Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3150/all en-US 6 Health Insurance Benefits You're Probably Not Using http://www.wisebread.com/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_gym_towel_82822343.jpg" alt="Woman not using health insurance benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, you're required to buy health insurance or face a penalty of 2.5% of your total household adjusted gross income, or <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/">$695 per adult and $347.50 per child</a>, to a maximum of $2,085 for tax year 2016. So, take advantage of the full list of available benefits and services that come with your program, including health and wellness programs and other perks. Let's review six health insurance benefits you're probably not using &mdash; but should be.</p> <h2>1. Discounted Gym Memberships and Fitness Reimbursement Programs</h2> <p>As of June 2016, an estimated <a href="http://www.ihrsa.org/about-the-industry/">55.3 million Americans</a> paid for memberships to health clubs nationwide. With the average monthly gym fee around $50, gym goers are looking at a $600 expense per year before any other applicable fees, including initiation or locker rental.</p> <p>Many health insurance plans offer one of two ways to lower that hefty annual gym expense. First, some companies, including <a href="http://www.capitalhealth.com/Members/Live-Healthy/Health-Fitness/Health-Fitness-Reimbursement">Capital Health</a>, <a href="http://uhctogether.com/uhcwellness/16181.html">UnitedHealthcare</a>, and <a href="https://www.harvardpilgrim.org/portal/page?_pageid=213,217714&amp;_dad=portal&amp;_schema=PORTAL">Harvard Pilgrim</a>, offer fitness reimbursement programs ranging from $150 to $240 per calendar year (as long as you meet a predetermined minimum of consecutive months attending a gym). Some programs provide the reimbursement as a lump sum, and others do so on a monthly basis. Second, other companies, such as Kaiser Permanente, charge a flat annual fee to access a network of participating gyms. In the State of Hawaii, for example, the cost of this benefit is <a href="https://healthplans.kaiserpermanente.org/federalemployees/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/10/2016-Hawaii-Rates-and-Benefits.pdf">$100 per year</a>, which allows you to cut down that average annual gym expense by more than 83%!</p> <h2>2. Home Fitness Kits and Home Trainers</h2> <p>Due to caretaking responsibilities, physical disabilities, or other limitations, some holders of health plans may not be able to visit a fitness facility. That's why some health insurance carriers offer home fitness kits to those unable to visit a facility or preferring to work out at home. Companies offering home fitness program, such as <a href="https://www.healthpartners.com/hp/insurance/medicare/minnesota-freedom/silver-fit/">HealthPartners</a>, may offer specific options for older adults. The annual fee for home fitness programs ranges from $10 to $30, allowing you to choose two to three kits from a pool of options.</p> <p>Also, check with your provider on whether you can receive a discount for the services of an at-home trainer for your medical condition. For example, <a href="https://www.ghc.org/html/public/services/alternative">GroupHealth</a> can provide coverage or discounts for participating personal fitness and exercise trainers, including yoga, tai chi, and Pilates instructors, within its network.</p> <h2>3. Massage Therapy</h2> <p>When your physician determines that physical therapy is necessary, such in the case of chronic back pain or arthritis, your insurance can help you cover a portion or even a few of your massage sessions. However, check with your plan administrator about the features of your plan. Some plans may offer you one massage therapy session per month at a deeply discounted price in a participating facility within their network and others may offer a discount on massage therapy sessions on an ongoing basis (as long as you use service providers within their network).</p> <h2>4. Vaccines and Screening Tests</h2> <p>Thanks, Obama. Under the ACA, most health plans must cover a <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/preventive-care-benefits/">list of preventive services</a>, including vaccinations and screening tests, at no charge to you. Some eligible preventive services for adults include HIV screening, colorectal cancer screening for adults over age 50, and aspirin use to prevent cardiovascular disease. Many immunization vaccines, including Hepatitis A, Herpes Zoster, and influenza, are also covered. This second benefit can be quite useful during times of outbreaks, such as the <a href="http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/">2016 Hepatitis A outbreak</a> on the Island of Oahu. Remember to stay within your network of providers to avoid any charges. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-places-to-get-vaccinated-for-cheap-or-free?ref=seealso">7 Places to Get Vaccinated for Cheap or Free</a>)</p> <h2>5. Breast Pump and Breast-feeding Counseling</h2> <p>With the average cost of raising a child under age two estimated at <a href="http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/expenditures_on_children_by_families/CRC2013InfoGraphic.pdf">$12,940 per year</a>, parents are always looking to save a buck. Your health insurance plan offers parents a way to save a couple hundred. All health insurance plans must <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/breast-feeding-benefits/">cover breast-feeding equipment and counseling</a> for the duration of breast-feeding.</p> <p>Since the cost of an electric breast pump ranges between $100 and $350, we're talking about some serious savings. For example, my wife's plan fully covered a new <a href="http://amzn.to/2bOrxiX">Medela pump</a>, retailing for almost $300 at a store within her network. Check the rules of your plan for eligible retailers and breast pump models. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-when-you-find-out-youre-pregnant?ref=seealso">8 Money Moves to Make When You Find Out You're Pregnant</a>)</p> <h2>6. Weight Loss Benefit</h2> <p>Some health insurance carriers provide subsidies toward fees for eligible Weight Watchers, at-work, or hospital-based weight loss programs. For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, offers <a href="http://www.bluecrossma.com/plan-education/programs-tools/value-added-programs.html">up to $150</a> per calendar year.</p> <p>If your main resolution this year was to lose some weight, then you can combine your potential weight loss and discounted gym membership benefits to re-energize your promise to get back in shape and improve your health.</p> <p><em>What are other health insurance benefits we're probably not using?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-vital-things-to-remember-when-buying-health-insurance">5 Vital Things to Remember When Buying Health Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-affordable-gym-memberships">5 Most Affordable Gym Memberships</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Still Without Health Insurance? Here’s How Much the Penalties Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-gym-budget-busters">Avoid These 5 Common Gym Budget Busters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-turn-your-walk-into-a-real-workout">5 Ways to Turn Your Walk Into a Real Workout</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance affordable care act benefits breast pumps fitness gym memberships obamacare preventive care reimbursement programs vaccines weight loss Mon, 29 Aug 2016 09:30:28 +0000 Damian Davila 1780048 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Things You Need to Know About Disability Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/68605699.jpg" alt="Family learning about disability insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Insurance. There are probably no other financial terms more likely to induce feelings of sleepiness. Or dread. After all, who likes to spend money on something you hope you'll never have to use? And don't you have enough types of insurance already?</p> <p>Well, without wanting to sound like an insurance salesperson, how would you pay your bills if an accident or illness left you unable to work? That's the risk disability insurance is designed to cover. It would pay a portion of your salary in that situation.</p> <p>The good news is you may already have adequate protection. And even if you don't, the cost of coverage may not be as high as you feared. Here's what you need to know about disability insurance.</p> <h2>1. You Might Need It</h2> <p>When you're young and healthy, it's difficult to imagine life might ever be different.</p> <p>However, the insurance industry is quick to point out that your chances of becoming disabled are higher than your chances of dying prematurely. And the Social Security Administration has a scary-sounding statistic to back that up: Some 25% of 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching retirement age.</p> <p>However, not all disabilities are the same. Some are severe and permanent. About 10% of all Americans are now severely disabled, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many other disabilities are neither severe nor long-lasting. To put the situation in context, the Council of Disability Awareness says the average length of a long-term disability claim is three years.</p> <p>So, when considering your need for disability insurance, it's important not to be scared into overpaying for protection.</p> <h2>2. You Might Already Have Some</h2> <p>Even without buying a disability insurance policy, you might already be at least partly covered.</p> <h3>Workers' Compensation</h3> <p>This program is administered on a state-by-state basis, and some states do not require companies with fewer than four employees to maintain the coverage. However, if you work for a company that <em>does </em>carry workers' &quot;comp&quot; and you're injured on the job or develop a work-related disabling illness, this insurance should cover about two-thirds of your pre-disability income.</p> <p>Still, the National Safety Council points out that only 27% of long-term disabilities are work-related. Most don't even come from accidents; they come from cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses.</p> <h3>Social Security</h3> <p>If you've been contributing to Social Security long enough, you may qualify for disability benefits. To find out, go to <a href="http://www.ssa.gov">ssa.gov</a> and click on &quot;sign in/up.&quot; However, even if you're <em>eligible</em> for Social Security disability benefits, that doesn't mean you'll <em>qualify. </em>Your disability has to be severe enough to keep you from working for at least a year (or be expected to), and it has to prevent you from doing the work you used to do or keep you from &quot;adjusting to other work.&quot; In other words, the program is designed to protect only the most severely disabled.</p> <h3>Self-Insurance</h3> <p>If you experience a short-term disability, you may be able to cover your expenses with personal savings. For example, an emergency fund savings account containing six months' worth of essential living expenses could be viewed as a short-term disability policy.</p> <p>You may be able to tap retirement funds, as well. For example, if you have a workplace plan, such as a 401K, you may be able to take out a low-interest loan. Or, if you have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k" target="_blank">Roth IRA</a>, you can withdraw your contributions at any time for any reason without penalty.</p> <h2>3. You Might Need More</h2> <p>After reviewing all of the above, if you decide to buy additional coverage, check whether it's offered through your employer. That will typically be the least expensive option.</p> <p>If it isn't offered, get some quotes from an online broker, such as <a href="https://www.policygenius.com/">PolicyGenius</a>, <a href="http://di-resource-center.com/">Disability Insurance Resource Center</a>, or <a href="https://www.disabilityquotes.com/disability-insurance/faq-moreabout.cfm">DisabilityQuotes.com</a>.