Tips for buying individual health insurance

There is strength in the numbers, particularly when you are buying health insurance. As part of a group work plan, you can generally enjoy lower rates – but sometimes you may not have the option of joining a group plan.

There is strength in the numbers, particularly when you are buying health insurance. As part of a group work plan, you can generally enjoy lower rates – but sometimes you may not have the option of joining a group plan.

An individual plan is one that is purchased in the private market, not associated with employment benefits. Although they are called “individual” plans, they can cover you, your spouse, and your children.

There is no guarantee that an insurer will accept you on an individual policy. Individual plans are medically provided and the insurer may reject your application or add exclusions to your policy if you have health problems. Under “guaranteed issue” laws, some states do not allow this practice and require insurers to offer you a policy, regardless of medical problems you may have. The Kaiser Foundation has a list of guaranteed emission laws.

People enrolled in individual plans pay premiums determined primarily by estimated health care costs, so prices may be higher for those who are elderly and / or less healthy.

Calculating expenses

Pricing is probably the most baffling aspect of individual insurance policies, so health insurance rates are worth quoting. For example, premiums for similar products from different insurers can vary up to 50 percent for the same person.

If you’re faced with finding individual health insurance, don’t let confusion tempt you into thinking you don’t need it. Even if you are in good health, you could fall off a ladder or have a serious car accident and this could force you to declare “medical bankruptcy.”

In addition, you will lose your rights to coverage of pre-existing conditions if you remain uninsured for 63 days or more, a period of time established by the Health Insurance Accounting and Portability Act (HIPAA).

How to choose an individual health insurance plan

When looking for an individual health insurance policy, it is in your best interest to do your homework. According to Cheryl Leamon, the spokesperson for the insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield Anthem, you should ask yourself the following key questions:

Do I want to stay with my current doctor? If you have a primary doctor you prefer, that could dictate whether an HMO or PPO plan suits you. In an HMO plan, you must use a doctor in the plan’s network in order to receive coverage. A PPO plan allows you to visit any doctor.
What is my family’s current and anticipated health care need? Consider the services that you and your family will need regularly. If your child has asthma, will he have to visit an asthma specialist routinely to keep it under control?

What will my out-of-pocket costs and monthly premiums be? Does it make sense to pay a high premium to spend less out of pocket? If you want a comprehensive health plan – and don’t want a lot of out-of-pocket costs – an HMO plan provides an effective option. But if you’re in your 20s or 30s, don’t have kids, and have some extra savings, you could save by buying a policy that only covers catastrophic illnesses. Remember, you will have to pay out of pocket when you go to routine visits with your doctor and when obtaining laboratory tests.

Does the plan cover prescriptions and x-rays? Prescriptions are one of the most widely used benefits of medical plans. Examines the coverage of any health plan to determine if and to what level they cover your current prescriptions. X-rays are a routine part of some treatments, so it’s wise to find out if x-rays are covered in every plan you consider.

Do I prefer certain specialists? Some plans limit not only your visits but also who you can visit. If you want to see an acupuncturist or chiropractor, be sure to ask your insurance agent about coverage for these services. Psychotherapy and other mental health services will likely have specific limitations as well.
What should I do if I can’t afford a policy that covers routine care? Look for plans that are complete with higher deductibles instead of cutting your coverage. A basic hospital / surgery plan may cost less, but if you end up in the hospital, the last thing you want to add to your list of concerns is to think about how you will pay for the necessary follow-up care when you are discharged.

How much will it cost me to get emergency care? Review costs, including copays or coinsurance, or hospital and surgical care services, that apply to the deductible. Leamon advises examining what your policy defines as “emergency care”.

“Some policies pay for a broken leg or injury due to an accident, but they will not cover an illness you were treated for in the emergency room. Other cheaper plans will cover an emergency room visit, but not a stay. prolonged in the hospital. Since emergency care can be the most expensive in any medical plan, it is best to read the fine print of any contract, “says Leamon.

Individual coverage at the price of collective coverage

In some states, if you are self-employed, you may be eligible to purchase “group of one” health insurance – even if you work at home – if you can show that you have owned your business for a minimum of 30 days. The Kaiser Family Foundation has a list of states where you can buy “group one” health plans by “guaranteed issue.”

Even if you live in a state that does not offer “group of one” insurance policies, you may still be able to qualify for a group rate if you are a business owner and have at least one partner or employee. Does your wife help in accounting for your company? Then you have a two-person business, eligible for the group rate and a group policy.

If you are leaving an employer where you had a group health plan, you can ask your insurer to convert coverage to an individual insurance plan. The rate will be higher than the group plan, but it is a way to ensure health insurance if you have a medical history. Or, if your spouse has a group plan at work, he or she can add you.

Health insurance basics

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Unless you are a millionaire and can pay for health services out of your own pocket, buying health insurance is crucial. The right time to make such a purchase is before an accident happens, you get seriously ill, or you find out you’re pregnant.

Individual health insurance does not cover expenses related to treating medical problems or conditions that originated prior to the purchase of the insurance policy, although there are now Health Insurance Policies that cover Preconditions through the government. Searching for adequate coverage can be a bit overwhelming, but getting acquainted with the basics can make the process easier and make the task less difficult.

Most of the information you will find below will change in the coming months and years as a result of the health system reform laws coming into force. Here you will find a calendar on the reform of the health system.

The contracting company does not have to provide you with health insurance

There are no state or federal laws that require private employers to provide health benefits to their employees. However, many companies offer health insurance and health benefits to their employees to attract and keep workers. When group health insurance is offered, they are then subject to a whole series of state mandates on what type of benefits are to be included, unless the employer is self-insured (in which case the employer itself covers the costs of claims, and not an insurance company).

Even though health insurance mandates provide broader coverage, they can cause prices to skyrocket. For example, the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI) estimates that adding birth control costs increases the cost of a group insurance policy by 1 to 3 percent. See the CAHI list of state mandates on health insurance benefits.

