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Is Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance a Good Option?

We often get asked questions along the lines of “My aging parent is very ill and medical bills have drained his/her savings account, but I cannot afford to pay for the funeral if he/she should pass away.  Can I buy life insurance on my parent?”  In this scenario, we do not advise purchasing “regular” fully underwritten life insurance.  More often than not, term life insurance is going to be ideal for most people, but not in this scenario.

Why we wouldn’t recommend term insurance in this case…

Term life insurance would typically not work in this case because the coverage amount would be too small, the client would likely be uninsurable because of health issues, and the client’s age would be outside the range a life insurance company would approve coverage for.

What we would recommend…

When we get this question, we usually tell inquirers that they have two options:

  1. Take the money you would have spent each month on term insurance and instead put it into a savings account so it can start accruing interest. You can then access these funds later when in need of money for your loved one’s final expenses.
  2. Purchase a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

What is a guaranteed issue life insurance policy?

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of life insurance that you cannot be denied coverage on, hence “guaranteed”.  There are a few things you should know about this type of insurance.

  1. Guaranteed issue life insurance is typically known as “last resort” life insurance. It’s meant for those who may have been denied previously and/or are not in good health.
  2. Guaranteed issue life insurance policies are designed so that surviving loved ones can pay for your final expenses, such as a funeral, burial, and medical bills.
  3. Guaranteed issue life insurance premiums will never increase.
  4. A guaranteed issue life insurance policy accumulates cash value.
  5. Guaranteed issue life insurance policies have significantly lower death benefit amounts compared to term or permanent policies.
  6. There is no medical exam or questionnaire required for guaranteed issue life insurance. The only factor that is really taken into consideration is the age of the insured.  Because of this, guaranteed issue life insurance premiums are higher per thousand than most other types of life insurance.
  7. Benefits are limited to the first two years. This is called a Graded Death Benefit period.  What this means is that if you die within two years of buying the policy for any reason other than an accident, your beneficiaries typically only receive the total amount of what you paid in premiums.  (This can vary depending on the carrier.)

So, if you’re in relatively good health, fully underwritten life insurance may be a better option for you.  However, guaranteed issue life insurance is a great option for those with a desperate need.

How much does guaranteed issue life insurance cost?

While you can get millions of dollars’ worth of term life insurance coverage, guaranteed issue life insurance coverage often caps at $50,000.  Again, its design is based around simply helping your surviving loved ones pay for your final expenses.

Quotacy works with Gerber Life to provide guaranteed issue coverage options.  Gerber’s guaranteed issue policy is available in all U.S. states except for Montana.  Take a look at the examples and table below to get an idea on what a guaranteed issue policy can cost.

Example #1

 John Smith is 55 years old and has been denied for traditional life insurance because of his Stage IV prostate cancer.  He does not want to burden his children with his final expenses so he plans on purchasing guaranteed issue life insurance.

He’s automatically approved without having to undergo a medical exam or fill out any health forms.  John obtains $20,000 in coverage and his premiums are $91.30 per month.

If John passes away within two years, Gerber Life will refund to his beneficiaries all premiums that had been paid plus 10% interest.  However, if John happens to die because of an accident unrelated to his health within those two years, his beneficiaries will receive the full $20,000 death benefit.  After two years, his beneficiaries will receive the full death benefit regardless of how he dies.

Example #2

 Jane Doe takes care of her 79-year-old mother Sally.  Sally does not have any life insurance and Jane is worried that she won’t have the funds to give her mother the funeral she deserves.  Jane decides to buy a guaranteed issue life insurance policy on Sally.

A $12,000 policy is enough for Jane to ensure she can pay for a proper funeral and burial.  Sally is approved for coverage and the policy will cost $165.70 per month.

Although this type of policy is easy to acquire, it offers less coverage and higher premiums than traditional life insurance, so explore all your options.  If you aren’t sure if guaranteed issue life insurance is the best choice for you or want more information, contact us here at Quotacy and we can help you.

Recap of Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance:

  • If you’re between 50 and 80 years old, you can be accepted for guaranteed issue coverage regardless of your health.
  • There are no medical exams to complete or health questionnaires to fill out.
  • Cash value accumulates within the policy.

Remember, term life insurance quotes are free to run on E-Exchanger.com and there is no penalty for applying.  It doesn’t hurt to apply for term life insurance, then opt for the guaranteed issue if you end up being denied.  The more options you have, the better decision you can make.

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Residential Security Made Easy

As a resourceful hub for all topics residential security, we plan to cover the latest in industry trends, technologies, and applications. But, most importantly, we'll explain what it all means to you as a homeowner.

