Insurance Company Pays People to Keep Fit

Misfit Fitness Band

Misfit Fitness Band

Insurance companies are becoming increasingly proactive in how they help consumers. One new insurance company aims to use technology to better tailor health insurance to people.

An insurance company named “Oscar” has unveiled an initiative where every member can obtain a free “Misfit fitness band”. The band allows people to track how much exercise they are performing every day and sync the data on their smart phone. Customers who already use fitness tracking software can also sync their data with Oscar’s fitness tracking system.

The insurance company then rewards people who exercise regularly with rewards. The application sets a number of health goals, and for every health goal passed they receive $1. The user can cash-out when their total reaches $20 and will receive the amount in Amazon gift cards.

This isn’t the first time this company has provided rewards for when customers make smart decisions about their health. They previously gave customer $20 if they had a flu shot by a certain date.

Schlosser admits that this is “very much the beginning,” and that one of Oscar’s main goals is to collect more health data on its members to make sure doctors have the most information available on them. Down the line, that could include nutrition data, sleep data, and as tracking technology becomes more sophisticated, perhaps even blood pressure data.

“We aren’t the people who deliver your healthcare, but our job is to facilitate the delivery of your healthcare,” Schlosser says. “To do that, we can get more information to your doctor.”

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Health Insurance Applications Top 1 Million in First Week Enrollment

Affordable Health Care Act enrollment

Affordable Health Care Act enrollment

According to the federal government, the first week of the “Affordable Health Care Act enrollment” period brought in 1 million applications. The huge number of applications indicates that the government’s HealthCare.gov website was functioning better than last year. In 2013 a number of technical issues hampered some people finding the right insurance policy for them.

The secretary of health and human services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, suggests the numbers are positive but more work needs to be done, saying: “We are off to a solid start, But we’ve got a lot of work to do every day between now and Feb. 15.”

This enrollment period ends on February 15. The HealthCare.gov website operates as an insurance exchange for 37 states, while the remaining states have their own state-based exchanges.

The Affordable Care Act has been widely criticized by conservative politicians in the United States, who intend to wind back the changes. The question that needs to be answered is “does it work?”. The data indicates that many people who were previously not eligible for health insurance can now obtain it. So in terms of people with chronic conditions, it’s clearly working.

The number of people who have managed to buy insurance has also greatly increased. There are some questions about the cost of the insurance plans and the efficiency of the insurance exchanges to provide the best deal.

The total enrollment for federal and state exchanges was 6.7 million by mid-October. 3.7 million of those users enrolled using healthcare.gov. The federal government is hoping to have more than 9 million enrolled by the end of 2015.

13 Ways to Lower the Cost of Health Insurance

13 Ways to Save Money on Health Insurance

13 Ways to Save Money on Health Insurance

Health insurance is one of the most expensive parts of the household budget.  Here are 13 simple ways to save money on your health insurance premiums!

1. Comparison Shop
The most common and simplest advice possible is to do your research before choosing a provider.  Compare levels of coverage and cost.  Also consider the reputation of the company.  Ask your colleagues and extended family about the insurance provider they use and if they are happy with the level of service.

2. Negotiate with Your Insurance Company Over Price
You have every right to negotiate with your insurance company over price.  Many people just accept the premium that the insurance company pushes at them every year, but this is not necessary.  Contact the insurance company, ask for loyalty discounts or any other reductions that you can think of given your health condition.

3. Negotiate with Your Insurance Company Over Coverage
If your doctor has told you that a procedure is required, but the insurance company has told you they won’t cover it — lodge an appeal!  Many times you will actually get the insurance company to eventually cover the procedure.  You have nothing to lose by pushing for your best interests.

4. Ask Your Doctor For Help
Your doctor is perhaps the best person to help you navigate the world of health insurance.  Ask their advice on which provider to choose, ask them about about particular types of coverage you need, given your health concerns.

5. Check That Everything is Necessary
Make sure you have a great relationship with your general practitioner and don’t hesitate to ask their advice on hospital stays and tests.  If you are in hospital and the doctor doing the rounds starts to make decisions about tests, you have every right to make sure they are necessary.  If you are suddenly in the hands of a doctor you don’t know, ask your GP about the tests and medical procedures.

