16. January 2019 16:15
by Harry
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Blood Cancers and Buying Life Insurance

16. January 2019 16:15 by Harry | 0 Comments

 

According to the American Society of Hematology, blood cancers affect the production and function of your blood cells and end up preventing your blood from performing many of its functions, such as fighting off infections or preventing serious bleeding.  Approximately every three minutes, one person in the U.S. is diagnosed with a blood cancer.  September is both Life Insurance Awareness Month and Blood Cancer Awareness Month.  In this post, let’s discuss the different types of blood cancer and how these conditions can affect buying life insurance.

What are the different types of blood cancer?

There are three main types of blood cancer: leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.  An estimated 1,290,773 Americans are either living with, or are in remission from, leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma.

Leukemia – cancer of the body’s blood forming tissues.

  • Mainly affects bone marrow and the lymphatic system
  • Usually, affects white blood cells – the infection fighting cells
  • There are many types of leukemia

Lymphoma – cancer of the lymphatic system.

  • Affects the lymphatic system – the body’s germ-fighting network – which includes the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, and bone marrow
  • There two categories: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Myeloma – cancer of plasma cells.

  • Plasma cells are white blood cells that produce disease- and infection-fighting antibodies
  • Cancerous plasma cells release too much protein and can cause organ damage
  • Cancerous plasma cells can also crowd the normal cells in your bones and weaken them

How does leukemia affect buying life insurance?

Leukemia can be either acute or chronic.  Chronic leukemia progresses more slowly than acute leukemia, which requires immediate treatment.  There are five types of leukemia: acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphoid leukemia (CLL), hairy cell leukemia, and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).  ALL is the most common form of childhood leukemia and AML and CLL are most common in adults.

Although individuals who have been diagnosed with leukemia generally cannot get preferred life insurance risk classes, that is Preferred Plus or Preferred, once treated with no recurrence, individuals can be considered for Standard life insurance rates.  Risk classes are dependent on the type of leukemia, your age at diagnosis, and how long it has been since completion of treatment.  The more years that have passed since treatment, the better your chances are for qualifying for Standard or Standard Plus.

Risk Classes
Preferred Plus
Preferred
Standard Plus
Standard

If you do not qualify for standard risk classes, you may be table rated and/or be required to pay a flat extra.  A table rating typically means you will pay the standard prices plus a certain percentage.  A flat extra is an additional fee that cushions the risk for the insurance carrier.  A flat extra can last the entire life of a policy or just a few years.

Table Rating
(alphabetical)
Table Rating
(numerical)
Pricing
A 1 Standard + 25%
B 2 Standard + 50%
C 3 Standard + 75%
D 4 Standard + 100%
E 5 Standard + 125%
F 6 Standard + 150%
G 7 Standard + 175%
H 8 Standard + 200%
I 9 Standard + 225%
J 10 Standard + 250%

Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Example 1

Jane Doe was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) when she was 8 years old.  She is now 30 years old and it has been over 20 years since treatment was completed.  Jane is a non-smoker and aside from her history of childhood cancer, she has a clean bill of health.

She applies for a 30-year $500,000 life insurance policy and is approved at Standard Plus.  Her monthly premium payments will be $50.

Example 2

John Smith was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) when he was 18 years old.  Part of his treatment was a bone marrow transplant.  He is now 32 years old, does not smoke, and it has been 13 years since treatment was completed.

He applies for a 20-year $500,000 life insurance policy and is approved at Table B.  His monthly premium payments will be $60.

Keep in mind that no life insurance company underwrites the exact same way.  (Underwriting is the process of evaluating an application and determining a risk class.)  Some will be stricter with leukemia than others.

How does lymphoma affect buying life insurance?

There are two categories of lymphoma: Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin.  The difference between the two is based on the type of cancer cells present.  According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Hodgkin lymphoma is rare, accounting for about .5 percent of all new cancers diagnosed.  Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more common being the seventh most diagnosed cancer.

