29. May 2018 12:45
by Jamie
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Understanding Life Insurance

29. May 2018 12:45 by Jamie | 0 Comments

  

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a contract where, in exchange for premium payments, a lump sum of money is paid upon the death of the insured person.  Life insurance can fit into two main categories: term and permanent.  Term insurance is designated to last a specific number of years.  Permanent insurance is intended to cover an individual for their lifetime.

What are the key benefits of owning life insurance?

1.  Life insurance provides funds when they are needed most and the death benefit is typically significantly greater than the premiums paid.

2.  Life insurance proceeds usually avoid probate, which means the insurance company can pay the death proceeds to the beneficiary without delay. The only way life insurance benefits become part of probate is when they are paid to or for the benefit of the estate of the insured.

3.  No public record is made to whom the death benefit amount is paid.

4.  Policies generally have some creditor protection. This means that even if the insured owes money, creditors cannot come after the death benefit owed to the beneficiaries.  This can vary by state, however.

5.  Cash values from permanent policies can be accessed on a tax favored basis via withdrawals and loans.

6.  Life insurance proceeds are generally not subject to federal income taxes.

7.  Interest earned on permanent policy cash values is generally not taxable unless or until the policyowner surrenders the policy for cash.

Life insurance is not one-size-fits-all and people buy life insurance for different reasons.  Life insurance can help individuals and families in many ways.

Life insurance can help…

  • Protect against the financial risk of premature death.
  • Tax favored wealth accumulation.
  • Fund a business transfer.
  • Provide for special need children or adults.
  • Compensate a business for a key person loss.
  • Provide funds to pay estate settlement costs.
  • Create or replace a charitable gift.
  • Accumulate funds for potential income needs such as education or retirement supplement.
  • Finance employee benefit plans.
  • Equalize inheritances.
  • Pay off a mortgage.

How much life insurance is needed?

We recommend term insurance for most families.  Term insurance is simple and affordable.  While permanent insurance has its benefits, term insurance oftentimes is all you need.  The primary purpose of life insurance is to replace income.  For many families, there is a specific period of time when you steadfastly rely on a steady income – this is when you have young children to care for, are saving for their college tuition, and when you have a mortgage.

If you are not sure how much coverage you need, check out our Needs Analysis Tool.  There are only three questions you need to answer and then the tool calculates an estimate for you.  Let’s go over an example.  For this example, we’ll say the user is a 35-year-old male.

Question #1 – How much debt do I want paid off?

John Smith currently has a $10,000 auto loan, $5000 in credit card debt, and his mortgage loan has $210,000 remaining.  He then has a total of $225,000 he would like paid off upon his death so his family does not end up dealing with the debt.

Question #2 – How much monthly income do my loved ones need?

John currently brings home a monthly income of $3000.  Since life insurance is income replacement, this is also how much he would like the death benefit to replace.

Question #3 – How many years do my loved ones need income?

John’s wife Joanna is a successful businesswoman with a steady income.  He knows that if he were to die prematurely, the death benefit would ensure the house would be paid off and she wouldn’t become saddled with his debt.  With these debts paid and Joanna’s income, he believes the family could be financially stable within five years.

Putting these answers into the Needs Analysis Tool, John ideally would need $405,000 in life insurance coverage.  Because term insurance is affordable, he decides to round the coverage amount up to $450,000 to include any incidentals his loved ones may come across.  To find out how much a $450,000 policy would cost John let’s put the numbers into our term life insurance quoting tool.

How do I get a term life insurance quote?

To get a quote on Quotacy.com all you need to enter is your zip code, gender, birthdate, and whether you rather pay monthly or annually.  See the screenshot below of John Smith’s information.

 

After you put in that information, you can see premium estimates instantly.  Take a look at John’s premium estimates for his $450,000 policy.  He can always use the tool sliders to adjust his coverage amount or term length to see how it affects his monthly pricing.  As you can see in the Estimated Monthly Premium box, it will give you a cost range that can be affected by which company’s plan you choose and health questions.

