Almost everyone knows the importance of having health insurance. They take action towards acquiring some sort of plan for their family, often thinking they have enough coverage. It’s quite common, however, to arrive in a critical medical situation only to find your insurance does not cover what is necessary.
There are different kinds of health insurance available to you. The term itself refers broadly to insurance which pays for medical expenses. Some insurance plans may cover disability or long-term nursing care, as well as custodial care. Other options could include government sponsored programs falling under the social services spectrum, or benefits received from any of the major private insurance companies.
Some larger firms will purchase a group plan to cover all of their employees. Then again, there are other people who must purchase their own policy. Each of these scenarios has one thing in common: to help people pay for unexpected or overly high medical and healthcare expenses employees may run into. There are similar benefit plans provided to people through government social welfare programs.
Your insurance policy will list which benefits are covered. Any uncovered medical care will need to be paid for out-of-pocket. It may be prudent on your part to verify with your insurance company beforehand whether the procedure or prescription your doctor recommends is covered. It’s always important to read your insurance policy. It will provide you with all of the information in reference to what is covered and what isn’t. There is also the possibility your doctor may need to contact your insurance company in writing before they will approve your prescription.
Any questions regarding your plan and what is covered should be directed to you insurance company. Ask your representative to explain it clearly to you to make sure you understand.
Keep in mind it isn’t your doctor who decides what medications are paid for, but your insurance company.
Medicare is a program for people aged 65 and over which is provided by the government. Medicare eligibility and enrollment is covered by the Social Security Administration branch. You can reach a representative at 1-800-772-1213 for enrollment information or to ask any questions you may have.
Medicare Supplement Insurance can help with some of the voids presently found in areas not covered by Medicare itself. With a total of twelve standardized supplemental insurance plans (labeled A through L) there’s a plan available for you. Among these supplemental plans, there are four which offer higher deductibles.
People in the following situations don’t necessarily need any supplemental Medicare options:
* You have group health insurance through an employer or former employer including government or military retirees
* You already belong to a Medicare Advantage Plan
* Medicaid pays for your Medicare premiums and other out-of-pocket costs
Part A and B of Medicare are a must in order to participate in a Medicare supplemental insurance plan. Part A covers hospital services, nursing facility care after certain hospital stays, home health care as well as hospice care. Also, after you’ve paid for the first three pints of blood in a calendar year, Part A covers the rest.
Part B covers medical expenses, clinical laboratory services as well as most outpatient hospital treatments at a usual rate of 80%.
Part D of the Medicare supplemental insurance plan pays for both generic and branded prescription drugs. You must join a prescription drug plan for this option to cover your expenses.
It’s important to become knowledgeable about your health insurance policy and its coverage. This will keep you from any shocks in the future, while giving you the opportunity to search for other options should the need arise.
What Can a Licensed Insurance Agent Do For Me?
A licensed insurance agent can be a valuable resource. You would visit a travel agent to discuss destinations, rates, and obtain the latest updates only a travel agent could provide; a licensed insurance agent works in a similar way.
Let’s assume you need a specific type of insurance. An insurance agent can search for those policies that meet your needs. He can answer many questions you may have, can apprise you of discounts offered through his company, can help you with filing claims in an expeditious manner, and can review your existing policies to ensure you are fully covered.
On the other hand, before speaking to an insurance agent, it is recommended that you engage in some research on your own. While it may take a little more time, you can certainly find the most affordable insurance rates on your own either by checking companies online or by calling them directly.
However, if you do not have the time or the inclination to do so, finding a really good licensed insurance agent can make all the difference. The only caveat is that some agents may try to talk you into purchasing insurance you neither need nor can afford.
Just like travel agents, most insurance agents work on commission. And just like travel agents, if the trip and/or the arrangements made are unsatisfactory, an agent will lose a valuable customer.
Ultimately, using the services of a licensed insurance agent can benefit you in a variety of ways, including:
* Finding the best deal
* Offering information not readily available to you
* Help you to make the right choices
* Explain the different types of insurance and if they are beneficial to you
Therefore, it’s a good idea to find an agent whom you feel comfortable with, who listens to your concerns, and doesn’t seem overly zealous when it comes to your insurance needs.
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Ways to Lower Your Home Insurance Policy
We are all looking to find ways to increase savings during this economic recession. Reducing the cost of your home insurance policy can help in this regard. Here are six ways you can lower the costs.
