Posts in Category: Insurance

What is Life and Health Insurance Exactly?

The first use of insurance was to insure property for over sea voyages. Soon after there was insurance for property that didn’t move, buildings, inventory, raw materials, and the like. It wasn’t until recently that life insurance has come into its prime. In the beginning of the 20th century limited life insurance policies were written to cover the cost of funerals but that was as far as they went. Then in the 1950’s people began to realize the need for health and life insurance as a means to offset unexpected occurrences.

The reason that health and life insurance started to become commonplace is that for all of the time that people were insuring their property they weren’t insuring their greatest asset. Unless someone is independently wealthy the greatest asset they have is their ability to earn money. This ability to secure a paycheck far outweighs any current asset that someone may have.

What is Economic Death

Any unforeseen event that limits the ability of an individual to secure a paycheck is considered an economic death. Even if the event is not substantial enough to force a person completely out of work, if it significantly lowers the income attainable, it can be construed as a partial economic death.

For example, Joe Smith works at a factory where he makes $50,000 a year. If he works for 40 years he can safely assume he’ll make $2,000,000. With a little financial planning this should be enough to assure him a nice retirement.

However, there are several circumstances that could limit this potential income. There are potential accidents, illnesses, or economic situations that may cause him to either not be able to perform his job or cause his company to go out of business. These situations, these risk factors, are considered his exposure.

Three Types of Economic Death

  • Physical Death – This is the one that most people think of when life insurance is talked about. This is meant to compensate for the lost income of the insured upon premature death.
  • Retirement Death – This is when the insured reaches retirement age without having amassed enough cash to sustain a living after no longer being able to work. There are multiple different policies designed specifically to help an individual compensate for a shortfall of income during the working years.
  • Living Death – This is the term for a person who has suffered, through injury or illness, a disability. In this case the insured has not dies so although the income has stopped coming in the expenses have not. Disability insurance is often packaged with medical insurance because the two occupy the same financial area.

How Can an Individual Respond to Risk

There are four universal responses to risk. These responses, and the actions they produce, define the probability of an individual succeeding or failing in the avoidance of serious risk repercussions

  1. Avoidance – This is the most impractical of the choices. For instance, it makes no sense to try to avoid illness by not going out into public and staying locked in a home. This limits earning potential almost as much as the illness itself would have.
  2. Reduction – Trying to reduce the risks involved in life is a reasonable alternative. Eating healthy, exercising, and staying up to date on immunizations are all good ways to reduce the chances of becoming ill. Choosing a career that involves less dangerous activities would also apply here.
  3. Retaining – There is also the option of retaining the risk and offsetting it by setting aside individual assets to cover in case of an emergency situation. This is the “rainy day fund” scenario and may work on a short term basis but is lacking if the emergency becomes permanent.
  4. Transfer – This is what health and life insurance is about. Individuals purchase policies to transfer the risk of economic death to an insurance company for a set premium. This premium is dependent on several factors and generally is higher the longer one waits to employ it.

Risks that are Often Insured Against

There are an almost unlimited number of risks that can be insured against. Lloyd’s of London has become infamous for insuring celebrity body parts from Keith Richards two million dollar hands to Mariah Carey’s one billion dollar legs (CalgarySun.com 9). These are far from the norm but anything can be insured for a price. For those of us without such outlandish salaries the most common risks that are covered are accident and sickness.

These risks are monetarily offset in a legal contract that sets a premium (payable at a set interval) for an individual to obtain a lump sum disbursement upon either the completion of a set term or upon the occurrence of the risk that was being contracted to offset.

How to Cut Your Health Insurance Costs and Cope with Challenges

Health insurance coverage is important because one never knows when one will become ill. Granted, health insurance can be costly. Also, there are life circumstances which can make it seem impossible to get adequate health insurance coverage or payment of costs. For instance, denial of claims, reduced retirement benefits, job layoffs, and pre-existing conditions can be burdensome. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with these challenges.

Health Insurance Enrollment Choices and Subsidies

If working for an employer who offers health insurance coverage, during the open enrollment period, sign up to get a flexible spending account. The benefit of this is that one can use up to $5000 tax free to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Also, participate in a mail-order prescription opportunity which enables payment of half of what one normally might pay for prescriptions at a drug store. In addition, purchase generic prescriptions when possible.

Until 2014, purchasing low cost group health insurance coverage via a professional association is one option to reduce health insurance costs if one is self employed or if an employer has suddenly cut health insurance benefits. However, in 2014, individuals with low income or middle income will be able to get subsidies that will enable them to purchase health insurance.

