What You Need to Know About Cancer Insurance

Cancer insurance, also sometimes referred to as critical illness insurance, is a relatively new addition to the arsenal of world of health insurance programs. It was created as a response to the increasing rate of cancer diagnoses worldwide and the rising costs of cancer care and treatment. The supplemental insurance is designed to help reduce the out-of-pocket cost of cancer care and to bridge the gap between what your primary health insurance covers and what it doesn’t.

 

Introduction to Cancer Insurance

 

Cancer insurance is a type of supplemental insurance policy that helps to reduce the out-of-pocket cost of having cancer treatment. It is not designed to replace a traditional health insurance policy, but instead to complement it by covering additional cancer-related expenses that may not be covered by your current policy. The premium covers you for certain types of cancer-related expenses if you are diagnosed while the policy is in effect.

 

To be eligible, you cannot have any pre-existing cancerous conditions. For example, you cannot have been diagnosed with lung cancer and then apply for a policy. In most cases, people who have previously been diagnosed and treated for cancer are also ineligible.

 

What It Covers

 

Cancer insurance coverage varies based on the provider and policy details, but most plans cover both medical and non-medical expenses. Medical expenses can include co-pays, extended hospital stays, medical tests, procedures like stem cell transplants, and other disease-specific treatments.

 

The non-medical expenses that are covered with a supplemental cancer policy can include loss of income benefits, child care expenses, home health care, and dietary restriction aids.

 

Is It Worth It?

 

There is a lot of debate about disease-specific health insurance plans like cancer insurance. Some people firmly support them, while others believe that they are “junk plans” sold on fear. Here are some points to consider when thinking about buying a cancer insurance plan:

  • What is your cancer risk? Do you have a strong, familial history of cancer? If so, cancer insurance might be a solid decision. Those with a strong family history of cancer may want to take a look at their current policy and see how cancer insurance may complement their current policy. Remember, cancer insurance only kicks in if you are diagnosed with cancer. It will not provide any coverage for other common, chronic diseases.
  • Would upgrading my current health insurance plan be a better idea? Choosing to upgrade your current policy may be a better alternative to buying a cancer protection plan, especially for those who are at average risk of developing cancer. It may cost less to upgrade your current plan than adding an additional cancer policy. Perhaps most importantly, upgrading your existing policy would provide a wider range of coverage benefits than a cancer-specific policy.
  • Remember that two policies may not equal double the coverage. Having a basic comprehensive health insurance plan along with a cancer insurance plan does not necessarily mean that you will get double the benefits. Most major insurance policies have a coordination of benefits clause that states that it won’t cover expenses that the other plan does. By purchasing cancer insurance, you may be degrading the coverage of your primary health insurance policy!

 

Before You Buy

 

Before purchasing a cancer insurance plan, it is important that you understand exactly what is covered in the policy. You should also compare the benefits to your current health insurance plan to see if and where there is any overlap in coverage or redundancies. There is no sense in buying a cancer insurance policy if your current policy covers most or all of the same expenses.

 

If after careful consideration you decide that a cancer insurance policy may be the right move for your and your family, get in touch with your insurance agent who can help you work out exactly how much coverage you need. Many plans are available and comparing them is highly recommended. This includes shopping around for other types of insurance plans like long-term disability insurance, which may be a better option for you than cancer-specific protection.

Highest regards,

Stacia

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10 Things You Must Know About Life Insurance

Life insurance is a crucial part of personal finance- one that deserves consideration by every household. However, despite the fact that life is insurance is almost universally applicable, there remains a great amount of confusion and even skepticism over this very important decision.

Here are 10 important things to consider when making a decision regarding life insurance.

  1. If anyone relies on you financially, you need life insurance.

Life insurance is basically obligatory if you have a spouse or dependent children. You may also require life insurance if you are someone’s ex-spouse, life partner, a child of dependent parents, the sibling of a dependent adult, an employee, an employer or a business partner. If you are retired, financially stable, and no one would be affected by your passing, then you may not need it.

  1. Life insurance does not simply add monetary value to a person’s life.

Instead, it helps to compensate for the inevitable circumstances that accompany the loss of life. It helps those left behind to cover final costs, mortgages, outstanding debts, and lost incomes. But most importantly, life insurance can help lessen the burden on family members who already grieving the loss of a loved one.  This is why life insurance is vital to the breadwinner of all single-income households.

