Here’s a vido on how to save money on California Medical Insurance. Please contact us if we can provide assistance.
Here’s a vido on how to save money on California Medical Insurance. Please contact us if we can provide assistance.
My father never was the picture of health. He smoked, he drank, and he ate things that most people wouldn’t touch unless they had to break into the box marked “Survival Kit – Last Option.” Vienna sausage does not a meal make. He constantly had some manner of cold, cough, or other malady, and we never really thought much of it. Normally, he would shuffle around for a few days, then get back to life. So, at Thanksgiving 2006 we didn’t really think anything of it when Chock developed a nagging cough that just wouldn’t go away.
By Christmas 2006, it still hadn’t gone away. He was also beginning to have some balance issues, some troubles with his memory, and was tripping over words. He didn’t want to see a doctor – half because he didn’t want to believe something could be wrong, and half because he just wasn’t the type to go to see someone until limbs were actively falling off.
He got progressively worse over the next few months and eventually couldn’t deny the fact that he truly needed to go see a doctor. It was May 9th, 2007 – my parents’ 32nd wedding anniversary – when he was formally diagnosed with Stage IV cancer (brain, lung, bone, blood, and colon). He started aggressive chemotherapy on May 13th, his 71st birthday.
On July 19th, 2007, at 12:40 in the morning, my father died. Very shortly thereafter, we realized that we had some serious problems.
You see, before Chock passed away, he had had a brain tumor the size of a baseball. His mental faculties were somewhat impaired, to say the least, and so some of his last financial decisions were…less than rational. Just before he passed, in one of his last moments of lucidity, he told my mother “I’m sorry, Jo. But I sure am glad I’m not going to have to be the one who has to clean up the mess I made.”
And holy crap, was he right. When Chock died, the bills hit us hard. Chemo had cost $8,000 a round. The cost of his two-month hospital stay in a private room was astronomical. Numerous tests, multiple labs, home hospice care, none of it was cheap. The $1,000 a month my family was paying for his “insurance” had drained us as well – the only thing that “defined benefit” plan defined was exactly what position we were expected to take as we were screwed. Add to that his already extant debt, and we were in deep.
Did I mention that this was all piled on top of my mother’s medical bills? She’s been handicapped for fifteen years with Meinere’s disease. Twenty-three surgeries haven’t been cheap – especially when several of them were excluded from coverage as “experimental procedures.”
Now, let’s make matters worse. Before Chock passed away, he told us that he had a $250,000 life insurance policy through New York Life. Well, that was partly true – at one time, yes, he had life insurance through NYL. The tumor that was altering his speech was also mixing up the chronological order of his memories. Tracing the money flow would reveal that the policy had lapsed years and years ago when he had pulled all the cash value out.
I always wondered how he had been able to afford that boat.
The average American family declares bankruptcy at $11,000-ish of debt. We were in to the tune of $167,000 (before funeral costs) with no life insurance coming.
If you’ll recall, mid-2007 was around the time the real estate market had really settled into its free-fall. My mother’s only option was to sell the house that she and my father had lived in together for thirty-two years. There was no such thing as a quick sell in that market, and the process was torturous. We couldn’t afford storage, and we had to clean out a massive amount of my father’s things in a short period of time to prepare the house for sale. I drove twelve hours round-trip every weekend for months, coming home from college to help my mother throw out over thirty years of memories. It was easily as depressing as sitting next to my father’s bed while he died.
Though we watched the money as closely as possible, there was only so much of it – and it was running out. By the time the house sold, my mother would later tell me, she had about thirty days of cash left before she would have had to declare bankruptcy. And when it sold, it did so for $75,000 under its appraised value.
Now, sad though that story was, it has a happier ending than most. My mother lives in Alabama now, back where she grew up. Between her disability, teacher retirement, and social security, she has enough to get by each month and put some back in savings. And I have a new career path than the one I originally envisioned. I sell insurance now, and I know that there’s not a single person that I work with who will ever find themselves in the situation that my family was in. I’m saving the world, one policy at a time.
This story has several morals worth remembering:
Don’t count on the ability to sell your assets in the event of a death in the family to float you. It might not come through in time, it’s painful, and you’re not going to be in any sort of position to get yourself in a positive bargaining position.
Life insurance does more than provide a bit of money upon a death. It allows the survivors time to grieve in dignity instead of spending sleepless nights throwing out years of accumulated memories.
That $2000 prescription drug cap might not seem like such a big deal when you’re taking a z-pack once every two years for a sinus infection. It’s a huge deal when you’re staring down $8,000 a day of chemotherapy drugs.
Plan for the worst when things are good. You’re rational, you’re calm, and you can think clearly. If you wait until the crap has already hit the fan, you’re going to end up scrambling – like we did.
Don’t just buy insurance. Hire an agent, and make it someone you trust. Talk to them. There are a few insurance agents that give us all a bad name, but I promise, some of us truly do care about keeping your family safe.
(Nick is a friend, and fellow agent in the Atlanta area. He is wise beyond his years. Perhaps that is because he has lived through things most of us never want to think of, and pray we never experience).
