AccuQuote Blog

Our life insurance blog is dedicated to providing you with valuable information from experts on the topics of insurance, financial planning and personal finance.

The countdown: Health Care Reform and what it means to America

If you take politics out of the equation, and analyze the new healthcare reforms introduced by president Obama, you can see that the idea is positive.  Making health insurance affordable is a great step.

ObamaCare, as the healthcare reforms have been come to be known, was at the center of much debate and controversy.  Here’s a simple explanation of the situation from Forbes.com.  With the Open Enrollment date approaching for the officially titled Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) drawing near, here’s a look at some key factors of this landmark legislation.

  • The law. The Affordable Care Act is a wide ranging program that covers a variety of aspects of the health sector in general.  The crucial pieces of the law affecting all Americans is the mandate  that everyone must have minimum “essential” coverage, and the introduction of subsidies in private insurance and government run Medicaid to help fulfill this requirement.
  • The optional additional subsidy.  The Medicaid expansion subsidy helps individuals and families earning less than 133% of the federal poverty level , receive reduced or free health care. Currently, 26 states are offering this Medicaid Expansion. Families could be eligible for subsidies based on family size, income, age of the enrollees and the residence state.
  • The deadline. For the 2015 calendar year, there is an Open enrollment period from November 15th, 2014 to February 15th 2015 for those who aren’t covered by Medicaid, Medicare or health insurance through the workplace. Under certain conditions called a “Qualifying Life Event” you may still qualify for a special enrollment outside of the Open Enrollment period. Although, you can apply for Medicaid and Children’s Medicaid at any time.
  • The penalty. Tax penalties went into effect in 2014.  So, if you were still uninsured after March 2014; you are liable to pay the tax penalty, payable when you file your 2014 income tax returns.    The penalty in 2014 will be either 1.0% of taxable income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child (up to $285 per family), whichever is higher.  In 2015, the figure will rise to 2.0% or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child (up to $975 per family), and 2.5% or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child (up to $$2,085 per family) in 2016.  After this point, the rate will go up based on cost-of-living figures pertaining to the period.

So, if you aren’t already insured, use the upcoming Open Enrollment period to acquire your health insurance policy. AccuQuote can now help you shop for health insurance just like we helped hundreds of thousands to shop for the best life insurance policy. It’s so easy; we will find you the best policy to fit your family and budget.

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If You Had or Have Breast Cancer, Can You Still Get Life Insurance? (Hint: You'll be Surprised!)

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  There’s pink all over—in NFL games; on the streets; in the windows of buildings; and even in our office, where I’ve seen some pink streaks of hair (!).  I’m all for it.  If you read this blog, you know I feel strongly that Life Insurance Awareness Month (September), Long Term Care Awareness Month (right around the corner in November), and Disability Insurance Awareness Month (May) are very worthwhile initiatives, but they should not stop us from promoting and recognizing the importance of these vital products during the rest of the year as well.  In other words, EVERY MONTH should be life insurance awareness month.  It’s THAT important!

 

The same goes for breast cancer.  It affects way too many women for us just to think about it in October.  According to Breastcancer.org, about 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

 

But what about getting life insurance if you have or had breast cancer?  It’s a meaningful question, and also a newsworthy one (I recently spoke to one nationally renowned personal finance columnist about it and am scheduled to talk with another in a few days).

 

Well, in the old days, the answer to that question would have been a hard NO.  But now, things are different.  The two keys here are how long you’ve been cancer-free and what stage your breast cancer is currently in.  Another factor that some carriers consider is family history.  We have written almost $100 BILLION in coverage, have over 100,000 clients in all 50 states, and have issued over 200,000 policies, so we certainly have experience in this area and know the best approach for a person with breast cancer.  There’s not a If we know a particular carrier uses family history as a reason for a rate hike, we’ll steer our client in a different direction.  It’s one of the advantages of going through a company like AccuQuote that comparison shops for you, uses a quoting engine, and does the heavy lifting for you.

 

Here’s a couple bits of information to keep in mind:

 -          If a parent or sibling has breast cancer already, but you haven’t, the good news is that you still have a good chance of getting life insurance at Preferred rates! 

-          If your breast cancer was non-invasive, the good news is that you can likely get a nice life insurance policy NOW (the best prices will likely be 3-5 years after you were treated for it)

 

If you or someone you know have or had breast cancer, we might be able to get you covered.  Like anything else in life, you’ll never know if you don’t ask.  So give us a call!

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Posted in Insurance , Life Insurance , Life Insurance Podcasts , Term Life Insurance | No Comments »

If You Don’t Think You Need Long Term Care Insurance, Think Again

Unless you are really, really broke or really, really rich, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll need some sort of long term care (LTC).  If you’re extremely wealthy or dirt poor, go ahead and abandon this blog post (but come back in a week or so for the next one!).

But for those who fall in the very large middle of those two categories—that’s almost everyone, by the way—you’ll want to keep reading.

Who needs long term care?

The short answer to this question is most of us.

No one wants to think about getting old, wearing diapers, and not being able to go through life without assistance.  But this stuff really happens!  And if you’re one of the vast majority of us that ends up needing care, a long term care policy will turn out to be the smartest investment you ever make.

Let’s see how well you do on the following quiz question:

The odds that either you or your spouse will need long term care are:

a)    25%

b)    47%

c)     61%

d)    91%

Answer:  There’s a 91 percent chance that either you or your spouse will need long term care.  Let that sink in for a second.

