When we hear the word insurance, most of us tend to think of things like car or health insurance. Critical illness insurance most likely isn’t one of the types of insurance that comes to mind.

It makes sense—we often don’t want to think about the scarier health-related risks in life—especially not critical illness. Unfortunately this inclination to turn away also often leaves us vulnerable and unprotected should we be diagnosed with a critical illness.

The reality is by the time we reach retirement age, one out of every four of us will be out of work due to illness or injury for longer than our accrued paid time off allows.

What Counts as a Critical Illness?
Illnesses can happen to any of us, at any time. They might be simple like a cold, or one of the several critical illnesses that affect Americans. The three major critical illnesses are:

  • Cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Other critical illnesses can include:

  • Blindness
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Organ transplants
  • Kidney failure
  • Paralysis
  • Heart valve replacement

According to The American Association for Critical Illness Insurance, statistics show annually:

  • Some 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer.
  • Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke; 600,000 people will experience their first stroke.
  • Every 34 seconds, an American will suffer a heart attack; 785,000 will have a new coronary attack.
  • 1.5 million Americans will declare bankruptcy this year; 60% are due to medical bills (up 50% over six years).

These numbers are alarming and that’s why protecting your income with disability and/or critical illness insurance is so important. Naturally, when we’re unfamiliar with certain types of insurance, many questions come to mind:

• Why do I need critical insurance?
• If I already have disability insurance should I get critical illness insurance as well?
• Which one is the best option?

Differences Between Critical Illness Insurance and Disability Insurance
Critical illness insurance pays you a lump-sum cash amount if you are diagnosed with any one of the critical illnesses covered by your policy, even if you make a full recovery. Disability insurance on the other hand pays you a regular payout when you’re ill or hurt and can’t work. It protects your income from the very real possibility you’ll become disabled for a period of time during your career, whether due to injury or illness.

There are several differences between critical illness and disability insurance.
Income protection: Critical illness insurance is meant to provide you a source of income to pay for your health costs if you are diagnosed with a critical illness, while disability insurance is meant to pay a portion of your income in the event that you cannot work.

Frequency of payment: Critical illness insurance generally provides you a lump sum payment as specified in the policy while disability insurance pays you a monthly benefit, usually a percentage of what you earned before becoming disabled.

Qualification of benefits: Critical illness benefits depend on the diagnosis of one of the policy-listed illnesses, while disability insurance benefits rely on your inability to work.

Tax implications: Critical illness gives you a lump sum tax-free cash payout, while disability coverage is calculated as a percentage of your after-tax income and is paid for a certain amount of time.

Requirement of proof of loss: Critical illness insurance generally doesn’t require any ongoing proof of loss of income, and is not affected by any other income you make, while disability insurance requires ongoing proof of loss of income. Disability insurance payments can stop when you go back to work and start earning income.

Which Critical Illness Policy Is Right For You?
Each critical illness policy has specific terms and conditions, which must be reviewed very carefully. Make sure you understand which types of illnesses are considered critical and will qualify for payment.

If your diagnosed illness is not included on the policy list, your claim may be denied by the insurance company. Also, be aware of the survival period of your policy. Critical illness policies typically have a survival period or waiting period, This is a period of time which specifies how long you must wait after you’ve received your medical diagnosis to collect the lump sum benefit from the insurance company. This period can vary from one policy to another.

Be sure to ask all your questions before buying a critical illness policy. This is where an insurance agent can be a valuable resource. They can help you understand the language in your policy, explain the specific terms and conditions, and guide your decision around which critical insurance policy is right for you.

 

By Sean Hanson
Originally Published By ThinkHr.org

With all the expenses of everyday living, it’s tempting to think of insurance as just another cost. What’s harder to see is the potential cost of not buying insurance—or what’s known as “self-insuring”—and the hidden bargain of coverage.

The Important vs. the Urgent
We’ve all experienced it: the tendency to stay focused on putting out fires, while never getting ahead on the things that really matter in the long run. For most people, there are two big things that matter in the long run: their families and their ability to retire. And being properly insured is important to both those concerns.

Life Insurance: a Hidden Bargain?
It’s exceedingly rare, but we all know it can happen: someone’s unexpected death. Life insurance can prevent financial catastrophe for the loved ones left behind, if they depend on you for income or primary care—or both.

