Life & Health Insurance
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Life & Health Insurance Information
What kinds of health insurance are there?
There are essentially two kinds of health insurance: fee-for-service and managed care. Although these plans differ, they both cover an array of medical, surgical and hospital expenses. Most cover prescription drugs and some also offer dental coverage.
These plans generally assume that the medical professional will be paid a fee for each service provided to the patient. Patients are seen by a doctor of their choice and the claim is filed by either the medical provider or the patient.
- Managed Care
More than half of all Americans have some kind of managed-care plan. Various plans work differently and can include: health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and point-of-service (POS) plans. These plans provide comprehensive health services to their members and offer financial incentives to patients who use the providers in the plan.
What is long-term care?
Because of possible and unfortunate circumstances, some people find themselves in need of help with daily care–eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, getting out of a chair or out of bed, etc. These actions are called activities of daily living–sometimes referred to as ADLs. In general, if you can’t do two or more of these activities, or if you have a cognitive impairment, you are said to need long-term care.
Long-term care is a vague phrase and not always helpful in describing a situation. Many people think that long-term care is provided exclusively in a nursing home. It can be, but it can also be provided in an adult day care center, an assisted living facility, or at home and sometimes these services are only needed for a few months versus long-term.
Assistance with ADLs, called “custodial care,” may be provided in the same place as (and therefore is sometimes confused with) “skilled care.” Skilled care means medical, nursing or rehabilitative services, including help taking medicine, undergoing testing (e.g. blood pressure) or other similar services. This distinction is important because generally Medicare and most private health insurance pays only for skilled care–not custodial care.
What are the types of disability insurance?
There are two types of disability policies:
- Short-Term Disability (STD) policies have a waiting period of 0 to 14 days with a maximum benefit period of no longer than two years.
- Long-Term Disability (LTD) policies have a waiting period of several weeks to several months with a maximum benefit period ranging from a few years to the rest of your life.
Disability policies have two different protection features that are important to understand.
- Non-cancelable means the policy cannot be canceled by the insurance company, except for nonpayment of premiums. This gives you the right to renew the policy every year without an increase in the premium or a reduction in benefits.
- Guaranteed renewable gives you the right to renew the policy with the same benefits and not have the policy canceled by the company. However, your insurer has the right to increase your premiums as long as it does so for all other policyholders in the same rating class as you.
In addition to the traditional disability policies, there are several options you should consider when purchasing a policy:
- Additional purchase options
- Coordination of benefits
- Cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)
- Residual or partial disability rider
- Return of premium
- Waiver of premium provision
What are the types of life insurance?
There are many kinds of life insurance, but they generally fall into two categories: term insurance and permanent insurance.
Term insurance is designed to meet temporary needs. It provides protection for a specific period of time (the "term") and generally pays a benefit only if you die during the term.
Permanent insurance provides lifelong protection. As long as you pay the premiums, and no loans, withdrawals or surrenders are taken, the full face amount will be paid.
It's impossible to say which type of life insurance is better because the kind of coverage that's right for you depends on your unique circumstances and financial goals. But remember, the best way to figure out the amount and type of life insurance that makes sense for your particular situation is to meet with a qualified life insurance professional.