</p> <h2>4. You Can Control the Cost</h2> <p>Key variables that will influence the price of a policy include:</p> <ul> <li>The waiting period. This is the amount of time between the onset of a disability and when the policy will begin paying. The longer the waiting period, the less the policy will cost.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The benefits period. This is how long the policy will pay benefits. You could opt for a policy that pays through age 67, but remember, the average long-term claim is three years, and choosing a shorter benefits period will lower the cost of the policy.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The benefit amount. You may qualify to cover 60% of your salary, but choosing a lesser amount will lower your cost.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The definition of &quot;disability.&quot; Ideally, you'll want a policy that protects you in case you are no longer able to perform the duties of your current occupation (an &quot;own occupation&quot; policy). You could buy a less expensive policy, though, if you're willing to accept one that pays only if you are not able to do other types of work.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Add-ons. You'll be offered numerous policy &quot;riders.&quot; Among those that may make the most sense is inflation protection, which would provide a cost-of-living increase in the benefit amount each year.</li> </ul> <p>Your ability to earn income is one of your most valuable assets. So, if you're not covered by a workplace disability insurance policy, take a few minutes to think about how you would pay your bills if you were suddenly unable to work. And keep in mind that you don't need to buy the most deluxe policy available. Protecting <em>some</em> of your income would be better than protecting <em>none</em> of it.</p> <p><em>Do you have disability insurance?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-flood-insurance">Everything You Need to Know About Flood Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-its-okay-to-borrow-from-your-life-insurance-policy">4 Times It&#039;s Okay to Borrow From Your Life Insurance Policy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-steps-to-full-health-care-coverage-in-retirement">Follow These 5 Steps to Full Health Care Coverage in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-can-you-really-live-on-unemployment">How Long Can You Really Live on Unemployment?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance disability emergency funds illness injury out of work policies social security workers comp Tue, 02 Aug 2016 10:30:12 +0000 Matt Bell 1762585 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/61715372.jpg" alt="Old woman learning if long term care insurance is worth it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Worried about how you'd pay for a long stay in a nursing home? These concerns aren't rare. The 2016 Insurance Barometer Study found that 58% of respondents worried they wouldn't have enough money to afford the costs of long-term care.</p> <p>Fortunately, there is an insurance product that can help ease these concerns: long-term care insurance. It pays for services to help people who need assistance with daily activities, or who require supervision because of a disease such as Alzheimer's. People often use this insurance to cover stays in nursing homes.</p> <p>The U.S. population is aging. The U.S. Census Bureau said that there were 46.2 million people 65 and older in 2014, or 14.5% of the country's population. These people are the prime target for long-term care insurance. But you may need it sooner if you have reason to believe you'll need such assistance earlier in life.</p> <h2>Is It Worth It?</h2> <p>Should you invest in long-term care insurance? That depends on a host of factors. Do diseases such as Alzheimer's run in your family? Did your parents and their parents die young, or did they live to an old age? Did they require long stays in nursing homes?</p> <p>Unfortunately, there's no way to predict whether you will need long-term care in your life. You might be healthy today. You might eat well and exercise regularly. This doesn't mean that your health can't suddenly change.</p> <p>Then there are other financial alternatives to consider. By the time you need long-term care, you might be eligible for the government's Medicaid program, which will pay most of the cost of any stays in critical-care facilities or nursing homes. This program is only open to consumers with few assets. Many senior citizens on fixed-incomes, though, will qualify.</p> <p>Also, Medicare will often pay for the first 20 days that you spend in a nursing home. From the 21st to the 100th day, Medicare requires that you make a co-payment of $161 a day.</p> <p>If you do want to invest in long-term care, know that the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-health-care-terms-youve-heard-of-but-dont-know-what-they-mean" target="_blank">insurance can be costly</a>. The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance says that an insurance policy providing $164,000 in immediate coverage will cost a male age 55 in good health an average of $1,060 a year. A single female in good health would pay an average of $1,390 a year for the same coverage, according to the association.</p> <p>A couple, both age 60 with standard health for that age, would pay an average of $2,710 a year &mdash; the combined cost for both members of the couple &mdash; for a long-term care insurance policy with $164,000 in immediate coverage.</p> <p>Better policies will cost significantly more. The association says that a policy providing $164,000 in immediate coverage at age 60 and $365,000 at age 85 would cost a 55-year-old man in good health an average of $2,075 a year. It would cost a 55-year-old female also in good health an average of $2,411 a year.</p> <h2>Long-Term Care Costs Continue to Rise</h2> <p>According to the 2016 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the cost of long-term care is only getting more expensive. According to the survey, the national median cost of a month's stay in a semiprivate room in a nursing home is $6,844. That figure rises to $7,698 for a month's stay in a private room. The median cost for a stay in an assisted-living facility was $3,628 a month.</p> <p>Other costs associated with long-term care are staggering, too. The Genworth survey found that the median cost for a month's worth of homemaker services was $3,813 and the median cost of a home health aide was $3,861 a month. The median cost of adult day health care services was $1,473 a month.</p> <p>The odds are high that you, too, will need to some form of long-term care as you age. According to a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control, more than 8.35 million people receive support from the five main types of long-term care services: home health agencies, nursing homes, hospices, residential care communities, and adult day service providers.</p> <p>You can't predict today whether you will need such care or whether you'll ever need to use a long-term care insurance policy. But for some, the annual investment does provide peace of mind that if you are hit with a huge bill for a long stay in a nursing home, you won't have to bankrupt yourself to pay for it.</p> <p><em>Have you considered long-term care insurance?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-pet-health-insurance-worth-it">Is Pet Health Insurance Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut">8 Expenses You Should Never Cut</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-costly-health-insurance-mistakes">Avoid These 5 Costly Health Insurance Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/being-asthmatic-just-got-more-expensive">Being asthmatic just got more expensive</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance aging elderly expenses Health long term care insurance nursing homes senior citizens Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1757849 at http://www.wisebread.com Everything You Need to Know About Flood Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-flood-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everything-you-need-to-know-about-flood-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/flood_home_damage_42501358.jpg" alt="Learning everything you need to know about flood insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You'll have plenty of insurance bills to pay when you take out a mortgage loan to buy a home. Fees for everything from title insurance to homeowners and private mortgage insurance will drain your bank account.</p> <p>Adding the cost of flood insurance &mdash; the National Flood Insurance Program says that the average <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover" target="_blank">flood insurance policy</a> costs about $700 a year &mdash; isn't appealing. But here's the thing: That annual premium might seem like a small price to pay if your home is swamped by a serious flood. Water can cause thousands of dollars in damage in a short time.</p> <p>Should you pay extra for this insurance? There is no simple answer. You'll have to determine just how likely it is that a serious flood will drain your savings, and whether you're comfortable betting that your home will stay dry while you own it.</p> <h2>What Is Flood Insurance?</h2> <p>As its name suggests, flood insurance pays out when your home is flooded. You can generally purchase one of two policies, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. The first covers your home for up to $250,000 in damages. The second covers your personal property for up to $100,000. This second policy would, for example, help you replace your flat-screen TV, furniture, and computer if a heavy rainstorm caused your home to flood.</p> <p>You can only buy flood insurance from an insurance agent, not through the federal government. This coverage is not part of your standard homeowners insurance policy. Don't think that your standard home policy will provide you with any payout should a massive storm put your living room underwater. If you want flood protection, you'll need to pay extra for it.</p> <h2>What It Does and Doesn't Cover</h2> <p>It's important to understand, too, that flood insurance won't cover any isolated water damage that your home faces. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, flood insurance covers you for damage caused by a flood. It doesn't cover any losses from random water damage.</p> <p>What's the difference here? The program defines a flood as a &quot;temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.&quot;</p> <p>That's different from general water damage caused by, say, a water heater that blows and floods your basement or backup from a sewer.</p> <p>Flood insurance also provides quite limited protection when it comes to basements. Flood insurance will only cover damage to mechanical systems such as your HVAC and electrical systems and to structural elements. This means that TVs, carpeting, or furniture in your basement won't be covered, even if you do purchase flood insurance.</p> <h2>You Might Not Have a Choice</h2> <p>You might not have a choice to make when it comes to purchasing flood insurance. Lenders require that you purchase a flood policy if you are buying a home in a federally designated flood zone. These are parts of the country in which the risk of flooding is especially high. Lenders won't provide you with a mortgage loan in these areas if you don't first purchase a flood insurance policy.</p> <p>If you don't buy in one of these areas? Then you do have a choice to make. Talk to your insurance agent about whether flood insurance is a smart move for your home. Ask, too, about what your agent's policy actually does and doesn't cover.</p> <p>You might buy a policy and never use it. But if that downpour comes, you might be glad that you invested in this extra form of protection.</p> <p><em>Do you carry flood insurance?