Planned blog posts span six core topics:

  1. Safety: Technologies and tips to create a personalized, supportive and responsive security system that keeps your family safe.
  2. Tradition: Lessons learned, best practices and insight drew from more than 40 years in the industry.
  3. Innovation: Highlights from industry trends, so you can make smart choices that meet your needs today and into the future.
  4. Partner: Purchasing considerations when evaluating potential vendors, and pointers for a smooth installation process. Plus, news and updates from Vector Security.
  5. Convenience: Solutions and applications for nonintrusive, integrated systems that make life easier.
  6. Quality: Insight into top technologies, manufacturers and service levels to ensure your system is crafted for top performance.

That said, this blog is created with you in mind, so please share any topic suggestions or questions you'd like answered in the comments section below.

The industry is on a transformational cusp, and we look forward to sharing it with you!

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Going in for Surgery? Avoid Surprise Medical Bills

It’s always a good idea to confirm that your hospital is in your health plan’s network before you go in for a procedure – but this proactive step still may not be enough to avoid surprise medical bills.

Millions of Americans get surprised bills from doctors who don’t participate in their health plan but who practice in hospitals that do. This often happens when an anesthesiologist or assistant surgeon you didn’t even know was going to be in the room during your surgery (and who doesn’t participate in your health plan), scrubs up and steps in during your procedure. When it’s all over, the out-of-network doctor bills you for the difference between what your insurer paid and what the doctor charges. The practice is called “balance billing.”

The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover out-of-network emergency services at in-network rates. But the law doesn’t stop doctors from balance billing, and it doesn’t release patients from their responsibility to pay surprise medical bills.

Although you don’t have complete control over whether or not you’ll get a balanced bill, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood and to fix the problem once it happens.

Plan ahead. Before a planned surgery ask about the team of healthcare providers who will treat you while you’re hospitalized.

It’s very difficult to control who sees you at the hospital or to know which doctors participate with your health plan. But it can’t hurt to ask that they keep non-participating providers out of your room.

Check for mistakes. It may be that an in-network provider got recorded incorrectly as out-of-network in your insurer’s system when your claim was processed.

When you get a bill, don’t pay it right away. Instead, call your health plan to discuss the bill you received and ask if you can get the charges removed if they’re incorrect.

If you get health insurance at work, your employer may be able to help dispute the bill.

Talk to your doctor. Physicians are sensitive to the financial burden patients are under these days, including those caused by surprise medical bills. It’s worth calling to ask if the doctor is willing to reduce the price of the bill.

Your health plan should also be able to step in and help. In some cases, your insurer will negotiate for you with physicians to either lower or waive out-of-network charges.

Check your state. Federal law does not protect patients from balance billing. However, about a quarter of the states do have laws in place that protect consumers from balance billing by health care providers that don’t participate in their health plan. Check with your state’s department of insurance to learn about the protections where you live.

File an appeal. The law entitles you to both an internal appeal with your insurer and an external review by an independent third party. Your health plan must provide guidelines about how to go about the appeal process.

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How To Prevent Home Break-Ins

Alarm systems and motion detectors can offer you protection and security, but there are other steps you can take to prevent your home from being burglarized.

According to Statistics Canada, alarm systems have helped reduce the number of home break-ins. Insurance companies favor those who have such security systems in place, however, follow our additional steps to further prevent home break-ins.

Doors and windows MUST be locked.

To prevent a break-in, always lock your doors and windows, especially when you aren’t home. Make sure that windows can’t be open from the outside, but that you can unlock them from the inside in case of an emergency. It’s important to change your locks or combinations if you move into a new home or lose your key. You can also use security bars on basement windows or sliding doors. If you have a spare key outside your home, make sure it’s well hidden.

Keep valuables out of sight.

Closing your blinds and curtains at night can stop people from seeing in, but you should also keep valuables out of sight. If a thief can see valuable items, such as jewellery or electronics, they are more likely to break-in. Small valuable items can easily be taken from your home. Keep these items in a safety deposit box or an unlikely place. It is always a good idea to take an inventory of your valuables in your home with videotapes or photographs.

What to do while you are away.

Home break-ins are less likely if it looks like someone is home. Before leaving for vacation, stop your mail or have someone pick it up for you. To make your house look lived in you can keep your grass cut, a shoveled driveway, and a car in the driveway. You can also use timers on your lights. If you have a good relationship with your neighbour, let them know how long you will be away so they can keep an eye on your home. Avoid posting on social media that you are going away and wait until you are back to post those great vacation pictures!

Remember to limit the number of people who know you will be away from your home. We hope you have found our prevention tips useful!  

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Blood Cancers and Buying Life Insurance

According to the American Society of Hematology, blood cancers affect the production and function of your blood cells and end up preventing your blood from performing many of its functions, such as fighting off infections or preventing serious bleeding.  Approximately every three minutes, one person in the U.S. is diagnosed with a blood cancer.  September is both Life Insurance Awareness Month and Blood Cancer Awareness Month.  In this post, let’s discuss the different types of blood cancer and how these conditions can affect buying life insurance.

