Friday, December 11, 2009

Apple Care does not cover smoking damages

By Jameel Murray

Recently an Apple Mac user was denied Apple care insurance due to a smoking condition. Apple Care, which costs over $200, is a warranty that guarantees the repair of an apple device if it malfunctions. One Mac customer was denied insurance service because the device was contaminated with cigarette smoke. Although the warranty does not state that the product cannot be repaired if it contains cigarette smoke, the warranty does state that the company would offer repairs if the product is not considered a biohazard. According to the company, cigarette smoke is considered a hazardous substance that can endanger workers. Apple has stated that it they would not have any employee repair a product that poses as a risk to their health. The moral of this story is to shop around and read into the fine prints of all warranties and insurance policies. Consumers must analyze and research all insurance policies or they may end up on the shorter end of the stick.

New Health Care Insurance Attempts

By, Meredith Anderson

For many Americans the idea of health insurance is too far about of their reach to even think of. With the growing demand for modern medicine medical coverage has been increasing to drastic extremes. Without benefits from jobs even more people would not have health insurance due to the increase in price tag in private health insurance.

Much debate over the years has risen due to the fact that since 1998 the average cost of health insurance has nearly doubled! President Brarack Obama has said that the Democratic's plan would in fact reduce the growth of health care costs. Much controversy of whether or not this is accurate has been quite heated lately. A recent report obtained by the Republicans proved there suspicion that the bill will in fact cause health costs to rise as well as take away significantly from Medicare. The new bill would in fact allow for almost 93% of Americans to have health insurance. The bill would also allow for an increase in long-term care. This all sounds perfect however does not come without and hefty price tag. Because of the extreme new demand prices will go through the roof for people that can actually afford insurance in the first place. In order for this to successfully work the government cannot pull all the wait by themselves.


The Value of Insurance

By, Meredith Anderson

Many people have the opinion that insurance is a waste of money. Everyone thinks that it won't happen to them and insurance is just a way for the companies to make a little extra cash. However the importance of any insurance is really something to know about. The way most insurance plans work is that you pay a premium which is a small amount and in the case of an accident of any sort the insurance will cover a much larger cost in return. Its a life line that could save you a couple hundred dollars if you crash your car to a couple hundred thousand if save your house burns down.
What kind of insurance should you get and how much of it really depends on a number of factors. It measures your risk of the incident happening and how much it will cost. First you must decide how much coverage you think you are going to need. After that some other things to consider are how much of a deductible are you willing to pay? Once you have establish those details you will look for an insurance company that fits your needs and values. Its important to visit all your options. A insurance agency will help you through the details of how much you really need and set you up with specific plans that cater to your families needs.
The most common types of insurance include auto, homeowner, and medical. Paying a little each month to protect us from suffering great financial burdens if and when something goes wrong is a small price to pay.


Universal Health Insurance Costing More Than Anticipated

Posted by Kenny Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrats trying to push President Barack Obama's health care overhaul plan through the Senate got a sober warning Friday that costs will keep going up and proposed Medicare savings may harm the program.

A new report from government economic analysts at the Health and Human Services Department found that the nation's $2.5 trillion annual health care tab won't shrink under the Democratic blueprint that senators are debating. Instead, it would grow somewhat more rapidly than if Congress does nothing.

Insurance Advice

By Shawn Chandok

The following list includes advice on insurance for anyone interested in saving money and taking precautions.
1. Invest in Health Insurance: Although President Obama is working on health care reform, do not rely on that happening anytime soon. If possible, get under your parents health care plan and invest in yourself because if things go for the worst, all your hard work on education can be lost forever in hospital bills.
2. Life insurance: Assuming you are a newly married couple with young children, invest heavily in life insurance. The rule of thumb implies you should have at least 5 years of salary to cover your life insurance policy, 10 years if you have children because there is nothing sadder to see a single parent trying to raise a child. On the other hand, if you are single with no relatives you probably do not need life insurance.
3. Consider car insurance when buying a car: Typically, the more expensive the car the higher the insurance. Take this into account when buying a car, and thing about maybe buying a pre owned vehicle. Furthermore be careful when picking the color of the car too, because it is rumored bright colors such as red have a higher insurance cost since they are more likely to be pulled over.
4. Don’t be frugal: Don’t buy the cheapest auto insurance because you don’t think you will get into an accident. Use comparative shopping, and see how much coverage you need.
5. Write a Will: No matter how many times people say this; there are always some whom do not listen. The consequences of not writing a will ALWAYS negatively affect your loved ones.


Expansion of Medicare, Good or Bad?

By: Nicole Nelson

Medicare could be changing and changing soon. Some people are very enthusiastic about the idea, others, not quite the case. Washington (specifically the Senate) has been weighing options about expanding Medicare to people aged 55 to 64. Although this seems like a great idea, a large amount of people in these age ranges may not be eligible, and those who are might be paying more than expected. The original idea of expanding Medicare coverage started when the health care debate started. This step to expand Medicare was to appease the liberal push of a “public option” for health insurance as part of the reform. Currently, Medicare rates range from $110 to $353 a month. These premiums depend on the individual’s income. If Medicare was expanded, it would be expected that the premiums would be around $633 a month totaling about $7600 annually. The reason for the difference in premiums is that Medicare as it is now is federally subsidized. The expansion would not be federally subsidized until about 2014, about 5 years from now. Although this seems to be very expensive, if someone does qualify for this expansion, they probably should take advantage of it considering it is very hard for people in this age range to get health insurance. Again, another problem arises with cost because about half of the uninsured people aged 55 to 64 have incomes below $29,000. So although this plan may sound terrible in some aspects and great in others, I believe it depends on the individual and whether or not they can afford this, or need this plan at all.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Auto Insurance Sales Growing Online

Posted by Chris O'Sullivan

The insurance industry has long been known for its personal sales tactics and face to face negotiations. However, as with most industries, the shift to online services has taken off in recent years. Allstate, currently the largest publicly traded personal lines insurer, claims that nearly half of its customers first make contact through their website.

