Friday, November 16, 2012

Supplementary Insurance Fills New Gaps!

With the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act looming on the horizon, the United States is heading toward a social style system of health care. We are already seeing insurance rates on the rise. Social media is aflame people asking questions and wanting answers. They want to know what they can do to offset the increases in premiums they have or will experience in the coming months and years.

One of the common complaints I hear from people is that their employers have moved to high deductible plans with deductibles ranging anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000. Many of these companies are wise enough to offer their employees access to a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA).Though these types of plans can provide an excellent cost savings, the insured employee and their families are left vulnerable if they don't have the funds in their accounts to fill that deductible should something serious happen.

One person noted that she has a $10,000 deductible plan through her employer, but the employer only offers an FSA which caps out at $2,500 a year and the employees are expected to fund those accounts entirely with their own money. If she uses her insurance and needs the money to pay for care, it is nice to have the $2,500. But that still leaves her three fourths of the way from meeting her deductible. If she doesn't need the $2,500 in her FSA, it is absorbed back into the coffers of the company at the end of the year and she looses money she worked so hard to make. It isn't her employer's fault. The government set the guidelines for the use of FSAs.

One of the solutions to this looming problem has been around for years. Up to this point, supplemental insurance has been a voluntary product business owners have offered to their employees. Enrollment in supplemental insurance plans has gone up dramatically over the last few years. Smart people are learning how to keep their medical insurance costs low and make up the differences in coverage with supplemental insurance products. The money supplemental insurance providers pay to their policyholders can be used in any way they need it' for either doctor's bills or home necessity expenses. If they need it to cover their overlarge deductibles, they have the option. Supplemental insurance plans give people options. Reuters recently published an article about why these plans are becoming so popular.

Supplementary Insurance Fills New Gaps -

Its time to Ask Affleck About Aflac!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Understanding the Basics of Health Insurance

With the recent ruling on the Health Care Penalty Tax by the SCOTUS, and health care in upheaval, it is crucial that we understand what is at stake for us as average, every day Americans. To begin, we need to understand the basics of the plans that are available to us today.

Now, more than ever, health insurance is being viewed as a necessity, providing your family with much needed peace of mind should anything medically serious happen. Generally, good health insurance covers medication, office visits, surgeries and hospital stays. Some health insurance coverage may also include diagnostic and treatment procedures. All health insurance plans cover preventative measures such as shots and wellness check-ups.

There are several basic health insurance coverage plans to consider. In a managed care plan the insurance company offers its own doctors and hospital affiliations. The disadvantage of managed care health insurance coverage is that you’re often required to pay an additional fee should you prefer to visit your own doctor or be admitted to the hospital of your choice.

A fee-of-service plan is a health insurance coverage plan in which the company splits the cost of the doctors and hospital bills with the insured. The insured pays the insurance company a monthly premium, while the insurance company pays a portion of doctor and hospital expenses. Fee-of-service plans provide either basic coverage or major medical coverage. A basic fee-of-service plan covers the hospital room and hospital care and some additional hospital services like x-rays and medications. Basic coverage also includes costs for surgery and some doctor visits. A major medical fee-of-service plan is designed to cover the cost of long term care and major illness.

Next is the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan. Services, such as doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgery, diagnostic tests, etc., are fulfilled by providers under contract with the HMO. The insured, therefore, generally does not have the freedom to choose his or her own doctors or hospital. Typically, the insured is assigned to a primary care provider and must go through this provider in order to be referred to other doctors or specialists (who are also contracted with the HMO in most cases) when necessary.

Medicare is a national health insurance program for people 65 years of age and older, certain younger disabled people, and people with permanent kidney failure. Medicare is divided into two parts:

Part A - Hospital Insurance
Part A helps pay for care in a hospital and a skilled nursing facility, and for home health and hospice care. It does not cost the participant anything when they fit into certain categories such as a permanently disabled person, a US citizen or permanent resident age 65 or older.

Part B - Medical Insurance
Part B helps pay doctor bills, outpatient hospital care and other medical services not covered by Part A. Everyone who enrolls in Medicare Part B must pay a premium.

As Medicare expands, more services become available. There are now Medicare parts C and D, each of them providing different coverages. With more coverage comes more premiums.

COBRA isn’t a health insurance plan, but a government effort to protect people from losing their health benefits in certain situations. Passed in 1986, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires most group health plans to provide a temporary continuation of group health coverage that might otherwise be terminated. Situations that are covered by COBRA may include death of the insured employee, less hours or pay (for reasons other than gross misconduct), separation or divorce, Medicare entitlement, and a dependant reaching the age of 26. COBRA generally applies to all group health plans maintained by employers (with at least 20 employees) or by state and local governments. The law does not apply to plans sponsored by the Federal government, by churches or certain church-related organizations.