  1. Life insurance is a contract.

A policy is a contract between a person and the insurance company. The insurance company pools the premiums of policyholders and pays out claims—called a death benefit—in the event of a death. The difference between the premiums taken in and the claims paid out is the insurance company’s profit.

  1. There are 4 roles in a life insurance policy.

These roles are the insurer, the owner, the insured and the beneficiary. The insurer is the company, responsible for paying out claims in the case of a death. The owner of the policy is responsible for paying the premium payments. The insured is the person whose life the policy is based on. The beneficiary is the person who receives the claim in the event of the insured person passing.

  1. Life insurance is a risk management tool, not an investment.

Although some policies can offer a tax incentive, it is not wise to view a policy as an investment. If you haven’t made an emergency cash reserve, paid off your mortgage, and maxed out your 401 K, then there are smarter places for you to making an investment and you should look into a policy that does not have an investment component.

  1. There are two types: term and permanent

Term life is least expensive, simplest, and most widely available. With this type, the insurance company bases the premium on the probability that the insured will die within a stated term, whether that’s 10, 20, or 30 years. They are guaranteed for the length of that  term. If you let this policy lapse, you can lose coverage and often be obligated to continue paying your premium.

Permanent life insurance is also based on probabilities, but has a “cash value” that is designed to keep the policy going in perpetuity. It has further options such as whole life, variable life, or universal life, each with specific tailored to different situations. These policies are often used to cover business planning or independent financial situations.

  1. Life insurance can be extremely expensive or extremely affordable.

If you apply for all of the bells and whistles of a life insurance policy, you will be looking at a hefty price tag. However, most people are pleasantly surprised with the premiums for a plain-vanilla policy. A healthy, non-smoking, 30-something male, for example, might pay less than $500 per year for a 20-year term policy with a million dollar death benefit.

  1. Determining the Best Option For You Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Many people fall into a trap where they do not purchase life insurance because they are intimidated or they do not understand all of their options, so they push off the decision. In the vast majority of situations, most families would be fine if the policy paid out simply enough to replace the income of the person passing. The important thing is that you do not avoid life insurance because of its complexity.

  1. Consider Using A Live Person

A live insurance agent is your best option for custom-tailored policies and premiums. Our agents have considerable experience in this area, and are able to give you the coverage and price point that you feel confident in.

  1. Know Your Options When Cancelling

If you have a policy that isn’t appropriate for you, proceed with caution. Don’t cancel your existing policy before your new one is in place. If you have a term policy you no longer want, you can contact your company to cease coverage and cease payments. If you have a permanent policy, you will want to examine the tax consequences before you cash it in.
Life insurance is a very valuable tool for your long-term and comprehensive financial future plan. The BeneChoice Companies are proud to be a resource for all of your insurance needs.

Highest regards,

Stacia

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Why Dental Coverage Helps Employers As Much As Employees

These days, everyone is moving towards eating a balanced diet and squeezing in a healthy workout. But to truly be healthy, you have to focus on more than just diet and exercise. Many people often overlook their oral health.

Oral health and cardiovascular health have been linked in the health community for a while; however, there is new evidence that provides the link between periodontitis, also known as gum disease, to stroke and heart attacks. Studies have shown that treating gum disease with a topical remedy greatly reduced vascular inflammation, which lessens risk of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.

Cardiovascular disease is a serious problem, in the US: one of four people will die due to these complications if left untreated. It is also a huge expense for Americans, including employees and employers who sponsor their health plans. Heart disease is racking up a daily one billion dollars in lost productivity and medical care.

Gum disease can also affect more than just heart. It is actually a risk for expectant mothers, as it can affect unborn babies. The bacteria caused by the periodontitis get into the bloodstream of the pregnant woman and attack the fetus, often leading to premature birth and low birth weight. This puts newborns at risk for issues in their early life, as well as developmental issues later on, in addition to being very expensive for the family. A premature baby can cost around $49,000 in expense its first year, compared to $4,551 for an infant who has no complications. A report from the March of Dimes states the pre-term birth costs more that $12 billion in extra healthcare costs.

