Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3150/all en-US 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-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-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/be-a-smarter-home-buyer-by-avoiding-these-12-house-hunter-cliches">Be a Smarter Home Buyer by Avoiding These 12 House Hunter Cliches</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-pros-and-cons-of-paying-cash-for-a-house">The Pros and Cons of Paying Cash for a House</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/ask-yourself-these-5-questions-before-buying-a-home">Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Buying a Home</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-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-to-choose-a-health-insurance-plan">How to Choose a Health 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/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/critical-illness-insurance-for-wise-bloggers">Critical Illness Insurance For Wise Patients</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/health-care-reform-good-for-people-like-me">Health Care Reform: Good for People Like Me</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-take-advantage-of-obamacare-for-less-financial-risk-and-more-freedom">How to Take Advantage of Obamacare for Less Financial Risk and More Freedom</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-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/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/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</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/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <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> <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/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> </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-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/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-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/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-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/9-big-companies-that-offer-benefits-for-part-time-workers">9 Big Companies That Offer Benefits for Part-Time Workers</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-6"> <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-to-choose-a-health-insurance-plan">How to Choose a Health 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/heres-when-you-should-switch-to-your-partners-health-insurance">Here&#039;s When You Should Switch to Your Partner&#039;s 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/is-pet-health-insurance-worth-it">Is Pet Health 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/critical-illness-insurance-for-wise-bloggers">Critical Illness Insurance For Wise Patients</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-one-time-short-term-health-insurance-makes-sense">The One Time Short-Term Health Insurance Makes Sense</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 9 Big Companies That Offer Benefits for Part-Time Workers http://www.wisebread.com/9-big-companies-that-offer-benefits-for-part-time-workers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-big-companies-that-offer-benefits-for-part-time-workers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/lego_coffee_barista_000060407690.jpg" alt="Finding big companies that offer part-time benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As companies compete for qualified part-time workers, many have realized that offering a benefits package is a great way to attract the best employees. Some offer benefit packages that extend far beyond medical coverage and often include dental, vision, tuition reimbursement, and even childcare costs. While many small businesses also offer terrific perks for part-timers, consider these well-known larger companies with excellent part-time benefits.</p> <h2>1. Starbucks</h2> <p>Starbucks offers employees who work at least 20 hours a week something called &quot;<a href="http://globalassets.starbucks.com/assets/1d87edb61e714f5697bbf7dcce50108d.pdf">Your Special Blend</a>,&quot; which is a unique combination of perks, health benefits, and assistance. Eligibility starts after an employee has worked at least 240 hours over a three-month consecutive period. Specific health benefits are determined based on the employee's location and the proximity to health care professionals. With that said, most part-time employees receive coverage for hospitalization, office visits, lab tests and x-rays, emergency care, prescription drugs, and mental health treatment, including chemical dependency.</p> <p>Along with health benefits, part-time employees are also eligible for dental, vision, disability, and life insurance coverage. Starbucks' robust package doesn't stop there; they also offer college tuition reimbursement, adoption assistance, and short-term counseling for stress related issues.</p> <h2>2. Whole Foods</h2> <p>After a predetermined probationary period, Whole Food employees, who work 20+ hours a week, are eligible for <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/careers/about-our-benefits">health benefits</a>. While not as robust as full-time benefits, they are still significant, especially when combined with their &quot;Personal Wellness&quot; program where part-time employees can earn up to $1,800 annually to cover health deductibles and other out-of-pocket health expenses.</p> <p>Another nice perk of part-time work at Whole Foods is an employee discount of at least 20%, sometimes more depending on the specific store. Also, it's worth noting that domestic partners are eligible to receive the employee discount, too.</p> <h2>3. United Parcel Service (UPS)</h2> <p>According to the UPS website, they proudly offer all part-time employees the&nbsp;<a href="https://ups.managehr.com/benefits.htm">same benefits package</a> that full-time workers receive. This includes medical, dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage. I've personally known several self-employed dads who took part-time jobs at UPS, loading and unloading trucks, simply to get the amazing benefits for their families. They also have a strong tuition assistance program designed to &quot;assist employees in furthering their educational development&hellip; in an ongoing effort to recruit, retrain and develop qualified individuals.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Costco</h2> <p>Costco also offers generous&nbsp;<a href="http://www.costco.com/benefits.html">part-time benefits</a> after new employees have worked 600 hours or 180 days, whichever comes first. Benefits include health coverage (with bi-weekly payroll contributions), dental, vision, and pharmacy, as well as childcare assistance and life insurance. Part-time <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-6-costco-items-will-easily-cover-your-55-membership">Costco</a> employees have the option of enrolling their spouse and children into the benefits program, too. Also, from the Costco website, &quot;employee-paid premiums are withheld pre-tax, which means you get to keep more of your hard-earned money.