While deciding to spend the rest of your life with someone else is a huge change for a single person, the until death do us part clause in the vows does not have to extend to your financial security. Life insurance is the best way to ensure that you and your new spouse will be financially sound in the event that one of you passes on. While it is not something that people starting their lives together enjoy to think about, it is a conversation that you and your partner will be thankful for later on down the road.
If you or your spouse already have a life insurance policy, it is time to think about what needs to be updated. If both of you have separate life insurance policies, it may be more cost effective to combine your policies under one company. Obviously, you will both still be covered, but you may have a lower monthly premium if you are both under the same policy.
Another way to save on your life insurance policy is to bundle. If you own vehicles, a home, an expensive engagement ring, or any other property that should be insured, pile them altogether with the same company to reduce your monthly premiums on all of your insurances.
If your new spouse has life insurance and you do not, or vice versa, now is the time for you or your spouse to add the other on the existing life insurance policy. In other words, if you do not have employment that offers life insurance but your spouse does, you can now get life insurance through your spouse’s employer, which is highly recommended.
Finally, you need to update information on any life insurance policies that may have existed before your marriage. You may want to increase your benefit depending on the lifestyle that you and your spouse are accustomed to. Another suggestion to think about is changing who your beneficiary is to be listed as your spouse.
Now that you are combining your life and your household with your new spouse, it is important to remember that your finances will become intertwined. You may rely on your spouse’s income for a portion of the monthly expenses, such as the mortgage, food, utilities and so on. This is one of the main reasons that life insurance is so important for married couples. If something were to happen to one of you, the other would want you to remain in the current lifestyle that you are accustomed to.
Insurance premiums insure your life; therefore, your policy is based on your life expectancy. Many factors are used in calculating your life expectancy such as your age, family medical history, driving record, lifestyle, health, if you are a smoker and finally your GENDER. Your gender is one of the main factors when determining your life insurance rates, coming in second only to your age. On average, the life span for a woman is five years longer than that for a man. Because life insurance is based on how long you might live, you can see how this would play a role in calculating your premiums.
In general, men present a higher risk to insurance companies. Here is a list of reasons why a life insurance quote for a man may be higher than that for a woman given they are of equal standing in general health, age, family medical history, driving record and smoking status.
Men tend to have higher risk occupations. If you take a look at the proportion of men to women in the following careers, there is a distinctive difference. Choosing an occupation associated with a higher risk will cause your increase the cost of your life insurance. Some of those dangerous occupations include, but are not limited to:
- Construction Workers
The aforementioned occupations are all considered higher risk occupations than average. Additionally, the above careers are all male dominated fields.
High-Risk Activities and High-Risk Lifestyles
Men are more likely to participate in dangerous hobbies such as competitive sports, rock climbing, car racing, etc. than women are. All of these extracurricular activities have an increased link to accidental death. Because more men participate more frequently in these dangerous activities, they have a higher death rate, and thus a higher cost for life insurance.
Another common generalization that is also statistically proven is that men tend to find themselves to be indestructible. This is especially true of younger men who often feel they have less to lose (i.e. not yet married or not yet fathers). Young men tend to take more risks in their everyday lives such as:
-Choosing a competitive workplace resulting in high-stress levels
-Little attention to a healthy diet resulting in the consumption of more fatty and salty foods. This leads to health risks such as high blood pressure and cardiac arrest
-DIY home repairs and remodels that could be dangerous and should be left to the professionals
-Working on cars and trucks at home
-Likelihood to binge drink
Higher Societal Risks
Have you ever been at a bar and seen a physical altercation? Chances are, it was between two men and not two women. Men tend to be exposed to a higher societal risk. Research shows that they are more likely to be involved in homicide or suicide. They are also more likely to be involved in criminal activity which can often lead to death. All of these activities directly affect the mortality rate for men, and therefore result in higher life insurance rates.
Men and Women Are Different
Unfortunately, statistically speaking, men are exposed to higher risk activities than women every single day. Life insurance is based on a carefully calculated mortality chart in which all of these factors are taken into account. At every age and health range, you will see that the insurance premium rate for men will be consistently higher than it is for women at the same age and health range. Because of this, my poor husband is doomed with higher life insurance rates at every stage in our lives. However, when broken down into monthly payments, we are only paying about six more dollars per month to cover my husband than we are paying for my insurance. In the end, I am okay with this because I know our family will be covered should tragedy come knocking on our door.
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.
When 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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