When Should You Review Your Life Insurance Policy?

13608_benefits_of_reviewing_your_property_policy.jpg

A life insurance policy is something we all should have, but it isn’t something you should look at one time and let it go. As a policy that ensures the comfort of your loved ones that rely on your income or support after you pass away, you’ll want to ensure your policy is correct and up to date as possible. Your life insurance policy is actually something you will need to periodically check on, revise, and revisit as you move through life and make major changes.
But what are those changes that would call for a change in your life insurance policy?

Here are six major events that might call for an insurance change.

1. Change of Relationship Status

Now, we’re not talking about every time you go on a new date, but when you get married or divorced, you should take a look at your life insurance policy. If you’re getting married and your spouse will rely on your income, you may want to consider upping your policy. If a divorce happens and the same amount of policy money isn’t needed anymore, you can adjust it back down.

2. Having a Child

Just as marriage or divorce would influence your life insurance policy, so would having a child or bringing on another kind of dependent. For each child you have, you will want to continue to consider if you should up your life insurance policy. If you should pass away, you want to ensure your children are well taken care of. If there is someone out there who relies on your money to live, a good life insurance policy should be in place.

3. Buying a Home

If you’re buying a home that requires a mortgage, you’ll want your life insurance policy to cover the additional cost of the mortgage. If you have such a large debt to continue paying off, it will be placed on someone else in the event of your death. To prevent sending your spouse or children into a debt they can’t afford, ensure your life insurance can cover the cost.

4. Change of Employment

Your life insurance policy should reflect your income, so if you get a raise, a new job, or add another form of income in the form of a side business or part time job, you will want to adjust your life insurance. If your income declines, you may also want to consider checking your policy and ensuring the coverage you have is necessary. This is particularly important when you consider a spouse or children that rely on your income and what coverage they may need if you pass away.

5. Taking Out a Loan

Whether you’re taking out a loan for a car, education, or just to make another large purchase, you’ll want to take a look at your life insurance policy. Depending on the size of the loan and the amount of time you believe it will take to pay the loan off, you may want to up your insurance policy. Similar to point #3, you don’t want to leave your debts in the hand of someone else if you should pass away before they can be paid off.

6. Changes of Beneficiary

Aside from possibly changing the amount of your life insurance policy, you’ll also want to continue to address who the beneficiary of the account is. This will usually change as you go through life. While it may start out as a parent or sibling, you will usually want to change it when you get married. As you get older and have children, you will probably also want to consider adding them to the beneficiaries list. In the event that your main beneficiary passes away before you, you will want to readdress your life insurance policy and make changes.

Your life insurance policy is one of the most important things you should consider. If you have a spouse, children, or other dependent that relies on your income and care, leaving behind a life insurance policy that ensures they don’t need to worry can be a bit of comfort in an extremely tough and confusing time.

You never know what is going to happen in life, so your life insurance policy is not something you want to let go ignored. Making periodic revisions to your life insurance policy can ensure you stay up to date.

Buying Life Insurance Is Not As Expensive As You Think

life-insurance-hero

Many people are well aware that buying life insurance is a good idea, but they never go beyond merely thinking about it. The real reason why they never take the next step might surprise you. They somehow make the assumption that it is simply too expensive for their budget.

In reality, it would probably be very surprising to these same people to discover that life insurance is actually cheaper than they thought. There are different types of life insurance and they come with a wide variety of prices, often being cheaper than most people assume.

Do You Really Know What Life Insurance Costs?

In a survey, people were asked what they thought the price of life insurance would be for a 30-year old to buy a $250,000 policy for a 20-year term policy. After hearing their answers, it was quickly discovered that people only thought they knew. When shown what it would actually cost, as many as 80 percent of those asked thought it would be much higher, and they were pleasantly surprised to learn what it would really cost.

The Real Cost of Life Insurance

You can get a lot of term life insurance for just a little money. A 30-year old who is healthy can get a life insurance policy with $250,000 coverage for a 20-year term for much less than $1,000 per year. In fact, it would cost a mere fraction of that amount – just about $160 per year!

