Sickness Doesn’t Discriminate, So Why Should Insurance?

Everyone can get sick or injured. But when it comes to protecting their lifestyle with insurance, it seems females have some catching up to do.

Historically speaking, insurance was sold to the main breadwinner. And more often than not that was the husband.

Today men still earn more, on average, than women. But the gap is closing fast – Australian women now earn 92% of male incomes. And many women out-earn their husbands. So you’d expect more women would be taking out life insurance to protect their income and their lifestyle.

But despite women making up 45% of the workforce, they still represent only 15-20% of all insured incomes.

It’s not just about income

Women are often more financially vulnerable than men – mainly because they typically spend less time in the workforce.

This is partly because of children. But women are also more likely to retire early. And they’re often the ones who have to take time off to look after children or elderly relatives.

Less time in the workforce means less savings, less superannuation, and less of an ability to recover from financial setbacks.

And since women live longer than men, these setbacks can be even more financially damaging over time.

What types of insurance should women have?

Income Protection typically covers up to 80% of your income if you can’t work temporarily because of sickness or injury – making it extremely valuable for working women.

To protect yourself against diseases like cancer, you can take out Recovery (also known as ‘Trauma’) insurance. It can pay a lump sum on diagnosis – helping you replace your income, and assist in covering the costs associated with treatment.

Life and/or Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance can provide a lump sum to you or your beneficiaries if you die or are seriously disabled. This can be vital if you have a family and/or a mortgage to look after.

If you’re self-employed or run a business, you can also cover your fixed business expenses if you can’t work temporarily because of sickness or injury. This could include the cost of finding a replacement if you need one.

It’s cheaper than the alternative

You may not be aware of how much cancer treatment costs. The Cancer Council of NSW estimates a woman with breast cancer could be faced with over $40,000 in lost productivity and out-of-pocket expenses. And that the average lifetime cost of cancer equates to 1.7 years of a household’s income.

This helps put the cost of insurance in perspective.

Strategies to make insurance more affordable

There are a number of ways you can reduce the effective cost of your premiums.

For example, income protection and business expenses insurance premiums are often tax-deductible.

You may also be able to reduce the effective cost of Life and TPD insurance by taking it out inside super – using your pre-tax money to pay premiums. Bear in mind there may be some restrictions on your benefit if you insure inside super.

If you’re eligible for the Government co-contribution you may be able to use this to help pay your insurance premiums. This also gives your retirement savings a valuable boost.

Florida Group Health Insurance Coverage Plans For Business

For business owners, providing group health insurance benefits helps retain high quality employees and ensures better production with preventive medical care for a healthy workforce. With BCBSF group insurance plans, there are many options for Florida employers to choose the amount of premiums they cover, and a wide network of medical providers.

In 2007 alone, Florida business owners added 200,000 new members enrolled in BCBSF commercial health insurance plans. According to the South Florida Business Journal, ” This 3.1 percent increase brought the total employees insured to nearly 9 million Florida people in commercial health plans, including both insurance provider-underwritten and those self-insured.” The greatest increase came from the Blue Options PPO health plan enrollees. This popular health plan has higher deductibles for employees and lower monthly premiums, thus giving affordable payment options to both employers and employees.

In addition to the top growth for commercial health plans, employees have rated BCBSF health coverage plans with the “Highest Member Satisfaction Among Commercial Health Plans in the South,” according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 National Health Insurance Plan Satisfaction Study(SM). Florida employers can choose various payment options from paying the entire premium of the employee; to sharing a certain percentage of the annual insurance costs.

The popular BlueOptions PPO (Preferred provider organizations), meets the diverse needs of the workforce by providing different benefits and premiums options, including Health Savings Account (HSA) compatible plans. To help control health insurance costs, the health savings accounts allow the employers and employees to cut costs with payments to a pre-tax savings account that pays for routine and preventive medical treatment. The HSA plans are usually combined with higher deductibles to keep costs of monthly payments down.

Another popular group insurance plan is the BlueChoice PPO that gives your employees the choice of quality doctors and hospitals within the BlueChoice network with no required referrals. BCBSF also offers dental, disability, life, and long-term care insurance policies. In addition, there are a variety of financial programs for groups that put the employer in control of health care costs and may offer tax advantages, like Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA).

Another commercial health plan choice is the BlueCare HMO, offered by Health Options, Inc. This group plan gives employees a full range of benefits including preventive care and fixed copayments. Generally, HMOs (Health maintenance organizations), require employees to choose a primary care physician from the approved BCBSF provider network. Thus the monthly premiums can be lower for both the employer and the employee, while still getting comprehensive healthcare coverage for medical needs.