What are the different types of blood cancer?

There are three main types of blood cancer: leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.  An estimated 1,290,773 Americans are either living with, or are in remission from, leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma.

Leukemia – cancer of the body’s blood forming tissues.

  • Mainly affects bone marrow and the lymphatic system
  • Usually, affects white blood cells – the infection fighting cells
  • There are many types of leukemia

Lymphoma – cancer of the lymphatic system.

  • Affects the lymphatic system – the body’s germ-fighting network – which includes the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, and bone marrow
  • There two categories: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Myeloma – cancer of plasma cells.

  • Plasma cells are white blood cells that produce disease- and infection-fighting antibodies
  • Cancerous plasma cells release too much protein and can cause organ damage
  • Cancerous plasma cells can also crowd the normal cells in your bones and weaken them

How does leukemia affect buying life insurance?

Leukemia can be either acute or chronic.  Chronic leukemia progresses more slowly than acute leukemia, which requires immediate treatment.  There are five types of leukemia: acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphoid leukemia (CLL), hairy cell leukemia, and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).  ALL is the most common form of childhood leukemia and AML and CLL are most common in adults.

Although individuals who have been diagnosed with leukemia generally cannot get preferred life insurance risk classes, that is Preferred Plus or Preferred, once treated with no recurrence, individuals can be considered for Standard life insurance rates.  Risk classes are dependent on the type of leukemia, your age at diagnosis, and how long it has been since completion of treatment.  The more years that have passed since treatment, the better your chances are for qualifying for Standard or Standard Plus.

Risk Classes
Preferred Plus
Preferred
Standard Plus
Standard

If you do not qualify for standard risk classes, you may be table rated and/or be required to pay a flat extra.  A table rating typically means you will pay the standard prices plus a certain percentage.  A flat extra is an additional fee that cushions the risk for the insurance carrier.  A flat extra can last the entire life of a policy or just a few years.

Table Rating
(alphabetical)
Table Rating
(numerical)
Pricing
A 1 Standard + 25%
B 2 Standard + 50%
C 3 Standard + 75%
D 4 Standard + 100%
E 5 Standard + 125%
F 6 Standard + 150%
G 7 Standard + 175%
H 8 Standard + 200%
I 9 Standard + 225%
J 10 Standard + 250%

Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Example 1

 

Jane Doe was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) when she was 8 years old.  She is now 30 years old and it has been over 20 years since treatment was completed.  Jane is a non-smoker and aside from her history of childhood cancer, she has a clean bill of health.

She applies for a 30-year $500,000 life insurance policy and is approved at Standard Plus.  Her monthly premium payments will be $50.

Example 2

 

John Smith was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) when he was 18 years old.  Part of his treatment was a bone marrow transplant.  He is now 32 years old, does not smoke, and it has been 13 years since treatment was completed.

He applies for a 20-year $500,000 life insurance policy and is approved at Table B.  His monthly premium payments will be $60.

Keep in mind that no life insurance company underwrites the exact same way.  (Underwriting is the process of evaluating an application and determining a risk class.)  Some will be stricter with leukemia than others.

How does lymphoma affect buying life insurance?

There are two categories of lymphoma: Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin.  The difference between the two is based on the type of cancer cells present.  According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Hodgkin lymphoma is rare, accounting for about .5 percent of all new cancers diagnosed.  Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more common being the seventh most diagnosed cancer.

In the majority of cases, applicants with a history of lymphoma will be assigned a flat extra for the first few years, unless a good number of years (like ten) have passed since treatment.

Let’s take a look at an example.

Example

 

John Doe is a 54-year-old male, non-smoker, applying for a 20-year $250,000 term policy.  He was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin lymphoma five years ago.  He went through chemotherapy that same year and continued preventative treatment for two years following.  There has been no sign of recurrence.  He gets check-ups once per year.

John is approved at Table B with a flat extra of $15 per thousand for five years.  Here’s what all that means.  John is getting $250,000 in coverage, so to calculate the flat extra you multiply 15 by 250.  John will have to pay an extra $3750 per year on top of his normal premiums for five years.  Once year five is over, his premiums will drop to the regular Table B premium which will be $140 per month.

Again, no life insurance company underwrites the same way.  There are insurance carriers that would decline John outright.  This is why working with an independent agency like Quotacy is beneficial.  We have contracts with multiple A-rated carriers, so your chances of being approved are better.

How does myeloma affect buying life insurance?

Myeloma has different forms, but 90 percent of people who have been diagnosed with myeloma have multiple myeloma.  It’s called such because it affects several areas of the body versus just one site.  There is currently no cure for multiple myeloma, so life insurance approval may prove difficult.  Unless you have had a bone marrow transplant, an applicant diagnosed with multiple myeloma will typically be declined for life insurance.  Myeloma is, however, the least commonly diagnosed type of blood cancer.