This has led a shift in the number of salesmen needed to conduct typical neighborhood sales. In 2008, Allstate took in $500 million in premiums through its direct channel, which includes its Web site and toll-free phone lines, and direct premiums are growing at a 25% rate so far this year. Though direct premiums are still a tiny part of the $26.9 billion Allstate earned in property/casualty premiums last year, premiums have been sinking for auto insurers in general, and the share that comes in through direct channels is rising.


Separate But Equal? Insurance, Abortion, And Politics

Could creating two insurance pools solve the health-care impasse?
By Al Lewis
Posted by Jonathan Tse

Though the Nelson amendment, which attempted to restrict federal insurance funds for abortion, failed in the Senate Tuesday, the issue of abortion's role in health care is far from settled. While the Senate version, if passed as now written, would allow federal funding, the House version, thanks to the Stupak amendment, does not even allow private purchase of a rider. Democrats are still divided on this issue, and without Democratic unity, health reform fails. Fortunately, the point of contention is not the thornier one of whether abortions should be legal, but rather how to accommodate both those who want to provide federal coverage and those who refuse to vote to earmark government funds to do so.

Both views can be accommodated by the simple step of establishing two insurance pools, one covering abortion and one not. Each would have the same premium, and people would sign up for the pool of their choice, depending on whether they wanted abortion coverage or not. To fully understand why this math works despite the extra cost of abortions, you must first understand abortion financing and rates in general. (What's the best way to take the passion out of the abortion fight? Turn it into an insurance equation).

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Too Little , Too Late

By: Zachary Pienkowski

It's never too late to procrastinate. People always feel invincible, like nothing in the world could happen to them. Until it does. Insurance planning is not for everyone, but for those that have responsibilities to dependents, it should be a top priority. Having worked as a financial representative and dealing with clients on an everyday basis, the importance of getting the right amount of insurance while you are still eligible can not be overstated. Many people have waited too long or put off buying insurance and then when the time came for them to get around to it, it was either much more expensive than it would have been if they did it earlier, or they were denied coverage completely. Sometimes medical issues can come up that you do not even know about, deeming you too high of a risk to insurance companies. However, if you purchase insurance early enough and come down with something at a later date, the insurance company do not have the right to take away your coverage. As long as you continue to pay premiums the coverage will stay in force. Struggling over the decision to buy term or whole life insurance is not something that should put off the actual purchase. In most cases, while term comes much cheaper for a large amount of coverage, it can also be converted into permanent insurance. The most important thing is that some coverage is put in place in order to take care of your loved ones if anything ever happened.


Getting Car Insurance...How Much Is enough?

By: Robert Katz

When having to buy car insurance you should make sure you understand the suggested minimum requirements by your state and then address your personal situation to properly determine the amount of insurance that best fits you and your budget. There are various different types of coverage you need associated with any given policy, while some may be included and others not, make sure you understand them all and which are most important to you. They include: Bodily Injury Liability, Property Damage Liability, Collision and Comprehensive, Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage, Uninsured Motorist Property Damage, Glass Breakage, Rental Reimbursement and Towing. Now the state required minimums for Bodily Injury Liability, if at fault covering costs to the injured party and your legal expenses, are at least $100,000 per person on the plan or $300,000 per accident. Most minimum deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage are $250 and $100. Now if you are someone who gets into a lot of accidents you may want to consider a much larger Liability policy; however, if you don't get into many accidents and have a brand new expensive car paying to have a lower deductible for collision coverage may be a good investment. Sometimes if you have a really cheap car it isn't even worth the money to you to pay for collision coverage since the yearly coverage costs more than the cars total value. While bodily Injury Liability and Collision Coverage are the two most important aspects of any policy other more specific offerings (glass breakage, rental reimbursement, and towing coverage) for you personal situation may be very important things to consider based on your likelihood of incurring those associated costs.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sex, Abortions and Health Insurance

Posted by Quang Nguyen

The latest stupefying complication in the health care reform debate comes in the form of the Stupak-Pitts amendment in proposed House legislation that would prohibit companies from offering policies covering abortions in subsidized health insurance exchanges.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, has vowed to insert similar language into the Senate version of the bill.

Reproductive rights activists are outraged, but others argue they are overreacting.

What are a few more restrictions on abortion, given what we already have in place? If health insurance reform passes, after all, the expansion of medical services to low-income women, including improved family planning services, would compensate for the risks of paying for abortions out-of-pocket.

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What My Amendment Won’t Do

Posted by Quang Nguyen
By BART STUPAK, New York Times

OVER the past month there has been a great deal of discussion about the Stupak-Ellsworth-Pitts amendment in the House health care reform bill. Unfortunately, much of this discussion has been driven by misinformation about what our amendment does and does not do. I would like to set the record straight: Our amendment maintains current law, which says that there should be no federal financing for abortion.

Under our amendment, women who receive federal subsidies will be prohibited from using them to pay for insurance policies that cover abortion. The amendment does not prevent private plans from offering abortion services and it does not prohibit women from purchasing abortion coverage with their own money. The amendment specifically states that even those who receive federal subsidies can purchase a supplemental policy with private money to cover abortions.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

When looking for a job, consider the benefits!

