Review Your Pension Options Before It’s Too Late

Your pension is probably the most important asset you have, hopefully enabling you to enjoy your retirement in the comfort and security that you enjoyed during your working life. The way a pension works is simple, the contributions you make during your working lifetime along with any employer contributions are invested in one or more of a range of pension reviewprofessionally managed funds. Any UK resident under the age of 75 is eligible to receive income tax relief at their highest marginal rate on annual contributions to private and occupational pension schemes, up to 100% of UK earning with an annual allowance limit of £255,000 for 2010/11. Because of the favourable tax advantages, pensions have traditionally been seen as an ideal means of providing income in retirement, however, for millions of savers, their retirement plans have been ruined by years of poorly performing pension funds. With the current single state pension in 2010/11 being a maximum of £97.65 and some people receiving less than this, it is important that you are aware of the kind of income you can expect in retirement. According to the annuity specialist Partnership, between 2004 and 2009, 9 out of 10 people who retired had amassed a pension pot of less than £50,000 while 77% of people had less than £30,000, the group saying that a £30,000 annuity in today’s rates would provide an income of just £2000 a year.

With this in mind there has never been a better time to find out how your pension is performing and whether it’s on target to produce the income that you had hoped for in retirement. An easy solution is to find an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Independent Financial Advisers are authorised and regulated by the financial services authority. This allows you to check their credentials with the Financial Services Register. They will offer you written advice and recommendations, based on your particular personal and financial circumstances. This will usually be a fee free service without obligation although you will be given the option. A successful IFA firm will work on the basic tenant of offering an advised based process and not a sale’s driven process. If they cannot illustrate to you that they can add significant value to your pension then they do not deserve you as a client. They know that by offering you advice without up front fees, they can demonstrate their commitment of excellence to you and history has shown that this is the best way for them to further their business, putting their clients first.

When first meeting with your IFA, they are required to provide you with information about the products and services they provide and about the costs to the client. They will tell you the nature of the services they provide and the types of products they offer. They will tell you whether the products are sourced from the whole of the market or from a specified sector of the market. They will explain whether they offer advice and recommendation. They will tell you the details of ownership and regulation of the firm. They will tell you how to complain to the company and, how if not entirely happy, to the Financial Ombudsman Service. They will explain to you how to obtain compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. They will explain the different options that you have for meeting the cost of the advice and whether the firm charges fees, takes commission or offers a choice between the two and where a firm does take commission, they will tell you the amount of commission and how that compares with the market average for similar transactions. All this information will then be given to you or sent to you in the post in the form of an Initial Disclosure Document.

In order for your IFA to offer you advice they will need to fully ascertain your financial and personal circumstances relevant to the services which they are to provide. This is likely to be in the form of a confidential client questionnaire or fact find. They will need to know personal information such as, name, address, date of birth, marital or relationship status, number of dependents and state of health. They will need your employment details, occupation, employer, income and benefit details and any pension arrangements. They will need to know your assets and liabilities, for example any property owned, savings and investments or personal belongings along with any mortgages, loans or credit cards. They will also need to understand your household expenditure including loan repayments, household expenses, regular savings, holidays and luxuries. They also need to ascertain your attitudes to risk, your objectives and goals and your knowledge and experience of investment in the particular product in which you are interested. In the case of a pension plan, your adviser will also need full details of your pension and provider and your authority to approach them in order to obtain all the relevant information.

Once your pension provider has provided your full pension details to the adviser, they will then carry out a full and detailed review which covers your current provider’s product charges and the investment performance of your current fund options as well as the full range of fund options, flexibility of terms, financial strength of the provider, and any on going policy administration. The resultant report they provide to you will show you how well your pension is performing relative to other products in the market and the relative charges incurred and will also provide you with a projected benefit statement for your chosen retirement age. Having obtained all this information, your adviser will then be a position to recommend that you either stay with your existing provider, contract and choice of funds, stay with your existing provider changing contracts and or funds or move to a new provider, contract and fund options.

For any recommendation given by your adviser, you will be issued with a suitability report for the specific product chosen, explaining why the product recommended is suitable to you based on your particular personal and financial situation, your needs and priorities and your attitude to risk. The report will also identify any possible disadvantages to you and will be written in clear and concise English. Once you’ve received your report your adviser will call you to make sure that you fully understand it and to point out what the implications are of following or not following the advice. Don’t forget that you are under no obligation to follow any of the advice that has been offered.

Regular reviews and fund switches can lead to a greater performance and a reduced investment risk. Many IFAs will offer a regular pension review service with a fund management service at an annual charge of between 0.5% – 1.0% of fund value. These reviews will take place either once a year or for more aggressively managed pensions, every three months. By working in this way any remuneration received by the IFA is directly linked to your pension’s performance and your IFA will be actively working to increase your pension’s growth.

You Have Been Declined for Health Insurance in California, Now What?

If you are reading this then you probably have been declined for health insurance in the recent past. When you get declined for health insurance it probably has something to do with your medical history. Since California is one of the underwritten states health care companies have the right to declined people for health insurance. Who health insurance company might decline and who it might not all depends on risk assessment using actuarial tables. Anytime when you fill out individual application for health coverage and answer yes on one of the medical questions your application might be manually reviews by one of the underwriters. It is a person who is responsible to reviewing application using actuarial tables. Actuarial tables are statistics done by the insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, researchers that predict the cost of insuring some one with a specific medical history.