6. Choose a Policy With a High Deductible
You can always quickly save money by choosing a higher deductible on your insurance policy.  This can also be negotiated with your insurance provider.

7. Pickup a “Medigap” Policy for Things That Concern You
If your policy doesn’t cover every ailment you are worried about, then buy a “medigap” policy that covers only those specific problems.  This is useful for closing the gaps in your existing policy.  Again, work in conjunction with your local doctor to ascertain which health problems might occur that your existing policy doesn’t fully cover.

8. Use a Health Savings Account
The IRS offers special tax provisions for special savings accounts that are to be used for healthcare.  This is a great way to prepare for any health emergencies and is useful for covering procedures that insurance companies will not insure.

9. Compare the Prices That Hospitals Offer and Negotiate
Many people sometimes forget that hospitals are businesses like any other.  Some off better value for money than others.  Shop around as if you were buying a car, looking at price, quality, reputation of the manufacturer.

10. Look For Tax Deductions on Medical Expenses
There are various tax deductions which you may be able to obtain for medical expenses.  For example people who spend more than 7.5% of their gross income on medical expenses can receive a tax rebate.  People who work for themselves can also receive tax rebates for health insurance.

11. Check Hospital Bills
Don’t trust your hospital to do the sums correctly.  There have been many cases of hospitals charging the incorrect amounts for procedures or even charging for procedures and tests that didn’t happen.

12. Save on Medications by Going Generic
You can always save money on your medications by going generic.

13. Be Healthy!
One of the best ways to save money on your health care is to look after yourself.  By eating well and exercising you can avoid the hospital for a very long time and have a happier life!

Things to Know Before Buying Travel Insurance

Is Travel Insurance Necessary?

Is Travel Insurance Necessary?

Most people understand that going on holiday is often a pretty unpredictable experience. You may not know exactly what conditions are like where you are going, there could be an accident or delay involving your transport, you might be the victim of a crime, you might fall over on the hotel stairs! Being in a foreign country can make many simple problems more serious as well. For those reasons most people decide to carry travel insurance, they consider it an essential part of traveling and for most people that is true.

But is it always essential? For many travelers the specific details of their trip may mean they don’t actually require travel insurance or they only require a certain type of coverage and there is an opportunity to save money.

In the United States travelers now spend close to $2 billion per year on travel insurance, so it is a flourishing industry and insurers realise this. That figure is up from $1.3 billion in 2006, so it can be seen that Americans are more well informed about the dangers of travel and the benefits of this kind of insurance.

The vast majority of policies purchased feature trip cancellation insurance which is usually very valuable for any form of traveling. However for other forms of travel insurance like medical insurance and property insurance, it’s worth looking at your existing policies and credit card coverage first – you may have too much coverage!

For example many credit cards offer some coverage for trip cancellation and many home and contents policies will provide coverage for your expensive items like cameras while you are traveling. By examining your current coverage and real risk factors you may be able to save some money on travel insurance which you can spend on a few more souvenirs from your destination.

Your personal situation also plays a very large role in determining how much coverage you need. Are you a healthy 25 year old who is simply going to Canada for the weekend? Or are you a 75 year old going on safari in Africa? You circumstances and travel destination may necessitate a certain kind of coverage. If you are going to Canada, which has a great public health system – you probably don’t need travel insurance that covers health issues at all! An older person traveling in Africa might need medical evacuation insurance so if anything happens you can immediately be transported to a world class hospital.

So here are a few pointers to help you determine if you need travel insurance and how to get a better deal on it!

Evaluate current insurance policies and credit cards
Firstly, evaluate your current health insurance and contents insurance policies to determine if they provide coverage while traveling. That might reduce the necessity of travel insurance. Take a look at your credit card to see if it provides any protection on travel costs.

Evaluate your personal situation
Look at your personal situation including your age, health, and the kinds of valuables you will be taking with you. If you are 20 years old, in good health and traveling to Australia (which has a very good public health system) with a cheap camera and a bag of clothes, you may not need travel insurance at all.