State mandated benefits do not apply to individual (private sector) policies that you purchase on your own.

Closing the gap with insurance
The federal COBRA (Consolidated Collective Budget Reconciliation Act) law could provide you with the much-needed guarantee of short-term protection. COBRA allows the worker to continue with group health insurance coverage if he loses his job, as long as you pay the full premium and a small amount for administration expenses. The law is enforced in companies with 20 or more employees and usually lasts 18 months.

Buying continuity coverage through COBRA is not cheap. For more information visit Know Your COBRA Rights.

Another federal law that provides some protection for employees when they switch from one group insurance policy to another is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). HIPAA imposes limits to the extent that some group insurance policies may deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. For example, if you have had creditable health insurance coverage for 12 consecutive months, without termination of coverage for more than 63 days, the new group insurance policy cannot deny you pre-existing conditions. The new policy should cover all your medical problems immediately, as soon as you enroll.

As an alternative to obtaining health insurance in the transition period from one group insurance policy to another, there is the contracting of short-term medical insurance and main medical insurance.

Health Insurance Guide
If you can’t access group health insurance through work, you should look for a private health insurance policy (known as an individual health insurance policy). Unlike group group policies, in which health-related expenses and risks extend to the group as a whole, individual health insurance policies are “clinically insured” to consider your personal medical history, profession, age, and gender. . Any “pre-existing” condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, and even pregnancy can cause rejection when accepted or increase insurance premiums. Some states require insurance companies that offer individual coverage policies to provide each individual with a policy, regardless of their health status,

Once you’ve got an individual health insurance policy, you can’t expect premiums to stay the same. Insurance companies often seek authorization to raise premiums. Some states also allow insurance companies to “file and use” the rate hike, which means that insurance companies simply submitting the increases in writing can immediately start charging more. Unless state supervisors consider the rates to be excessive, insurance companies can continue to charge higher premiums.

If you are a college student and need coverage, the college you are enrolled in may offer reasonably priced health insurance. Visit the page with information about medical insurance policies for university students.

No matter your age, there are several federally subsidized programs to help you if you cannot afford an individual policy franchise, as long as you meet the specific requirements.

Medicare :

A health insurance program for people 65 and older, certain young people with disabilities, and people who are terminally ill with kidney disease.

Medicaid : A program for the poorest individuals and low-income families with children.

State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) : Policies that provide health coverage to children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but who earn too little to afford individual health insurance. In some states, SCHIP policies include parents and pregnant women.

How to make sense of the alphabet soup
There are several options when choosing health insurance, whether you are looking for health insurance with individual coverage or group coverage, such as traditional policies based on the service provided (FFS), from health maintenance organizations (HMOs) ), Point of Service (POS) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs).

Each of the plans has characteristics to contrast before deciding on one. HMOs, PPOs, and POS plans are grouped under the category “managed health plans,” which focus on cost-effective health care.

Service-based plans (FFS), also called compensation
FFS offers flexible coverage for higher out-of-pocket costs, more paperwork, and higher premiums.

Advantages of FFS

You can choose your own doctors and hospitals. There is no service network.
You can go to any specialist without the permission of the family doctor (PCP).
Most FFS plans have a limit, a maximum cap to pay on medical bills in a year. You reach that cap when the sum of all out-of-pocket expenses (franchises and coinsurance) reaches a certain amount. Thereafter the insurance company covers 100% of the expenses of everything covered in your policy. The limit amount does not include your insurance premium.
Disadvantages of FFS

There is usually a franchise to pay (from $ 500 to $ 1,500) before the insurance company begins to pay medical bills, and when they do, doctors will pay 80 percent of the bill and you will cover 20 for remaining hundred. Your portion is called coinsurance.
You may have to pay in advance for medical expenses and then submit the bill and be reimbursed. To receive your payment, you must fill out forms and send them to the insurer, or find a doctor who is willing to do it for you. You should also save receipts for medications and other medical expenses.
FFS plans cover “usual and reasonable” medical expenses. If your doctor charges more than the average according to your area, you will have to pay the difference.
Not all medical expenses you may have count as part of the franchise. Only those expenses that are covered by your policy.
Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
HMOs tend to be the cheapest in terms of insurance premiums, but they are also the least flexible of all health insurance plans. The primary focus of the HMO is to reduce medical expenses through an increase in preventive medicine services. HMOs are designed to maintain the health of the individual as well as to provide them with adequate medical care following an illness or injury.

HMO Advantages

They offer low copays, minimal paperwork, and coverage for many preventive medicine and health improvement programs.
HMO plans often offer a wide selection of doctors and hospitals.
Participants in this plan pay a small fee (or copayment), usually about $ 15 to $ 20, for each medical visit to a doctor who is in the HMO’s network of services.
Basic medical services with an HMO typically include physician-provided services, outpatient services, medical treatment, short-term mental health services, and outpatient / inpatient emergency visits.
Disadvantages of HMO

You must choose a family doctor (PCP).
If your doctor is not included in the plan, you will need to obtain special permission and pay a higher proportion of the visit costs or pay the total cost of treatment with that doctor.
HMOs require you to visit the doctors included in their network of services, otherwise you will have to pay most or all of the bill.
The HMO directly or indirectly controls the amount of healthcare the doctor is allowed to provide you.
You must get a referral from the family doctor to see a specialist.
If you require laboratory tests and do not go to a laboratory doctor who participates in the service network, you will not be reimbursed for laboratory expenses.
If your regular doctor stops being part of the service network, you should find another who participates in the plan or pay higher prices to continue with it.
Point of Service Plans (POS)
POS plans are more flexible than HMOs, but they also require that you choose a family doctor. A POS plan combines the care aspects of an HMO with the freedom of choice of traditional health insurance. Sometimes HMOs include a POS plan to use for out-of-network benefits.