Stick With Medicare for Health Insurance as a Senior Citizen

If one has an illness and wants to be able to see any physician of choice, it is better to stick with traditional Medicare coverage. Also, most likely, getting Part D coverage for prescriptions along with Medigap can be a helpful choice to cover deductible costs and co-insurance costs.

Of note, some senior citizens have been signing up for private Medicare Advantage plans rather than the typical Medicare coverage. However, the fees to the plan administrators are going to be cut and there are concerns that some of these administrators will cut benefits or leave the health coverage market totally. That is why staying with Medicare coverage could be the best bet.

If Health Insurance Claims are Denied Keep Trying

If a claim is submitted and it gets denied, try again. In fact, chances are strong that the claim could get paid if one is very exact in going through the process described in the denial note. Always appeal in writing and send it via certified mail. In a formal letter, include documentation and be specific in the response to the reason that was given for the rejection of payment of the claim.

Also, include discussion of what the illness was, previous treatments that failed, consequences of not being able to receive care, medical records, and also put into the packet a note from the doctor. If the medical procedure was experimental, attach a copy of a medical journal article which says that the treatment can be an effective treatment. Or, if all else fails, go to the state insurance department and ask to get a patient advocate.

If things go far enough, the case will likely be reviewed by an independent review board. The review board may get involved through an employer’s health insurance plan or through the state insurance regulatory board. In the meantime, also negotiate with the physician and work out a payment plan which stretches payments out over time and makes treatment more financially affordable.

Health Insurance Options If Laid Off Work or If You Have A Pre-Existing Condition

Joining a health insurance group plan that one’s employed spouse is already a member of is an option for health insurance coverage if one has no job. Or, thanks to Consolidation Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requirements, one could remain in the group health insurance policy provided by one’s employer for 18 months after the job was ended although companies with fewer than 20 workers might be exempt from having to provide this.

Having a pre-existing condition or having a condition which is not included in coverage means that it might be necessary to be a part of the state high risk health insurance pool. In addition to the state high risk pools, there is also now a national high risk coverage pool that one can join as a result of health reform law.

Also, healthcare such as medical tests and medical exams are available at Walgreens or other drug stores these days. Medical evaluation may be done by a nurse practitioner instead of a physician. However, the medical care is available. Also, going to a community health care center is an option because community healthcare centers in many urban areas provide free medical care for those without health insurance or those who have low income.

How to Save Money on PPIs With Loans: Is Payment Protection Insurance on Personal Loans Necessary?

Loan protection insurance is sold to borrowers as security against unforeseen circumstances such as injury or redundancy. However, according to a BBC’s news report, “Crackdown on Misselling of PPI” (BBC News) customers are being sold PPIs inappropriately. In one case, a debt was written off due to the misselling of a loan with a PPI. This would indicate that customers must be especially wary when purchasing loans.

Guide to Getting a Cheap Loan

Finding cheap cover from compare sites and playing one against the other is a great way of obtaining cheap cover. However, loan insurance annexed to a loan with low APR can make it expensive. In fact, according to Money Saving Expert’s report, “Reclaim PPI Loan Insurance,” the cover may work out to be twice as costly as the cost of the loan itself. Furthermore, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has issued heavy fines to loan companies for attaching PPIs to loans without customers’ notification.

With this in mind, the following has important relevance:

  • The PPI is not compulsory with the loan. If the lender suggests otherwise or tries to coerce the customer in this way, this is deemed to be a misselling of the loan and should be reported to the FSA or the Financial Ombudsman (FOB).
  • When purchasing a cheap loan, customers are within their rights to shop around for cheap cover too. An independent loan insurer will cut the cost of the cover drastically.
  • The customer is paying for useless cover if it does not fit the circumstances. Redundancy insurance, for instance, is useless for a customer who is self employed. A miss selling of loan insurance in this way can be claimed back if the customer takes appropriate action against the loan company.
  • Take extra vigilance for hidden fees.

The Cheapest Unsecured Loans

The consumer may consider dispensing with payment protection if the following does not apply:

  • If the loan is secured
  • If the loan is considerable
  • If there are other debts
  • Circumstances are unstable

Before taking out payment protection, address the following:

  • Payment protection runs for a year. After this period, the cover no longer applies. Is the premium worth it?
  • Again if the loan is small, the cost of the PPI premium may not be worth it.
  • The consumer must work out the maximum payout and weigh this up against the cost of the loan.
  • Is the consumer already covered in another policy? If so, the cover is unnecessary.
  • Instead of paying the monthly costs of payment protection, the consumer may consider depositing the money in a high interest savings account. An instant access Cash ISA could be ideal for this purpose. It earns relatively high interest, is tax free and the money is available instantly.
  • If the ISA is full, a regular savings account yields high interest on savings so long as the account holder regularly drip feeds funds into the account.
  • If the unforeseen happens without cover, the lender may sometimes agree to defer or reduce payment.

