Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Things To Think About When Traveling Abroad

The holiday travel season is upon us. Most health insurance policies will cover you no matter where you go in the United States, but what if you are traveling outside the country? In fact, open your passport to page 2 and you will find the following warning: HEALTH INSURANCE. Persons considering foreign travel should determine what health insurance coverage, if any, they require while outside the United States. Medicare does not cover health care costs outside the United States and its territories, except under limited circumstances in Canada and Mexico.
Most international travelers do not have appropriate health insurance coverage. In fact, government subsidized health care such as Medicare almost never covers health services in foreign countries. Many employer sponsored health plans limit overseas coverage.
Why is insurance so critical for international travel?
Obtaining healthcare in some parts of the world can be tricky. Some hospitals won't provide any treatment--or won't allow a patient to be discharged--until the hospital has received a guarantee of payment. Such guarantees are commonly provided by travel insurers, in conjunction with assistance providers, but rarely by other insurers or managed care plans. This means you'll have to pay in advance, perhaps as much as tens of thousands of dollars, with your credit card. Of course, for this to work the hospital must accept foreign credit cards and your card must have a sufficient credit limit.
 Always make sure you check with your Insurance Company before your trip to make sure you’re covered. Your licensed Insurance agent can assist you in making sure you are covered especially if you are on Medicare. If you are not, there are a variety of products available to you. We work with a company called HTH worldwide. They have a variety of products available to take care of your health needs while traveling abroad.  These plans can be very inexpensive, $1.50-$9.00 per day.
Health Accident Plans: Typically referred to as Health travel insurance, these plans cover doctors, hospital bills and some dental care and medications. These plans can be short term from 1day to 6 months. These plans can supplement Medicare and managed care plans.
Medical Evacuation: Evacuation can be expensive, costing up to $100,000.00 or more from a remote location.
Trip Cancellation / Interruption: An example of this would be if you purchased a $5,000 cruise and were unable to take it because of a personal illness. Depending on when you canceled, a significant portion may be non refundable. This type of insurance will reimburse you.
You can find more information here or contact us to speak with an agent.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Things To Know About The Upcoming Healthcare Reform

Now that the Election is over, Obama is in office for another 4 years. Some of you may be thinking “Great now this whole “Obama Care” deal is definitely going into effect. This is going to suck.” Let’s take some time to look at the upcoming health care reform and see what it really is. Everything thing I write about in this article uses sources directly available to the public. I will include links to government web sites that I use for sources so that you can get more information at your leisure. This is just a quick guide.

Let us start with changes to family health and individual care. The biggest change to family health care plans is that parents will be able to keep dependent children on their plan until age 26. As long as their children are not eligible for their own job based insurance plan. This change has already gone into effect.  Another change that does not start until 2014 is that Insurance Companies can no longer impose lifetime dollar limits on essential coverage. Starting in 2014, if your annual income is less than $88,000 for a family of four and your job does not offer affordable coverage, you may be eligible for a tax credit to assist with paying for health insurance. Job based health plans and new individual plans will no longer be allowed to exclude coverage for children under the age of 19 based on health conditions, including babies born with health conditions. Also starting in 2014, if your employer does not provide health insurance coverage, you will be able to purchase health insurance directly from an exchange that will give you the same power as large companies and congress to find the best coverage at the best prices. More information can be found at healthcare.gov

Now let us look at group employee benefits. First, there is no requirement for businesses to provide insurance for employees. However it may be in the best interest of the company to provide such benefits.  Aside from the obvious benefits of making sure your employees are healthy and able to work, businesses will be eligible for tax credits as high as 50% for providing employees with health benefits. Currently businesses are only eligible for tax credits up to 35%. That’s a pretty decent incentive. Now for the down side… An employer with at least 50 full time employees who does not offer health benefits may be assessed a tax penalty starting in 2014 for employees who use tax credits to help buy their own insurance. This is to offset the tax cost of helping the employee get health care. It’s all checks and balances. While there is no requirement to provide insurance, it certainly looks to be beneficial. You can get more information at healthcare.gov

Deutsch Insurance Associates is a licensed Health insurance agency. Making sure our clients have the best coverage available to them. We can help you make sure that you have a policy with a company that is compliant with the upcoming reform. Contact one of our agents today.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Life Insurance, What You Need To Know

A friend of mine decided to get his pilot’s license. The time came for his first solo flight. He told me it was such a rush getting the plane up in the air without the instructor and then leveling off high up in the sky. It was then he had a sudden thought. “What if something goes wrong? I really should get Life Insurance.” Fortunately he made it through his flight without incident and landed safely. In this week’s edition, we will discuss Life Insurance. Do you need it, how much should you get and how to chose the right type of Life Insurance.

