Monday, February 17, 2020

Health Insurance for Senior Citizens

Once you cross 65, you are a senior citizen. That brings a lot of benefits with it, but it is also a time to re-evaluate your health insurance requirements. No matter how healthy you may feel, the fact is that your body is no longer the same as it was 10 years ago. Being a senior citizen does not mean that you must slow down or stop doing the things that give you pleasure and add value to your life. That being said, not looking at your health coverage to see if it provides you with the protection you now need, is a big mistake. Here are a few basic facts you need to know about health insurance for seniors.

Senior Health Insurancd

The Options

Your Original Medicare may not be enough for you as you grow older. Fortunately, in California, there are ways by which you can add on supplementary coverage to give you the health insurance protection you need.

• Medicare Advantage Plans: These are plans offered by Medicare-approved private insurers. They include Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans (MSA), Special Needs Plans (SNP), Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO) andPrivate Fee-for-Service Plans (PFFS). If you are enrolled in any of these plans, they become your primary insurance in place of the basic Medicare. Most of these plans also include prescription medication coverage. It is important to note that these plans are county-specific so there may be cost and coverage variations depending on which part of California you are in.

• Medicare Supplement Plans: These plans, which are offered by private insurers, pay for part or all of Medicare’s deductibles and co-payments. There are 10 different plan options available and some may cover costs not covered by Medicare such as foreign emergency travel.

• Prescription Drug Plans: These are stand-alone plans that add prescription drug coverage to the Original Medicare to cover the cost of not just drugs but also biologicals, vaccines and some other medical supplies that do not come under Medicare.

There are several insurance companies offering these plans and each plan has numerous options available. It is important to study the various plans and coverage options in detail to avoid making mistakes that could leave you without the coverage you want when you need it the most.

Make the Right Decisions

Finding the right Medicare supplement plan or plans that will give you the coverage you need can be confusing. Your current health and medical history will be different from others in your age group. Following the general advice available online and in magazines about the insurance you should have when you turn 65 could lead to problems in the future. Trying to do what other seniors are doing may not be right for you. You may need more health insurance or you may be paying for coverage you do not really need. Being sure that you are as protected as possible and are not paying more than you need to will go a long way in making your senior year's golden ones. The best way to ensure this is to ask a health insurance professional for advice and guidance on the type of health coverage you need.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Has Your Insurer Dropped You?

The massive increase in the number and ferocity of wildfires in California has caused several insurance companies to notify policyholders living in what they term high-risk areas, that their home insurance policies will not be renewed. The insurance payouts are not sustainable. This may seem like a cruel blow when the need for this coverage is increasing every year. The fact is that insurance is a business like any other and for an insurance company to make profits, it must trim the areas where it makes losses. If you happen to be one of those who has received such a notice, there is no need to panic. In California, insurance companies must give a notice of non-renewal 45 days before the existing policy expires. That is enough time to find alternative coverage.

Home Insurance

The Options

The first thing to do is to contact your existing insurance company to find out if there are any improvements and changes that you can make to your home that will once again make it eligible for insurance coverage. If your local fire department or any other authorized agency has a system whereby they conduct a fire inspection and give you a risk reduction certificate after changes are made, this may help convince the insurer to offer you a renewal.

If that does not work out, start shopping for coverage from other companies. Across the state, there are insurance companies that continue to offer home insurance policies. Where you live will determine how hard or easy it is for you to find replacement coverage. If you are in an area that has been designated as high risk in terms of wildfires, finding an insurer who is ready to offer you a policy will be difficult. If you can find a policy, it will, most likely, cost more, often much more than your old policy. The coverage may also be reduced. Another factor to consider is that the policy available may be from a “non-admitted” insurance company. Admitted insurance companies are regulated by the California Department of Insurance and policyholders are protected by the California Insurance Guarantee Association. Policies from non-admitted companies do not enjoy this protection.

Do not buy a new policy blindly out of desperation. Check whether that coverage is what you need to rebuild your home in conformity with current building codes if it should be completely destroyed. Many policies have limitations that will restrict the amount of  payout which could leave you short of what you need to rebuild.

If nothing works out, you can always buy insurance from California Fair Plan which is a state-run program that offers fire insurance to those who are unable to find other coverage. This coverage will be for only basic fire protection and will have no theft or liability coverage. It will also cost more than home insurance from private insurance companies.

Be Sure Before Buying

There are many options for buying a new home insurance policy, but each has its own pros and cons. Buying a policy that does not give you the coverage you need could leave you in major financial difficulties when a claim does not give you the payout you expect and need. Avoid the uncertainties and risks involved in buying a home new policy by contacting an insurance broker for advice and guidance on how to get the best coverage at the best price.