What You Need to Know About AD&D Insurance

When contemplating insurance needs, most people take great care in making sure they have a suitable life insurance policy and medical coverage. You might not think you need something like Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage. As an attorney, your profession doesn’t often put you in harm’s way — you’re not building high rises or doing a physical job that comes with those inherent risks. But the truth is,  accidents still happen to people who aren’t taking great daily risks — and here’s why AD&D coverage should be considered in addition to your other insurance policies.

Protect Your Family

Life insurance still pays in the event of an accidental death, so you may wonder why you would need both types of coverage. In the case of an accident resulting in your death, an AD&D policy would provide extra coverage beyond what your life insurance policy covers. AD&D policies are typically less expensive, too, so they are a more cost effective way to increase your coverage in the event of an accident.

Know Your Needs

Another thing to consider when adding to your insurance coverage is your family’s likely need at the time — an accidental death often leaves families unprepared for the sudden loss of income and financial strain. By definition, accidental deaths are not something you can prepare for and, even with excellent life insurance, this is an event that can have long-lasting financial repercussions on the family as a whole.

Dismemberment Coverage

An additional reason you should consider an AD&D policy lies in the Dismemberment feature of the coverage. Your life insurance policy does not cover permanent injuries and your medical coverage will only aid you in paying bills associated with treating those injuries, not loss of work or any other lifestyle impairment you might suffer from a permanent disability. That is where the Dismemberment coverage can help. 

The Impact of COVID-19 on Group Health Planning and Renewals

This time last year we never suspected that wearing a face mask in public and social distancing would become part of our new normal. Concerts, festivals, and sporting events have been rescheduled or canceled, countless businesses have been forced to permanently close, and even Disney World temporarily shut their doors to the public.

With health and safety becoming a major focus this year for everyone, how can employers prepare for changes to the group health and benefits planning process?

Planning Your Benefits

To accurately plan your health benefits for next year, you’ll want to begin by identifying any trends or changes from this year. Here are a few questions you should be considering:

  • Have your claims gone up?
  • Have you lost employees?
  • Does your plan offer a low or no copay telemedicine product?
  • Is this the year you should consider a level-funded plan (which can save 10%-15% in premium costs)?
  • Do you have capabilities for employees to enroll online without having to collect paper forms?
  • Do you need to get even more creative with plan options and your contribution strategy?

Do you normally host enrollment meetings between your employees and broker agent? You may want to plan for virtual meetings this year assuming your agent has the ability.

Our team can offer expert advice, creative solutions, telemedicine, and best-in-class digital capabilities so you never need to collect paper enrollment forms again.

The Newness of the Virus

While plenty of data exists for viruses that have been around for decades, there just isn’t a lot of solid information on COVID-19 costs yet – which can make planning for the next year difficult. How long will the virus last? How much will treatment cost? Will there be any long-term health complications from the virus? These are the kinds of questions that the medical, healthcare and business communities don’t yet have answers to.

Do You Have Enough Life Insurance?

If something happened to you, would your loved ones be in a tough spot without your income? It may be difficult to consider that scenario, but life insurance is a way to help ensure your family will stay financially afloat after you’re gone.

If you purchased life insurance years ago (perhaps before you had a house and children) it may be time to bump up your coverage. Your employer may offer a plan, but everyone’s needs are different. Below are a few questions to help put you on the right track.

How old are your kids?

The younger your children, the more coverage you’ll want. If you have toddlers, your life insurance needs will probably differ from someone with teenagers. If you die and leave your spouse with a 1-year-old and 3-year-old, he or she has nearly two decades to get through without your income — not to mention the cost of college. Life insurance can help make that time easier financially.

Has your income changed?

The general rule of thumb is that you should invest in 7 to 10 times your income in life insurance.1 If you first bought life insurance 10 years ago, you probably weren’t earning the salary you are today, therefore, you have more you need to protect for your family if something were to happen to you.

What do you still owe?

List the expenses in your life that are ongoing — mortgage, car payments and any big credit card balances or private student loans. Debt doesn’t disappear when you die, and your spouse will have less income to make payments with.

Some debt, such as credit card debt, may be forgiven if the estate doesn’t have enough in assets to pay the balance — but if a spouse was a joint account holder, they’ll be liable. Having enough life insurance to pay off any major debts, or at least to make it easier for your spouse to continue making payments is something to consider when reassessing your life insurance needs.

Do you plan to cover college expenses?

If your children are likely to attend college, that’s a massive future expense. In addition to buying coverage at a multiple of your income, you may want to add extra for anticipated college costs. Consider bumping up your life insurance by $100,000 for each child’s college fund.

What about funeral expenses?

The typical funeral costs between $7,000 to $10,000, which is a big bill to cover if an income-earner has just died. If you factored this into your original total, that’s fine. If you didn’t, you may want to consider increasing your coverage amount as needed.

Two Reasons to Check Your LTD Plan

It’s easy to think that a long-term disability diagnosis will never happen to you. But having a safe profession and low-risk lifestyle does not negate the need to protect your income if you are no longer able to perform the duties of your occupation.