Oral health is also important for diabetics. In addition to being at risk for issues with their feet, eyes, kidneys, and heart, they also are more prone to periodontitis. A higher risk of gum disease can make it more difficult to regulate blood glucose, in addition to causing infections in the bones that hold teeth in place, making chewing more difficult.

It is vital for employers and employees to understand how oral health plays a part in overall health. Simple, inexpensive treatment can save businesses and plan participants thousands of dollars and countless hours of pain.

Analyzing claims data is a great indication of how oral health affects employees. The highest number of claims come from cardiovascular, maternity, diabetes, and musculoskeletal claims, all of which can be worsened by periodontitis.

Dental health has been given a back seat in health plans, wellness initiatives, and employee education. Most initiatives focused on preventing heart disease covered diet and exercise, but overlooked dental care. Many health plans do not include dental coverage, which is a minimal expense compared to other program costs and costs of potential complications. Often, employees will disregard dental care because they have never had a history of cavities. But dental coverage and employee education can help them understand the risks and therefore take their dental health into their own hands.

It is highly important that employers work closely with insurance brokers to understand dental coverage and what the associated costs are. They will likely see that medical claims are much higher than dental claims. They can work together with benefit consultants to create affordable dental plans. Bridging the gap between dental and medical coverage for those at higher risk of dental issues can truly get the treatment they need.

Employees with good dental hygiene will decrease employer’s medical costs. Proper dental coverage is vital for this win-win.


Highest regards,

Stacia

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Disability Insurance: The Omitted Employee Benefit

You may have noticed the three letter code LTD on your paycheck next to a small dollar amount that is deducted every period. It stands for long-term disability insurance, and it pays to have it to help continue to provide for your family if you become injured or ill. Unfortunately, many employees go without it. Despite more and more employees offering long-term disability insurance as a benefit to their employees, the number of employees who opt-in is going down.

The Council for Disability Awareness, a group that represents 19 member insurance insurance companies, found this troubling trend in its latest review of claims data in 2013. Over 213,000 employers offer long-term disability through those companies, which is a slight increase from data collected in 2011. Yet the number of employees receiving the coverage declined approximately 1.5% to 32.1 million last year.  

Barry Lundquist, president of the council, cites a couple reasons for this change: primarily that employers are focused on compliance with the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance provisions, which causes employers to decide to deal with other benefits like disability later.

Additionally, employers only offer disability insurance as a voluntary benefit, meaning that the employee pays the full cost. Historically, the employer has paid for it, or paid a portion. In that case, the employees would be automatically enrolled. With voluntary plans, enrollment stagnates at about 40%, Lundquist says.

Likely due to the improving economy, the number of people receiving long-term disability payments declined for the second year in a row. Yet total claim payments increased by 1.6% to $9.8 billion in 2013.

If you do have disability insurance, it is important to determine what you do have and if it’s enough. A typical benefit would be 60% of your salary, up to a $5,000 monthly payout. Check if your employer allows you to buy more coverage (extra premiums can be really cheap). If your employer coverage isn’t enough, consider buying a personal policy.

Highest regards,

Stacia

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86% of Employees Participate In A Particular Wellness Program

There are varying views on whether wellness programs assist with people cutting those unwanted pounds. Critics have even gone so far as to claim that these programs are actually counter-productive because they shame employees about their weight.

A survey released from HealthMine (a wellness company) points out the potential of such programs besides weight-loss.

According to the poll of 501 people with a heart disease, 43% said their condition was identified through a wellness program. In addition, the poll found that 68% participate in a wellness program that includes a disease management program, and most (86%) participate in that particular program.

“Heart disease strikes someone in the U.S. once about every 43 seconds. But, we have the power to lessen the impact,” said Bryce Williams, CEO of HealthMine. “Through personal clinical engagement, we can help people find out sooner, learn what they need to do and motivate them to do it.”

79% of respondents noted that their wellness plan helped them manage their health care costs. 42% said it actually helped them quite a bit.

Wellness programs have scored a number of legal and political victories over the past year.

Not only has the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proposed a rule allowing companies to issue financial incentives up to 30 percent of the cost of its health insurance, but the EEOC’s own suit against a company that required employees to partake in biometric screenings to be eligible for company health care was rejected by a federal judge in December.

Highest regards,

Stacia

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