company.
- See if they are financially stable by checking their AM Best rating and/or Standard and Poors rating.
How Much Coverage Do You Need?
There is no way to tell exactly how much coverage you will need since the timing of your need for care is unknown. However, you can get a good idea of what it costs to be in a nursing home today. You can simply call various nursing homes to see what their current rates are. Be sure to contact facilities that provide the level of service you want and that are in the right geographic area.
Inflation Protection is Important
Since you will hopefully live for many years in your own home before you will need care in a nursing home or home healthcare services, inflation protection is important. Most plans will allow you to purchase an inflation rider.
How Long Will You Need Care?
If you can afford it you should consider coverage won’t end if you happen to live too long. You can save on your monthly premiums by purchasing a policy that only covers you for a certain number of years as a nursing home resident. However, the increase in premiums is generally worth it because prices for longtermcare are likely to increase also.
The average nursing home stay is only a few years, but some people will live in a nursing home for over a decade. One reason for this is that not everybody goes to a nursing home as an elderly person. Often a non senior who has a medical condition will be too sick to stay home, but not sick enough to be in a hospital.
This is why it is important to think carefully before deciding to limit the number of years your policy will pay for your care. You should not have to worry about living past when your longterm care policy benefits run out.
How Much Does it Cost?
The prices vary quite a bit from company to company. Your age and health impact the rate as well. The premiums can look like mortgage payments if you wait too long to buy a policy. However, they are generally affordable if you purchase a policy before retirement age if qualifying medically is not an issue. The medication you take can impact the price of the program, but not all medical conditions are serious enough to make a difference.
You can get more information about how the policies work you can request nursing home insurance rates rates from this website. You will get information about prices, the terms and conditions of the various policies. To get the other information you need to assist you in making a decision you will be given contact information for an agent who serves your local market. The agents we work with have typically assisted clients for years and look forward to helping you reach your personal financial goals.
6 years ago ·
by Alston ·
Comments Off on More than Rest Home Insurance
The typical rest home insurance policy (also known as a long-term care policy) covers a lot more than rest homes.
This is an important fact. Most people who are disabled or elderly want to spend as much of their life at home not in a home. However, their inability to do certain things may mean that they cannot stay out of a facility with professional services.
Often their adult children are willing to do what they can to keep them out of a nursing home. However, they may not be able to keep their jobs and do everything that an aging parent needs.
This is where a so-called “nursing home policy” can make a difference. These policies will often pay the cost for home health care and respite care.
These additional coverages are in everybody’s best interests. It keeps the insured at home and it saves the insurers money. It makes sense financially. It also makes sense based on what people what for themselves and their loved ones.
Home health care can mean that a nurse’s aide can come to the person’s home and take care of them while their child goes to work. This can make a huge difference. It can allow someone to stay home for much longer than they would otherwise.
There are home health care businesses all over the nation that can provide your family with a competent home health care professional person who can help you. You can contact one of these businesses and interview them to make sure you are comfortable with the care they can provide.
Respite care is a little different. Sometimes a person who is at risk for being in a rest home is able to get along by themselves most of the day. They don’t need company all day. They just need someone to help them bathe or they may need someone to prepare meals for them.
This means that the family member who takes care of them can go to work but can never leave the state or take a personal vacation. This can make living a normal life very difficult for that caregiver.
Respite care can come to the rescue in this situation. This pays for a home health aide to care for the family member who is unable to care for themselves. This allows the caregiver to take a break.
Most LTC plans provide both respite care and home health care benefits. As stated above, longterm care policies have more benefits than most people are aware of and these benefits are generally available at no extra cost.
Rest home insurance does much more than just covering nursing home stays. It can cover home health care and respite care. It can keep you, your mother or your disabled child out of a nursing home and home with family members. This can have a tremendous positive impact on quality of life.
6 years ago ·
by Alston ·
Comments Off on Why & Where to Purchase Nursing Home Insurance
Why purchase nursing home insurance?
A nursing home stay can mean that a lifetime of savings vanishes right before your eyes like a magician’s trick. In most parts of the United States the cost of a nursing home stay can exceed one thousand dollars a week.
