Tag Archives: Insurance

Short-Term Health Insurance Can Cover Workers During Job Transitions

Short-Term Health Insurance Can Cover Workers During Job Transitions

Most employees that leave a job also leave their employer-sponsored medical coverage behind. This can be a chancy move, especially if you don’t have other insurance options readily available to you.

If you’ve already left your job, then you’ve most likely already found out that obtaining affordable health insurance isn’t the easiest task when you’re between jobs. COBRA is an option that gives you the right to keep your insurance from your previous employment, but the monthly premiums are usually extremely expensive and something that many simply can’t afford while unemployed.

Temporary insurance, which is a short-term form of health insurance, can be an affordable alternative to the high premiums associated with COBRA. It’s designed to provide a bridge between the gap of finding your next job and leaving your former employer-sponsored plan. Having such a policy can remove the chance of not being protected against unforeseen injury or sickness while you’re between jobs, but pre-existing conditions are usually excluded.

The premiums for short-term coverage policies are relatively much cheaper than those for COBRA, but the cost can still seem expensive for someone without a job. While finances may tempt you to put off insurance until you find another job, you should remember that financial security is the primary reason that individuals purchase short-term health insurance in the first place.

It only takes one unexpected hospital trip or admission to put someone without medical coverage hundreds to thousands of dollars in debt. For example, consider the financial repercussions if you suddenly develop appendicitis and need an emergency appendectomy when you don’t have medical insurance and the average cost of an appendectomy is between $11,000 and $18,000 dollars. Countless financial studies have cited medical bills as one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in America. Having short-term health coverage to carry you until your next job can help avoid the catastrophe of being responsible for the total cost of medical bills from being uninsured.

Aside from the value of financial protection, short-term insurance also helps to avoid having future health insurance claims rejected under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPAA) laws. In other words, individuals that don’t have a break from credible insurance coverage exceeding 63 days are considered to have maintained a continuous coverage, which means that they won’t be subject to exclusions for pre-existing conditions. And, many approved short-term policies are included in the realm of credible coverage, even if they have exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

Depending on specific state requirements, short-term policies may run for a term of anywhere from 30-days to one year. As far as payment goes, most short-term health insurance plans offer two different options – paying through a monthly installment plan or in a single up-front payment that will cover a specific number of days. Generally, single payment plans are slightly cheaper than monthly payment plans.

Of course, temporary insurance is designed to be just that…a temporary solution to ease your health and financial concerns. It’s not designed to last longer than a year and should never be considered a long-term insurance solution. Once you’ve found another job, you should look into your new employer’s insurance offerings and determine when your new coverage would start if it’s elected.

Short-Term Health Insurance

Long-Term Care Insurance: A Multifaceted Protection

Long-Term Care Insurance: A Multifaceted Protection

Child care has historically been America’s number one dependent care concern, but this could be changing in the coming years. Over 77 million American baby boomers are expected to transition into retirement during the next ten years. Experts are predicting that this large aging population will cause the number of individuals in need of long-term care services to double during the next 30 years. In fact, some have estimated that there will be more than 14 million Americans in need of some degree of assistance with their activities of daily living by the year 2035. With these numbers, senior care might soon be the new leading dependent care issue.

The average yearly cost of long-term care is anywhere from $25,000 to $95,000, depending on the area of the country the long-term care services are rendered. Many families find themselves faced with paying for these expensive long-term care services out of their pocket if their loved one is without long-term care insurance. While this can certainly be a financial stressor, money to pay for long-term care services isn’t the only concern when long-term care insurance is absent.

Families facing the out-of-pocket cost of long-term care services will find themselves trying to decide between taking their aging loved one into their own home and personally caring for them -or- finding the funding to pay for a professional caregiver or nursing home bed. Most families that don’t have long-term care insurance to pay for services don’t just have $25,000-$95,000 laying around and will ultimately end up caring for their loved one from home. These families learn quickly that this scenario, especially when combined with the responsibilities of dependent children being in the home, has significant physical, mental, and emotional impacts on everyone in the household.