Cheap Loans and Cover

Customers may save thousands by taking vigilance over the cost of payment protection on loans. Finding a cheaper quote from an independent insurer is a shrewd move, but the necessity of a PPI may be questioned if the risk factor of not having one is low.

Is Pet Insurance Worth the Money? Answer These Questions About Health Insurance for Pets Before Buying

Should a pet owner purchase pet health insurance? This is a question that should be considered carefully. Vets are now able to treat many more conditions in companion animals successfully, including feline cancer, and canine diabetes. However, these treatments come with a high price tag.

Statistics show that one out of every three pets will need some type of emergency pet care every year. Two out of every three companion animals will face a serious health problem sometime in their lives. Many pet owners believe that purchasing a pet health insurance policy is the best way to be prepared for unexpected veterinary emergencies. But is this really true?

Here are questions that should be answered before buying any kind of health insurance for pets.

Is Lifelong Pet Insurance a Good Idea?

Many people wonder if they should get pet insurance for a new puppy or kitten or wait until the animal is older. This is a good question.

Just like people, pets face many more health issues as they get older. This can make it very difficult to find pet health insurance for an older animal. Most companies won’t cover a companion animal who is older than nine years. If they do, the premiums will be very high.

Is the answer to buy pet insurance when the companion animal is younger? Maybe not. That $10-a-month premium for a kitten may increase as she gets older. How much will premiums increase? Can a certain premium be locked in until the pet is ten or twelve years old?

If she is treated for a certain condition, like feline diabetes, will this condition be considered a “pre-existing condition” when it comes time to renew the policy? If so, the company may refuse to insure her any longer, or may increase the premium substantially.

Also consider the cost of premiums over the pet’s lifetime. $15 a month comes to $180 a year. If the premium remains the same for ten years, the cost would be $1800, just for premiums. The premiums will probably increase if any claims are filed. Don’t forget about the co-pays and deductibles, too.

How Much is the Deductible? How Much Co-Pay is Required?

Every pet insurance plan has a deductible, which is the amount that the owner has to pay himself. Depending on the pet’s age, the deductible may be $50 or more for each procedure (not each visit). This can add up quickly if the animal requires several procedures.

The insurance company may also require that the pet owner co-pays ten to twenty percent of the vet bill.

Ask About Caps

The maximum amount an insurance company will pay per animal per year is called a cap. There may be a cap for each covered condition, plus an annual cap and a lifetime cap for each animal. Avoid nasty surprises by learning which caps apply to the pet, or its condition.

How Long Does It Take to be Reimbursed?

Be aware that the pet owner is expected to pay the vet at the time service is rendered. The pet owner fills out the insurance form and mails it in. It can take two to four weeks, or longer, to receive reimbursement.

Before buying a policy, ask how the reimbursement is calculated. The owner may be reimbursed for a certain percentage of the vet’s bill. Or the company may have a benefit schedule that lists what it will pay for each procedure. The company may only pay a certain percentage of this amount, not a percentage of what the bill actually was.

Always Read the Fine Print

Know ahead of time which conditions are covered, and which are excluded. Is there a waiting period before the insurance goes into effect? Does the owner get to choose which vet to use? Are prescriptions covered? What about emergency care?

Every insurance company is different, and each company offers many different plans. If a pet owner decides to invest in pet health insurance, it’s important to compare plans carefully, and to read the find print to find the best value for pet insurance.

Saving Money on Health Insurance: There are ways to Lessen the Cost of Insurance Premiums

According to Bloomberg News, the national unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent in April. Because most U.S. residents get their insurance through their employers, this means that a large number of individuals must now pay for their own health coverage.

Individuals can sign up for COBRA, which allows them to stay on their employer’s health plans for up to 18 months after they lose their jobs. COBRA, though, can be costly. According to the North Carolina Institute for Medicine, the number of uninsured residents in the United States hit 52 million in January of 2016. That’s up from 46 million individuals who did not have health insurance coverage in 2014. A big reason for this is cost: Paying for health insurance is expensive.

Fortunately, there are ways that individuals can cut the costs of health insurance.

Shop Around for Health Insurance

Individuals can save on health insurance by shopping for different health plans. Individuals can research these plans at the Web home of the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Consumers can also work with independent insurance agents or brokers to find the best plan for them. These agents don’t work with a specific insurance company, and will instead search for the most affordable plans for their clients. Working with an agent can be especially important for individuals who have preexisting medical conditions.