Last, but not least is Supplemental Insurance. These plans are not considered coverage like major medical plans. They are usually indemnity plans, which compensate the insured when they experience a loss due to medical treatment. Policies might include coverage for hospitalization, accidents, dreaded diseases, and more. Sometimes referred to as gap insurance, these policies normally pay the insured, not the doctor or hospital, for services they received. There are a wide variety of health insurance coverage plans available to most people.

With a little research, working with either your employer or insurance agent, you can find the perfect plan for you and your family.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An Introduction to Supplemental Health Insurance

“Health insurance is such a racket!” I hear that all the time. Yet, many people residing in the United States have taken great pains to acquire health insurance, while some 15.4% of all people in America are without health insurance. With the threat of illness and injury too great to ignore, people strive to get insured in order to receive health care. Even travelers who only need to stay in America for a few days are still encouraged to buy health insurance just to be safe, and to protect from any possible health-related costs that may occur. Yet, one of the common misconceptions of health insurance is the belief that so long as you have health care coverage, it will be a shield against paying to treat every possible malaise. It's as though once health insurance is there, it becomes a guarantee that the policyholder will receive treatment and medical attention. The reality, however, is that a vast number of disorders and ailments that cannot be covered by conventional insurance. Some of these are life-threatening disorders, such as cancer or heart failure, and often they may involve dire issues that require health coverage. Other insurance companies will provide treatment for emergencies or accidents, but will not involve certain expenses in their scope of coverage, such as the use of an ambulance or the cost of preventive drugs. Insurance companies and their plans often do not include those details in their scope of aid. This reality has given rise to the concept of supplemental health insurance. Supplemental health insurance is an idea that is simple: You have insurance, but, believe it or not, they won’t cover everything. By taking on a supplemental insurance plan, patients may be able to finally receive coverage for very specific medical conditions that can be difficult to deal with. They also help take on the expenses that normal coverage cannot look after all the time, including prescription drugs, round-the-clock nurse attention or lost income due to disease, among others. These policies are different from conventional health care insurance. For one, they are not comprehensive. Like the name suggests, they supplement a policy, not replace it. Most supplemental policies exist to insure against one or two kinds of disorders, where true health insurance can deal with several other ailments. As the name suggests, they supplement existing health care. When combined, a policy holder may find more complete coverage from any possible out-of-pocket costs which could otherwise break people's bank accounts and flush away retirement savings. Supplemental insurance plans can give them the breathing room they need to get through a difficult medical experience and not drown in a sea of medical debt, which is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy today.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Medical Terminology - Just For Fun

Since I haven't posted on my blog in such a long time, I thought it might be fun to post some definitions little kids gave some medical terms.


Artery - The study of paintings.
Barium - What Doctors do when patients die.
Caesarean Section - A neighbourhood in Rome.
Cauterize - Made eye contact with her.
Colic - A sheep dog.
Dilate - To live long.
Enema - Not a friend.
Fibula - A small lie.
Genital - Not a Jew.
Impotent - Distinguished, well known.
Labor Pain - Getting hurt at work.
Morbid - A higher offer.
Nitrates - Cheaper than day rates.
Node - Was aware of.
Insurance - Keeping Bugs Safe.
Outpatient - A person who has fainted.
Post Operative - Letter carrier.
Recovery Room - Place to do upholstery.
Seizure - Roman Emperor.
Terminal Illness - Getting sick at the airport.
Urine - Opposite of 'you're out'.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Is Your Health Insurance World Upside Down?

Almost every day, I talk to people who are worried about the health care system in this country…not necessarily the doctors, nurses and hospitals, but the insurance part of the health care system. Business owners (and their employees) are on edge either because they got a 25%+ increase on their health insurance premiums, or they have had to raise their deductibles to uncomfortable levels to keep their insurance costs low.

I know there are a lot of different things that have affected their need to change their insurance coverage, but there is hope. I am not saying that there is hope in the direction the current administration is driving this health care coverage vehicle, nor in the change they promised. What I am saying is that there is an opportunity for stability in the health insurance lives of the millions of Americans affected by this change. Every day people are turning to Supplemental Insurance. They are finding that SI is a good way to help them bridge the gap between their health insurance coverage and their own out-of-pocket responsibilities.

Supplemental Insurance does not pay the doctor, hospital, technician, facility or therapist (if you are in a health care profession and I missed you, I apologize). It puts tax free (usually) money into your pocket and leaves to your discretion how you spend the money. If you need it for doctor’s bills, fine. If you missed work because of an illness or injury and need to use it to pay that illusive utility bill, fine. If you want to put it in your “fun money slush fund,” it does not matter.
The bottom line is that with Supplemental Insurance (like AFLAC) you have the ability to meet your financial obligations, even in the face of serious medical events.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oregon or Auburn?

Now for a little fun...
The following article came from the NY Times. Enjoy!
January 9, 2011
Oregon or Auburn? The Aflac Duck Is Torn


What is a duck — or more specifically, the Aflac duck — to do on Monday night when the Oregon Ducks play the Auburn Tigers in the Bowl Championship Series title game?

