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Understanding Insurance

Updated on April 6, 2013

What You Need To Know About Insurance

Current information about insurance is not always the easiest thing to find.

Insurance, in this modern world of cancer, heart disease, AIDS, diabetes, asthma, aging and other diseases and afflictions, it is essential to have some sort of insurance.

There are many types and levels of insurance coverage available; unfortunately, like most things in life, you get what you pay for, and good coverage can be very expensive.

The two most common terms in referring to insurance are premium, which is the amount paid for the insurance, and deductible, which is your out-of-pocket expense before the insurance pays your provider.

So far, we've uncovered some interesting facts about insurance. You may decide that the following information is even more interesting.

Getting the Most Benefit From Your Insurance Policy

The key to getting the most benefit from your insurance policy is knowing your policy coverage.

Many people don't actually read the policy for the policy plan book; they may not be aware that the policy may pay 100% of certain procedures, like annual physicals, mammograms, flu shots or certain lab tests.

The policy plan book will outline for you what procedures are not subject to the deductible or co-pay (your out-of-pocket expense).

Some insurance companies have shifted their emphasis from insurance to improvement and maintenance and will pay for the cost of gym membership, nutritional counseling or plans to stop smoking.

If you don't have accurate details regarding insurance, then you might make a bad choice on the subject. Don't let that happen: keep reading.

If you were trying to lose weight and knew that you could get these services at no cost, wouldn't you take advantage of them?

If you wanted to quit smoking, wouldn't it be beneficial to know that you could get the patch for free?

It is very wise to know what services are available to you through your insurance company, and you will only know if you take the time to read through your policy.

insurance is an expensive item; take advantage of every aspect of it that you can, not only for yourself but for the members of your family.

By taking full advantage of the free benefits of your insurance policy, you will be healthier and possibly require fewer visits to your doctor.

The Importance of Keeping Good Insurance Records

When most people think of Insurance Records, what comes to mind is usually basic information that's not particularly interesting or beneficial. But there's a lot more to Insurance Records than just the basics.

As in everything that involves money, it is important to keep good records of your medical expenses for many reasons.

Keeping track of deductibles, especially for a family, can be time consuming, but is an important task. Every policy has different deductibles for lab work, hospital emergency room visits, hospital stays, doctor visits and x-rays, and it is often difficult to track.

Keeping track of your out-of-pocket expenses becomes very important when it comes time to complete your taxes.

It also comes in handy to know what your expenses are for medical care when choosing to change companies or policies.

A file folder that includes a copy of the policy, copies of your medical bills and copies of what your insurance company has paid on those bills is usually

If your Insurance Records facts are out-of-date, how will that affect your actions and decisions? Make certain you don't let important Insurance Records information slip by you.

When a bill comes for a provider, you will usually receive a statement from your insurance company showing what portion of the bill they paid, and many times providers write off the remainder, if it is not a large sum.

If you visit several doctors, you may want to have a file folder for each doctor or provider.

Insurance companies do occasionally make mistakes, but they are usually on top of their game. Having a copy of the policy handy makes it easy to check deductible levels and whether a particular service is covered or not.

It also serves as a ready resource for telephone numbers,website information and your contact at the insurance company.

Insurance for Dummies

Packed with real-life examples, expert author Jack Hungelmann guides the reader through the traps and loopholes of the insurance system.

Discover what policy combination is best for your needs and where you may have gaps.

Find out how to reduce your risk and your insurance costs.

Learn how to make the most of your insurance policies and what to do when there's a crisis.

How to shop for health insurance when it isn't employer-provided, get the claims you deserve.

Prescription Insurance Policies

Some health insurance policies do not provide for prescription coverage and a separate policy must be purchased for prescription medications.

This is an area where it pays to do some homework and research and find the best policy for you.

Prescription coverage insurance is not a necessity; like health insurance coverage, it is a calculated risk, although the risk is not as high.

Usually you can buy prescription insurance at any time, so if the doctor determines that you need an expensive maintenance drug, you may opt in at that time.

It is important to know that if you presently have prescription insurance you can usually only change it at a specific time of the year, although you can add new prescriptions, you can't change plans.

The person who seldom takes prescription medications probably does not need prescription insurance; however, a person who takes maintenance drugs for high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, heart disease or immune disorders most likely needs insurance against the high costs of drugs.

Prescription insurance policies usually have "tiers", which usually means that a generic drug is at a low or no co-pay, a tier 2 level may be the brand name genuine, and a tier 3 may be a brand new expensive drug that the co-pay could be a set high-percentage of the cost.

In choosing prescription insurance, you should first list the prescriptions that you take and the retail amount of them. If you chose not to purchase insurance, this would be your monthly cost.

Find out from the provider what the monthly premium for you would be, then what the prescription co-pay amount would be and add these two figures together. Which is the less expensive alternative?


