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When to Join Your Spouse's Health Insurance Policy

Bookmark and Share Health insurance is an important investment. You may be able to save money and enjoy better coverage when you switch to your spouse's policy. When is making this move a good idea?

When You Get Married

After you get married, you have a grace period in which you may enroll in your spouse's health insurance plan. Check the coverage and prices to see if this option meets your needs and budget. Be sure to finish the paperwork before the grace period ends.

When Your Family Expands

Adopting or giving birth to a new child is cause for celebration. Add your new child to your spouse's insurance coverage within the grace period if it's affordable.

When you Lose Your Job

COBRA insurance is an option when you lose your job, but it's often expensive since your employer no longer subsidizes your insurance premiums. Shop for your own coverage or join your spouse's policy to save money on the health insurance you need.  

When You Need a Different Doctor

Physicians regularly retire, change practices or choose not to participate with certain health care programs, and you may decide that you want a different doctor for personal reasons. Check into your spouse's health insurance plan to find a different physician that meets your needs better.

When Your Health Changes

Your current insurance plan may not cover the health treatment you need. Consider switching to your spouse's plan if it covers pre-existing conditions and the specialists you need

When You Move

If your move takes you to a new community and requires you to find new doctors, investigate your spouse's insurance plan covers. You may be able to switch doctors and insurance coverage.

When Your Deductible or Premiums Increase

Deductibles and premiums do occasionally increase. Investigate your options to see if your spouse's insurance is cheaper than keeping your existing coverage.

When you Need to Save Money

In some cases, your spouse may have more affordable insurance coverage than you do. Read the policy carefully. Premiums and even deductibles can increase when you add someone to your policy.

Wait for Open Enrollment

Open enrollment is the time frame in which you may change your insurance options at work. It usually falls at the end of the calendar year, but check with your Human Resources department for the exact dates.

Your spouse's insurance coverage may be more affordable, convenient or better than the policy you have now. Do your homework as you decide when and if you should be added to your spouse's health insurance policy.
 

When to Choose High Deductible Insurance

Bookmark and Share Health insurance is important, but it can also be expensive. You may feel like you have to choose between seeing a doctor and paying your premium. There are high deductible health insurance plans that make coverage affordable. When should you choose this option?

What is a High Deductible Health Insurance Plan?

High deductible health insurance plans feature low monthly premiums and a deductible that can range from $1,000 to $5,000 or higher. You will pay for all your health-related expenses until the deductible is met, and you will pay more for care if you visit out-of-network providers. The plan may also require you to pay co-pays or co-insurance. After the deductible is met, your healthcare needs are typically covered 100 percent.

What are the Advantages?

You will save money on monthly premiums when you buy a high deductible health insurance plan. You're also eligible to open a health savings account. With an HSA, you can contribute pre-tax dollars that pay for you deductible and other medical expenses. These funds rollover and continue to accumulate annually.  

What are the Disadvantages?

In many cases, high deductible health insurance will not cover every health need you may have. Check the policy before you buy to make sure it covers maternity care, well-child checks and any other health care needs you may have.

You also need to make sure you can afford the deductible. Insurance won't pay for any medical expenses, including doctor visits, prescriptions or hospital care, until after the deductible is paid.

Is a High Deductible Health Insurance Policy Right for You?

The high deductible does intimidate many consumers, but this type of insurance could be right for you if you are healthy. Chances are good that you won't need the coverage and can save money on premiums.

It also helps you balance your budget since the premiums are low. Many consumers of all ages select this option because of the appealing low monthly cost.

The HSA is another benefit. Use saved, pretax dollars to pay for your deductible and other medical expenses as you lower your tax obligations and invest in your health.

How to Maximize Your High Deductible Coverage

Get the most from your high deductible health insurance plan when you shop around and do your homework. All high deductible plans are not created equal, and you may be able to find better coverage or better premiums when you compare plans.

You can also save money when you challenge doctor fees. Ask if you can receive a cheaper rate, generic medication or alternative treatment.

With high deductible health insurance, you have important medical coverage. Discuss your options with your insurance agent today as you prepare for a healthy tomorrow.
 

How to Save Money on Life Insurance

Bookmark and Share Life insurance is an important investment. It can be expensive, though. Save money on this valuable asset with several tips.