For those employers with many questions, consider contacting your local BCBSF licensed insurance agency to learn all about each group policy and the options available to employers for commercial health insurance plans. These plans can also include vision and dental insurance to cover the complete medical needs of the employee.

Out On The Edge – The Lack of Health Insurance Benefits For Nonstandard Workers In Texas

A 2005 Commonwealth Fund white paper reported on two important trends in the U.S. workforce – the increasing prevalence of workers in part-time, temporary, contract or non-standard positions, and the decline in access to employer-provided health insurance.

The fact that fewer and fewer individuals in Dallas, Houston and throughout Texas are covered by health insurance as well as the diminished quality of coverage brought about by higher copayments and deductibles has gotten a lot of attention. At the same time, there has been remarkably little attention paid to the status of nonstandard workers, who are particularly vulnerable because their employment status often excludes them from employer-based coverage. This increases their reliance on family members’ policies, public coverage or leaves them without insurance completely.

Nonstandard workers currently make up approximately 25 percent of the nation’s workforce, totaling 34.3 million workers. Part-time workers make up the biggest category within this group, followed by self-employed independent contractors and direct-hire temporary workers. Nonstandard workers also include on-call and day laborers, temporary help agency workers, independent contractors, and contract company workers.

While access to employer-sponsored health insurance is on the decline for all workers, it is an especially serious problem for nonstandard workers. A recent study showed that 74 percent of standard workers have health insurance through their jobs, compared to only 21 percent of nonstandard workers. Because of this disparity, nonstandard workers are thought to be uninsured at twice the rate of standard workers. Nonstandard workers also rely on government insurance at five times the rate of regular workers and are insured through a spouse’s health insurance plan at three and one-half times the rate of regular workers.

In addition to being less likely to be offered employer-sponsored health insurance, nonstandard workers are also less likely to take up employer-sponsored coverage when it is available. About 87 percent of regular full-time workers are offered health insurance, compared with only 40 percent of nonstandard workers. Among those nonstandard workers who are eligible for employer-based plans, only 54 percent choose them, while the selection rate for standard workers is 85 percent. Nonstandard workers who turn down coverage said it was either because they had coverage through another source or because the plan was too expensive.

Families of nonstandard workers are also affected by their spotty insurance coverage. Only 15 percent of children and 16 percent of spouses of nonstandard workers have health insurance through the nonstandard worker’s employer. In fact, standard workers’ children and spouses were covered by the spouse’s employer at three times the rate that they were covered by the nonstandard worker’s employer. Almost one in five family members of nonstandard workers was uninsured (18% of children and 16% of spouses). A significant share — 10 percent of children and 6 percent of spouses — relied on public health insurance for coverage.

Because of the rising cost of health insurance, some employers and individuals — both nonstandard workers and regular employees — are turning to low-cost products like high-deductible health insurance plans, limited benefit health insurance and medical discount cards. While these options are typically more affordable than comprehensive health insurance, coverage is limited. A recent Iowa Policy Project (IPP) Survey of Fringe Benefits and Nonstandard Work found that 18 percent of nonstandard workers had discount cards, but no insurance coverage. However, almost all these workers mistakenly reported that their discount card was a health insurance policy. This has led to suggestions that rates of uninsurance may actually be underestimated.

The Iowa report concludes that improving access to health coverage for nonstandard workers will require addressing three issues: regulating employer-employee relationships to ensure that nonstandard workers enjoy the same individual and collective rights as conventional employees; strengthening the foundation of employment-based health insurance, making it easier for employers to offer coverage and workers to afford it; and expanding alternatives to employment-based coverage.

Current policymakers need to start identifying the obstacles facing the uninsured and underinsured, as well as each individual’s potential for eligibility, according to income, job tenure, or firm size. It’s going to be a formidable task to provide nonstandard workers with access to group-based insurance — by increasing access to conventional job-based coverage, creating new health insurance purchasing pools, or by expanding individual health insurance alternatives.

Although most individuals are covered under employment-based coverage, there’s no requirement that employers provide it. Most employers — especially those with fewer employees— have strong reasons to avoid taking on the health insurance burden. Some small business employers have responded to rising health insurance costs by shifting more coverage costs to employees or dropping coverage altogether.

If you’re a small business owner who would like to offer affordable health insurance plans to your employees, but can’t afford group health insurance, you should consider offering your employees the revolutionary, comprehensive individual health insurance solutions created by Precedent specifically for young, healthy individuals.Precedent offers affordable, individual health plans with catastrophic coverage, but without a high deductible, and we’ll offer these plans to your employees at a discount.

For more information, visit us at our website, [http://www.precedent.com]. We offer a unique and innovative suite of individual health insurance solutions, including highly competitive HSA-qualified plans, and an unparalleled “real time” application and acceptance experience.