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12 Key Benefits of a Health Savings Account

Bookmark and Share A health savings account (HSA) covers your current and future medical expenses. It's a smart investment since it provides 12 key benefits.
  1. You control the account. That means you decide all the details, including how much to contribute (there are limits), the bank that handles the account and how to spend the money. You also retain control over the interest earned.
  2. Choose to invest some of your HS A savings into a mutual fund. Here, your money has more potential for growth over time.

  3. It's available to anyone under 65 years of age. As long as you fit into this age range, you qualify.

  4. The money rolls over. Money in a flexible spending account (FSA) must be used by the end of the year or you lose it. HSA funds continue to be available until you retire.

  5. Your HSA account stays put. It's available to you even if you change jobs, become unemployed, switch insurance carriers, move or get married or divorced.

  6. Contribution limits are high. In 2016, individuals may contribute $3,350, the family limit rises to $6,750 and individuals over 55 may contribute an additional $1,000.

  7. Enjoy a prolonged contribution period. You can make contributions to your HSA from January 1 to April 15 of the following year, which allows you to increase both your HSA and tax savings.

  8. There is no income requirement to open an HSA. You can make lots of money or have no earned income and still contribute.

  9. You receive triple tax savings. The money you contribute to your HSA is tax deductible up to the contribution limit, your savings grow tax-free and you don't pay taxes on the money you withdraw as long as it is used to pay for eligible medical expenses.

  10. It supplements your high-deductible health plan (HDHP). Use it to pay your deductible or any eligible expense.

  11. The money pays for a variety of eligible medical expenses. They include the costs of disease and illness diagnosis, cure, treatment and prevention and cover doctor, surgeon and dental fees in addition to the costs of diagnostic devices, equipment and supplies. Check with the IRS for more details on eligible expenses.

  12. An HSA covers current and future medical expenses. Use it now to offset your high-deductible coverage or let the money grow until you need it for a major medical expense in the future.
A health savings account can be a wise decision for you. Consider these 12 key benefits and talk to your health insurance agent for more details.
 

Top 10 Health Risks for Women

Bookmark and Share More than one in 10 women over 18 years of age are in fair to poor health, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Know the top 10 health risks women face as you protect yourself and the women you love on May 8, Mother's Day, and every day.

  1. Heart Disease

    The leading cause of death among women is heart disease. It contributes to one in four female deaths. Exercise, eating a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding smoking can help you avoid this health risk.

  2. Skin and Breast Cancer

    These two cancers can affect men and women, but they're more prevalent in women, especially as women age. Most cancer is treatable with early detection, so visit your doctor regularly for mammograms and other screenings.

  3. Stroke

    Strokes are the primary cause of death and disability among women. They're caused by blood flow blockage to your brain, and you can decrease your risk when you maintain a low blood pressure and stop smoking.

  4. Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases

    Lung disease, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, affects your quality of life and can cause death. It is preventable, though, especially when you avoid smoking.

  5. Alzheimer's Disease

    Two out of three Alzheimer's patients are women. While there is no cure, a healthy diet, exercise and not smoking can assist your overall physical well-being.

  6. Unintentional Injuries

    Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of unintentional injuries among women. Stay safe when you wear your seat belt, practice safe driving habits and use caution in poor weather.

  7. Diabetes

    Diabetes is linked to heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, which means it's important for you to control your blood sugar. Make aerobic exercise and a nutritious diet part of your daily routine.

  8. Influenza and Pneumonia

    Severe flu complications can cause pneumonia, and women who are pregnant, immune-compromised or elderly are especially at risk. Get a flu shot every year and avoid anyone who has the flu as you protect yourself.

  9. Osteoporosis

    Almost three in four women suffer from osteoporosis, a disease that causes fragile bones and a hunched back. It's largely preventable when you eat a calcium-rich diet, perform weight-bearing exercises regularly, stop smoking and limit alcohol consumption.