Looking at Medicare Insurance

Medicare is a governmental program which provides medical insurance coverage for retired persons over age 65 or for others who meet certain medical conditions, such as having a disability.

Medicare was signed into legislation in 1965 as an amendment to the Social Security program and is administered by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Department of Human services.

Medicare provides medical insurance coverage for over 43 million Americans, many of whom would have no medical insurance. While not perfect, the Medicare program offers these millions of people relatively low cost basic insurance, but not much in the way of preventative care. For instance, Medicare does not pay for an annual physical, vision care or dental care.

Medicare is paid for through payroll tax deductions (FICA) equal to 2.9% of wages; the employee pays half and the employer pays half.

So far, we've uncovered some interesting facts about Medicare Insurance. You may find the following information is even more interesting.

There are four "parts" to Medicare: Part A is hospital coverage, Part B is medical insurance, Part C is supplemental coverage and Part D is prescription insurance. Parts C and D are at an added cost and are not required. Neither Part A nor B pays 100% of medical costs; there is usually a premium, co-pay and a deductible. Some low-income people quality for Medicaid, which assists in paying part of or all of the out-of-pocket costs.

Because more people are retiring and become eligible for Medicare at a faster rate than people are paying into the system, it has been predicted that the system will run out of money by 2018. Health care costs have risen dramatically, which adds to the financial woes of Medicare and the system has bee plagued by fraud over the years.

No one seems to have a viable solution to save this system that saves many people throughout the country.

Knowing enough about Medicare Insurance to make solid, informed choices cuts down on the fear factor. If you apply what you've just learned about Medicare Insurance, you should have nothing to worry about.

Questions and Answers on Life Insurance - The Life Insurance Toolbook

An easy-to-use life-insurance guidebook. Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) Steuer notes that life insurance is "one of the least exciting topics to think about," and here he offers a painless reference book to that gray world.

The format of the book, framed as answers to frequently--and not-so-frequently--asked questions, will help readers make informed decisions about what kind of life insurance to purchase and how to monitor your holdings to avoid any nasty surprises down the road.

Disability Insurance Coverage

Disability insurance policies are designed to pay part of your wages should you be injured in an accident or are unable to work because of illness.

Here are two types of policies available: long-term disability and short-term disability.

Short term disability pays a portion of your wages should you be out of work due to injury for up to one year. Some employers pay for this benefit for their employees, some offer it for employees to purchase.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, the time to enroll is during the initial enrollment period when a medical exam is not required.

Replacement of wages is only partial; insurance underwriters, as well as your employer, want you back at work as soon as possible.

Usually there is a waiting period of 14 days in which you will not receive payment.

Long term disability policies are purchased to replace what your potential earnings would be from the time you become disabled until age 65 when Medicare would be available.

For instance, if you are 55 and make $40,000 per year, you should purchase a policy for $400,000.

You cannot get a long term disability policy if

(1) you are or are soon to be pregnant,

(2) make less than $18,000 per year,

(3) are unemployed, or

(4) you are required to carry a weapon for your job.

Typically, the waiting period for long-term insurance to kick is at least 60 days and as much as a year.

Disability insurance is an important aspect of your overall insurance coverage plan, and if your employer offers it as a benefit you should definitely consider it as a wise investment.

Health Savings Accounts

If you are considering changing your health insurance policy, you should be aware of the alternative of a Health Savings Account (HCA).

Health Savings Accounts started to become available (and legal) in 2004, allowing people with high-deductible insurance policies to set aside tax-free money to fund medical expenses up to the maximum deductible amount.

If you don't have to use the funds, it rolls over every year. Once you reach age 65, you no longer are required to use it for medical expenses, although you certainly can; you can withdraw funds under the same conditions as a regular IRA.

Although you will be penalized if you use the funds for non-medical expenses prior to age 65, you can use the money for vision care, alternative medicine or treatment and dental care.

For 2008, an individual may fund up to $2,900 tax free. The maximum deductible would be $1100 and the maximum out-of-pocket cost would be $5,600.

For a family, the maximum tax-free contribution is $5,800 with the maximum deductible of $2,200 and the maximum out-of-pocket cost would be $11,200.

Health Savings Accounts are certainly a viable way to shelter income while providing catastrophic insurance coverage in light of the high cost of low-deductible health insurance plans.

For healthy people, it deserves some research. Consult with your insurance agent for all of the details involving this approach to managing your insurance needs.

Auto Accident Personal Injury Insurance Claim - How to Evaluate and Settle Your Loss

Eight out of ten Americans will have an accident in the next seven years.

Baldyga delivers over three decades of personal injury, insurance claim experience in this easy-to-read book. Learn how to settle your "pain and suffering" for top dollar.

Insurance For College Students

The tuition arrangements are set up; the dorm room is assigned and your son or daughter is headed off to college in the fall. In all of the confusion of the paperwork, deadlines and financial arrangements did you remember to check on their health insurance?

