Blue Medicare Regional PPO Plan

As a senior age 65 or older, you have choices when it comes to how you receive your Medicare benefits. For many Floridians, the Blue Medicare Regional PPO plan makes the most sense as it provides quality coverage at an affordable price. With low out-of-pocket expenses, flexible benefits and the state’s most trusted provider, Florida Blue Medicare Regional PPO plan is a smart health care strategy.

Flexibility and Predictability

As part of the Blue Medicare Regional PPO plan, members enjoy flexibility that makes it easy to get exactly what you need out of your health care coverage. $0 monthly plan premiums and affordable, predictable co-pays and co-insurance make budgeting for health care easy- even on a fixed income. Plus, there’s no deductible for preventive care meaning you can get cardiovascular and diabetes screening as well as a variety of other services easily and conveniently.

Extensive Network of Providers For Fast, Easy Care

Blue Medicare Regional PPO plan offers an extensive regional network of top doctors, specialists, hospitals and pharmacies, making it more convenient than ever to find the perfect health care professional to fit your needs. The plan gives you the freedom to choose any provider that accepts Medicare and there’s never a referral necessary for in network care. With worldwide coverage for emergencies, you can travel with confidence.

Comprehensive Coverage and Value Added Services

With a quality Blue Medicare Regional PPO plan, you’re covered with prescription drug coverage as well as vision, dental, even hearing. That’s Medicare benefits and more all from a top provider you can trust. Choose convenient mail ordering for prescriptions and enjoy $0 deductible and $6 co-pays for generic drugs. Plus, as a member of a Blue Medicare plan, you get access to a variety of value added services for free. That means you can schedule appointments, get prescriptions filled, even view lab test results from the comforts of home.

Floridians trust Blue Medicare Regional PPO plans for flexibility, predictability and top value in a quality Medicare health care plan at a competitive price. With affordable out-of-pocket costs, moderate co-pays and co-insurance and comprehensive coverage you can depend on, Blue Medicare Regional PPO plans are leading the way in Medicare Health care plans.

3 Things To Consider When Buying Life Insurance

One of the most important steps anyone can take to secure their family’s financial future is to purchase a life insurance policy, but even though a lot of people realize the importance of this venture, about a third of the population are still not insured. This can be due to a lot of reasons that include but not limited to the daunting aspect of choosing the right policy. Here we have broken down the three most important aspects that anyone must consider before they decide to purchase a life insurance.

1. The Type Of Life Insurance
Life insurance generally falls into two categories, namely whole life or term life insurance. Knowing the differences, the pros and the cons of these two insurance policy types is the first step towards purchasing a life insurance.

A term life is generally cheaper and doesn’t require a medical checkup so anyone regardless of their medical condition can purchase a policy and not have to go through any hassles. However, there is an age limit for purchasing term life insurance. Insurance companies will generally not write a term policy for anyone 70 years of age and above, but you can find some companies offering life insurance for seniors. Term life insurance also provides coverage only for a period of time as the name implies. If the insured individual does not die within that term, the policy cancels itself out and all benefits are forfeited. Nevertheless, there are some term life policies that allow cash-outs after the term has expired.

A whole life policy on the other hand comes with a whole set of rules. The older one is the higher their monthly premium. Also whole life policies may not cover certain illnesses so the insurance companies require an applicant to go through a medical checkup to ascertain that the individual does not have any pre-existing medical condition. There are also whole life policies that combine both life and investment so in general, whole life policies are more expensive than term life and one has to pay a lot more monthly premium if they desire higher benefits. But what is the biggest advantage of a whole life policy?

Unlike term life, one cannot outlive the policy term so it doesn’t matter when death of the insured occurs; benefits to family members are always assured. Also whole life insurance that combines investment with life pays out retirement dividends to the individual when they reach retirement age and still continue to keep their coverage until they die, at which time benefits are paid out family members.

2. The Coverage Amount
Once the choice for type of insurance has been made, then the decision for a coverage amount should be next. It is important to factor a family’s financial liability as well as upkeep into the decision for coverage amount. A lot of times, people don’t purchase an insurance policy that will give them maximum benefits in case the unforeseeable happens. Therefore when the breadwinner passes away, the family is still left with additional debt to deal with and insufficient funds even after they receive the insurance money.

