07 Nov 2018

What does Critical Illness Insurance cover?

What does Critical Illness Insurance cover?

These days, critical illnesses are not necessarily fatal.  Advancements in medical technologies and the development of new therapies have greatly increased survival rates for previously life-threatening illnesses like cancer, stroke or heart attack.  That being said, these advanced treatments have also become much more expensive.

According to research by the National Cancer Institute, newly launched cancer drugs can cost more than $400,000 for a year’s worth of treatment.

When you’re trying to recover from a devastating illness, you might not be able to work, relatives might need to take time off to care for you, and you will need to pay for extra things like delivered meals or hired help.

In a situation like that, the last thing you want is to be worrying about your finances.

What is Critical Illness Insurance?

Put simply,Critical Illness Insurance is a type of life insurancethat pays you a lump sum cash payment if you contract any of the illnesses listed on the policy.

This payment is tax-free and comes with no strings attached.  You are free to use it however you want.  Most people use it to cover the cost of medical treatments, travel expenses and to replace their income if they’re no longer able to work.

What does it cover?

Exact policy terms will vary from insurer to insurer, but most policies will cover you for

  • Cancer;
  • Heart disease (heart attack or coronary bypass surgery); and
  • Stroke

You might also be able to get coverage for organ transplant or failure, Parkinson’s disease, brain injuries, loss of a faculty such as loss of limbs, speech, blindness or deafness, and other serious life-altering conditions.

Get help with your Critical Illness Insurance

Life altering illnesses can happen to anyone.  According to one study, a 25-year-old non-smoking male has a 24% chance of developing a critical illness before turning 65.  And nearly 2/3 of US bankruptcies are the result of medical expenses.

When it comes to complex coverage like this, getting the right advice could mean the difference between life and health.

For more information or to get some help figuring out what kind of coverage you need, get in touch with the licensed insurance experts at healthquoteinfo.comor call us at 855-614-5057.  We are happy to help you figure out what kind of coverage is right for you.

01 Nov 2018

Open Enrollment Changes for 2019

Open Enrollment Changes for 2019

Medicare provides health insurance coverage for most Americans over 65 years old or suffering from a disability.  According to the NCPSSM, over 56 million Americans are currently on Medicare receiving an average benefit of $12,829 each.

The Open Enrollment Period (OEP) gives Americans the chance to purchase or make changes to their health insurance plans.  It’s been happening every year since President Obama passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

While President Trump and other government officials have been pushing for changes to the American health insurance system, there is nothing concrete yet for 2019.  But there are still some changes you need to be aware of as a consumer.

What are the changes to Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment Period start date

The Trump administration shortened the Open Enrollment Period from 90 days to 45 days last year and changes will carry over to this year. Open Enrollment for 2019 takes place between November 1st and December 15th, 2018.

Changes to “Essential Health Benefits” benchmark plans

Previously, the Affordable Care Act required 10 basic coverages that marketplace plans had to have.  But now, states will be able to build their own benchmark plans.  This new rule will give health insurance companies more flexibility and hopefully more choice to consumers.

Be sure to review your plan as it may have changed.

No penalties for those without health insurance

Prior to this change, people who did not have health insurance would have to pay a tax penalty.  This new rule will give exemptions to people living in counties with no health insurance companies or where there is only one insurer offering coverage.

People in counties where the only health insurer covers abortions are also exempt if abortions go against their religious beliefs.

Get help with your 2019 Open Enrollment

There are a lot of changes coming down the pipe for 2019.  You can read the full CMS rules if you’re curious.

And as a bonus tip, you should also update your application with new expected income and household information.  Plans and prices change every year and there will be different plans available in 2019.  You should review your coverage and all of the plans available.  There might be one that better fits your needs.

For more information or help navigating the changes to health insurance, get in touch with the experts at healthquoteinfo.com or call us at 855-614-5057.  Our licensed health insurance advisors would be happy to assist.

01 Nov 2018

Open Enrollment Checklist for Employees

Open Enrollment Checklist for Employees

While open enrollment can often be a stressful and even confusing time for employees, your employee benefits package is an invaluable part of your total compensation package. In fact, in financial terms, the benefits you receive through an employer-sponsored group health plan can boost your compensation from work up to 30%!

Open enrollment gives employees the opportunity to reassess their benefits from the current year and make changes that will benefit them for the year to come. While it is sometimes tempting to just enroll in the same plan as last year without giving it a second thought, you could be cheating yourself out of a significant portion of your compensation structure.