The marketing gurus at the insurance company Aflac posed that tongue-in-cheek question on the duck’s Facebook page on Dec. 28. As the company’s ubiquitous mascot, the duck presumably should side with Oregon. Then again, Aflac’s headquarters in Columbus, Ga., are about 30 minutes from Auburn, Ala., and the Tigers are a favorite of many of the company’s 4,000 employees there.

For several days, a quiet debate ensued, with supporters of both teams posting comments on the duck’s Facebook page to justify its allegiance. Since the holidays ended, there has been a 3,000 percent increase in traffic compared with the reaction to a typical post on the duck’s page, which includes contests and an assortment of nonsports issues.

Some posts about the B.C.S. game included photos of tigers and eagles eating ducks.

Aflac started the debate on a lark; it is not a sponsor of the game. But the response led the company to try unsuccessfully to buy television advertising during the game. Aflac does not plan to do any guerilla marketing in Glendale, Ariz., where the game is being played.

Still, the reaction is another reminder that despite the best-laid plans of marketing executives, some of the most effective advertising is unintentional and unpredictable.

“The funny thing about Facebook is you never know how things will take off and leapfrog,” said Laura Kane, a company spokeswoman. “It is really humbling when this kind of organic thing happens.”

Monday, August 2, 2010

Do I Need Cancer Insurance?

Anyone Can Be Diagnosed With Cancer
Cancer is a scary word. Despite the best efforts of doctors and researchers, cancer remains a concern for many individuals and families. People from all walks of life are at risk, regardless of age, gender or ethnic background. In the US, men have less than a one-in-two risk of developing cancer during their lifetime; for women, the risk is slightly higher than one-in-three.(i) Advances in pharmaceuticals, surgical procedures, and alternative treatments have improved the chances of treatment and survival, and people living with cancer have a much longer life expectancy. But with improved treatments and increasing survival rates comes increased costs.

The Financial Impact of a Cancer Diagnosis Can Be Overwhelming
A strong major medical plan is your first defense against medical expenses when facing a cancer diagnosis, but with rising deductibles, people are increasingly facing a substantial increase in their out-of-pocket expenses before their major medical plan kicks in. According to The American Journal of Medicine, more than 62% of bankruptcies in 2007 were related to medical causes.(ii)

If you are diagnosed with cancer, you should spend your time focusing on getting better, not worrying about your finances. Some expenses are not going to be covered by major medical insurance – including travel, food, lodging, child care and household help. Keep in mind that life at home doesn’t stop either. Car payments, the mortgage, and utilities will continue to come due, whether you can work or not.

Fortunately There Is Cancer Insurance
Cancer insurance can help ease the financial worries that come with a cancer diagnosis. It will help fill in the gaps left by the major medical insurance. There are several cancer insurance options available to people, and trying to figure out which one works best for you and your family can be very confusing. It makes sense to have the tools to find the right insurance plan and the right insurance carrier.

When considering which insurance company to go with, make sure you ask the right questions! Consider the following factors:

1-The Insurance Carrier
There are many different insurance providers, so it is important to consider the company standing behind the product. What do you know about them? How long have they been around? What about their financial stability?

2-Policy Benefits, Limitations and the Definition of Cancer
Make sure the policy you’re considering covers the cost of treating recurrences or another form of cancer. And look for how the policy defines cancer. Most people are not familiar with the key benefits of a cancer policy or how plans are structured. Look for:
- A benefit for the internal diagnosis of cancer
- Strong benefits for radiation and chemotherapy
- Generous Hospitalization Benefits
- Comprehensive Benefits for Surgery
- Benefits for transportation and lodging in case travel is required.
- End-of-Life Care Benefits if the cancer becomes terminal.

3-Rate Stability
Annual rate increases are often considered the norm, but it is possible to find a provider that does not regularly raise premiums. Ask your insurance representative whether the company you’re considering has a history of rate stability.

You’ll find out just how reliable your insurer is when you file a claim. Before you buy, research how quickly they process claims. Do the benefits require coordination with other coverage before the benefits are issued?

5-Spouse & Dependents
Not all policies offer benefits or the same level of benefits to spouses and children. If you are the primary insured, make sure your policy offers coverage for the rest of your family equal to yours.

6-Early Detection & Cancer Prevention
Many of today’s tests and scans identify cancer at its earliest. Some cancer policies offer when you take advantage of those tests, including annual mammogram or prostate screening tests.

Is the policy guaranteed renewable or can your employer or insurance company terminate it at any time? Will your plan be canceled if the employer changes plans? Is the policy portable – Can you take it with you if you leave your job?

Insurance companies’ underwriting questions vary, but one commonly asked question is, “How long have you been cancer-free?” Some companies will not cover you unless you have been cancer-free for at least 10 years. Look for a company that is less strict in its underwriting requirements, and that will cover you if your cancer recurs.

i - Cancer Facts and Figures 2009, American Cancer Society
ii - Medical Bankruptcy in the United States, 2007: Results of a National Study, (Published in 2009), The American Journal of Medicine.