&quot; Yet another cool money-saving perk of working for the popular warehouse club.</p> <h2>5. Lowe's Home Improvement</h2> <p>New part-time hires at Lowe's are&nbsp;<a href="http://mylowesbenefits.com/part-time/new-hire/">immediately eligible to enroll</a> in medical, dental, vision, short-term disability, life insurance, critical illness, fixed indemnity, 401K, and an employee stock purchase plan. Unlike other employers listed in this article, employees must apply for benefits within 31 days of hire. It's also important to note that part-time employees benefits don't begin until the date that enrollment is completed.</p> <h2>6. Staples</h2> <p>Staples has a strong benefits package in place for part-time employees. Employees, and their children and spouses, are eligible for enrollment after 60 days of employment. The medical plan is currently via AETNA and costs employees approximately $24 per paycheck. That number rises to $65 if you're also covering dependent children and/or a spouse. Oddly, Staples doesn't offer benefits to part-time employees in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Washington, and North Dakota.</p> <h2>7. Home Depot</h2> <p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://corporate.homedepot.com/Associates/Benefits/Pages/BenefitsOverview.aspx">benefits package at Home Depot</a> is available to both part-time hourly and full-time hourly employees. While only full-time employees are eligible for medical benefits, part-timers can still get dental, vision, short-term disability, and life insurance. In addition, many part-time employees can qualify for tuition reimbursement, the employee stock purchase plan, and an employee discount on items purchased at their store.</p> <h2>8. Trader Joe's</h2> <p>The Affordable Care Act has changed how Trader Joe's deals with benefits for part-time workers. If you work 30+ hours per week, you're now eligible for medical, prescription, and dental coverage. Additionally, if you only work 15 hours per week, you're still eligible for basic dental and vision, which is a nice perk for such little hours worked.</p> <h2>9. REI</h2> <p>In recent years, REI has become the gold-standard when it comes to benefits for part-time employees. If you work at least 20 hours a week, you're eligible for the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rei.com/stewardship/report/workplace/employee-pay-benefits.html">REI Flex Plan</a>, which gives employees core health services like preventative care at no cost. The Flex Plan also pays for 85% of the premium for employee-only medical and dental coverage.</p> <p>If you only work 15 hours per week on average, REI offers the Path Plan which pays for 60% of the premium for employee-only medical coverage. REI understands that a healthy workforce is a strong workforce, and strongly encourages employees to live a healthy lifestyle. They reward employees that complete &quot;health and stewardship activities&quot; by using a &quot;points system&quot; where racked-up points can be redeemed for prizes and exclusive discounts.</p> <p>Whether you're a college student looking for work, or someone who desperately needs health benefits for your family, these companies are worth exploring during your job hunt. This is especially true if you need the health benefits more that you need the hourly salary that most of these part-time gigs provide.</p> <p><em>Have you ever had a part-time job that offered a benefits package? Or perhaps accepted a job specifically for that reason?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-big-companies-that-offer-benefits-for-part-time-workers">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/things-to-insure-things-not-to-insure">Things to insure, things not to insure</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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> <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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Job Hunting dental health care hourly workers part-time benefits tuition reimbursement vision Tue, 29 Sep 2015 09:00:29 +0000 Kyle James 1571397 at http://www.wisebread.com Ouch! 5 Ways to Make Paying for the Dentist Less Painful http://www.wisebread.com/ouch-5-ways-to-make-paying-for-the-dentist-less-painful <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ouch-5-ways-to-make-paying-for-the-dentist-less-painful" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_dentist_appointment_000035648156.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to make paying for dentist less painful" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A trip to the dentist might not hurt your pocket if you have dental insurance. All you have to do is flash your insurance card, cover your co-pay, and be on your merry way. But without dental insurance, a routine visit might be more than you bargained for. Not only is there the agony of dealing with all that noisy scraping, sucking, and drilling, but you can get hit with a hefty fee for services.</p> <p>There isn't much you can do to make the actual appointment more enjoyable, but there are ways to ease the financial pain of paying for a dental visit. Take a look at these five tips on how to make paying the best part of your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fight-off-every-cause-of-bad-breath">dental appointment</a>.</p> <h2>1. Save Big With a Dental Discount Plan</h2> <p>If dental insurance isn't offered through your employer and you can't afford monthly premiums on your own, purchase a discount dental plan.</p> <p>These plans vary depending on the plan provider, but are significantly cheaper than dental insurance. For example, the Careington Care 500 Series discount dental plan costs about $159 a year for a family plan, and offers discounts of 20% to 60% for most dental procedures. Instead of paying a usual fee of $57 for a routine six-month checkup, the discounted fee for plan members is $15 &mdash; a savings of 74%. The plan also covers other dental procedures, such as X-rays, fillings, crowns, root canals, tooth replacements, and tooth removals, as well as cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics care for adults and children.</p> <h2>2. Don't Skip Regular Examinations</h2> <p>Going to the dentist might not be the highlight of your day, but skipping regular examinations could end up costing you more in the long run.</p> <p>Regular six-month examinations are crucial for good oral hygiene. Your dentist can identify dental problems early and treat a small issue before it worsens and becomes an expensive one. If you have a small cavity, your dentist might be able to fill the cavity at a small expense. On the other hand, if you ignore a cavity and the decay worsens, fixing the tooth might require more than a conventional filling, and you might need a dental crown. The more extensive a dental procedure, the more you'll pay out-of-pocket.</p> <p>Make sure you visit the dentist at least twice a year for a professional cleaning. And if you experience toothaches, bleeding gums, or other oral problems, let your dentist know sooner rather than later.