  10. Depression

    Depression affects twice as many men as women. Hormonal changes, family history, stress and other factors contribute to depression. To combat this health risk, seek a doctor's care and take care of yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Take action today to ensure you and the women you love are protected from these 10 health concerns. Contact your doctor or health insurance agent for more information.
 

Alternatives to a Traditional Funeral

Bookmark and Share Planning a funeral is probably not high on your to-do list. However, you purchase life insurance to care of your loved ones, and pre-planning your funeral relieves your loved ones of this difficult task. You can even customize your funeral and tell guests to wear your favorite color, donate to your favorite charity or sing your favorite songs. Alternatively, you may decide on another option that reflects your interests, personality and wishes.

Cremation

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, over 70 percent of burials will be cremations by 2030. If you go this route, you may choose to have your ashes buried in a cemetery, displayed on a mantle, sent into space, enclosed into a concrete vessel that becomes marine habitat or turned into soil.

Create a Memory Box

Funerals give participants a chance to remember your life. Encourage your loved ones to create a memory box. They contribute items that remind them of you, and suggestions include a piece of jewelry, love letters, pictures or favorite scarf. The box can be displayed on a shelf or taken out on special occasions as your loved ones gather to remember you.

Host a Meal

Traditional funerals typically include a meal after the service and burial. Why not skip right to the meal. Choose any date you wish, including your birthday or favorite holiday, and instruct your family to serve your favorite foods, hire a DJ or play games as they celebrate you and the things you loved.

Start a New Tradition

To celebrate you and your life, encourage your loved ones to start a new tradition. They can volunteer at your favorite charity, take a trip together or gather for an annual picnic as they honor you together while doing something you enjoyed.

Record Stories

One of the best things about a traditional service is the chance to tell stories about you and your life. An alternative is to record those stories on videotape or in a scrapbook. Loved ones may share funny anecdotes, touching moments or favorite memories of your life and commemorate those stories for future generations.

Plant a Tree

To honor you, invite your loved ones to plant a tree. It can be in a park, in their garden or anywhere you have permission.

Sponsor a Charity

In your honor, ask loved ones to give to your favorite animal rescue, pregnancy center or school. The funds honor you and make the world a better place.

Pre-planning your funeral is an act of love. Consider these alternatives to a traditional funeral as you care for your loved ones.
 

Options When Your Term Life Insurance Policy Ends

Bookmark and Share Whether it's your favorite chocolate pie, dream vacation or honeymoon, every good thing eventually ends. The same principle also applies to your term life insurance policy.

Most term life insurance policies last for 10 to 30 years. Check your policy or talk to your agent to see how long of a term you chose when you purchased your policy. If you die before the policy expires, your beneficiaries receive the death benefit. If the policy expires before you do, you will no longer be covered. That's when you need to decide your next move.

Convert the Policy

Most term life insurance policies that were issued in the past decade include an option that allows you to convert or exchange it to a permanent life or Universal Life policy. Depending on your company, you may be able to convert the entire policy before it expires, during the first five years in which the policy is in effect or before you reach a certain age, which is typically 70. Converting your policy is a smart move if your health has declined and would prevent you from obtaining a new permanent policy. However, this option is more expensive than a term policy and may not be available depending on your current term policy.

Extend the Policy

Read the fine print on your term life insurance policy to see if you can pay the premiums each month and keep your current coverage until you're 95. This option is beneficial if you only need coverage for a few more years or if you're over 70 years old and cannot qualify for a new policy because of health concerns. It's a bad idea if you cannot afford the steep increase in premiums, which will go up annually.

Renew the Policy

After your term policy expires, apply for a new one. Use your current insurance company's Exchange or Re-Entry provision or select an entirely different company. You'll need to prove that you're in good health before you receive a new policy, which is affordable in most cases, especially if you're under 60 years of age. You may be denied coverage or charged a high premium, though, if your health is in decline.

Even if your term life insurance policy has expired or is close to expiring, you have options. Check into these three options, talk to your agent for more information and shop around for the best insurance policy for you.