The irony is that many people pass on coverage due to perceived cost, when in fact it’s far less expensive that most people think. The 2016 Insurance Barometer Study, by Life Happens and LIMRA showed that 8 in 10 people overestimate the cost of life insurance. For instance, a healthy, 30-year-old man can purchase a 20-year, $250,000 term life insurance policy for $160 a year—about $13 a month.

Enjoy the Benefits of Life Insurance—While You’re Alive
If budget pressures aren’t an issue, consider the living benefits of permanent life insurance—that’s right, benefits you can use during your own lifetime.

Permanent life insurance policies typically have a higher premium than term life insurance policies in the early years. But unlike term insurance, it provides lifelong protection and the ability to accumulate cash value on a tax-deferred basis.

Cash values can be used in the future for any purpose you wish. If you like, you can borrow cash value for a down payment on a home, to help pay for your children’s education or to provide income for your retirement.

When you borrow money from a permanent insurance policy, you’re using the policy’s cash value as collateral and the borrowing rates tend to be relatively low. And unlike loans from most financial institutions, the loan is not dependent on credit checks or other restrictions. You ultimately must repay any loan with interest or your beneficiaries will receive a reduced death benefit and cash-surrender value.

In this way, life insurance can serve as a powerful financial cushion for you and your family throughout your life, in addition to protecting your family from day one.

Disability Insurance: For the Biggest Risk of All
The most overlooked of the major types of insurance coverage is the one that actually covers a far more common risk—the risk of becoming ill or injured and being unable to work and earn your paycheck.

How common is it? While no one knows the exact numbers, it’s estimated that 30% of American workers will become disabled for 90 days or more during their working years. The sad reality is that most American workers also cannot afford such an event. In fact, illness and injury are the top reasons for foreclosures and bankruptcies in the U.S. today. Disability insurance ensures that if you are unable to work because of illness or injury, you will continue to receive an income and make ends meet until you’re able to return to work.

It’s tempting to cross your fingers and hope misfortune skips over you. But when you look at the facts, it’s easy to see: getting proper coverage against life’s risks is not just important, but a bargain in disguise.

By Erica Oh Nataren
Originally Published By LifeHappens.org

Most health insurance plans cover emergency treatment, hospital stays and medical exams. If you are injured in an accident, your health insurance plan might not pay for all the incurred medical expenses. Supplemental accident insurance coverage pays cash benefits for illnesses or injuries caused by an accident, including fractures and physical therapy. The coverage is designed to help alleviate the burden of unexpected costs. Depending on how the policy is paid, the payouts may be classified as taxable income.

How it Works

Accident insurance coverage generally covers death or injuries caused by accidents on or off the job. There are a variety of coverage options available. Some employers offer the accidental coverage as a voluntary supplemental plan. You can also purchase private accident insurance to protect yourself if the coverage is not offered through your employer.

Self-Paid Plans

According to the IRS, if you paid the premiums on an accident or health insurance policy, the benefits are not taxable. Payouts from an insurance policy taken out through the employer are not taxed if you paid the premiums with after-tax dollars. If you pay the premiums of an accident insurance plan through a cafeteria plan, the premium was not included as taxable income and is considered paid by the employer and therefore the benefits are taxable.

Employer-Paid Plans

Accidental insurance payouts are taxable if the employer paid for the insurance plan. If you paid for an accidental insurance plan through the employer using pre-tax dollars, your benefits are taxable income. Any benefits received from your employer while injured are considered salary or wages and taxable as ordinary income. Additional taxable disability benefits include income from a welfare fund, state sickness or disability fund and association of employers or employees.

Withholding and Reporting

Report any taxable insurance payouts as wages, salaries, tips, etc., on your taxes. If you are suffering a long-term disability and receive taxable benefits, avoid a hefty tax bill by submitting a Form W-4S, Request for Federal Income Tax Withholding From Sick Pay, to the insurance company.

By Jeannine Mancini, Originally Published By LiveStrong

Dear Ron, Thank you so much for generously supporting [us] and our AIDS walk team this year. It was a lovely foggy Sunday morning in Golden Gate Park, with thousands of folks walking to fight AIDS. It has been a pleasure working with you over the years. You have saved us LOTS of money! I want you to know how much we appreciate all that you do!

- San Francisco, Non-profit organization

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