Your destination and what you plan to do there also plays a large role in determining if you need travel insurance. If you are 20 years old, in good health, but plan on going to Bali and drinking copious amounts of alcohol and partying – then there is substantial risk. That country does not have a world class health system and many tourists are injured in Bali every year.

If you plan on indulging in any high activities like bungee jumping, rock climbing or sky diving it is also a good idea to have travel insurance.

If it is a short trip going to another part of America or to Canada, travel insurance may not be necessary at all.

Check the quality of travel insurance policies
The policy provided by your travel agent may not in fact be the best one for your and could just be the policy that they receive the highest commission on!

It is usually best to shop for a policy yourself, after you have evaluated your situation and requirements. There are many insurance comparison search engines on the Internet which can help you narrow down your choices and find the right insurance for you. Websites like Square Mouth and Insure My Trip are both very good for narrowing down your choices and getting the right policy.

Understand how much good travel insurance costs
Travel advisors suggest that a good insurance policy should cost between 5% and 10% the cost of the trip. So if you are doing a massive trip through Europe which visits 12 countries and costs $5000 USD, you might have to pay as much as $500 USD for the highest quality travel insurance. However insurance prices that highly usually contains much more coverage than the average person requires, so a policy more around the $250 USD mark is probably more suitable.

So while travel insurance may not actually be necessary for everyone, if you are unsure then definitely err on the side of caution and have the peace of mind that travel insurance brings!

Americans Without Health Insurance Drop

Uninsured Rate Drops

Uninsured Rate Drops

A new survey indicates that the number of Americans without any form of insurance has dropped dramatically since the introduction of the Affordable Healthcare Act by the Obama administration. That includes millions who have never had health insurance before.

In the last quarter of 2013 the number of adults that lacked coverage was 18% and that figure dropped to 14.7% in the last part of March. That equates to about 8 million people gaing health insurance since September last year. That also adjusts for cancellations of policies that may have occurred when the new laws forced the removal of plans that did not meet the legislation’s requirements.

The poll was conducted by Gallup, who have a long history of monitoring the state of health care in the United States, including the progress of Medicare and Medicaid. The results are a slap in the face to pundits who said the law has not done anything to increase participation in health insurance.

According to Gallup researchers – “The uninsured rate has been falling since the fourth quarter of 2013 … a sign that the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, appears to be accomplishing its goal of increasing the percentage of Americans with health insurance coverage,”

Under the Affordable Healthcare Act, insurance companies could no longer turn away sick individuals who may have had pre-existing conditions. Many of the newly insured may in fact be people who could not find insurance previously.

Under the act, in many states low income Americans could also sign up for Medicaid coverage for the first time. The survey doesn’t even cover the full extent of the increase in the number of insured because many Americans gained coverage before September.

An estimated 3 million children gained the coverage of their parent’s health care plans which they retain until they turn 26.

The number of uninsured has always been relatively high in the United States, but it became worse under the George W Bush administration as the economy slid into recession and many people could no longer afford it, or lost their employment.

It may in fact be a number of years before we know the full impact of the Affordable Health Care act, as people adjust their insurance plans and decide on what level of coverage they think is appropriate. There is a distinct possibility that many of the new signatories to health insurance may not remain covered for more than a couple of years and instead return to the pool of uninsured.

In some states certain provisions like the Medicaid changes are also being rolled out late, so there will be a boost to the insured rate there in the coming months. Additionally, many people who began applying for insurance coverage by March 31 may not have actually completed their application and have until April 15 to do so. There could be many more thousands who jumped in at the last minute and will not show up in the insurance figures yet.

Gallup said this may result in another drop to the uninsured rate in the 2nd quarter of 2014.

According to the survey, the greatest gain to the insured rate was in African, Latino households who could suddenly access cheaper health care plans. Households earning less than $36’000 a year also demonstrated a large gain in insurance rates. They were all groups that the Obama administration did expect large gains in, so they have come to fruition.

Gallup isn’t the only poll reflecting these gains with recent polls by the Times and Rand Corp also showing a drop in the uninsured rate.

Save Money on Health Insurance!

Health Insurance Policies

Health Insurance Policies

Health Insurance is very important protection for you and your family against expenses that arrive should you or one of your loved ones become ill. For that reason, it is extremely important to get health insurance right. You need to choose a policy with great coverage, that has all of the options you need and is affordable. Check out the below tips to help you obtain great value for money when choosing your health insurance.

