How Your Business And Workers Benefit From Supplemental Insurance

As healthcare costs continue to rise, employers have started to shift the burden of health care costs onto their employees. Some have even cut back on employer-paid benefits. The health-care law requires most people to obtain and most employers to offer major medical coverage with certain essential benefits. Even so, what workers pay out-of-pocket through these plans keep rising as employers try to control their own costs.

A 2015 report revealed how employers are still looking for ways to reduce expenses by pushing costs onto workers in the form of increased deductibles, premiums and copayments. By offering supplemental or voluntary insurance to employees, this can provide financial protection in the event of a serious accident or illness. Three reasons why supplemental insurance is essential for employees are:

Healthcare cost increases are outpacing raises

According to a report, 31 percent of employers increased employees’ share of premium, 30 percent increased employees’ copayments, and 21 percent implemented high-deductible health plans. Those are big expenses hitting employees’ wallets, but salary increases are not keeping up. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study found that deductibles have risen six times faster than workers’ earnings since 2010.

Out-of-pocket limits are high, even for higher-paid employees

The average out-of-pocket expense is approximately $7,000 for individuals and $14,000 for families, and that is only for covered essential health benefits. Yet, a whopping 52 percent of employees have less than $1,000 to pay for out-of-pocket expenses associated with an unexpected serious illness or accident, and 28 percent have less than $500.

Workers tend to choose price over quality, which may mean less coverage than they realize

With rising costs, it is tempting to choose health insurance based on the monthly price tag. In fact, 30 percent of employees say monthly premium is the most important factor when choosing a major medical insurance plan each year. A lower-cost plan may mean short-term savings, but could eventually add up to significantly higher out-of-pocket costs.

Employees need a financial safety net. Benefits received from supplemental insurance have long served as a way to help protect employees when they are sick or injured, regardless of their major medical insurance coverage. Some of these benefits include vision, dental, pet insurance, short-term disability, accident, critical illness, and hospital indemnity. Supplemental benefit recipients can use money received from these products to help pay for their daily living expenses, such as rent, mortgage payment, groceries, child care, and medical bills during the time the insured is unable to work.

When companies add voluntary products to their companies’ benefits package, they can raise employees’ level of satisfaction and help them feel more financially prepared to cope with possible life-changing events. On the other hand, employers can experience lower operational costs and save money in the process. The result is a win-win situation for both employer and employee.

How reasonable it is for businesses to want to reduce payroll taxes and lower health insurance expenses. Contact us for a 15-20 minute visit to discuss and put together a plan to lower your operational costs. And, if we do, it will be at no cost. That’s right, it won’t cost you a penny. For working individuals who are in a position or want to do it alone, we have a plan for you, too. With nearly 60 years of providing financial protection to more than 50 million people, our office has the experience in making your future somewhat brighter.

Protect Your Wedding Investment

The average cost of a wedding in the United States is roughly $26,500 – and that’s just an average! Most people don’t think about insuring the event even though the cost to mitigate the financial cost of all the things that can go wrong is minimal. Typical wedding budgets include these items:

• Venue, Catering & Rentals. This usually consumes the largest part of the budget. Considering that venues are typically booked a year in advance and usually require a sizeable deposit to hold a date; few think about the “lost deposit” that could occur if, for example, the bride or groom or their immediate family were to become unexpectedly ill on the big day.

• The venue is also going to require a “certificate of insurance.” Your homeowners policy won’t do this for you anymore! Make sure your event coverage can issue that for you including your “liquor liability.” This covers your liability for guests that may become intoxicated at your reception then try to drive home. Some policies also include the Rehearsal Dinner.

• Wedding Attire. Dresses can take many months to obtain. After paying a significant deposit to have that $3,000 dress made, you could suffer a monetary loss if the wedding dress shop suddenly goes bankrupt while you are waiting for it to be made or altered.

• Photos and Video. Documenting the events of the day is important for many years to come. What happens if the Photographer or Videographer loses your “file” or their equipment becomes damaged so they are unable to deliver these memories? Be sure that your event insurance covers bringing the wedding party together to retake photos if necessary- even if the Best Man lives on the opposite coast.

• Destination Wedding. Perhaps you’ve always imagined getting married on a beach in the Caribbean. You’ve been planning for months and a hurricane decides to wreak havoc the weekend you had planned to get married there. Postponing or cancellation of the event could cause you to incur transportation, venue, catering and accommodation loss of deposits.

Here are a few additional tips to consider during the planning of your big day:

• Be sure to sign contracts with vendors who will be performing services for you and keep a copy.

• Get “Event Insurance” early in the process as some coverages have “waiting periods.” You can purchase coverage sometimes up to two years in advance of the event.

• Keep receipts of your expenditures related to the event.

• Enlist the services of a wedding planner if planning a large event. They can be most helpful in the planning process and in making sure the day runs as smoothly as possible.

Choosing a Concealed Carry Insurance Policy

Most gun owners view the possession of a firearm in the gun safe or concealed carried as our insurance against those who would harm us. What if the unexpected happened? What if you are forced to use your firearm in self-defense? Well, since you are a legally armed citizen, you just show up in court and prove that you met all the legal requirements to justify using deadly force. Then the court rules in your favor and life goes on… not quite. Sounds real simple but I guarantee that it’s not! Just the word “court” is complicated and expensive. Even though the court may rule that you are innocent of any criminal charges the family of the deceased can take further action and file a civil suit for wrongful death resulting in even more time and money.

Insurance companies are now offering concealed carry and self-defense insurance policies just for such occasions. Since this has become so popular, there are several coverage options and several providers to choose from.

When choosing a policy, do your homework. Most homeowner’s insurance policies have clauses that may either enable or prevent your current plan from covering you in a self-defense scenario on your own property. So consider any coverage you may already have through your homeowner’s insurance.

You need to also understand what the state laws are and how they can protect you in certain situations. However, word of caution these laws are always changing so you need to stay abreast of what they are at all times. A lot of states have Stand Your Ground laws that protect individuals against civil suits in lawful self-defense situations. Most of the time, these laws make it unlikely that you will face a civil suit when rightfully defending yourself.

Consider the different types of coverage. Of course, the higher the premium, the more coverage you get. Many plans will cover your legal bills for civil cases up to the plan limit. For criminal trials, most plans only offer reimbursement for money spent defending yourself. Several insurance plans will not provide any money upfront and will only pay if you are found not guilty. With all this in mind, it important to understand exactly what you are getting.

A few other things to consider is how much coverage you feel you might need based upon where you live. Going to court in one jurisdiction versus another can be very different and can costs various amounts. Find out if the plan provides an attorney for you or if it allows you to pick the attorney you feel will best represent you. Will the plan cover fees for an expert witness and are the fees provided up front or reimbursed? Does the plan offer a list of resources such as expert witness? And determine if the plan covers your family members during a self-defense incident within your home using your firearm.