The POS plan provides a network of health care providers available to participants in that plan for a small fee or copayment, but in the event of illness or injury, the patient may choose a doctor from outside the network of services. Then you request that the POS plan reimburse you for the expenses.

POS advantages

Under your insurance company’s rules, you can decide to go to a doctor that is not part of the service network and be covered – but the amount the company covers is much less than if you went to a doctor that is included in the plan.
POS plans tend to offer more preventive medicine and wellness services, such as smoking cessation workshops and discounts for attending the gym.
Disadvantages of POS

You must choose a family doctor.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plans
PPOs offer financial incentives to policyholders – reasonable copays – to make use of participants in the plan’s service network.

PPO Advantages

The standard copay is $ 10 for a routine visit during normal operating hours.
You can access a specialist without prior permission, as long as the doctor is part of the service network.
Disadvantages of PPO

If you are seen by a doctor from outside the service network, you may have to pay the entire bill to provide it later and be reimbursed.
The PPO franchise is usually the highest. In 2008, the franchise average for an individual coverage policy in a PPO was $ 1,000, $ 500 above the 2007 amount, and $ 250 from the 2000 amount, according to survey data collected by Mercer, a resource consulting company. humans.
You may have to pay an excess if you decide to receive assistance outside the service network, or pay the difference between what the doctors included in the network of services charge and those who are not included in the network.
PPO policies may charge higher copays than specified in your policy if your doctor charges more than is considered “normal and reasonable”
How to find an individual health insurance policy
The first step you should take when looking for medical coverage is to compare coverage options and price offers online or through an insurance agent in your area.

You should tell your insurance agent what your specific health coverage needs are. Think carefully about the coverage you need. Is your doctor within the policy’s service network? What would be the out-of-pocket costs for a routine checkup? How much would you have to pay from your account in case of hospitalization? Does it include routine pediatric visits? Do you need me to cover prescription drugs? And also dental coverage ?.

How to take out individual health insurance

Since the Accessible Medical Care Act, there has been a considerable transformation in regards to health insurance. As a consumer, you have some advantages when trying to find an individual health insurance plan that you have not previously had.

The main advantages: Health insurance companies cannot deny you coverage or charge you high premiums because you are sick or have an illness. Previously, people with health problems faced extremely high premiums to cover pre-existing conditions or were unable to qualify for an individual health plan.

Furthermore, to determine that health plans are providing adequate coverage under the Accessible Health Care Act, they currently have to offer 10 essential and comprehensive benefits, including prenatal care and maternity, hospitalization, and preventive care services. Plans cannot set a limit amount of benefits that you can receive in a year or during your lifetime. But there is still a limit to the amount of money you must spend to receive medical care.

In addition, if your income is low or moderate, you may qualify to receive premium discounts in the form of tax deductions or receive subsidies to lower the costs of health insurance that you have to pay.

But those advantages of consumers does not mean that choosing a health insurance plan is not easy. You still have to assess your health care needs, analyze options, calculate numbers, and choose the plan that best suits your finances and health. You have to achieve all of this within the new limits in health insurance.

Let’s discuss the basic ways to get coverage:

Group health insurance: your employer chooses the plan / s and the health insurance company. You sign up for your job, commonly in the fall during your employer’s open enrollment period.
Individual health insurance: This is a plan that you hire on your own. An individual plan can cover only one person or a family. You can purchase it directly from a health insurance company or your state’s health insurance market, also called an exchange.
Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): The requirements of these plans are for people with low incomes.
Medicare: Generally for people 65 years of age or older.
What to look for in individual health coverage?
Know when to buy insurance

In most states, you can purchase an individual health plan that meets government standards only during the annual open enrollment period, except under special circumstances such as being married or having a baby. Until now Nevada is the only state that requires insurance companies that sell plans outside of government-run markets to offer such plans throughout the year. For most people, the 2015 open enrollment period ended on February 15.

For 2016 and onward health plans, the enrollment period will be October 15 through December 7, the same days as the Medicare open enrollment period. Any coverage you choose during Open Market Enrollment will begin on January 1.

Don’t wait until the last minute, take enough time to research your options and apply.

Most people are required to have health insurance under the Accessible Health Care Act. If you miss the open enrollment period, you will have to pay a tax penalty. The 2015 penalty is $ 395 per adult or 2 percent of income, whichever is higher.

Evaluate your needs for medical care

How often do you visit the doctor? What kind of medical care will you need in the next year?
What prescription drugs do you take? In which hospitals and with which doctors do you want to consult? Your needs should influence the type of plan to choose. The right health plan for your neighbor may not be for you.

Research the health plans available in the market within your state

The federal government’s HealthCare.gov website has links to the state’s health insurance markets. If your income meets the requirements to receive premium discounts or to lower your out-of-pocket costs, the only way to get them is by hiring a market health plan. Complete the application to see if you qualify for financial assistance and compare the health plans that private insurance companies offer in your area.

The health plans offered in the markets are classified according to the health costs that the insurance company pays and the amount of money that the consumer pays. Generally, the higher the costs you must pay, the higher the deductibles, coinsurance, copays, and the lower the premium.

Categories of health plans from those with the lowest premiums to those with the most expensive premiums are:

Bronze: The insurance company pays an average of 60 percent of your health care costs, and you pay 40 percent.
Silver: The insurance company pays 70 percent and you pay 30 percent.
Dorado: The insurance company pays 80 percent and you pay 20 percent.
Platinum: The insurance company pays 90 percent and you pay 10 percent.
Please note that these are general categories and the costs provided to be disbursed are an average. Plans in the same category depending on the metal will be able to divide the cost in different ways. For example, two bronze plans may have different deductibles and coinsurance levels, although their overall out-of-pocket costs are expected to be the same.

Plans within the same metal tier may also be structured differently. One bronze plan may be a health maintenance organization and another a preferred provider organization.

You can sign up for market plans over the phone, through written or online requests. Some states also organize registration fairs.