Post by David Held

As everyone knows the economy is poor and companies are not hiring, but this is bound to turn around. Economies are cyclical and you have to be ready for the time when hiring becomes a new “fad.” When most people are looking for a job they tend to just look at the salary and the capability of bonuses at the end of the year. It is extremely to remember to look into the types of benefits that you can receive during your employment. One benefit that should be at the top of this list, especially if you have a family is health insurance. Getting health insurance through your employer can potentially save you a tremendous amount of money, and during a time like this saving money is crucial!

Types of health insurance that an employer might provide could be HMO, PPO, and POS. A Health Maintenance Organization is a managed care plan that attempts to lower health care coverage by encouraging preventative care measures. A Preferred Provider Organization is a group of doctors who cut deals with insurance companies to produce services at a reduced rate. A Point of Service plan is similar to a PPO but it allows you to use doctors who aren’t part of the plan, if necessary. All three types of coverage are great benefits, if provided to employees. It is important to carry health insurance because you never know when an emergency can unfold.

Sources #1, #2, #3

Senate Turns to Medicare, Medicaid

By Greg Hitt and Janet Adamy
posted by Jameel Murray

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats are considering a significant expansion of Medicare and Medicaid, the health programs for the elderly and the poor, as part of a package of potential changes to health-overhaul legislation that would also sharply scale back a proposed new government-run insurance plan.

The proposals have emerged in closed-door negotiations among 10 Democratic senators -- five moderates and five liberals -- assigned by party leaders to break the political deadlock that has slowed Senate action on the health bill.

Negotiators Monday were considering a proposal that would open Medicare to people ages 55 to 64 if they couldn't find coverage elsewhere. The proposal would allow them to buy insurance coverage at subsidized rates under Medicare, though the subsidies wouldn't be as great as those for people 65 and over, said congressional aides and lawmakers.

A companion proposal would expand Medicaid beyond what is already called for in the bill. Under one scenario, people with incomes up to 150% of the federal poverty level would qualify for the program. The poverty level is currently about $22,000 for a family of four.

Both changes would represent major expansions of the programs. They were sought by liberal Democrats after moderates won concessions on the government-run plan that would give private entities a bigger role.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Do you need a flood insurance?

By Alma Zhumagulova

According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) “floods are the most common hazards in the US.” That is why FEMA periodically evaluates the entire territory of the US for the level of flood risk that people face in individual areas. Flood risk maps have last been updated about 25 years ago; they are currently being evaluated by FEMA and are expected to be published next year.
Homeowners who live in the areas with high flood risk are obliged to purchase flood insurance. However, even the population of moderate- to low-risk flood areas should consider purchasing insurance (which is optional to them) since 25% of all flood claims occur in those areas. Therefore, flood insurance is critical to almost every homeowner since the basic homeowners insurance does not cover flood damages while “just a few inches of water can lead to thousands of dollars in damages.”
The rates for the flood insurance are established by FEMA. In general, the premiums range between $200 and $1,600 per year. David Schein, senior flood insurance liaison official for the FEMA region based in Chicago, also adds that purchasing the flood insurance now, i.e. before FEMA updates the maps and rates, can result in substantial savings. For example, if based on the previous evaluation you were in a moderate-risk area and paid $300 per year, after with the new maps the area you live in could be regarded as high-risk, and so you would have to be paying $1,300 per year. To conclude, if you are a homeowner you should check the rates before the new maps come into effect.


US Senate push to ban abortions on health insurance

Posted by Jonathan Tse

US senators are expected to vote tomorrow on changes to healthcare legislation that would stop medical insurance schemes from paying for terminations, as the battle over abortion rights moves back to the US Senate.

The issue is proving among the most divisive in the healthcare debate, along with proposals for government-funded medical insurance. The Senate debate on the abortion restrictions opened the day after Barack Obama met Democratic party senators to appeal for them to overcome policy differences on health reform and consider the broader sweep of history. He described the reforms as the "most important social legislation" in decades, while Republicans are predicting the president will meet his "Waterloo" over a signature campaign issue.

A Democratic party senator, Ben Nelson, introduced an amendment today modelled on a similar measure passed by the House of Representatives that effectively blocks women from obtaining an abortion on heath insurance other than in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger.

The proposed legislation bars public funds from being used to pay for terminations after a lobbying campaign by the Catholic church and rightwing fundamentalist Christians was instrumental in forcing the issue on to the healthcare agenda. Pro-choice groups say the effect will be to bar most terminations from being paid for by medical insurance because almost all plans will be touched by government subsidies.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Insurance: Don't get caught without it

By Lew Sichelman
Posted by Alma Zhumagulova

Insurance is one of those things you don't need until you need it. But by then, it's often too late. Every homeowner knows –– or at least should know –– that they should carry a homeowner's policy. Indeed, mortgage companies require coverage.

But did you know that if you allow your policy to lapse, lenders retain the right to purchase a policy for you? That can be an expensive proposition, because "force place" coverage can easily cost two or three times what you would pay on your own.

Because insurance protects the underlying collateral for your mortgage, lenders can even go so far as to foreclose if you refuse to carry insurance.

But there are all kinds of other coverage over and above your standard homeowner's policy that you also may want to consider. "There are lots of things people don't think about until after the fact," said Chad Mirock, product manager for opportunity lines at Travelers in Hartford, Conn.