Caregivers that are also trying to hold a job outside the home will often find conflict between their employment responsibilities and caregiver responsibilities. Most will find the balancing act too difficult and end up quitting or getting fired from their job. The resulting missing income will frequently cause families to find themselves financially struggling, if not drowning.

Caring for an ailing or aged loved one is a full-time 24/7 job in itself. Everyday tasks that were once mundane and almost automatic, such as bathing, eating, dressing, and grooming, suddenly become overwhelming struggles that take a toll on the entire household.

Caretakers often find that they devote so much time to their caretaking role that they tend to neglect their own physical and mental health. The caretaker often abandons healthy eating habits, exercise, and leisure activities as there becomes more and more to do and less and less time to do it within.

Sleep is yet another area of life that often changes. Medical and personal needs of the loved one often require the caregiver to get up multiple times throughout the night. Sleep deprivation has been shown to cause a number of health problems. In fact, multiple studies on long-term caregivers have shown that they have more health problems and a shorter lifespan than those without such responsibilities.

All of the above considered, it shouldn’t be surprising that caregivers suffer from dangerously high levels of stress.

Help Yourself And Your Loved One With Long-Term Care Insurance

Planning ahead now can prevent a lot of stress in the future. Some think of long-term care insurance as an unaffordable luxury, but the price of long-term care insurance is minor compared to the price a caregiver and everyone else in the household often pays with their health and financial stability. While planning for a time when your loved one is no longer mentally or physically able to care for themselves isn’t a fun thought process, it’s vital that you plan for long-term care situations to protect the emotional, physical, and financial well-being of everyone involved.

Since long-term care insurance gives your family the ability to afford expensive professional and semi-professional long-term care, you won’t be worrying about the financial side of things and will be free to focus on your own and your loved one’s emotional issues from the transition.

In summary, the multifaceted protection afforded by long-term care is just too important to the health of your family to overlook. An experienced and reliable financial adviser can help your family design a long-term care plan that’s congruent with both your budget and needs.

— Brian Gruss 509-927-9200

 

Washington Children only Policy

Washington Children only Policy

I would like to draw your attention to my previous post about Individual Health Insurance for Children in Washington State http://www.briangruss.com/children-under-age-19-in-washington/ Time is running out to get children health insurance in Washington State, during this open enrollment period.  Get a hold of me today to get help figuring this all out.  — Brian Gruss 509-927-9200

Lifewise of Washington Application

Lifewise of Washington Application

Please use the lifewise-of-washington-application to apply for a Lifewise of Washington policy, or to change a current policy.  Feel free to email back at brian@briangruss.com or fax 509-210-4870 or mail back to:

Avenue Insurance Planners
PO BOX 1483
Veradale, WA 99037

You may also want to fill out and submit the online version of the application here http://www.briangruss.com/lwwa

If you currently have a Lifewise of Washington plan and have no agent, or an unresponsive agent, please fill out the lifewise-of-washington-producer-of-record form.  Having me as your agent doesn’t cost you any extra.  This will make me your adversary with Lifewise of Washington.

Please don’t hesitate to call me at 800-240-3390 for any assistance in choosing the right plan for you, or in filling out the application.

Children under age 19 in Washington

Yesterday March 15th marked the first day of the open enrollment period for children under age 19 in Washington State to be able to get on a individual health insurance plan.  During this open enrollment period, children under age 19 are guaranteed issue with no health questionnaires being required.  You can setup a policy online for your child at the following links:

Lifewise of Washington

Premera Blue Cross of Washington

Assurant Health

Group Health

If you want to add your kids to your plan, you must do paperwork.  Feel free to email me brian@briangruss.com or give me a call toll free 800-240-3390 and I will get you the correct paperwork right away.

This enrollment period ends April 30th, so you must act quickly.

