Serving you through Covid-19

bbb
Serving you through Covid-19

Health Insurance Up 78 Percent Since 2000, Along With Policy Terminations!

Home

Health Insurance Up 78 Percent Since 2000, Along With Policy Terminations!

Health insurance went up 7.7 percent this year, thats twice the rate of inflation. Premiums have increased by 78 percent since the year 2000 compare that to salary increases of just 20 percent and the real picture starts to have an impact.

Individuals are now averaging a little over $4000 a year in premiums with American families paying out almost $11,500 this year. Companies offering health care benefits now st ands at 61 percent this is down from 69 percent in 2000. It’s estimated that over 155 million Americans will get their health care benefits from their employers. To lower the over-all cost of the insurance plans many companies are now offering benefit packages with higher deductibles. It should be noted that this report comes out after a recent Census reported that 1.3 million Americans where added to the ranks of the uninsured during 2005. What becomes clear here is the long term trend towards the decline of coverage supplied by small businesses from their employees.

“To working people and business owners, a reduction in an already very high rate of increase just means you’re still paying more” said Dr Drew Altman, president and chief executive of the Kaiser Foundation.

Insurance companies have been under attack recently for dumping families that build up large medical bills. In an ongoing case in California the state is investigating a claim against Blue Cross who stopped coverage for a family when it’s medical bills reached $20,000. The family have been left with outst anding medical bills of over $60,000. The company have accused the family of failing to disclose in their coverage application an undiagnosed lump on one of the children’s chins. The family say they (or their physician) knew nothing of any tumor when they made the application.

These types of cancellations of coverage have now created a massive backlash towards the insurance companies and resulted in a number of ongoing lawsuits. The policyholders are saying their polices were illegally terminated which resulted in substantial financial hardship. State regulators are investigating and have said they are now preparing to take action against Blue Cross.

Something needs to be done to protect (us) the public against these (insurance) companies. The hardship caused when a family is faced with these medical bills at a time when they really need the most support is nothing short of criminal. Having taken our money every month for years on end they should not have the right to terminate our coverage. They should by law be forced to honor the agreement they wrote and we agreed too.

Car Insurance FAQs

Can I insure a modified or classic car; who will offer insurance cover?

Yes, you can insure a modified car but because your car is a specialist car, not all auto insurance companies might be willing to provide coverage for it since it requires high price replacement parts and also skilled labor if the car is involved in an accident. Thus, you have to take a special car insurance that is designed especially for modified and classic cars.

How can I cut down my car insurance premium?

If you wish to cut down on your car insurance premium you must take care of a few things. Park your car overnight in the garage rather than leaving it on the drive. Fit insurance approved anti-theft devices; consider Third Party Fire and Theft for older cars. Find out discounts offered by the insurance provider when requesting quotes. Young drivers (under 25), who are often charged extremely high premiums, should have an extra driving course certificate.

What is ‘excess’?

It is the amount you have to pay when you make a claim for the loss or damage to your car. It can be voluntary or compulsory. If someone else causes the accident you may be able to reclaim the excess through the legal cover, which can be taken out with your car insurance policy. Otherwise you lose the excess. Voluntary excess is the amount you agree to pay to the company. It offers premium discounts. Compulsory excess is generally imposed to young drivers. Because their risk factors are high and the companies don’t want to insure them. So, in order to insure, they have to surrender with this payment.

What is legal cover?

It provides expertise and assistance required to recover uninsured losses such as medical costs, loss of earnings and excess payments where the fault was not yours. It is available as an optional with most car insurance policies.

Can an insurance company cancel my auto policy?

Yes, you auto insurance policy may st and canceled if you fail to pay the premium or if your consumer’s license has been suspended or revoked during the term of an auto policy. Also, if there is a fraud or serious misrepresentation when completing the insurance application, if the you are convicted to a crime, or if changes are made to the property that increase the risk of loss then the company may cancel your insurance policy.

Car Insurance. Uninsured Cars To Be Crushed

Are you one of the one in twenty motorists who regularly drive without insurance? You’d better watch out – your car could be heading for the crusher and shipped off to the world’s biggest scrap smelter in China!

New powers now allow the police to seize, impound and crush any car found on the road without insurance. A pilot scheme was introduced in Durham last spring. Since then, police have impounded more than 1,200 cars. Of those around half have been crushed into cubes and packed off for smelting.