Catastrophic health plans are also available for people under the age of 30 and those with some form of financial hardship.

Today’s catastrophic health plans are different from the basic plans marketed as catastrophic in previous years. The new catastrophic plans have higher deductibles than traditional plans, but they still cover the essential benefits described in health care law reform, including preventive care. Catastrophic plans generally have lower premiums than bronze plans, but are not eligible to receive tax deductions that reduce the premium or receive subsidies that reduce the costs to be disbursed. Also, if you qualify for a catastrophic plan, you can only buy one for yourself and not for your entire family. For more information, check with your state’s insurance market.

Find out what health insurance companies are offering outside of the markets

There are several health plans available directly from insurance companies, without having to resort to the market. In fact, in some states, some insurance companies only sell policies outside of the market.

Out-of-market plans continue to be categorized by metal and must still offer the same minimum benefits to qualify for adequate coverage under the Accessible Health Care Act. But you might find a plan with a larger network or a better price. Remember that when you purchase insurance outside the market, you will not be eligible to receive the tax deduction or obtain premium discounts.

You can purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company, from the website that offers coverage from different companies or through an insurance agent. On the website of the National Association of Health Insurers you will find the “find an agent” tool.

Make sure the health plans you compare outside the market provide adequate coverage under the Accessible Health Care Act. Most health plans meet this requirement, but some, such as temporary or short-term health plans, do not provide all the benefits necessary to comply with the law’s “individual mandate”: the requirement that all Americans have health insurance.

Understand and compare how health plans are structured

Know the difference between a health maintenance organization (HMO), a preferred provider organization (PPO), a point of service plan (POS), and a health plan with a high deductible with a health savings account .

With an HMO, you choose your primary care physician who coordinates your care and will generally be limited to a network of doctors and hospitals. You normally pay a low copayment for each doctor visit. The plan generally does not cover out-of-network care except in special circumstances.

A PPO gives you more flexibility than an HMO. You will be able to see specialists without a referral from your primary care physician. The plan pays a higher percentage of the costs if you visit in-network doctors, but it also provides some type of coverage for out-of-network services.

A POS plan is a combination of both. It works like an HMO if you stay in-network, but it gives you the option of visiting out-of-network doctors. A POS plan typically requires getting a referral to see an out-of-network doctor.

In 2014, a health plan with a high deductible along with a health savings account, or HSA, had a deductible of at least $ 1,250 for one person and $ 2,500 for a family plan. You can use HSA money to cover medical expenses that you have to pay. The contributions you make to the account can be deducted from your taxes and the money you don’t use will accumulate for next year. You can keep your account even if you change your health plan, and when you retire you can use the money for non-medical expenses.

Compare provider networks and benefits

Thoroughly research the details of what health plans cover. For example: How will the plan cover the prescription drugs you take? Make sure the health care providers you want to see are within your plan’s network, otherwise you will have to pay more money or your coverage may not cover the visit.

Calculate the numbers

In addition to reviewing the premium you will pay for the plan, calculate the amount you will have to pay and the amount of medical care you expect to receive in the next year.

If you rarely need medical care, it may make more sense to choose a plan with a higher deductible and lower premium, rather than paying a higher premium for a plan with a lower deductible.

Answers to 6 common questions about health insurance

Currently health insurance is a requirement for almost all Americans. But not all Americans will be satisfied with the same health insurance plan.

Below are the answers to most of today’s most common questions about how to buy health insurance.

What if I don’t have health insurance?
The Patient Protection and Accessible Health Care Act, enacted in 2010, requires that most Americans have health insurance. But just in 2014, you may have had to pay a fine for not having health insurance.

Compared to 2014 numbers, in 2015 the fines for not having health coverage have increased considerably. Families could expect to pay $ 325 per adult and $ 162.50 per child, up to a maximum of $ 975 per family or 2 percent of household income, if that number is higher.

For those who did not have coverage in 2015, the expiration of these fines will be during the time of the 2016 tax return.

Does my employer have to offer me health insurance?
In 2016, companies with 50 or more employees must offer health insurance to 95 percent of their full-time workers (those who work more than 30 hours per week), such insurance must have a minimum value and be accessible.

The minimum value means that the plan pays at least 60 percent of the covered services. Affordable, means that premiums cost employees less than 9.5 percent of their annual salary.

Compared to the plans you buy on your own, the coverage offered at your job is almost always better, because your employer probably pays part of the monthly premium.

Where can I purchase health insurance?
If you do not have coverage through your job, you can contract it through government markets known as exchanges. Some states manage their own exchanges while others depend on the federal government. If your state does not have its own market, you can purchase health insurance at Healthcare.gov.

However, you will not be required to purchase health insurance through the said market. You can buy an individual or family health plan directly from an agent or insurance company. To compare the prices of different plans and get quotes from leading companies, fill out the form at the top of this page.

If you qualify for government subsidies that will help you pay your monthly premium and want to use them, you will need to purchase the insurance through the government-run market. You may be eligible for these tax subsidies or deductions if your income is low to moderate, and you are not eligible for the Medicaid benefit.

Can I take out health insurance at any time?
You can enroll in a health insurance plan only during open enrollment periods. This open enrollment period for 2016 plans begins on November 1, 2015 and closes on January 31, 2016.

However, you may be eligible for a special exception and enroll in a health insurance plan at any time if you or a close relative:

Gets married.
Has a baby.
You lose coverage because of death, divorce, or unemployment.
You move out of the health insurance plan’s coverage area.
Acquire US citizenship.
He is released from prison.
Your income varied, affecting your ability to qualify for premium subsidies.
What type of health insurance is best for me?
There are five categories of insurance plans on the market: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and catastrophic. The categories have nothing to do with the quality or quantity of care you will receive, but rather determine the amount you should pay for the services you will use.

If you visit the doctor regularly and take prescription drugs, you will probably want to have a gold or platinum plan since the plan will pay between 80 and 90 percent of the cost of services and you will have to pay between 10 and 20 for hundred.