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-flood-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance">4 Things You Need to Know About Disability Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-when-its-okay-to-drop-insurance">6 Times When It&#039;s Okay to Drop Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using">6 Health Insurance Benefits You&#039;re Probably Not Using</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-free-medical-supplies-with-flex-spending">Medical Supplies You Can Still Score With Flex Spending</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance coverage flood insurance flood zone nfip policies water damage Mon, 25 Jul 2016 09:30:29 +0000 Dan Rafter 1757112 at http://www.wisebread.com Everything You Need to Know About Buying Travel Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-buying-travel-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everything-you-need-to-know-about-buying-travel-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_climbing_mountain_82713741.jpg" alt="Man learning everything he needs to know about travel insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Choosing the right travel insurance can be a difficult task. With so many policies out there and all with differing service and ease of claims, your head might start to spin. Do you like to scuba dive, sky dive, or high dive? You better make sure you're covered for that. Are you carrying expensive electronics? They should be insured if they're lost or stolen.</p> <p>There's a lot more to choosing the right travel insurance than just finding out how high your hospital bills might be. Let's break down the basics so that you can make an informed decision about which travel insurance is right for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirt-on-travel-insurance?ref=seealso">The Dirt on Travel Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>Travel Insurance Isn't Just Medical Coverage</h2> <p>Before I get started with the five things you should consider before buying travel insurance, I should clarify that travel insurance can cover you for a lot more than just medical emergencies. Most people who are thinking of buying travel insurance are doing so because they're worried about a hospital visit.</p> <p>But you can make claims for stolen goods, broken cameras, canceled flights, family emergencies, lost luggage, and so much more. A good travel insurance policy is basically a universal protection plan to ensure that you're covered for whatever the road throws at you.</p> <h2>What Is the Coverage Limit?</h2> <p>When looking at a travel insurance policy, one of the first things you should look for is the maximum coverage limit on the plan. If you're only covered for $5,000, there's not much point. Medical emergencies can cost tens of thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands depending where you are and what happens to you.</p> <p>A solid plan will cover you for at least $100,000. This limit can go all the way up to $1 million. A high coverage limit is extremely important when choosing travel insurance because if you are injured, fall ill, or need serious medical attention while on the road, you want to make sure that no matter how high the hospital bills are, you won't end up paying out of pocket.</p> <p>The worst thing that can happen to you in a medical emergency is being stuck in a hospital because of a serious injury or illness and then coming out of it and realizing that you owe thousands of dollars. Make sure your plan has coverage of $100,000 or more.</p> <h2>What Activities Are Covered?</h2> <p>What kind of traveler are you? Will you be doing adventure activities like rock climbing, desert safaris, scuba diving, horseback riding, and mountaineering? You should always check your policy to ensure that you're covered for any activities you plan on partaking in.</p> <p>You may expect that travel insurance will always cover you for whatever endeavors you get up to while on vacation, but that simply isn't true. Different plans cover different things and the more adventurous you are, the higher your insurance rates will likely be.</p> <p><a href="http://www.goatsontheroad.com/world-nomads-best-travel-insurance-backpackers/">World Nomads</a> has some of the best travel insurance for backpackers and long-term travelers. They allow you to start your policy while you're already on the road, they make it easy to make claims, and you can keep your policy going year after year.</p> <p>The best part is that they cover you for a huge variety of wacky travel activities. Just look at their list of coverage:</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-06-24%20at%205.02.47%20PM.png" width="605" height="581" alt="" /></p> <h2>What Gear Is Covered?</h2> <p>One of the best parts of a good travel insurance policy is peace of mind, knowing that your electronics and travel gear are covered if lost or stolen. A good travel insurance policy will reimburse you if anything happens to your valuables.</p> <p>The issue with extra coverage on electronics is that most companies have a pretty tight limit on what they will reimburse you for. Generally $500 is the maximum payout for any lost or stolen electronics. Given that the average laptop costs $1,000 these days, and a camera can be even more than that, $500 doesn't go very far.</p> <p>If you're traveling with a lot of gear, you may want to consider buying extra insurance through a specified electronics insurance plan. Clements Insurance offers special coverage for your electronics. They'll allow you to make claims on unscheduled receipts up to $10,000, meaning that you don't have to pre-submit your receipts and the cost of your laptop and camera will probably be covered.</p> <h2>Does the Policy Include Emergency Evacuation?</h2> <p>Emergency evacuation and care is an extremely important part of any travel insurance policy. You want to make 100% sure that if you're in a life-threatening situation, you will be covered for medevac, ambulance, and emergency air lift.</p> <p>The cheapest emergency air ambulance is probably going to cost you $10,000 or more, with <a href="http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/travel/travel-advice/travel-health/the-40000-bali-trip-you-dont-want-to-take/news-story/6f7543e9182911b8a45aa53bf852fd39">international medevacs costing upward of $40,000</a>. That's a purchase you don't want to add to your travel budget.</p> <p>If you're canyoneering in Utah and you fall and break your leg, your policy should cover your evacuation to the hospital. If you're in Thailand when a tsunami hits and you need to be evacuated to a safe place, your plan should cover that as well. Any good plan should cover a medical evacuation expense of up to $300,000 USD.</p> <p>There are also times when an evacuation means that you need to be flown from a hospital to your home country. Standard emergency evacuation usually includes this provision, but you should always check with your insurance provider to make sure. Believe me, you don't want to pay for a medevac from Indonesia to the U.S.</p> <h2>How Easy Is It to Make a Claim?</h2> <p>Just because you have travel insurance, doesn't mean that you can easily call them up at a moment's notice, tell them what happened, and they'll send you a check.</p> <p>The quality of service varies greatly from provider to provider and some make it very difficult and frustrating to make claims. The best companies will allow you to make a claim online and they may have a list of hospitals and clinics that they work with directly so they can pay the bills without you having to pay out of pocket.</p> <p>Keep in mind that travel insurance companies are just that &mdash; companies. They're in the game to make money, so they're not waiting next to the phone, ready to hand out checks to every person who calls in. Even the best travel insurance companies can take a long time to reimburse you.</p> <p>To try to speed up the inevitably slow process, make sure you have all your receipts, necessary forms, and proper documentation when making the claim, and keep it organized until you have been fully reimbursed.</p> <h2>A Few Other Things to Consider</h2> <ul> <li><strong>Multiple Countries</strong>: Some policies only cover you for pre-specified destinations, while others won't cover you at all for countries with government travel advisories.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>24-Hour Emergency Service</strong>: If you're having a medical emergency, you want to make sure that your insurance provider will be there to help you, no matter what time of day or night you call in.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Family Emergencies</strong>: If you're on a long trip and something happens to a loved one back home, your travel insurance policy should cover your flight home to be with that person.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Flight Cancellation Costs</strong>: If you have to pay for a hotel, another flight or some other kind of transportation booking because your airline canceled your flight last minute, your travel insurance should cover the costs.</li> </ul> <h2>Do You Need Travel Insurance?</h2> <p>Ask anyone who has been in a medical emergency overseas without coverage. They'll say <em>yes</em>. Ask any traveler who had medical insurance and thanked their lucky stars that they were covered. They'll say <em>yes</em>. A good travel insurance policy will likely only cost you a few dollars a day, but it could potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars if something does end up happening to you or your possessions.</p> <p>Insurance is the one thing that every traveler should buy before going on a trip, but it's something that you hope you never have to use. Do your research. Find a travel insurance provider that is right for you and make sure your policy covers everything you need.</p> <p><em>Have you ever purchased travel insurance? Did you need it?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Feverything-you-need-to-know-about-buying-travel-insurance&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FEverything%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Buying%20Travel%20Insurance.jpg&amp;description=Click%20To%20Learn%20Everything%20You%20Need%20To%20Know%20About%20Shopping%20for%20Travel%20Insurance!" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Everything%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Buying%20Travel%20Insurance.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></h2> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-buying-travel-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-about-a-price-list-at-the-hospital-or-doctor-s-office">How About a Price List at the Hospital or Doctor’s Office?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-must-know-about-health-care-open-enrollment">5 Things You Must Know About Health Care Open Enrollment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-steps-to-full-health-care-coverage-in-retirement">Follow These 5 Steps to Full Health Care Coverage in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rebuilding-after-a-disaster-create-a-home-inventory-now">Rebuilding After A Disaster: Create A Home Inventory Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-costa-rica-lesson-awwwwwww-they-got-me">The Costa Rica Lesson: Awwwwwww They Got Me</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Travel disaster emergencies lost possessions medevac medical reimbursement traveler's insurance Thu, 14 Jul 2016 09:00:12 +0000 Nick Wharton 1738704 at http://www.wisebread.com Still Without Health Insurance? Here’s How Much the Penalties Will Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_medical_74187691.jpg" alt="Here&#039;s what it will cost you to live without health insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Health insurance is something we all need. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense at times, not being prepared for a medical disaster can completely devastate your finances. In fact, being plagued by enormous medical bills is the number one cause of bankruptcy filings. There are financial, medical, and psychological costs associated with having no health insurance. Here are just a few:</p> <h2>Steep Penalties</h2> <p>If you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-when-you-should-switch-to-your-partners-health-insurance" target="_blank">don't have health insurance</a>, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) dictates that you pay a fee or penalty called the &quot;individual shared responsibility payment.&quot; Any Americans who fail to have <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/plans-that-count-as-coverage/">minimum essential coverage</a> will be charged this penalty.