In the majority of cases, applicants with a history of lymphoma will be assigned a flat extra for the first few years, unless a good number of years (like ten) have passed since treatment.

Let’s take a look at an example.

Example

John Doe is a 54-year-old male, non-smoker, applying for a 20-year $250,000 term policy.  He was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin lymphoma five years ago.  He went through chemotherapy that same year and continued preventative treatment for two years following.  There has been no sign of recurrence.  He gets check-ups once per year.

John is approved at Table B with a flat extra of $15 per thousand for five years.  Here’s what all that means.  John is getting $250,000 in coverage, so to calculate the flat extra you multiply 15 by 250.  John will have to pay an extra $3750 per year on top of his normal premiums for five years.  Once year five is over, his premiums will drop to the regular Table B premium which will be $140 per month.

Again, no life insurance company underwrites the same way.  There are insurance carriers that would decline John outright.  This is why working with an independent agency like Quotacy is beneficial.  We have contracts with multiple A-rated carriers, so your chances of being approved are better.

How does myeloma affect buying life insurance?

Myeloma has different forms, but 90 percent of people who have been diagnosed with myeloma have multiple myeloma.  It’s called such because it affects several areas of the body versus just one site.  There is currently no cure for multiple myeloma, so life insurance approval may prove difficult.  Unless you have had a bone marrow transplant, an applicant diagnosed with multiple myeloma will typically be declined for life insurance.  Myeloma is, however, the least commonly diagnosed type of blood cancer.

Plasmacytoma and localized myeloma diagnoses, these are forms of myeloma in which cancer cells are found in only one site, have higher chances of life insurance approval.  Standard rates are even possible if enough years have passed since treatment.

If you have a history of blood cancer, don’t hesitate to apply for life insurance.  Applying for life insurance is free and there is no commitment to buy.  Here at Quotacy we have access to many life insurance carriers and will help to get you approved for coverage.  Start out by using our term quoting tool to run as many quotes as you would like – no contact information required.  We look forward to helping you get life insurance.

 
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24. December 2018 12:54
by Jamie
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5 Reasons Why You Should Have Homeowners Insurance

24. December 2018 12:54 by Jamie | 0 Comments

 

Home ownership is one of the largest investments you will make, so protecting this investment with quality homeowners insurance is a crucial part of being a responsible homeowner. However, while many Americans understand the importance of homeowners insurance, some don’t understand the specifics of what it covers if a burglary, natural disaster or other property damage occurs.

Here are five things your homeowners insurance policy should cover if an unexpected or unforeseen loss were to happen.

1. Sudden and accidental flooding.

This coverage is for the overflow of water from systems or appliances within your home, including plumbing, heating or air conditioning units, an automatic fire sprinkler system or certain household appliances. For example, if your hot water heater suddenly springs a leak and floods the recreation room in your basement, the water damage to your furnishings and carpeting or flooring would be covered. There may be certain exceptions depending on the cause of the flooding, so be sure to discuss the details of this peril with your insurance agent ahead of time. Your homeowners policy would typically not cover flooding resulting from a naturally occurring event outside your home, such as an overflowing river, mudslide or storm surge near the coast. You must purchase separate flood insurance to cover events like these.

2. Fire.

Near 1.5 million fires were reported in USA, resulting in $14.3 billion in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, but heating equipment, electrical cords and wiring, and candles can also be culprits. Wildfires are another potential danger for U.S. residents living in dry climates, and as the temperatures heat up you should be prepare for this very real danger. Homeowners insurance covers your property if it’s damaged in a fire, but you should always be sure to never leave stoves or candles unattended while lit.

3. Theft.

The FBI reports there were nearly 1 million residburglariesrgulais during 2015, averaging $2,296 in property losses per offense. Most burglaries occur between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when most people are at work or school. Be sure to keep all windows and doors locked, even if they’re on a second floor – you don’t want to make it easy for thieves to access your belongings. A home security system is also a good deterrent and may qualify you for a homeowners insurance discount. It may even cover property that is stolen from you while you’re traveling anywhere in the world. Check in with your agent on an annual basis to ensure you maintain enough coverage to protect against possible losses to your ever-changing home inventory.

