A nationwide study by the Washington National Institute for Wellness Solutions (IWS) found that only 10% of middle-class workers believe that they have enough savings to cover medical emergencies and the long-term cost of a critical illness.
Diseases such as cancer, heart disease, or Alzheimer’s can be life-changing financially, as well as personally. Although most respondents said that, even with Medical and Disability Income insurance, they would need out-of-pocket funds to cover their expenses from a serious medical condition, they lack the savings to fall back on. Nearly half (45%) felt they would never recover financially from a battle with Alzheimer’s or dementia; for cancer, the percentage is 38%.
Out of 1,001 survey participants between the ages of 30 and 66 and annual household incomes of $35,000 to $99,999, 75% have saved less than $20,000. Among these, half have less than $2,000 in savings – and one in four have no current savings.
One-fourth of respondents “did not know” what resources they would use to help offset their expenses, says IWS. Others would use credit cards (28%), loans from friends and family (23%) or financial institutions (19%) to help cover what insurance doesn’t.
Washington National Insurance Co president Barbara Stewart advises employees to give themselves a reality check about the financial burden of critical illness. “Find out what your current insurance will – and will not – cover” says Stewart, “and then assess your overall financial health. Identify the gaps between the resources you would need and the options you have.”
We recommend that you offer your employees Critical Illness coverage as a voluntary benefit that will provide an extra layer of financial protection when they face the challenge of a serious disease. Give us a call.
Short-term disability insurance is an important resource you may have heard about through your job or private insurance agent. Understand what short-term disability insurance is as you decide if it’s right for you.
Short-Term Disability Insurance Defined
Short-term disability insurance is a benefit that covers a temporary disability caused by an illness or injury. Usually in effect for a short time period, it pays the policy holder up to 66-2/3 percent of their weekly earnings. It may also include a benefit that helps an ill or injured employee return to work.
The waiting period to file a short-term disability insurance claim is up to two weeks after you become ill or injured. Be prepared to show medical proof of your illness or injury. Benefits usually last from three to six months. Your policy will have a maximum per-month benefit cap.
Why You Need Short-Term Disability Insurance
Short-term disability insurance is designed to provide financial assistance if you suffer an illness or are injured. The top five reasons people purchase short-term disability insurance include:
- Joint disorders
- Digestive issues
If one of these or any illness or injury affects you and you have to take time off work, do you have enough financial resources to manage your living expenses and other financial obligations? In essence, short-term disability insurance protects you and your resources. It covers your living expenses and gives you peace of mind until you can return to work.
An Example of how Short-Term Disability Insurance Works
Here’s an example of how short-term disability insurance can help you.
Let’s say you acquire a bad infection and must be on bed rest for a few weeks. Instead of worrying about money, tapping into your savings, racking up credit card debt or pushing to return to work before you’re healed, rely on short-term disability insurance.
Your policy only covers a portion of your weekly income, but it is a big help. If your salary is $32,000 with weekly gross earnings of $615.38, your weekly short-term disability insurance benefit will be approximately $406.15. You can use that money to pay any expenses, including rent, groceries or other bills.
Who Should Buy Short-Term Disability Insurance?
Short-term disability insurance is important for almost anyone, especially if you don’t have a big nest egg saved for emergencies. Review your financial portfolio with your financial advisor as you decide if a short-term disability insurance policy is right for you.
How to Buy Short-Term Disability Insurance
Talk to your Human Resources manager about short-term disability insurance. You can also purchase a policy through your personal insurance agent. It’s invaluable coverage that protects you and your financial security.
If you’ve ever shopped around for insurance, you’ve likely been asked if you want to bundle your policies—in other words, combine your home or renters, auto and life insurance policies with the same carrier. Although you have the option to shop around individually for each policy, it almost always makes sense to have the same carrier cover as many of your policies as possible.
Benefits of Bundling
- The discount—Most policyholders bundle their policies because of the promise of a discount. The amount varies by provider but can generally range between 5-25 percent.
- The option of a single deductible—With bundled policies, your deductible may be cheaper in the event of a claim that affects multiple policies. For example, if your home and auto policies are with two separate carriers, and a hailstorm damages your home and your car, you’re responsible for paying both your home and auto deductibles before receiving payment. But if you bundle your policies, your provider may offer you the option to pay only the higher of the two deductibles.
- Less chance of being dropped—If you’ve made claims or gotten tickets, having your policies bundled with one provider can decrease the chance of them dropping you.
When it Doesn’t Pay to Bundle
It isn’t always better to bundle your policies with one insurance carrier. Here’s when it may be better to split them up:
- If you have tickets or past claims that make your auto insurance expensive—In this case, it may be cheaper overall to buy each policy from separate providers.
- When premiums increase—Bundling discourages people from price shopping, which makes it easier for providers to increase their rates. Most assume that you won’t go through the effort of shopping around when your policies renew.