 

To start comparing policies and pricing, you next answer a few quick questions about your height and weight, your tobacco usage, heart health, and your family history.  Because Quotacy is an independent agency, we work with multiple top-rated life insurance companies and you will be able to see an array of policy options.  The screenshot below is just a sample of the options John Smith can choose to apply from.

 

Once you find a plan you are satisfied with you can go ahead and apply for it.  Applying is all done online and couldn’t be simpler.  We’ll need your contact information when you apply so we can reach you, but we promise not to sell your information.  We aren’t a lead generating company nor do we buy leads.  You won’t have to worry about spam or telemarketers when you work with us.

As your application moves through the buying process, Quotacy keeps you updated every step of the way.  We pride ourselves on our great customer service.  If you have any questions about life insurance or our process, feel free to contact us.  We’re more than happy to assist you.

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19. May 2018 12:54
by Harry
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Do All Parents Need Life Insurance?

19. May 2018 12:54 by Harry | 0 Comments




In May we celebrate and thank Mom for everything she does.  In June we celebrate and thank Dad for everything he does.  In July we celebrate and thank them both!  Did you know that the fourth Sunday in July is National Parents’ Day?  Parents deserve thanks every day, but three national holidays dedicated to them is a good start.

I imagine that being a parent is the most challenging, yet rewarding, experience you can ever go through.  When you have your first child, you realize the world is bigger than just you.  As you make decisions in life you think “How will this affect my kids?”  Buying life insurance is one of these important decisions.  “If I die and don’t have life insurance, what happens to my kids?”

Buying Life Insurance
Pros:
  • Children can stay in their childhood home
  • Surviving spouse can afford to take time off work to spend with children
  • Family’s standard of living won’t need to change
  • Spouse can afford to send children to college
  • It can be customized to fit in most budgets
Cons:
  • It’s not free

There are all kinds of parents:

  • Married spouses who co-parent
  • Divorced individuals who co-parent
  • Unmarried partners who co-parent
  • Single parents
  • Stay-at-home parents

No two parents are the same, but you know what they all have in common?  They all need life insurance to protect their loved ones should they die prematurely.  Term life insurance is affordable and provides many benefits.

Term Life Insurance for Married Parents

There is a gender gap in life insurance.  Fewer women than men have life insurance and, in addition, own less coverage on average.  If you have children and you both bring home a paycheck, you both need life insurance.  If you have children and only one of you brings home a paycheck, you both still need life insurance.

Is it written somewhere that dad is more likely to die unexpectedly than mom?  No.  You never know what life may bring – both parents need to own life insurance.

Married same sex couples need life insurance as well.  Same sex couples raising children need to think about what would happen if one or both of them should pass away.  With same sex marriage being legal across the U.S., same sex couples won’t have any issue purchasing life insurance on one another or naming each other beneficiary.

Term Life Insurance for Divorced Parents

In most cases, divorce doesn’t change the fact that you both love and care for your children.  Both parents need life insurance.  In fact, in some divorce cases the court may order the parents to buy life insurance policies to ensure the financial futures of the children.

In amicable divorces, some choose to leave their ex-spouse as their policy’s beneficiary still trusting that they will put their children’s needs first.  Others choose to change their beneficiary to their children.  However, if the children are still minors then an adult custodian would need to be named instead.

Term Life Insurance for Unmarried Parents

On average, today couples are postponing marriage, but not necessarily postponing having children.  You don’t have to be married to buy life insurance on each other, but it’s easier to prove insurable interest this way.  (Insurable interest exists when you would feel financial consequences upon the death of another person.)  However, having children together is proof of insurable interest.