If you are a healthy person and do not take prescription drugs, you can pay less in premiums with a silver or gold plan. However, if you get sick, you have to pay more for your medications.

If you are under 30 years of age and in good health or have a hardship exception, you can choose a catastrophic plan that will protect you only in the worst cases, be it accidents or serious illness.

For more information on the different plans, read the Insure.com article on the basics of health insurance.

8 ways to get life insurance when you are not insurable

f you have been looking to buy life insurance , you know that the better your health, the better your rate or premium will be. On certain occasions a person may be considered “uninsurable” at any cost – whether the applicant has a history of serious medical problems, was diagnosed with an illness, or pursues a profession for which he is considered very risky to insure.

“Working with an insurance advisor is the best way to determine whether or not you are insurable,” says Jack Dewald, spokesman for the Educational Foundation for Life and Health Insurance. “Don’t give up. Just because a company says you’re not insurable doesn’t mean you are universally insurable.”

Are you really uninsurable?
Even if you have a history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, or another illness, a life insurance policy is not out of your reach. Many insurance companies miss out on certain diseases as long as you show they are under medical supervision.
If you and your agent agree that you have a health problem to apply for life insurance, the agent will be able to look for options through an “aggravated risk” specialist, who will know which are the most benevolent companies about specific diseases and will be able to get quotes that you thought were impossible. For more information, read how aggravated risk specialists find life insurance for people with medical problems.

If you’ve been relegated to the “uninsurable” category and need to be insured, there are ways you can get life insurance without going through the underwriting process, although you will have to negotiate it.

1. Make the most of group life insurance in your work
You can purchase group life insurance up to a certain amount, regardless of your health problems. Some employers offer “free” basic life insurance (the company pays the premium), for an amount equal to the salary received for a year, with the option that if you want to improve it, the expenses will be borne by you. Your employer’s group life insurance plan may require you to show that you are not insurable (EOI), if you want to exceed the established amount. However, as long as you stay below the EOI level, group insurance is a great way to guarantee “uninsurable” people life insurance at group insurance rates.

Also remember to exhaust the possibilities of buying group life insurance through the benefits of your spouse’s work.

The disadvantages: The benefit levels are usually below your salary and may not cover the needs of your beneficiaries.

According to the survey of the “American Market of JHS group insurance of the year 2007”, the average of the insured amount for the collective life insurance policies voluntary (those paid by the employer) in force in 2007 was $ 74,109 and the average of the Premium “for life insurance” was $ 234.

If your group life insurance benefit is low and you work for a small company, you may be able to ask your employer to increase it. “Sometimes an employer willing to cooperate may increase the amount of group life insurance to accommodate the needs of an employee.” A small business may be able to negotiate with its insurance agent to increase the amount without demonstrating insurability. ”

2. Change your group life policy to an individual policy
Group life insurance can be converted into your own permanent individual policy, without having to go through the underwriting process. Your premiums are based only on your age, this ensures you lifetime coverage even if you quit your job.

The downsides: According to Dewald, you generally convert policies dollar for dollar, so if your group life policy is worth $ 50,000, that amount is the maximum available on the converted policy. ”

3. Purchase a life insurance policy with survival that insures both spouses
Under this policy (also called second death), both are insured and the benefit is paid after the death of both. This type of policy is commonly used by couples who want to fund their heirs to help them pay significant state taxes.

Survivorship life

The benefit is that an “uninsurable” spouse will have no problem being insured under a surviving life policy since the insurance company will not subscribe them separately. For example, life insurer New York Life Insurance Co. offers survival policies that allow one spouse to be “uninsurable” while the other spouse is under the age of 80.

The disadvantages: If your husband needs to receive a benefit as soon as possible, after you have passed away, this type of policy will not work.

The company Phoenix Life Insurance Co. solved this problem by automatically including a “policy division option clause” in variable universal life insurance policies with survival (called The Phoenix Edge-SVUL) and a “change of option clause of policy “on Joint Edge policies. These clauses allow you to divide your surviving life policy into two separate and unique policies, without having to prove whether you are insurable and without incurring cancellation fees. New premiums are based on the age of the spouses; The face amount of new policies may differ, but may not exceed the base value of the original survival life insurance policy.

4. Add a “policy option to release a released for one spouse” (SPPO) clause to a permanent policy
This is an option that can provide free life insurance coverage to an uninsurable spouse. Ideally, they can wait for the benefit to be paid until both have died. This is how it works with a SPPO clause from New York Life Insurance Co .: Let’s say one of the spouses “is not insurable” due to health problems, but his wife gets a permanent life insurance policy without an SPPO cost clause . (These clauses are automatically included by New York Life in most of its permanent life insurance policies.)

In the event that one of the two dies, the other can buy, within 90 days, a new released life insurance policy with a single premium. The premium is based solely on the husband’s gender and age as of the date of the new policy. The nominal amount may be equal to or less than the original policy. The husband could use part of the benefit for funeral expenses and use the rest for his released policy.

5. Buy a guaranteed issue policy
Guaranteed emission policies do not require a medical examination. Anyone (below a certain age) who answers some medical questions can buy a policy. They will probably ask you about your height, weight, if you smoke, and basic questions about your medical history. If you answer yes to any question, you will not be eligible to be admitted.

The downsides: There is a price to pay for the convenience of a guaranteed issue:

You will pay higher premiums than those who insure a subscription policy – so high that you should calculate in advance if in a given year you would be paying more in premiums than your beneficiaries will receive.
Nominal amounts tend to be $ 25,000 and below (in other words, enough to cover the funeral).
Insurers may impose age requirements (for example, insure only people between the ages of 50 and 85).
A guaranteed issue policy may not take effect after a few years of purchase. For example, if you die within one year of purchasing it, your beneficiaries may receive only the refund of your premium; if you die the second year, they will be able to receive half the amount of the policy.
Pay attention to the terms of the benefit, if you are comparing guaranteed issue policies. Check with your life insurance agent about your chances of qualifying for a subscription policy before purchasing a guaranteed issue policy. For more information, read the basics of guaranteed issue life insurance.