3. The Choice Of Insurance Company
Another most important aspect to consider is the company the policy is purchased from. One must perform due diligence and make sure the insurance company they are considering is a credible company. Family and friends can be a good source for referral. Also research of the company’s background, the length of time of their existence, and their track record of benefit payments shouldn’t be skipped.

Regardless of the type of policy one decides on, there must be awareness that rates and benefits of life insurance policies are not the same across board so it is always wise to shop around and make comparisons. The internet is good place to start shopping for the best rates and benefits without any obligation or pressure from sales agents.

Do I Really Need Burial Insurance?

insuranceAlthough the majority of the world has a life insurance policy of some sort, many people choose to purchase additional policies that will cover funeral needs. Depending on a person’s specific situation, a life insurance policy will not be enough to cover a loved one’s expenses. From mortgages, credit card bills, auto loans and money left for any children that have been left behind, a life insurance policy may not leave enough money for actual burial expenses. Having a completely separate burial insurance policy can be very beneficial for family members.Of course, many people wonder if they need burial insurance. This is an excellent question that can only be determined by your personal finances. It’s best to take a detailed look at your bills, your dependents and your life insurance policy. You should list all your detailed monthly expenses, all your credit and loan balances , first. Your life insurance policy that will be left to your spouse or child should include enough to pay off all of these expenses, first. Your next list should be regarding your dependents or children. It is important to leave enough money behind to establish educational accounts for them. This should hopefully also be included in your life insurance policy. The amount that is left over in the life insurance is what is used for burial and funeral expenses. Ideally, there will be a great deal of money left. However, this is usually not the case.In these situations, it is more affordable to purchase a separate burial insurance policy. These policies are affordable compared to traditional life insurance rates and very easy to acquire. These policies do not require physicals or down payments but offer low monthly plans. Burial insurance covers cremation, embalming, funerals, wakes, the planning, ministry costs, urns, caskets, and a cemetery plot of service costs. Burial insurance also offer the means of pre planning all funeral elements in advance.

Having burial insurance is an additional way of offering support to the family that is left behind. There is nothing worse than leaving a loved one behind with exhausting bills but no financial means of paying for them. If you feel you do not have a large enough life insurance policy , burial insurance is definitely for you.

The Benefits of Life Insurance

life insuranceMany people think that life insurance is not something that is important. They envision it as a waste of money to pay for something while they are alive. If you are among that group of people, think again. There are very clear reasons why having life insurance can be beneficial when you go to the world to come.The first and most obvious reason to have life insurance is that it provides an income to your family while they are adjusting to you not being there. This is especially true if you were the primary breadwinner of the family. In cases where there was no life insurance, the income of the home diminishes drastically and the family has to get used to a lower standard of living. However, if you have life insurance, the benefits your family will get can either prevent this from happening or keep the impact at a minimum. If you are adequately protected, your family will have the financial support they need during the time it takes them to grieve and get back on their feet.

Life insurance can be used to fund very specific goals you have in the financial realm. It not only provides those you leave behind with a monetary income. Proceeds from the policy can be used to achieve the specific goals you had for your family. For example, the life insurance policy could be used to send a child to college, to purchase a new smaller home for the spouse left behind, or leave enough money to start up a business so the family can continue to make money after your passing.

Another important reason for life insurance is that it covers the funeral expenses and whatever medical expenses you may have had. Unless the death is sudden, most likely you will rack up some medical expenses before your passing. Unfortunately, this can be in the several of thousands of dollars. You do not want to leave your family with that burden. Life insurance can help to cover those expenses. Also unfortunately, funerals are not cheap. Knowing that this expense is already taken care of can make the process of losing you much easier on your family.

Finally, life insurance can help pay for taxes and debt that may need to be settled. Before the assets of the person who has deceased can be distributed to the family, taxes and other fees need to be paid. Life insurance can take care of these fees for you so that the family does not have to sell any of the assets in order to get the rest of them. Having life insurance helps to preserve your estate and property after you have passed.

Considering all the benefits it provides, life insurance is really not that expensive. You can go here and get some quick quotes to start planning and making sure your family’s future is secure.

