Saturday, June 30, 2012

Critical Illness Insurance Coverage

Progress in technology and the treatment of well-known diseases mean that people are living longer and healthier lives. There are circumstances almost when unexpected health issues could result in a critical illness. Some people, to protect themselves or their loved ones, seek critical illness insurance coverage. Such coverage pays a tax-free lump sum of money to a person when diagnosed having one of the conditions outlined in a policy. Critical illness insurance can be obtained as an add-on of a life insurance coverage or as a stand-alone insurance.
The type of coverage you receive depends on the policy. It is therefore essential to read carefully the policy and understand very well all the terms and conditions. As a general guideline, for an insurance to be regarded as critical illness insurance, it must provide coverage for advance level of cancer, severe heart attack, and strokes that leads to a permanent condition. Insurance policies have different packages on offer that cover many more conditions than just the three mentioned.
A basic insurance package may have coverage for major organ transplants, kidney failure or Alzheimer's disease while a more comprehensive package may include severe disabilities, loss of limb, sight, and other such impairments. Critical illness policies have very well-defined criteria and the definition of a critical illness is explicit. Some policies do not cover Alzheimer's disease when diagnosed after the age of 60 and most do not take into consideration claims resulting as a consequence of drug or alcohol abuse, engaging in dangerous sports, participating in a riot, civil disturbance or war. Also not considered are illnesses resulting from HIV unless caught by accident through blood transfusion, physical assault or as a result of working for an emergency services.
Unless you have all the necessary information and knowledge regarding critical illness insurance; you can have more help by buying coverage through a financial adviser or a broker specialized in insurance. An adviser can help you decide the financial aspect of the coverage by determining according to the type of coverage, the anticipated illness, and the level of impairment the illness may cause, the amount of coverage that may be adequate. Generally, an amount three to four times your annual income should be aimed for.
A factor that will affect the amount of coverage you obtain or aim for is the monthly premium that you have to pay. Your general health, your lifestyle, illnesses that you already had or known medical conditions in the family are elements taken into consideration when determining the premium to be paid. Your age and whether you smoke also are taken into account. Factors determining your premium are plentiful that is why having a professional adviser will help you obtain reasonable coverage.
An alternative to critical illness insurance coverage is the income protection insurance that gives a tax-free income if you are unable to work because of injury or illness. The income protection insurance does not specify any illness. it only assesses your capability to obtain and maintain regular work.
If you need to make a claim on your insurance policy, crucial are the guidelines in the policy which are step by step instructions for successful claims. Such guidelines are really strict. Some guideline may ask you to have your claim revised by obtaining a second opinion from another independent specialist having sufficient knowledge of your illness.
Critical illness insurance can be important for your protection as well as for those who are dear to you. When considering obtaining a critical illness insurance coverage, it is necessary to have adequate information and obtain the correct coverage which will serve the intended purpose.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

6 Things You May Not Know About HIPAA Exams

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Exams is a company that has been offering healthcare training courses to hospitals, universities, pharmacies, and even the US Air Force, for over a decade. When it comes to staying healthy, HIPAA Exams is an encyclopedia of knowledge and relevant training courses.
Below you will find some information on how the company works and what their healthcare course entails.
• The training course is an online application that is quite easy to access and fast for members to use. The training course at HIPAA Exams is open for anyone: whether you are an individual looking to obtain certificates in the medical domain or if you are an employer looking to train 10,000 staff members.
• There are two types of accounts offered on the HIPAA Exams website: for individual users and for corporate accounts. For the former type of account, the user simply signs up, watches the desired course, which is presented in Adobe flash form, takes the test attached to the course as many times as he needs to, and afterwards is free to print the certificate.
• For the corporate account, an admin, usually the employer, has to first sign up and then enter as many staff members as he wishes; for commodity, the admin can attach an excel file containing all the staff members as opposed to having to introduce each name manually. An admin also several advantages, such as tracking members' completion rates, assigning new courses or renewals, as well as printing reports or certificates.
• Applicants can choose from the HIPAA Basic and Advanced course, according to the type of training they require. The HIPAA Advanced training course is meant for employees who work in a hospital or other covered healthcare facilities, as well as anybody who has access to patient medical records or health plans.
• In order to keep up with all the advances in medicine and the innovation in the healthcare industry, HIPAA exams constantly updates the courses, completely for free, as there are no recurring fees. Although, once achieved, a certificate does not expire, members are urged to check the updates in order to stay compliant with any new regulations.
• All of the courses offered at HIPAA exams are in accordance with the US Department of Health and Human Services, the American Heart Association, the Red Cross, the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Because of this, applicants can rest assured that the certificates are recognized on a national level and that all the information taught is up to date and relevant to the current situation in the healthcare system.
To sum up, HIPAA Exams is the perfect solution for anyone wishing to gather more information about how to stay healthy and how to handle oneself in a medical environment. The online portal is easy to access at any time and from any place and the courses are presented in a manner which is simple to comprehend.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Health Insurance Fundamentals