</p> <p>The penalty is <a href="http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-individual-mandate/">calculated in two ways</a>, and you will pay whichever of the figures is higher: It amounts to either 2.5% of your total household adjusted gross income, or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, to a maximum of $2,085. This fee has steadily risen since 2014, so it only makes sense to remain covered. For 2017 and beyond, the percentage will remain at 2.5%, but the flat fee will be adjusted for inflation. If you have health coverage for part of the year, you will only need to pay 1/12 of the annual fee for each month you weren't insured.</p> <p>The penalty is equivalent to the national average cost for a bronze-level health plan, so you would be paying the same amount whether you have health insurance or not. Therefore, it likely won't save you any money to avoid getting health insurance.</p> <h2>What If You Don't Pay the Penalty?</h2> <p>If you don't pay the penalty during tax time, you will not be subject to jail time or any additional fines. However, the IRS can withhold money from your tax refund at the end of the year.</p> <h2>Possible Exemptions</h2> <p>There are <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/">certain health coverage exemptions</a> to the individual mandate charged when you file your federal tax return. For instance, certain life events or financial status may qualify you for an exemption.</p> <p>With the <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/results/2015/details/short-gap">short gap exemption</a>, if you have health insurance throughout the year, but neglected to have coverage for only one or two months, you may be exempt from the fee. However, even if you only missed one day of coverage in a month, the government will deem that you did not have coverage for that whole month. For instance, if you are insured all year, but didn't have coverage June 30 through July 1, the government declares that you missed two months of coverage.</p> <h2>The Statistics</h2> <p>According to the NY Times, a person between the ages of 25 and 34 has a 5% chance of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/20/your-money/weighing-the-risks-of-going-without-health-insurance.html?_r=2">incurring medical bills</a> of at least $27,000 and a 10% chance of incurring medical bills that exceed $13,000. For Americans under the age of 65, there is approximately a 10% chance of incurring more than $30,000 in medical bills in only one year. A very unfortunate 1% of the population incurs more than $115,000 in medical bills in a single year.</p> <p>This is a significant risk and can spell financial ruin and a potential bankruptcy filing. According to the Harvard Medical School, &quot;Unless you're a Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, you're one illness away from financial ruin in this country.&quot; Having health insurance will not necessarily prevent these startling statistics, but they can help protect you from certain catastrophic medical events.</p> <h2>The Psychological Aspect</h2> <p>There is a very defined psychological benefit of having health insurance. Dan Bailey, a consulting health care actuary and a fellow of the Society of Actuaries, found that people who have health insurance are more likely to pursue necessary services than those who don't have health insurance.</p> <p>You are also more likely to take advantage of preventative medical services if you have health insurance. After all, if you're already paying for it, why not take advantage of the free annual physical? In fact, most people don't have health insurance because they can't afford it, not because they think they're invincible.</p> <h2>Cost vs. Value</h2> <p>The <a href="http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/">Kaiser Family Foundation</a> found that a young man between the ages of 28 and 32 can buy a typical silver plan for about $2,800 in annual premiums. While this may end up costing you more than the penalty would, it's not by much. When you consider how much you may end up spending out-of-pocket for something as simple as a back injury, you can clearly see how imperative health insurance really is.</p> <p><em>Do you know of any other monetary or psychological costs of not having health insurance? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/signing-up-for-obamacare-in-2015-heres-whats-new">Signing Up for Obamacare in 2015? Here&#039;s What&#039;s New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-time-short-term-health-insurance-makes-sense">The One Time Short-Term Health Insurance Makes Sense</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-vital-things-to-remember-when-buying-health-insurance">5 Vital Things to Remember When Buying Health Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance affordable care act bankruptcy fees health care health insurance medical bills obamacare Mon, 11 Jul 2016 09:30:35 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1746124 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Powerful Reasons Companies Should Offer More Wellness Programs to Keep Their Employees Healthier and Happier http://www.wisebread.com/5-powerful-reasons-companies-should-offer-more-wellness-programs-to-keep-their-employees-healthier-a <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-powerful-reasons-companies-should-offer-more-wellness-programs-to-keep-their-employees-healthier-a" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_77500397_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="enjoying their employer-sponsored wellness program" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This post is sponsored by Aflac. For more resources, tools, and insights on small business benefits, visit <a href="https://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C820%7C3297&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fad.doubleclick.net%2Fddm%2Fclk%2F300137116%3B126951509%3Bv" rel="nofollow">Aflac.com</a>.</em></p> <p>From gym memberships and on-site massages, to mental health coverage and meal services, according to research by the Society for Human Resource Management, a growing number of companies are boosting the health and wellness benefits that they offer to their employees. In its 2015 Strategic Benefits Survey, the Society found that 69% of human resources professionals reported that their <a href="https://shrm.org/research/surveyfindings/pages/2015-strategic-benefits---wellness-initiatives.aspx">companies offered some type of wellness program</a>. A total of 52% of companies responding to the survey said that employee participation in these programs increased in 2014. There are powerful reasons why more and more companies are doing so &mdash; they&rsquo;re seeing the astounding benefits wellness programs have on their employees, and as a result, on their bottom lines.</p> <h2>Wellness Programs Help Employees Be More Productive</h2> <p>If you're healthy, you'll be more productive. At least that's the thinking of the country's most progressive employers. According to the Division of Population Health and Workplace Health Promotion of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wellness programs can actually <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/businesscase/benefits/">make employees more productive</a>. They take fewer sick days and are more engaged and motivated when at the office. It's not surprising that companies that offer wellness perks continue to do so, and even expand their offerings.</p> <h2>Wellness Programs Save Employers Money</h2> <p>Companies <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/evaluation/cost.html">pay less in insurance and workers compensation costs</a> during the year when they offer robust wellness programs, the CDC says. Healthier employees are more alert and careful, preventing accidents and other dangerous incidents. Not only that, but a program that allows employees to get checkups and screenings to monitor their health will be less expensive than treatments after things get serious.</p> <h2>Wellness Programs Retain Talented Workers</h2> <p>These programs affect retention and recruitment, too. The CDC reports that companies that offer perks such as gym memberships, weight-loss programs, and health assessments <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/evaluation/organizational.html">attract, and keep</a> the most talented employees. That&rsquo;s not surprising since workers report that benefits, especially ones that contribute to their health and wellbeing, give them a sense of trust and loyalty to their company.</p> <h2>Wellness Programs Boost Company Earnings</h2> <p>A study published in the January issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found hard evidence that employee wellness programs benefitted not just workers, but companies. The <a href="https://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/benefits/articles/pages/wellness-corporate-performance.aspx">study tracked the stocks</a> of 45 publicly traded companies that offered robust health and wellness programs from 2009 through 2014. According to the study, the stock of these companies appreciated 235% during this time compared with an appreciation rate of 159% for S&amp;P 500 companies in general.</p> <h2>Supplemental Insurance Adds Peace of Mind</h2> <p>To help support employees during a covered illness that wellness programs can&rsquo;t prevent, supplemental insurance can be an integral solution to the rising costs of out-of-pocket expenses for health care. Rather than pay high premiums or make employees bear the burden of high deductibles, specialized supplemental insurance can help alleviate costs to both the employer and employee.</p> <p>For all these reasons, it&rsquo;s clear that wellness programs that promote health and wellbeing in employees benefit the employers as much (or more) than the workers themselves. It should be powerful motivation for any company to look into offering or even expanding their health and wellness benefits.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="https://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/99116820/289_3297.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-powerful-reasons-companies-should-offer-more-wellness-programs-to-keep-their-employees-healthier-a">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-employee-perks-are-good-for-business">5 Ways Employee Perks Are Good for Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster">How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-steps-to-discovering-your-true-salary-potential">6 Simple Steps to Discovering Your True Salary Potential</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/america-is-the-no-vacation-nation">America Is the No Vacation Nation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-generous-unemployment-benefits-prolong-the-length-of-unemployment">Do generous unemployment benefits prolong the length of unemployment?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Insurance aflac earnings employees healthy productivity supplemental insurance wellness programs Thu, 07 Jul 2016 13:23:31 +0000 Dan Rafter 1741534 at http://www.wisebread.com When Should Single People Get Life Insurance? http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_looking_up_29810428.jpg" alt="Woman wondering if single people should get life insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know the typical market for life insurance: People with families to protect. When these people die, their life insurance policies make payments to their beneficiaries, whether that be their children or their spouse.</p> <p>But what if you're single without children? Is buying a life insurance policy ever a smart move?</p> <p>In most cases, no, you won't need life insurance if you don't have a spouse or any children who count on your income to pay for their daily living expenses. But as with most financial matters, there are exceptions.</p> <p>Here are some of the most common reasons why a single adult without children might consider buying life insurance:</p> <h2>Policies Are Cheaper When You're Younger and Healthier</h2> <p>If you are a healthy and a nonsmoker, you'll pay less for life insurance when you are 24 than you will when you are 30, 35, or older. That's because you're at more of a risk to die.