Compare life insurance quotes

In order to get the best value for money, you need to consider as many providers as you can. There are many health insurance comparison web sites which have been setup for just this reason. They will allow you to enter a few details and obtain quotes from multiple health insurance providers. The comparison websites will list all of the details of the policy so you can make an informed decision about which one offers the best value for money.

Customize your health insurance

Nowadays you can actually formulate an insurance policy to suit you individual needs and save money. If you don’t want to have any more children you won’t need an insurance policy that covers pregnancy costs, for example. If you are in your 20s you won’t need a policy that provides insurance for hip replacements.

In this way you can remove the extras that a policy doesn’t need and really get down to the essentials and things you are worried about. It’s a fantastic way to save money on your health insurance.

Beware of costly and silly additions on a health insurance policy. If there are items associated with the insurance policy that you know you won’t need, speak to the provider and ask for a special deal.

Start health insurance early

Insurance companies like to reward customer loyalty and customers who join at a young age. Many companies will allow you to lock in a lower insurance premium if you join at a young age (below the age bracket of 30-40 in most cases). If you lock in that low lifetime insurance premium you will have a cheaper rate when you are 50, 60, 70 years of age. You can also be rewarded for staying with the same health insurance for a number of years with many companies offering a discount after 10 years of paying insurance premiums.

Choose an insurance plan with a higher excess

The excess is a payment you make to the insurance company when you decide to claim on your insurance policy. Usually the higher the excess, the lower the insurance premium, so you can save money in this way as well.

There are also co-payment options where you agree to pay a certain sum or percentage of medical costs when you claim on your insurance. That can also lower your insurance premiums, but you must be aware of precisely what co-payment obligations you have. Some plans will have a minimum fee attached to hospital stays on a per day basis, so a co-payment of $100 per day you spend in hospital.

Make sure there are limits on the co-payment amounts when signing onto an insurance policy because a per day hospital co-payment can quickly add up if you have a serious accident. Reading the policy in detail is the best way to make sure there are no hidden or substantial excess or co-payment fees in your policy. It is always a trade off between excess/co-payments and insurance premium savings, so find the right balance for you.

Pay in advance to lock in cheaper premiums

Most years there is an insurance premium rise, so avoid copping this rise, consider buying a years insurance in advance instead of doing monthly payments. Many insurance providers will pass on the rise in premiums immediately to customers who are paying every month, but customers who have paid for a year in advance won’t cop the premium rise until the expiry date on their policy.

If you look at the history of premium increases with your company, you may be able to determine what part of the year they raise premiums. If your insurance company usually increases premiums in March-April, then by buying your year long insurance policy in February, you will lock in a decent saving.

Consult your policy before having procedures done

You can save yourself some money by understanding exactly what your insurance policy covers and doesn’t cover. If you aren’t sure what costs you are up for, consult your general practitioner and contact your insurance company. There might be ways to save money by changing which facility you have the procedure done at or by changing some of the options associated with your hospital stay or procedure.

Make health insurance claims immediately

Make claims on your insurance policy immediately to get the ball rolling and prevent any personal costs to you. Most health insurance companies have a maximum claim period as well, so if you have a procedure and don’t claim it for 2 years, the insurance company will not pay you. You don’t want to be stuck with a large medical bill because you forgot to fill in the paperwork!

Critical Illness Life Insurance

Critical Illness Insurance

Critical Illness Insurance

Your future is always uncertain and you never know what might await you tomorrow or next week.  That’s one of the reasons that people purchase insurance in the first place – to provide some financial certainty in the case of an unexpected and unfortunate event popping up.  This is especially true of health insurance and critical illness life insurance in particular – the financial certainty could be the difference between life and death!

Critical illness insurance is designed to help with your finances in the event of a critical illness like a heart attack or lung cancer.  There are about 30 to 40 illnesses covered by these kinds of policies, everything from major organ failure to cancer, to heart bypasses.  Once you find yourself afflicted with one of these major illnesses you will receive a lump sum cash payment from the critical illness insurance policy.  You can use that money however you please, with most people using it to pay for their medical bills, but you can also use it to pay off debt so your family is in good shape should events turn for the worse and you pass away.