Plasmacytoma and localized myeloma diagnoses, these are forms of myeloma in which cancer cells are found in only one site, have higher chances of life insurance approval.  Standard rates are even possible if enough years have passed since treatment.

If you have a history of blood cancer, don’t hesitate to apply for life insurance.  Applying for life insurance is free and there is no commitment to buy.  Here at Quotacy we have access to many life insurance carriers and will help to get you approved for coverage.  Start out by using our term quoting tool to run as many quotes as you would like – no contact information required.  We look forward to helping you get life insurance.

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What You Need to Know to Choose the Best Monitoring Plan

Installing a home security system is essential in order for you to protect your home, family, and valuable possessions. Having a home security system installed affords you the peace of mind you need in order to live without fear for your home’s safety.

However one of the most important things you need to consider when installing a home security system is the type of monitoring plan you wish to have. Here are a few things you should know when you’re trying to find the best monitoring plan for your home security system.

What is Monitoring?

To put it simply, monitoring refers to the way in which your home security system communicates with a device or center which monitors the information it is receiving. Essentially, a monitoring center processes the information to determine what action or steps need to be taken in the event of a security breach.

Types of Monitoring

When it comes to monitoring for home security systems there are generally two different types of monitoring methods: personal and professional. Personal monitoring is very rare and is usually carried out when you’ve purchased and installed a lower grade home security system. This type of monitoring involves all of the information from the home security system being redirected to you directly. That means you have to keep a vigilant eye on what is happening in your home in order to keep on top of things.

If your attention slips and something happens during that time, nothing can be done because you were the monitoring center so to speak. It was your responsibility to identify a threat and report it to the relevant authorities.

As you can see, this type of monitoring is very cumbersome on the homeowner and can prove to be grossly ineffective in most cases.

The other method of monitoring is professional. This means that the alarm company is the one keeping a tab on all the signals that your house is emitting. If there is a security breach or threat, the alarm company will inform the relevant authorities and help will be sent to your home right away. Alarm companies pride themselves on having fast response times which is what makes them so attractive to customers. The faster the response time, the less likely it is that you and your family will incur serious harm, damage, or losses.

Things to Keep in Mind When Looking for a Monitoring Plan

With respect to monitoring plans, they are typically divided into two broad categories: basic and advanced/interactive. The two different plans differ in how much control you are afforded. The general features of the two plans are outlined below.

Basic Monitoring Plans

If you’ve just gotten a home security system, basic monitoring packages are a great way to start out. This is especially true in today’s day and age because now, the more advanced packages require smartphone and tablet use. If you don’t have a smartphone, basic monitoring is perfect for you.

Advanced and Interactive Plans

These plans are a little bit more complex and give you the chance to be more involved with the monitoring process. If you want to be kept in the loop with everything that’s happening in and around your home, these sorts of monitoring plans keep you updated via your smartphone or tablet. You can expect to get texts and alerts as to the status of your home, remote access to various home security features, as well as access to the cameras and sensors if there are any.

What to Expect from any Monitoring Plan

Generally, all monitoring plans have certain key features. Some of these include:

  • 24/7 monitoring and surveillance of your property for everything from break-ins to the state of the environment. This means that your monitoring system is also keeping an eye out for things like excess carbon monoxide, water levels, and smoke.
  • Primary contacts – These are generally two numbers which the alarm company calls first in the event of a security breach or problem.
  • Secondary contacts – If they can’t get in touch with your primary contacts, the company will attempt to get in touch with your secondary contacts. You can give up to five numbers as secondary contacts.
  • Cellular connection – This is the means by which your alarm system forms a connection to the monitoring service. It uses cellular connections as opposed to landlines which aren’t very reliable. A landline can be cut by a burglar to try to cut you off from protection. Cellular connections don’t require wires and are therefore a more reliable way to connect to your monitoring service.

How to Choose Which Monitoring Plan is Best for you

Choosing which monitoring plan is best for you involves a consideration of your personal preferences and circumstances. For instance, are you looking to have more control over what’s happening inside your home when you’re not around or are you comfortable with giving that responsibility solely to the monitoring service?

There are certain cases and situations in which a more interactive/advanced system would be more effective. These include:

  • When your kids are at home alone
  • If you’re going on vacation and want to keep tabs on the house
  • If your elderly parents are living with you and you want to monitor them

In these cases, being able to see and know what’s happening at home while you’re away is very beneficial.

As you can see, what monitoring plan you end up choosing largely depend upon what degree of control you want over the surveillance of your home. If you’re looking to be more involved, an advanced plan is best for you; if not, you can easily settle for a basic plan.

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