</p> <h2>3. Negotiate a Cash Discount</h2> <p>If you don't have a dental discount plan or insurance, speak with your dentist's office in advance to see if you can get a discount for paying cash. Some dentists prefer cash payments directly from patients because they don't have to deal with insurance claims. Never underestimate the power of negotiation. If the dentist knows you don't have insurance, he might surprise you and knock money off your bill.</p> <p>&quot;Many dentists will offer around 5% off if you pay cash up front,&quot; says Dr. Lawrence Wallace, CEO of Larell Surgical Consultants, a California company that evaluates claims for insurers.</p> <p>Also, it doesn't hurt to ask dentists to charge you the same rate they charge insurance companies, which is usually 10% to 15% off a regular office visit or procedure. This may not work out, but it's worth a shot.</p> <h2>4. Go to a Dental School</h2> <p>Before a dental student can graduate and start working in a dental office, she needs to practice on real people. This is where you come in. Going to a dental school for routine dental procedures, such as cleanings, fillings, and root canals can result is a cheaper dental bill. To give you an idea of the potential savings, the Indiana University School of Dentistry charges &quot;about half what a dentist might charge for preventative care like a cleaning.&quot;</p> <p>The thought of a student working on your mouth might sound scary. However, these students only perform services on patients as they near graduation, and always under the supervision of an instructor. You can check the <a href="http://www.ada.org/en/coda/find-a-program/search-dental-programs/dds-dmd-programs">American Dental Association's</a> website for a list of accredited dental schools in your area. Personally, I went to a dental school to have my wisdom teeth removed after college when I didn't have insurance. Everything went according to plan, and they got me sufficiently high on gas before the procedure. All things considered, that was the best part of my day.</p> <h2>5. Barter for Free or Cheap Dental Care</h2> <p>If you don't have a lot of cash to pay for dental care, consider bartering for discounted or free services. Maybe you have a skill that can benefit the dentist, such as web design, office cleaning, or marketing skills. Contact the office manager and leave a message for the dentist asking to trade services in exchange for dental care.</p> <p><em>Do you have other ideas on how to save money on dental appointments? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ouch-5-ways-to-make-paying-for-the-dentist-less-painful">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-7"> <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/buying-individual-dental-insurance-online-my-experience">Buying Individual Dental Insurance Online: My Experience</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-choose-a-health-insurance-plan">How to Choose a Health Insurance Plan</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/critical-illness-insurance-for-wise-bloggers">Critical Illness Insurance For Wise Patients</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-big-dental-bills-with-safe-and-inexpensive-products">Avoid Big Dental Bills with Safe and Inexpensive Products</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/health-care-reform-good-for-people-like-me">Health Care Reform: Good for People Like Me</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance dentist discounts healthcare oral hygiene payment plans teeth Tue, 18 Aug 2015 21:00:40 +0000 Mikey Rox 1524689 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Times It's Okay to Borrow From Your Life Insurance Policy http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-its-okay-to-borrow-from-your-life-insurance-policy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-times-its-okay-to-borrow-from-your-life-insurance-policy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_family_000035656690.jpg" alt="Family discovering it&#039;s okay to borrow from life insurance policy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Borrowing cash from your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people">life insurance policy</a> can be better than getting a traditional loan. There's no credit check and you're not obligated to pay back the policy (although not repaying the policy reduces the death benefit paid to your beneficiaries). If you do decide to pay it back, the interest is often lower than a bank loan.</p> <p>Of course, some will argue that you should never ever borrow or take money from your life insurance policy. But it might actually make sense under certain conditions &mdash; like these.</p> <h2>1. You Lost Your Job</h2> <p>You can be a hard worker and give your boss 200%, but there's no such thing as job security anymore, and employers aren't exactly loyal nowadays. Even worse, you may not be fortunate enough to receive severance pay, and unemployment compensation will likely be a percentage of your regular earnings. In a perfect world, we would all have a six to 12-month emergency fund to carry us through tough times. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. If you have a small cash reserve and not enough income to keep up with basic expenses, borrowing from your life insurance policy can provide funds to keep your head above water as you search for another job.</p> <h2>2. You're Temporarily Unable to Work</h2> <p>If you're offered short-term disability through your employer, this is a policy you can't afford to skip. You're probably thinking, &quot;but I never get hurt,&quot; or &quot;I don't do anything to get hurt.&quot; That may be true, but you never know when you might be unable to work for more than two weeks because of an injury or illness. A disability policy pays between 50% and 70% of your regular salary, reducing financial worry and stress while you recover. Yet, not every employer offers short-term disability, and some employees don't think of purchasing a policy on the individual market.</p> <p>If you don't have disability and can't work because of an illness, it might be impossible to make ends meet with a whole life policy as your backup plan. Between the cash value of the policy and any funds in savings, you might have enough to cover expenses until you're healthy to work again. It's not the most ideal solution, but a viable one nonetheless.</p> <h2>3. You Need Cash for a Home Purchase</h2> <p>Between a down payment and closing costs, buying a house is one of the most expensive transactions you'll likely ever make. You can purchase with a minimum 3% down if you have good credit. This is far less than 20%, but still a lot of cash to cough up, especially after factoring in the high price of closing costs, which range from 2% to 5% of the purchase price depending on where you live.</p> <p>If you have some cash saved for a house purchase (but not the full amount), borrowing from a whole life policy helps you purchase sooner rather than later.