The average nursing home stay is about two and a half years. A cost of over one thousand dollars a week can mean a rapid evaporation of your assets. This can disenfranchise your wife or husband leaving them little or nothing left to use for buying food or medical services. With no insurance plans or policies in place, this can mean that no financial legacy is left behind for your children or grandchildren.
Home health care is also covered by many nursing home insurance plans. Since the cost of home health care can be quite high, buying insurance that covers it can provide important protection for your family.
Because your health can affect your premium and even your eligibility, you must purchase a nursing home insurance policy while you are healthy. Because age affects the price of these policies, you get a much lower rate when you are younger. Many Americans plan ahead and purchase their policies when they are in their forties or fifties.
Purchasing a policy when you are younger means you pay less. Buying a policy also gives you another important benefit. It will cover you starting at an earlier age.
A nursing home is for people who do not need the level of care needed in a hospital, but are unable to live at home. This can mean that a fifty-three year old stroke victim needing longterm care needs to be in a nursing home. Those without family members to take care of them are particularly at risk.
Many living in a nursing home are well under retirement age. A twenty-year old car accident victim with a traumatic brain injury my find that she has no insurance to pay for her stay.
Your health insurance policy is unlikely to cover an extended nursing home stay and you are at risk for being in a nursing home at any age. Many people do not know this and therefore think they have more longterm nursing home protection than they do.
Your health insurance policy probably covers a few months in a skilled nursing facility. It probably does not cover any time in an intermediate care nursing home facility. It probably does not cover any time in a custodial care facility.
Since most nursing home stays are in either intermediate care or custodial care facilities, a nursing home policy is important.
These facilities are full of people whose health insurance policies will not cover the cost of their care. This means that either the state pays their way or the cost comes from their savings. Since the state tries to get all of the assets it can from the people in the nursing home before it will pay, the importance getting this coverage cannot be over emphasized.
Where to Purchase Nursing Home Insurance
You can find rates for nursing home insurance on this site. If you use this site, you will be contacted by an agent who serves your state and who can help you make the right decision about buying coverage. If you prefer to look in the phone book you may find that the term “long term care” is used to describe these types of insurance plans.
7 years ago ·
by Alston ·
Comments Off on Long Term Disability Insurance for the Self Employed
If you are self employed, chances are your insurance benefits come from policies that you have selected and purchased on your own. You have to make your own decisions about medical insurance, dental insurance and disability insurance.
There is also a good chance that you haven’t given much thought to disability insurance. There are few TV commercials about this important line of insurance. Few people even know that it exists outside of an employer-sponsored plan.
There are few more important types of insurance than disability insurance. These policies can pay you an income for decades if you become injured or sick and are no longer able to work. Having an income while disabled can have a tremendous impact on your life. It can be the difference between living in your current home and living in government-sponsored housing.
If you are reasonably healthy and are under age 65, you probably qualify for a disability insurance policy.
Most people will find these policies to be affordable. Long-term disability insurance rates often surprise people when they get quotes.
Don’t make the mistake that many self-employed people make. Yes, medical insurance is important, but you need to have disability insurance and a retirement plan also. Make sure that you don’t miss the boat and forget about disability insurance. Having good coverage in this area can make a big difference in where you life and the way you live.
7 years ago ·
by Alston ·
Comments Off on Finding the Cheapest Student Insurance
The cheapest student health insurance may be the health plan available from your college or university. However, this cheap insurance may not be the best coverage.
Employer sponsored coverage or standard individual medical and hospitalization insurance policies purchased from will often provide much better coverage. This is the case for two basic reasons.
Policies marketed to students often have substandard benefits. They often will not fully cover a major illness.
Coverage from these policies terminates when a student is no longer a student or when he or she reaches a certain age. If the student is currently sick or injured when the coverage terminates he or she might have a hard time finding coverage.
Often the best option is a policy that the student purchases from a company like Blue Cross or Humana without going through the school. These policies, although not usually the cheapest, are often very inexpensive. This is because most students are very young and are usually very healthy.
One of the changes that occurred in 2010 due to the Health Care Reform bill allows a child to stay on his or her parents’ or parent’s policy until they reach the age of 26. These group and individual private medical insurance policies that are not specifically designed for students are ironically the best options for students in most cases.