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Some states like New York, New Jersey and Washington require insurance companies to insure everyone. Those three states do not have medical underwriting and everyone is automatically approved for health coverage. In order to insure everyone with medical history insurance companies increase rates to the point where it becomes un-affordable to most people. What keeps the average monthly premiums low is low utilization of health care. If there are more people with high medical insurance utilization with a specific health insurance company they have to raise the rates for everyone in order to keep up with paying medical claims. That also drives people who do not use health insurance that often to drop health insurance all together and yet driving rates even higher. This leaves no choice for insurance carriers but to drive rates even higher. New York, New Jersey and Washington have highest premiums for medical coverage and a lot of families find health care out of reach.

In California if you have been declined for health coverage you have options. If you out of job or currently on low income you can qualify for Medical and if you have kids they can qualify for a program called Healthy Families. Most states including California have high risk pools that are designed for people who have been declined for individual health insurance. In California this program is called MRMIP. Just the quick search on the Internet will guide to a government website. MRMIP is a program that is managed by the state and your big name medical insurance providers participate in it. Chances are you will be able to keep the same health insurance company if you are already use to them. MRMIP program has limits and it might have a waiting period.

One of the best options might be when it comes to getting the most coverage for your money is through a group plan. In the state of California all group plans by law are required to be a guaranteed issue. That means that there is no medical underwriting. This options requires more work from you. Insurance companies are not just going to let you set up a group plan if you have been declined for individual health insurance. Since insurance companies are required to insurance everyone who is part of the group state requires insurance companies to have rules when it comes to setting up a group plan. Some of the basic requirements change from the insurance company to the insurance company.

The best way to find out is talk to insurance broker. The basics that insurance companies are going to be looking for are that you have to have a reason for starting a group plan other then getting medical insurance. It is illegal to start a group plan just to get health insurance. That means that you have to have a business and that could be anything. To have a group plan you obviously have to have more then just yourself It takes at least two people to start a group plan. All the people that are going to be on the group plan are either have to be the owners of the business or have to be on the payroll. Some insurance companies require either a DE-6 form or six weeks of payroll records. If every one if the owner then you will be required to provide proof of the ownership listing everyone that is going to be on a group plan as the owner. This might not be simple but is is certainly doable and it is definitely worth it if you do not have any coverage and cannot get it on your own.

It is always easier to just blame the insurance company that they have declined you for health coverage. If you have been declined and are looking for health insurance you just have to be more proactive in getting your coverage. Once you work with a broker on getting on the requirements on setting up a group plan then it is forever yours and no one can take that coverage away from you unless you stop paying for it.

Small Business Health Insurance – An Employer’s Guide to Getting Small Business Health Insurance

Saving on your small business health insurance can be a challenge. But there are ways to overcome the financial obstacles and get the coverage necessary for your business. There are two major benefits of employer-based coverage. First these plans, although expensive, usually carry the best all around protection for you and your employees. Second, providing benefits plays a key role in attracting and retaining quality employees.

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Why is coverage for small businesses so much more than for large corporations?

Health insurance for small businesses cost so much because of the high quality coverage concentrated among a small group of people. Every individual within the group represents a different level of financial risk to an insurance company, and this risk is added up and spread out among the group. Large corporations pay considerably less because the risk is spread to such a large group, where small business owners can see unreasonably high increases in premiums due to one or two members. Small businesses also have to insure their employees under state mandates, which can require the policies to cover some specific health conditions and treatments. Large corporations’ policies are under federal law, usually self-insured, and with fewer mandated benefits. The Erisa Act of 1974 officially exempted self-funded insurance policies from state mandates, lessening the financial burdens of larger firms.

Isn’t the Health Care Reform Bill going to fix this?

This remains to be seen. There will be benefits for small business owners in the form of insurance exchanges, pools, tax credits, subsidies etc. But you can’t rely on a bill that is still in the works, and you can’t wait for a bill where the policies set forth won’t take effect until about 2013. Additionally, the bill will help you with costs, but still won’t prevent those costs from continually rising. You, as a business owner, will need to be fully aware of what you can do to maintain your bottom line.

What can I do?

First you need to understand the plan options out there. So here they are.

PPO

A preferred provider option (PPO) is a plan where your insurance provider uses a network of doctors and specialists. Whoever provides your care will file the claim with your insurance provider, and you pay the co-pay.

Who am I allowed to visit?

Your provider will cover any visit to a doctor or specialist within their network. Any care you seek outside the network will not be covered. Unlike an HMO, you don’t have to get your chosen doctor registered or approved by your PPO provider. To find out which doctors are in your network, simply ask your doctor’s office or visit your insurance company’s website.

Where Can I Get it?

Most providers offer it as an option in your plan. Your employees will have the option to get it when they sign their employment paperwork. They generally decide on their elections during the open enrollment period, because altering the plan after this time period won’t be easy.

And Finally, What Does It Cover?

