Co-Payments vs. Coinsurance

What Does an Insured Pay When They Have Health Insurance?

 

The health insurance industry uses many different terms and understanding them is key to understanding what you are required to pay and what the insurance company will pay. Going to the doctor when you are sick can involve lab tests as well as prescriptions and sometimes being referred to a specialist. Each place you go, you will be required to pay something.

 

  • Co-Payments

 

    • Co-payments are normally found in managed care plans, such as an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization). They are specified amounts of money that you will pay for each doctor visit. Some have different co-payments for primary physician visits and specialists. Co-payments can vary in amounts, depending on the terms of your policy, from $5, $10, $20, up to $40. Each time you visit the doctor you will be required to pay this amount. In an HMO, the insurance company will pay the balance directly to the physician.
    • In addition to doctor’s visits, prescriptions usually carry a co-payment and often there are several levels depending on the type of medication and whether the medication is available in generic form. There can be up to three levels of co-payments for prescription medication. It may be listed in the format 15/25/40. This generally means that for generic drugs, you would be required to pay $15. Other prescription co-payments would depend on the medication being prescribed. Your insurance company can supply you with a list of which medications will require a $25 co-payment and which would require $40 to be paid.
    • Other services, such as emergency room, laboratory tests and specialists may have their own co-payment. Your policy will have each listed.

 

  • Coinsurance

 

  • Coinsurance is sharing the cost of medical care between the insured and the insurance company. This is found in major medical policies. Coinsurance would be paid after the insured has satisfied their annual deductible. The most common coinsurance would be 80/20. In this case, the insurance company would pay 80% of the medical costs and the insured would be responsible for the remaining 20%. Sometimes 70/30 or 90/10 coinsurances are seen in policies.
  • Since a large medical bill, such as a hospitalization, could lead to a large bill for the insured (20% of a $20,000 hospital bill would amount to $4000), most policies include a stop-loss or maximum out-of-pocket amount annually. This may be $1000, $2000 or a different amount, depending on your policy. Deductibles do not count toward your out-of-pocket maximum, however, each time you pay 20% of your bill, it will count toward it. With this maximum, you will know the most you can pay for medical bills in any given year.
  • Some people will use the terms co-payment and coinsurance interchangeably, however, there are distinct differences and meanings to both. Understanding the difference can help you to better compare insurance plans and determine what is best for your needs and your family’s needs.

Buying Unemployed Medical Coverage

Your Options for Unemployment Health Benefits After Losing Your Job

 

If you’re unemployed and you need medical coverage, you have some solid healthcare options to choose from.

  • You can buy unemployed medical insurance online or in a local health insurance agent’s office. Make sure you only use reputable health insurance websites to buy an individual health insurance policy.
  • Get unemployed healthcare from your ex-employer’s insurer when you sign up for COBRA. COBRA allows you to continue your health insurance for many months after the end of your employment. Take note, COBRA is a very expensive form of unemployed medical coverage.
  • Unemployment insurance is available in more than 40 states through state continuation insurance. Similar to COBRA, unemployed group health plans through state continuation are for ex-employees of companies employing less than 20 people. Eligibility for unemployment state continuation insurance varies by state.
  • Conversions are another way that your ex-employer’s healthcare might be able to help you when you’re unemployed. Insurance group health plans that offer conversion allow you to convert unemployment group health benefits to a non-group insurance policy.
  • You may be eligible for job loss insurance through HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). If you’re unemployed and eligible for HIPAA, you’re guaranteed two health insurance policy offers. Check with your state department of insurance to determine eligibility criteria.
  • If you are low income, you may be eligible for unemployed healthcare through Medicaid. Medicaid guidelines vary by state.
  • High-risk pools offer medical coverage for the unemployed in more than 30 states. High-pools are a very expensive form of health insurance for the unemployed and only have limited enrollment.

Help diffuse the high cost of prescriptions with unemployed health benefits.

