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Long-Term Care - A Consideration for All Ages

Bookmark and Share One in two Americans will need long-term medical care during their lifetime - and this percentage will keep growing, thanks to advances in medicine that keep extending the average lifespan.

The more we age, the more help we need - which means a serious health problem (such as a serious fall, cognitive impairment or heart attack) can make us unable to support ourselves and dependent on others for health care. What's more, this need is by no means limited to seniors: More than one in three people (37%) receiving long-term care services are younger than 65!

Long-Term Care insurance (LTC) can help pick up the tab for these often pricey services by covering expenses that your Health policy doesn't include. It can also protect your family's assets by removing the financial burden on your family and friends of paying for your care, or of caring for you themselves - responsibilities that you wouldn't want them to assume. As a rule, LTC coverage will pay for care in your home, an adult day care or assisted living facility, or a nursing home. The policy benefits will kick in as soon as you require assistance.

Without LTC, you, or your family, would have to pay for these services - which can create a staggering financial burden that could last for years. It costs more than $70,000 a year to staying in a nursing home, a figure that's projected to hit $190,600 by 2030. The average wage for home care aides comes to $32.50 an hour, an expense that can add up quickly because more and more people need 24-7 care. Don't count on other health care programs to foot the bill. Medicare, and almost all Health policies, will provide partial payment for long-term care - and only for 100 days or less. If you're under the poverty line, such government programs as Medicaid will cover nursing home care.

LTC can provide an affordable alternative. Annual premiums usually range from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the amount of coverage, and your gender, age, and physical condition. (People who have severe health problems might not qualify).

For a free review of your need for long-term care protection, please get in touch with us.

Sleep is Imperative to Your Health

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Get a good night's sleep, and you're more likely to wake up alert, energetic, happy and able to function. Since November is National Sleep Comfort Month, implement six tips that help you sleep better and more comfortably.

1. Invest in a Quality Mattress and Comfortable Bedding

Your sleep comfort depends largely on your mattress. If it's lumpy, hard or scratchy, you'll toss and turn instead of truly resting. Visit a local mattress store today and invest in the best mattress and bedding you can afford. It will quickly pay for itself as you sleep better and enjoy greater productivity and happiness.

2. Lower the Temperature

Because your body heat rises slightly as you sleep, you'll be more comfortable when you lower your bedroom temperature by a few degrees. Opening a window or turning on a fan produces the same results.

3. Limit Big Evening Meals

Visiting the buffet for dinner tasted good at the time, but a large evening meal increases overnight discomfort. It will keep you awake and give you indigestion and heartburn. Step away from the kitchen at least two hours before bed. If you need a snack, indulge in a small portion of cereal with milk, fruit or granola.

4. Skip Alcohol and Caffeine

Your late-afternoon coffee affects your sleep 10 to 12 hours after you drink it. Your nightcap might make you drowsy, but the alcohol will wake you in the middle of the night. To boost your afternoon energy level, grab an apple, walnuts or cheese. If you want an alcoholic drink at night, enjoy it at least two hours before bedtime.

5. Relax

When you're anxious, tense or stressed, your body won't be able to relax. Practice yoga, deep breathing and visualization. As you relax your mind, your body will follow, and you'll enjoy more comfortable sleep.

6. See Your Doctor

If you still can't get comfortable at night, talk to your doctor. Discuss physical or mental issues that might be preventing you from getting adequate rest. Check with your insurance agent, too, about whether chiropractor visits or specialty pillows are covered by your insurance.

With a good night's sleep, you wake up in a good mood and ready to tackle the day. Use these six tips to get your most comfortable sleep this month.


Premiums Under Affordable Care Act

Bookmark and Share A recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports that individual health insurance under the Affordable Care Act will cost an average of $2,988 yearly or $249 a month. Subsidies, tax credits, and Medicaid payments should reduce these premiums to no more than $100 a month for nearly 30 million people who don’t have insurance.

Although some individuals might pay more for coverage, these averages are still 16% lower than the Congressional Budget Office projected in 2012.

The health care reform act extends coverage to low-income Americans, including the 48 million now uninsured. To help offset the cost of covering older, sicker individuals in this group, the law requires every American to buy insurance or face a fine, under the “individual mandate” provision. The 55% of adults who have health coverage through their jobs are considered in compliance with the mandate.

According to the DHHS report, rates under the ACA’s state-based insurance exchanges, where individuals will shop for health plans, will vary significantly depending on the state and the level of coverage (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum). For example, in Wyoming, the least expensive Bronze plan will cost $425 a month, compared to only $192 a month for the same coverage in Minnesota.

In Comparison, a recent Government Accountability Office report on the cost of individual health insurance found that people who are young and healthy can buy relatively inexpensive policies. According to the GAO 30-year-old nonsmoker might pay as little as $30 a month in Georgia or $85 a month in Alaska. As always, our agency’s health insurance professionals are stand ready to offer their advice on selecting the health plan that’s best for you.

Are High-Deductible Health Plans Worth It?

Bookmark and Share 2More employers are offering high-deductible health care plans as an alternative to traditional health care coverage, which costs employers more.

Under a high-deductible plan, the employee assumes some of the risk for health care expenses by agreeing to pay for a larger chunk of medical treatment. The employee's benefit comes from the provision of a Health Savings Account (HSA) -- a personal account of funds withdrawn from the employee's paycheck by the employer and dedicated for the sole purpose of reimbursing out-of-pocket medical expenses. The portion deposited into the HSA is tax deductible.

At first, these accounts might seem like a reduction in employee benefits. However, in many cases employers would not be able to offer medical benefits without them. Although costs for small, non-emergency events are transferred to the employee and some other types of care might cost them more than under traditional plans, an HSA covers major health care needs that can quickly become unaffordable.

If your employer offers a high-deductible plan with an HSA or you're considering switching jobs to an employer who does, consult with the company employee benefits department about the coverage. If you find that the plan doesn't cover your dependents or if you have questions about private coverage alternatives, one of our Health insurance specialists would be glad to help. Just give us a call.