To obtain this insurance you need to be between the ages of 17 and 70.  It’s a useful type of policy because coverage is usually cheaper than standard health insurance as it covers a specific set of illnesses, but the money can be used for anything you want.
Choosing the right policy is usually straight forward, but you should compare insurance premiums and the number of illnesses covered by the policy.  It is best to find a policy that has all of the common illnesses covered – heart disease, cancer, stroke and so on.  Some policies will also settle earlier than others, with many policies not paying out in the early stages of the disease.  A number of policies will pay a set amount in the early stages of the disease, so if you have just been diagnosed with lung cancer, you receive 10% of the payment and if the cancer progresses you receive the other 90%.

The cheaper plans tend to have more restrictions on when payouts occur but many are still worth obtaining because they will pay out when it’s needed most.  It is crucial to get into the fine detail of the policy and determine the payout conditions and percentages as well as the actual illnesses covered.

This kind of insurance is becoming more popular because the payout can be used for anything, with some people using it to pay simple living expenses when they are ill and using their health care policy to cover the actual medical costs.  It’s a fantastic supplemental policy because if there are any issues with the health insurance policy you have, you can depend on the critical illness plan to cover you.

It’s one of those policies that is fairly cheap and easy to obtain but the benefit is significant if you fall ill to one of these common illnesses.

Who Should Get Medical Supplemental Insurance

Medical Supplemental Insurance

Medical Supplemental Insurance

Many people think that if you approach the magic day of 65, every thing will be hassle-free. You should recieve an impressive huge cheque from Social Security and all of your hospital treatment requirements will be reached without charge. However, that is normally incorrect. There aren’t many people that can survive on Social Security alone and once you are looking for healthcare, Medicare is only able to feature so much. Therefore, if you’re reaching 65 and you have no additional medical health insurance than basic Medicare, then you need to put some consideration into having Medicare Supplemental Insurance.

Sad to say, there’s a confinement to what Medicare will cover and it will basically pay for up to a certain amount, so when you do not possess Medicare Supplemental Insurance, you will find yourself out of pocket for several major expenses. Specifically if you wind up in the medical center or possibly have a significant health condition (i.e. melanoma, cardiovascular surgical treatment, etc.), with out this sort of insurance plan, it would mean you find yourself spending the rest of your life with nothing except for your Social Security check.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance protection is simply what it appears like – it’s a supplement insurance policy that covers what Medicare leaves off. This really is a lot more worthwhile than you believe it will be, even if you’re in good condition at this point, and in most cases the sooner you join up with this type of coverage, the more cost-effective your premiums come in the end.

In case you have a stay in hospital, the hospital delivers the charges to Medicare and they decide on what they’re going to pay for according to a pre-existing list of highest expenses. It doesn’t matter what is left outstanding, it goes to you should you not have some kind of insurance coverage. For anyone who has ever came across a medical facility bill after a extensive stay, you can just imagine exactly how serious of a cost this may be and you wouldn’t like to be linked with it. Lots of people still feel that they don’t require this variety of insurance coverage or that it is too expensive to buy. The reality is that you cannot afford not to have it. It is a lot more inexpensive as opposed to medical insurance you may have obtained before you reached sixty-five (seeing that Medicare is picking up most of the expenditures) and you may acquire a selection of rewards that may save a little money each time you see a physician, have medical tests, or are stuck in the medical center.

Shopping for Medicare Supplemental Insurance is often a problem for individuals since they do not completely understand what to do. In case you have had medical insurance by means of another service provider previously, so you should inquire with them as to which kind of packages they have, but additionally you also need to check around. When you have an insurance policy broker, they can aid you in this, or you can discover some good information and facts on the web. It is also important to keep in mind there are methods for making the insurance coverage a lot less pricey, for instance elevating your tax deductible or co-pay amounts, and that could make a very big difference.

This is actually the kind of insurance that you should never have to wait around to buy. Obtain it while you’re youthful and in good health and you’ll save money in the future. In addition, since you know you are covered with insurance, you’ll be more apt to touch base for medical care when it’s needed as opposed to waiting around until a minor issue becomes a major one.