  • Unemployment health benefits like prescription assistance may be available to you through a pharmaceutical company. Prescription assistance helps people without insurance get the prescriptions they need.
  • Check with local pharmacies to see what kind of discount drug plans they offer the unemployed. In order to compete with national pharmacies and website service, a number of smaller, locally-owned pharmacies have started discount drug plans that offer great value to you and your family.
  • If you are unemployed and have an individual health insurance policy, COBRA or some other job loss insurance, check to see if mail-in prescriptions are available. With mail-in prescriptions, you get three months’ worth of medicine for the same price as one month’s worth of medicine at a local pharmacy.

Notes about job loss insurance:

  • State rights, regulations and availability of job loss insurance vary. Contact your state department of insurance to determine eligibility.
  • Understand the difference between job loss insurance and unemployed discount health plans. Discount health plans are not the same thing as health insurance.

Travel Health Insurance: Preparing for Medical Needs While on Vacation

Most people enjoy taking car trips to nearby getaways or flying to see entirely new vistas. And most vacations go smoothly, with only minor inconveniences. Because they don’t expect anything bad to happen on their vacations, most people travel without thinking about their health insurance.

But imagine becoming ill while visiting a foreign country. What if a family member breaks a leg while skiing? Or a fishing trip ends in a boating accident? It’s important to know whether existing health insurance would cover a medical emergency far from home.

Existing Health Insurance May Be Enough

Those who already have health insurance should review the contract, call the insurance agent who sold the policy, or contact the insurer’s customer service department to find out if benefits apply while traveling. Some major insurance carriers do provide access to medical care for their customers who are away from home, but restrictions and exclusions may apply. All travelers should carry copies of their insurance policy and member ID card with them, and find out if they should bring additional forms of identification. Also be sure to bring any special contact information for the insurance company’s out-of-town benefits program.

Get details on what services are covered while out of the home area, including hospital care, emergency room services, doctor’s office visits and prescription drugs. Something as simple as a prescription for an antibiotic could cost hundreds of dollars without valid insurance. In addition, many standard insurance policies do not cover the cost of transporting a person home after a medical emergency.

How to Choose a Travel Health Insurance Policy

Those who are not currently insured or who do not have travel benefits should consider a travel health policy. There are four general policy types, ranging from basic to deluxe international policies.

 

  1. 1) Basic Policy. A basic travel medical policy should protect a traveler (and family, if applicable) from the financial consequences of an illness or accident that strikes when they’re far from home. The policy should cover hospital and surgical costs, physician visits, medications and dental care, and should also include evacuation insurance.
  2. All-inclusive Travel Insurance. The next level of coverage is a trip protection policy. These comprehensive plans provide the same type of hospitalization and office visit coverage of a basic policy, with the important additions of trip cancellation and interruption insurance, medical evacuation services, baggage protection and other benefits. Travelers may also choose add-ons like emergency cash advances, translation services, access to legal assistance, extra protection for airline accidents and acts of terrorism, and help in recovering lost tickets or passports.
  3. Specialized Insurance for Students. Americans age 64 or younger who are studying or conducting academic research abroad — or international students traveling to the United States to study — may be interested in a health insurance policy designed especially for international students. These policies usually offer benefits comparable to a traditional major medical plan, as well as medical evacuation coverage, repatriation (sending home) of remains in the event of a death, translation assistance and specialized health and security information related to the country being visited.
  4. International Travel Health Insurance for Long-term Visits. A fourth type of travel policy is a renewable international plan for individuals or families who will be staying in a foreign country for a year or more, such as for an extended job assignment.

Buying Travel Health Insurance Online

Purchasing a travel policy on the internet has advantages and disadvantages. Information and convenience are the biggest benefits of online shopping. Customer service is less strong.

Many internet travel sites also sell travel health insurance policies. But insurance is not their main focus, so they may offer fewer choices of benefits or rates. Travelers who already have a relationship with a travel agent may wish to ask if the agency also sells travel health policies. Many licensed travel agents offer these policies, and because travel is their specialty, they can advise on what type of policy and what level of benefits are right for each client.