Many Californians are hoping for nationalized health care. Be careful as you may get your wish!
Take a listen to a member of the British Parliament, Dan Hannan on how this is not working in England.
The most unselfish gift a person can give to another is the purchase of life insurance. The insurance does nothing to help the insured. It is a gift of love to the beneficiary.
I rarely speak with my clients about their life insurance; instead I’ve been focusing on their health insurance benefits. But I lost a client who lived in Southern California recently and his life insurance was completely inadequate to care for his wife and two young children.
If you haven’t reviewed your insurance lately I strongly urge you to do so. Term insurance for most people is quite affordable and the new plans even will return all your premium at the end of the policy term if you don’t die.
Please give me a call at 800-550-0155 and allow me to show you how inexpensive it is to give a gift of love.
Many of my California Medicare clients really don’t understand Medicare. This should help a little.
If a doctor has requested a LEEP procedure, it’s because the annual Pap smear indicated the presence of abnormal cervical cells, or cervical dysplasia. It’s important for you to remember that having cervical dysplasia does not mean that the patient has cervical cancer. However, treatment of the abnormal area is imperative to prevent abnormal cervical cells from developing into cervical cancer.
I receive requests for health insurance from women who have had the LEEP procedure and many carriers will decline to issue for a period of time. Below are the underwriting guidelines for some of the major California health insurance companies:
Health Net Must have two normal subsequent cervical cancer screenings; annual follow-up to be considered.
Blue Shield Two normal Pap test 6 months apart following the abnormal Pap. Possible eligibility at higher rate.
Anthem Blue Cross Most cases when followed by 2 consecutive normal Paps (6 months apart). Possible coverage at Tier 1 (standard) Rating
Aetna this is from experience, not from underwriting guide With one normal Pap 6 months after LEEP procedure, can consider at a higher rate. Two normal Paps 6 months apart, likely standard.
About a month ago, I was contacted by a young lady who was paying about $550 per month under Cobra. She had one normal Pap about 7 months after the LEEP procedure. I recommened that she apply for the Aetna policy and received a quote from the company for about $185 per month for an HSA plan. This was a 50% rate up from standard but clearly a much better alternative than continuing her Cobra. My suggestion was to apply now and get something in force.
She chose to wait and see what her next Pap which was scheduled for December would show. Hopefully it will be normal and she can receive a standard rating. But what if it was abnormal? Now she will not only have to continue paying the high price for Cobra, but perhaps has jeapordized her ability to get individual insurance in the future.
Not only is it important to seek out the expertise of a professional insurance agent, but it is just as important to take his or her advice.
I certainly hope this woman has no further issues.
To review your insurance, please go to www.califorinamedicalquotes.com. If you are approaching Medicare or know someone who is confused as to choices, go to www.californiamedicareplans.com.
The “guru” of health insurance, Paul Zane Pilzer discusses how to protect yourself from catastrophic healthcare costs without going broke.
Article Link: http://www.webmd.com/medicare/news/20080925/medicare-warns-part-d-changes
Medicare Warns of Part D Changes
Seniors Urged to Check Their 2009 Drug Coverage
By Todd Zwillich
WebMD Health NewsReviewed by Louise Chang, MD Sept. 25, 2008 – Medicare officials on Thursday urged beneficiaries to scrutinize their prescription drug coverage, warning that coverage in the plans may change significantly in 2009.
Kerry Weems, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said seniors and disabled beneficiaries “may see significant premium increases or changes” in their plans.
It is unclear how drastic the changes will be. Drug plans vary state to state and even county to county. Most of the hundreds of private drug plans nationwide won’t release benefit and cost information until the middle of next month, according to CMS.
But Weems said beneficiaries may see “significant premium increases” in their plans, as well as reduced coverage in Part D’s “gap.” That’s where Medicare stops paying drug benefits after spending reaches $2,510 and doesn’t pick up again until most beneficiaries have spent $5,726 on their medications.
“We encourage individual beneficiaries to review how their plans are changing and what other options are available to them to determine which plan best meets their needs,” Weems told reporters.
Officials said beneficiaries in every state would be able to purchase plans that cover drugs in the gap. The fast majority of those plans cover generic drugs, with only a handful covering a wide range of brand-name drugs.
Vicki Gottlich, a senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, said “a huge number” of Medicare beneficiaries will end up having to change their plans or confront reduced coverage or higher costs in their existing plans.
But she said it was too early to know how many patients would need to change.
“Its difficult for folks to have to go through the process of having to go through the whole process every year,” said Gottlich, whose group is a critic of Part D’s private-based drug insurance.
Plans are required to notify beneficiaries of changes to their coverage by Oct. 31.
Medicare has two general types of Part D plans: standalone plans and plans that are part of Medicare Advantage managed care packages.
CMS said the average monthly premiums for standalone plans would be $28 in 2009, up $3 from this year. Drug plans folded into Medicare Advantage are set to rise from an average of $16 dollars this year to $17 in 2009.
Open enrollment for new beneficiaries to sign up for Medicare’s Part D prescription drug plan begins Oct 1. It’s also the time, up until Jan. 1, for current beneficiaries to change plan.