How Many Languages Do.Not.Have Different Words For Mother And Father Senior Health Care Insurance

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Senior Health Care Insurance

Health Insurance For Seniors Online

When a good friend of mine asked where she could get medical insurance information for her elderly mother out of state, I told her to try the Internet.

He came back to me about a week later, in despair: “I give up, I’m too confused.” He had taken up a substantial project with his widowed mother, who lived in another state. As the only child, and after the sudden death of his father, it was his responsibility to take care of his mother.

In this world of technology, the family unit is often living in different geographical areas and family members are usually very involved with their own life, career and family. Also, when both parents are alive, often one or both parents are quite independent and don’t need much assistance. As time goes by things, of course, change, and sometimes they change very suddenly. There may be a crisis regarding the health care needs of one or both elderly parents.

With our baby boomers facing this problem in ever-increasing numbers, and with the information highway in full bloom, there is a definite need for planning.

Protecting your parent’s assets and health is a huge and daunting undertaking, requiring a tremendous amount of education and practical application. Our seniors face many different responsibilities at age 65. To name just a few: estate planning, taxation, Medicare, social security, wills, insurance and many other legal and financial issues. All of these different areas require expertise from accountants, lawyers, estate planners, insurance agents, home brokers, financial advisors and others.

The Internet is a good starting point for most people to find resources for questions and solutions to your problems. There is, however, no substitute for good solid smart advice from an expert.

Twenty years ago, insurance for seniors was sold by “senior insurance specialists,” with only a handful of companies in each state. The programs were most often Medi-gap or Medicare supplemental policies, which covered expenses not covered by Medicare, including hospital and physician deductibles, durable medical devices, and unapproved Medicare costs. Ironically, these specialists did not sell many nursing care policies, even though Medicare paid a national average of less than 2% of these expenses. With the advent of “financial and estate planning” and more insurance companies entering this market, a wider and more diversified product line has become available to agents, brokers, planners and seniors.

Part of this new diversification was the “home health care plan”, sold on its own, and in conjunction with senior health insurance products. The appeal of the “home health care policy” was that an elderly person could stay at home and still receive medical and custodial benefits, allowing a person to recover in the comfort of their own home.

This was the answer to a huge problem. The last place an elderly person wanted to go was a “retirement home”, or “rest home”, or, God forbid, the “nursing home”. It appeared that the elderly could now rely on this new innovation without worrying about having to leave their home environment in case of a health problem.

As with most things, “if it’s too good to be true”…. Home health care policy is no exception. The problem is that there is not enough coverage for a long illness or recovery time. The fact is, the new trend is towards an “all in one” type facility, which allows for a variety of levels of care all in one place. In other words, a senior could start out with little or no health care concerns in an independent, less expensive area, and then move into assisted living, or a nursing care facility, all within the same compound.

A “nursing home” requires a nurse on site 24 hours a day, assisted living is only eight hours. The advantages of this are financial. The patient or senior is charged only according to the level of care required during the time he is admitted to that facility. Another benefit is that it relieves a lot of planning because the care is provided, as it is needed. Medical care is available to all residents regardless of their current health.

Some people are offered a package for life, which covers their care for the rest of their lives, regardless of their current age. It also allows social outlets for an otherwise somewhat isolated group. Online shopping services have become a big business. It is definitely here to stay and many insurance policies are purchased from internet quotes and online applications.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of insurance agents and brokers advertising on the Internet. Most of them will provide instant online quotes and even applications for potential policyholders. I strongly discourage a layperson from buying insurance this way. A little knowledge can be dangerous.

The federal government has mandated to all states through legislation, the standardized guidelines of senior health insurance, which are governed and regulated by each state insurance department.

There are plans for almost every health level. Some are designed and priced for a less than healthy individual. Others are for a person with minimal health problems. . The whole concept of insurance is to provide protection for “unanticipated” illness or injury, especially catastrophic expenses, that devastate a person’s net worth. The more small expenses that a person is willing or able to pay (self-insurance), the lower the rate. I recommend this strategy when evaluating your insurance options.

Another consideration when reviewing different insurance plans is to look at the company itself. How long has the company been selling this type of insurance? Do they have many complaints filed with the local insurance department? Are the rates stable? Do you pay claims on time? The service? Most agents talk about the appraisal. These classifications are as follows: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, or “not classified”.

Don’t be fooled by the rating alone. It is good to have a high rating, but it is much better to have a company that has longevity, stability, innovation, service and expertise. The problem is that some companies enter a market and quickly leave without explanation. This gives no security to the insurer.

The most important consideration should be a review of the profit/loss ratio for that product. This will establish stability, and longevity in the market. An insurance company with a moderate profit in a particular line of business remains in that market. On the other hand, a company with losses will make changes and possibly even retire. This is information that is not available to Internet users.

Before entering into an insurance contract, the elderly person, family and other advisers must be realistic, and a careful evaluation of the whole picture must be examined. The age, health of the senior, financial resources, personality and attitude of the senior, and most importantly the wishes of the senior, must be considered.

Advance planning is important, as qualifying becomes increasingly difficult as the candidate’s health declines. The senior healthcare market is complex. I will offer some words of advice to try to alleviate the potential pitfalls.

* Choose a well-informed, seasoned and service-oriented agent or broker to assist your decision-making process. The professional can offer invaluable information, but don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and even get a second opinion.

* Don’t wait until your relative or loved one is sick, or injured. Plan ahead and take the necessary time to cover all options.

* Choose an experienced insurance company. A Company that has been in the market for a significant time and has maintained a balance of rates and benefits and a selection of healthy risks with moderate rate increases over time is your best bet.

* The plan must be flexible, with a wide range of options and selection of benefits for the insured. There should be no tricks, or complicated language for coverage. An incredibly low rate is a red flag for problems in the future.

* Do not rush or be rushed by an overly aggressive sales person.

This policy will not be cheap and should be read and reviewed for a clear understanding of the contents. This is an advantage for the Internet. You are allowed to read indefinitely before acting.

A long-term care program, with or without insurance coverage, only works if the senior has input into the care selection process. If you have questions about a facility’s accreditation, call the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission at 202-783-7286.

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