Prevent that “you are not insurable”
Protect your family
Insurance is not all about right here and right now, “says Dewald.” You can protect them from things you don’t know. ”
“You can prevent your children from becoming” uninsurable “as adults.”

If you are considering buying life insurance for your children, Dewald suggests looking at a clause with “guaranteed purchase options” (GPO). This gives the child the right to acquire additional coverage amounts at a certain age as he grows up, regardless of his health. You must add this clause when contracting the insurance.

6. Acquire a simplified issue policy
Simplified issue policies require you to answer several questions regarding your health and a medical examination is not necessary. If you qualify, you will surely pay less than with a guaranteed issue life insurance policy , it is important to compare prices.

7. Take out life insurance through an “affinity plan”
Occasionally a professional association (a plan for a union or bar association) will offer its members guaranteed or simplified issue policies.

The disadvantages: Such policies contracted in this way will have expensive premiums and affinity life insurance plans are not easily available.

8. The last option: Life insurance on a credit
Such insurance policies are often available when you make a purchase financed by a large sum of money.

The downsides: “It’s generally the worst insurance you can buy,” says Dewald. “It comes at a very high price, but if you get to that point….” For example, if you buy a new car and want to be sure that your spouse can pay off the debt at the time of your death, that insurance can satisfy that need. This policy covers only the remaining balance of the purchase. For more information, read the basics about credit insurance.

Buy life insurance after a heart attack

A heart attack can occur at any time. The latest statistics from the American Heart Association show that 5.7 million men and women suffer from heart failure each year.
The good news is that researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine discovered that hospital mortality rates in the first 30 days of a heart attack are decreasing. In 1995, 14.6 percent of heart attack patients died in hospital, compared to 10 percent in 2006. While there have been great improvements in the prevention and treatment of heart attacks, a heart attack it still raises a red flag if you ask for life insurance quotes .

Your life insurance rates will depend on the severity of your heart disease and the steps you have taken to treat it.

“We are able to offer an insurance policy for the vast majority of people with a history of heart disease,” says Christopher Graham, vice president and head of insurer Hartford Life.

While a heart attack would almost certainly disqualify you for prime life insurance rates, according to Graham, people have qualified for “standard” rates despite your coronary conditions.

What can you do?
So how can you get the best possible premiums on life insurance after a heart attack? The first step is to wait a while. You can save yourself a substantial sum of money by waiting a year or two.

“For many deficiencies, the more recent this is, the less favorable the rates will be,” says Graham. “We want to see what happens next. Do you continue to see your doctor? Are you following the prescribed treatment? Is he responding favorably to the treatment and is your condition stabilized or eliminated?”

Some life insurances will charge you an extra predetermined amount in your fees for your heart condition for the first few years after a heart attack or other mishap. Delaying the purchase of your life insurance will allow you to see the insurer the steps you have taken to improve your health since your heart attack.

Of course, during the wait you must also take necessary measures to improve your health. Following your doctor’s orders is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that he will pay the best possible premium for your life insurance.

“Your doctor will ask you to lower your cholesterol levels, change your diet, track your blood pressure, take your medications, and exercise. This is the best advice they can give you,” says Graham. “Work with your doctor to stabilize your condition and make sure all of this is reflected in your doctor’s records.”

Be sure to let the life insurance company know
Making sure the steps you have taken and your successes are detailed in your medical record will help the insurance insurer assign you lower premiums. The more specific the information you provide, the more likely you are to get the best possible life insurance rates.

Patients who are more proactive and show that they are paying attention to your health tend to reassure subscribers.

“As with anything else, [an insurer] can sometimes be on the tightrope of what kind of offer they can offer an applicant for life insurance,” says Graham. “If you feel good about your prognosis and care, it is normal for you to fall on the side of the most aggressive offer.”

Medical underwriting criteria vary widely among life insurance companies , so comparing different companies is critical to finding good rates.

Acquire life insurance if you suffer from diabetes

An estimated 29 million Americans have diabetes, up from 26 million in 2010. One in four people with diabetes does not know they have it, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 86 million Americans have “pre-diabetes,” which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association notes that diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is also a major cause. of heart disease and strokes. While diabetes can cause serious health problems, it can reduce the difficulties of requesting life insurance quotes .

The key to purchasing affordable life insurance if you have diabetes is this: Control. If you control your diabetes by visiting your doctor regularly, taking your medications, and responding well to your treatments, you have the chance to find cheap life insurance. (Find out how much insurance you need using our life insurance calculator.)

Insurers primarily look at blood sugar levels and hemoglobin count.They also monitor A1C to determine how well you are responding to your treatment over time. According to Genworth Life Insurance and Annuities, A1C levels are normal in people without diabetes when they are below 6. If A1C levels are between 6 and 7, as a general rule, a diabetic has good control over their condition. and you can be offered a policy with “standard” rates. But if A1C levels reach double-digit numbers, this shows that the diabetic has poor control over his condition, making it more likely that he will be offered a more expensive policy. If an insurer considers that the person applying for life insurance has A1C levels greater than 12,

Tips for people with diabetes
Make sure you can control your diabetes before applying for a policy.

Find a life insurance agent specializing in “reduced risk.” They know the market and also the companies that insure people who have chronic conditions.

Compare prices.

Your best strategy is to show a history of effective treatment, annual eye exams and that other risk factors – such as weight and blood pressure – are in normal ranges.

Valuation classes
Life insurance companies determine their premiums according to the evaluation of your medical conditions and decide what your classification will be according to your score. The higher the score on your grade, the lower the premium. Typical rating categories are:

Super recommended (sometimes called Preferred Plus)
Preferred
Standard
Deficient
As a general rule, the older you are when you are diagnosed with diabetes, the easier it is for you to purchase life insurance.