Any basic office visit, within the network that is, will be covered under the PPO insurance. There will be the standard co-pay, and dependent upon your particular plan, other types of care may be covered. The reimbursement for emergency room visits generally range from sixty to seventy percent of the total costs. And if it is necessary for you to be hospitalized, there could be a change in the reimbursement. Visits to specialists will be covered, but you will need a referral from your doctor, and the specialist must be within the network.

A PPO is an expensive, yet flexible option for your small business health insurance. It provides great coverage though, and you should inquire with your provider to find out how you can reduce the costs.

HMO (Health Maintenance Organization)

Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) are the most popular small business health insurance plans. Under an HMO plan you will have to register your primary care physician, as well as any referred specialists and physicians. Plan participants are free to choose specialists and medical groups as long as they are covered under the plan. And because HMOs are geographically driven, the options may be limited outside of a specific area.

Health maintenance organizations help to contain employer’s costs by using a wide variety of prevention methods like wellness programs, nurse hotlines, physicals, and baby-care to name a few. Placing a heavy emphasis on prevention cuts costs by stopping unnecessary visits and medical procedures.

When someone does fall ill, however, the insurance provider manages care by working with health care providers to figure out what procedures are necessary. Usually a patient will be required to have pre-certification for surgical procedures that aren’t considered essential, or that may be harmful.

HMOs are less expensive than PPOs, and this preventative approach to health care theoretically does keep costs down. The downside, however, is that employees may not pursue help when it is needed for fear of denial. That aside, it is a popular and affordable plan for your small business health insurance.

POS (Point of Service)

A Point of Service plan is a managed care insurance similar to both an HMO and a PPO. POS plans require members to pick a primary health care provider. In order to get reimbursed for out-of-network visits, you will need to have a referral from the primary provider. If you don’t, however, your reimbursement for the visit could be substantially less. Out-of-network visits will also require you to handle the paperwork, meaning submit the claim to the insurance provider.

POSs provide more freedom and flexibility than HMOs. But this increased freedom results in higher premiums. Also, this type of plan can put a strain on employee finances when non-network visits start to pile up. Assess your needs and weigh all your options before making a decision.

EPO

An Exclusive Provider Organization Plan is another network-based managed care plan. Members of this plan must choose from a health care provider within the network, but exceptions can be made due to medical emergencies. Like HMOs, EPOs focus on preventative care and healthy living. And price wise, they fall between HMOs and PPOs.

The differences between an EPO and the other two organization plans are small, but important. While certain HMO and PPO plans offer reimbursement for out-of-network usage, an EPO does not allow its members to file a claim for doctor visits out its network. EPO plans are more restrictive in this respect, but are also able to negotiate lower fees by guaranteeing health care providers that it’s members will use in-network doctors. These plans are also negotiated on a fee-for-services basis, whereas HMOs are on a per-person basis.

What to Do If You Were Turned Down For Health Insurance

If you’ve been living without health insurance, you’re not alone. 15.9 percent of all Americans are uninsured as reported by the UHF (United Health Foundation). Sadly, sometimes even when people are trying to be financially and socially responsible they’ll find that they’re unable to qualify for a health insurance policy.

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According to survey by U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 60 percent of the population gets health insurance in the form of group policies through their employer. There are other people who get covered by government-sponsored health care, such as children, the elderly, and those with low incomes. Until recently, however, those outside of these groups were largely at the mercy of the policies of for-profit insurance companies when it came to whether they could get coverage.

If initially turned down, ask again or apply with another insurance provider

If you find that you’re in this group that has difficulty getting coverage, the first thing you should do is to try to find out what happened. In some cases, you may be rejected due to an error on the part of the company. If the reasons for your rejection were minor, you may also still be able to get individual insurance through another company. However, if you have a major pre-existing condition such as Cancer or Diabetes, it’s unlikely that any insurance company will consider you a good risk and you’ll have to seek out other options.

State high risk health insurance pools as an option

It is for this reason that a national high-risk insurance pool will be created within 90 days following the passage of the March 2010 Health Care Reform Act for people with existing medical conditions. The pool is backed by $5 billion in federal subsidies, and will offer subsidized premiums to people who have been uninsured for at least six months and have medical problems that have resulted in their being rejected from other insurance options. In some cases these risk pools will be run through the state governments. Either way, the law says that these pools will remain available until the new health care reforms have fully taken effect in 2014.

Prior to this legislation, high risk pools were already available in 34 states and covered 183,000 citizens. From the perspective of someone who wants a policy, the important thing to note is that the quality of coverage offered can vary widely depending on the attitude and policies of the state offering them. Some states are just more generous than others in programs like this, and if you believe that you’re likely to need to use your health care policy regularly, it’ll be worth your while to get a sense of the kind of coverage that your state offers. You should also remember that even though you’ll already be paying higher premiums than a typical insurance plan, you’ll still have to make sure you have enough money in reserve to cover deductibles and co-payments or health care will be as unattainable to you as ever.

In extreme cases, if you find your state’s high risk pool to be a completely unacceptable option, you still have choices but none of them are easy. If you’ve been working at running your own business or at a small business, you may be able to get into a group plan if you can find employment at a large company. In an extreme case, if you know that another state offers a high risk pool option that would work for you, and you have the means to do it (such as family in that area), you could even consider relocating.