You could also opt to own your own life insurance and name your partner as a beneficiary.  Be sure you name a contingent beneficiary whom you trust to use the policy benefit for your children in case both you and your partner die at the same time, such as in a car accident.  If you both pass away and you named no one else as a beneficiary, the policy benefits are then added to your estate and held up during the probate process as a court decides what to do with the money.

Term Life Insurance for Single Parents

Arguably, single parents have the greatest need for life insurance.  There is no other parent for your children to fall back on if you should pass away.  Making a plan to protect them financially if you are suddenly no longer around to provide is essential.  You’ll want enough life insurance coverage to replace your income, pay for child care, and cover your final expenses.  It’s also critical that you choose a responsible guardian who is willing and able to care for your children should you die.

Typically couples will name each other as beneficiaries since they hope one will survive to care for the children, single parents should consider creating a trust and naming it as the beneficiary of the policy.  Minor children cannot receive life insurance death benefits so a trust can be set up to ensure the death benefit is distributed and used according to your wishes.

Term Life Insurance for Stay-at-Home Parents

Term life insurance is always explained as “income replacement” so if you don’t provide an income, then you don’t need life insurance, right?  Wrong.  A stay-at-home parent may not generate an income, but this allows a family to save money by not hiring out for various responsibilities such as child care.  According to Care.com, child care is the largest annual household expense, averaging $18,000 for U.S. families.  If a stay-at-home parent were to suddenly pass away, would the surviving parent be able to find an extra $18,000 per year to hire someone to care of their children while they were at work?  What about someone to clean the house or transport children to and from school and extracurricular activities?

It’s a mistake to think that life insurance is only for breadwinning parents.  Unless the family is considerably wealthy, the mortgage is paid off, and there is a substantial amount in the savings account, a stay-at-home parent needs life insurance too.

How much does term life insurance cost for parents?

Term life insurance is quite affordable and the term length and coverage amount can be customized to fit in most budgets.  A term policy can ensure your family is able stay in their home, provide funds for college tuition, and pay for your final expenses should you die unexpectedly.  How much life insurance you need depends on your individual situation.  Consider the following questions.

  • Do you have debt you want life insurance to pay off? For example, a mortgage, student loans, credit cards, or car loans.
  • How much monthly income does your family need? The amount your paycheck provides is a good place to start.
  • How many years do you think your family needs that monthly income before they are financially stable?

Remember: term insurance is structured to only last a specific period of time – typically when your family is most financially vulnerable.  How long you want the term insurance to last depends on a few factors such as how young your children are, how much time you have left on your mortgage loan, how close you are to retirement, and what your budget is.  For example, if your children are teenagers and you only have 10 years left on your mortgage, you probably don’t need a 30-year term policy.  However, if you just had your first child and want to make sure your child will have the funds to go to college, and recently purchased your first home, then you’ll want to consider at least a 20-year term policy.

Let’s take a look at some numbers to get an idea on how much life insurance costs.

Example:

 

The debt you want paid off if you die:

  • Mortgage loan = $215,000
  • Credit card debt = $10,000

The monthly income you provide: $4000

How many years your family will need this income = 5 years

Using the Needs Analysis Calculator on our website, $465,000 in coverage is a good estimate.  (Or you can manually add up 215,000 + 10,000 + (4000 x 12×5).) We’ll round up to $500,000 in the table below.

Your children are two and five years old.  You decide you want your term policy to last until they both are at least 25 years old so you decide a 25-year term policy is best.

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9. May 2018 14:37
by Jamie
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Love and Mortgage: Should Newlyweds Buy or Rent a Home?

9. May 2018 14:37 by Jamie | 0 Comments

Somewhere in your mind, you might have an idealized image of a newly married couple triumphantly sweeping into a dream home with the wife in the husband’s arms. As corny as the tradition might seem, you can also see it as a powerful symbol — two people making their first entrance into the home they now share as owners.

Should you and your new spouse follow that example, or do you have reservations about adding a mortgage to the mix? Consider some of the pros and cons of renting vs. buying as newlyweds, and then take your time in deciding whether home ownership is another threshold you want to cross together.