Patients with type 1 diabetes will likely have certain difficulties in finding traditional insurance. A person who has had diabetes for some time – for example, a person diagnosed five, ten, or fifteen years ago with premature diabetes, is much more likely to experience illness as a result of a lifetime of diabetes. This makes life insurance more expensive.

In the best case, type 1 diabetics can be classified as “high quality” premiums within the poor classification, regardless of their level of disease control – which would certainly be costly.

People with type 2 diabetes account for 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases, according to the CDC. Type 2 diabetes can be treated through good diet and exercise and oral medications or insulin, and insurers tend to focus on how they are responding to treatments.

Type 2 diabetes, rarely localized among young people, used to be known as adult diabetes. But Ed Hinerman, owner of the Hinerman Group insurer in Salida, Colorado, says there has been an increase in cases of type 2 diabetes in children, teens and people in their 20s.

“Obesity and a poor diet have contributed to this problem developing among younger people,” says Hinerman.

If you can show that your Type 2 diabetes is under control, you may be eligible for a “standard” class for your life insurance pricing. Many insurers have a classification between standard and preferential, called standard plus, which is where an applicant with type 2 diabetes could end up.

“Most people with type 2 diabetes can be insured within some classification,” says Christopher Graham, Hartford Life vice president and chief underwriter. “And many are able to get the ‘standard’ rates once diabetes is under control.”

A six-month history may be enough to diagnose a new case of diabetes, or for someone who has changed treatments to show that they are responding better. But if you’ve had bad control in the past, you’ll need to establish a longer good control history – perhaps a year – to get a better price on your life insurance policy.

The savings you can get by improving disease control can be substantial.

Life insurance for children

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Emotions flow high when parents and grandparents plan for the children’s future. If you plan to purchase life insurance for your child, it is highly recommended to analyze the general situation before making a hasty decision on any offer.

child life insuranceInsurance agents often try to sell you “special opportunities” that allow you to add children to your policy – opportunities that the agents claim to make you believe only come up once every few years. They put pressure on you to make an immediate decision. Braun Mincher, an award-winning personal finance expert, says consumers should be wary of children’s policies, especially ones that disguise you with life insurance rates of $ 1 a month.

“People don’t wake up suddenly thinking they have to buy life insurance, ” says Mincher. “Life insurance is a product that is sold and not bought. People often buy insurance because an insurance agent or seller approached them and convinced them that they need it.”

Life insurance was primarily designed to protect your family members from financial disaster in the event of your death. But children have no one to depend on their income.

“The insurability benefit is guaranteed, so that if your child is later diagnosed with a serious illness that would disqualify him from any insurance policy, they would already be exempt from any pre-existing conditions clause,” he says.

“It is nominal insurance that generally provides about $ 25,000 in coverage,” says Mincher.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, a group advocating for the funeral service profession, the cost of a child’s funeral can vary, depending on the funeral home. Even at a discount, the funeral could easily cost thousands of dollars. An average family may not have the means to cover such an expense. That’s where life insurance could help. However, “statistically speaking, the death rate for children is so low that this type of insurance is difficult to justify. It is usually used as a tactic for insurance agents to knock on your door with the intention of selling you. other types of insurance policies, “says Mincher.

Many of the life insurance policies that are sold for children’s insurance have the option that the insured can buy additional insurance when he or she is of legal age. While there are cases where a child develops a chronic illness that would make them uninsurable later in life, the reality is that most young adults can easily obtain low cost life insurance.

Buy with your head, not your heart
There are other options where you can invest your money that may make more sense in the long term. For example, ensure your child’s financial security by obtaining a life insurance policy that covers him enough in the event that something happens to you.

If you are concerned about funeral expenses, you can purchase life insurance for yourself with coverage for your child’s funeral expenses in the event of death.

Plus, “a college savings plan is one of the best investments you can make for your child, since they will also receive tax-free interest,” says Mincher.

Frequently asked questions about life insurance

You will probably have several questions when comparing life insurance and prices – not only about the types of insurance but also what can happen after you buy it. Here are some common life insurance questions and answers.

Can I have more than one life insurance policy?
life insurance questionsYes, you can have several policies with the same or with different insurers. For example, you could have a life insurance policy permanently and also a term life policy. But if you request more coverage than you need, the insurer may ask you why.

How do I calculate how much life insurance I need?
The Insure.com tool estimates life insurance needs in a simple way.

What happens if I don’t pay the required premium?
Normally, you will have a 30- or 31-day grace period. If you pay within this period, your policy will continue in force. If you don’t pay within the grace period, your policy may expire, depending on the type of policy you purchased. However, with a policy permanently, the life insurer will be able to use your cash value if it is available, to cover your premium payments.

If you cannot pay because of a disability and you chose a “waiver of premium” provision or clause in your policy, you will not need to pay the premiums for the duration of your disability. Universal life insurance policies generally offer the insured the flexibility to increase premium payments that may be important when your cash flow is variable.

What happens if my policy expires?
A policy (other than universal life insurance) expires when you do not pay the life insurance premium on the day the grace period expires. If you have a permanent life insurance policy and there is enough cash value, you can borrow a portion of the policy money to pay your premium. If you have a term life policy and do not pay your premiums within the grace period, your policy will expire and expire.

Do I need life insurance if I am a young single person?
The advantage of taking out life insurance when you are young and healthy is that you will find life insurance at low cost. If you have dependents in the future, you will pay the lowest rate and have guaranteed your “insurability”, so you will not have to worry about higher rates as you get older and experience health problems.

Are there cases when I don’t have to undergo a medical exam to take out life insurance?
Group policies generally do not require a medical examination, unless you have to prove your “insurability” to buy group life insurance for a large sum of money. Most group life insurance has an enrollment period and you can do it through your employer.