State risk pools and where to contact them

Alabama Insurance Plan

Toll-free 1-800-513-1384 or (334) 353-8924

Alaska Comprehensive Insurance Association

Toll-free 1-888-290-0616

Arkansas Comprehensive Insurance Plan

Toll-free 1-800-285-6477

California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program

Toll-free 1-800-289-6574 or (916) 324-4695

CoverColorado

(303) 863-1960 or toll-free 1-866-787-9129 (M-F 8am-5pm)

Connecticut Health Reinsurance Association

Toll-free 1-800-842-0004 (M-F 9am-4pm EST)

Florida Comprehensive Health Association (closed to new enrollees since 1991)

(850) 309-1200

Idaho Individual High Risk Reinsurance Pool

(link is to a PDF on program)

Toll-free 1-800-721-3272 (In-state only)

Illinois Comprehensive Insurance Plan

Toll-free 1-866-851-2751 (in-state only) or (217) 782-6333

Indiana Comprehensive Health Association (click “guest” for access, then choose “ICHIA”)

Toll-free 1-800-552-7921 or (317) 614-2000

Health Insurance Plan of Iowa

Toll-free 1-877-793-6880 (M-F 8am-5pm CST)

Kansas Insurance Association

Toll-free 1-800-362-9290 (M-F 8am-5pm)

Kentucky Access

Toll-free 1-866-405-6145

Louisiana Health Plan

Toll-free 1-800-736-0947 or (504) 926-6245

Maryland Insurance Plan

Toll-free 1-888-444-9016 (M-F 8am-5pm)

Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association

Toll-free 1-866-894-8053

Mississippi Comprehensive Health Risk Pool

Toll-free 1-888-820-9400

Montana Comprehensive Health Association

Toll-free 1-800-447-7828

Nebraska Comprehensive Insurance Pool

(402) 343-3574 or toll-free 1-877-348-4304 (M-F 8am-4:30pm)

New Hampshire Health Plan

Toll-free 1-877-888-6447

New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool

(505) 622-4711

North Carolina Health Insurance Risk Pool (NCHIRP)

Toll-free 1-866-665-2117

Comprehensive Health Association of North Dakota (North Dakota health insurance risk pool)

Toll-free 1-800-737-0016 or (701) 277-2271

Oklahoma Health Insurance High Risk Pool

Toll-free 1-800-255-6065 or (913) 362-0040

Oregon Medical Insurance Pool

Toll-free 1-800-848-7280 or (503) 225-6620 (M-F 8am-5pm)

South Carolina Insurance Pool

Toll-free Phone 1-800-868-2500, ext. 42757, or 1-803-788-0500, ext. 42757

South Dakota Risk Pool

605-773-3148 (ask for a Risk Pool representative)

Tennessee’s Tenncare Program

1-888-486-9355

Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool

1-888-398-3927

Utah Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool

Toll-free 1-800-705-9173 or (801) 442-6660

Washington State Health Insurance Pool

Toll-free 1-800-877-5187

West Virginia Health Insurance Plan

1-866-445-8491

Wisconsin Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan

Toll-free 1-800-828-4777

Wyoming Health Insurance Pool

(307) 634-1393

Mark Anderson is a serial entrepreneur and a self-studied expert in buying individual health insurance [http://www.buyingindividualhealthinsuranceblog.com] and small business health insurance plans. Mark has started, operated and sold several businesses ranging from being a solo-entrepreneur to building a small businesses into a 35 person organization. Through this process Mark has become an expert in the field of medical health insurance for individuals and small business.

The Pros and Cons of Group Health Insurance

The health insurance marketplace is certainly challenging, but count your lucky stars that at least you have choices. To that end, this article is going to explore the pros and cons of group health insurance.

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Group Health Insurance Pros

  • Group health premiums are subsidized by the employer. Generally, an employer must contribute at least 50% of the “employee only” premium. As such, if you are the employee, you can likely get a richer health plan for less premium than you would pay in the individual health marketplace. However, the cost to add your dependents to the employer’s plan, may be cost prohibitive. In this case, and assuming that your dependents can qualify, then you may want to put them on an individual health plan.
  • Group health premiums for large families are the same as for small families; whereas in the individual market, you pay a separate premium for every family member. So, if you have a large family, you may be able to get a better deal by adding them to your employer’s plan. As with any insurance change though, don’t make any changes without consulting with an experienced insurance advisor in your state.
  • Group health insurance in most states is guaranteed issue – meaning that you can’t be turned down because of pre-existing health conditions. This is a real blessing if you or a family member has a medical condition that prevents you from qualifying for a individual plan. But, this is a double-edged sword. While being guaranteed issue is a huge benefit for those with pre-existing medical conditions, it does come at a price. This one feature alone accounts for most of the disparity between group and individual insurance premiums. Yes, that is right – in most states, individual health premiums are almost always less expensive than group health premiums.
  • Most group plans cover maternity. So, if you are planning on having more children, you should definitely consider hopping on to a group plan. While you can add a “maternity rider” to individual plans, these riders tend to be expensive, restrictive, and otherwise provide less value than the coverage you can get in a group health plan. That being said, if you are considering having more children, we recommend that you contact a health insurance advisor in your state for advice about what is best for your family. The right answer is different for each unique family.
  • Economies of scale can benefit employees of large employers. It is true that the larger the group, the larger the risk pool is in which to share the risk which CAN result in lower premiums than are available in the individual health market. However, the guaranteed issue “issue” CAN wreak havoc on this type of plan. For example, a large employer with good benefits tends to retain employees for long periods of time. Eventually, the average age of the group starts to creep up and so do premiums. In addition, people with large medical needs (expensive medical conditions) tend to be attracted to large plans because they are guaranteed issue with good coverage. And so, over time, not only is the group’s average age increasing, but the group is also attracting employees with large expected health costs. This is the dilemma that we see with large health plans like the U.S. auto-makers and even government plans. Eventually, those with lots of medical needs begin to outnumber those with little or no needs and so premiums are driven higher and higher.