Obtain Long-Term Care Insurance While Young for the Best Rates

Obtain Long-Term Care Insurance While Young for the Best Rates

An American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance study of all 2005 long-term care insurance applicants revealed that 42 to 58 percent of all applicants between the ages of 50 to 59 qualified for good health discounts. Additionally, the percentage who qualify for good health discounts decreases somewhat for applicants in their 60s, but drops dramatically for applicants in their 70s.

Consumers who are in good health typically qualify for discounts that can decrease the cost of long-term care insurance by 10 to 20 percent each year. This means that a couple can save hundreds of dollars annually for the protection they need.

The researchers exemplified their findings by breaking down the total number of applicants into percentages who qualified for good health discounts by age range:

·   Under Age 30 – 66.5%

·   Between 30 to 39 – 61.0%

·   Between 40 to 49 – 53.7%

·   Between 50 to 59 – 44.2%

·   Between 60 to 69 – 31.9%

·   Between 70 to 79 – 18.8%

·   80 and Over – 11.2%

Eight leading long-term care insurers that represent approximately 80 percent of all individual policies sold in the U.S provided the study data. The researchers concluded from examining the statistics that consumers understand they will need long-term care at some point in their life. However, they often wait too long to plan for that eventuality. This failure to plan causes them to purchase long-term care insurance late in life and they end up paying a much higher premium as a result. The researchers went on to note that consumers don’t realize changes in their health can result in higher premiums for long-term care insurance, or make them ineligible for coverage at all.

There were two other important conclusions drawn from the study. First, consumers should begin investigating long-term care insurance options while they are still in good health, which for most people is in their 50s. The second is that consumers with less than perfect health should seek advice from a long-term care specialist who knows which health conditions various insurers will accept. Once a consumer has been declined by one insurer, they may find it impossible to obtain coverage from any insurer.

Study Shows Shorter Duration Long-Term Care Policies Are Adequate to Meet Most People’s Needs

When asked why they haven’t purchased long-term care insurance, most people answer that the coverage is simply too expensive. However, that excuse may be eliminated thanks to a national study conducted by Milliman, a leading independent national long-term care insurance actuarial firm.

The researchers examined claims data from approximately 1.6 million policies currently in-force. Their goal was to determine what percentage of long-term care insurance claimants with shorter duration policies actually exhausted all of their policy benefits. What they discovered is that only 14.4 percent of closed long-term care insurance claims lasted longer than 24 months. The study further revealed that approximately 33.2 percent of open claims last longer than 24 months, only 5.6 percent of closed claims lasted longer than 36 months, and only 16.2 percent of open claims last longer than 36 months. The study concluded that for a three-year benefit period, only 8 out of every 100 claimants exhausted their benefits.

Of course, there are catastrophic situations where individuals may need long-term care for many years. However, according to the study’s findings, the majority of consumers can receive adequate long-term care insurance protection with a shorter-duration policy. This is an important discovery, especially for those who believe unlimited protection is too expensive. The researchers added that some protection is better than none at all, and a shorter-duration policy is clearly more affordable. A consumer can reduce the cost of long-term insurance protection by 35 to 40 percent by purchasing a three-year benefit versus an unlimited benefit.

In an April 2006 article entitled Six Steps To Buying A Long-Term Care Policy, which was published on www.kiplinger.com, the author Kimberly Lankford offers the following advice about choosing a long-term care insurance benefit period:

“Increasing your benefit period from three years to lifetime could double your annual premium, so you should weigh the odds that you’ll need long-lasting care versus the extra price you’ll pay for coverage. The average nursing home stay is less than three years, but those averages include people who are in a nursing home for just a few weeks after a hospital stay and others who are in the nursing home for a decade or more, says Driscoll. (Marilee Driscoll is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Long-Term Care Planning and is quoted throughout Lankford’s article.)

“And these statistics do not include the home health care, assisted-living facility care and informal (unpaid) care received elsewhere,” she says.

Most people opt for a three-year or five-year benefit period, but it may be worthwhile to pay extra for a longer benefit period if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s or some other chronic disease.

If you’re trying to save money, Driscoll recommends shortening the benefit period rather than extending the waiting period.”