Here's a rundown:

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Ways to improve

By Alma Zhumagulova

With the new health care system under development the US Government should consider many different aspects of a good health care system before finalizing it. While 18% of US national income is spent on health care 47 million people are still uninsured. It could be beneficial to “borrow” some ideas from the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany that have universal coverage while providing the highest quality health care at a very affordable price. These countries prohibit the insurance providers from “refusing to cover the sick.” The Dutch Government handles this through paying more to the insurers for covering people with preexisting conditions. The new health care bill also bans the insurers from refusing to cover the sick people, approximately 2% of the US population. However, CBO predicts that the public option so favored by the liberals will actually be beneficial to only these 2% and, thus, eventually it will drive up the costs even higher. On the other hand, the proponents state that public option will be cheaper since it will resemble a “large employer”, i.e. create a larger risk pool that will cancel out the larger claims with the smaller claims. Only after it is established we will know who is right. In the meantime, in the survey conducted by Thomson Reuters Corp, it was found that less than 60% of the respondents would like a public option as part of any final healthcare reform legislation, and about 59.9% believe in public option.


Auto Insurance Premium Rate Drops

Posted by Shawn Gao

It is a good and bad news. Auto Insurance rate droped around three percent from 2007 nationwide;however; New York drivers are still paying the most expensive insurance in the country. New York drivers paid an average premium of $1,179 in 2007, the last year for which information was available, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said in an annual report.
That was down 2.8% from $1,213 in 2006, slightly higher than the 2.6% national average decline. The national average is $912.
Not only NY state drivers, but also NJ drivers have to twice expensive auto insurance cost. The average Garden State resident paid 4 percent less in auto insurance premiums in 2007 than the previous year — and 9 percent less than the peak year of 2004, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners reported this week. Nationally, rates fell by only 5.6 percent between 2004 and 2007.
Unlike the drivers in North Dakota and Winsconsin, both NY and NJ drivers pay as twice expensive as the drivers in these states. Nevertheless, it is hopeful that the direction of droping auto insurance rate is right. A affordable insurance is a good idea for the drivers to buy.

Health insurance premiums rise as Congress debates reform

posted by Shawn Gao

Wrangling in Congress over health care reform hasn't succeeded in curbing the double-digit increases many Utah employers and workers will face for health insurance next year as open-enrollment season rolls around.

One explanation is that insurance companies and customers usually agree on the terms and conditions of health insurance plans at least 90 days before they go into effect. The House passed its reform bill Nov. 7, more than a month after most employers had signed contracts for 2010, and the Senate vote is weeks away.

Another reason is nobody knows which bill may emerge from the Senate and how it will be resolved with the House bill before a final measure goes to President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, health care costs are still surging. And at the state level, where insurance companies are regulated, officials are waiting for Congress to act before they press for reforms.

"I don't think that health reform is really a driving force in how these negotiations [between employers and insurance companies] are playing out right now," said Kathleen Stoll, director of health policy at the nonpartisan advocacy organization Families USA.

As Congress continues to debate, premiums show no sign of reaching a plateau, forcing more businesses to pare back benefits or cancel them altogether.

"The trend for [2010] is still up," said Candace Daly, Utah director of the National Federation of Independent Business. Many of the group's 4,000

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Picking the Correct Medicare Plan is a Challenge

By: Sara Sindelar

A few years ago Medicare plans changed to two option, Advantage and Medicare Part D. Now since the health care reform is taking place more and more changes are occurring in Medicare. These changes are hurting those holders financially as insurance companies try to safe themselves financially.

Along with the new health care reform are coming cuts from insurance companies. “UnitedHealth Group Inc. and WellCare Health Plans Inc are minimizing the number of plans they hold due to government cut backs” (WSJ). All of these people whose plans are being cut will need to find another option soon, December 31. The deadline for the drug plan is January 31st. If the policy holder does not select by these dates then they are placed in Medicare.

Other issues are the rise in premiums and co pays for holders. People are finding there are worse plans that are charging more for less and high co pays. These Advantage plans are really cutting down plans and the benefits included in plans. Many are dropping the gym membership and dental. Not only are the health care plans dropping but the prescription plans are dropping as well. Costs are increasing for many prescriptions putting a financial burden on those already struggling to pay health care costs.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Michigan Debate Over Proposed Auto Insurance Changes Heats Up

Posted by Quang Nguyen

Democratic lawmakers in Michigan are promoting proposals they say would make auto insurance more affordable and strengthen consumer protections in the state. Opponents including the insurance industry say the proposals would drive up costs for customers and are a political stunt geared toward the 2010 elections, according to Associated Press reports.

The Democratic proposals would require that companies get prior approval from the state insurance commissioner before raising rates. A driver's education level or credit history could not be used as factors in determining rates.

The proposed initiative would allow Michigan voters to weigh in on consumer-oriented insurance reforms that have saved California drivers an average of $3 billion per year since being enacted in 1988, according to consumer advocacy groups Consumer Watchdog and Consumer Federation of America (CFA).

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House Committee Passes Federal Insurance Office Act

Posted by Quang Nguyen

The U.S. House Financial Services Committee has passed a measure to create a scaled-back federal office that would be a national insurance information agency with some authority in the area of international insurance agreements.

The new federal office would not have any regulatory authority over the business of insurance and would not be able to override state insurance laws.

The key committee passed H.R. 2609, the Federal Insurance Office Act of 2009, by a voice vote today.

The bill would create the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) within the U.S. Treasury Department to address two major areas that have been the focus of criticisms of state insurance regulation. First is the lack of a knowledge base or informational source in Washington, D.C. (something especially evident following the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina). Second, is the challenge state insurance regulators occasionally face in representing the United States in multilateral insurance discussions or entering into binding international agreements.