Doing a little math, it can be seen that it comes out to just a little over 40 cents a day; $13 per month. A 40-year old non-smoker can buy a $500,000 20-year policy for about $36 per month.

Taking the first example of 40 cents per day and putting it into a comparison with other daily costs, life insurance is cheap. You cannot even buy a cup of coffee for 40 cents a day! If you are 30 and healthy, you could afford to buy life insurance to protect your financial obligations if you, as the breadwinner, should unexpectedly die.

Health Issues Will Raise the Cost of Life Insurance

The prices above are for people in good health and who are not smokers. If you smoke, or have some health problems, it is going to cost you more – a lot more. On average, smokers will pay twice as much for life insurance while still young, but possibly close to three times as much when they reach 45 or older. This clearly reveals the impact that smoking can have on your wallet – and life!

In some cases, if your health is not good, you may not be able to get life insurance, if a life insurance exam is required. You may be able to get around this, however, if you buy a life insurance policy for $50,000 or less.

Whole Life Will Cost More Because of Savings

While term life insurance is going to cost much less, it does not offer any kind of a savings program. A whole life policy, on the other hand, is not limited to a term, but it will cover your whole life and it also gives you a way to build some money in savings as cash value.

The Costs of Life Insurance Now Costs Less

Many life insurance companies in recent years have lowered their costs. This is due to the fact that people are likely to live longer, so they have longer to pay. You benefit because it means you save on monthly premiums.

The Real Cost of Not Having Life Insurance

The real cost of insurance needs to be seen in light of what happens if you die and don’t have it. It may mean that the life of your spouse and children and drastically changed if you do not have money in savings to keep their lifestyle going.

That is exactly what life insurance is for. Because you may have a lot of medical bills before you die, not only will our family be left with that debt, which could be considerable, but they also will have to come up with money for your funeral and burial. That can be expensive. They also may not be able to keep on living where they live now.

You could quickly discover what it will really cost for you to buy life insurance. An agent at our office will gladly talk to you and help you get covered – and still help you fit your budget.

10 Essential Things To Know About Health Insurance

health-insurance

Health Insurance is something that everyone should have, yet so many young people that I speak with not only don’t have insurance of their own, but they are also unaware of the importance and necessity of having it!

This list will explain 10 essential things young adults should know about health insurance:

1. It’s illegal to be uninsured, so just get health insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you’re required to buy health insurance. If you don’t enroll and go more than three months without insurance, you could face a penalty of $325 or 2 percent of your annual household income, whichever is higher.

Or, you could end up participating in a mud run, going blind from a flesh-eating disease, and owing the hospital $100,000, like this woman did recently.

2. If you’re a full-time employee, your employer has to offer you insurance — but not right away. Most companies require employees work for a set period before they can enroll in benefits. It can be as long as, but no longer than, 90 calendar days from your date of hire. At that point, if you are a full-time employee, your employer has to offer you coverage.

3. Your parents may still be able to cover you. If you are under age 26, you should strongly consider looking at your parents’ coverage. They can generally cover you at a much more modest [monthly] premium cost.

4. You can do it alone. If being covered by your parents’ plan or purchasing insurance through your employer is not an option, you can shop online for your insurance just like you would books or shoes. New health insurance marketplaces like the one at HealthCare.gov make it easier for individuals to select and buy the right insurance plan.

  • How to you pick an insurance plan? It’s a very individualized choice to make. If you are the stereotypical healthy young person who wants their well-woman exam, access to birth control, and a physical exam every year or two, that can be a very low cost. But if you have a disease or condition that requires on-going care, you need to consider what it will cost you to seek services. What will it cost you to see a doctor? You need to think beyond what comes out of your paycheck.

5. There are two major types of health insurance networks: health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs). HMOs typically have lower monthly premiums and require patients to see doctors within their network. If you see an out-of-network physician, you’ll be on the hook for the full cost of services, except in the case of an emergency. PPOs often have higher monthly premiums but are more flexible, allowing patients to see doctors outside of their network for additional fees.