</p> <h2>4. You're Starting a Business</h2> <p>Punching a timeclock and dealing with a tyrant boss makes for a long, stressful work week (or career, depending how you look at it). Maybe you've had enough and you're ready to start your own business and control your future (which I highly recommend). Unfortunately, it often takes money to make money. If you're not comfortable blowing through your savings account in order to build your empire, borrowing from your life insurance policy can get your business off the ground. Use this money to invest in yourself, and once your company grows and you're earning more than ever before (because, ya know, fingers crossed!), you can pay back your life insurance policy.</p> <p><em>Are there other times that you think are okay to borrow from your life insurance policy? Let us know in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-its-okay-to-borrow-from-your-life-insurance-policy">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-8"> <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/life-insurance-what-to-consider-before-replacing-a-policy">Life Insurance: What to Consider Before Replacing a Policy</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</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/why-women-need-life-insurance-and-what-to-do-about-it">Why Women Need Life Insurance — and What to Do About It</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-much-will-life-insurance-cost">How Much Will Life Insurance Cost?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance borrowing money injury life insurance loans new business new house unemployed Mon, 17 Aug 2015 13:00:22 +0000 Mikey Rox 1518207 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_using_credit_card_000060969640.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to increase her credit score quickly" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit score will determine whether you will get approved for credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, or other loans, as well as impact the interest rate you'll pay. If you aren't happy with where your credit score is today, take heart: There are some simple ways to improve it quickly. Once your credit score improves, you'll be able to enjoy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score?ref=internal">perks like lower interest and insurance rates</a>.</p> <p>Note that while these tips will help you raise your credit score quickly, be patient and remember that it can still take 30&ndash;60 days to see any noticeable improvement.</p> <h2>Credit Utilization Ratio</h2> <p>Your credit utilization ratio makes up 30% of your credit score. It's the number that shows how much debt you have compared to your total available credit. The more unused credit you have available, the lower your ratio. For example, if the credit limit on all your cards total $10,000, but you owe $8,000, your credit utilization ratio is 80%. You're using 80% of your credit. That's pretty high &mdash; a ratio of 30% or less is ideal. There are three main ways to lower your credit utilization ratio.</p> <h3>1. Pay Down Your Debt</h3> <p>Using the above scenario, if you can pay down your debt from $8,000 to $5,000, then your ratio goes down to 50%. Once you lower your debt, your score will see a significant boost quickly.</p> <h3>2. Ask for a Credit Limit Increase</h3> <p>If you aren't able to come up with some cash to pay down your debt quickly, try to get your credit card issuer to raise your limit. If instead of having $10,000 in available credit, you have $15,000, your ratio would go down to 53% with a $8,000 debt. Keep in mind, however, that they'll usually only grant this if you've had a good record with them over the last year. If you've missed payments, you may not be able to get the increase.</p> <h3>3. Sign Up for a New Credit Card</h3> <p>If you've got a lot of credit card debt, getting another credit card may not be the wisest thing to do. But if you need to raise your credit score quickly, this may be your only option. If you can, try to get a card with a 0% intro <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">balance transfer option</a>, which will allow you to transfer your existing debt over and at least get a break from paying interest each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Credits Cards With the Best 0% Balance Transfer Offer</a>)</p> <p>If you can't get approved for credit cards because of your low score, get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best?ref=internal">secured credit card</a>, which even those with bad credit can get approved for. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best 5 Secured Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Credit History</h2> <p>The length of your credit history makes up 15% of your score. If your score is low because you are new to credit, then you will just have to be patient. But you can build up your credit by opening up accounts now and keeping them in good standing in the future.</p> <h3>4. Keep Cards Open</h3> <p>You should not close any existing accounts, as each one continues to contribute to your credit history. In fact, many people hold the mistaken belief that closing credit card accounts will help their credit score, when it will likely have the opposite effect. The longer you've had your accounts, the more it adds your score. Even if you're no longer using your old credit cards, you can cut up the cards or lock them away, but don't cancel them.</p> <h3>5. Become an Authorized User</h3> <p>If you're having trouble getting approved for new accounts, see if you can become an authorized user on someone else's card. But make sure you sign on with someone who is a responsible user. Your score can tank if that person misses payments or has too much debt on that card, too.</p> <h2>Types of Credit</h2> <p>The types of credit in use also makes up 10% of your credit score. These formulas favor those who have several types of loans including home loans, auto loans, student loans, credit cards, and store charge cards.</p> <h3>6. Mix up Your Forms of Credit</h3> <p>While you shouldn't borrow money for a home or car just to try to improve your score, it's worth keeping in mind that even opening a store charge card and using it for a few small purchases may help to improve your credit score slightly.</p> <p>You can also consider opening a specialized card like a branded gas card (that only works for gas station payments). This will help you resist the urge to spend on other things and you'll rack up rewards in no time, such as free gas. Pay the balance off immediately after every use and your credit score will reflect your good credit history, payment history, and increased available credit.</p> <h2>Payment History</h2> <p>Your payment history makes up the biggest percentage of your score &mdash; 35%. There is no getting around the importance of paying your bills on time.</p> <h3>7. Set up Alerts and Auto-Pay</h3> <p>Sometimes payments are missed simply because you forgot or misplaced the bill. These small mistakes add up on your credit score. If you have trouble remembering to pay your bills, then set up automatic payments or set up reminder alerts on your calendar. No excuses!