Operation Takeaway as the pilot scheme was known, has been such a big success, that police forces throughout the UK are enthusiastically polishing up their tow trucks. The scheme is now supported by a new national police database that’s supported by the insurance industry. It enables the police to check the insurance status of every car in the UK whilst they’re sitting in their patrol car.

Now if you’re caught red h anded without car insurance you’re forced to h and your keys to the police at the roadside. There are no exceptions – this applies to everyone; it doesn’t matter if it’s just a forgetful mistake or conscious driving without insurance.

Then you’ll have to get your skates on! You’ve just 14 days to produce a valid insurance policy to the police and collect your car. And other costs mount up. Before you can collect your car, you have to pay the cost of kerbside recovery (around £105) and the cost of secure storage – and that could easily amount to £15 a day. So, if you leave collecting your car to the 14th day, you could be in for a bill for £315.

And if you don’t reclaim your car, off to the crusher it goes!

During the pilot scheme, the cost of crushing the cars was partly funded by Direct Line. They have estimated that Operation Takeaway prevented up to 2,000 accidents. And many of the cars impounded by the police were found to be un-roadworthy.

A police spokesman said, “ Uninsured drivers are often guilty of many other offences. Such as having neither driving licence nor MOT certificate. We are doing everything in our power to get these dangerous and illegal drivers off our roads”.

Indeed, uninsured drivers are much greater problem than many of us would expect. The Department of Transport recently reported that 1 in 20 motorists regularly drive without insurance. Furthermore, research from the Association of British Insurers discovered that uninsured drivers are amongst the most dangerous on the roads. On average they cause one accident every six months and are three times more likely to be convicted of driving without due care and attention.

And who pays for those uninsured accidents? We do! The average car insurance premium is loaded by £30 to cover the cost of damage caused by uninsured motorists. Across the UK that adds up to an extra £500 million paid out each year by the law-abiding motorists!

But that’s not the end of our financial pain. If an uninsured vehicle collides into your car, it’s still recorded as a “fault claim” on your policy. This means you’ll have to pay the excess when your car is repaired and unless you’ve got Claims Protection on your policy, your no-claims bonus will take a knocking. Over a two-year period, the reduction in your no claims bonus could easily cost £275 in higher premiums.

The move to take cars off the road and crush them has been warmly welcomed by the Association of British Insurers. The ABI has long criticised the leniency of punishment h anded out by the courts to uninsured motorists but they still want tougher penalties. Offenders are typically fined just £150 to £200 – with time to pay – and this is much less than the average car insurance premium. Surely this cannot be true justice!

Car Insurance. Involved In An Accident With An Uninsured Driver?

Uninsured drivers are ten times more likely to drink and drive and three times more likely to be convicted of driving without due care and attention. They also cause one accident every six months. In fact one in twenty motorists regularly drive without insurance. It’s therefore not perhaps surprising that, one in ten of all motorists have been involved in accidents with uninsured drivers. The question is what to do if you’re involved in an accident with one?

At the time of the accident you’re unlikely to realise that the other driver is uninsured so you’ll have to react in the normal way. Take a note of the other car’s make, model and registration number. Also note the other driver’s name and address – but whether he’ll give you his correct details is perhaps unlikely! Nevertheless, always record what the other driver says. Unless you have this information you’ll have no leg to st and on when it comes to getting some of your money back.

Also take notes about the damage to the other car and the accident scene. Remember to note road markings, road signs, light and weather conditions and whether the other car had its lights on – in fact as much detail as possible. Then if you’re lucky enough to have an independent witness get their full contact details. And if you happen to have a camera in the car, take lots of pictures – and try and get one with the other driver clearly in the picture. The police might like that one!

If your policy is comprehensive, your insurer pay for your car to be repaired but you could lose your no claims discount unless you’ve paid to protect it. But then there’s the issue of your excess payment – that’s the first part of the repair cost you have to pay for. You’ll have to pay that unless you’re lucky enough to have a policy that waives the excess payment if you’re hit by an uninsured driver.

For those of you with third party car insurance, you’re in for a hard time. Your insurer won’t pay for your repairs and, as the other driver is uninsured, you’re not going to get any money off him unless you can trace him and succeed in a court action. Even then there’s no guarantee that he’ll pay up! Your only guaranteed solution is to make a compensation claim to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau – but you’ll still have to pay the first £300 of the claim.