Group Health Insurance Cons

  • Group health insurance can be more expensive than individual health insurance. ln fact, if you don’t factor in the employer’s contribution towards premiums, then individual plans are almost always more affordable than group plans. However, as we discussed earlier, not every one can qualify for an individual plan.
  • What happens if your employment is terminated (by you or your employer)? Yes, you will likely have some benefit continuation rights (through COBRA or state continuation programs), but these benefits can be very expensive and the term limited. So, eventually, you either have to secure another job with benefits, an individual health plan (assuming you are insurable), or possibly join a government health insurance program for the uninsured (if you are not insurable). Let me emphasize, that you should NEVER be without some form of major medical health insurance. Being without this insurance puts you and your family in serious financial jeopardy. In fact, a recent Harvard University study found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses.¹ To the same point, every 30 seconds in the United States, someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem. Don’t let this happen to you.
  • Group health insurance premiums are rising faster than individual health insurance premiums. Why? Because most group plans are guaranteed issue and since they accept “all comers”, they tend to attract those with high medical costs. On the other hand, most individual health insurance plans are medically underwritten. This means that the insurance company can say “no thanks” to any application that it deems to not be in its interest. Put yourself in their shoes – would sign a contract to provide $30,000 in annual benefits to someone that was only going to pay $3,000 in premiums (for a net loss of $27,000) if you didn’t have to? Hmm…let me me think about that one. The answer is a resounding “NO!”. Because of this underwriting process for individual health insurance, insurance companies can control their risk and more effectively manage their profitability, resulting in more stable prices.

Dos and Don’ts When Completing Individual Health Insurance Application

If you do not have access to a group employer plan then the other option you have is to apply for individual health insurance plan. Individual health insurance application require more information from you then group health insurance plans that you might have had through job. The reason for that is that individual, and that applies to family health plans, are medically underwritten. That means that a person called medical underwriter will go over your medical application and decide if you are a good risk for the insurance company. The main reason for medical underwriting is to keep over all cost for every one low. The more insurance company has to pay out in claims the more they have to charge every one for health insurance to keep the average cost down.

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If you have already had a chance to take a look at individual application then you probably know that it can be long. How much of the application you have to fill out depends on your previous medical history. If you are in perfect health then there is not much that you can write on your application other then some basic information. If you are some one who has been to the doctors for lab work, test or takes prescription medication then you would have to include that on your application. Most individual application require you to provide information of your doctor or the last doctor you have been to. If you are not sure of the name of the doctor you can always include the hospital name, clinic name or doctors practice name. When it comes for the dates of your last doctor office visit or any other dates. If you do not remember exact dates, just put down your best estimate.

The most important thing to keep in mind when filling out individual or family application, especially if you do have some medical issues, is to understand this. Until there is a permanent change to health care system and health insurance is not medically underwritten. Insurance company will consider every condition that you have and every medication that you take. The reason for that is that in most states in the US health insurance companies require to cover everything once you are approved. That means that all of your medical conditions and prescription drugs have to be cover by law once you have been approved for coverage. That is if you are approved. I hate to use this analogy because we a talking about human lives, but the simple way to explain health insurance is to compare it to car insurance. For example lets say you get in the minor car accident and you do not have car insurance. Your car is still drivable and it looks like you will need a new bumper and some paint. The next day you go out and purchase car insurance to cover your accident. Well we know it does not work like that. If you could just go out and get car insurance only after you had an accident then no one would pay for car insurance. Why pay if you can just get it after you had an accident. No one would pay for car insurance and car insurance companies would not exist. Then you would be fully responsible for all the damages out of your own pocket. I know I would rather pay that $100 a month just in case something does happen.

Most people do not recognize that health insurance works in the same way. Health insurance companies are not going to approve some one who requires immediate medical assistance. That includes pending follow up visits to the doctor, recent surgery (after a surgery a lot of complications can arise), prescription drugs and anything that is known upfront that could potentially be covered expense. Insurance companies use a “actuarial tables” to underwrite individual applications. If based on what you have put down on the application could potentially cost insurance company money, chances are your application will not be approved.