</p> <h2>Credit Monitoring</h2> <p>To maintain a good score, you should be diligent about monitoring your credit, as well. Check your credit report every year at <a href="http://annualcreditreport.com">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> to ensure there are no errors. If you notice a discrepancy, act on it quickly. Your credit score may be unjustifiably low and you may simply need to make a call to correct any issues. In fact, studies have shown that up to 80% of consumer credit reports have an error, which may be costing you up to 50 credit points. Take advantage of services like <a href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.163454&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1&amp;foc2=585847" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">CreditSesame.com</a><img src="http://track.flexlinks.com/i.ashx?foid=1029882.163454&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1&amp;foc2=585847" alt="" border="0" /> to monitor your credit score for free throughout the year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=seealso">Credit Cards That Offer Free Credit Scores</a>)</p> <p><em>These are our recommendations for increasing your credit score quickly. Do you have any suggestions to add? 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/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">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-9"> <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/6-unexpected-benefits-of-secured-credit-cards">6 Unexpected Benefits of Secured Credit Cards</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/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</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/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</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/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">13 Things You Don&#039;t Know About Your Credit Report — But Should</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/6-secured-credit-card-facts-to-remember">6 Secured Credit Card Facts to Remember</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance building credit credit history credit report credit score rebuild credit Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:00:16 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1500837 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: 26 Surprising Things Covered By Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-26-surprising-things-covered-by-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-26-surprising-things-covered-by-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_insurance_000068450329.jpg" alt="Couple surprised at all the things covered by insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on surprising things covered by insurance, smart ways to pay off your mortgage early, and the things you should clean up every day.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/0704/Space-debris-cow-stampedes-and-hot-tubs-26-surprising-things-covered-by-insurance">Space debris, cow stampedes, and hot tubs: 26 surprising things covered by insurance</a> &mdash; If your city passes a new ordinance that forces you to make upgrades to your property to bring it up to code, chances are the ordinance coverage on your homeowners insurance will cover it. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/pay-off-your-mortgage-early/">8 Smart Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early</a> &mdash; Use any windfalls &mdash; tax refunds, bonuses, or commissions &mdash; as bonus principal payments. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://timemanagementninja.com/2015/06/10-areas-of-your-life-to-clean-up-every-single-day/">10 Areas of Your Life to Clean Up Every Single Day</a> &mdash; Get the odds and ends and old receipts out of your wallet or purse. Keep only what you absolutely need each day.&nbsp;[Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="http://couponpal.com/blog/how-to-stay-safe-in-the-summer-sun">How to Stay Safe in the Summer Sun</a> &mdash; Avoid dehydration by avoiding sugary drinks and alcohol. Stick to water and you'll be fine! [CouponPal]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-ideas-for-a-unique-family-vacation">5 Ideas for a Unique Family Vacation</a> &mdash; With hut hiking, you take a multi-day hike with indoor lodging along the way! [Parenting Squad]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/30-Day-Spending-Hiatus-35581363">Take Charge of Your Bank Account With the 30-Day Spending Hiatus</a> &mdash; Make a list of your spending wants versus needs. For the next 30 days, you're giving up everything on the wants list. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T037-C000-S002-6-things-you-must-know-about-class-action-lawsuits.html">6 Things You Must Know About Class-Action Lawsuits</a> &mdash; If you think you've been harmed more than other consumers, you may want opt out of the class and file a separate lawsuit. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="https://www.listenmoneymatters.com/take-a-digital-vacation/">Take A Digital Vacation</a> &mdash; So much of what we read online is negative &mdash; a lot of it pisses us off! If that's the case, you may find that your mood improves after taking a break from your usual online reading. [Listen Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.readyforzero.com/calculating-car-payment-smaller/">Calculating a Car Payment, Why Smaller Isn&rsquo;t Always Better</a> &mdash; Smaller monthly payments can mean longer loan periods&hellip;and it's a good indicator that you're buying more car that you can afford. [ReadyForZero]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyning.com/career/why-apprenticeships-may-be-financially-wiser-than-attending-college/">Why Apprenticeships May Be Financially Wiser Than Attending College</a> &mdash; Apprenticeships allow you to earn money while you're learning the trade. Many offer periodic raises as your skills increase, as well as regular employee benefits like vacations and holiday pay. [MoneyNing]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-26-surprising-things-covered-by-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-10"> <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-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-2 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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-when-you-should-switch-to-your-partners-health-insurance">Here&#039;s When You Should Switch to Your Partner&#039;s Health 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/don-t-cash-that-insurance-check-it-may-not-be-yours">Don’t Cash That Insurance Check; It May Not Be Yours</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/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn&#039;t Cover</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance best money tips insurance coverage Tue, 07 Jul 2015 19:00:14 +0000 Amy Lu 1481414 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/newborn_baby_000046762652.jpg" alt="Man getting life insurance to protect his child" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life insurance isn't your average dinnertime conversation &mdash; no one likes to even talk about it. After all, life insurance is something that you only have to think about when you are old and grey, right?</p> <p>But nothing could be further from the truth. Life takes unexpected turns, and at any age it could be just as important as having a strong emergency fund or funding your retirement.