Customer service is the heart of a travel agent’s business. An agent can be a valuable source of personal help in a crisis. He or she will likely have industry contacts and experience in dealing with people and organizations in distant places. If a client forgets to bring important documents or contact information on a trip, the travel agent will have that information available and should have a toll-free phone number that clients can call for help.

Those who don’t have an existing relationship with a travel agent may want to check with one of their professional trade associations, such as the American Society of Travel Agents (asta.org) or the Institute of Certified Travel Agents (icta.com). Another industry website at TravelSense.org offers visitors a way to search for an agent with specialized credentials.

Buying Travel Coverage Through a Credit Card

Some credit card companies offer health insurance as an addition to other services. For example, travelers who hold American Express business cards may be eligible for travel accident insurance and the company’s “global assist program” for international emergencies. A traveler who is planning to book a trip using a credit card should check with the company’s customer service to find out about these added services.

Hopefully, the very worst thing that happens on a vacation will be something as simple as a misplaced suitcase. And if so … a good travel insurance policy includes the baggage replacement benefit to cover it!

Business Health Insurance Choices: Before You Buy Guide: Small Business Group Health Coverage Plans

There are a number of choices available for small business group health insurance. Taking the time to do some research can make the process of finding a solid employees’ healthcare plan a lot easier.

Determine Small Business Group Health Insurance Needs First

It’s pretty pointless for a small business to purchase a pricey group health insurance plan, to then find out that half of the employees like their spouse’s health insurance just fine, thank you, and have no intention of switching plans. Determine what coverages and policy types are needed first. Surveying employees to find out what they’re looking for in a healthcare plan can help.

Verify Business Health Insurance Company Licensure

Check with the state department of insurance to ensure that a business health insurance company is properly licensed. Never, ever deal with any small business health insurance company that isn’t licensed, no matter how good the deal. It’s no deal if there’s a group health insurance claim.

Rate the Health Insurance Company before Buying an Employees Healthcare Plan

Quickly find out how a business health insurance carrier stacks up by visiting www.ambest.com. The A.M. Best Company supplies ratings for insurance companies based upon financial strength and credit obligations. Moody’s, Ward’s and Standard & Poor’s offer even more information about employees’ healthcare plan companies.

Ask for Small Group Health Insurance Referrals

Existing clients of a new insurance agent or small group health insurance company can attest to their quality of service. Other business owners can provide information about who they use for business health insurance companies and provide company contacts who can offer information about billing, claims and customer service. It’s worth the time to get referrals and more information before buying an employees’ healthcare plan.

Look for Small Business Group Health Insurance Companies Online

Review small business group health insurance company websites. It only takes a minute to do, and provides a wealth of information about insurance providers. Find out if a small group health insurance is Web-enabled, allowing online payments and questions. Old press releases can tell the tale of how the small business group health insurance company reacted during Katrina and other natural disasters. Investor information, products insured and the claims and customer service sections of a business health insurance company website can provide further detail.

Getting the Most from Small Business Group Health Coverage

Sometimes, the best deal for small business group health coverage isn’t a good deal at all. Finding an employees’ healthcare plan depends upon more than just cost. Cost-savings should be married with a small business group health coverage plan known for its superior customer service.

Analyzing Dental Insurance Coverage: How to Select the Best Dental Plan for Your Needs

Because policy limits, deductibles, rand financial reimbursement caps vary, people have to make smart decisions and pay special attention to the fine details of their dental insurance plan before signing on the dotted line. When performing an analysis to decide which dental insurance plan is best, here are a few things to consider.

Routine and Preventative Maintenance Coverage

Because the dental insurance carrier recognizes the benefit and cost savings of preventative maintenance, annual checkups and cleanings are often covered 100%. Find out, however, how many well care visits per year are covered. Some policies cover one per year while others cover one every six months.

Usual, Customary and Reasonable Reimbursement (UCR)

Dental insurance companies establish a standardized chart upon which they base reimbursement for dental procedures. Each company sets its own UCR, therefore it is important for insurance seekers to review the insurance provider’s UCR table and compare it with the dental prices in a given area. Unfortunately, the usual, customary and reasonable reimbursement chart and actual dental procedure costs rarely match. Most often the dental procedure will cost more than the UCR listed on the insurance company’s schedule. The difference ends up coming out of the policyholder’s pocket.

