Friday, May 29, 2009

Your 5-minute guide to health insurance

These 29 tips can help guide you through a sometimes bewildering array of options.

By MSN Money staff

Access to health insurance is protected by federal law if your employer offers group coverage. But if you need to buy insurance on your own and you have a history of medical problems, finding affordable insurance can be a challenge.

Either way, you can take steps to control your health-care costs.

Get the most from your employer plan

If you're insured through your employer, review your coverage annually when your company holds open enrollment. (See "9 keys to choosing the right health plan.")
  • You may have a choice of several types of providers. Base your decision on access to quality careand what the plan does and doesn't pay for. Examine deductibles, co-payments, limits on out-of-pocket expenses, lifetime maximum benefits and prescription coverage. (See "When your health plan won't pay.")
  • Have your medical needs changed? A plan that couples higher premiums with lower co-pays is better for people with health problems.
  • You can pay out-of-pocket health-care expenses with a flexible spending account using pretax dollars, meaning Uncle Sam covers as much as a third of the tab. But you'll lose what you don't use in the calendar year (employers can extend the deadline to mid-March), and you can't take it from job to job.
  • You may be able to lower your premiums by taking advantage of employee incentives to lose weight, exercise and stop smoking. (Your employer's plan cannot single you out for higher premiums or drop your coverage if you develop health problems.)

Cheaper ways to buy it yourself

Another option for paying out-of-pocket medical expenses is the health savings account. An HSA is available only if you buy high-deductible health insurance through your employer or on your own. (See "Get cheaper medical coverage -- with a tax break.") Not every high-deductible plan can be partnered with an HSA.
  • The Internal Revenue Service will allow maximum HSA contributions of $2,900 for individuals and $5,800 for families in 2008. Your contribution is either pretax or deductible, even if you don't itemize, and earnings and withdrawals for medical expenses are tax-free.
  • Unlike a flexible spending account, your money is invested, and what you don't spend will roll over to the next year. You can take the account with you if you change jobs.
  • You can make contributions up to age 65. After that, you can make taxable withdrawals for any purpose.

For those awkward in-between times

If you're between jobs, try not to let insurance coverage lapse. Some provisions of federal law that protect access to insurance don't apply if you've been without coverage for 63 days (longer in some states).

COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, allows you to continue group coverage after your job ends, generally for 18months, but you'll pay the entire premium. Know your rights under federal law and state law.

  • You can continue contributing to your flex account under COBRA, giving you more time to use the money.
  • You can use your HSA to pay COBRA or other health insurance premiums if you're receiving unemployment compensation.
  • Under certain circumstances, you can make penalty-free withdrawals from an IRA to pay premiums if you're unemployed.

When you start a job, enroll in your employer's health plan at the first opportunity. Under HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act,you cannot be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition (one for which you've received advice or treatment in the previous six months, including mental health disorders but excluding pregnancy) for more than 12 months (shorter in some states) or 18 months for late enrollees. That period will be reduced by the amount of time you were previously insured without a 63-day break in coverage.

Going it alone?

If you're self-employed or your employer doesn't provide health insurance, use MSN Money's Insurance Planner and read "Health coverage for all" to learn about options.
  • HIPAA says a private insurer cannot deny insurance or exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions if you had coverage for 18 months without a 63-day break, most recently with a group plan; have exhausted or are ineligible for COBRA; and are not eligible for a group or government-sponsored plan. Each state has rules for providing HIPAA coverage.
  • Many states have high-risk pools for people who meet the HIPAA guidelines and for those unable to find affordable coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions. Many states set a cap on pool premiums, usually between 125% and 200% of market rate.

Medicare kicks in at age 65. Even so, a couple should plan to spend $215,000 for out-of-pocket medical expenses in retirement, not including the cost of long-term care.

  • Count on Medicare premiums to go up. By federal law, 25% of Medicare's costs must be covered by premiums.
  • Many of us will eventually need nursing-home care. Consider buying long-term-care insurance with inflation protection in your 50s, when premiums are lower. (See "No long-term-care insurance? Uh-oh.")

More than 46 million Americans have no health insurance. Some help is available. (See "A survival guide for the uninsured.")

Insured or not, you can cut your expenses for medications:

  • Buy generic if possible, and price shop. Check Rxaminer and DestinationRx. Some stores offer big discounts on generics. If you shop online, chose a provider accredited by VIPPS, Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites. Never buy from an online pharmacy that doesn't require a prescription. (See "13 ways to save on prescriptions.")
  • Ask your doctor to double the dosage so you can use a pill splitter to cut costs. Ask for free samples.
  • Go to RxAssist to learn about drug discount cards.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Get An Instant Texas Home Owner Insurance

Thanks to the Internet, we can do many things much faster and more efficiently than in previous years, and if you are a Texan one of those things in getting an instant Texas home owner insurance quote. Just answer a few questions, send them on their way, and wait for your quote.

Well, it's almost that easy. You see, when you are looking for your instant Texas home owner insurance quote, some of the questions you may be asked require answers you might not recall immediately. Therefore, instant quote or not, you should prepare your answers before beginning your search, thus preventing yourself from answering "unknown" and being given an inaccurate instant Texas home owner insurance quote.