At the moment The UK’ Law is being amended to crackdown on uninsured drivers. Not before time. Anyone keeping, not just driving, an uninsured vehicle now faces a fixed £100 fine and can also have their car seized and crushed. Currently the average fine for driving without insurance is just £170 and that’s hardly a punishment when car insurance costs many times more. Losing the car plus a fine of £100 is much more realistic. Let’s hope that the courts fully implement the crushing sanction!

A police spokesman said recently, “ Uninsured drivers are often guilty of many other driving related offences, such as having no driving licence or MOT certificate. We’re doing everything in our power to get these dangerous and illegal drivers off our roads”.

We say, go to it blues and two’s!

A New Idea To The Health Insurance Crisis In America

Lack of health insurance coverage for over 41 million Americans is one of the nation’s most pressing problems. While most elderly Americans have coverage through Medicare and nearly two-thirds of non-elderly Americans receive health coverage through employer-sponsored plans, many workers and their families remain uninsured because their employer does not offer coverage or they cannot afford the cost of coverage. Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) or HAWK-I here in Iowa help fill in the gaps for low-income children and some of their parents, but the reach of these programs is limited. As a result, millions of Americans without health insurance face adverse health consequences because of delayed or foregone health care and extending coverage to the uninsured has become a national priority. -(Information taken from kff.org)

The number of people that are forced to go without health insurance is nothing less than a crisis in this country today. We have fallen into a vicious cycle over the last few decades in which health insurance premiums have become too expensive for even a middle class family to afford. This in turn results in the inability of the uninsured to cover medical costs which often times results in the financial ruins of the family, and in turn results in the continuing loss of income by the medical community, which in turn drives the cost of medical expenses higher, finally cycling back to the insurance company which then must drive the premiums of health insurance higher to help cover the rising cost of health care.

Many proposals have been tossed around by politicians on both sides of the isle ranging from socializing health care comparable to the Canadian system, to endorsing health savings accounts and cracking down on frivolous law suits against the medical community. Many of these proposals have good points, but along with whatever good points they bring they also bring major downfalls. For instance; a socialized national health care program would eliminate the need for health insurance all together and the cost would be taken on by taxes, which in theory doesn’t seem like a bad idea. However, the downfalls to this system include a deficit in new doctors willing to get into the field due to the inevitable decline in income while the dem and would grow due to no personal responsibility. In short if people didn’t have to worry about deductibles or copays that would normally keep the person from seeking medical treatment for minor things, they would simply go to the doctor every time they had an ache or pain. So now we have waiting lines for people with major health problems since everyone is scheduling an appointment while at the same time we are loosing doctors due to lack of incentive.

The current battle cry by the republican Bush administration is to push HSA’s (Health Savings Accounts) which reduce premium by taking a less expensive high deductible health insurance plan with a tax deferred savings account that earns a small interest on the side that you contribute to along with your premiums each month. Any money withdrawn from the savings account for qualified medical expenses are taken “tax-free”, and unlike a flex spending account like many people are familiar with in employer based plans, you don’t lose the money you put into the account that you don’t use. Basically if you never used any of that money in the savings account you could withdrawal or roll it over into another vehicle once you turn 62 1/2 penalty free to be used for retirement. This is a viable option for some people, however for many the premiums for these plans are still too expensive, and the problem remains that if you need major treatment in the first few years of the policy you will not have a big enough amount in the savings account to help cover the gaps leaving that person responsible for a large portion of the cost out of pocket.

Now we come to what I believe is one of the biggest problems from a health insurance agent’s point of view, which is the inability for persons with pre-existing health conditions to obtain coverage. From the number of people that contact my office searching for health insurance coverage, I would have to say that about half of them have a health condition that will either result in an insurance company declining that persons application, or result in an amendment rider which basically excludes coverage for any claims related to that condition. An example of a condition that I run across constantly is hypertension or high blood pressure. This condition will sometimes result in a company declining an application all together if other factors are involved, but most generally result in an amendment exclusion rider. You may think that this isn’t that big of a deal, after all, blood pressure medicine is about the only thing they would have to pay for out of pocket, but what many people don’t realize is that this rider will exclude ANYTHING that could be considered part of this condition including heart attacks, strokes, and aneurisms which would all result in a huge out of pocket claim. Consider the fact that my father had a double by-pass surgery recently that ended up with a final bill of around $150,000. This whole amount would have had to come out of pocket had he had a hypertension rider on his health insurance policy, not to mention the added cost of 2 months off of work thrown into the mix. On a modest income of $40,000 per year this would have ruined him financially.