4. Objects falling from the sky.

Imagine you’re home alone, binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix when, suddenly, you hear a loud crash in the next room. When you go to examine the cause of the ruckus, you discover remains of a defunct satellite have landed in your kitchen. The likelihood of this, a meteorite or other space debris hitting your home isn’t very high, but your insurance covers it if it happens.

5. Vandalism.

Acts of vandalism often happen under cover of night. For example, a group of unruly teenagers looking to create some Halloween mischief throws eggs and pumpkins at your home, breaking a window in the process. Or you wake up to find your garage door covered in spray paint. These types of situations are covered under the vandalism peril in your homeowner's insurance policy. If your home is vandalized, be sure to file a police report to aid with the claims process. Installing surveillance cameras and floodlights are also good ways to deter it from happening in the first place.

You should also make sure your homeowners policy covers additional living expenses. If your home becomes uninhabitable due to damage from a covered loss, your homeowners insurance may reimburse you for the expenses you incur while you’re living elsewhere. This coverage helps you maintain your normal standard of living while your home is being rebuilt or repaired, and includes hotel accommodations, meals and more. Be sure to keep all of your receipts for your adjuster.

Is there anything homeowners insurance doesn’t cover?

Homeowners insurance helps ease the process of getting back to normal after damage from an unexpected or unforeseen event. However, be aware the following natural events are not included in your coverage.

  • Earthquakes
  • Mudslides
  • Landslides
  • Flood damage caused by storms

Speak to your local insurance agent to learn how you can get coverage for these.

If you happen to be a victim of any of these scenarios, follow these steps when filing a homeowners insurance claim:

When filing a claim

  • Contact your insurance provider immediately to report a loss.
  • Be prepared to provide your policy number.
  • Do not remove debris or damaged property that may be related to your claim.

Steps immediately after filing a claim

  • Prepare a detailed inventory of destroyed or damaged property.
  • Gather photos or videotapes of your home and possessions for your insurance adjuster, if these are available.

Steps while the claim is processed

  • Keep copies of communications between you and your adjuster.
  • Keep records and receipts for additional living expenses that were incurred if you were forced to leave your home and provide copies to your adjuster.
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30. November 2018 11:56
by John
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3 Ways Life Insurance Can Benefit a Charity You Love

30. November 2018 11:56 by John | 0 Comments

Would you like to make a charitable gift to help organizations or people in need; to support a specific cause; for recognition such as a naming opportunity at a school or university? Perhaps you would do it just for the tax incentives. There are any number of reasons, and life insurance can be one of the most efficient tools to achieve these purposes. So the question becomes, how does this work?

Let me list the ways.

1. Make a charity the beneficiary of an existing policy. Perhaps you have a policy you no longer need. Make the charity the beneficiary, and the policy will not be included in your estate at your death. This also allows you to retain control of both the cash value and the named beneficiary. If you want or need to change the charity named as beneficiary, you can.

2. Make a charity both the owner and beneficiary of an existing policy. This gives you both a current tax deduction along with removing the policy from your estate. Once you gift the policy, you no longer have any control over the values.

3. Purchase a new policy on your life. Life insurance is an extremely efficient way to provide a large future legacy to a charity in your name without needing to write the large checks now. The premiums are given directly to the charity which then pays the premiums on the policy. The charity also owns the cash value as an asset. I am using this concept in my own planning.

Many charities would prefer to have their money upfront, but if you cannot write that large check or don’t want to part with your cash today, a gift of life insurance is a most efficient method to leave a large legacy in your name.

 
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23. November 2018 13:17
by Nicki
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Life Insurance for a Family of One

23. November 2018 13:17 by Nicki | 0 Comments



We spend a lot of time talking about how couples, families and businesses can protect their financial futures with life insurance. But what about if you are single—do you need life insurance, too?