Here are two big reasons to consider this coverage:

Reason #1: The risk is real, even if you don’t think anything will happen to you.

What are the chances of being diagnosed with a long-term disability if you work a desk job? The answer may surprise you: it’s the same as everyone else.

More than one in four of today’s 20-year-olds can expect to be out of work for at least a year due to a disabling condition before they reach the normal retirement age.1 Even if you work a desk job (and have no intention of skydiving or swimming with great white sharks) you still face more risk than you may think.

A long-term disability can range from something as common as arthritis to something as serious as cancer. Contrary to popular belief, the leading causes of disability claims (and loss of income) for workers are musculoskeletal disorders and disease—not catastrophic accidents.2

Reason #2: Employer-provided disability plans often cover only a fraction of your income.

If you have long-term disability coverage provided through your employer, you may want to review your current coverage amount and make changes if needed. Employer-provided plans will often only cover a limited portion of your salary and may not factor in any bonuses that you and your family rely on to pay your bills or maintain your lifestyle.

Hopefully, you will never have to file a claim and collect the benefits of a long-term disability policy, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have one.

 

 

1 Social Security Administration, July 2019, https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10029.pdf
2 The State of Disability Coverage in America – Key Facts in 2019, https://disabilitycanhappen.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/DIAM2019_Facts.pdf

What is Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)?

Would your ability to earn a paycheck be impacted if you were to suddenly lose your speech, hearing, or a limb? Would your family experience financial difficulty if you lost your life in an accident?

If the answer to either question is ‘yes,’ you may benefit from Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance coverage. AD&D insurance is designed to help you and your family meet the financial challenges that come with experiencing a life-altering accident.

Keeping You Covered

A life-changing accident can happen at any time. And according to the CDC, accidents are the third-leading cause of death in the United States – claiming more than 167,000 lives in 2018 alone.

AD&D insurance is similar to life insurance in that it pays a benefit to your beneficiary(ies) if your death is the result of a covered accident. But unlike life insurance, an AD&D insurance policy can also pay a benefit to you if you experience a serious injury resulting in the loss of a limb, a hand, foot, sight in one eye, speech, or hearing, among others.

A Response to COVID-19

As world leaders continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, we would like to reassure its customers and partners that we expect to continue normal business operations.

While there is still a great deal of uncertainty about how the virus will affect markets, industries and entire economies — we are confident that our business continuity plan and operational infrastructure will enable us to continue providing the same level of service excellence that our customers have come to expect.

In addition to providing uninterrupted service, our other commitments to you include:

  • Taking measures to safeguard our employees and customers.
  • Monitoring the situation in our customers’ local and regional areas.
  • Remaining in close communication with our providers and carriers.
  • Being a responsible partner in our communities.
  • Keeping you informed of any important updates.

We will continue to post updates on this web page when necessary.

If you have any questions about your existing policies or coverage, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

businessman explaining group health needs

Group Health Coverage Basics for Small Businesses

Offering health insurance to your employees may sound like an overwhelming process — but it doesn’t need to be. Once you’ve identified your business’s needs and know the basics of group health insurance, the rest is easy. So, what do you need to know first?

What’s the difference between group and individual health plans?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “A group health plan is an employee welfare benefit plan established or maintained by an employer or by an employee organization (such as a union), or both, that provides medical care for participants or their dependents directly or through insurance, reimbursement, or otherwise.”

In other words, a group health plan is designed to cover a group of employees, but each enrollee has their own plan with benefits – and the plan’s monthly premium is calculated differently than if it were purchased as an individual health plan.

The monthly premium for all health plans is determined by the perceived risk of the carrier in offering coverage. With a group health plan, the group seeking coverage has their risk pooled together as one, which in some cases, may lower the monthly cost.

Unlike individual plans, group health plans are also available in different types designed to help your business save the most money and make the best coverage decisions. To learn more about these different plan types and ways that your business can save money on group health coverage, feel free to check out this group health webinar.

As a business owner, do I have to offer group health insurance to my employees?

Depending on the size of your business, the answer could be no. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) stated that businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees are not legally obligated to provide health insurance to their employees — but many choose to regardless.

Looking for a better benefits package is one of the most common reasons people change jobs. And if your business doesn’t offer a health insurance benefit, it may give current and prospective employees reason to look somewhere else for employment.

If you are federally mandated to offer health insurance to your employees, you will need to ensure you are following the rest of the ACA’s rules and regulations for small businesses.

female doctor with curly hair talks to man and girl about health options smiling

Debunking the Most Common Long-Term Disability Insurance Myths

When was the last time you thought about what would happen to your family if you suddenly couldn’t work? If you have to think about it, then chances are, it’s been a while.

The simple truth is that one out of every four workers will be diagnosed with a long-term disability before they reach the age of retirement. But despite this startling statistic, many still feel like long-term disability insurance is a coverage they can live without.

Myth #1:  “I have enough protection through Workers’ Comp and Social Security.”

According to the Council for Disability Awareness, only approximately five percent of accidents or illnesses are workplace-related meaning that the other ninety-five percent will not be covered under workers’ comp.

