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1 week ago · by · 0 comments

Understanding Your Health Insurance Deductible

When shopping for health insurance, you probably noticed that different plans feature different deductibles. Understand what your health insurance deductible is as you maximize your health insurance coverage.

What Is a Health Insurance Deductible?

In basic terms, a deductible is the fixed amount you must pay toward your medical bills before your insurance coverage kicks in and begins to pay your expenses in full. Your specific deductible can be as low as $250 or as high as several thousand dollars and starts over again at zero on January 1 of each year.

How Does the Deductible Work?

Here is an example of how your deductible works using a $1,000 deductible amount.

  • In February, you get the flu. You pay $200, the full amount, for the doctor visit and medication. Your deductible balance now totals $800.
  • In May, you sprain your ankle. You total costs are $500 for the doctor visit, x-rays and brace. Your deductible balance is now $300.
  • In August, you need a physical. You pay $300 for the doctor visit and blood work. Your deductible is now met. Any further doctor visits or health care needs that are covered by your insurance will be paid 100 percent.

What are the Different Types of Deductibles?

You can check your health insurance benefits package to see exactly what deductibles you may need to pay. Some common types include:

  • Annual: It’s the amount of money you’ll pay annually from January 1 to December 31.
  • Per Episode: Your deductible may vary based on the type of medical care you need. As an example, doctor visits may include a $25 deductible while hospital visits require a $1,000 deductible.
  • Out-Of-Network: Visit a doctor, specialist or hospital that’s not in your network, and you’ll pay higher deductibles.
  • Family: If you have family coverage, your deductible may be higher than the amount paid by individuals. When your family deductible is met, your insurance will pay your health care costs.

When Won’t You Pay a Deductible?

Some insurance plans allow you to receive three types of services and not pay a deductible. They include visits to an in-network doctor for preventative care, yearly screenings or your annual flu shot. Check your benefits package to verify that you won’t owe a deductible for these services.

What Services Don’t Count Toward the Deductible?

Even though you haven’t met your deductible, there are some health services you may need or want that don’t count toward meeting your deductible. These services are the ones your insurance won’t pay. Check your policy or call your agent for clarifications.

Your health insurance deductible is an important part of your medical care. Understand it as you maximize your health care coverage and take care of your health.

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Tips To Prepare Your Property For Trick Or Treating This Halloween

Are you planning to welcome trick or treaters to your home this month? Here are some suggestions to prepare your property for safe Halloween fun.

1. Clean your walkways.

Jack-o-lanterns are cute, but they are also tripping hazards. Remove decorations and all clutter or debris such as toys, yard tools or twigs from your sidewalks, steps and walkways.

2. Clear the yard.

Ideally, kids will stay on the walkway and front porch as they retrieve their candy. However, you will want to clear your yard so curious and excited kids don’t trip on any toys, branches or yard tools.

3. Repair broken sidewalks and steps.

Inspect your entryway and steps carefully. Then repair any broken stepping stones, loose railings or other hazards.

4. Install lighting.

Your front porch light is turned on to welcome trick or treaters, but you may also need additional lighting to ensure safety. Solar-powered walkway lights or a string of lights can illuminate your walkway and porch.

5. Change your location.

Instead of making kids walk up your long driveway or steep steps, stand or sit in a location that’s easy for them to access.

6. Lock doors and windows.

On trick or treat night, your attention is focused on your front door. Lock all the other doors and windows in your house so no one can gain access to your home while you’re out front. Remember to lock your garage and car, too.

7. Secure valuables.

Move your grill, mower and other valuables to the shed or another secure location. With this tip, you prevent potential burglars from adding your home to their future target list.

8. Protect your pets.

Some kids are scared of animals. Also, pets can become startled and bolt or bite when they see strange costumes or dozens of noisy kids. Always secure your pets so they and the kids are safe.

9. Extinguish candles.

Open flames pose a fire hazard. As an alternative, try battery-powered bulbs, or install Halloween-themed covers on your flashlights.

10. Consider allergies when choosing candy.

Many kids are allergic to nuts or dairy. Place a teal pumpkin on your step to show trick or treaters that you offer safe alternatives like books, stickers or toys.

11. Update your property and homeowners’ insurance policies.

Despite your best efforts to promote safety, someone could be injured while on your property (ask about Personal Umbrella Insurance – a surprising low annual cost for protection). Be sure your property and homeowners’ insurance policies are updated and include adequate coverage.