“Simplified issue policies require you to answer some questions about your medical history but do not require a physical exam. Guaranteed issue policies” do not require you to answer questions or perform a medical exam, but you will pay more in premiums than a subscription, even if you have had health problems.

What are insurance companies looking for in a medical exam?
With a medical examination, you will obtain your height, weight, blood pressure, blood and urine samples. These results, along with your age, gender, family medical history, and responses related to your health, will determine what rate class you belong to. Your agent or insurance company should explain the criteria used to determine the chosen class.

If you do not meet the requirements for the preferential rate, you can move up to the category of your rate if your health improves. For example, let’s say a 35-year-old woman buys a life insurance policy, is 50 pounds overweight, has high blood pressure, and is trying to quit smoking. After two years, your policy is still in effect and you have lost 50 pounds, your blood pressure is normal, and you have not used nicotine for a year. She could speak to her agent about the possibility of her rate being reevaluated.

If the medical evaluation shows that there are new health problems and you must be classified in a category with a higher rate, you can maintain your current rate.

The insurance company will not reclassify you to a higher rate during your reevaluation.

Can I buy a policy for someone?
Yes, but only if you have an “insurable interest” on that person. This usually means a spouse, domestic partner, partner or business partner.

Can I buy a policy for a person without them knowing about it?

Although there are exceptions in some states (for example, a person may purchase insurance for their spouse), the answer to this question is generally “no.” You cannot take out a life insurance policy for a person without their consent and knowledge.

Can I name whoever I want as my beneficiary?
Yes, since you own the policy and you can name whoever you want as your beneficiary. While many people choose only their spouse, it is possible to name more than one person as the beneficiary. For example, if you have an individual life insurance policy for $ 100,000, you could name your spouse and four children to share $ 20,000 for each one equally.

Can insurance policies ever cancel each other? If I have a credit life policy and a total life policy, can one of them not be effective?
No. When you die (assuming you have paid all the necessary premiums), the two policies will be effective on behalf of the beneficiaries who have been named.

The 8 biggest mistakes you should avoid when buying life insurance

Life insurance is a very important monetary investment, and you should avoid buying a life insurance policy that is not adequate or discover that you have bought too cheap or too expensive insurance. But if the fear of making a bad decision about your life insurance is holding you back, think that not buying it may be one of the most costly mistakes for your family.

“The information is clear,” says Jack Dolan, spokesman for the United States Council for Life Insurers (ACLI), an internal trade group. “Citizens of the United States do not have sufficient insurance and are not purchasing coverage in an amount appropriate to their needs

A report by LIMRA, an insurance research organization, in August 2010 revealed that prices for individual life insurance today are the lowest for the past 50 years in the United States: 30 percent for homes ( 35 million) do not have life insurance coverage.

Not having an appropriate policy after paying premiums for several years is a terrible waste of money. We asked several insurance experts to tell us what are the biggest mistakes people commonly make when buying life insurance and this is what they shared with us.

Mistake: Extremely underestimating the needs of life insurance for your family and the “value of a human life.” Marvin Feldman, the president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit Foundation for Life and Health Insurance Education (LIFE), states that people often greatly underestimate the amount of life insurance they must buy. There are plenty of calculators online that can help you, including the LIFE Foundation calculator and Insurance.com’s life insurance calculator.

Error Valuing a spouse below their price. In addition to underestimating the cost of replacing the income of a working spouse, life insurance buyers often do not give the appropriate value to a non-working spouse. Feldman states that it takes approximately $ 117,000 a year to replace that person, and “most people don’t understand the impact it saves on the family when a spouse stays home.

Mistake: Buying a life insurance policy with premiums that increase over time. Too often, life insurance buyers find that they cannot afford premiums that continually escalate and allow the policy to lapse, says Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, a nonprofit agency dedicated to insurance education and consumer rights.

Mistake: Failing to carefully examine all types of life insurance available. Dolan delcara that “term life insurance, for young people in particular, typically provides a higher return than full life insurance … However, young people do not appreciate the lifetime premium levels that insurance includes life insurance because they only think about short-term benefits. Total life insurance, with its cash value, also promotes savings

James Hunt of the Consumer Federation of America, a consumer advocacy group, warns that many buyers stop paying cash policies for the first few years of the policy. “This does not mean that cash value policies are not acceptable investments when you have them for a minimum of 20 years and preferably for a lifetime,” he declares. But when people neglect their total life insurance policies, the “excess premiums paid during their term [life insurance premiums] … are lost

A LIMRA report of the total life insurance loss ratio shows that almost 12 percent of total life insurance policies decline in the first year, 10 percent decline in the second year, and almost 7 percent leave in the third year of buying them. In contrast, the rate of temporary life insurance losses was about 7 percent in the first two years and about 6 percent in the third year.

Mistake: Buying a complicated cash value life product without understanding its terms and conditions when it becomes effective. Even though your financial situation indicates that total life insurance meets your needs, Bach cautions that buying a policy you don’t understand is a financial blunder.

Mistake: The one that convinces you to finish or reduce — or not maximize — contributions to your retirement / retirement accounts. Hunt cautions that you should avoid deals that reduce your retirement accounts that give you deductions from income, such as 401 (k), in order to pay a cash value life insurance policy.

Error: Misinterpreting prices and preventing you from buying life insurance . Feldman states that most people think life insurance is “too expensive” because they don’t understand the true cost of insuring a life. You also note that life insurance is generally less expensive today than at any time in the history of life insurance products.

Error: Letting an agent complete and submit the application for you. If you don’t fill out your own application, Bach cautions you to check it thoroughly to make sure the agent wrote the correct answers.

When you’re not sure about something in your life insurance
Your family’s financial photo will surely have moving parts – income, retirement savings, and investments that need to be balanced with mortgage, college tuition, and other financial obligations. When you’re unsure about buying your life insurance, consult with a professional agent, declares Feldman. An agent can make a recommendation based on your situation — “they will not only explain you the lowest cost policy.