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Dental Insurance: More important for some, but necessary for all

Posted by Lindsey Connell

Dental insurance may be just another free benefit some receive at work but it could be a life saver for others. While most people get their teeth checked twice a year, some require additional attention for their teeth and if teeth or gum problems arise in someone’s mouth, the fix for it is usually very expensive. One way to prepare for these expenses is to use a flexible spending account to pay pretax dollars toward medical and dental costs. If your company does not offer dental insurance, it is very beneficial to purchase an individual dental insurance plan to cover a portion of any dental expenses you may incur. Dental checkups shouldn’t be taken lightly because bad teeth could mean gum diseases or infections in the mouth. These diseases can add up causing extreme sickness, so it is definitely worth buying dental insurance to get your mouth checked every once and a while. It is important to note however that no dental insurance company is going pay for the full amount of your dental expenses so it is necessary to find an insurance plan that fits your situation and lifestyle. If you require a lot of dental attention than it would be appropriate to talk with your employer about trading in a company benefit for dental insurance or you should invest more money into a good health insurance company that will cover more of your expenses.

Why it is necessary to have car insurance

Posted by Lindsey Connell

Car insurance is extremely important to have whether you are a good or bad driver. Although car accidents usually are very infrequent, most people will make a claim at least once in their lifetime. If you are pulled over without having car insurance, you will lose your license but there are other reasons to have insurance besides the legality factor. If you are in a car accident and are at fault, if you don’t have insurance you cannot cover the other victim’s recovery expenses. In the reverse, if you are the victim and are hit by an uninsured driver while you are uninsured yourself, than you will have to pay for your health care out of pocket, which is extremely expensive. Also, driving without car insurance could leave you personally liable for significant third party claims in the event of an accident. Although car insurance isn’t something that is necessarily used every day, it is better to be safe than sorry. With this type of insurance, paying insurance expenses over the years is usually less expensive than getting in a bad accident and not being insured. As health care expenses continue to increase, it makes it nearly impossible for those without insurance to receive the treatment they need after being involved in a car accident. Therefore, it is extremely important and beneficial to invest in auto insurance.

Health Care Issues: Shopping for Insurance

By Erica Werner
posted by Jameel Murray

A look at key issues in the nation's health care debate:

THE ISSUE: Is there an easier, more transparent way for consumers to shop for health insurance?

THE POLITICS: Most Americans under age 65 get insurance coverage through their employers. Small employers, however, increasingly find policies unaffordable. And for the approximately 18 million Americans who buy their own insurance plans, it can be a baffling experience to wade through or even understand competing offers. People who buy their own policies risk paying higher rates or being denied coverage for their health history.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Your 5-minute Guide to Health Insurance

By MSN Money staff
Posted by Lily Mei

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.

•Use HSA Insider, or to find insurance that qualifies as high-deductible under IRS regulations.

•You can make contributions up to age 65. After that, you can make taxable withdrawals for any purpose.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Basic tips for buying homeowner’s insurance

By Jonathan Tse

It is very important to understand what is covered by a certain health insurance policy before purchasing it. Many people are often surprised to find that certain things are not covered by their homeowner’s insurance, so it is very important to take note of these small details. Here are just a few things to consider before purchasing a certain insurance plan.
Amongst the several levels of insurance there are two basic types of insurance: actual cash value and replacement cost coverage. Actual cash value coverage is the cheapest, but the least desirable because it only takes into account the face value of the policy and ignores the amount it would take to rebuild the home. The second type, replacement cost coverage can be categorized as either “true replacement cost coverage” or “functional replacement cost coverage.” “True replacement cost coverage” replaces an item with an equivalent item, but “functional replacement cost coverage” only replaces it with an item of similar function. The best type of coverage is one that provides replacement for a home regardless of the cost. These often cost around 25% more than the less comprehensive plans. Even though a plan has true replacement, it is still important to read what types of items the plan covers.
For the most part, the home insurance does not cover expensive items such as jewelry so if you want those things to be covered, it is recommended that you consider buying insurance for them. Home owners’ insurance pays very little to replace stolen objects and does not take into account the actual value of the item. Insurance often costs only $10-$25 per $1000 of jewelry, and most claims are often because of theft.
If you already have home insurance, it is often good to also purchase car insurance from the same insurer since insurance companies often reward discounts for customers who purchase more than one insurance plan from them. Once you have purchased the plan, it is best to stay with the insurance company for a period of time since discounts are also given to long-time customers.

Auto Insurance Reform

By Minjune Kim

State House Democrats announced a plan today to cut auto insurance rates with tighter restrictions on insurance companies – a plan insurers said would result in higher costs for motorists.The legislative plan would require insurance companies to offer low-cost auto insurance to low-income drivers with good driving records. Democrats, joined by state Insurance Consumer Advocate Butch Hollowell, accused the insurance industry of unfair pricing practices that result in excessive profits at the expense of motorists. They say Michigan has the second-highest auto insurance rates in the United tates, behind New Jersey, while Michigan accidents and auto thefts have declined.

Kurt Gallinger, vice president and legal counsel with Farmington Hills-based Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. and chairman of the Michigan Insurance Coalition, described the press conferences, planned for across the state and in Lansing today, as a political stunt in the run-up to the 2010 elections. Gallinger said the bills were written with no input from the industry, and are based on what he described as a false assumption that auto insurance companies are raking in profits. He said the industry was denied requests to view the legislation before it was introduced.

Under the proposal, the state auto insurance commissioner would have the power to veto rate increases. It would also prevent insurance companies from basing its rates on factors such as credit scores, occupation and education. The Michigan Insurance Coalition says it will do nothing to help consumers because it would stifle competition, create new payouts for trial lawyers or shift costs from the largest cities to the suburbs and outstate. “Michigan has more than 55,000 employees working directly for the industry and supports more than 100,000 jobs indirectly,” continued Shields. “These types of political stunts just might result in insurance companies deciding to expand their operations in other states or leave Michigan altogether."