There are those people who have no children, no one depending on their income, no ongoing financial obligations and sufficient cash to cover their final expenses. But how many of those people do you really know? And, more importantly, are you one of them?

I think it’s important, then, to illustrate how a life insurance purchase can be a smart financial move for someone who is single with no children. Asking yourself these three questions can help you get at the heart of the matter:

  • Do you provide financial support for aging parents or siblings?
  • Do you have substantial debt you wouldn’t want to pass on to surviving family members if you were to die prematurely?
  • Did family members pay for your education?

Don’t Take My Word for It

Life insurance is an excellent way to address these obligations, and in the case of tuition, reimburse family members for their support. But don’t just take my word for it. Instead, “do your own math.” This life Insurance Needs Calculator can help you quickly understand if there is a need—a need you might not be aware of—that could be easily addressed with life insurance.

The most important reason for you to consider life insurance may be the peace of mind you’ll have.

In addition to addressing any financial obligations you might have, the current economic climate has made permanent life insurance an attractive means to help you build a secure long-term rate of return for safe money assets. The cash value in traditional life insurance can provide you with money for opportunities, emergencies and even retirement.

For young singles, keep in mind that you have youth on your side. I don’t mean to sound trite. Instead, I’d like you to think about the fact that purchasing life insurance is very affordable when you’re young and allows you to protect your insurability for when there is a future need—perhaps, in time, a spouse and children.

While all of these reasons are valid, the most important reason for you to consider life insurance may be the peace of mind you’ll have knowing that your financial obligations will be taken care of should anything happen.

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19. October 2018 19:10
by Ammelia
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Life Insurance After Heart Bypass Surgery

19. October 2018 19:10 by Ammelia | 0 Comments


After a major life event like bypass surgery, it’s understandable that you’d be in a hurry to buy life insurance as soon as possible. This is often a mistake. Life insurance companies will see your past surgery and this could prevent you from receiving a policy.

To qualify for insurance after a bypass, you need to plan right and fill out a good application. To get you ready, here is a review of the insurance guidelines for after bypass surgery as well as some tips to help you with your application.

When you’re shopping for life insurance protection, there are dozens of different factors that you’ll need to consider. It can be a confusing and difficult process, especially if you’ve had a bypass surgery in the past. Life insurance is one of the most important purchases that you’ll ever make for your loved ones, and your health shouldn’t keep you from getting the protection that your family deserves.

Life Insurance Underwriting after Bypass Surgery

When you apply for life insurance, you’ll need to answer several questions about your bypass surgery for your application. You’ll need to answer:

  • What did you have your bypass surgery?
  • Why did you need to have bypass surgery? Was it an elective or emergency procedure?
  • Have you ever had any other types of heart surgeries like a heart valve replacement?
  • Were there any complications after the surgery like internal bleeding, cardiac tamponade, or a stroke?
  • Do you have any other high risk factors for heart disease like smoking, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure?
  • Do you have a history of heart disease?
  • What medications are you taking because of the bypass surgery?

Common medications for after a stroke include: Clopidogrel, Beta blockers, Nitrates, ACE inhibitors, and Lipids.  All of these medications for a stroke could be insurable depending on your health after the surgery.

Be sure to answer all these questions in detail for your application. For life insurance underwriting, more information is better. If an underwriter felt your application was incomplete, especially after something major like bypass surgery, there’s a good chance you’d get a poor rating or a denial.

Life Insurance Quotes after Bypass Surgery

If you’ve had bypass surgery, it’s very important to delay your life insurance application for some time after your surgery. This is because life insurance companies typically deny applicants that just had bypass surgery; there are too many complications that can come up. It’s best to wait at least 6 months to a year before applying.

When you apply, insurance companies will review the details of your bypass surgery as well as your overall health to make a decision. Your rating would depend on how well the surgery went as well as whether you are taking steps to avoid future heart problems. While each insurance company uses slightly different underwriting standards, here are some general guidelines to help you estimate what rating you’ll get for your life insurance.

