FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2012
Having a baby can be a very exciting, emotional, and exhausting experience for a family, and while most parents remember a lot of the preparation details -- such assembling the crib and installing child-safety locks -- updating their insurance may not be the first thing that comes to mind.
Whether you’re expecting, a new parent, or you know someone who is, it’s important to have the right insurance. We at Insurance Planning Service want you and your growing family to be protected from all life’s possibilities, so we’re providing you an insurance checklist – no assembly required! – for expecting parents.
1. When you find out you’re pregnant, make sure your health insurance
plan covers prenatal and maternity health costs. (An employer with 15 or more employees is required by federal law to provide coverage for pregnancy-related expenses.)
2. Check your policy to find out if you need preauthorization for certain prenatal or maternity health costs, such as ultrasounds and amniocentesis.
3. Call your health insurance company to ensure your obstetrician, doctor, and/or midwife and hospital or birthing center are both in-network. If they’re out-of-network, there may be additional charges for your health-care expenses.
4. Know how many days you’re covered for after delivering your baby and if your insurance provides additional time for certain medical needs and scenarios, such as a C-section.
5. If you’re planning on a home birth, check with your insurance company to find out if any expenses are covered. (Most insurance plans will cover the cost of a midwife, but do not offer reimbursement for other costs associated with this type of birth.)
6. Contact your insurance provider to find out how to add your new baby to your insurance plan. Since a mother’s and newborn’s hospital stays are billed separately, you need to have coverage for both people. Many insurance plans will only cover expenses for an infant that is enrolled in a plan within 30 days of being born.
7. Confirm that your health insurance plan covers your child’s first set of doctor appointments and vaccinations, and that your pediatrician is in-network.
1. If you and your spouse don’ already have a life insurance
policy in place, a new baby is a good time to take out a policy. Most parents have a term life insurance policy, which usually is the least expensive options and provides coverage for a fixed amount of time at a set premium. Usually the beneficiary of this type of policy is a spouse, however, single parents may want to list their child or a family member.
2. If you or your spouse become disabled and one of you is the primary breadwinner for the household, you may want to consider long-term disability insurance. This type of insurance will provide your family with financial support if you are disabled and cannot work. Some employers offer this coverage, but you should check to make sure you’re covered and find out if you have enough coverage.
1. A baby comes with a lot of new stuff, which means you probably need to update your homeowner’s insurance
policy to included enough coverage to replace everything in your nursery. If your new bundle of joy doesn’t have a state-of-the-art crib or fancy diaper genie, you may not need to increase your coverage, but you should check with your Trusted Choice independent insurance agent to find out.
1. Unlike other types of insurance, which go up with a new addition, your auto insurance
will likely stay the same. However, a major life milestone, such as having a baby, can be an indicator of increased responsibility, which can actually lead to a decrease in rates. If you’re expecting or a new parent, contact your Trusted Choice independent insurance agent to find out if your rates can be reduced.
If you have any questions, need help getting coverage, or simply want to double-check your insurance policies, call us at 800-220-5582
or contact us
via the web. The professionals at Insurance Planning Service are happy to help … just don’t ask us to baby-sit!
Courtesy: Trusted Choice
Posted 10:50 AM
Tags: new baby, growing family, health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, homeowner insurance, michigan home insurance, auto insurance, michigan auto insurance, livonia auto insurance, livonia home insurance
THURSDAY, JANUARY 5, 2012
Dramatic changes in the insurance marketplace make the professional insurance advisor's role increasingly important to individuals and small businesses in finding cost-saving measures and coverage options. They provide and service insurance products while educating and advising you on how to manage risk and make informed insurance choices. Many career life and health insurance advisors have completed a sequence of college level courses leading to a professional designation, such as:
- Registered Health Underwriter (RHU)
- Health Insurance Associate (HIA)
- Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC)
- Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS), or
- Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
Similarly, many career property and casualty insurance advisors have completed courses leading to such professional designations as:
- Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)
- Accredited Adviser in Insurance (AAI)
- Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR)
Advisors are highly trained insurance professionals who will guide you through the complex task of choosing appropriate coverage at an affordable cost and are dedicated to serving the long-term interests of consumers.
Insurance Planning Service has a staff of professional advisors who are able to answer your questions and assist you in designing an insurance program tailored to your specific needs – whether auto, home, business, life or health insurance.
Call us today at 800-220-5582 for a free quote on all of your Michigan insurance policies.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2011
COBRA is a law that protects you and your family if you lose your employer-sponsored health benefits. It can help you maintain coverage while you are in transition. COBRA allows you to keep the same coverage and the same physicians.
If you qualify for COBRA coverage, then you have the option of continuing your employer-sponsored health plan for a limited period of time (18-36 months.) COBRA can provide important protection for people who have pre-existing medical conditions. You should carefully consider COBRA coverage if you or a member of your family are currently pregnant, have a pre-existing health conditions, are taking prescription medications, or have been declined for private health insurance.
However, if you and your family are relatively healthy, you may be able to purchase a comparable individual or family health insurance plan for a lot less money. In addition, since COBRA coverage is available to the unemployed, your lower income status may make your children under age 18 eligible for a low-cost government –subsidized program. MI-Child is a health insurance program for uninsured children of Michigan’s working families.
As a consumer, you need to know your COBRA strategy.