</p> <p>According to Trusted Choice, an independent insurance agent, a 20-year-old male nonsmoker at a healthy weight would pay about $32.53 a month for a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy. That cost rises to $35.69 a month for that same healthy male at 35-years-old. And it soars to $111.38 a month when this same male reaches 50.</p> <p>So, it might make financial sense to buy a life insurance policy when you are in your 20s. Then, when you do get married and have kids, you can change the beneficiaries on your policy to your spouse and children.</p> <h2>You Owe Money With Someone Else</h2> <p>Have your parents co-signed on an auto loan with you? Maybe they've co-signed for that mortgage loan that you are paying off each month. What happens to that debt if you should suddenly die? Your parents will be responsible for paying it off.</p> <p>However, if you have a life insurance policy with your parents named as the beneficiary, they could use the payout from the policy to pay off the debt that they owed with you. Taking out life insurance in this case would serve as a form of protection for whoever was generous enough to take on the risk of co-signing a loan with you.</p> <h2>You're Providing Financial Support to Others</h2> <p>Just because you're not married and you don't have children, doesn't mean that you are not providing financial support to someone. Maybe an elderly parent lives with you and counts on your financial support each month. If you should unexpectedly die, what would happen to that parent? By naming that parent as a beneficiary, you can make sure that they are financially protected.</p> <p>You might even be providing financial support to siblings, nieces, or nephews. The right life insurance policy can make sure that this support continues even after your death.</p> <h2>You Want to Leave a Gift</h2> <p>Maybe you simply want to leave a financial gift to someone who holds a special place in your life, even if this person doesn't really need your financial support. By naming that special person as a beneficiary &mdash; it could be a niece, nephew, partner, or friend &mdash; you'll be leaving behind something of great value should you die.</p> <h2>Term or Whole Life?</h2> <p>Once you've decided that you do want a life insurance policy, it's time to determine what kind of policy you want and how large of a policy you need. There are two main <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people" target="_blank">types of life insurance policies</a>: the cheaper term life, and the more expensive whole life.</p> <p>Term life insurance provides coverage for just a set period of time &mdash; usually 20 years &mdash; but can be bought for as little as one year, or as many as 30. Your premium will usually remain the same during the entire term. Whole life insurance instead lasts, as the name suggests, until you die. Whole life premiums also include an investment component, what is known as the policy's cash value. The cash value will grow during the life of your policy.</p> <p>It's best to meet with a financial planner to determine which type of policy makes the most sense for you. A planner can provide recommendations, too, on how much insurance you should take out to meet your financial goals and how best to structure your policy so that you can provide the most financial protection to your beneficiaries if you should die.</p> <p><em>Do you have life insurance?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-life-insurance-plan">Financial IQ Test: How Healthy is Your Life Insurance Plan?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die">What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance">4 Things You Need to Know About Disability Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn&#039;t Just for Old People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-pet-health-insurance-worth-it">Is Pet Health Insurance Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance beneficiaries dependents estate planning Health life insurance policies single unmarried Tue, 05 Jul 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1741536 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Weird Types of Insurance You Didn't Even Know About http://www.wisebread.com/10-weird-types-of-insurance-you-didnt-even-know-about <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-weird-types-of-insurance-you-didnt-even-know-about" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/babies_twins_crib_000071287585.jpg" alt="Learning about weird insurance that we didn&#039;t even know about" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you read Wise Bread frequently, you know how important insurance is as part of a sensible financial plan. It makes sense to insure your home, your car, and carry health insurance. But over the years, insurance companies have developed policies to protect customers against all kinds of trouble, ranging from natural disasters to identity theft, and getting thunked by a foul ball at a baseball game.</p> <p>Here are 10 of the most unique insurance policies we've come across:</p> <h2>1. Hole-in-One Prize Insurance</h2> <p>Have you ever seen a charity golf tournament where they gave away a car or cash prize to anyone who got a hole in one? Tournament organizers usually protect themselves with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-costly-health-insurance-mistakes" target="_blank">insurance policies</a> to cover the cost of prizes, just in case someone actually gets lucky.</p> <p>Prize indemnification is its own industry, and is often used for similar promotions, like half-court shot contests in basketball, or field goal contests in football. Premiums for these insurance policies are relatively cheap due to the low odds of winning. One company, InsureEvents, says it has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.insurevents.com/prize.htm">insured a $1 million hole-in-one contest</a> for a mere $300.</p> <h2>2. Athlete &quot;Loss of Value Insurance&quot;</h2> <p>During the recent NFL Draft, several players reportedly collected payouts from insurance policies after they weren't drafted as early as they had hoped. ESPN reported that Jaylon Smith, a linebacker from Notre Dame, received $900,000 from such a policy after slipping to the 34th pick in the draft due to concerns over a knee injury. He could have received as much as $5 million had he been drafted higher.</p> <h2>3. Body Part Insurance</h2> <p>We all want to cover our body parts. But for some people, it's not just about clothes. Many people &mdash; often famous athletes or entertainers &mdash; will insure certain body parts that they depend on for their livelihood. Rocker Bruce Springsteen has reportedly insured his voice with Lloyds of London for a cool $6 million. Singer Dolly Parton had her ample bosom insured for $300,000 each. And when football player Troy Polamalu signed a deal to endorse Head &amp; Shoulders shampoo, Procter and Gamble took out a $1 million policy on his flowing mane. There are reports of policies for taste buds, fingers, buttocks, and nearly every other body part you can think of.</p> <h2>4. Riot Insurance</h2> <p>In 2010, the country of Thailand was afraid of losing tourism dollars due to political upheaval and protests. So it offered up to $10,000 to&nbsp;<a href="http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/thailand-extends-riot-insurance-until-end-of-2010-for-tourists/?_r=0">anyone experiencing loss or damage</a> due to the turmoil. It also offered tourists up to $100 per day for travel delays caused by demonstrations.</p> <h2>5. Insurance for a &quot;Change of Heart&quot;</h2> <p>It's a real bummer if your family spends thousands on a wedding, only to have you break off the engagement. To protect against this possibility of cold feet, a company called Wedsure offers insurance that includes coverage for a &quot;change of heart.&quot; In other words, you get your money back if the bride and groom decide to go their separate ways. There are a few catches, though. The coverage only applies to &quot;innocent financiers,&quot; such as the bride or groom's parents, not the bride and groom themselves. And the wedding must be cancelled at least 365 days in advance of the scheduled date.</p> <h2>6. Multiple Birth Insurance</h2> <p>Having twins is exciting, but it's also expensive. In Great Britain, it's possible to hedge against the possibility of having more than one baby by buying special insurance. In essence, parents can buy insurance at the early stage of a pregnancy and then receive a lump sum of cash if they have a multiple birth. This insurance might make sense if you have a family history of twins, or if you've already had a multiple birth and can't fathom adding two or more children.</p> <h2>7. Insurance Against Death by Laughter</h2> <p>Lloyd's of London is known for covering a wide range of things, but the funniest might be the effort to insure a comedy troupe in the event that an audience member died from laughter. According to the BBC, this comedy troupe was so confident in its humor that it asked Lloyd's for insurance just in case the group was fatally funny.</p> <h2>8. &quot;Essential Employee&quot; Insurance</h2> <p>Imagine being so valued by your employer that the company actually takes out an insurance policy in case you leave or pass away. Often called &quot;key person&quot; or &quot;keyman&quot; insurance, this policy offers a lump sum to cover costs like loss of business or training of successors. Usually, these insurance policies are designed to cover the loss of someone who plays a key role in generating profits, or who has a unique skill set.</p> <h2>9. Lottery Insurance &mdash; For Companies</h2> <p>Imagine that you own a company and a large group of your employees entered a lottery pool, and won. You'd be excited for them, right? Well, that excitement might not last if half of your staff decides to retire on the spot. Lloyd's of London is among the companies that offers insurance for such a scenario, to cover loss of productivity and the hiring of temps and new staff.</p> <h2>10. Kidnapping and Ransom Insurance</h2> <p>It sounds like something out of a movie, but it's an actual thing. You can protect yourself if you've been kidnapped, and get reimbursed for any ransom money and expenses once you're freed. Truthfully, these policies are geared more toward businesses with high-profile employees. But individuals can get policies as well. Traveler's Insurance calls this policy a &quot;must-have,&quot; and even <a href="https://www.travelers.com/business-insurance/management-professional-liability/private-non-profit/kidnap-ransom.aspx">produced a two-minute video</a> about it.</p> <p><em>What's the weirdest insurance policy you've ever heard of?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-weird-types-of-insurance-you-didnt-even-know-about">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-happy-hour-help-you-better-manage-debt">Could Happy Hour Help You Better Manage Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance">4 Things You Need to Know About Disability Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/concession-stand-treats-a-license-to-print-money">Concession stand treats – a license to print money.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Still Without Health Insurance? Here’s How Much the Penalties Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance athletes change of heart events kidnapping lotteries prizes ransom weird stories Mon, 16 May 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Tim Lemke 1709579 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_swimming_pool_000020952491.jpg" alt="Learning surprising things homeowners insurance doesn&#039;t cover" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've never read the entirety of your homeowners insurance policy, you might believe you're protected against any kind of problem with your home or property. But the truth is, many things are specifically excluded from most policies. Most of us know flooding and water damage is not generally covered by standard policies. The rest, though, may surprise you.</p> <p>Does your homeowner's policy cover any of these 10 items? If not, consider getting special endorsements or riders to make sure you have the proper level of coverage.