If health insurance companies automatically approved all the application then it would be the same scenario as with car insurance example, that no one would pay for health insurance. I know I would not, why pay for insurance if I can get it when I get sick. If no one would pay for insurance then there would no insurance companies to cover us for unforeseen large medical expenses. I am certainly not prepared to pay $400,000 or higher for medical emergency.

Getting approved for health insurance could take some preparation. If you are currently taking prescription drugs, find out how to can slowly get off them. I am not a doctor and certainly would never tell anyone to not take drugs that were subscribed by their doctor. I think sometimes great health starts with us, with small daily choice we make. Take care of your body and it will take care of you. When completing application sometimes being too honest can cost you also. That does not mean lying. Going to chiropractor and writing on the application that you have had back pains and you will need to see a specialist. On top of that is that you have not has any health insurance previous is just way to suspicious. It looks like you are trying to get health insurance to get medical care for something that you do not want to pay yourself. Do not make it worse then it is and always phrase everything in the positive. Instead of you writing that you are having back pain, taking Advil and going to chiropractor. Phrase it that you went to chiropractor for maintenance just to realigning your back. I see a lot of people get declined for coverage even though they are in perfect health just because how and what they wrote on the application.

Real people will be looking at your application if you are making it worse then it is or you are volunteering too much information then it is only your fault if you get declined. Your answers should be, everything is fine, just a check up, results were normal. Also before you know that you might be looking for health insurance do not go see your doctor until you do have coverage. If you go to the doctor and they find something “wrong” with you then bye, bye health insurance. Now you are stuck. When at the doctors office, again, be careful what you tell your doctor because it will end up in your medical records. When self diagnosing your self do not volunteer that information to your doctor, it is your doctors job to find if there is an issue. If you have been declined for health insurance there are options available to you so is having or not having health insurance. Having any health insurance plan is infinitely better then not having anything at all. It is a know fact that you will get a better treatment if the hospital knows that you have some way to pay for your medical care and that they are not just working for free taking care of you. The one and the most important thing that you can do is to take care of your health. Eat your broccoli.

Why You May NOT Want to Use Your Health Insurance for Counseling

Why not use your health insurance for counseling? Isn’t that what it is for?

Perhaps.

But using health insurance for mental health services is a little different than other medical issues. Sometimes mental health issues are not covered by your health insurance. Once you use your health insurance for mental health, you will have a mental health diagnosis on file – a mental health disorder/mental health illness must be on the insurance claim in order for insurance to pay for treatment. This will be in your permanent medical record.

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Of course you want to consider using your health insurance for counseling, but there are some good reasons for you to consider why you may not want to use your insurance for counseling services.

Why doesn’t my counselor accept my health insurance?

Many counselors choose not to accept health insurance for very good reasons. They want to focus 100% of their time in treating you. If they accept health insurance, there is a lot of extra work involved in accepting insurance, in addition to agreeing to work for a discounted fee. The counselor may spend hours on the phone getting benefit information, authorizations, or following up on claims payments. The counselor has to wait a month for payment from the insurance company. The counselor has to file progress reports with the insurance company. The counselor is required to submit treatment reports and other details about your medical history with the insurance company.

It’s not that counselors don’t like insurance companies, or don’t want you to use your insurance (we have health insurance too!), but many counselors prefer to focus 100% of their time and energy in helping clients, rather than doing paperwork for insurance companies.

But this isn’t the only reason counselors may not be in network with your health insurance company.

The other reasons are more compelling, and you need to consider them BEFORE you decide to use your health insurance.

Many counselors prefer not to work in network with health insurance companies so that they can better protect your confidentiality. Any information (claims, reports, or treatment plans) filed with health insurance leaves the protection of their office and their locked files and your personal, private, emotional information is outside of your counselor’s office. In order for any insurance company to reimburse or pay for counseling (both in network and out of network), you must be considered “ill”. You must be diagnosed with a mental health illness or disorder. If you are not ill enough to warrant a diagnosis, then insurance will not pay for counseling services. If you do qualify for a mental health diagnosis, your illness will be listed in your permanent medical record. Many counselors don’t like this “medical model” of declaring someone ill, so they choose not to accept insurance because they want to focus on their client’s strengths, and not label them as mentally ill.

Do you want to be considered mentally ill? If you have a mental health diagnosis already, because you have been to counseling or psychiatric appointments in the past, find out what your diagnosis on file is. If you already have a mental health diagnosis, this may not be a concern to you, but if not, you may not want this in your medical record.

Counselors also do not like releasing information to others to protect your confidentiality. Once a claim is submitted to the insurance company, who knows how many people take a look at it and rubber stamp it while it travels through the system? If insurance pays for any counseling sessions (in network or out of network), then the insurance company has the right to audit your complete file. They can request copies of counseling notes, assessments, and other personal emotional information to determine if you really are “sick enough” to warrant their payment. They can deny services to you if they think you aren’t sick enough or if they think your counseling is not “medically necessary”.