Mudflow or mudslide? The answer affects your insurance claim

By Emmet Pierce, – Last updated: March 1, 2011

insurance-for-mudflowsWhen your house is damaged by an intrusion of mud, your level of insurance coverage depends on whether its cause is defined as a mudslide or a mudflow.

If you’re knee-deep in soggy earth, this may seem like a fine distinction. However, because home insurance policies are governed strictly by their terms and conditions, it’s a distinction you need to understand.

Government-backed flood insurance

Mudflows are byproducts of floods. Because floods pose the risk of catastrophic damage, most private insurance companies do not cover flood damage under standard policies. You can buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The federal flood insurance program, created by Congress through the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, enables property owners in participating communities to buy flood insurance from the government. Under that program, damage from a mudflow, sometimes defined as “a river of mud,” is covered. But mudslides, which can result from a hillside that collapses, are excluded. So here’s how it breaks down:

·         Mudflows are covered, but only if you own a flood policy.

·         Mudslides are not covered by any policy.

Variations of mud

According to FEMA, a mudflow occurs when liquid and flowing mud moves over the surface of normally dry land. In contrast, mudslides happen when a mass of earth or rock travels downhill.

Depending on weight and velocity, a mudslide can be powerful and very damaging to structures, says Peter Moraga, spokesperson for the Insurance Information Network of California.

“It will knock down retaining walls,” he notes. In contrast, a mudflow, which is liquid, may seep into the home, destroying property but not causing as much structural damage.

Understanding flood insurance

“For sure there is a big difference between what comes down a slope versus mud that can be introduced to a property from a stream or river,” says Nicholas Pinter, geology professor at Southern Illinois University. “When we talk about flood damage, there may be mud involved.”

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a scientific organization that provides information on ecosystems and the environment, mudslides generally occur during intense rainfall on water-saturated soil. They usually start on steep hillsides and accelerate to speeds as great as 35 miles per hour. Multiple debris flows that start high in canyons commonly funnel into channels where they may merge.

Gregor Blackburn, chief of the floodplain management and insurance branch in FEMA Region 9, acknowledges that the difference between damage caused by mudslides and mudflows may not be apparent to untrained observers. That’s because mud can enter a home in a variety of ways.

“Floodwaters are never clean,” he says. “They always are carrying something in suspension. That can include dirt and mud.”

A shovel filled with dirt

To illustrate the difference between mudslides and mudflows, Moraga often uses a shovel filled with dirt. If he can tilt the shovel and the material is solid enough to remain in place, it is the type of dirt you will find in mudslides. If the material is liquid and runs off the tilted shovel, it is the type of dirt found in mudflows.

Water damage is one of the most common and costly problems facing homeowners and floods are more common than you may think. You don’t have to live on a floodplain or near a river to be at risk. About 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from places where there is only a low to moderate risk for floods, according to FEMA.

On occasion, the federal government will provide disaster aid to flood victims. But it is not wise to count on such support.

“Not all disasters are federally declared disasters, and even if you do get federal help, most of that comes from loans which have to be paid back,” Moraga explains. “Think of paying off your mortgage and paying a loan on top of that.”

If you decide to add NFIP flood coverage to your home insurance, the average policy costs roughly $540 a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. For homeowners, the maximum amount of coverage available from the federal flood program is $250,000 for damage to a dwelling’s structure and $100,000 for damage to contents.

If you use a federally backed mortgage to purchase your home, the lender will require you to buy flood insurance if the dwelling is in a flood zone. You can purchase federal flood insurance through your own insurance company, “but the policy is underwritten by the federal government,” Moraga says.

In recent years, some private insurance companies have begun selling their own flood insurance coverage. Usually, such private insurance is used to supplement federal policies, says Loretta Worters, a spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute.

8 long-term care insurance myths

By Barbara Marquand, – Last updated: May 23, 2012

Don't believe these myths about long-term care insuranceChances are about 70 percent that you’ll need long-term care sometime after age 65, according to the nonprofit Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE). And it won’t come cheaply.