When that happens, if you don’t have long term care insurance, you may end up looking to others (probably your kids) to cover the cost of care.  This is, of course, after you’ve depleted your entire life savings. 

What will happen if you don’t buy LTC insurance?

As I mentioned to Rodney Brooks in USA Today, a few years of paying for care can ruin you financially.  So before you dismiss LTC insurance as a non-essential or luxury, ask yourself how much of a burden you plan on being on your family. 

So what’s the bottom line?

70 percent of those over 65 years of age will need LTC.  Sure, you could wind up in the 30 percent group that doesn’t need it, but do you really want to take that chance?  Can you afford to take that chance? 

The cost of a live-in caregiver may add up to $1,200 a week, plus meals.  An assisted living facility costs about $3,000 a month.

Here are some more numbers to think about (I know about this stuff FIRST HAND):  both of my parents (Mom is 81, Dad is 84) are currently receiving long term care.  Dad is at home with live-in care -- $200 a day.  Mom was recently in a nursing home – over $300 a day.  Do the math.  That’s $180,000 A YEAR for the two of them. 

I think you’ll agree…Those costs are staggering.  And the costs are going up every year. 

If you have a mattress full of cash or your kids are rich, you’ll probably be OK.  But if not, you might die broke.  My parents probably will.

Fill out a long term care insurance quote request and find out just how affordable LTC insurance can be for you.

 

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Posted in Life Insurance , Long Term Care Insurance | No Comments »

In My World, EVERY Month Is Life Insurance Awareness Month

According to Life Happens, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers make smart insurance decisions to safeguard their families’ financial futures and a great resource for information, September is Life Insurance Awareness Month.  It’s nice to raise awareness for the most important product mankind ever invented (if you disagree and want to debate this, email me at ByronUdell@accuquote.com!), but the fact is if we are only thinking about life insurance one month out of every year, we’re in trouble.

I find the best way to explain the value and importance of life insurance is through simple questions, simple answers, and undeniable facts. 

For example, you’re going to die WITH life insurance or WITHOUT life insurance; that’s a FACT.  It’s up to you to decide in which category you’ll end up.  And for those who die with it, there’s never any regret.  We receive hundreds of death claims each year, and I’ve never heard someone say, “Byron, my husband bought way too much life insurance; what am I going to do with all this money?”

Are you starting to understand just how important this stuff is?  Let these questions help you:

Q: What are the odds of dying?

A: 1 out of 1 (that’s 100%).  Yes, it’s sort of a trick question, but before you dismiss it as a sarcastic statistic, know this: the odds of your house burning down are 1 out of 1200—and almost everyone has homeowner’s insurance!

Q: When you die, how long do you plan to be dead?

A: Forever.  Yes, it’s another trick question, but it’s a simple one with only one correct answer.  I realize no one gets excited about life insurance, paying premiums, and coming to grips with the fact that you’re going to die.  But that day will come.  And when it does, will your family have enough money to pay for your funeral, monthly rent or mortgage, food, tuition, clothes, medical expenses, car payments, utilities …?

My friend Ric Edelman had me on his nationally syndicated radio show a couple weeks ago for Life Insurance Awareness Month.  Listen to me talk about life insurance and long term care insurance (I’m on for about the first half hour) here.  Ric heads up Edelman Financial Services, which is a partner of AccuQuote.  I love going on Ric’s show—he’s great and a forum like that only helps get the word out about life insurance—but let’s not for a second think that we should be paying attention to life insurance more during September versus other months.

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Posted in Financial Planning , Life Insurance , Term Life Insurance | No Comments »

A Baby Boomer’s Education about Baby Boomers

In the back to school swirl that we’re in, I thought I’d teach the readers of this blog about a group I’m very familiar with: Baby Boomers.  How familiar?  Well, I am one!  At 56, I’m a full fledge Boomer! 

Many people don’t even know what defines a Boomer, how large a group we are, or what we’re all about.  Well, let’s change that. Here’s a quick education on my people (stats courtesy of CNN.com)

- Baby Boomers are defined as those born between 1946, the end of World War II, and 1964 (I came into this world in 1958!)

- There are currently about 77 million Boomers in this country

- As of July 2011, Boomers make up approximately 25% of the total U.S. population; we’re a force to be reckoned with!

- 10,000 Boomers turn 65 per day (Happy birthday to my Boomer brothers and sisters!)

- Baby Boomers want to take control, as that’s the way they’ve lived their whole lives (I should know—remember, I am one!); when it comes to planning and fulfilling and PAYING FOR their end-of-life wishes, us Boomers naturally want to control that as well! 

That last point brings me to a new joint venture AccuQuote just launched.  eMorials is a new initiative (www.eMorials.com) that takes us Boomers through the process of defining – and paying for – their end-of-life wishes.  After logging in at the site, visitors can specify if they want burial or cremation, how they wish their final service, memorial and/or family gathering to be conducted, and any other details they can thinkof (you’ve probably seen news about creative requests – like having your ashes spread in a sports stadium or a celebration with only music handpicked by the deceased).  Younger and older adults can also create a free account at eMorials.com.

AccuQuote comes in when site users want to pay for their plans through final expense insurance.  You can request that someone from AccuQuote contact you about funding your plan right there on emorialplanner.com.  And remember, we can get you a final expense policy QUICKLY and EASILY! 

Follow eMorials on Twitter here and on Facebook here.  And of course, go to the site and check it out.

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Posted in AccuQuote News , Insurance Industry News , Life Insurance | No Comments »