Additionally, there are many counseling issues that are not even covered by insurance at all. Stress management and anger management are usually not covered. Marriage counseling is usually not covered. Certain medical conditions/mental health conditions may be excluded (such as attention deficit disorder or adjustment disorder). Even if your illness or disorder is covered by your insurance plan, they may limit the number of visits they will cover (sometimes only 20 per year), and they will set a maximum amount they will pay per calendar year or in your lifetime.

Additionally, counselors prefer not to have someone in the insurance company telling them how to treat their clients. Insurance companies can decide what type of counseling is covered, what diagnoses are allowed, and how many times the client needs to come before they are cured. Many counselors prefer to work directly with clients to serve their needs, without interference from an insurance company.

Using your health insurance for counseling services can also affect your security clearance, life insurance rate, employment, or future health insurance coverage.

For the above reasons, I recommend that you be informed about using health insurance for counseling. You may choose to file anyway, but be an informed consumer.

  • Be an informed consumer.
  • Know your mental health diagnosis.
  • Talk to your counselor about the diagnosis.
  • Ask your counselor about your treatment reports.
  • Decide if you have, or want to have, a psychiatric illness.

If you have clinical, severe depression, anxiety, or other issues, then you probably already have a diagnosis.

But if you are stressed, having relationship problems, or trying to figure out your purpose in life, your symptoms may be minor, and you may not want to have a mental health diagnosis in your records.

Once an insurance claim is submitted to your health insurance company, your diagnosis becomes part of your permanent medical record, and can affect future life insurance, preexisting conditions, or the cost of private health insurance.

Jama Thurman is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Manassas, VA. She helps teens and adults who are stressed and an

Understanding Window Replacement Benefits

Generally, window confers life to a home and makes it great. It allows ventilation and external view. As such, window replacement services are a kind of service homeowners want to be done right and perfect. In recent times, window replacement has increasingly become a common home remodeling service simply because windows and doors of the arrival of the latest windows (energy star) which better insulate home and reduce cooling and heating costs. Replacing old or damaged windows will not only reduce the energy expenses but it will also increase the home value. Selecting windows that go with your home is quite an arduous task that entails various criteria. This piece of article talks about the possible window replacement services.

Before replacing old or damaged windows or even getting windows for your new home, it is pretty much necessary to analyze the available types of window, the materials utilized and the energy effectiveness involved with the various windows. Some people might take enough time to decide the replacement service they are going to use. For example, as hi-tech windows play an important role in almost every home, someone that is stuck with the wooden window idea will not take interest to understand the importance of the new windows. The new windows provide all the possible benefits like energy effectiveness, design and quality.

Prior to the advent of internet people do find window replacement services via referrals from family and friends or in the phone book. Although the referrals will definitely provide you with lots of information regarding the professionalism and steadfastness of the replacement service than the phone book, but the internet will assist you in fleshing out average costs and extra information. However, customer sites will offer you a wider range of reviews that can assist you to go for the best window replacement services in your locale.

If you have got a list of four or more services reliable, it is a nice idea to arrange an interview with each of the company. Having a direct conversation with the service would give you a more specified idea about the company. You can ask the company about your particular window replacement issues whether it is for poorly insulated windows, cracked/damaged windows or simply outdated windows. It is important you ask about the costs and warranties. Aside the window framework, quality and style, take some time to list out other services that fulfill your requirement and choose the best service for your need. Only engage a window replacement service when you are completely contended with the company’s professionalism, cleanliness, insurance, timeliness and licensing.

However, you have to check out if the window replacement can be done by yourself or if it will require an expert help. If you are not one of those high-tech individuals that are good at getting things done by their own hands, it is advisable that you seek out for an expert. Professionals that proffer window replacement services can simply promote your home to their level best. These services could be a large cost, but it is an essential process for your home which could save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

Mobile Casinos With PlayTech Software

The same as with the Microgaming, PlayTech is a large company, online casinos software supplier. Perhaps, they rank second after Microgaming in terms of reputation and number UFABET of online casinos. The Company was valued 1 billion USD, which speaks about its high reputation and trust level. As far as I could find in the net, there are not so many mobile casinos using PlayTech software so far, but this company has always been distinguished by its active development, that is why I am sure that their quantity will increase sooner than later. Three mobile casinos can be found with the PlayTech software so far: Golden Palace, Tropez Mobile Casino, XXL Club Casino.

XXL Club Casino is the best casino from the point of view of support. One more pleasant detail is that visiting the online casino site I found a pop-up banner, promising 10USD no deposit mobile casino bonus. In a minute I got my bonus but lost it in slots as quickly as received (betting 2USD per spin, so, this is not a wonder). After that, as I usually do in PlayTech casinos, I rejected the bonuses (mobile casino support was happy to handle my request), made a deposit and started playing my favourite mobile casino games. I have to say that the registration and the casino deposit were made via online casino website, though it is possible also via the phone.

Mobile casino wagering results:

I started playing with black jack. The minimum stake, as it is in Microgaming software mobile casinos is rather high – two USD, so I had no choice but to playing this stake. The results were very interesting: 57 gains (!), 38 losses and 5 pushes. A rather obvious distortion in my favor, which gave me the gain of 33 USD. I must note that there were three losses at a time and 8 gains (with the only push deal in the middle). The number of blackjacks was within the norm, it was four. With doubling the results were not very impressive – I won only two out of seven deals (the probability of the gain at doubling is over 50%). Generally, it is an ambiguous result: on one side I have won a lot, on the other side – I have won too much as for testing the casino. There is also something wrong with the doublings (perhaps, it is for compensation?).