Stay Healthy for the Best Prices

Consumers should refrain from smoking, taking drugs or abusing alcohol if they want to pay the lowest premiums. Policyholders who smoke, for instance, are viewed by insurance companies as bigger risks than those who don’t. That’s because smokers are far more likely to need intensive medical care during their lifetimes than are non-smokers.

This doesn’t mean, though, that consumers should try to hide any existing medical conditions or health problems from their potential insurers. Insurance companies will certainly discover when individuals try to hide health issues. Instead of trying to sneak these conditions past insurers, individuals should instead give out as much information about their medical conditions as possible. For instance, individuals with a history of high blood pressure should make sure to inform potential insurers that they have changed their diet and are now taking medication to keep their condition under control.

Don’t Forget to Look at Other Options

Consumers don’t always have to obtain their health insurance through a private insurer. Trade associations or alumni clubs often offer their own group insurance plans that may boast far lower rates. Labor unions might offer the same. Paying for health insurance is never going to be cheap. But with a little research, consumers can cut a significant amount of dollars from their insurance premiums.

How to Save Money on Travel Insurance: Ways to Choose the Best Insurance Policy for a Trip Away

There are many different types of travel insurance policies. They cover the traveler for different lengths of time, for different areas of the world, and insure a bewildering a variety of different things. How can one sort out this maze?

Single Trip or Annual Policy?

Annual travel policies cover the traveler for every trip he or she takes in a year. Single trip policies are simply for one trip or holiday. For those who go away more than once a year, annual policies usually work out cheaper. When working this out, one needs to consider the possibility of weekends away as well as the main vacations. These all add up, and often the annual policy is worth having.

Europe or Worldwide Cover?

For those who are only taking a vacation in Europe it is cheaper not to get worldwide cover, and Europe-only insurance cover is significantly cheaper. However, if the traveler is going further afield, it is essential to be covered despite the cost, as in places like the USA medical expenses can be extremely high.

Specialist Policies or Activities

For those going away for long periods, such as a ‘gap year’ trip, it is probably essential to look for a specialist policy, since most annual insurance policies have a limit on the length of each trip, usually around 30 days

For travellers who plan to do ‘adventurous’ activities, such as skiing or hang gliding, a specialist insurance policy may be required. Some ordinary insurance companies do offer winter sports cover, but one may have to pay extra. For more extreme activities, it is worth checking if one can pay an extra premium to cover them, particularly if it is only for a short period of time. This is sometimes cheaper than an annual insurance policy with a specialist company.

Only Get the Cover Needed

Sometimes policies offer different amounts of cover. It is not worth paying for cover one does not need; for example, large amounts of baggage cover if the traveler is not taking away anything valuable. Sometimes it is cheaper to insure valuables along with one’s household insurance, so it is worth checking. Experts recommend £1 million of medical cover in Europe, or £2 million in the rest of the world. They also suggest personal liability cover of at least £1 million, £1,500 baggage cover, and £3,000 cancellation insurance. But a good rule of thumb is not to buy what is not required.

Checking to See if One is Already Covered

Some banks offer free travel insurance with certain accounts, so for those who have one of these, there is no point in paying twice so long as what one needs is actually covered. However, the travel accident insurance offered by some credit card companies only covers the individual in certain very specific circumstances, so one should not rely on it.

Finally, the individual should be upfront about any medical conditions or similar things, as otherwise the policy could be invalidated.

Once the traveler has adequate insurance cover, he or she can go on that planned holiday safely, knowing that if anything goes wrong at least there should not be an expensive bill to be paid. And this peace of mind is at least as important as the good feeling one gets after a restful and relaxing holiday.

How To Save Money On Your Commercial Vehicle Insurance

Do you use vans or other vehicles as part of your business?

You do not have to run a huge multi-million pound business for fleet van insurance to be appropriate for you. Many insurers classify as few as two vans or trucks as a ‘fleet.’ Others will offer preferential rates and terms for anything over five to ten vans covered under one fleet van insurance policy.

Commercial vehicles are important company assets

Vans and trucks are vital components of many firms and are probably some of your most valuable company assets. This is why it is crucially important that they are fully protected. Many companies find that a fleet van or truck insurance policy is the best way to achieve this.

In the same way that your business can suffer if your workforce is absent through sickness, having your commercial vehicles off the road through theft or an accident can negatively affect your business. Can your business afford for its vans or other commercial vehicles to be off the road?

Fleet truck insurance is the perfect solution answer if you are a company with a number of vans or trucks. One fleet van insurance policy can cover your whole range of commercial vehicles, saving you both time and money. You only have to deal with one insurance company rather than having to correspond with dozens of different insurers for your various commercial vehicles.