</p> <p>Still need proof? Here are five compelling reasons why <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/universal-life-insurance-and-whole-life-insurance-a-comparison">life insurance</a> isn't just for old people.</p> <h2>1. You're Young and Healthy</h2> <p>Life insurance doesn't pay out until you die, but the best time to buy it is when you are young and healthy, since it's issued on rating scale. The healthier you are, the better the rating. The better the rating, the lower the price.</p> <h2>2. You Want to Boost Your Retirement Funding</h2> <p>401(k), IRA, ROTH, SEP-IRA &mdash; they are all great retirement options. But there are also hefty fees if you want to withdraw early from retirement accounts. Life insurance is the yin to retirement accounts yang. There are two kinds of life insurance: those that expire (term), and those that generate cash value (permanent). If you structure a permanent life insurance policy properly, you can actually use the cash value during your life to help fund your retirement, and even better, the benefits can be tax-free to you.</p> <h2>3. You Got Married</h2> <p>Being single can have many benefits. However, right after you say &quot;I do&quot; is probably the best time to start thinking about life insurance. What if one spouse works, while the other spouse might stay home? Or, maybe one spouse makes a lot more money than the other. However you slice it, life insurance can provide a very valuable asset if something was to happen to the higher-earning partner. You want to make sure you have enough life insurance to cover all your expenses, and then some.</p> <h2>4. You're Having a Baby</h2> <p>If you didn't think getting married was a compelling reason enough, that little bundle of joy should surely spur on the need. Kids bring on a ton more expenses &mdash; day care, education, clothes, food, and not to mention college. Tax-free life insurance benefits can become an important life preserver and ensure your child's well-being.</p> <h2>5. You're Open for Business</h2> <p>So, you've got a rock star business concept and are ready for world domination. If you've got a business partner, then life insurance should be your next step. You share expenses, knowledge, and more. What if something happens to one business partner? You've also got their family, their business interest, and the loss of a partner to think about. Business owners usually opt for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/business-succession-planning-part-2-how-life-insurance-will-insure-the-life-of-your-business">life insurance on each other</a> in what is a called a &quot;buy-sell agreement.&quot; This agreement drafted by an attorney states who gets what when something happens. The most common form of currency to &quot;fund&quot; a buy-sell agreement&hellip;you guessed it: life insurance.</p> <p><em>Do you own life insurance yet? If so, why or why not?</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-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people">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-7"> <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/selling-your-life-insurance-policy-for-cold-hard-cash">Selling Your Life Insurance Policy for Cold, Hard Cash</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/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40">6 Financial Mistakes to Stop Making by Age 40</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/why-women-need-life-insurance-and-what-to-do-about-it">Why Women Need Life Insurance — and What to Do About 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-much-will-life-insurance-cost">How Much Will Life Insurance Cost?</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/what-is-the-life-insurance-application-process">What Is the Life Insurance Application Process?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance business death family life insurance marriage retirement Thu, 11 Jun 2015 17:00:21 +0000 Shannah Game 1447185 at http://www.wisebread.com Follow These 5 Steps to Full Health Care Coverage in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-steps-to-full-health-care-coverage-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/follow-these-5-steps-to-full-health-care-coverage-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_medicine_000044118320.jpg" alt="How to avoid healthcare shortage in retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you sure you'll be able to afford healthcare in retirement? Positive?</p> <p>Consider this: A recent report analyzing the rising <a href="http://www.hvsfinancial.com/PublicFiles/Data_Release.pdf">out-of-pocket Medicare costs</a> estimated that people retiring 10 years from now will spend $9 of every $10 they receive from Social Security on health care, in the form of copays, supplemental insurance premiums, prescription drugs, and things not covered by Medicare such as visits to the dentist.</p> <p>This means that the cost of medical care is something everyone should factor into their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-women-should-know-about-retirement-planning">retirement saving plan</a>. But this is no ordinary expense &mdash; there are specific strategies for saving for health care that can put you in a much better position in your golden years.</p> <h2>1. Maximize Your Social Security Benefits</h2> <p>&quot;The number one thing people should do &mdash; most people aren't aware of this &mdash; is optimize Social Security,&quot; says Ron Mastrogiovanni, founder of HealthView Services, which issued the alarming report.</p> <p>The main way to maximize benefits is to wait as long as possible to start receiving Social Security. A couple retiring 10 years from now at age 65 will receive $142,000 less in lifetime benefits than they would if they worked until age 67, he said.</p> <p>&quot;If you're capable of working, why would you throw away $142,000?&quot; Mastrogiovanni says.</p> <h2>2. Start a Roth IRA</h2> <p>&quot;Under Medicare, they have something called means testing; the more you earn, the more you pay,&quot; Mastrogiovanni says. &quot;Here's the kicker: Those income brackets are not indexed to inflation.&quot; That means that if the government doesn't adjust the income at which retirees are considered affluent, many middle earners of today will end up paying more once they retire.</p> <p>But not all retirement income is counted in this calculation. Money drawn from a traditional 401(k) counts, but money drawn from a Roth IRA or a Roth 401(k) doesn't. So if your regular 401(k) is building up towards a high income in retirement, you might want to divert some of your contributions to a Roth, or convert the account to a Roth, to keep your income below the level where you'll be considered an affluent retiree.</p> <h2>3. Consider a Health Savings Account</h2> <p>Health savings accounts are not generally considered a retirement savings vehicle &mdash; they are meant to help people pay high medical care deductibles with certain insurance plans. But Medicare expert Katy Votava advocates saving excess contributions to HSAs for retirement health care needs.