</p> <h2>1. Pools</h2> <p>You might think the liability insurance tied to your policy will suffice, but it's probably not high enough to protect you against many pool-related injuries. A typical homeowners policy covers about $100,000 in liability insurance &mdash; but if you have a pool, you'll probably need greater protection. The Insurance Information Institute recommends bumping your liability insurance to $300,000 or even $500,000.</p> <h2>2. Termites</h2> <p>Pests can pose a big threat to your home, but don't assume damage from the little critters is covered. That's because most insurance companies consider damage from termites and other pests to be preventable. Pay attention to moisture around your home, and closely examine any wood for possible pest damage. Also be sure to keep plants and wood piles a good distance from your house.</p> <h2>3. Tree Houses</h2> <p>Many insurance companies place treehouses in the &quot;high-risk&quot; category along with trampolines. Check your policy for exclusions before constructing that clubhouse in the old oak tree.</p> <h2>4. Earthquakes</h2> <p>What's interesting here is that damage from a volcanic eruption usually <em>is</em> covered by most homeowners policies. Earthquakes are a different story, and that also goes for earth tremors, landslides, and mudslides. If you live in an earthquake-prone area &mdash; Californians, I am talking to you &mdash; consider buying extra earthquake insurance.</p> <h2>5. Trees Damaged by Wind</h2> <p>If a tree gets knocked down during a storm and damages your house, the repairs to your home are covered. But <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-when-its-okay-to-drop-insurance">insurance won't cover</a> the actual removal or replacement of the tree itself. This goes for any other shrubs and plants. In general, homeowners insurance only covers damage to plants and trees caused by fire, theft, lightning, and car crashes. So if a car crashes into a tree, you're covered (up to $500.) But if the wind knocks the tree over, tough luck.</p> <h2>6. Expensive Jewelry or Other Personal Property</h2> <p>You may think your wedding ring is covered under your homeowners policy, but unless your hubby bought you a cubic zirconia, it's probably not. Most policies cover personal artifacts up to $1,000 or so. After that, you'll need a separate rider. But don't worry, such riders usually cost less than $100 a year.</p> <h2>7. Your Home Business</h2> <p>It's logical to assume that if you're running a business from your house, that business is covered under your homeowners policy. But that's not necessarily true. If you run a catering business from inside the home and someone gets food poisoning, you're not covered. If you are giving an art lesson and a student breaks a toe, you're not covered. This is especially true if your home business is located on your property, but in a separate structure from your home.</p> <h2>8. War</h2> <p>What's worse than having your house blown up by the enemy? Knowing that insurance won't cover the repairs. Most policies will not pay you back for damage caused by war, terrorism, or nuclear dangers. However, civil unrest, riots, and vandalism may be covered.</p> <h2>9. Many Popular Dog Breeds</h2> <p>Most dogs are covered under your homeowners policy, but only if they are not considered &quot;aggressive&quot; or &quot;risky.&quot; And you'd be surprised how many breeds of dogs are basically uninsurable. The American Veterinary Medical Association lists the dogs most likely to bite humans, and appearing on that list is often a black mark for insurance companies. Blacklisted breeds include Pit Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, Akitas, Rottweilers, and even Chow Chows.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters&#039; Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-facts-about-flooding-and-your-home">10 Surprising Facts About Flooding and Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using">6 Health Insurance Benefits You&#039;re Probably Not Using</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-free-medical-supplies-with-flex-spending">Medical Supplies You Can Still Score With Flex Spending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance">4 Things You Need to Know About Disability Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance dogs earthquakes flooding homeowners homeownership liability pests pools Tue, 29 Dec 2015 14:00:03 +0000 Tim Lemke 1626816 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's When You Should Switch to Your Partner's Health Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/heres-when-you-should-switch-to-your-partners-health-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-when-you-should-switch-to-your-partners-health-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/heart_rate_drawing_000073999547.jpg" alt="Learning when to switch to your partner&#039;s health insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If both you and your spouse or partner work for companies that provide health insurance plans, you have the option of getting coverage through your own employer &mdash; or signing up through your spouse's. If you're unhappy with your current coverage, it might be time to leave your employer's health insurance and switch to your spouse's.</p> <p>But before making that jump, you'll need to look at six key factors.</p> <h2>1. Employee Contributions</h2> <p>Mike Schneider, managing director with NFP, an insurance broker and consultant, said that the first factor that most employees consider is the amount of money they are spending on each paycheck for health insurance.</p> <p>What if the combined employee contributions would be lower if both went on the insurance plan of one spouse? Many will automatically make that jump. Saving money is good, but Schneider warns that the cost of insurance plans is not the only factor that spouses should consider.</p> <p>&quot;The easiest thing to compare are the employee contributions,&quot; Schneider said. &quot;You are comparing the two plans directly. But you have to be careful: Sometimes the employee contributions, while important, are not the only factor you should consider. Many employees only consider the savings in their combined paychecks, but fail to look at anything else.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Deductibles</h2> <p>Employees should also consider the deductibles that they'll have to meet before insurance kicks in. Many employers are moving to high-deductible plans. This means that employees have to shell out more of their own money upfront before their insurance providers begin to cover their medical costs.</p> <p>High-deductible health insurance usually comes with lower premiums, which is why many might be tempted to jump on their spouse's plan. But these plans are known as &quot;high-deductible&quot; insurance for a reason: You might have to pay as much as $3,000 or more out of your own pocket to meet your deductible. Before you move to your spouse's high-deductible plan, make sure that you can afford to cover that deductible should you become seriously ill.</p> <h2>3. Aggregate or Embedded Deductible?</h2> <p>The deductible question becomes even more complicated when an insurance plan is covering an entire family. That's because some plans have what is called an embedded deductible, while others offer an aggregate deductible.</p> <p>Here's how an embedded deductible works: Say your insurance plan's individual deductible is $1,000 and its family deductible is $4,000. If your son has a medical procedure that costs $6,000, you will have to pay $1,000 out of your own pocket to meet the individual deductible. Your insurance will cover the remaining $5,000. However, if your daughter has a medical procedure that costs $5,000, you will again have to pay the $1,000 deductible before your insurance will kick in and cover the remaining $4,000. That's because even after your son's earlier medical procedure, there would still have been $3,000 left over in your family's overall $4,000 deductible. You won't be free of the deductible until you finally pass that $4,000 mark.</p> <p>An aggregate deductible works differently. If your family has an aggregate deductible of $3,000 and your daughter undergoes a medical procedure costing $5,000, you will have to cover $3,000 before your insurance provider begins to cover your medical costs. Your entire deductible will now be met for the year.</p> <p>&quot;The type of deductible might be an incentive or disincentive,&quot; Schneider said. &quot;Say you have one kid who is really sick. Under an aggregate plan, with just one procedure he could claim your entire deductible. With an embedded deductible, he won't.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Network of Doctors</h2> <p>Your spouse's insurance plan might come with lower premiums &mdash; but would you have access to your favored medical providers if you jump to it? That's an important question that people often ignore when tempted by lower premium costs. And it should not be assumed that, say, a HMO plan offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield on your company's insurance will provide the same medical network as the Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO plan offered by your spouse's employer.</p> <p>&quot;There is no guarantee that you will be able to see the same doctors even if your spouse's plan is being offered by the same insurance provider as yours,&quot; Schneider said. &quot;Different plans, even if you'd think they would be similar, often offer access to different medical providers.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Working Spouse Surcharges</h2> <p>Many employers will levy an extra fee when a working spouse, who has access to their own employer-provided health insurance, signs up for coverage under a spouse's plan. This surcharge might be high enough to eliminate much of the benefit of switching to your spouse's insurance plan altogether.</p> <h2>6. Access to Wellness Programs</h2> <p>Schneider says that employees should look at their company's wellness benefits before making the jump to a spouse's insurance. Many companies today offer such healthy-living perks as reduced annual fees to local health clubs, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-costly-health-insurance-mistakes">lower insurance premiums</a> for employees who give up smoking or lose a certain number of pounds.</p> <p>But many companies don't offer these perks to employees unless these workers are on their insurance plans, Schneider said. If you jump to your spouse's insurance? Your access to that half-price gym membership might disappear.</p> <p>&quot;I think people are getting better about doing the research before moving to their spouse's plans,&quot; Schneider said. &quot;A lot of that is because so many companies are rolling out high-deductible plans. That is a huge shock to employees. It is hammering home the message that their health insurance decisions are important, and that they can have a big impact on their finances.&quot;</p> <p><em>Are you on your spouse or partner's health insurance?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-when-you-should-switch-to-your-partners-health-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-about-a-price-list-at-the-hospital-or-doctor-s-office">How About a Price List at the Hospital or Doctor’s Office?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-costly-health-insurance-mistakes">Avoid These 5 Costly Health Insurance Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-a-health-insurance-plan">How to Choose a Health Insurance Plan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-examine-your-healthcare-plan-and-save">How to Examine Your Healthcare Plan and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ouch-5-ways-to-make-paying-for-the-dentist-less-painful">Ouch! 5 Ways to Make Paying for the Dentist Less Painful</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance healthcare high deductibles switching health insurance working spouse Fri, 04 Dec 2015 18:00:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 1618113 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters' Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_holding_umbrella_000079724871.jpg" alt="Man learning reasons he definitely needs renters&#039; insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the U.S., the national rent average rose 3.3% over a year ago rents &mdash; although some cities saw even greater annual increases. Since last year, renters saw their median rent climb 5% in Detroit, 8.5% in Kansas City, and a whopping 14.9% in San Francisco.