1. Stay with the same insurer. You can take advantage of discounts offered by your insurer if you purchase all insurance policies with one carrier. For example, having a homeowners and automobile insurance with the same company can yield up to 15% discount on your premium.
Moreover, the longer you remain with the same insurer, the better chance you have of obtaining additional discounts. For example, homeowners who have been with a company for five years or more may qualify for a special discount.
2. Increase the deductible. While you may currently have a $500 deductible, by raising it to $1000 you can save up to 25% on your premium.
3. Add security features. By installing smoke alarms, burglar alarms, and special locks, you can save as much as 20% on your premium. To find out if your insurance company offers these types of discounts, give them a call and determine how much you may be able to save in this regard.
4. Age-related discounts. Some insurance companies offer discounts to individuals who are 55 or older and retired. Check with your company and ask if they offer such discounts.
5. Annual review of your policy. This is another way you can cut costs on your policy. If you have expensive items in your home that are covered under a floater attached to your homeowner’s plan, these items will depreciate each year and may no longer have to be covered.
6. Good credit. One of the components used in determining how much you will pay for insurance is based on your credit rating. Therefore, to keep costs down it’s a good idea to ensure that you check your credit report and FICO score annually and correct any errors you detect on the credit report. Do not skip any monthly payments on credit card bills or loans, and maintain a good credit history.
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Is It Worth Claiming?
To file or not to file; that is the question. There are certain instances where you should file a claim if your car was damaged due to an accident. However, there are other instances where filing a claim for losses less than $1,000 may not be necessary. But there’s a catch.
Depending upon the terms of your insurance policy, a claim needs to be filed in cases where the amount of damage to the car exceeds the deductible. In addition, the law requires damage above a specific amount to be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The amount varies by state.
For example, let’s assume you are parked in your car at the curb and another driver whizzes by so closely that he rips the side view mirror off your car. The first thing you have to do is to find out how much it will cost to replace the mirror.
Afterward, you have to decide whether it is worth claiming this as collision damage. You can call the insurance agent and ask if this incident will raise your rates and how much, or you can absorb the cost of the replacement.
It should be noted that:
* Some insurance companies require that agents who receive inquiries of this type have to report the incident and, consequently, your premium may be increased.
* Some insurance companies will give you the information you seek freely without reporting it as an accident.
* Some insurance companies may not raise rates if the claim is under a certain amount.
* Some insurance companies “forgive” a first-time accident based on certain criteria.
Another consideration is the amount of collision damage you currently have on your car. If you have the minimum $500 deductible, it may be a good idea to increase the amount to $1000. This will serve two purposes – it will allow you to file a claim for damages incurred through no fault of your own (such as the example given above), and it may lower your overall premium.
Any car accident that involves another vehicle should be reported, however, even if the damage is slight. There are many instances in which an injury may reveal itself later on and by reporting the collision, you are fully protected from the outset.
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Tips on How to Choose Life Insurance
There are several factors that will determine whether or not you need life insurance. Here are some tips on how to choose a policy that is right for you.
* Who should buy life insurance? Life insurance is recommended to those who have dependents, those who are self-employed or own a business, and those who want to ensure that their surviving spouse will have enough funds to cover funeral and burial expenses as well as any outstanding debts or taxes incurred.
* How much insurance do you need? This is also dependent on several factors. In addition to the expenses already mentioned, you may want to cover education costs for the children. You may also require a supplemental safety net in case a situation arises such as illness or if you need to borrow money.
While some experts agree that most people who buy life insurance do not buy enough, others will say that most people buy too much. How much is enough is determined by how much debt has been incurred including mortgage, credit card debt, tuition and expenses, and the needs of the surviving spouse as well as the children. Once that calculation is made, one can then ascertain the amount of coverage needed.
* What type of insurance should you obtain? There are two types: term life and whole life. Term life is insurance that is only good for a specific period of time, whereas whole life insurance has no expiration and allows you to borrow from the policy or cash it in.
Term life insurance varies in cost. Depending upon your age, whether or not you smoke, your current health, and income may inflate the cost of this type of policy. But, in general terms, term life insurance is usually affordable.
* Understanding the types of life insurance available is critical. It is recommended, therefore, that you research each type as well as the insurance companies who provide the policies. Then set up an appointment with at least five agents to obtain proposals that you can compare and contrast.
Once you have decided on the type of insurance and the insurance company, think about it before signing on the dotted line. Ensure that this policy meets all your needs.