- If policies aren’t technically bundled—Some carriers may insure you with an affiliated company. Although you may get a discount with that company, you’ll lose the convenience of paying your premium with one familiar provider.
A Few Tips to Consider
Although discounts are the main reason people bundle their insurance policies, never assume that bundling is the cheapest option. Your needs and circumstances will dictate whether you should combine your policies with one carrier. Consider the following tips:
- Shop for new coverage when your policies renew, and ask for the price of the individual premiums as well as the price of the bundled premium so you can decide whether it is worth it. Just make sure you compare the same coverage when shopping for quotes from each carrier.
- Ask if the provider uses a third-party insurance company. Remember that you may save money but lose the convenience of dealing with one provider and a combined bill.
- Ask an independent insurance agent to get prices from multiple companies so you don’t have to do the legwork. An agent that is loyal to a particular carrier may be able to offer discounts that you can’t get alone.
With multiple factors contributing to the price of your insurance premiums, it is important to shop around in order to get the best rate for your insurance needs. Feel free to contact Scurich Insurance to determine if bundling is right for you and help you take advantage of all available discounts.
You’ve probably heard a lot about opioids lately, and for good reason—the CDC estimates that more than 115 people die from opioid overdoses every day.
One of the biggest reasons for widespread misuse of these drugs is that they’re both effective at short-term pain management and highly addictive.
Luckily, to combat what some now call the “opioid epidemic,” researchers from the American College of Physicians (ACP) have published guidelines that promote alternative noninvasive and therapy-based pain treatments.
Although these guidelines recommend the use of opioids and other medications as a last resort, therapeutic treatments may help strengthen your body and help you heal naturally. However, you should always consult your physician for the best way to treat your pain.
Here are some common pain treatments based on the ACP’s guidelines:
- Use heat or ice packs to reduce pain and swelling. Regulating how much blood flows into affected areas can be a simple and effective way to reduce pain.
- Avoid overexertion. Rest will allow any injured tissue and nerve roots to begin to heal. However, too much rest can cause your muscles to weaken.
- Exercise when possible. Although exercising to relieve pain may sound strange, even low-intensity activity like stretching or walking can help strengthen your muscles and relieve pain. Consult with a health care or fitness professional to customize a safe and effective exercise routine for any severe or chronic pain.
- Engage in relaxing activities such as yoga and meditation. Research has shown that the mental aspect of physical pain can cause it to be much more intense than it would be otherwise.
- Explore your options. Talk with your doctor about alternative pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. You could also discuss when to use or how to wean off strong narcotics. Opioids should only be considered as a last resort.
You might be wondering why you even need to think about disability insurance in the first place. After all, your employer offers you this type of insurance so you should be covered if you have to be out of work due to illness or injury. Unless you are well-versed in the intricacies of your particular insurance policy, though, you could be unpleasantly surprised if you are out of work for an extended period of time.
Your First Steps
The first thing you should do is go over your current insurance policy. If your employer provides disability insurance, then you have some coverage. It is likely not to be enough, though. Most employer-provided insurance policies offer only short term disability. This coverage is often only for the short term and phases out after about six months. Long term disability — the type that kicks in after you reach the time constraints of your short term insurance — often lasts only five or ten years.
Think Long Term
It is easy to become complacent and think that you will never need long term disability insurance. Many catastrophic accidents, injuries and illnesses, though, can make you unable to work at your previous potential for a number of years. For the best protection, you need to make sure that your long term disability insurance covers you until at least the age of 65. After that, social security officially kicks in to provide you with the coverage you need.
In order to meet your responsibilities, you need to think in the long term. Talk to your insurance agent today to build a plan for both short and long term disability insurance that will protect your family and everything you have worked so hard for.
You know you should probably get disability insurance at some point. After all, you never know when an accident or illness will make it difficult for you to work. With both short and long term policies available, however, the choices can be confusing. Knowing the differences between these polices will help you sort out which one is better for you.
The Long and Short of It
Short term disability is insurance that kicks in once you have exhausted the sick days available from your employer. Though policies vary, short term disability typically last about six months. While you might see payments that are nearly the same as your usual salary early on, they are often reduced to a percentage of that amount within a few weeks.
Long term disability is designed for those catastrophic events that have the potential to mark the end of your paycheck-earning days. In many cases, long term disability begins when short term policies end. While some plans last only five to ten years, a more viable long term disability insurance policy lasts at least until you are 65 years of age.
You Need Both for Complete Coverage
Given the overview outlined above, it is easy to see the place for both types of insurance in your life. Short term disability insurance is the ideal way to ensure coverage if you come down with pneumonia that sends you out of work for two weeks when you have already used up nearly all your sick days. Long term disability insurance is vital if that bout of pneumonia turns out to be a more serious illness that requires extensive care that could result in you being out of work on a permanent basis.
Protect your assets and your family by ensuring that you have the necessary insurance coverage should you find yourself unable to work.