Annual Benefit Cap

It is customary for dental insurance plans to limit the dollar amount of procedures a patient can undergo one year. For individuals who regularly visit the dentist to perform preventive procedures such as regular cleanings and fluoride treatment, the annual benefit cap does not pose a problem.

Families and individuals who have dental problems that go above and beyond the normal preventative measures and occasional filling may reach and exceed the annual benefit cap. Many insurance companies offer coverage on a sliding scale basis. For example, they may pay 100% of preventative measures, 80% of basic restorative services and 50% of major restorative services. Therefore, it’s best to coordinate care with the dentist to spread the work out over the course of several policy terms to in order to minimize out of pocket expense and maximize the dental insurance coverage.

Lifetime Benefit Cap

Further to the annual benefit cap, which gets replenished each year, dental insurance companies also apply lifetime caps for certain procedures. It is common for dental insurance companies to put a lifetime cap on orthodontic coverage. Therefore, if a child needs braces to the tune of $5,000 and the policy only covers $2,000 (lifetime cap). The $2,000 is not replenished the following year and becomes an out of pocket expense.

Dental Insurance Deductibles

Dental plans vary, but it is important to assess the true cost of purchasing a dental plan. In addition to the annual/lifetime caps and UCR, patients must review the deductible requirements and whether or not the deductible applies on a per person or a per family basis. Depending on the number of people in the family and the amount of dental work to be performed, the applicable deductible can be a substantial out of pocket expense.

If presented with more than one dental insurance option, it is prudent for one to take time and analyze each program. The decision should not be made hastily.

Horse Insurance – What is He Worth?: Know the Value of Your Horse

Horse insurance can be a touchy subject. Once the decision has been made to insure the horse how much should it be insured for?

No insurance company will ensure the horse for more than “fair market value” but what exactly does that mean? To start it means the purchase price. If you bought a horse for $5,000 even if it seems a steal to you this is the price that the company will consider as “fair market value”. As the horse progresses through its training it may take on a new value.

How is Insured Value Determined?

Insurance agents will usually consider: training, winnings, or its ability to perform in the breeding shed as things that could increase the horse’s value.

Training is determined as the time that the horse is in full training or the times when a ‘pro’ is actually sitting on the horse. The lessons and clinics that are taken are not considered as training. Although insurance agents may not ask for written documentation regarding the amount of training, if the horse dies, and you want to collect on the policy, be ready to supply the information to back up the training numbers.

The winnings, whether amount of money earned or placings and championships at horse shows can help determine the market value of the horse. Some times you find a fancy horse, diamond in the rough type, and purchase it for a really cheap price. It can only be insured for the purchase price because it is un-proven. While the horse may be worth more because it has potential, it has not achieved the necessary marks or placing to make its value worth more. This should be brought to the attention of the insurer. The owner and the agent must agree on the necessary requirements to have the horse insured at a higher price.

To get the horse insured at a higher value the agent may require that the horse get scores of 65% at a fourth level dressage test, or win a championship at a green hunter division. Once the requirement is met then the insurance price will increase. Make sure you have an open line of communication with your agent so that policies and prices can be discussed.

Determining a Foal’s Value

If you have a foal to insure the rule of thumb is two times the stud fee. This means if the stud fee is $1500 the insured cost could be $3000. Also taken into consideration are show winnings and sales records of any siblings.

Remember that insurance is purchased to protect your horse. Do not be afraid to call your agent or make a claim. It is best to contact your agent if the vet is called out, even for minor illnesses or injuries. This way if complications arise, the agent is knowledgeable of the condition and can help negotiate through the insurance claim process

How to Get an Insurance License in Washington State

The procedure for obtaining an insurance license in Washington is pretty straight forward. First you must select the type of license you wish to obtain. Washington offers life, property, casualty, personal lines and more. Visit the Division of Insurance website for a full listing of license types.

