Tag Archives: Health Coverage

Expatriate Insurance: You Shouldn’t Live Abroad Without It

Expatriate Insurance: You Shouldn’t Live Abroad Without It

While living abroad for the next year is an exciting prospect, there is much to be planned for and considered. One aspect that’s often overlooked is extended medical treatment. Most people living abroad would want to return home for treatment and recovery and to be close to loved ones if they become critically ill.

Many mistakenly assume that if a critical illness should arise, then their managed care plan would take care of things. This couldn’t be further from the case. Your health insurance plan in the United States isn’t designed to cover you when you are out of the country for an extended stay. Medicare and Medicaid doesn’t offer any coverage for any medical expense that develops outside the United States. HMOs or Health Maintenance Organizations will generally cover emergency room treatment wherever you are, but routine health coverage is offered through the state provider networks of your resident state. If you use a network doctor, PPOs or Preferred Provider Organizations will cover a greater
portion of the expense.

Some may turn to travel insurance as a source of extended medical treatment coverage. This too isn’t quite the case. Yes, travel insurance will generally provide you with a certain degree of coverage for illness and injury. The amount and extent of coverage is based on what plan you choose. However, the benefit period is usually only six months. So, if your trip is a year long, then you will only be covered for half of your stay and then be responsible for any incurred medical expenses thereafter.

Expatriate health insurance, by its very name, should alert you that this might be the health insurance you’re seeking. In Latin, ex means away from and patria means fatherland. This insurance is geared toward those that will be away from their home, especially stays that extend past six months. Expatriate health insurance is specifically designed so that you don’t have the geographical limitations and restrictions to provider networks that you have in your managed care plan. Coverage is often only half of the problem when trying to navigate a foreign health system. The expatriate health insurance will also help when dealing with language barriers, transportation to U.S. health care centers, and currency exchange.

Expatriate health insurance plans are divided into two categories:

The first is the basic expatriate plan. This plan offers coverage for care in-hospital and in-patient, meaning it will cover areas such as a hospital
stay, services from a number of medical providers, and ambulance transportation.  Home health nursing care and emergency dental services are also usually covered. Enhancements to the basic plan, such as outpatient services, certain therapy services, and prescription drugs, may be purchased for an additional cost. Many of the basic plans will also offer emergency medical evacuation coverage for an additional cost, which will immediately transport you from wherever you are to the nearest advanced medical treatment center in the event a medical emergency should arise. Most medical evacuation coverage will also include a return fare.

The second category is the comprehensive expatriate health insurance plan.  This is useful if you require more extensive medical coverage, such as for dietary, psychiatric, eyes, ears, chiropractic, osteopathy, rehabilitation, labor and delivery, and home nursing care needs. Certain prescription medications and diagnostic testing may be covered as well.

Like any health plan, the expatriate coverage usually has certain exclusions and restrictions. Most carriers will generally not cover preexisting
conditions; injuries from war, rioting, and terrorism; and those with hazardous occupations. In cases of preexisting conditions, certain carriers may underwrite it for an additional cost.

Expatriate Insurance

Know What to Look for When Buying Individual Health Insurance

Know What to Look for When Buying Individual Health Insurance

Most Americans who have health insurance are covered through an employer’s plan. However, some employers do not offer health insurance coverage. If you work for one of these companies, you will need to purchase private individual health insurance.

There are certain advantages to purchasing health coverage in the private market. Instead of choosing from plans pre-selected by an employer, you decide which plan features you want, and pick a plan accordingly. For example, by choosing a plan with a higher deductible, or one that doesn’t cover certain services, you may realize a substantial premium savings each month.

Instead of having your coverage tied to a place of employment, coverage through a private health plan is yours to keep no matter where you work. A health insurer can’t drop you as long as you pay your premiums on time.

But along with these advantages come some potential disadvantages-

• Employer plans provide considerably more coverage than individual plans, even when you are paying the same premium rate. That’s because with an individual policy, a larger percentage of the premium goes to pay for such operational costs as marketing and paying claims.

• A group plan generally must insure all employees and family members, while individual plans can reject applicants who aren’t in perfect health. They can also offer plans that exclude coverage for certain pre-existing conditions.

• In most states, private health insurance plan premiums increase as you age. Initially, you can avoid these rate increases by periodically changing plans, because new rates tend to be lower than renewals. However, as you get older, it will become more difficult to find a company to insure you and individual policies will get more expensive.

If you do need to shop in the private health insurance market, you first need to find a competent insurance agent.  Determining what kind of insurance you need and how much coverage to buy are complex issues. A good agent will help you assess your situation, and work with you to find the right coverage for your specific needs. The key to a successful working relationship with an insurance agent is trust. You should be able to trust your agent’s knowledge, experience and professional judgment, and you should always feel secure that your agent is acting in your best interest. But keep in mind that trust is a two-way street: Your agent also needs to trust you to provide information that is truthful and complete.