Do I need Life Insurance?
To answer this lets pose a few preliminary questions.
1) Are you the bread winner of your family?
2) How will your spouse pay the bills if something happens to you?
3) Are you planning on starting a family?
4) Is there anyone financially dependent upon you?
The intention of Life Insurance is to assist any family left behind with their daily living expenses as well as any of your final expenses. A Life Insurance policy can pay off the mortgage on the house, put your kids through school and even makes sure your spouse or partner has income to live on when you are gone.

Life Insurance actually dates as far back as the Roman Empire, when soldiers would join burial clubs. When a soldier died, the other members of the club would pay for his burial and over time it evolved to cover additional expenses and leave a financial estate for heirs.

How much Insurance do I need?
Let’s take an inventory of your expenses. If you don’t have one of these bills it’s not an issue, just fill it in as best you can.
Weekly expenses such as food, gas, miscellaneous expenses _______
Monthly expenses such as the water bill, electricity, gas and telephone: _____
Total Mortgage Amount  ______ and number of years left to payoff ______
Monthly Mortgage bill: ______
Car payment: ______ what would the payoff be ________
Student Loans: ______
Other expenses: _____
Total these up and you can get an idea of how much your loved ones might need if you pass on. Your licensed Life Insurance agent will use a similar survey to assist you in figuring out exactly how much insurance you might need.

What type of Life Insurance is right for you? There are some different types of Life Insurance products available. Term Life insurance gives you coverage for a block of time or term. You pay monthly or annual premiums. Your premiums remain at the same level for the duration of the term. However when the term ends you are without coverage unless you renew for a new term. There may be a premium increase for the new term or, if you have developed certain medical conditions, you may not qualify for a new policy. There are other types of products available such as permanent plans that do not expire unless you do not pay the premiums. There are products that build cash value over time and products that you can borrow against. Your licensed Life Insurance Agent can help you select the product that is right for you.

Life Insurance products may contain exclusions for hazardous occupations and hobbies or may have an additional premium added to cover these occupations and hobbies. Make sure that when you speak with your insurance agent you discuss your job, hobbies and future goals. This will help them to make sure you get the product that is right for you. For more information or to speak with an agent, Contact us.

A special note for those that are purchasing or already have life insurance policies in place. Make sure you review your beneficiaries frequently. As time goes on, you may have changes in your life, new additions or even deaths in the family. Make sure you stay in contact with your Life Insurance agent and update your beneficiaries when these changes occur.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Medicare Open Enrolment

Medicare open enrollment is here. In this issue we answer important questions about Medicare and supplements.

First off, what is Medicare? Medicare is essentially health insurance coverage for seniors.  It is split in to two parts. Part A and Part B. Part A covers:

·         Hospitals

·         Skilled nursing facilities

·         Hospice

·         Home health care

Part B covers:

·         Doctors

·         Other health care providers’ services

·         Durable medical equipment

·         Home health care

·         And some preventative services

What is not covered under Medicare?

Medicare does not cover everything and there are deductibles, coinsurance and copayments for some things.

Some of the things Medicare does not cover are:

·         Routine dental or eye care

·         Dentures

·         Cosmetic surgery  

·         Acupuncture  

·         Hearing aids and exams for fitting them

·         Routine foot care

·         Prescriptions

·         Coverage outside of the United States

What are Medicare supplements? Supplements are plans sold by independent companies to help pay some of the costs that Medicare does not cover. Medicare supplements are sometimes referred to as Medigap policies. These are different from Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans are another way of obtaining Medicare benefits. There are a lot of supplemental plans available. Part D Plans are specifically for prescriptions. To qualify for Medicare supplement plans, you must already have Medicare parts A and B.


How old do you need to be to qualify for Medicare?

You can apply between 3 months before and 3 months after your 65th birthday.

Open enrolment for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D is October 15th through December 7th.

You can get more information at www.medicare.gov or contact us to speak with a knowledgeable agent who can assist you with applying for coverage and selecting supplements that fit you.

Friday, October 26, 2012

In Network / Out of Network, What do they mean

A prospective client looking over a Health Insurance quote recently asked me to explain the difference between the prices for In Network and Out of Network. This seemed like an apropos place to start this blog.
Health Insurance providers create networks of physicians and hospitals that are contracted to provide reduced rates for their clients. Health care providers that have a valid contract with a health care provider are referred to as being In Network.  Providers that do not have a contract are considered Out of Network and can charge more. Most Insurance providers will still cover a portion of the bill if you go to a physician or hospital that is Out of Network , however your costs may increase due to the higher charges.
How to use this information:
Before looking for new health insurance coverage, contact your doctor and find out what Insurance providers they work with. When you contact your Health Insurance Agent, let them know what your doctor accepts.  If you do not already have a doctor that you see regularly, your agent can still help you select an insurance policy and assist you with locating a doctor that is in network to help you keep your costs down.

For more information or to speak with an agent contact us or visit www.deutschinsurance.com