6. You need to know what your deductible is. Your deductible is the portion of your health care costs that you are responsible for. If you have a $500 deductible, your insurance will begin paying its portion of your health care costs once you’ve exceeded $500 in medical costs (aka paid for that much out of pocket first). There is a huge range in deductibles. Many HMOs have no deductible at all, and under the ACA, the highest your deductible can be is $6,600.

7. You can make sure you’re covered in an emergency without spending a ton every month. If you don’t have major health concerns and the cost of monthly premiums is deterring you from buying insurance try looking into a plan with a low monthly premium but higher deductible. It can still be affordable and provide you with that emergency protection at a more affordable rate as far as what you’re paying monthly.

  • Warning: Low-premium, high-deductible plans mean bigger out-of-pocket costs when you get treated. That means you could end up spending hundreds of dollars to treat a bad cold or a UTI. (In a case like this, if you’re debating whether you should go to the urgent care center or the doctor’s office, opt for the latter. It’s always going to be cheaper to make a regular doctor’s appointment.)

8. Once you’re covered, many basic exams won’t cost you anything. Under the ACA, many women’s preventive health care services, such as the well-woman examination, which includes a pap smear and breast exam, are required to be 100 percent covered by your insurance.

9. You may qualify for a tax break. If you make up to $29,425 a year, you qualify for the premium tax credit, which can be paid directly to your insurance company, lowering your monthly premium and giving you more plan options. Even midrange earners can qualify for subsidies. Those making up to just over $47,000 a year and shopping the health insurance marketplaces may be eligible for federal tax credits.

10. Your medical information is private and protected by law. Whichever route you take to enroll in health insurance, no one has a right to your private health information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly referred to as HIPAA, requires that all protected health information is handled confidentially. That means, even if you are on your parents’ health insurance plan, they cannot access your medical records. As long as you are over 18, you’re not their legal dependent anymore and you have to provide consent for your parents to have access to any medical information.

Sources:

https://www.healthcare.gov/get-answers/

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/ConsumerHealthCare/FAQs-about-Health-Insurance_UCM_453532_Article.jsp#.Vz4BJJMrKPQ

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/health-insurance-frequently-asked-questions.aspx

Top 5 Individual Health Insurance Terms

healthy-heartWhen shopping for a new individual health insurance plan, one of the main challenges people face is understanding the sea of acronyms and terminology. Here is a list to help understand some of the most basic individual health insurance terms.

1. Premium

Your premium is the amount you pay to the health insurance company each month (or quarter) to maintain your coverage. When you’re researching plans it’s usually the first cost you see and consider, but it’s important to also factor in the copayments, deductible, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximums, described below.

2. Copayment

Your co-pay, or copayment, is a flat dollar amount you will pay your healthcare provider for a covered service. For example, you may have to pay a $30 copayment for each covered visit to a primary care doctor, and $10 for each generic prescription filled. Copayments vary from plan to plan and are sometimes different depending on the type of covered service you receive.

3. Deductible

Your deductible is the amount you must pay for covered services before your health insurance begins to pay. Insurers apply and structure deductibles differently. For example, under one plan, a comprehensive deductible might apply to all services while another plan might have separate deductibles for covered services such as prescription drug coverage. Deductibles can significantly affect the price of your insurance premium. Typically, plans with lower deductibles offer more comprehensive coverage but have higher premium costs.

4. Coinsurance

Coinsurance is a certain percent you must pay each benefit period after you have paid your deductible. This payment is for covered services only. You may still have to pay a copay.

For example, your plan might cover 80 percent of your medical bill. You will have to pay the other 20 percent. The 20 percent is the coinsurance.

5. Out-of-pocket Costs

Cost you must pay. These are your expenses for medical care that aren’t reimbursed by insurance. Out-of-pocket costs include deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments for covered services plus all costs for services that aren’t covered. Out-of-pocket costs vary by plan and each plan has a maximum out of pocket (MOOP) cost. Consult your plan for more information.

To read more or find other relevant insurance terms, check out this glossary of terms on medmutual.com.