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Basics of Supplemental Health Insurance

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Supplemental health insurance provides policy holders with a cash benefit that can be used for any expense. Your plan determines how much cash you receive and in which circumstances. Learn more as you decide if this coverage is right for you. 

What Types of Supplemental Health Insurance Exist?

You can choose from a variety of supplemental health insurance plans. The most popular policies include:
Accidents: Suffer an accident at work, at home or on the road, and you'll receive a cash payment. 

Accidental Death and Dismemberment: Your dependents will receive a cash benefit if you die or become disabled. The policy will outline the specific disabilities it covers. 

Disease specific: Contract cancer or another disease that's covered by the policy, and you can use your supplemental insurance to provide a per-day or per-procedure payment. 

Hospital indemnity: If you're admitted to the hospital, receive a payment every day, week or month. In most cases, you have to meet the minimum stay requirement. 

Do You Need Supplemental Coverage?

Before you buy a supplemental policy, make sure your primary health insurance policy is adequate. It should cover basics like medical and emergency care, specialists, medication and therapies. Then, consider supplementing it with additional coverage based on your budget, health and risks. 

Budget: If you don't have enough money saved to cover six to 12 months of household expenses, boost your emergency savings account or invest in supplemental coverage. Only purchase supplemental coverage if you can afford the premiums, though.

Health: Of course, accidents can happen to anyone at any time, but you're more likely to use your supplemental policy if you're in bad health. 

Risks: Engaging in a risky career or hobbies increases your chances of getting hurt. Strongly consider supplemental insurance in these cases as you provide for yourself and your family. 

Is a supplemental health insurance policy right for you? Talk to your insurance agent for more information and for details on a policy that fits your needs. With the right coverage, you can enjoy financial peace of mind.

Why Should You Keep Health Insurance Explanations of Benefits?

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Every time you visit the doctor or fill a prescription, your insurance company probably sends you an Explanation of Benefits (EOB). If you're like most consumers, you probably pile them on your desk or toss them into the trash can. However, the next time you get one in the mail, consider several important reasons why you should organize and keep these documents. 

Recreate Your Health History

You may not remember the exact year your kids chicken pox or your appendix was removed, but you need this information when you change doctors or for annual physical forms. File your EOBs in chronological order, and you have a health history to share when needed. 

Dispute Billing Errors

Occasionally, insurance companies do make mistakes. Use your EOBs to verify whether or not they paid a claim. 

Maximize Insurance Benefits

Because you pay for insurance, you want to get the most from your benefits. Your EOBs verify that you've received the services you pay for, including specialist visits or medication.

Support IRS Schedule A

Use your EOBs to conform that you qualify for a medical expense deduction on your tax return. 

Prove You Met Your Deductible

High deductible insurance plans are growing in popularity. If you have one, use your EOBs to track your year-to-date deductible total. 

How Long Should you Keep EOBs?

People with normal health should keep health insurance EOBs for one year. After completing your medical history and verifying that there are no billing discrepancies or unpaid invoices, shred your EOBs. Otherwise, keep them until the issue is resolved. 

Consumers with serious health issues will follow the similar recordkeeping system with several key variants. First, keep EOBs for at least five years after your health condition is clear or for seven years if you filed Schedule A. Organize and store them indefinitely if you have a chronic illness. 

Now that you understand more about keeping your EOBs, take time to sort and then store them in a mildew-proof box. Now's also a great time to review your policy with your agent as you make sure you have the right insurance policy for your needs and budget.

What You Should Know and Review About Your Life Insurance Policy

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You know you have life insurance, but when was the last time you looked at your policy? Take time right now to review several details as you make sure you have updated and adequate coverage for your needs. 

1. Type of Policy

Do you have a term, whole or universal policy? The type of policy you have determines premium costs and whether you have coverage until you die or for a set time like 15 or 30 years. Because your family size, income or debts may be different now than when you purchased the policy, evaluate whether or not you need to switch to a different type of policy as you meet your family's needs. 

2. Insurance Carrier

When you bought your policy, you may have chosen the cheapest carrier or went with a familiar name. Now, you may be able to extend your coverage with the same carrier or switch carriers and get a better rate. 

3. Policy Number

If you or your loved ones were to have any questions about your coverage, premium or benefits, you need the policy number. Make sure it's clearly marked on your policy so you can find it quickly. 

4. Date Issued

When was your life insurance policy first issued? If it's a term policy that's set to expire soon, consider renewing it, especially if your dependents are still young. 

5. Premium Costs

It's easy to pay a life insurance premium without thinking because it's probably not as high as your mortgage or car payment. However, you could be overpaying, especially if you pay monthly instead of annually or semi-annually. Also, check to see if an automatic debit from your checking account lowers your costs at all. 

6. Beneficiaries

Who will receive the death benefit of your life insurance policy? Make sure the correct people are listed as beneficiaries to reduce confusion and conflict. 

Now that you've found and reviewed your life insurance policy, consider contacting your agent. Ask about additional options or coverages that provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind and adequate life insurance.

5 Reasons You Might Pay More For Life Insurance

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Because life insurance is important, you should consider purchasing a policy if you don't already have one. Watch out, though, for rising premiums caused by five factors. 

1. Your Age

Life insurance companies give you a policy in the hopes that they will collect the premiums but won't have to pay the benefits. In a sense, they're betting that you'll live a long life. That's why you'll pay more for a policy if you're older. Your life expectancy is lower at that time, and the insurance company charges more to cover their increased risk. For the best rates, buy life insurance when you're young. 

2. Your Gender

Men typically have a shorter life expectancy than women, which means they're more likely to die before their life insurance policy matures. Because life insurance companies assume a higher risk to insure men, you'll pay more for a policy if you're male. 

3. Your Health

Several health factors cause life insurance premiums to rise because they reduce life expectancy. These factors include diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and smoking. If you are obese or smoke, for example, expect to pay up to double the normal rate for your life insurance policy. 

4. Your Family Health History

Maybe you have a clean bill of health but your parents or a sibling have a history of heart disease or diabetes. In this case, your life insurance premiums will go up because your risk of developing these conditions is high. 

5. Your Occupation and Hobbies

Work in a career that's high-risk or has a high mortality rate, like commercial fishing or ranching, and you could pay more for life insurance. Risky hobbies like motorcycle racing or high diving include higher policy costs, too. 

Even though these five factors affect how much you pay for life insurance, you and your dependents need this protection. Be honest about your lifestyle, and talk to your insurance agent today. He or she will provide tips for lowering your premiums and finding a policy that meets your needs as you gain invaluable life insurance coverage.