Trick or treating is a fun family activity. As you give out treats this year, follow these safety tips. They secure your property and reduce your liability risks.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Does The Type Of Dog You Own Affect Your Home Insurance Price?

October, Adopt a Shelter Dog month, is a great time to add a dog to your family. Be careful which breed you adopt, though. Insurance companies use data from insurance claims and public health studies to create a high risk dog breed list, and your homeowners insurance premiums can increase based on the type of dog you adopt. You can save money when you choose a dog that’s not on the high risk list.

Working Breed Dogs

Agile, powerful and intelligent, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers and Siberian Huskies are also fiercely protective. If they’re not trained properly, these breeds could be potentially dangerous, especially to young children and small pets.

Terrier Breeds

Loyal and protective, American Pitbull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers have been bred to hunt. These traits mean they can become aggressive and tenacious if they’re cornered or frightened by one of your family members or guests.

German Shepherds

Police departments, military personnel and ranch hands appreciate this breed because the dogs are intelligent, hard-working and powerful. They’re also suspicious of strangers and won’t back down, which makes them a challenging breed for inexperienced owners to handle.

Chow Chows

Independent and strong Chow Chows are often kept as companions. These fluffy dogs can be aloof and stubborn, though, and should only be adopted by experienced dog owners.

Miscellaneous Breeds

Wolf Hybrid and Presa Canarios dogs exhibit strength and protective characteristics. However, they can also be unpredictable and quick to attack, making them potentially dangerous breeds. Friendly and docile Great Danes are listed on the high risk list, too, because of their size.

A dog adds fun and companionship to your home and family, and adopting a shelter dog is socially responsible. Before you choose a new pet, though, consider whether or not it will increase your homeowners insurance cost. If so, you may choose a different breed or reduce your home insurance premiums by installing a dog fence or raising your deductible.

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3 months ago · by · 0 comments

September Is Pet Insurance Month – Let’s Review

If pets are part of your family, you schedule regular veterinary visits to ensure the health of your furry friends. Consider additional protective steps you can take during Pet Insurance Month, observed in September.

What is Pet Insurance?

Similar to health insurance for humans, pet insurance helps you pay for the expected and unexpected health care your pet needs. You may choose from a variety of policies.

  • Accident – Pay for the treatment of unexpected accidents or injuries like animal bites or poisoning but not illnesses or diseases.
  • Accident and Illness – Treat broken bones, ear infections, diabetes, and other accidents, sicknesses, diseases, and pet health changes.
  • Routine, Preventative Care or Wellness – Cover annual exams, vaccinations, flea control, and teeth cleaning.

You may also purchase endorsements or riders. They cover specific issues that aren’t included in your regular policy.

Your policy will include limits, too. Choose the annual, lifetime, per condition, or unlimited lifetime limit as you prepare to provide your pet with the best possible care.

Keep in mind that pet insurance includes exclusions based on your pet’s age, breed and hereditary conditions. Your policy could also be denied because of a pre-existing condition, such as a diagnosed illness or disease.

Review your policy carefully to ensure it meets your needs. For example, ensure the policy covers cancer treatment before you schedule the procedure so you’re not surprised by a denied claim after your next vet visit.

How do you use Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance allows you to see the veterinarian of your choice. You’ll pay the veterinarian out-of-pocket and then submit a claim to your pet insurance company. After you pay your deductible and any co-payment, you’ll receive reimbursement as per your policy terms.

How much does Pet Insurance Cost?

Your pet’s age and breed affect your pet insurance costs. Other factors include your location, the type of policy you purchase, the deductible, benefit limit, and reimbursement percentage. Discuss your needs and budget with your insurance agent as you purchase the right coverage for your pet.

Why Would you Purchase Pet Insurance?

Ultrasounds, blood work, dermatology treatment, and other medical and surgical procedures can cost thousands of dollars. With insurance, you can afford the treatment your pet needs. It also allows you to seek medical treatment as soon as possible rather than put off diagnostic or treatment visits. You can and insurance to choose treatment rather than euthanasia for your beloved pet, too.

During Pet Insurance Month, learn how to enhance your pet’s quality of life and give your furry friend the medical treatment it needs and deserves. This valuable product protects your pet and could save its life.

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3 months ago · by · 0 comments

Raise Awareness During September, Cholesterol Education Month

Around 65 million Americans have high cholesterol, a condition that can affect anyone from young kids to senior adults. September is Cholesterol Education Month, and you can improve your health when you understand the definition of cholesterol and the best ways to prevent high cholesterol.  