Your Solution Depends On Your Situation

You’ve probably made dozens of decisions together on your way to the altar, making the call on everything from the registry to the diplomatically arranged seating chart at the reception. And now’s not the time to give in to judgment fatigue.

Take some time to evaluate the respective merits. You may find that personal finances, career aspirations and even the value you place on independence vs. convenience could influence your decision of whether to rent or buy.

The Case for Renting

Some of the reasons that could make renting a home preferable to buying include:

Lower Start-Up Costs — Moving into an apartment typically means paying some moderate expenses, such as first and last month’s rent, specified deposits and the like. Buying a home typically means spending several thousand dollars on a down payment, closing costs, agent’s commission, attorney’s fees and more. If you still haven’t figured out how to pay off the honeymoon, the initial investment could loom large in your decision-making.

More Mobility — The U.S. Census Bureau reports that after age 18, the typical American can expect to move nine times. If you happen to get a new job in a different state, you’ll have a much easier time (relatively speaking) breaking a lease than you would be selling a house.

Repairs Aren’t Your Responsibility — If the toilet springs a leak at 3 a.m., a renter can call the landlord to get it fixed. For homeowners, the burden of arranging and paying for repairs, and possibly filing an insurance claim, falls entirely on them. When it comes to upkeep, a conscientious landlord can be a real convenience.

The Case For Buying

Factors such as these could tip the scales in favor of homeownership:

It’s Usually More Economical — For couples who plan to stay in the same area for several years, buying a house is generally considered the more affordable choice. The expert consensus favors ownership as a much better source of value than renting in just about every U.S. housing market. Also, you can help protect your investment with a home insurance policy that may provide coverage for weather damage, break-ins, and other hazards.

Ownership Builds More Wealth — One aspect of the pro-buying argument revolves around the central idea of wealth accumulation: Homeowners nurture an investment in something that will one day belong to them, rather than simply renting space from month-to-month or year-to-year. Even if you move to a new house before you pay off the mortgage, you still have the equity you’ve built up in your current home.

A Sunnier Market Outlook — Although memories of the housing bubble bust still linger, many indicators point to a stabilized recovery. New regulations have helped curtail risky lending practices, home prices have reached realistic levels and the economy has rebounded. With mortgage rates at historic lows, 2016 could be an advantageous time to become homeowners.

Whichever Way You Go, Go Thoughtfully

The decision to buy or rent as newlyweds depend on immediate realities and long-term possibilities. Do you have plenty of money on hand? Do you have job security? When might you start a family?

You’ll need to consider all these factors, and more, as you figure out whether crossing the threshold right away is a realistic option or just a romantic notion.

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26. April 2018 19:03
by Jamie
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Medicare Enrollment: 5 Things to Know

26. April 2018 19:03 by Jamie | 0 Comments

 

If you’re covered by Medicare, now is the time to make changes to your health plan and prescription drug coverage. Medicare’s annual open-enrollment period is open until December 7th.

With so many plans to choose from, shopping for a new Medicare Advantage and/or Part D prescription drug plan can seem like a daunting task.

Here are five things to consider when shopping for your Medicare coverage options:

1. NOT shopping can cost you.
Each year, cost and benefit details of Medicare Advantage and stand-alone Part D drug plans change – even if just a little.

Those changes can be costly.

According to a recent survey of 49,000 people using eHealthMedicare.com to compare Medicare plans, people who switched to a new Part D drug plan saved nearly $ 700 in 2015. In addition, they were 20% less likely to hit the prescription drug coverage gap.

The bottom line: Even if you’re happy with your current coverage, shop your options during this open enrollment period to make sure you still have the plan that best meets your needs.

2. Look beyond premiums.
A plan with a low monthly premium may be more expensive in the long run if doctor visits or prescriptions come with high out-of-pocket costs throughout the year.