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Dubai Debt Insurance Cost Falls

Posted by Minjune Kim

LONDON -- The cost of insuring Dubai's sovereign debt against default fell Monday as investors' concerns about the region were allayed after the United Arab Emirates central bank pledged support for the country's local and foreign banks.

It now costs $576,000 to insure $10 million of Dubai sovereign debt against default for five years, down from $647,000 at Friday's New York close, according to data provider CMA.
The cost of insuring neighboring Abu Dhabi's sovereign debt also fell Monday. It now costs $146,000 to insure $10 million of Abu Dhabi's sovereign debt against default for five years, down from $175,600 at Friday's close.

The drop in cost comes after the U.A.E. central bank said Sunday it is offering an additional liquidity facility to local and international banks in the U.A.E. and stressed that it "stands behind" them. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are two of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates.

Last week, Dubai World's restructuring announcement also affected countries such as Greece, as investors became increasingly concerned about financially stretched countries. However, the cost of insuring Greece's sovereign debt also fell Monday as it benefited from the improved tone in financial markets. It now costs $192,000 to insure $10 million of Greece's sovereign debt against default for five years, down from $200,000 at Friday's close, according to CMA.

Meanwhile, the five-year credit default swaps for Dubai-based port operator DP World tightened Monday to 6.425 percentage points compared with its closing level Friday of 7.44 percentage points, CMA said. The port operator's CDS moved as wide as 8.10 percentage points during trading on Friday.

Dubai World owns 77% of DP World, which is the fourth-largest ports operator in the world. The port operator will be excluded from its parent's debt standstill talks and restructuring.

CDS are tradable, over-the-counter derivatives that function like a default insurance contract. If a borrower defaults, the protection buyer is paid compensation by the protection seller. Wider spreads show the cost of default insurance is going up, suggesting investors are less confident in a borrower's ability to repay debts.

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Extra Insurance Can Protect Those Diamonds and Pearls

Posted by Jonathan Tse

ASK almost anyone about insurance on jewelry and you hear, “Oh, it’s covered by my home insurance policy.”

Not exactly.

True, nearly every home insurance policy in America comes with a provision that pays for stolen jewelry. But that provision is very small. Many policies pay up to $2,500 for a stolen item, regardless of how expensive it may be. Some pay as little as $1,000, and a few provide coverage of up to $5,000.

People often forget about inflation when they think about the value of jewelry. The price they paid sticks in their mind. But almost every year, the cost of that same piece of jewelry rises, so the value of even a few items could be higher than the minimal coverage. The sharp rise in gold and silver prices lately has increased the likelihood that replacing jewelry would cost more than expected.

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Health care lessons from Europe

By Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Posted by Alma Zhumagulova

As Congress struggles to reform U.S. health care, critics point to Canada and Britain as the poster children of what could happen here with a "government takeover" of health coverage.

But three other wealthy nations - the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany - offer much closer parallels, as well as lessons.

Health care systems in the three nations more closely resemble the U.S. system of insurance-based coverage. Holland and Switzerland rely exclusively on private insurance, and all three rely on private doctors. The three European nations deliver universal coverage and world-class quality at a fraction of what Americans spend.

All of them require that everyone purchase insurance, make sure everyone can afford it and ban insurers from such practices as refusing to cover the sick that are common in the United States.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

How to get best rate on auto insurance

Posted by Shawn Gao

How do drivers get their best rates on auto insurance? There are many factor can vary rate on auto insurance. For examples, your age, car make, GPA, even car’s color would change the rate. The best way for drivers to get the best rate is to shop around, and go to (helps drivers to get more information on auto insurance).
Usually, insurance companies will check driver’s driving history first. The more tickets and accidents the driver has, the higher rate would be charged. However, law states that driving history can affect insurance premiums for only three years, most companies will look back at a drivers’ history five years or more.
Another factor that would cause additional money is lapses in coverage. When driver wants to switch from one insurance company to another, he should purchase the new one before cancel the old one. Even lapses in a few days may make potential driver look irresponsible and risky, which will make premiums much higher.
Location makes a difference when shopping for insurance as well. Living in a city will cost drivers five times more than living in suburban. Especially, those people who drive in NYC. It is important for driver to have more information when they shop around.

U.S. Drivers Dropping Auto Insurance Coverage at Alarming Rate

posted by Shawn Gao

U.S. Drivers Dropping Auto Insurance Coverage at Alarming Rate
Despite the high rate of dropped auto insurance coverage, most Americans are finding a better way to respond to worsening economic conditions. reports increased usage as drivers seek lower auto insurance rates as a safer alternative to canceling their policies in response to the economic downturn

Lexington, Kentucky (Advertiser Talk) 28-Nov-2009 — Thinking about dropping your auto insurance coverage as a means to cut expenses in these recessionary times? Let’s face it, such actions are risky.

When asked if they were to drop their car insurance coverage due to economic conditions, 15% of respondents of a 2009 comScore survey¹ indicated that they didn’t think their insurance company would increase their rates when later reinstating their policy. And 72% of the respondents were not sure. Though most were not likely to go without auto insurance coverage due to the economy, few consumers understand the consequences.
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Tips on Health Insurance

By Jonathan Tse

It is very important to have health coverage, especially for college graduates who may have a lot of debt from school and not much income. Although health insurance is very expensive, it is an investment that must be made, otherwise on top of college loans, one could also be paying thousands in health bills. For those who already are covered by their own health insurance, it would be best to max out the use of your current health insurance plan. Do not take for granted the services that your health insurance plan covers for the current year because they may not be covered next year.