The median cost of a full-time nursing home room is $81,030 per year, according to the Genworth 2012 Cost of Care Survey. The national median hourly rate for a licensed home health aide is $19, which would total $55,480 a year for eight hours a day of care.

Statistics like those make long-term care insurance sound like a no-brainer, but misunderstandings still abound.

Here are eight myths about long-term care insurance — and the truth.

Myth No. 1: I don’t have to worry — I’ve got Medicare

Of all the misconceptions, this is one of the biggest, says Steve Casto, founder and president of Strategic Wealth Solutions Inc. in Omaha, Neb., and author of “Is Your Retirement Headed in the Right Direction?”

Generally, health insurance — including Medicare — pays for hospital and doctor bills but not for custodial care when you have a long-term disability or illness. Custodial care includes help with such daily tasks as eating, getting out of bed, toileting, bathing and remembering to take medications. Casto says he counsels clients not to expect a dime from Medicare for long-term care.

Medicaid will pitch in for long-term care expenses, but only after you’ve depleted your assets.

Myth No. 2: My spouse will take care of me

“A lot of people tend to be in denial,” says Wendy Spencer, a Certified Financial Planner with Spencer Capital Strategies Co. in Arvada, Colo.

Although you may be able to depend on your spouse, it’s something of which you can’t be sure. What if you outlive your partner? What if you develop Alzheimer’s disease and need around-the-clock supervision? What if you become physically disabled and need more help than your spouse alone can provide?

Myth No. 3: Everybody should buy long-term care insurance

For many people, long-term care insurance is simply out of reach.

“Typically, long-term care insurance is for middle-income people,” Casto says.

Poor people generally can’t afford the premiums, and the very wealthy may prefer to pay for their care out of pocket. If assets, other than a home, are less than $30,000 for single people and $80,000 for married people, they probably can’t afford long-term care insurance, according to the LIFE organization.

If you lack adequate assets, you’ll have to spend your own money and then rely on Medicaid, the federal and state program for low-income families and elderly and disabled adults, to cover your long-term care.

If you have assets to protect, you should consider purchasing long-term care insurance, unless you’ve done a thorough financial analysis and determined that you can self-insure.

Myth No. 4: The premium will never go up

No company guarantees premiums on long-term care policies will remain the same, says Charles Matt, a financial adviser with Sapient Financial Group in San Antonio. Insurance companies reserve the right to increase premiums through the life of the policy, depending on overall claim costs and investment earnings.

Myth No. 5: I should put off applying for long-term care insurance until I’m ready to retire

Many people wait until they approach retirement to apply for long-term care insurance, thinking it’s best to put it off as long as possible. But Matt has seen this backfire for some clients. By the time they applied for coverage, they had developed conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, which disqualified them for the best rates for their age or made them ineligible for coverage, period.

“I make a concerted effort to get clients to start looking at long-term care insurance at age 50,” Matt says.

Myth No. 6: It’s nursing home insurance

Although long-term care insurance covers care in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, most of the claim dollars today are spent on home health care, Matt says.

Myth No. 7: The elimination period is a waiting period

Most policies have an elimination period, typically 90 days, before the policy will pay for services.

“People think this is a waiting period when you sit around and twiddle your thumbs,” Spencer says.

But it works more like a deductible. The elimination period begins when you meet the policy’s terms for qualifying for benefits and you start paying for services from a qualified provider.

Typically to qualify for coverage you must be unable to perform two out of six “activities of daily living” on your own. Those are:

  • Eating
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Transferring (for example, from a bed to a wheelchair)
  • Toileting
  • Maintaining continence

In many cases, you also can qualify if you suffer from a severe cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease, that puts your health and safety at risk.

You can’t just sit out the elimination period and rely on neighbors and relatives to help out, and then expect the insurance company to pay for services once the 90 days are up, Spencer says. You have to pay for health care services from providers approved by the insurance company through the elimination period. Then the insurance company will start paying.

Myth No. 8: The quote is too high. I can’t afford it

Long-term care policies have lots of variables you can tweak to bring the premium down. For instance, you can reduce the daily benefit amount, the number of years of coverage or the inflation rider. Work with a good financial adviser to adjust the policy to provide the best combination of features for you.

“It’s not an all-or-nothing situation,” Matt says.

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