</p> <p>&quot;You can put in significant money and it grows tax free. Most people don't need to spend their full health savings account every year to meet their full health insurance needs,&quot; Votava says.</p> <h2>4. Consider Long-Term Care Insurance</h2> <p>The high out-of-pocket costs outlined in the HealthView report do not include the cost of nursing homes or other long-term care, but those are obviously a major concern when looking at lifetime health care costs. Some advisors recommend purchasing insurance that would protect your savings if you go to a nursing home, while others warn against it. This Wall Street Journal report explores both sides of the <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303425504577352031401783756">long-term care insurance issue</a>.</p> <h2>5. Purchase the Right Supplemental Plan</h2> <p>Your parents or grandparents may not have had to pay anything out of pocket once they qualified for Medicare, but people retiring now and in the future need <a href="http://www.medicare.gov/supplement-other-insurance/medigap/whats-medigap.html">supplemental insurance</a> to cover the copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles that Medicare doesn't cover. You'll also have to pay for a <a href="http://www.medicare.gov/supplement-other-insurance/medigap/medigap-and-part-d/medigap-plans-and-part-d.html">prescription drug plan</a>. Choosing the right plan can be so complicated that many people turn to consultants like Votava to help them figure out which to pick. Before signing up for a plan, make sure it covers your doctors and your medications, because not all plans cover everything, Votava warns.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to ensure sufficient health care coverage in retirement?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-steps-to-full-health-care-coverage-in-retirement">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-11"> <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-reasons-early-retirement-might-be-financially-risky">4 Reasons Early Retirement Might Be Financially Risky</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-enjoy-retirement-if-you-havent-saved-enough">How to Enjoy Retirement If You Haven&#039;t Saved Enough</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-retirement-rules-you-should-be-breaking">6 Retirement Rules You Should Be Breaking</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/7-states-with-the-lowest-taxes-for-retirees">7 States With the Lowest Taxes for Retirees</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/12-things-you-didnt-know-about-retirement">12 Things You Didn&#039;t Know About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Retirement 401(k) healthcare HSA medical social security Thu, 14 May 2015 15:00:09 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1416618 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Times When It's Okay to Drop Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-when-its-okay-to-drop-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-times-when-its-okay-to-drop-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_summer_happy_000034797820.jpg" alt="Woman learning when it&#039;s ok to drop insurance coverage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you really want to be safe, you could buy insurance for just about everything in your life. You can insure your car, home, life, possessions, and can even buy insurance to cover your funeral costs. But with all of that money going out the door, you might not have enough left over to enjoy those things you're insuring.</p> <p>Sometimes, the costs of insurance outweigh the benefits, and the money spent on premiums could be better spent elsewhere. Here are six times when it's worth considering dropping insurance coverage.</p> <h2>1. Collision Coverage</h2> <p>Collision coverage protects your car if it's damaged or suffers a total loss in an accident. If you're still paying off or leasing a car, your lender may require such coverage until you own the car outright.</p> <p>But because vehicle values depreciate every year, the insurer will only pay up to the actual cash value of your car after you've paid the deductible. A vehicle's condition is also factored, so knowing every year your car's actual cash value &mdash; or Blue Book value &mdash; can help you determine if you should drop collision coverage.</p> <p>One rule of thumb is to skip collision coverage if the vehicle's cash value drops below $4,000. The cost of insurance for a low value car could cost more than the total vehicle repair and replacement costs in an accident.</p> <p>Another rule is that if collision insurance costs more than 10% of the value of the car, then it's worthwhile to drop it and put that savings aside for a new car. For example, if collision coverage costs $200 a year on a car valued at $2,000, it's worth keeping the premium for yourself.</p> <p>However, if you don't have enough money set aside to pay for a major vehicle repair after an accident, then you may want to keep collision coverage.</p> <p>With or without collision coverage, you'll still need liability insurance to cover repairs to property damaged by your car in an accident.</p> <p>You also may want to consider where you're driving before dropping collision insurance. Some areas aren't as safe as they might seem, according to Auto Insurance Center. Some rural areas are <a href="http://www.autoinsurancecenter.com/americas-deadliest-driving-counties-and-states.htm">more deadly to drive in</a> than urban areas, the site found.</p> <h2>2. Comprehensive Auto Insurance</h2> <p>This type of auto insurance is usually sold together with collision coverage. Your insurance company may require having both. A comprehensive-only policy may be limited to special circumstances, such as for a classic car that's rarely driven.</p> <p>Comprehensive coverage covers you if the car is stolen, vandalized, or is damaged by fire, weather, natural disasters, or acts of God. It also provides coverage if you hit a house in a one-car accident, a deer or other animal runs into your car, you hit a fence, or experience damage in a riot.</p> <p>Like collision coverage, it could be worthwhile to drop comprehensive coverage if your car isn't worth much and repairing such damage would be more than the value of the car.</p> <p>However, comprehensive is usually a small part of an insurance premium, and you may not be able to drop it unless you also drop collision coverage.</p> <h2>3. Rental Reimbursement</h2> <p>Some insurers include rental car reimbursement in their policies. You may need a rental car if your car is damaged in an accident and is at an auto shop for a few days. But if the accident is someone else's fault, their insurance may pay for your rental car. If you're at fault, it's your expense.</p> <p>Check to see how much you're paying each month, or year, for this type of insurance, and determine if the costs outweigh what you'd pay yourself for renting a car. Is it worth the chance you'll need it?</p> <h2>4. Roadside Assistance</h2> <p>The same logic goes with roadside assistance sold with your car insurance. Chances are you rarely use it and that you have it mainly for the peace of mind when you get on the road.