Selecting your healthcare coverage is arguably the most important decision that you have to make during the open enrollment period. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s a simple one to make. In fact, it can be pretty complicated since your optimal coverage depends on personal factors related to your health. To make the best choice for coverage in the coming year, employees must take into consideration whether they take prescription medication, how often they visit medical facilities, how many dependents they have and how much they will pay out of their own pockets.

  • Review your medical and financial situation from the previous year. Before choosing your health plan for the coming year, it’s important to take stock of last year’s healthcare plan. Choosing the least expensive plan may seem like the best short-term option for your wallet, but depending on your individual health needs, it can be a very short-sighted choice that can end up costing you more in the end. To help you decide which plan is best, make a list of all your medical costs for the previous year, including copays, deductibles, premiums and coinsurance. Some employers may allow you to maintain your current coverage, so it is important to carefully scrutinize how your plan held up the previous year.
  • Consider any voluntary benefits. Review any supplemental offers, such as dental and vision coverage, financial counseling, disability protection and even pet insurance. Some employers are offering more supplemental coverage now and prices are lower in a job-based plan than on the open marketplace. Choose the coverage that is adequate for your personal needs, depending on whether you anticipate needing any major work done as opposed to basic cleanings and checkups.
  • Remember to take possible tax breaks into account. Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HAS) enable employees to put money aside to help defray healthcare costs, or “qualified expenses,” such as copays, deductibles, coinsurance and monthly prescription drug costs. Both FSAs and HSAs work as personal savings accounts and help employees reduce their tax liability by depositing funds into the account on a pre-tax basis. To qualify for an HSA, you must have an HDHPs (High-Deductible Health Plans), which is defined as health coverage with a deductible of $1300 or more for an individual or $2600 or more for a family. If you qualify, an HSA is generally preferable due to the fact that limits are higher and contributions can be carried over from the previous year. In addition, Dependent Care Flexible Savings Account (DCFSA) is another form of pre-tax benefit account that can be used to pay for eligible services for dependents, such as summer camp, after-school programs, and daycare.

To learn more about the open enrollment period for employees, contact the experts at HealthQuoteInfo.com at 1-855-614-5057. Our licensed insurance professionals are standing by to answer any questions you may have.

 

01 Nov 2018

What will happen if the Affordable Care Act is repealed?

What will happen if the Affordable Care Act is repealed?

There’s no denying that under Obamacare, the cost of healthcare, as well as deductibles and premiums, have risen for many Americans. As well, there are at times fewer healthcare options to choose from. Yet in spite of this reality, polls show that the majority of people do not think the ACA should be dismantled and would prefer instead that it is modified. But given the unpredictable nature of US healthcare these days, it’s important to understand what would happen if the ACA did simply disappear. Forecasts vary widely, depending on who you ask.

Forecast #1: uninsured, and in the lurch

Critics of a repeal have asserted that allowing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to crash without a phase-out period or a replacement plan could create problematic gaps in insurance for many. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report issued last year found that while the federal deficit would be cut by $473 billion over a decade if the ACA were repealed, it also found that 17 million people would lose coverage in just the first year—in addition to a 25% jump in premiums. Also, 32 million would lose insurance after a decade, with premiums continuing to rise. While Medicaid expansion is still a need for children as well as for opioid addiction treatments that would all simply cease to exist. And people with preexisting health conditions might have trouble finding insurance, as well as affording it. A recent analysis estimates that more than 52 million Americans have conditions that make them uninsurable without the ACA.

Forecast #2: the states stepping in

Some predict that if the ACA were to vanish, the states would be compelled to take over the insurance marketplaces, Medicaid included. Twila Brase, the president and co-founder of the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom believes this would decrease costs, and provide more options, as well as facilitate access. According to Brase, allowing the ACA to collapse would be positive because it would force the states to take over, and under a repeal, insurance companies would be encouraged to get on board with state marketplaces and offer a wider variety of coverage plans. Additionally, the free market would drive down costs. She does admit, however, that those with preexisting conditions would have to pay more.

Regardless of which forecast you believe to be more accurate, one thing is for sure: staying informed of all the latest developments with regard to your healthcare options is a smart move for you and your loved ones. If you have questions about how you might prepare in the event of an ACA repeal, contact healthquoteinfo.com at 1-855-614-5057 to speak with a knowledgeable insurance agent. We’re here to help!

01 Nov 2018

Can I Deduct Health Insurance Premiums?

Can I Deduct Health Insurance Premiums?