If you are comparing several plans, you need to know what to look for before making a decision. When choosing a health plan ask your health insurance agent the following questions:

·   Will the plan cover me for the specific doctor or hospital I would like to use?

·   How does the referral system work?

·   What pre-existing conditions would affect coverage?

·   How will the plan handle care if I (or a family member) am away from home?

·   What is the plan’s monthly premium, and what deductible and coinsurance am I required to pay?

·   Are there other fees, such as copayments and any additional charges if I use providers that are out-of-network?

·   Is there a maximum amount the plan will pay over a year or a lifetime?

·   What types of benefits are specific to this plan?

The purchase of individual health insurance in the private market can seem confusing. Approach its purchase like you would that of any important item-research your options and compare prices, and get the best advice and assistance you can, in this case, the services of Brian Gruss a qualified insurance agent.

How Healthcare Reform Will Affect You

How Healthcare Reform Will Affect You

Just about everyone in the country is wondering how the passage of the health reform bill by Congress will affect him or her. According to Kaiser Health News, this historic legislation could “have an effect on almost every citizen.” People, even those who are unemployed, will be able to get medical care. But professionals who have been enjoying the best health coverage available may possibly see their benefits dwindle.

What Are the Immediate Changes?

There are certain things that will happen in the first 6 months after the bill is actually signed into law:

  • Insurance companies will not be allowed to put lifetime limits on coverage. This means that people with chronic health conditions will never “use up” all of their insurance coverage.
  • People with children on their company insurance plan can keep unmarried dependents enrolled until they turn 26. This is very important because of the number of college graduates who are unemployed.
  • Insurance plans will be required to cover preventative health services like colonoscopies, osteoporosis screening, screening for things like high blood pressure, diabetes, and sexually transmitted diseases and quit-smoking counseling.
  • Pre-existing serious health conditions can no longer prevent people from getting health insurance. They will be able to purchase coverage from a government-subsidized exchange. However, this coverage will not be available until 2014.

Health Insurance Will Be Required

Uninsured people will be required to purchase health insurance by 2014. Subsidies will be available that reduce the premiums subject to income limits.

Penalties will be imposed on people who do not purchase insurance that could be as much as 1% of their income.

Changes to Medicare

Tighter controls may be put on decisions for care that are considered too costly. The care provided to older people may even be restricted. Cancer screening could be denied for older citizens.

The Medicare system will see a huge hit because approximately one-half of the health reform costs for the next 10 years will come from the Medicare budget.

Pre-Existing Illnesses and Loss of Coverage

Starting this year, the health reform bill will ensure that insurers can’t deny coverage to any child based on existing health problems. In 2014, this will be expanded to include all applicants.

Within the first six months of the bill being signed into law, an insurer cannot drop policyholders except in cases of fraud.

Longer Wait Time to See Your Doctor

Millions more people will have access to health care but the number of healthcare workers will not grow quickly enough to keep up. You can expect to wait about twice as long to get in to see a doctor as it did in the past.

Changes to the Coverage You Get from Your Employer

Employers who offer high-value, ‘cadillac’ health plans will probably begin to cut back on those benefits. If they don’t do so by 2019, they could face fines from the government. This could possibly mean no more vision or dental coverage or going to a specialist without a referral from your family doctor.

Benefits for Women

With this new health bill, insurers will have to cover maternity care the same way they cover any other medical procedure, but not until 2014. Employers will also be required to allow break time for mothers who are nursing and a private place where they can use their breast pump.

Losing or Leaving Your Job

If someone quits or loses their job, the same exchanges that help lower income people purchase insurance will be available. This means when you leave your job, you don’t necessarily have to pay the high COBRA costs. This is very important for people with a pre-existing condition. You may even be able to get free health coverage under some circumstances.

Higher Taxes

In 2013, Medicare payroll tax will go up for incomes over $200,000 a year.

Cobra Alternative

When you’re between permanent health insurance plans, COBRA coverage isn’t your only option.  Get the financial protection you need, often
at a lower cost, with Short Term Medical temporary insurance.  Often less costly than COBRA even with  the current government subsidy,*
a Short Term Medical plan is the ideal way to fill a gap in permanent health coverage:

  • Between jobs
  • Waiting for employer benefits
  • Temporary or seasonal employees
  • Newly independent

After a job loss, you might think you can’t afford insurance. But an unexpected illness or injury can strike anytime and leave behind devastating bills. Look at some examples of what you might pay for these injuries and illnesses without the protection of Short Term Medical.
Injury/illness Charges

  • Injuries from a motor vehicle accident $165,818
  • Broken leg from a fall $19,629
  • Pneumonia $128,268
  • Bicycle accident $337,404

These numbers are based on submitted claims.

Short Term Medical makes it easy to protect yourself from unexpected high medical bills.

• Answer just a few questions to apply
• Coverage as early as tomorrow
• Plan durations of 30 to 360 days (varies by state)
• Flexible plan and payment options
• You choose or keep your own doctors

Talk to Brian today about covering your insurance gap with Short Term medical today!
Even a short time without insurance  is not worth the risk!!!