When seeking to collect social security disability benefits, you may be in for a wait of anywhere from three to five months for an initial decision to be made regarding your case. If, like 66 percent of applicants, your application is denied, you have the option to appeal, but in 2017 the backlog of appeals cases hit over one million with an average processing time of over eighteen months, according to research conducted by Allsup.

Can your family really afford to wait for benefits when you need help?

Myth #2:  “I’ll still have to fight for a payout in the event of a long-term disability diagnosis.”

We’ve all heard stories about people struggling to receive payout benefits from their insurance company. However, not all of these cases are related to long-term disability insurance and those that are, are very rare.

Upon enrolling, all of your benefits and circumstances surrounding a potential payout are laid out in front of you. If you aren’t going to receive the amount of coverage you are looking for, then it may be worth looking into other options.

Myth #3:  “I can’t receive long-term disability insurance because I’m a government employee.”

If you are a government employee enrolled in a Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) plan, you are still able to apply for long-term disability benefits. According to the Council for Disability Awareness, “While you can buy private supplemental long-term disability insurance in addition to having FERS benefits, you may not get as much coverage as you expected.”

elderly couple weighing their long term care options at a dining room table

Dispelling 3 Myths of Long-term care

How much of our lives do we spend thinking about the future? When we’re kids, we think about what we’re going to be when we grow up, what our first car will be, whether or not we’ll get married or if we’ll have children of our own.

At some point, we stop thinking about the future—usually when it stops being fun to imagine. But this is when thinking about the future becomes the most important.

Common Misconceptions Regarding Long-term Care

Myth #1: Medicare will pay for it.

No. Medicare will not pay for your long-term care needs. While Medicare is designed to help those over the age of 65 keep on top of their healthcare needs, long-term care is not one of them according to the federal government. And while Medicare Supplemental plans are often touted to cover things that Medicare leaves behind, long-term care is still not one of them.

Myth #2: I won’t need long-term care.

While this may be true for some, according to Longtermcare.gov, if you were to turn 65 today, you would have almost a 70 percent chance of needing some form of long-term care service during your remaining years.

The generation currently facing the greatest growing need for long-term care services are the Baby Boomers. Born between 1946 and 1964, the Baby Boomer generation accounts for roughly 78 million Americans, and according to Medicare.gov, it is estimated that 12 million of them will require long-term care services by 2020.

Myth #3: My spouse or kids will take care of me.

According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, it is estimated that 25 to 30 percent of the baby boomer generation “will become divorced or widowed by the time they reach ages 55 to 64,” increasing the likelihood of needing to depend on one’s children to provide care.

However, studies have shown that rates of childlessness continue to rise. According to the Center for Disease Control, new data has shown that the birthrate has hit an all-time low. This statistic may not have as large of an impact on older generations who have more children than it will eventually for younger generations that do not.

Taking Control Of Your Future

According to an article from Forbes, “A private room in a nursing home now costs consumers more than $8,000 per month, or $97,455 per year… That’s an increase of 5.5 from just one year ago and a nearly 50% increase since 2004. A semi-private room is less expensive, but still carries a hefty price tag: $85,775 per year.”

Assisted living facilities are more affordable but the national average for a private room will still run approximately $45k a year — which is actually proving to be more affordable than in-home health aids ($49,192) and standard homemaker-type services ($47,934), according to the Genworth 2017 Cost of Care Study.

With the yearly cost of long-term care only continuing to rise, long-term care insurance can help both you and your family cover the cost of your care should you need it in the future.

happy family smiling in front of house

Two Ways That Life Insurance Helps Our Communities

What would your family do if you were no longer there to help support them? For many families throughout the country, this is a question that is sometimes asked too late. Maintaining a way of life can become extremely difficult after the death of a spouse or partner — not just emotionally, but financially as well.

But did you know that life insurance also plays a role in our communities and national economy?

Reduces Poverty Levels

Losing a loved one is hard enough without the added stress of associated financial hardship. Life insurance can help ease that burden. Payouts from life insurance policies can provide essential financial resources to help lift a family out of poverty or prevent them from entering into poverty altogether after the death of a loved one.

In 2018, the life insurance industry paid out more than $120 billion to beneficiaries. These payouts are designed to help families maintain their current way of life while they adjust to their new reality — helping to pay for everything from mortgages and estate taxes to child care.

Increases Home and Neighborhood Value

No one should be forced into making life-changing decisions while grieving the loss of a family member. In many households, this sudden loss may mean uprooting a family altogether to somewhere more easily supported by a single income.

With the help of life insurance payouts, families can take their time when deciding whether to relocate due to loss of income – while still being able to make necessary repairs and keep up with maintenance. Homes that have been properly maintained and cared for over the years not only result in higher property values, they also increase desirability of the overall neighborhood.

According to Prudential’s The Socioeconomic Impact of Life Insurance 2017-2018 report, “a $1 permanent increase in payouts results in a 47-cent reduction in federal spending on poverty and unemployment programs — plus a $22 increase in the aggregate value of home prices.”

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