Insurance License Education Requirement

Washington requires its candidates to take 20 hours of pre-licensing education classes before they can take the state exam. You must take the classes from one of the state approved education providers. The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner website provides a listing of the state-approved providers along with links to the provider websites. Upon completing the 20 hour requirement you will receive a certificate of completion. Once you receive the certificate you can take the state licensing exam (you must take the exam within 12 months of completing the education requirement).

Pre-Licensing Education Exemptions

The Commissioner of Insurance allows candidates with certain designations to forgo the education requirement for the associated license. Below is a listing of exemption-earning designations:

Life Insurance License

  • Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
  • Fellow of Life Management Institute (FLMI)
  • Life Underwriting Training Council (LUTCF)

Disability License

Property or Casualty License

  • Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI)
  • Associate in Risk Management (ARM)
  • Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)
  • Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)

State Insurance Licensing Exam

Washington State uses Pearson VUE to administer its insurance exams. You can either register on their website or call them at 1-800-274-8949 to schedule the state exam.

It is recommended that you visit the Pearson VUE website as they have free downloadable documents that will be valuable in helping you pass the Washington state insurance licensing exam. The Insurance Licensing Candidate Handbook is a guideline to help you get through the licensing process and the Examination Content Outlines provides information on the types of questions asked on each of the licensing exams.

After reviewing the documents, schedule a date, time and location for taking the exam. There are currently 8 exam testing locations (Everett, Kennewick, Lacey, Spokane, Tukwila, Vancouver, Wenatchee and Yakima). Select a conveniently located testing center and take the state exam.

Insurance Criminal Background Check

Resident licensing candidates must provide a fingerprint card when applying for the insurance license. You can contact Pearson VUE to get fingerprinted as some of their locations offer fingerprinting services. Otherwise, contact your local law enforcement agency to utilize their fingerprinting services. Once you have your fingerprint card, send it to the Office of Insurance Commissioner, Attn: Licensing, P.O. Box 40257, Olympia, Washington 98504-0257.

Insurance Producer’s Application

After satisfying the education requirement, passing the state exam and obtaining the fingerprint card, the last remaining step to becoming a licensed insurance producer is to complete the licensing application. Download and complete the 4-page Uniform Application for Individual Producer License/Registration. Once the form is completed, mail it along with the appropriate fee to the Washington Insurance Commissioner.

Since fees are subject to change, visit the Washington Commissioner of Insurance website for the most up-to-date fee schedule.

Once the application is received, reviewed and approved, you will be issued an insurance license. Washington licenses are issued for a period of two years. Within those two years you must comply with the 24 credit continuing education requirement. If you fail to take the 24 credit hours, you won’t be able to renew your license.

Consumer Insurance: The Benefits of Protecting Your Investments

At one point in life the consumer will eventually have to learn to understand the concept behind the matter of a risk-return trade-off when evaluating insurance policies, “insurance is based on the concept of risk pooling, which means that individuals share the financial risks they face” (Kenown, p. 273) “An insurance policy is a contract with an insurance company that spells out what losses are covered, what the policy costs, and who receives payments if a loss occurs” (Kenown, p.272).

Insurance companies are responsible for determining the consumer’s premium or payment. Certain characteristics such as an individual’s age, health background and lifestyle can influence the cost of premiums. The four common types of personal insurances to consider are life, health, property, and liability. Each form of insurance has its own specifications.

Life insurance protects family members from the financial burdens associated with an individual death. This type of insurance allows financial resources to become available to the dependents of the deceased in order to pay off debts, provide for cost of living and educational expenses. It can also become a source of retirement income for family members. People who benefit from this type of insurance are those who have dependents, a terminal illness, an uninsurable condition or any other high-risk health condition. Life insurance is also a valuable tool for business and property owners because they can help reduce any incurring debts and taxes.