Videopoker was the second mobile casino game for the testing. The game was the standard “Jack or better” with a normal payment table 6/9. Playtech mobile casinos have wider the range of stakes than it is in Microgaming mobile casinos – coins from 0.05 USD to 5 USD. I played five coins of USD 0.25. The results were again odd: 14 pairs, 15 – two pairs, 12 treys, not a single street or flash and three fulls. In some fantastic way my pairs turned into treys and full-houses, there is no other way to explain such statistics. With such a cut of cards the gain of 10 USD is not a wonder. The doubles sprawled in equal parts – the half was a gain, the half was a loss. The PlayTech has also one more opportunity to double just a half of the gain in the videopoker.

Just for fun I loaded a European roulette of this mobile casino. I played just a few spins – just to have a look. First, you are running with the joystick across the stakes field to place the bets. Then you pressing the spin button you would see the wheel and then when the ball landed you would see the results. It is clear that the bets are made longer than in the offline mode, especially if they are several. The advantage of this mobile casino roulette game is that there is an option to make blank spins, but disadvantage is that the minimum bet amount of 2 USD even betting on the numbers. I have not being playing too many deals of this funny mobile casino game keeping in mined Albert Einstein conclusion: “You cannot beat a roulette table unless you steal money from it”.

Implicitly, I was lucky, otherwise such successful gains and distortions can not be explained. On the other hand, there is nothing bad to say, I like the PlayTech online casinos, the game there is rather fair and I don’t see any reasons for any problems in the mobile casino versions. The graphics in the mobile casino was nice, the set of games was rather large. The interface is useful for a joystick, which is convenient. The game speed is normal like in Microgaming mobile casinos, about half an hour per 100 hands. The traffic was also within the limits of 150 Kb per 100 hands and about 200 Kb the downloading.

So, in my opinion the PlayTech presents a good platform for mobile casino games – nice graphics, cool interface, maximum convenience for players. There are very few mobile casinos with this software, but their quantity will increase, though the big quantity is not needed. The fact of the good gains enables to recommend the mobile casinos with PlayTech software for wagering.

Converting a One Car Garage Into an Automotive Repair Workshop

It is amazing the level of human ingenuity that can turn a simple one car garage into a surprisingly convenient, effective and even efficient automotive workshop. automotive paint meter

Often it is only a case of finding another place to store all those bicycles lawn mowers and garden tools that clutter up most home garages. Sometimes it is just tidying up and rearranging. Other times it’s a matter of finding alternate storage or purchasing a garden shed to store the paraphernalia in. Using that off site storage can be said to be first vital step in your project of using garage space devoted almost exclusively towards an auto workshop area.

First things first. In terms of planning and rearranging interior space areas the basic procedure and strategy is to ensure that your workshop is as comfortable and pleasant possible for you to work on and upgrade cars and trucks in. Cover the walls with wallboard and paint them with a washable semi gloss latex or oil based paint. White or another similar bright color will reflect as much light as possible. It is pointless in most climates, except up north in Canada or in the northern US states to insulate garage walls generally since so much heat escapes past the typical garage door. Scrub the concrete floor with a special concrete cleaner-etcher to remove grease and grime. Patch any broken spots, and then seal the surface with not one but two coats of epoxy resin concrete floor paint. A bright color will enable you to easily locate and find lost screws and washers more easily and effortlessly.

In terms of lighting install a double tube 2.5 mm (8 foot), fluorescent fixture with a reflector in the center of the ceiling and a 1.25 meter (4 foot) double tube fluorescent over your workbench. Professional auto mechanics will advise you that a drop light is essential for working under a car’s hood and truck chassis. An old idea from an unknown amateur backyard mechanic who did things on the fly and improvised with less expensive parts and components is to use a photographer’s floodlight on a clamp or a tripod for convenient lighting. With a standard 100 watt bulb, it will provide good light, used with a heat lamp it will definitely speed up the setting of epoxy resin or fiberglass patches when working on auto- body work or painting.

For storage plan your work area so that you can have general easy access to your tools, loads of storage shelves and plenty of counter space. In a one-car garage, put narrows shelves or cabinets down one side only, and construct your major work area at the other end. That way there will be enough room to move around. Secondhand kitchen cabinets can sometimes be obtained cheaply or sometimes even free: they are properly proportioned for standing work and are efficiently planned for storage as well. Regardless storage space is of little practical use if you do not discipline yourself to put things away and in place whether in its storage place or in your tool chest. Often it can be said that the people who get the most done are the neatest. Certainly well ordered tools can only speed up your work.

Lastly always safety first in your auto repair garage. Make sure that your work area is adequately ventilated. Keep a fire extinguisher, which is fully charged and tested, in a handy and easily accessible spot in case of fire and emergency. Install a smoke alarm or alarms. Lastly keep a clearly marked first-aid kit in the shop. Have fun and profit working on your cars, trucks and other automotive vehicles.