Of course, if a parent has a substandard policy this will not be a good option for the child. For this reason, a blanket statement cannot be made that this is always the best option.
Also, sometimes the policy that the parent or parents has can be overpriced even if it is good coverage. This is often true when a child is the second person insured on the policy. Some policies rate the second person as if he or she was a spouse and therefore a younger person does not get the lower rate the he or she would get on a separate policy.
Before making a decision about a student policy it is important to know how much the policy will cover in the event of a catastrophic event. You should also know the exclusions and limitations of the policy.
Very often a medical insurance policy that you purchase from a standard carrier will give you a better deal than the cheapest student insurance you might purchase through a college or university.
7 years ago ·
by Alston ·
Comments Off on What is a Beneficiary for Life Insurance?
A life insurance beneficiary is a person or entity that is eligible to receive death benefits when the insured party dies. There are several types of beneficiaries. These types of beneficiaries include primary beneficiaries, contingent beneficiaries and irrevocable beneficiaries.
- Primary Beneficiary
- Primary beneficiaries compose the class of persons or entities that is first in line to receive benefits. This is typically a spouse or a child, but it can also be a company.
- This class can consist of more than one person. A father might name his two children as primary beneficiaries to receive equal percentages of his life insurance proceeds.
- The amounts that the primary beneficiaries receive do not have to be equal. A father might name a business partner as of his beneficiaries in order to clear a debt. The business partner might receive a flat amount and the remaining beneficiaries might receive a percentage of the remaining amount.
- Contingent Beneficiary
- Contingent beneficiaries are second in line to receive the proceeds of a life insurance policy. The contingent beneficiaries can only receive benefits if all of the members of the primary beneficiary class have predeceased the insured person.
- Revocable Beneficiary
- A revocable beneficiary can be replaced by another beneficiary at a later date. So long as the insured is still alive the owner can change the person or persons who are named as a beneficiary
- Irrevocable Beneficiary
- An irrevocable beneficiary cannot be changed one named.
Beneficiaries are typically of the revocable variety. However where there are concerns about estate taxes, irrevocable beneficiaries are sometimes named. Estate tax issues are beyond the scope of this blog post, but may be covered in a future post.
Life insurance pricing is typically unaffected by the choice or type of beneficiary chosen. This is the case whether you are purchasing a cheap $5000 life insurance for a typical senior citizen or a $5,000,000 policy for millionaire.
It is important to be thoughtful about naming your beneficiaries. Giving money directly to a minor child could have unintended consequences.
It is also important to update your beneficiaries should certain events occur. Failing to update your policy after a beneficiary has passed away or after a divorce could result in the wrong person or people receiving your life insurance proceeds.
If your policy does not have a beneficiary because your named beneficiary predeceases you, your life insurance proceeds can become part of your estate. This could subject your life insurance proceeds to unnecessary taxation.
7 years ago ·
by Alston ·
Comments Off on Cobra Insurance Cost
The cost of COBRA insurance is often much more than the low cost medical insurance through a non-group private health insurance policy. This is often true even when the coverage is offered by the same insurer.
If you have always received your insurance coverage through your employer and never purchase medical insurance on your own, you may believe that your group health insurance plan is your best option.
Many people want to know how to apply for COBRA insurance but never ask whether or not COBRA is their best option.
How does COBRA insurance work?
COBRA is a temporary extension of your group health insurance. Typically this extension lasts for 18 months, but in some circumstances this period can be longer. When you are on COBRA you will probably pay the full cost of your insurance. Your employer is unlikely to subsidize your costs.
Often people are lead to believe that group coverage is cheaper because they are unaware that their employer subsidizes their premiums. They are often unpleasantly surprised when they find out how much it really costs.
But often they pay it anyway. They don’t know that group health insurance is usually more expensive than non group or individual health insurance. Many people only shop insurance after COBRA ends.
When they wait until their 18 months is almost over to get the prices for other policies, they are often quite upset with themselves. Most of the insurance coverage that people get through their benefit packages at work is also available to them on a non group basis. You can purchase life insurance or dental insurance for the unemployed without going through an employer.
Be sure to get quotes for health insurance today. You may be surprised to find that your cost for COBRA insurance is higher than you would pay with another policy that provides the same coverage.