Group Health Insurance
Health care reform
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
Individual Health Insurance
Long Term Care Insurance
Medicare related coverage
02-07-2009by Colleen King
Last weekend I was at a seminar and met a lovely woman named Lisa, who owns a PR firm and is getting married soon. We were talking about our businesses, I told her about my blog and that I was looking for questions. She had a question about Life Insurance.
She wanted to know what changes she might need to make on her existing life insurance policy. Here are some things you need to consider:
Changing the beneficiary. Depending on what you had the policy for before, you will probably want to change the beneficiary to your new spouse. If you had kids from a prior marriage/relationship, and the policy was intended to take care of them, you need to either keep them as beneficiary (depending on their age) or whomever would be the guardian if something happened to you.
Do you need more coverage? If your policy was intended to take care of you and your assets, reassess where you stand now financially. If you are buying a bigger house, or moving into theirs and the expenses are going up, you might need more coverage. Depending on cost and your health situation, you might do a whole new policy or just add a second to what you already have.
If your needs have decreased, lots of people forget to re-evaluate their life insurance coverage. You might be able to lower your costs with a new policy for a lower face value.
If your policy was covering business needs, and those have changed, you might be able to make the business and your spouse co-beneficiaries and eliminate the need for buying new coverage.
So in short, add up the annual cost of keeping your honey’s life style at the same level it is now, figure out what your financial contribution to that is, and look into the cost of a new policy. Life insurance in general is for income replacement, so see what is affordable without making you “insurance poor.” For help, call your friendly local insurance agent.
Be Well!...read more
01-22-2009by Colleen King
Now that we have our new president in place and we’re all hoping things financially will improve, let’s talk about the reform of the health care/insurance system.
It’s not going to be free, in fact it could be quite costly. Are you will to do it? Here is an excerpt from an article the Associate Press ran on January 19th:
“Washington – Prospects for health reform drop significantly when Americans hear potential financial trade-offs associated with expanding health insurance coverage, a poll indicates.
For example, nearly seven in 10 people say they favor the concept of requiring employers to provide their workers with health insurance or contribute into a fund that pays to cover the uninsured. President-elect Barack Obama has called for such an employer mandate for medium and large businesses.
But what if they heard the mandate would cause some employers to lay off workers? Support falls dramatically to about three in 10 people, according to a new national survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Similarly, about two out of three people favor requiring all Americans to have health insurance. But when told some people may be required to buy insurance that’s too expensive or it’s something they don’t want, support for the individual mandate falls to 19 percent.
“As we have learned from past debates, public support looms for health reform largest at the beginning of the debate, but it’s relatively easy to chip away at that support with arguments about trade-offs,” said Mollyann Brodie, a Kaiser vice president.
Researchers said the economy is the overwhelming top concern in the United States, cited by nearly three quarters of the public. Health care is a top domestic concern too. But the survey suggests the public is split when it comes to a willingness to sacrifice financially to get more people insured.
About 47 percent were willing to pay higher insurance premiums or taxes, while 49 percent were not. The study is based on a telephone survey of 1,628 adults conducted in early and mid-December. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.”
Me again–So as you might suspect, once there is a suggestion that people break out a check book, interest generally wanes. You don’t want the government paying for it necessarily, because that means us in taxes. Remember the $600 toilet seats? They aren’t big on cutting costs. But maybe this time will be different, I’ve got my fingers crossed!
In California when the cry for decreasing the number of uninsured was big early last year, and about 6 million people were uninsured, there was an estimate of nearly 2 million people that could afford coverage but they didn’t want to pay for it. So we’re potentially going to raise taxes for everyone so those who don’t want to buy coverage are covered? Talk about expensive!
So we’ve got to find a way, we just have to be watchful of upcoming proposals. Be well, and Happy 2009!...read more
01-13-2009by Colleen King
First of all, Happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2009 treats people better than 2008.
In the individual health and group health insurance arenas, medical insurance covers medical problems only. The thing we used to debate when I worked for a carrier years ago, is what’s the difference between what is and is not covered under the medical plan when it comes to eye related problems.
Basically, vision care refers to glasses, contact lenses and the exams to figure out how well you do or do not see. Your health plan would cover illness or injury to the eye, like conjunctivitis, a corneal abrasion or cataract removal. If you can’t see because the lenses in your eyes are opaque, the surgery would be covered under medical and usually the eyeglasses associated with it would be as well. If you can’t see because you’re near sighted or far sighted, that fall under vision care.
When looking for a vision plan on an individual basis, there’s not a lot available. VSP offers a plan that you have to buy directly from them, they won’t let agents sell it and it’s about $200/year. Think about it; how much are your glasses or contacts and exam going to cost? It’s hard to market a vision plan that’s affordable because, who is going to buy it? People that WILL use it. Whereas with medical insurance, you may or may not use it but most people acknowledge they should have it, just in case.
Group health insurance parameters are similar as to what is covered how. But, group vision plans may be something to consider as there are so many more of them available and fairly reasonably priced. But for individuals, I usually ask if the have the Auto Club, AAA. Many retail places like Lenscrafters, Pennys or Sears optical offer discount. And you’ve already bought that card!
Be well, and all the best for 2009!...read more
12-31-2008by Colleen King
Health Insurance, life insurance, annuities, long term care insurance–okay, my usual topics are in. But today’s article is not to talk about insurance, I just want to wish everyone a Happy New Year.
2008 was a lousy year for many people, so kick it to the curb and get ready for 2009. As far as insurance, we’ll see what actually changes in the health care arena. It won’t be fast or ‘all curing’ but I hope there will be some positive action.
Especially if it doesn’t mean me losing my source of income!
So, I wish you all a Happy NYE, and we’ll be ringing it in from the Caribbean. Hope that bodes well for smoother sailing in 2009! I look forward to answering your questions again…..
Be well!...read more
12-26-2008by Colleen King
Wow–time got away, and I’ve posted nothing in December! Other than the usual holiday stuff keeping me busy, I also had several group health plan clients whose renewals are coming up January 1st. My advice to you when your group health insurance renewal comes around is to attend to it early on, and not wait until the last minute when possible. Here’s why.
(Merry Christmas from my partner on the right, Aidan, and his gal pal Siobhan. I’m sure you know the other guy)
About 6-8 weeks before your anniversary date, you and your agent will get the next year’s rates for your group health plan. What I tell my clients is that we’ll look them over, and when you get over the inevitable sticker shock, I’ll research what else is out there so see if it makes sense to make a change in plans, either within the same carrier or to change carriers.
If you change plans within the same insurance carrier, the paperwork is usually pretty light. But if you are changing carriers, you are starting from scratch so all new paperwork needs to be submitted. When you go through this process close to the renewal date, there is always the concern that something may be missing, delaying the implementation of a new plan. And if you have a January 1 renewal date, believe me, things slow down at the insurance companies because of the Christmas and New Year holiday time off.
Group health insurance renewals are also the time to add new employees. If this process is completed after the first of the month and they need care, there can be hassles in their obtaining care because the insurance company doesn’t know your employee is eligible.
Even though I’m emphasizing January 1 renewals in this article, it applies to renewals at any time of the year. Since money is tight for most companies, talk to your agent about less expensive plans to see what might be possible. You’ve got better things to spend money on than health insurance of course, but keeping a group health insurance plan goes a long way to recruiting and retaining good employees,
Have a wonderful holiday season, and a fabulous 2009!
Be well!...read more