  1. Shop From Financially Sound Companies
    You can buy your life insurance policy from one of over 1,000 companies. Shop carefully to ensure the company you choose can pay any claims. The best insurance companies have high ratings from at least two independent rating agencies.

  2. Get Several Quotes
    After you find a few high-rated insurance companies, get several quotes. You'll need to provide information about your health, and you'll receive a class rating. The classes include:
    • Preferred (non-tobacco)
    • Standard (non-tobacco)
    • Preferred (tobacco)
    • Standard (tobacco)
    Your rating determines your premium cost. Of course, you won't know your exact cost until you complete a life insurance application, but these estimates give you a general idea of your life insurance cost.

  3. Stop Smoking
    Smokers pay up to double the amount non-smokers pay for life insurance. Quit and stay nicotine-free for 12 months to get better rates.

  4. Lose Weight
    Your weight can cause health issues like high blood pressure. Those issues affect your premium cost, so lose weight to qualify for a more affordable policy.

  5. Choose Group Insurance
    Employers, civic organizations and banks issue group life insurance policies. Look into this option as you save money on this valuable coverage.

  6. Buy When you are Young
    Young people are generally healthy. That means they typically enjoy lower life insurance premiums. Buy a policy when you're young, and you get the best deal.

  7. Consider the Net Cost Index
    When purchasing whole life insurance, check out the net cost index. It helps you decide if you should buy a policy with low premiums and a low cash value or one with high premiums and a high cash value.

  8. Look for a Renewal Guarantee
    Term life policies often include a renewal guarantee that allows you to start a new policy when your current one ends. You won't need to undergo a physical exam or provide other evidence of insurability that could cause your rates to increase.

  9. Buy More Insurance
    The cost of your term life policy might be cheaper if you purchase more insurance. Compare the premiums for several different amounts as you choose the most affordable policy.

  10. Pay Annually
    In most cases, you'll pay less per month if you pay for the entire annual premium at one time.
Life insurance is an investment you should make. Instead of letting cost keep you from buying a policy, use these tips to save money and get the coverage you need.
 

Does a College Student Need Life Insurance?

Bookmark and Share Life insurance is typically something you think about when you get married or have kids. However, it can be a valuable asset for college students, too. Learn more as you decide if your favorite college student needs life insurance.

Best Rates

Life insurance companies use health as a major factor in determining premium costs. College students are generally healthy and can purchase insurance at the best possible rates. As an example, a $250,000 policy costs an average of $12 per month for a healthy 26-year-old. By buying life insurance now, college students purchase an important investment that's affordable and provides years of coverage.

Student Loans

Government-sponsored student loans generally cancel when the policy holder dies. Loans issued by banks and other private sources do not typically cancel, though. A student's estate or co-signer may be responsible to repay the debt. Purchase life insurance to cover any student debt and protect your assets.  

Non-Student Loan Debts

Many students and their parents borrow from a home equity line of credit, 401(k) or mortgage or they charge college expenses on a credit card. These debts do not automatically cancel upon the student's death. Life insurance can cover these debts and reduce the financial burden survivors face during this difficult time.

Consumer Debt

Many college students accumulate consumer debt, which may include credit cars and a car loan. Life insurance can cover these debts that must be repaid.  

High-Risk Lifestyle

In general, college students between the ages of 18 and 25 face the highest risk of any age group for accidents. A life insurance policy provides a layer of protection for young people in this age group.

Marriage

One in four college students are either engaged or married. Life insurance provides valuable peace of mind and financial protection for young couples. Consider purchasing policies for both spouses that covers normal living expenses and any outstanding debt.

Final Expenses

Funerals can cost upwards of $10,000. Use the life insurance policy to pay for final expenses and provide the student and his or her loved ones with a fitting farewell.

Grieving

When a college student dies, grief may be especially difficult. A life insurance policy provides financial resources that allow the family to take time off work, attend counseling, host family and friends from out of town or travel as they cope with their loss.

Life insurance can be a valuable asset for college students and their families. Consider purchasing a policy this fall as you send your favorite college student to campus. Your insurance agent will be happy to provide additional details as you secure your student's finances.