</p> <p>Faced with ever-increasing rents, many Americans may opt to skip renters' insurance. But while there are many kinds of insurance that aren't worth it, renters' insurance simply isn't one of them. Here are five good reasons why you <em>totally</em> need renters' insurance.</p> <h2>1. Protection for Your Personal Property</h2> <p>A very common renters' misconception is the belief that their landlord's property insurance will cover damage or loss in case of fire or a break-in. But a survey from insurance company Nationwide revealed that 68% of renters ages 23 to 35 would <a href="http://www.nationwide.com/about-us/040814-renters-insurance-survey.jsp">spend an estimated $5,000</a> to replace their belongings if an unfortunate event did occur. Despite the potential big loss, a stunning 56% of the surveyed renters didn't have renters' insurance.</p> <p>A standard HO-4 insurance contract, commonly referred to as renters' insurance, provides the necessary protection for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-need-an-inventory-of-your-stuff-and-its-easier-than-you-think">your personal property</a> against covered perils, including fire, theft, vandalism, and even volcanic eruption. A best practice is to look for a policy that provides 100% replacement cost protection, which may be a bit more expensive &mdash; but ultimately worth every penny. After all, you want to replace your loss with the latest TV model, not one from two years ago.</p> <p>Another best practice: If you're an avid comic book collector, have a taste for expensive imported furniture, or are an early adopter of all things high-tech, look into floater insurance to get the necessary higher-limit coverage that you need for any specialty belongings.</p> <h2>2. Additional Coverage Away From Home</h2> <p>Most policies provide protection for your personal property up to 100 feet from your home, so your stuff is covered when moving or using your building or community's facilities, such as a shared pool or clubhouse.</p> <p>However, there are additional benefits for owning renters' insurance. Depending on your policy, your personal property may also be covered in case of theft <em>outside</em> the premises of your home. Let's imagine that you're using your laptop and expensive high-definition earphones at a coffee shop. You walk away to get a refill and somebody makes a run with your items. The &quot;off premise theft&quot; clause of your renters' insurance may enable you to make a claim for the stolen items.</p> <p>Consult your insurance agent and read the fine print of your policy to learn more about applicable coverages and limitations. For example, if you store many items in a trailer or storage facility for part of the year, you should ask about extended theft coverage.</p> <h2>3. Liability Protection</h2> <p>Life happens. Say one night one of your friends slips and falls down the stairs at your apartment, severely hurting her back. Or your dog bites your neighbor's son, requiring your neighbor to spend several hundred dollars in medical expenses. While you can't prevent every single event, you can buy coverage against potential lawsuits.</p> <p>If you are held legally liable by a court, then the liability portion of your renters' insurance would cover payouts for medical bills related to the accident, or replacement costs for the other party's property damaged at your home.</p> <p>Keep in mind that your dog's breed may affect your monthly premium or even your eligibility for coverage. Many insurance companies will deny coverage for pit bulls, Staffordshire terriers, doberman pinschers, rottweilers, and German shepherds. When shopping for renters' insurance, provide full disclosure of your dog's breed and history of biting or abuse (in the case of rescue dogs).</p> <h2>4. Affordable Price for Loss and Liability Protection</h2> <p>In the survey from Nationwide, three out of four of those without renters' insurance don't realize they can get monthly coverage for as little as the cost of a pair of movie tickets.</p> <p>According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average renters' insurance policy costs between <a href="http://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_renters_0812.htm">$15 and $30 month</a> for $30,000 to $50,000 of property coverage, with a deductible ranging from $500 to $1,000.</p> <p>However, lower prices are possible. In 2014, a writer for Forbes magazine was able to find a renters' insurance policy to cover $25,000 of his personal property for an <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2014/04/08/renting-an-apartment-this-mistake-could-cost-you-5000-or-more/">annual lump sum payment of $150</a> ($12.50 per month). Paying 0.60% to fully protect all of your stuff is as affordable as it gets.</p> <p>Check for additional potential savings for:</p> <ul> <li>Having certain security or fire-prevention systems;</li> <li>Being a non-smoker;</li> <li>Being part of a special interest groups (e.g. labor union, alumni association);</li> <li>Bundling with existing car insurance policy;</li> <li>Staying claim-free for a specific period of time; or</li> <li>Having special status (e.g. senior citizen, college student, or military).</li> </ul> <h2>5. Greater Choice of Rental Opportunities</h2> <p>Last but not least, making the investment in renters' insurance may expand your options when looking for apartments. More and more landlords are requiring renters' insurance from their tenants.</p> <p>The cost of homeowners' insurance is rising faster than that of renters' insurance. For example, in 2012, the average premiums for homeowners' insurance and renters' insurance increased by 5.6% and 0%, respectively, from the previous year.</p> <p>A landlord can only legally require tenants to carry renters' insurance when signing a new contract or renewing an existing lease. By shopping in advance for an adequate policy, you can have ammunition to prevent a rent increase &mdash; or be ready to find a new and better place!</p> <p><em>How are you protecting the personal property in your home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-have-renters-insurance">Why You Should Have Renters Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back">7 Smart Ways to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing apartments liability property damage renters insurance renting theft Wed, 02 Dec 2015 18:07:53 +0000 Damian Davila 1617556 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things You Must Know About Health Care Open Enrollment http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-must-know-about-health-care-open-enrollment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-you-must-know-about-health-care-open-enrollment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/healthcare_costs_000053581848.jpg" alt="Learning things you must know about health care open enrollment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It used to be easy. You got a benefits package at work, selected your health care plan, and your company footed most, if not all, of the monthly premium. But health care reform has brought some changes, and that includes the open enrollment period during which individuals select health plans.</p> <p>Open enrollment for health insurance is November 1 through January 31, 2016, and vanishes just like Cinderella's glass slipper until this time next year. (Some exceptions to the open enrollment period exist, such as marriage, childbirth, or loss of employer-provided insurance.) That means that you've got no time to be lazy when reviewing your health care plan options for 2016 &mdash; and no excuse for not knowing the essentials of picking coverage.</p> <p>Here are the five health insurance basics you <em>must</em> know before selecting a plan during open enrollment season.</p> <h2>1. Name That Plan</h2> <p>Plans change names, and it's common for the plan you had last year to completely disappear and suddenly be replaced by one that you don't recognize. Still, your insurance provider should notify you of any name changes to your existing plan, and provide annual renewal options that'll make the new name (and any other plan changes) clear. Also, keep in mind that a plan's name is less important than its premium, deductible, and benefits; if you can't find the plan you want by name, try searching by benefit levels and price, or contacting the insurer directly to inquire about new options.</p> <h2>2. Three Powerful Letters: HSA</h2> <p>Many employers are now offering what is called a high-deductible health plan. And if you have such a plan, you may be able to take advantage of a powerful addition called the <a href="http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Taxes/Pages/Health-Savings-Accounts.aspx">Health Savings Account</a>. HSAs allow you to sock away money to pay for your out-of-pocket health care costs &mdash; things like contact lens exams, prescriptions, doctor visits, etc. The beauty of the HSA account is that it's tax deductible &mdash; any money you place into this account can be deducted from your taxes the following year. In order to use this benefit, you've got to make sure that your health policy says it's an HSA compliant plan. Check with your HR department for guidance on HSAs.</p> <h2>3. Understand Deductibles</h2> <p>If your deductible is $5,000, then it means that any health care costs you incur during that year up to $5,000 will be your responsibility to pay. Once you hit that $5,000 mark, then your health plan will start covering some or all of your expenses (the percentage also varies by plan).</p> <p>It doesn't matter if you have an HMO or a PPO &mdash; you will most likely have a deductible. Some plans will have a $0 deductible, and others a deductible of many thousands, but nevertheless, it's critical that you know what your deductible is. That is the amount that you'll be responsible for before your insurance kicks in.</p> <p>If you don't have a large emergency fund saved and finances are tight, you might want to consider a lower deductible plan, even if it costs you a bit more per month. It may sound counterintuitive, but paying an extra $50&ndash;$100 a month for a lower deductible plan is probably a lot easier than suddenly coming up with $5,000 to pay the deductible on a hospital bill. In the end, there are no right or wrong choices when it comes to deductibles, but you must know what yours is &mdash; and be comfortable with that amount.</p> <h2>4. You Pay This, They Pay That (AKA Copay)</h2> <p>Your copay and deductible are like peanut butter and jelly &mdash; it's hard to have one without the other. Once you've hit your deductible amount, then your insurance enters the copay zone. This is when your health plan will start to pay a larger percentage of benefits towards your medical expenses.</p> <p>For example, let's say your deductible is $2,000 and you've had a surgery this year, blowing past that deductible amount. You are now in the copay zone, and according to your plan, your copay amount is 20%. That means that you will owe 20% of all future medical costs for the rest of the year, and your health care plan will pick up the remaining 80%.</p> <p>The higher the copay, usually the lower the monthly premium on your health plan, because you'll be picking up more of the bill. The key is picking a plan with a deductible and a copay amount that you and your budget can be happy with.</p> <h2>5. Out-of-Pocket Max</h2> <p>There's one last piece to talk about, and it may be the most important. Your out-of-pocket max is the maximum amount of money that you will have to pay toward your health care in a year. These numbers are usually larger than your deductible amounts. According to the Affordable Care Act, the max out of pocket for 2016 will be $6,850 for an individual and $13,700 for a family plan. These numbers are especially critical to know if you're planning on major surgery or have a serious medical condition requiring ongoing treatment. Purchase coverage and plan your finances accordingly.</p> <p><em>Are you ready for open enrollment?