What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol circulates in your blood and resembles wax or fat. It supports metabolic processes, such as cell membrane stabilization, vitamin D formation, and steroid hormone and bile acid production. It While your body makes cholesterol naturally, it’s also found in food. If you make or consume more cholesterol than your body needs, the excess will accumulate in your arteries and narrow those passageways, which could increase your heart disease and stroke risk.

You have good cholesterol (HDL – high-density lipoprotein), bad cholesterol (LDL –  low-density lipoprotein) and triglycerides. The lipoproteins carry cholesterol to and from your body’s cells.

  • HDL – Removes bad cholesterol as it flows through your bloodstream.
  • LDL – Becomes part of the plaque that lines your arteries.

Your cholesterol levels can depend on several factors, including a family history of heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Smoking, alcohol consumption, stress, and your weight can also affect cholesterol levels.

What are Normal Cholesterol Levels?

The ideal cholesterol level is under 170 mg/dL. Your LDL level should be under 110 mg/dL, and your HDL level should be over 35. Aim for a triglyceride level of under 150 mg/dL. While these numbers are confusing, your doctor can explain them and help you achieve healthy levels.

How do you know if you have High Cholesterol?

You might have high cholesterol and not know it. Visit your doctor for a blood test that shows your cholesterol levels. Typically, adults over the age of 20 should have their cholesterol checked every five years. High-risk children should have their cholesterol checked regularly, too.

How is High Cholesterol Treated?

Often, lifestyle changes can reduce your cholesterol levels. Your doctor may recommend exercise and dietary improvements, such as:

  • Engage in two hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week.
  • Eat more high-fiber food, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Limit the amount of saturated fat and sugar in the foods and beverages you consume.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit smoking and lower your alcohol intake.
  • Reduce stress.

Your doctor may prescribe medication, too. Statins reduce the amount of cholesterol your body makes and can lower your bad cholesterol levels.

This month, raise your cholesterol awareness levels. Visit your doctor for a cholesterol check, and discuss the steps you can take to achieve a healthy lifestyle that improves your health now and into the future

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1 year ago · by · 0 comments

How To Meet Your Deductible Before The End Of The Year

As the end of the year approaches, schedule time to review your medical needs. You may want to seek treatment that improves your health and allows you to meet your deductible.

Your health insurance deductible is the amount of money you pay before your insurance kicks in and covers your medical bills. Depending on your health insurance, you may have a low or high deductible that covers every type of medical treatment or applies to specific treatment. Call your insurance company or read your benefits paperwork to verify the deductible you owe. Your deductible will also be listed on your Explanation of Benefits (EOB).

Why Meet Your Annual Deductible

You’ll want to meet your deductible early in the year, if possible. However, it’s not too late to meet your deductible in November or December as you gain several benefits.

First, you’ll maximize your insurance coverage. After you meet your deductible, your insurance benefits will cover additional medical treatment. You pay for insurance and might as well use it.

Second, postponing important medical treatment and preventative care can increase your pain, suffering and treatment expenses. You could end up needing an even more expensive operation or extra therapy and other treatment in the future because you don’t prioritize your health now.

Finally, your deductible may rise if you switch insurance policies in January. In this case, your medical expenses will increase, so utilize your benefits and save money before your coverage switches.

How to Meet Your Deductible

Consider these ways to meet your deductible before the end of the year.

  • Order a 90-day supply of your prescription medicine.

    Spend a bit of extra money now to meet your deductible and ensure you have enough medication to start the new year off right.

  • See an out-of-network doctor.

    Now’s the time to get a second opinion or see a specialist that’s not covered in your insurance network. You’ll pay the total cost of the visit out-of-pocket, but it generally counts toward your deductible. Then, the next step in your treatment could be covered fully by your insurance.

  • Pursue alternative treatment.

    Visit a chiropractor, acupuncturist or other professional that provides alternative treatment for your health concerns. This specialist can help you discover your optimal health and reach your deductible.

  • Get your eyes examined.

    If your health insurance covers eye exams, visit the optometrist. Invest in your eye health, and purchase the new glasses or contact lenses you need.

You will save money and protect your health when you meet your annual deductible before December 31. For more information on your deductible or health benefits, reach out to your insurance agent.

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Scurich Insurance Services
Phone: (831) 661-5697
Fax: (831) 661-5741

Physical:
783 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Suite7,
Aptos, Ca 95003-4700

Mailing:
PO Box 1170
Watsonville, CA 95077-1170

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