So what how do we fix this problem? Obviously the proposals thus far have been flawed from the beginning, and even if one of these plans gained support from the American people chances are it would never be passed into law simply due to political infighting. One side wants to keep health care privatized while the other wants to socialize it, which as we discussed before both have upsides and downsides. It seems that we are doomed on this issue and there is no real ideas or light at the of the tunnel right? Maybe not, let me tell you about a client I had in my office a couple of years ago.

A young woman came in wanting to compare health insurance plans to see if there were any options for her and her family. She had several children and had been on Title 19 Medicaid and had been going to college paid by the state. She had recently graduated from college and had gotten a job with the local school system, however for whatever reason she was not eligible for health insurance benefits. Obviously she still couldn’t afford 5 or 6 hundred dollars per month for a plan so she went back to the aid office and explained her situation. They ended up working with us to find an acceptable private health insurance plan and reimbursed her for a percentage of the cost which I didn’t even know was possible!

This got me thinking, consider how many more people would be able to obtain coverage if they could be reimbursed by the government a percentage of the premium according to their income. For example; take a young married couple in their 20’s with one child, let’s say that their family income is $25,000 and that the average premium for a $500 deductible health insurance plan for them is $450. Just as an example let’s say that the government determined that a three person family with an annual income of $25,000 is reimbursed 50% of their premium taking the actual cost to the family to $225 per month. This is now an affordable enough premium for the family to consider.

With this merging of private insurance with government assistance we get the best of both worlds. Of course the next question goes to cost, how much more would this cost the American tax payer and how much would this raise taxes? I don’t think that it would cost the tax payers much more an here’s why I think that: First off we would bring down significantly the amount of uninsured people that are unable to pay for the medical care they get in turn driving down the total cost of health care. Secondly the number of people that are forced into bankruptcy and driven to Medicaid Title 19 assistance due to medical bills stemming from catastrophic medical conditions that don’t have health insurance coverage would be significantly reduced. This is important to keep in mind considering that once someone is on Medicaid they are receiving health care basically 100% covered by the government so there is no more incentive to not seek treatment for minor or non-existing conditions. On the flip side many conditions that would have not been caught before they became severe because a person didn’t seek treatment due to not having insurance coverage would now be caught before they turned into a catastrophic claim. Finally, if the government allocated a certain amount of money to help cover claims by people that have pre-existing conditions the private insurance companies could do away with exclusions and declines due to already existing health problems, this is already done is some states such as the HIPIOWA Iowa Comprehensive Plans which insures Iowa residents that can not obtain coverage elsewhere.

You may be sitting there thinking that this is all just wishful thinking and that these ideas could never be implemented, but all of these ideas are already being implemented. The problem is that only some states do some programs and not even most health insurance agents know that some low income families can get reimbursed for health insurance premiums. If these programs were all st andardized and put into effect on a national well publicized level I believe it would put one hell of a dent in the uninsured population in this country. Now I don’t pretend to know what the reimbursement levels should be for what income levels but I do know that anything is better than nothing, and in my opinion this is the best middle ground we could find. The Democrats would be happy with the socialized aspect of the reimbursement, and the republicans should be happy that health care remains privatized giving this solution a better chance at a by-partisan backing.

I have faxed this idea to several senators and congressmen but always received the same type of st andard response about how they are concerned with health care and that they are working hard to find a solution knowing full well that no one really even read my letters. The only way to get these ideas out into the public is for you that read this to pass it on to others by word of mouth, by email, or by linking your websites to this webpage. If enough buzz is created than these ideas would get the consideration that they deserve, and if enough people like you and I dem anded that a solution be found than perhaps enough stress can be placed on the politicians to get something done. The number of uninsured Americans is only going to go up, the cost of health care is only going to go up, and the cost of health insurance premiums are only going to go up if something isn’t done now! Until then the only thing that I as a health insurance agent can do is to compare all of the options out there and present you with the lesser of all of the evils, which in too many cases the option that is chosen is the biggest evil of going without coverage.

Close Bitnami banner
Bitnami