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-must-know-about-health-care-open-enrollment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Still Without Health Insurance? Here’s How Much the Penalties Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-big-companies-that-offer-benefits-for-part-time-workers">9 Big Companies That Offer Benefits for Part-Time Workers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-buying-travel-insurance">Everything You Need to Know About Buying Travel Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-types-of-health-insurance-plans">The Types of Health Insurance Plans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance health care medical open enrollment Wed, 18 Nov 2015 14:15:40 +0000 Shannah Game 1614923 at http://www.wisebread.com The One Time Short-Term Health Insurance Makes Sense http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-time-short-term-health-insurance-makes-sense <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-time-short-term-health-insurance-makes-sense" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/doctor_healthy_heart_000030579790.jpg" alt="Learning about the one time to get short term health insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sarah O'Leary, founder and chief executive officer of national health care consumer advocacy group Exhale Healthcare Advocates, says that you should only pay for short-term health insurance one time &mdash; when you have no other options.</p> <p>&quot;We call them Swiss-cheese policies,&quot; O'Leary said. &quot;They are less expensive because you get what you are paying for. I don't recommend that anyone stay with a short-term policy for long. And I recommend that people only pay for one if they have absolutely no other choice.&quot;</p> <h2>What Is Short-Term Coverage?</h2> <p>As the name suggests, consumers aren't supposed to take out short-term health policies for a long time. The insurers that market these policies pitch them as insurance that consumers can use to bridge the gaps when, for whatever reason, they are between more traditional, long-term healthcare insurance policies.</p> <p>Insurers say that the policies are right for consumers who are between jobs or for those who missed their employers' open enrollment periods and don't want to go months without health insurance coverage. Consumers who think that COBRA temporary insurance &mdash; which allows former employees to continue their health insurance coverage after leaving their jobs &mdash; is too expensive might consider signing up for short-term health insurance, too.</p> <p>O'Leary, though, said that short-term health insurance should always be treated as a last option for consumers. COBRA insurance, if consumers can afford the higher premiums, is a better choice. And traditional long-term health insurance policies always provide better coverage.</p> <h2>Lack of Coverage</h2> <p>Short-term health insurance policies have become even less appealing under the Affordable Care Act. Since they have so many holes in coverage, they don't even meet the Affordable Care Act requirement that consumers carry adequate health insurance. Those relying on short-term health insurance policies will be subject to the same tax penalties as people who have no insurance.</p> <p>Short-term health insurance policies usually don't cover maternity care, treatment for mental illnesses, routine office visits, or preventative care. Because they don't follow the mandates of the Affordable Care Act, short-term health policies also aren't required to provide coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.</p> <p>&quot;Maternity care and delivery usually aren't included. That's a big one,&quot; O'Leary said. &quot;That can cost you up to $40,000 if you don't have the right coverage. You don't see much preventative care covered, either. The holes in these policies can add up to a lot of money.&quot;</p> <h2>The Last Resort</h2> <p>When do these policies make sense? O'Leary says that you should consider them only if you really don't have any other choices for insurance.</p> <p>&quot;These policies are better than no coverage at all,&quot; O'Leary said. &quot;And that's about it.&quot;</p> <p>Say you are switching jobs. You might sign up for a short-term health policy if you know that the gap in your insurance coverage will be especially brief. Some consumers would rather pay the lower premium prices that come with short-term insurance than the higher ones that come with COBRA, which provides far more comprehensive coverage.</p> <p>Maybe you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-costly-health-insurance-mistakes">missed the open-enrollment period</a> to sign up for a traditional health insurance policy, and you don't expect a qualifying life event in the near future that would allow you to sign up before the next open enrollment. A short-term health insurance policy will provide at least <em>some </em>coverage before that enrollment period rolls around again.</p> <p>If you have no other choice but to take out a short-term health insurance policy, make sure to ask your provider exactly what coverage you are getting for your money. You don't want to be surprised by a big medical bill when you visit your doctor.</p> <p><em>Have you ever relied on a short-term health insurance policy?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-time-short-term-health-insurance-makes-sense">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Still Without Health Insurance? Here’s How Much the Penalties Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-vital-things-to-remember-when-buying-health-insurance">5 Vital Things to Remember When Buying Health Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-big-companies-that-offer-benefits-for-part-time-workers">9 Big Companies That Offer Benefits for Part-Time Workers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-must-know-about-health-care-open-enrollment">5 Things You Must Know About Health Care Open Enrollment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance affordable care act cobra doctors health care medical bills short-term health insurance Wed, 04 Nov 2015 11:15:30 +0000 Dan Rafter 1605063 at http://www.wisebread.com Avoid These 5 Costly Health Insurance Mistakes http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-costly-health-insurance-mistakes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/avoid-these-5-costly-health-insurance-mistakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_health_insurance_000014590407.jpg" alt="Learning how to avoid costly health insurance mistakes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How little do most consumers think about their health insurance? The 2015 Aflac Workforce Report found that 23% of adults would rather clean their toilets than research their health benefits during their employer&rsquo;s open enrollment period.</p> <p>This is too bad. Not researching their health insurance choices could cost them.</p> <p>&quot;Too many people get their health insurance from their employers and then never research it again,&quot; says Hector de la Torre, executive director of the Transamerica Center for Health Studies. &quot;They don't change their plans even as their lives change. And that can cost them a lot of money. You need to monitor your health insurance over the years. Most people don't think much about their plans until they're making a co-payment or paying a bill.&quot;</p> <p>Here are the five costliest mistakes consumers make when it comes to health insurance. If you want to keep more money in your pocket, you'll be sure to avoid them.</p> <h2>1. Not Living a Healthy Lifestyle</h2> <p>Dr. Sam Ho, chief medical officer with UnitedHealthcare, says that a growing number of employers are offering their employees <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-get-cheaper-health-insurance">discounts on health insurance</a> premiums if they pursue healthier lives. Your employer might slash $400 off your annual health care premium if you don't smoke. Others might give you a discount if you lose weight.</p> <p>Ho says this trend isn't going anywhere. A recent study by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health found that employers will spend an average of $693 per employee on wellness-based incentives in 2015, up from $430 five years ago.</p> <h2>2. Focusing on Premiums Only</h2> <p>Rebecca Palm, chief strategy officer of Boston-based healthcare expense management company CoPatient, says that too many consumers choose the health insurance option that comes with the lowest premium, whether or not it's the best plan for them and their families.</p> <p>For example, an HMO plan might come with lower premiums than a PPO program. But that doesn't mean you'll be happier with the lower-cost HMO option, Palm explained.</p> <p>&quot;Yes, HMO premiums could be lower, but do you prefer your primary care doctor directing traffic for you, or do you want to go the PPO route, where your care is more self-directed?&quot; Palm asked. &quot;With a PPO plan, you won't necessarily need to ask your primary care physician for a referral before you go to see a specialist. If you see a lot of specialists, you might be happier with the PPO choice.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Not Understanding How Their Plan Works</h2> <p>Matthew Owenby, senior vice president with insurance provider Aflac, said that too many consumers never take the time to fully learn how their health insurance plan works.</p> <p>Some consumers don't understand how a plan's co-pay system works until they actually show up at their doctor's office with the stomach flu. Others don't understand how high their deductibles are, or don't realize that when they have health insurance with a deductible of $1,000, that they'll actually need to have that money available before scheduling an expensive medical procedure.</p> <p>&quot;Most people don't spend enough time researching their options before making benefits decisions,&quot; Owenby says. &quot;The reasons for that are broad. Some people think health insurance is too complicated. Often, the enrollment period offered by employers is too short. Other times, people are feeling healthy and they don't consider health insurance to be a priority.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Going to the Emergency Room Too Frequently</h2> <p>Ho said that hospitals are increasingly investing in freestanding clinics to offer patients an alternative option to the emergency room. These options are less expensive &mdash; and offer shorter waiting times, too &mdash; than do traditional emergency rooms, Ho said.</p> <p>And that's just the beginning. Medical providers are increasingly offering telemedicine and online services for routine and preventive care, Ho said. By using these alternatives, consumers can keep their health insurance fees low.</p> <p>&quot;Emergency rooms should be reserved for true emergencies,&quot; Ho says.</p> <h2>5. Never Questioning Their Medical Bills</h2> <p>Palm said that medical providers aren't perfect; they might charge consumers for a service they never provided. But most consumers simply pay their medical bills without ever reviewing them for mistakes, Palm said.</p> <p>&quot;There is a lot of complexity with medical bills,&quot; Palm says. &quot;Consumers don't always understand what they are being billed for. They just assume that the bill is right and pay it right away. We always encourage people to make sure everything is correct on the bill and to wait to pay that bill until they are sure they are being charged correctly.&quot;</p> <p><em>Are you monitoring your health care costs carefully?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-costly-health-insurance-mistakes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Still Without Health Insurance? Here’s How Much the Penalties Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-about-a-price-list-at-the-hospital-or-doctor-s-office">How About a Price List at the Hospital or Doctor’s Office?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-a-health-insurance-plan">How to Choose a Health Insurance Plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance copays deductibles Health healthcare medical bills Fri, 30 Oct 2015 09:15:33 +0000 Dan Rafter 1602209 at http://www.wisebread.com