First, and most basically, I'll describe the use and purpose of a deductible. A deductible is money you pay towards a claim before the insurance company begins to pay. Deductibles are often attached to prescription benefits and hospital benefits but they can be used with any benefit. When they are attached to prescription benefits, you pay your deductible first and then you pay coinsurance with the insurance company or you pay a copay and the insurance company pays the balance. Lets look at an example. Suppose you have a prescription plan that has a $200 deductible and co-pays of $10 for generic, $45 for preferred brand name drugs, and $65 for non-preferred brands. Also, suppose you had a prescription that costs $100 per month. For the first two months you would pay the full amount out of pocket until you met your $200 deductible, then on the third month you would pay the copay and the insurance company would pay the difference. Insurance companies usually decide to put drugs in different tiers depending on how expensive they are and whether there is a generic alternative. Now, for the remainder of your benefit period (either calendar year or policy inception year) you will just have to pay your copay. One thing to be wary of is the maximum benefit the insurance company will pay for drugs. Some companies have a cap on the amount they will spend and other companies will switch to coinsurance after a certain dollar amount.
Another common context in which you will encounter a deductible is for outpatient surgery or for admission to a hospital. This type of deductible is fairly straight forward. Suppose you are admitted to the hospital and you have a $3,500 deductible and 100%/0% coinsurance. Also suppose your hospital bill totals $50,000. Under this scenario, you would pay the first $3,500 and your insurance company would be responsible for the rest. There's a few things to note in this situation. First, you want to be aware of how your insurance company pays for claims. Do they only pay certain amounts for certain procedure (allowed amounts) or do they pay 100% if the hospital charges more than the insurance company usually negotiates for procedures. This is one reason why it's important, when not in an emergency situation, to go to providers in your insurance company's network, because in-network the company has already negotiated procedure rates with the provider and coverage for you should be more comprehensive. Also, be very skeptical of a company that doesn't cover 100% after your deductible and coinsurance. If a company specifies certain dollar amounts they will pay towards procedures and days in the hospital, then I would steer clear of them. You could be stuck with massive medical bills with a policy like that.
Next, it's important to understand how coinsurance works. Coinsurance is a cost sharing after your deductible. You can also see coinsurance in some types of prescription plans or for other specific benefits that are defined in the policy. Most often though, you will see coinsurance described in the context of outpatient surgery and hospital admission. In the example we described above, suppose your coinsurance was a 70/30 plan. This means that the insurance company pays 70% and you pay 30% after your deductible. Before we continue with our example though, it should be noted that almost all health insurance policies from reputable companies will have a maximum out-of-pocket (OOP) for coinsurance. This is either described as your coinsurance max OOP or your total max OOP for deductible and coinsurance together. For this example we will assume the max OOP is $3,000 for coinsurance. In this scenario, you would pay the first $3,500 and then 30% of the next $10,000, which is your $3,000 coinsurance max. Some policies will describe this max as $6,500, and all they are doing is adding your deductible and coinsurance together. It is important to make this distinction when comparing policies.
Many potential policy holders have two common misconceptions about the deductible. The first is that they will be required to pay the entire deductible before they can go to the doctor with a copay. Any policy design is possible, but a common health insurance policy structure is to allow you to use your copay before the deductible is met. Another misconception about the deductible is that you will have to pay the deductible before services are rendered. In emergency situations, this won't be an issue, the facility must provide care as soon as you arrive. In other situations where you have time to talk with the hospital and schedule a surgery or other procedure, they may ask for you to pay up front. However, many hospitals will allow you to make payments towards your deductible after services have been rendered.