To get a true sense of what you’re healthcare costs are likely to be, look beyond your monthly premium to understand each plan’s deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance.

3. Make sure your drugs are covered.
Expect to pay more when you fill your prescription drugs next year. Across the board, Part D plan deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses are rising.

Confirm that the medications you need are covered by your plan. And, check on the details of cost-sharing tiers, which are very common in most plans. Generics on the lowest tiers cost the least, while brand-name and specialty drugs on the highest tiers come with the highest out-of-pocket costs.

Finally, don’t forget to check which pharmacies participate with your plan, and which tiers the plan has placed them on. Prescriptions cost less when you fill them at a pharmacy identified as one offering “preferred cost sharing.” And beware: Not everyone lives near a pharmacy with preferred prices.

4. Is your doctor in-network?
Making sure your doctors participate with your health plan is one of the most important parts of picking the right policy. Out-of-network care can be very expensive. In fact, a recent report by America’s Health Insurance Plans found that out-of-network providers charged patients on average 300% more than Medicare rates for certain procedures and treatments, such as MRIs and chemotherapy.

5. Check star ratings.
Medicare has a quality rating system in which plans are ranked from one to five stars, with five the highest. Try to choose one with no less than 3.5 or 4 stars. 

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17. April 2018 17:52
by Nicki
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Can You Obtain Life Insurance After A Diabetes Diagnosis?

17. April 2018 17:52 by Nicki | 0 Comments



Have you been diagnosed with diabetes? You’re not alone – figures from Diabetes Australia show this medical condition affects 1.7 million Australians.

It is a serious condition that can cause blindness, result in the amputation of limbs, and even increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes if not managed correctly.

In light of this, you might be wondering if you are still able to obtain Life insurance if you have been diagnosed. The answer is yes.

If you take the right steps to obtain Life insurance you and your family can be covered regardless of your diabetes diagnosis.

What is diabetes?

According to Diabetes Australia, having diabetes means you are unable to maintain healthy glucose levels in the blood because of difficulties with regulating the hormone insulin.

There are three types of diabetes:

  1. gestational diabetes,
  2. type 2 diabetes, which is commonly controlled with dietary changes, and
  3. type 1 diabetes, where sufferers need to inject themselves regularly with insulin.

Alarmingly, there new cases of diabetes developing at a rate of approximately one person every five minutes.

How you can protect your family if your are diagnosed?

Although a diabetes diagnosis may mean that you can’t necessarily purchase a life insurance policy at standard premium rates  your individual circumstances would need to be considered and terms tailored to your personal situation. This means your cover would be fully underwritten and the terms offered would apply to the full term of your cover.

What this means is that your medical history would be fully assessed regarding your diabetic status.

Underwriting means no surprises

Once you have disclosed your health condition, an underwriter will make a detailed assessment of your health and other risks you are facing. The underwriting process means that your Life insurance policy is tailor-made to suit your needs and circumstances.

If your insurer is fully aware of your medical status, in the event that you or your loved ones need to make a claim on the policy, there will be no difficulties in processing it because of what may be considered a ’surprise condition’.

Insurers who do not require you to provide an upfront medical assessment may exclude any claim down the track because of a pre-existing condition which they were not aware of.

Financial peace of mind with NobleOak

Being diagnosed with a serious condition such as diabetes can be devastating. However, it is important that you’re not discouraged from applying for Life insurance to protect your loved ones.

Contact NobleOak today to arrange a Life insurance policy which takes into account your pre-existing medical condition, and gives you and your family peace of mind.

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17. April 2018 17:39
by Nicki
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Understanding Your Health Insurance ID Card

17. April 2018 17:39 by Nicki | 0 Comments



Your health insurance ID card. It’s a tiny piece of plastic that sits in your wallet. It may go largely unnoticed (aside from during doctor appointments and other medical services), but that little card is packed full of some very valuable information about your health insurance plan – information that can help you navigate the world of health care and ensure that when you receive medical care, it’s covered and billed correctly. And that’s a large part of what CDPHP® is about: As part of our Health Care Decoded initiative, it’s our mission to empower you with the tools you need to understand your health insurance.