</p> <p>You may already have duplicate coverage by having AAA, OnStar, or some other service, so dropping this insurance coverage is a no-brainer. Or it may be cheaper to call a friend, relative, or even a tow truck when you're out of gas or need a flat fixed.</p> <h2>5. Term Life Insurance</h2> <p>Having term life insurance is meant for exactly that: a &quot;term&quot; of your life. It's a common type of insurance to buy when starting a family, so that your spouse and children aren't left without income if you die during your working life.</p> <p>But if your children are in college and no longer live at home, or you're retired, then extending a term policy may not be worthwhile.</p> <h2>6. Insurance Riders</h2> <p>As part of your homeowners insurance, you may have bought riders to cover expensive items that aren't covered under a normal policy. These can include expensive artwork, jewelry, or heirlooms you've inherited.</p> <p>If you've sold such things or donated them to charity and no longer own them, then it's time to drop these insurance riders.</p> <p>Having too much insurance is an enviable problem. Whether it's life insurance or over-insuring a home and its possessions, it's a good idea to check with your insurance agent each year to determine if you have too much (or not enough) coverage.</p> <p><em>What types of insurance coverage have you dropped?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-when-its-okay-to-drop-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-12"> <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/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">When to drop collision coverage on your car</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/repair-the-car-or-spend-the-cash">Repair the Car or Spend the Cash?</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-mechanical-breakdown-insurance-worth-it">Is Mechanical Breakdown 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/6-mistakes-to-avoid-when-shopping-for-car-insurance">6 Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for Car 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/how-to-get-your-car-stolen">How to get your car stolen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Insurance auto collision coverage premiums rentals Wed, 06 May 2015 11:00:24 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1408966 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Get Cheaper Health Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-get-cheaper-health-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-get-cheaper-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/women_working_out_000014641976.jpg" alt="Women exercising to get cheaper health insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>More Americans than ever are buying their own health insurance plans, but navigating the marketplace has never been trickier. While it's not easy, there's a big upside to the patient-as-consumer healthcare economy: You now have the ability to shop for the most affordable care. All it takes is a little research.</p> <p>Luckily, we've done the homework for you. Read on for our roundup of the best tricks and tactics for spending less on your health care.</p> <h2>1. Participate in Wellness Programs</h2> <p>No-cost health education seminars, 30-day exercise challenges, and gym membership reimbursements are just a sampling of the kinds of wellness initiatives offered by employers across the U.S. Yet, few of us are taking advantage of them. In 2013, fewer than half of all eligible workers took part in clinical screenings offered by their employer, and only 10% joined weight-management programs, according to a government study.</p> <p>But did you know the Affordable Care Act allows employers to offer you up to a 30% reduction in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/fswellnessprogram.html">health insurance premiums</a> for your participation in these initiatives? If that's not reason enough to take part in your employer's wellness program, we don't know what is.</p> <h2>2. Pick Up a Flu Shot Along With That Gallon of Milk</h2> <p>The clinic at your local grocer is a convenient place to get vaccinations and seek treatment for minor health ailments, such as a mild fever or cough. In some cases, it's cheaper, too. Among employers that cover medical services at retail clinics, 8% provide a <a href="http://kff.org/report-section/ehbs-2014-summary-of-findings/">financial incentive</a> to those who seek care there, rather than a traditional doctor's office. Review your health plan and see if you could save money by handing routine medical matters at a retail clinic.</p> <h2>3. Dial Up the Doc</h2> <p>Getting care by phone or video chat can drastically reduce your out-of-pocket medical expenses, not to mention remove the obstacle of having to rise out of bed. On average, the out-of-pocket <a href="http://www.connectwithcare.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Medicare-Acute-Care-Telehealth-Feasibility.pdf">cost for telemedicine</a> is around $40, compared to $95 for a traditional visit to a doctor's office. Telemedicine isn't the right treatment method for every ailment, but rest assured that it's quite sufficient for some. Sinus infections, urinary tract infections, the flu, and the common cold are the most common diagnoses made during telehealth visits. And 83% of the time, patient issues are resolved on the first call.</p> <h2>4. Join an Organization That Offers Premium Discounts</h2> <p>Membership organizations like the Freelancers Union, Writers Guild of America, alumni associations, and the American Federation of Government Employees are dedicated to providing resources and benefits to people connected to a certain cause, general interest, or industry. One of those benefits is group health insurance packages, which often include perks like discounted premiums. AFGE members, for example, get access to <a href="http://www.afge.org/Index.cfm?Page=memberbenefits&amp;FuseAction=Category&amp;CategoryID=53">cheaper health care services</a>, prescription drugs, and discounted dental and vision exams.</p> <p>Of course, not everyone is eligible for membership in these groups, but with a little online research you may be able to find one that's applicable to you. Examples of other member organizations offering health insurance coverage include: AARP Health, Small Business Service Bureau, and the National Association for Female Executives.</p> <p><em>Have you found other ways to reduce your health insurance costs?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-get-cheaper-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-13"> <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/how-to-choose-a-health-insurance-plan">How to Choose a Health Insurance Plan</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/paying-for-pregnancy-and-birth-without-health-insurance">Paying for Pregnancy and Birth Without Health 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/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-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> Health and Beauty Insurance affordable care act insurance discounts retail clinics telemedicine wellness programs Fri, 17 Apr 2015 09:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1392116 at http://www.wisebread.com