Discounts and fleet van insurance cover

Fleet truck insurance policies will also save you money. Many companies offer discounts if you cover several vans, trucks or other commercial vehicles under one fleet van insurance policy. Discounts of 10% or more are not uncommon.

Whilst the cost of insurance is important, it is also vital that you consider what the various fleet van insurance policies cover. Many will include fire and theft, legal expenses and goods in transit. You may also benefit from a policy that offers a replacement vehicle if you rely on your vans being on the road at all times.

As anyone with a fleet of trucks will know, insuring your vehicles separately can be both costly and complicated. There is no guarantee that each of the policies provides the same cover as the others and it can take a huge amount of the time to review and renew each individual policy. With a fleet van or truck insurance policy, all your commercial vehicles are covered under one comprehensive policy, saving you both time and money.

Consumers Versus Health Insurance Companies

On September 23, 2010, several very important provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act, signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, became effective. This Act is part of the healthcare reform agenda of the currently in-office Democrats. These provisions provide greater protection to the consumer by reigning in long practiced atrocities committed by greedy health insurance companies. The following is a list of what insurance companies can no longer do, followed by what consumers can now do.

Insurers cannot:

  • Deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

  • Place lifetime limits or caps on benefits.

  • Cancel a health insurance policy without proving fraud.

  • Deny medical claims without providing the consumer with a chance to appeal the decision.

Consumers can now:

  • Receive free preventative services such as immunization shots and office visit check-ups.

  • Keep their children on their parents’ medical plan up to the age of 26 years old.

  • Select their own primary care, OB/Gyn and pediatrician without interference from the insurance company.

  • Use the nearest emergency room without being penalized by the insurer.

Furthermore, individual states can offer a Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. These plans focus on people with pre-existing health conditions and who have not been able to be approved by any other insurer for any other reason but for their health condition; the person must be a U.S. citizen or national, and must not have been able to be approved for insurance for at least the prior 6 months. This plan covers a wide range of pre-existing health conditions, provides primary and specialty care, hospital benefits, and prescription drugs.

Unfortunately, the prohibitive part of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan is its cost. For a family of four, the premium can be close to $1,000 per month, which is still beyond the means of most consumers.

Consumer Suffering

Many citizens have suffered at the hands of the health insurance companies. Insurers have cancelled or completely revoked policies from the policy date of inception for inconsequential reasons.

For example, in the case of Denise and Stephen Wheeler versus Nationwide Insurance Company, Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler were approved for health insurance in December. In May 2006 Mrs. Wheeler was taken via ambulance to the hospital due to a perforated ulcer, which she was unaware existed. She endured five hours of surgery where the perforation was repaired. A short time after the surgery, her health insurance carrier requested additional health insurance information from her. According to court documents, Mrs. Wheeler had not disclosed an emergency room and Ob/Gyn visit that happened two months prior, but was caused by heavy menstrual bleeding. The insurer contended that they would not have approved the insurance had they had known of the condition with her menstrual cycle. The Wheelers were left with a $30,000 hospital and medical bill.

Another example is the case of Susan and Tony Seals versus HealthNet. In March of 2003, Mr. and Mrs. Seals applied for and were approved for health insurance through HealthNet effective April 1, 2003. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Seals was informed that she was pregnant and gave birth to a daughter in October 2003. Mother and daughter had difficulties during the labor and delivery process where the baby had to be resuscitated immediately after birth and sustained brain damage. The Seals medical expenses came to $140,000. At this point, HealthNet decided to review their original application and determined that Mrs. Seals was two weeks off when she answered the question requesting the date of her last menstrual cycle.

The Seals brought suit against HealthNet, and won. They received $95,000 toward medical bills and $1,000,000 in a trust fund toward care of their daughter who will need constant care for the entirety of her life.

These are just two of the hundreds of policy cancellations, revocations, and lawsuits brought against the health insurance industry. They have had a choke hold on the American public long enough. Even after being fined millions of dollars in the recent past because of their underhanded practices, their practice continued.

Now, with the new portion of the Affordable Health Insurance Act finally in place, consumers can begin to feel more secure that their protection is first and foremost. By the year 2014, all of the portions of this Act will be in place, which will further protect the public from the greedy health insurers.

 

After speaking with various individuals within the medical professions, many oppose this Act. They claim that this will inhibit their treatments and care toward patients. But if you carefully read all portions of this Act, you will find that it protects the general public from underhandedness of health insurers and limits medical costs that can be charged by doctors. We, the consumers, can now be assured that we are no longer at the mercy of the giant health insurers.

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.