The open enrollment period for health insurance sold on the exchanges is right around the corner. It is during this period you are able to sign up for new coverage or change your current plan. Now is the time to begin your planning if you will be purchasing individual or family medical coverage.

The premiums for health insurance can be very expensive. Most families balance the cost of insurance coverage with the benefits provided in their plan. However, it is also important to determine if you may deduct health insurance premiums, as the tax savings may allow you to purchase a richer plan.

Who Qualifies for the Deduction?

There are certain circumstances where taxpayers can deduct health insurance premiums. In general, the following situations qualify you for a deduction:

You are self-employed: For individuals who are self-employed, you will likely be able to deduct the premiums paid for health insurance on behalf of yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. Dental and long-term care insurance are also deductible. The IRS does require you to have a net profit as filed on your Schedule C, Schedule C-EZ, or Schedule F.

You are a partner: Partners in business with reported earnings on a Schedule K-1 may be able to take a premium deduction when filing their taxes.

You own S-Corporation stock: If you are a shareholder of an S-Corporation with more than a two percent interest and report wages on a W-2 form, you may be able to take the deduction.

You pay your premiums after-tax: Individuals and families paying insurance premiums out of their own pocket may be eligible to claim a deduction. To be eligible for the deduction, your medical and dental expenses must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

You use Medicare: The IRS allows deductions for premiums paid for Medicare. This includes all four parts where each is treated as a medical expense for tax purposes. The deduction is not available to government employees who have paid Medicare tax or those covered by social security.

Other Available Deductions

If you do not qualify for a deduction of your health insurance premiums, your medical expenses may qualify. In fact, most expenses are indeed deductible, including:

  • Copays
  • Surgery
  • Physician visits
  • Dental treatments
  • Medical equipment
  • Eyeglasses and contact lenses

The entire list is much more comprehensive and can be found on the IRS website. To qualify, however, you must itemize deductions and deduct only those expenses exceeding 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Determining the premium deduction eligibility of health insurance or whether itemizing makes sense is best answered by a tax professional.

To learn more about finding the right health insurance plan for you and your family, contact the experts at HealthQuoteInfo.com  at (855) 614-5057. Our licensed experts will be happy to answer any questions you have.

15 Oct 2018

Dates And Deadlines For 2019 Open Enrollment Coverage

Dates And Deadlines For 2019 Open Enrollment Coverage

What’s all this talk about the Open Enrollment Period and how will it affect your family? We’re going to break down all the facts and talk about the important dates to save on your calendar.

What is the Open Enrollment Period?

This refers to the time period when Americans can either purchase or modify a health insurance plan for the upcoming year. This time frame was officially established by the Obama administration with the creation of the Affordable Care Act.

While the future of the ACA remains uncertain as the current White House attempts to undermine the program, the Open Enrollment Period remains an annual event.

When Is The 2019 Open Enrollment Period?

It officially begins on November 1st, 2018, and ends on December 15th, 2018, providing exactly 45 days for Americans to make an informed decision. If you have any questions or concerns regarding enrollment, we encourage you to call one of our agent at 1-855-614-5057. We can help you navigate through the confusion and find a plan that’s suited for you.

Other Enrollment Dates

Each state either uses the federal exchange (otherwise known as healthcare.gov) or their own state-based exchange. For this reason, approximately a dozen states have slightly different enrollment dates outlined below.

HQI Enrollment Graphic 2019

What If You Miss The Open Enrollment Period?

If you missed the 2019 Open Enrollment Period, you’ll unfortunately have to wait until next year. It’s not all bad news though, as you do have a few options. Firstly, if you’ve experienced a Qualifying Life Event, you can apply for special enrollment. Examples of a Qualifying Life Event include the following:

  • Marriage, divorce or legal separation
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Death of a spouse or child
  • Change in residence or work location, which impacts the eligibility
  • Your child fails to meet the plan’s eligibility rules (for example, the student status changes)
  • You or your covered dependents gain or lose other coverage because of a change in employment status (for example, beginning or ending a job) 

For more information regarding this topic, you can always visit our resource page.

Short-Term Health Insurance

Those without an annual plan can also purchase a short-term health insurance plan, which can now last up to a few months. In most cases, short-term health insurance plans are more expensive compared to the competition, but these policies can serve as a lifeline for this who missed the Open Enrollment Period. For more information, you can visit our page dedicated to short-term health insurance.

If you have any outstanding questions, we recommend contacting one of our agents at 1-855-614-5057 or visit HealthQuoteInfo.com.