Let’s start with a closer look at your health insurance ID card and some of the key pieces of information that it contains. Please keep in mind these are general categories of information. Your card might vary, depending on your health insurance company and the type of health plan that you have.

The Basics

First and foremost, your health insurance card contains some straightforward identification information:

  • The name of your health insurance company and possibly contact information (website, phone numbers, etc.)
  • Your name
  • The name of the subscriber or policyholder, if it’s not you. This may appear if you get your health insurance through another family member’s employer (e.g., spouse, parent)
  • The names of other covered family members (e.g., spouse, children) may also appear here

Member ID

Each member of a health plan is assigned a unique ID number, which allows doctors and other health care providers to verify your health insurance coverage and eligibility. If you have a question for your health insurer, this information will allow their customer service department to bring up your account to view your claims and benefits, and to answer any questions you may have.

Group Number

A health insurer also assigns a unique ID number to each employer that purchases one of its plans. This is called the group number, and you’ll see it on your ID card if you receive your health insurance through an employer. It identifies the benefits of your specific plan and your doctor’s office will use it, along with your member ID, to submit claims.

Plan Type

There are many different types of health insurance. The most common plan types you’ll see listed on your ID card are HMO insurance plans (health maintenance organizations), PPO insurance plans (preferred provider organizations), EPO insurance plans (exclusive provider organizations), and HDHPs (high deductible health plans). Each plan type is defined by its specific requirements regarding referrals, in- and out-of-network providers, and how out-of-pocket costs are calculated.

Payment Information

Most health insurance cards will show how much you will be expected to pay (your out-of-pocket costs) for common services like visits with your primary care physician (PCP), specialist visits and urgent care and emergency room visits. This may be listed as a flat rate (a copay) or a percentage of the total cost of the service (coinsurance). If two numbers are listed, the first represents your cost at an in-network provider, and the second is your cost at an out-of-network provider.

Prescription Benefits

Formulary

A formulary is a list of prescription drugs that your insurance company will cover. Some insurers have several formularies. Each CDPHP member will have one of three formularies listed on his or her ID card – Formulary 1, Formulary 2 or the Medicaid Formulary. If your CDPHP member ID card does not have a formulary listed, you have Formulary 1.

Prescription Costs

Formularies are commonly divided into three tiers. Your card may list the price you’ll pay at each tier level when you use a participating pharmacy.

Pharmacy Network

Some insurers have different pharmacy networks for different plans. A CDPHP member has one of three pharmacy networks: Premier (for all CDPHP plans offered through an employer), Value (for CDPHP individual health plans) or Medicare.

Rx BIN (banking identification number)

Your pharmacist will use this number to process your prescription. It indicates which company will reimburse the pharmacy for the cost of the prescription and where to send the claim for reimbursement.

Medical Network

Your insurance company may provide out-of-area coverage through a different health care provider network. If so, this will be listed here.

The Back of the Card

The back of your health insurance ID card is where you’ll be likely to find additional information, like important telephone numbers and addresses for doctors and hospitals so that they can verify eligibility, file claims, get pre-authorizations, etc. It might also provide hotlines and other resources for a variety of specific situations (e.g., chemical dependency services number, fraud hotline).

And there you have it – a breakdown of the most common pieces of information that you’ll find on your health insurance ID card. Now you know why that little piece of plastic is so important. And if you’re a CDPHP member, you can access your ID card online through our secure member site, or have it with you everywhere your smartphone is with the My CDPHP Mobile app!

Does your ID card have something we didn’t explain? Check out more of our Health Care Decodedhealth insurance explanations, or let us know in the comments below! Or, call the customer service number listed on your card for further explanations on the details of your plan.

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