  • Preferred Plus: It’s not possible to get a preferred plus rating after bypass surgery, even if you are healthy and the procedure went well. There is just too high a chance of future heart problems for insurance companies to be willing to give the best rating.
  • Preferred:  Also usually impossible for applicants that have had bypass surgery. In very rare cases, someone that had an elective bypass and was otherwise in perfect health might qualify for a preferred rating, but this is not something you should expect.
  • Standard:  The best possible rating for most applicants after a bypass surgery. Applicants need to have waited at least a year after the surgery and be in perfect health otherwise. The bypass surgery also must have been a minor procedure, like elective surgery to get around a blockage early.
  • Table Rating (substandard):  A table rating is the most likely rating for applicants that have had bypass surgery. Applicants should have waited at least 6 months after their surgery to qualify. Rating will depend on the severity of the bypass surgery, whether there were any complications, whether the applicant had other procedures like a heart valve replacement, and the applicant’s general health and family history.
  • Declines: Applicants that apply within 6 months of their bypass surgery. Also, applicants that aren’t regularly seeing their doctor, have a history of serious heart problems, and/or have heart risk factors like smoking or high cholesterol could also be denied.

Bypass Surgery Case Studies

If you’ve had bypass surgery, it’s very important that you plan your application right. Here are a couple real life examples that show the difference your application can make.

Case Study #1: Female, 63 y/o, non-smoker, had bypass surgery for a small blockage at 61, tried applying right away and was denied, otherwise in good health.

This client has a small valve blockage a few years ago that she decided to have removed through elective bypass surgery. Immediately after the procedure, she tried to buy more life insurance. Since she didn’t give anytime between her procedure and her application, the insurance company denied her application. At this point, the client thought she couldn’t get coverage. After contacting us, we recommended she try again. Since she had waited the appropriate amount of time, she qualified for a standard policy this time around.

Case Study #2:  Male, 57 y/o, needed bypass surgery at 54, former smoker, recently lost weight and reduced cholesterol levels, taking lipids for cholesterol.

This applicant had an unhealthy lifestyle. He smoked, had a poor diet, and didn’t exercise. This lifestyle eventually forced him to have bypass surgery. After the surgery, this client started living a much healthier life. He also started taking lipids for his cholesterol, as this was a big part of why he had heart problems.

Despite these improvements, this applicant still had trouble getting life insurance. We believed this was because insurance companies were too focused on his past history. We recommended this applicant meet with his doctor and get a note vouching for his improved health. By reapplying with this note, the applicant got a Table Level 2 Policy, a decent rating for someone in his condition.

As you can see from the examples, there are dozens of different factors that the insurance company is going to look at, and every applicant is going to be different. There are no two applications that are the same, and every company is going to view your application differently. Some insurance companies are going to view a history with a bypass survey more favorably than other companies are going to. Finding the right company could be the difference in getting approved for affordable coverage or getting a plan that’s going to break your bank every month.

Getting Affordable Life Insurance Coverage After Bypass Surgery

As an applicant with a bypass surgery in the past, you’re going to be facing higher premiums, but that doesn’t mean that you have to purchase a policy that is going to break your bank every month. There are several ways that you can get lower insurance rates for your coverage.

The first thing that you should do is cut out any tobacco. Using tobacco is hands-down one of the worst things that you can do for your life insurance premiums. In fact, anyone that uses tobacco is going to pay twice as much for their plan versus what a non-user is going to pay for the same sized plan.

Another way to save money on your life insurance protection is to improve your health. As a person with a bypass surgery, you’ve already have one red flag on your application, which means it’s important that you improve the rest of your overall health. Starting a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol, and a whole host of other health benefits. All of these are going to translate into lower rates for your insurance coverage. If you want to save money every month on your coverage, it’s time to lace up your running shoes.

Comparing different policies is always going to be the best way to save money. As we mentioned, every company is different, and all of them are going to give you different premiums. You’ll get drastically varying rates based on the company that you get the quote from.