Many, but not all, insurance companies provide for health insurance for college students under a family policy; do you know for sure that yours does?

With some insurance companies, coverage depends on whether or not the student is a full time student. Review your policy or ask your insurance administrator; if you have an HMO plan, will your student be covered if they go to the student healthcare facility away from home?

Check the age limit as well; you may find that once your son or daughter reaches a certain age they are dropped from the policy no matter what.

Ask your insurance company to provide an extra insurance card for your son or daughter to carry with them; if there is an additional card for prescription medications; make sure they have that too.

This preventative step will help eliminate confusion when they suddenly have to see a doctor.

There are student health care plans that are available through most colleges that are a reasonably priced alternative if your policy excludes your child.

Isn't college confusing enough without having to worry about whether your child is covered should he or she need to seek medical attention? Take the time to look into health insurance before they head off to college in the fall.

What Happens To My Insurance When I Retire?

Health insurance considerations weigh heavily on the minds of people wanting to retire before Medicare coverage kicks in at age 65. Many people put off retirement simply because the cost of an individual health insurance policy is too great on a limited income.

What options for health insurance do you have if you choose to retire before age 65? Although they are not required to, you may be able to get COBRA-like coverage from your employer.

As an added retirement benefit, your employer may allow you to pick up the premium on your policy; although paying 100% of your premium may initially appear to be an expensive option, purchasing an individual policy apart from a group may be even more costly and not provide you with the level of coverage you previously had.

Some companies are offering basic high-deductible insurance reasonably in the hopes that they will be able to enroll you in Medicare Part C (supplemental insurance) when you retire.

Another option is to budget and save money to cover your anticipated medical costs for the time period between retirement and age 65. If you are in very good health, this may be a viable alternative for you.

Pre-planning for retirement is an important issue; the earlier you start planning, the better. Realizing the Medicare does not pay all of your medical expenses, you should budget money for medical expenses even after retirement.

The New Health Insurance Solution - How to Get Cheaper, Better Coverage Without a Traditional Employer Plan

You no longer need a traditional employer plan to get good, affordable health insurance. The New Health Insurance Solution can help you cut your health insurance costs in half if:

* You're self-employed, an independent contractor, or your employer doesn't provide health insurance (you can probably get coverage on your own for about $94/month-a fraction of what an employer would have to pay for the same coverage)

* You are employed and pay extra to cover your spouse or children under your employer-sponsored plan-you may save 50% by taking them off your employer plan

* You own a small business and are getting killed by double-digit premium increases-you can now give employees tax-free money to buy their own plans and get your company out of the health insurance business

What Happens To My Insurance if I leave my job?

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), a law created in 1986, gives workers (and members of their family) who lose their health insurance benefits the right continue their group health insurance for a limited period of time under circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in hours, transition between jobs, divorce, adoption and death.

Generally, the employee pays up to 102% of the premium cost for the same policy; this is still usually less expensive than buying an individual insurance policy.

There are three basic aspects for qualifying for COBRA: the qualifying event, the insurance plan coverage and the qualified person.

Each aspect is taken into consideration when applying for COBRA and you must elect to either apply for COBRA or waive your rights to COBRA within 14 days after a qualifying event.

You must also have been in the group insurance plan during your employment to be eligible. Although there are exceptions, generally you may continue to pay your own premiums to keep COBRA coverage intact for up to 18 months.

Companies who have fewer than 20 employees, State or Federal employers or employee organizations may not offer COBRA coverage.

Check with your health insurance administrator to see if you may qualify. You may also have this information readily available in your group health insurance policy or in your company handbook.

Although it may be expensive, the cost of being able to keep your group insurance coverage rate may be well worth it.

Squidoo Lenses On Insurance

Here are some of the top lenses on squidoo dealing with insurance.

Product Liability and Innovation - Managing Risk in an Uncertain Environment

Product liability is a contentious issue. Proponents argue that American tort law promotes product safety.

Manufacturers contend that lawsuits chill new product development.

"Product Liability and Innovation" provides an overview and an engineering perspective on the product liability system. The volume offers studies of selected industries, exploring the effect of product liability on corporate product development decisions and on the creative opportunities and day-to-day work of engineers.

This book addresses the potential liability of the parts or materials supplier and discusses the impact of liability on the availability of insurance. It looks at "junk science" in the courtroom and analyzes opportunities to incorporate into product design what we know about human behavior and risk.

The book also looks at current efforts at tort reform and compares U.S. injury claims handling with that of other countries. This volume will be important to policymakers, industrialists, attorneys, product engineers, and individuals concerned about the impact of product liability on the industrial future.

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    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for good and precise information about the principles of insurance

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      7 years ago

      I love your lens, it helped me to learn so much about insurance. Great guide for people who are clueless in this area. insurance software


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