Term and cash value are two types of life insurance. Term insurance provides low cost coverage for a set number of years after the death of the insured which can be anywhere from one to thirty years. However, renewable term insurance can be continually renewed up to the specified age of the beneficiary. Cash Value is more expensive because it includes both a life insurance and a savings plan. The monthly premiums are divided and applied to the two categories and if the policy is terminated than the policyholder is entitled to the cash value. Whole, universal and variable are three types of cash value insurances and all three provide permanent protection and death benefits upon the death of the insured party.

Avoiding devastatingly large expenses from medical bills is the main reason people choose to purchase health insurance. Due to the increasing costs of health care it is safe to assume that this type of insurance is a detriment to any living person, however, age, health, and the amount of dependents the insured has are some common factors that can influence the type of policy the consumer chooses to invest in. Most health insurances also require the individual to pay a co-pay or deductable before they can receive benefits. Typically most basic health insurances provide for the hospital, surgical and physician expenses.

Hospital insurance covers accrued cost from in-patient stays such as, room fees, operating room fees, prescription drugs, and nursing expenses, for a designated period of time. Surgical insurance covers surgical costs and physician insurance covers the physician’s fees such as office visits, lab fees and x-rays. Another form of insurance that covers the medical costs beyond those covered by basic health insurance is called major medical expense insurance. This type of insurance is good for those with serious health issues. Other insurances types to consider are those that cover dental, eye care and accidents. There are also various plans to choose from such as HMO, PPO or IPA each has its own list of coverage, physician options and premiums.

Property and liability insurance protects the consumer “against the financial risks of loss of or damage to your home or automobile and the legal liabilities associated with injuries or property damage to others” (Kenown, p.320). Homeowners are usually required to obtain some form of insurance while paying off loans and most states require licensed drivers to have insurance in order to operate a vehicle. Apartment owners, landlords and small business owners are also required to obtain professional property and liability insurance in order to protect the company, employees, renters and customers.

Property insurance protects the individual’s physical property or possessions. It includes coverage of losses due to fire, theft, vandalism and natural disasters. Homeowner’s insurance covers a specific dollar amount and has approximately six different packaged policies that can provide both property and liability insurance. The six forms are basic, broad, special, contents, joint-owners, and modified coverage.

“Liability insurance protects you financially against lawsuits that may arise if someone gets injured on your property” (Tyson,, p.351). Automobile drivers must consider which coverage to purchase depending upon the amount of bodily injury liability they want made available in case of an accident. A minimum amount of $50,000 is recommended for property and damage liability insurance for automobiles. Some policies can extend to cover the cost of both medical and funeral expenses. Some factors that determine the cost of automobile insurance are the vehicle type, driving record, age, and insurance credit score.

The consumer must learn to plan for the future in order to maintain their personal financial wealth. The basic principle of protecting the individual against catastrophes is the main purpose behind any type of insurance. Consumers must ask themselves if they will be willing to pay for a policy in order to cover possible risks. It would be the consumer’s best interest to investigate the various forms of insurance, specified coverage and cost in order to determine which policy would be the most beneficial to their financial future.

Comparing Long-Term Care Insurance Policies

Although the need for long-term care is on the rise in the United States, the percentage of people purchasing long-term care insurance policies is relatively low. Often this is a result of the price of long-term care premiums. Having a long-term care policy in place offers more choices and more control in long-term care decisions. Knowing what to look for in a long-term policy and buying the policy at the right time keeps premium prices low.

The Need for Long-Term Care

Determining the likelihood for the need for long-term care is the first place to start when choosing a long-term care policy. Your current health or the health of your loved one and what things you are doing now for certain conditions all factor in to your need for long-term care. Individuals with diseases causing deterioration over time, like diabetes, dementia or Alzheimer’s, will likely need long-term care services more than those with fewer issues.

The emotional health and availability of family members to care for loved ones should also be analyzed. If there is a strong network of capable family members to help in the event that long-term care is needed, the decision to get a long-term care policy is less crucial than for those with no close family available.

The financial situation of you and your loved one should also be a primary consideration when looking at long-term care policies. If your financial situation is such that you can pay for long-term care without such a policy, than the need for long-term care insurance is greatly reduced. However, if your ability to pay out-of-pocket for long-term care services is small, then a long-term care policy may be right for you.