Medical insurance For Expatriates

Health Insurance Expats

Health Insurance Expats

It does not matter wherever in the world you selected to settle as an expat; medical care insurance is one of those items that are there to provide peace of mind. You always want the best safeguards for you and your family, and when it comes to the issue of your health it’s comforting to know that should the worst happen, your family is completely insured. With an impartial financial adviser, it will be possible to find the exact level of cover you want – whatever nation you’re in.

Being a expat, health insurance should be the main thing on your mind. When health issues strike or perhaps an accident occurs, you won’t want to hold the additional stress of going through heaps of paperwork before being able to seek treatment. With expat health care insurance that has been built specially to focus on your needs, you know that you will have instantaneous access to the top quality health care the very moment you require it. Understanding that you are able to get the treatment solution you require there and then takes the weight off your mind throughout an incredibly nerve-racking time.

It’s not just guidance and assistance in an emergency that can be covered. Plenty of insurance deals handle examination fees, by way of example; if you’re feeling under the weather, you shouldn’t be afraid to go and get yourself checked out, and having insurance protection allows you to do so with no additional anxiety about being chargeable for large medical expenses. Should there be an issue that needs addressing, you’ll be safe knowing that everything is going to be dealt with by your insurance coverage provider.

What can an impartial financial adviser do for me. In relation to selecting your level of insurance coverage, why would you work with an independent financial advisor? In doing so, you’re making sure that you have got the widest selection of possibilities open to you and there’s no worrying about being pushed into a particular policy simply because it will get them a higher rate of commission. They will be able to assemble the kind of cover which is ideal for you, right down to the finest details – and make certain that you’re buying it at the cheapest price too.

If you are an expat, medical insurance is probably not the first issue that springs to mind. Nonetheless, having finally moved to your place in the sun, it’s absolutely one thing you will be thankful you dealt with should the need for it arise.

Medical Insurance For Minors

Insurance for Children

Insurance for Children

Insurance cover is offered for all children below the age of eighteen in the united states because of the new PPACA approved by Congress. This simply means that any youngster with any healthcare situation qualifies for health insurance with any insurance provider. So should you have a child which has diabetes or melanoma or any other horrible disease you can find insurance policies for them. You don’t have to worry they will likely be dropped for medical insurance policies if a father or mother loses a job then loses their insurance protection from that.

As soon as Congress created these alterations the insurance providers also modified some of their policies. Where before you could possibly put a baby on his or her private coverage by themselves as long as they carried out the underwriting process, now you can not get yourself a standard insurance coverage plan for a child by themselves. They are able to still get protection and also the protection is secured issue irrespective of their health-related history.

The real difference is now you would must be a dependent on a parents coverage. This could be an issue for some individuals mainly in the event the mum or dad is protected through an employee’s plan. This father or mother would have to cancel the insurance coverage with the employer that is definitely very likely paid for by the employer so as to get the coverage for his or her kid. Often this will work out ok and so they can save a bit of money. But in other situations the particular family could have to cover a lot more money since the little one needs to obtain the protection.

There may be just one group of medical insurance plans accessible for child alone policies. This plan is termed the short-term health insurance coverage plan. These schemes are full major health care plans which might be authorised through the Department of Insurance similar to every other healthcare insurance coverage plan. Short-term health insurance protection plans deal with any new illness or trauma subject to insurance deductible and coinsurance. These programs will not be automatic issue however. There is a brief survey of professional medical questions that will need to be done to determine whether or not the kid will be eligible for that insurance coverage. If the boy or girl qualifies for this coverage it could be substantially more affordable than any opportunity available in the insurance protection sector.

Short-term health insurance coverage options are very good for certain families but consult with your local broker or speak to somebody from an online insurance coverage provider making sure that they can best recommend to you which program satisfy your requirements.

These new regulations are fantastic for youths that have medical difficulties and want to have protection. With any new legislation you’ll need to be aware of how the adjustments have an effect on you. It can be by no means as cut and dried as declaring all youngsters can have coverage. The new circumstance is better however, you do need to set children on a program as being a dependent by having an adult right now.