When you begin your search for an instant Texas home owner insurance quote, you can expect to be asked for the following information:

• General information about both the owner and co-owner of the home
• Whether you are looking for a Texas home owner insurance policy to replace an existing home owner insurance policy
• The location of the property you wish to insure
• Whether you own or are in the process of purchasing the home
• Whether you live in or will live in the home within the next 12 months
• Whether the home is a single family, multi family, apartment, duplex, condo, townhouse, or mobile home
• The types of pets in the home
• Information about the structure and wiring of the home, as well as size, building material, and foundation
• Accessories within the home, such as dead bolts, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers
• Nearby assistance, such as police stations, fire departments, and rescue squads
• Any claims you've filed within the last few years

Take a few minutes to gather your information in order to prevent delaying your instant Texas home owner insurance quote or getting an accurate instant Texas home owner insurance quote.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Jersey Motor Insurance Quotes

The New Jersey motor insurance quotes come up with various choices and preferences appropriate for the motor owners in New Jersey. New Jersey has made the auto insurance mandatory to every auto owners and there are two major types of auto insurance coverage.

The first one forms the basic cheaper auto insurance quote and the second comes under the costly standard auto insurance quote.

The auto insurance quotes in New Jersey are divided into three different coverage plans.

• The Insurance quote to pay a third person as a result of any accident stimulated by you.

This auto insurance quote covers both bodily and property damage liability. The motor insurance quotes offer you for lawsuits and claims put forward by a third person, who got injured or died in an accident, for which you are responsible. The standard New Jersey motor insurance quote is usually considered in this case.

• The auto insurance quotes to pay you, when some other person is responsible for the accident.

The policy comes under the uninsured and underinsured New Jersey Motorist policy. The uninsured auto insurance quote will offer you the payment for property as well as bodily injury and damage that has affected you because of an accident made by any uninsured auto driver. The underinsured auto insurance quotes in New Jersey also offer you payment for both bodily as well as asset damage affected you because of another person who possess an insurance that has low coverage compared to your uninsured motor coverage.

• Regardless of the person who caused the accident, the payment is made to you by the insurance coverage.

This auto insurance quote New Jersey covers the personal damage protection, the collision policy and the comprehensive policy. The bodily insurance plan offers the payment for any damaged caused by you or other person. The plan even covers the hospital expense and the overall incidental expenses. The collision coverage included in the auto insurance quotes New Jersey covers the payment for all the damages and injuries when the automobile is in charge of any collision with some other motors. This is made available through expensive standard insurance policy. The comprehensive plan included in the auto insurance quote New Jersey that is not resulted from any fire, collision, theft or natural calamities. This auto insurance quote comes under standard auto insurance policy.

To sum upFree Articles, the New Jersey auto insurance quotes is the best mode of securing your valuable properties as well as other medical expenses.

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How to Compare Rates From Multiple Companies Instantly

The reason we compare car insurance quotes from multiple car insurance companies is to make sure we‘re getting the best rates possible. Of course nobody wants to pay more money than they have to, but in the other hand we also want to make sure that our car insurance company is going to respond quickly and fairly in case of an accident.

What is unknown to many is that there is not one single car insurance company that is cheaper than others. One particular car insurance company can be the cheapest for one person but the most expensive for another. Each car insurance company has a certain category of drivers they want to insure. If you fit their category they will offer you a cheap rate, if you don’t, they will offer you an expensive rate. That is their way of filtering the people they want and do not want to insure. That is the reason we need to compare insurance rates from multiple car insurance companies, to find out which company will offer us the cheapest rate. The key is to find the company that offers the cheapest rate for you, but of course, it is important to compare rates from quality companies only.

There are many quality car insurance companies out there; however, some of those quality companies also have a high price to go along with them. How do we find a quality company for a cheap price? That, my friend, is the key question.

The traditional method of shopping for car insurance is to call around which we all know can be a long process. Another drawback of shopping for car insurance by phone is the probability of getting caught with the old “bait and hook” trick. That is when someone gives you a low quote by phone and hikes it up on you when you go into their office to purchase the car insurance policy.

In today’s world, luckily, we have the internet. The internet makes life a lot easier for all of us. Using the internet, we can shop for many types of things we may need which include shopping for car insurance.

Shopping for car insurance online is the best way to compare rates from multiple car insurance companies. Online, you can also read about a company’s history and make sure they’re a quality company. Most companies offer instant online car insurance quotes thorough their websites which makes obtaining car insurance quotes a lot easier than the traditional method of shopping by phone. Better yet, there are some websites that offer online car insurance quotes from multiple companies with one simple process. You can even purchase your car insurance online if you like the price. One such website is There, you can obtain quotes from quality companies such as Progressive, AIG, Infinity, GMAC, Bristol West, and several more. All with one simple process!

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How to Choose Car Insurance

Everyone with a license and is a solid person realizes that an insurance policy is a requirement, and also recommended by law. A lot of insurance companies advertise on TV. What should you know when choosing an insurance company? Out of all the ads you've seen on TV, has one particular company caught your attention? If one has, phone them and talk to one of their agents. Inquire if they have an insurance plan more particular to your needs. Be sure to have all information you will need. Once you gain the quote from the agent, say thank you for your time and information but you are still awaiting quotes from a couple of other companies.

When choosing car insurance you shouldn't;t be in a hurry, inquire around some and don't jump at the first proposal they give you. Keep in mind that all insurance companies are competing, and all want your business so no quick snap decision! One of those agencies just might surprise you and give you a decreased rate compared to your leading quote.

Another formula of choosing a car insurance company is to take a gander through your local telephone book. Many decent insurance companies publish in the yellow pages providing names and addresses to those agencies. These agencies could help favor you if stationed handy to home, making for a friendlier customer relationship with your agent.

Car insurance agencies also have internet sites and advice all over the internet. Almost anybody now has access to a computer. Look up some insurance agencies' web sites and see if any of them benefit you. There are some web sites out there that actually scan car insurance rates, and will give you a list of the most competitive companies out there, usually beginning with the most affordable ones.

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