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19. October 2018 12:31
by John
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11 Things You Should Know About Cobra Health Insurance

19. October 2018 12:31 by John | 0 Comments

What you don't know about COBRA could come back to bite you.

If you've lost or left a job and have employer-sponsored health insurance, you'll likely be offered something called COBRA. This extends your employer-sponsored health insurance for a period that typically lasts 18 months.

Here are 11 things you should know about COBRA coverage:

1. What is COBRA?

COBRA is a federal law designed to let you pay to keep you and your family on your employer-sponsored health insurance for a limited time after your employment ends or you otherwise lose coverage.

2. What does COBRA stand for?

COBRA is an acronym for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, the federal law that also amended ERISA to enable temporary health insurance for people who have lost or left their jobs. The law took effect in 1985.

3. Who is eligible for COBRA?

People who qualify for COBRA include employees who have voluntarily or involuntary lost their jobs, had their work hours reduced, are transitioning between jobs, or have experienced a life-changing event such as a death or divorce. This coverage is available to covered employees, their spouses, their former spouses, and their dependent children. Each year, about 3 million individuals and families use COBRA benefits.

4. How will you learn about your COBRA eligibility?

You'll receive a letter from the employer or the health insurer outlining your COBRA benefits.

HR director at Seattle-based real estate developer Geonerco Management, warns that the six-to eight-page letter can be difficult to understand “because it contains all manner of mandatory government language." If you're having trouble deciphering that language, contact the employer's HR department or the insurer.

5. Which employers are required to offer COBRA?

Generally, COBRA requires that group health plans sponsored by employers with at least 20 employees (in the previous year) must offer employees and their families the opportunity to temporarily extend their health insurance in circumstances like the ones outlined above. State and local government agencies also fall under the COBRA umbrella. Some states have COBRA-type laws that apply to employers with fewer than 20 employees.

6. Which employers are not affected by COBRA?

The law does not apply to health insurance plans sponsored by the federal government, churches, and certain church-related groups. However, federal employees are covered by a law similar to COBRA.

7. How much does COBRA cost?

The cost depends on how much insurance coverage you received from your previous employer. If you decide to accept COBRA coverage, you'll pay up to 102 percent of the insurance premiums, including the portion that your employer used to pay. In 2012, the average COBRA premiums for a family plan totaled $15,745, plus the 2 percent fee.

For some, the steep increase in financial responsibility that accompanies a COBRA plan is not always realistic—especially when unemployed. The Affordable Care Act marketplace offers alternative coverage options that can be “a lot cheaper, particularly with tax credits,” says Ivan Williams.

8. What sort of benefits will you get under COBRA?

Once you choose COBRA coverage, you retain the same rights as an employee who remains with the employer sponsoring the insurance, Szymanski says. “That means that you must go through open enrollment, which may change insurance companies, benefits offered, pricing and coverage," he says.

9. What are some alternatives to COBRA?

If you reject COBRA coverage, your health coverage options include your spouse's health insurance plan, the federal government's health insurance marketplace, your state's health insurance marketplace, the government-backed Medicaid program, or a short term medical policy designed for gaps in health coverage. These alternatives may or may not cost less than COBRA coverage, so it pays to weigh all of your options.

One option that Szymanski doesn't recommend: skipping health insurance altogether. “Electing to go uninsured is almost always a very unwise decision, with lots of potentially catastrophic downsides and very little upside," he says.

10. What if you change your mind and decide you want COBRA?

If you are entitled to elect COBRA coverage, you must be given an election period of at least 60 days. If you decline COBRA coverage during the normal 60-day decision period, you must be allowed to rescind your coverage waiver. However, you must reverse your decision during that period, and your final decision will become permanent after the 60-day window closes.

11. What happens if you miss a COBRA payment?

Szymanski cautions that you must pay premiums (usually via monthly checks sent by regular mail) in a timely manner (often a grace period of 30 days) or your coverage will be canceled.

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