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Don't Make Quick Decisions on your Disability Insurance

Bookmark and Share 1In tough times, we're all looking for ways to save money. When you're healthy and working, it's hard to imagine being disabled by illness or injury. But be careful about disabling your Disability insurance. When you need it, it's often too late. Bear in mind that:
  • One in three working Americans will suffer a disability that keeps them from work for at least 90 days before retirement (age 65).
  • The average disability absence lasts 2½ years.
  • More than 80% of working Americans don't have enough Disability insurance.
There are ways to reduce the cost of your premiums. For example, you can choose a longer waiting period before your benefits begin, or elect a shorter benefit period.

If you have enough resources to cover all your expenses during the first three months of a disability, a longer waiting period might be appropriate. Your premiums will probably be lower for coverage that starts after you've been disabled three months than for a policy that pays benefits after just 30 days.

Often, choosing a policy with benefits with a shorter benefit period -- say to age 65 instead of for a lifetime -- will lower your premiums. However, bear in mind that choosing a benefit period of two to five years to reduce your premiums, ending before normal retirement age, could be tragic. The longer the disability, the more likely that it will pose financial hardship.

If you're considering making changes to your Long-Term Disability policy, call us today!

Download the Info on Permanant Life Insurance

Bookmark and Share 2Is Permanent Life insurance for you? This type of coverage, unlike Term Life, does not expire and provides a tax-deferred investment or savings component ("cash benefit"), as well as a death benefit. As a rule, Permanent Life makes sense as a savings vehicle for high-income families, or those - such as small business owners - with illiquid estates, who want to pass along cash to their heirs.

If you're considering Permanent Life, here's what you should know:

  1. Types of policies.
    1. Whole Life charges a fixed premium to fund a guaranteed cash benefit and death benefit; the shorter the pay period, the higher the premium.
    2. Universal Life offers a flexible premium that combines a Term Life policy with a bank account. You pay as much as you want, with the leftover funds earning a variable interest rate.
    3. Variable Universal Life works the same way, except that you can choose mutual fund-type options for investing your cash value.
  2. Medical exam: As with Term Life, the insurance company will require you to take a physical examination. If you have a medical problem, you'll probably pay higher premiums,
  3. Investment benefits: You won't owe state or federal taxes while the policy's cash value grows until you make a withdrawal (at which time your tax rate will probably be lower). What's more the "forced savings feature - requiring you to pay premiums - creates a financial safety net.
  4. Costs: Because Permanent Life funds the policy's cash benefit, as well as a death benefit, you'll pay significantly higher premiums than for the same amount of Term coverage. Permanent Life also sets sales, administrative, and fund-management fees, as well as a mortality risk charge. In addition, if you cash in the policy during a certain period (usually 10 or 20 years) you might have to pay a surrender fee.

For more information on Permanent Life insurance, please feel free to get in touch with us at any time.


Short-Term Care Insurance Can Make a BIG Difference

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Short-Term Care Insurance (STCI) can help pay for your medical care in an assisted-living facility or nursing home for a relatively short period (90 to 360 days) during recovery, convalescence, or recuperation when you can't take care of yourself - unlike Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI), which provides coverage for two years to a lifetime.

Compared to LTC coverage, Short-Term Care policies are:

  • Up to 70% less costly - because of the shorter benefit period.
  • Easier to obtain - with only a limited list of medical exclusions.
  • Far more likely to be used; one study found that 90% of nursing home stays last less than a year.
  • Much quicker to go into effect; the STCI "elimination period" - the time from diagnosis until coverage begins - is usually 0 to 30 days, compared to the standard LTCI period of 90 days (According to one study, only one in four nursing home residents remain this long).

The STCI eligibility "triggers" are usually the same as those for Long-Term Care. The policy pays for care when you can't perform at least two of six "activities of daily living" without help - eating, bathing, transferring in and out of a chair or bed, dressing, toileting and continence - or suffers from a cognitive impairment.

Choosing STCI makes sense if you: 1) have around $20,000 to $60,000 in assets and need reimbursement for the cost of care during a relatively short recovery; or 2) can't meet the medical qualifications for LTCI or have waited so long to apply that you can no longer afford the premiums.

As insurance professionals, we'd be happy to help tailor a Short-Term Care policy that provides the protection you need at a price you can afford. Just give us a call.


Sick and Abroad!

Bookmark and Share 2 You're soon to be off on an exciting trip out of the country. Your plans are made, your flight is booked, your passport is current - and now all you can do is count down to the day of your flight. Before you pack your bags and board your plane, make sure that you have insurance to cover any unforeseen medical expenses while traveling.

Bear in mind that most Health policies provide only partial, or no, coverage outside the U.S. (Neither do Medicare and Medicaid). If an accident or medical emergency struck during your trip, you'd be left far from home - and uninsured. The solution: Travel Health Insurance, which can provide a number of benefits, including:

  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Hospitalization
  • Coverage for pre-existing condition
  • Prescription drugs
  • Accidental death
  • Hazardous sports coverage (optional)
  • If necessary, medical evacuation back to the U.S. - this alone could cost $50,000
If you're a frequent traveler, you can purchase multi-trip coverage (for up to a year) at a significant discount. People who plan to be abroad for an extended period might be able to buy a Major Medical policy that picks up the cost of prescription drugs and wellness programs.

As with most Health policies, Travel Health plans feature both in-and out-of-network coverage, deductibles, and co-payments.

You can choose from among a wide variety of plans, with differing options, and rates. For example, some policies also include such non-medical coverages as Trip Interruption and Travel Baggage.

We can advise you on selecting the Travel Health plan that's best for you. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.