Consider continuing COBRA if:
- You are pregnant or plan to become pregnant within the COBRA coverage period
- You have a pre-existing medical condition
- You are taking prescription medications, need to undergo a medical procedure in the near future, or need extensive medical care
- You have recently been declined for private health insurance
Options after COBRA:
- HIPAA. Once a person has exhausted COBRA benefits or the company plan expires. i.e. the company goes out-of-business or discontinues the health plan, you may be eligible for an individual plan under the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability ACT), even with pre-existing health conditions. For more information, contact the state Department of Insurance.
Consider purchasing an individual/family plan if
- You are in relatively good health
- The COBRA option is too expensive
- You are seeking health insurance coverage beyond the COBRA term (typically 18 months)
You can Mix & Match:
- Mix and match your COBRA coverage with individual and public sponsored alternatives. For example:
- If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you can choose COBRA coverage for yourself but find a less expensive individual plan for your spouse and a public sponsored program for your children.
We can assist with questions you may have regarding your health insurance. Call us at (800) 220-5582 or visit us at www.ipsagency.com for a free quote on Michigan health insurance.
Source: Foundation for Health Coverage Education
MONDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2011
In September 2011, the Michigan legislature passed a new 1% tax on health insurance claims. Beginning January 1, 2012 this tax will be levied on the insurance companies but, rest assured, it will come through to you – one way or another. Blue Cross Blue Shield has already indicated they will be showing the tax assessment as an additional line item on their premium invoice. Other companies may simply choose to charge it as part of the premium. The tax will apply to insurance companies as well as Third Party Administrators for self-insured programs. It will apply to Michigan residents who receive medical services in Michigan.
This new tax is intended to replace an expiring 6% tax on certain Medicaid managed care programs by spreading the tax over a much broader base to reduce the impact. It guarantees continued funding for some of the State’s most vulnerable residents, including elderly people receiving long-term care in nursing homes and health care for children.
The tax will not apply to copays and deductibles. Claims paid by Medicare, Department of Veterans Affairs and those of federal employees are exempt.
For more details on Michigan Health Insurance or to get a free Michigan health insurance quote contact us at 800.225.5582.
734.421.9900 | 800.220.5582 | www.ipsagency.com
TUESDAY, AUGUST 30, 2011
For those of you waiting for another COBRA subsidy to come along, the chances don't look great.
A bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) last year to extend the subsidy went nowhere, and he has not reintroduced it this year, according to a source in his office. And there's not much else in the works given anticipation of health care reform, according to insurance experts and consumer advocates.
Leading up to the expiration of the subsidy, there have been many people dropping COBRA coverage because of the hefty price tag, said Carrie McLean, consumer health insurance expert for eHealthInsurance.com. But there are options, she maintained.
Here are some tips from the company for people who were former subsidy recipients:
See if you can save money in the individual market. If you're relatively healthy, you may be able to purchase health insurance on your own at a cost similar to your formerly subsidized COBRA coverage, and for less than a full COBRA premium. However, if you are currently covered by COBRA and have a pre-existing medical condition, it is possible to be declined coverage in the individual and family market. Do not cancel your current insurance coverage until you are officially approved for a new plan.
Understand your government-sponsored options. Health care reform expands access to programs like CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Plan to provide insurance to kids) and Medicaid but does not provide free coverage. You may qualify for assistance based on your income. For persons with pre-existing medical conditions, health reform also expands access to high-risk pools, also known as pre-existing condition insurance plans (PCIP). Though you no longer need to be declined coverage before you can qualify for a PCIP, you may still have to be uninsured for six months. To learn more about your government-sponsored options, contact your state department of insurance or the nonprofit Foundation for Health Coverage Education at coverageforall.org.
Get hip to HIPAA. HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is a law that guarantees access, for consumers who meet specific criteria, to special health insurance plans that do not have pre-existing condition limitations. If you can show that you have had 'creditable health insurance coverage' (which includes COBRA) without a gap of more than 63 days, you may qualify for a HIPAA plan. This is a good option for people who can afford COBRA at the full-price but have exhausted their 18 months of COBRA eligibility. HIPAA plans can be expensive, but they provide people with pre-existing medical conditions valuable access to coverage.
Make your consulting work official for health insurance and tax breaks. Many of today's unemployed earn supplemental income by consulting or contracting. By officially going into business for yourself, you may qualify for group health insurance and special health insurance tax breaks. Depending on the rules in your state, you may be eligible for a small business health insurance plan with only one or two full-time employees (including yourself) – and you can't be turned down due to pre-existing medical conditions. The 2010 health care reform law provides a tax credit of up to 35 percent of the money certain businesses spend on health insurance premiums for low- to moderate-income workers. Not all small businesses will qualify for the full tax credit, and rules for incorporating your business may vary from one state to another, so consult with your accountant.
Negotiate health care costs whenever possible. You may be able to save up to 30% off your medical bills by negotiating with your medical care provider. If you end up uninsured after the COBRA subsidy, you'll no longer automatically benefit from the discounted rates that doctors and hospitals agree to accept as payment in full from many insurance companies. That means the charges listed on your medical bills may be substantially higher than others are expected to pay. Talk to your doctor or your hospital's billing department to see if you can negotiate a discount for your care by paying up-front or creating a payment plan.
Persons with Health Savings Accounts or enrolled in plans with high cost-sharing may also benefit by negotiating medical costs. Visit Healthcare Blue Book to learn more and find suggested prices for many standard medical services.
Insurance Planning Service is an independent insurance agency offering a full range of insurance products – auto – home – business – life – health – to individuals, families and businesses throughout Michigan. Call or visit us on the web today for a quote on your insurance!
734.421.9900 | 800.220.5582 | www.ipsagency.com