Long-Term Care Policy Choices

When comparing long-term care policies, there are several factors to consider. Long-term care policies have limits like other insurance policies, and it’s important to know these limits before making a choice. Some things that should influence your choice are:

  • Basic care coverage. Since most long-term care needs come under the umbrella of basic care and not skilled nursing, your policy should include this area. Any policy should provide of list of exactly what basic care needs are covered.
  • How much will the policy pay? Long-term care insurance policies are set up on a daily pay system. So you need to know how much long-term care typically costs on a daily basis and how much a particular policy will pay before making a final choice.
  • Exclusions to care coverage. Many long-term care policies have a list of covered services that are excluded. Make sure you understand what is excluded from the policy you choose.
  • Coverage for home care. Most patients needing long-term care would prefer to remain in their own home if possible. Look for long-term care policies that include coverage for home care, and are not limited to assisted living and nursing home care. In addition, be sure the policy has adequate coverage for home care services. Home care is on the rise, and the industry is constantly changing to meet demand.
  • Coverage for certain conditions. Some long-term care policies exclude coverage for certain conditions. Look carefully at the policies your are comparing and make sure your are fully covered for any health condition.
  • Allowance for cost of care increases. The cost of health care is continually on the rise and the long-term care policy you choose needs to have yearly cost of care analysis and increases available. If your care policy doesn’t provide for these increases, you won’t be adequately covered.
  • Miscellaneous expenses. A quality long-term care policy will include coverage for miscellaneous expenses that are likely to arise when long-term care is needed. Check for inclusion of miscellaneous expenses when comparing long-term care policies.

The Right Time to Buy a Long-Term Care Policy

Long-term care insurance policies, much like life insurance policies, are less expensive when they are purchased early. This is especially true when purchased before certain health conditions arise. If you are considering purchasing a long-term care policy, doing so long before it is needed will save you and your loved ones both time and money.

An introduction to insurance

Most people are aware of insurance in one form or another. Regular payments are made towards the insurance provider, known as premiums, in return for which the insurer agrees to pay out when a specified event or events occur. Sometimes this payment is a one off, lump sum. Other forms of insurance provide a series of payments, providing an income over a defined period. There are many different types of companies now offering these services, leading to an expansion of the market and increased competition

Home insurance is an umbrella term that covers two different types of policy, although many insurers now provide comprehensive policies that cover both bases. Put simply, buildings insurance covers the physical structure of your home, while contents insurance protects the things that you put in it. Combined home insurance policies are often offered at a discount compared to the cost of buying separate buildings and contents policies. An added advantage of this kind of cover is that there is only one insurer to deal with in the event of a claim.

Motor insurance is pretty straight forward in that it is concerned with damage associated with owning and driving a vehicle. Policies vary in scope, from the very basic third party fire and theft to fully comprehensive cover. Third party fire and theft is the legal minimum requirement for driving in the U.K. This basic policy covers the cost of damage to another person’s vehicle in the event of an accident, as well as addressing the self explanatory scenarios of fire and theft. Fully comprehensive cover can allow you to drive not just your car but any vehicle that you are licensed for. In addition, such policies can meet the cost of any repairs required to make good your car, and often also medical treatment and legal cover in the event of litigation.

Critical illness cover is designed to pay out upon the diagnosis of a qualifying illness, such as a stroke or heart attack, and can help meet the cost of private medical bills or loss of income due to absence from work. There are several similar types of policy designed protect your income in the event of illness or unemployment, such as payment protection insurance. Some pay out a lump sum, while others provide a regular income for a specified period. These policies can be quite complicated in scope, and you’ll often need expert advice to be able to determine just which events are covered by the insurance policy.

Travel insurance can provide funds to replace lost and stolen property while on holiday, as well as covering the cost of any medical bills, or changing flights due to unforeseen circumstances. Some policies will cover the cost of the whole holiday if disasters natural or otherwise lead to cancellation, while others will even provide kidnap cover!