It is important to max out on your current deductible and get things checked out before the end of the year. It is important to also look ahead and try to take care of any issues that may come up in the future and make use of your health policy. Make appointments to see your doctors or get extra refills for next year. Also make sure to use all of the money in your flexible savings accounts before the money disappears. Take advantage of any free or low cost preventive tests or screenings because these services may not always be free.

For those who are new and have never purchased health insurance before, it is very important to keep in mind that the location has a great influence on the price of health insurance plans. Larger cities often have lower-priced health insurance programs because there is more competition between insurance companies. Plans with higher deductibles mean that there will be lower payments later on. Insurance brokers are also very helpful in helping to find health insurance plans with the best rates and can help you compare the options that are available. Often they will have a larger network to work from that will make it easier for them to find the right plan for you. If you are not sure what plan to purchase quite yet, there are often trial periods for health insurance as well. These can be cheap coverage or coverage with a limited period money-back guarantee for a short period of time in which you can try out the plan to see if it is right for you. These often only cover for major incidents such as car accidents and major injuries. It is also important to negotiate for services not covered to reduce the amount you have to pay out of your pocket.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chinese Life Insurance Market

By (On under Insurance no author given)
Posted by Adam Lindheim

China's life insurance sector is becoming crowded. Just seven years ago there were no more than a dozen companies active in the market. At the end of 2006, this had risen to 46, over half of them foreign joint ventures.

At least 10 more foreign names are likely to be added to this list over the next three years, according to the majority of overseas insurers interviewed for a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey. A similar number of respondents said they expect the foreign firms' share of the overall insurance market to hit 10% by 2010. Last year, this share stood at 5.9% in the life sector and 1.2% in the property and casualty sector.

"Some companies are projecting premium growth of 200-300% in 2007 thanks to the wider geographical market, the wider range of products and the opening of new branches," said David Campbell, PwC's Asia Pacific insurance practice leader.

The bullishness is understandable. In 1996, China's total life insurance premiums came to US$3.76 billion. In 2006, it was US$53.8 billion, according to the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC). Financial services consultancy Celent has predicted that China will become the fourth-largest life insurance market in the world by premiums in 2008, after the US, Japan and the UK.

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Private Health Insurance

By Adam Lindheim

It is estimated that close to 46 million Americans don’t have health insurance coverage, and with today’s economy that number is expected to increase. If your job doesn’t provide health coverage, or you’re jobless, private health insurance is the only option. Private health insurance is very expensive, and depending on your age and health will determine the type of coverage you are eligible for. Premiums typically range from $100-$1000 dollars, it is important to note the lower the premium the higher the deductibles, and smaller range of coverage that your plan is likely to cover. For those citizens who have recently lost their jobs, and have pre-existing health issues are more likely to run into a tougher situation.

If you are looking to secure private health insurance and you have heart disease, asthma, diabetes, cancer, or even AIDS the chances of getting health insurance dramatically drop. Those who have been let go by their company (with at least 20 employees) will be covered by CORBA. This means that you will be covered for up to 18 months following your departure from your company, which is especially good news for those who have pre-existing illnesses. Some states wont even allow discrimination when it comes to acquiring health insurance. A lot of American citizens such as Don Hall, a manufacturing supervisor from Ohio has seen a $500 dollar increase in his health insurance premiums per month. The American government is scrambling to find a solution to this growing problem that is hitting many homes in the U.S. Some citizens who belong to worker unions can apply for health insurance through a group health plan through their unions. It is important financial decision to pick an affordable but secure plan when evaluating private health insurance plans.

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Forget Car Insurance, Does It Have Medicare?

by Jacques Steinberg
posted by Jameel Murray

MY son, Jordan, who is 9, desperately wanted a pet that might be more interactive than the fish in his aquarium. But I am severely allergic to most animals with fur. I am so asthmatic that, unlike the Obamas, who went with famously hypoallergenic Bo, our family wound up choosing something less huggable though no less lovable: a gecko.

And so last fall, a white lizard no longer than a BlackBerry and no heavier than a stack of Post-it notes took up residence in Jordan’s bedroom. He called him Belzer, after a character in “Rotten School,” a series of children’s books. Before long, Jordan had coaxed Belzer to climb from his palm to his elbow. We also noticed that when Jordan put a Yankees game on the radio, Belzer would emerge from his cave to listen. To assure that his gecko would be the last thing he saw at night, Jordan positioned Belzer’s glass tank, illuminated by a red heat lamp, within sight of his pillow.

So it was with some concern that I noticed earlier this fall that Belzer appeared to be “blocked,” as my grandmother might have said. In other words, he was no longer littering his sand with the remains of whatever worm or cricket he had consumed the night before.

As far as I know, Metamucil makes no product for a gecko. Which meant that this situation called for a specialist. My journey to the cutting edge of veterinary care would ultimately cost me more than $500, I am embarrassed to say. That was what I spent on an X-ray that revealed a major intestinal blockage, from Belzer’s consuming too much sand bedding with his meals.

Those fees also covered the potential cure: the delicate administration of laxatives formulated for a reptile — Procter & Gamble, the maker of Metamucil, take note — as well as so many injections of fluid into Belzer’s backside that he must have felt like a baseball player on steroids.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Safest Cars for 2010

Posted by Quang Nguyen

Every year, car companies constantly work to innovate and make their cars better and safer for the driver. These five 2010 cars are at the top of the list for being the safest on the road.

The Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60, new to Volvo in 2010, has many safety features that don't even compare to their other cars. The car is equipped with new preventive safety, protective safety, and child safety features. Some of these features include an anti locking brake system with hydraulic brake assist, ready alert brakes, collision warning with auto brake, and city safety. The car is well lit with daytime running lights, dual xenon gas discharge headlights with active bending lights, side marker lights, rear fog lights with auto off and front fog lights. In case of a crash, the car comes with a whiplash protection system, an energy absorbing interior, dual stage airbags, a side impact protection system, and an energy absorbing frontal structure.

The 2010 Volkswagen Polo

This car is not only one of the safest of 2010, but one of the safest cars world wide. The airbags in the car include the combined head-thorax airbag. The seat belts come with belt force limiters and seat belt tensioners that that prevent whiplash and therefore injury. For children, there is a three rear head restraint and isofix child seat.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Max out your health insurance now

Next year, your plan's benefits may not be as generous as they are now. Here's some steps to take before 2010.

By Gerri Willis
Posted by Jonathan Tse

NEW YORK (CNN) -- With the year rolling to a close, make sure you don't leave ANY health-insurance money on the table. Here's how to cash in now.

1. Schedule your appointments now

Chances are, your health care insurance this year is a whole lot more generous than your options next year. Check to see if you've hit your deductible and then take advantage of the remaining weeks to get your doctors appointments in. Think ahead to what health needs you might have in the future -- maybe you want an extra set of glasses or maybe you want to check out that nagging clicking in your jaw.

Now is the time to maximize your health care policy. And while you're at the doctors -- think about asking for an extra refill on medicine or some samples to take home.

2. Max out your FSA

If you have a flexible spending account, make sure you check the balance. A flexible spending account lets you set aside pretax money to use on health-related expenses. It usually has to be used by the end of the year, otherwise, the leftover money vanishes. But a lot of employers will give you a grace period so your money may be accessible until March 15.

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Let the debate begin

CBS news
Posted by Alma Zhumagulova


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Public option vs. public opinion

By Alma Zhumagulova

With the US health care system being changed, many people are not sure whether the new health care system proposed by Barack Obama is better than the existing system and whether the Government should adopt it or not. According to the results of the poll conducted by Associated Press, when told that the new health care plan would be much cheaper since it is a government run program 52% favored it and 35% opposed it, while when told that with the new plan the government will get to decide which medical treatments to cover, only 44% favored it and 38% opposed. Clearly the general population does not have a strong opinion about the new plan. However, in general, 75% want the plan to be available nationally and 25% think that the individual state governments should decide on whether to offer the plan to the residents or not.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) provides that in the upcoming decade the US economy will be better off with the plan. It will cut the federal deficit, and increase federal spending and revenues. At the same time the insurance industry is aggressively lobbying and campaigning against the new plan. America’s Health Insurance Plans group states that “bill would increase costs for individuals, families and employers, reduce benefits for older Americans, and threaten employer coverage.”
In general, though, CBO estimates that since the low-income population is covered by Medicaid, the majority of working force is covered by their employers and the older population is covered by Medicare, only those who have preexisting conditions, approximately 2% of the US population under age 65, will sign up for it.

Is it legal to force people to buy insurance?

Posted by Shawn Gao

Is it legal to force everyone to buy insurance? Can Congress force you to buy insurance?
As part of health reform, Democrats want to require all Americans to purchase insurance or face a fine.
However, by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, say Congress has no constitutional authority to tell people what to buy with their money.
I agree with the Sen. Orrin Hatch. America is a country where people are free to do anything under its laws. The Congress should not have the power to force people to do anything.
Despite any benefits from the health reform to the country, “ individual mandate” cannot be taken at this moment. Even though, each individual could be covered under insurance, and each state economy, it is unreasonable for people to be urged to purchase require insurance.
I mean people have their own right to purchase anything they want. Or, Congress may simply ask each individual to purchase America- made cars that easily help American economy.
The key is people shall decide whether they need to purchase insurance or not. Also, required insurance should be considered as substantial.

Health care reform good for state

Posted by Shawn Gao

In the past year, I’ve communicated with thousands of constituents throughout Colorado’s Third Congressional District, many from the Steamboat Springs area. Most of them have asked for more affordable health care for their families and their friends. With these marching orders, I’ve been in the trenches in the nation’s capital fighting for health care reform that actually will create a real, noticeable benefit in all of our lives.

Recently, the House passed HR 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. The bill holds great promise for the nation as a whole, and it offers particular benefits for rural areas like Colorado’s Third Congressional District and northwest Colorado.

As drafted, this bill would immediately end discrimination for pre-existing medical conditions, prevent Americans from being dropped from coverage if they become sick, eliminate co-pays for preventive care, place yearly caps on what someone pays, and eliminate waste, fraud and overpayments to private insurance companies.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

New car safety requirements influencing safer driving

By Jameel Murray

The 2010 safest cars list have just been released by the private insurance industry. Compared to 2009’s 90 winners, 2010 only produced 27 highly rated safety cars. Among the highest rated safety cars were Ford, Subaru, and Volkswagen. Other winners included Chrysler, GM, and Honda. One big surprise was the exclusion of Toyota, who received eleven awards in 2009. Because the private insurance industry added new test requirements this year, many cars did not receive high safety ratings. One new requirement that was made this year was the durability of car rooftops to withstand rollovers. Many cars such as Toyota did not pass the rooftop durability test .
Innovative safety requirements such as the electronic stability control which allows drivers to maintain control of the car during a skid would encourage automakers to provide the safest and most technological features in their models. Consumers are able to benefit from the new test requirements implemented by the private insurance industry. The increased safety of future cars would eventually increase the welfare of drivers and hopefully keep insurance costs at a standstill.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Health Reform Bill is coming our way

By Jonathan Tse

Senate just unveiled a new health care bill that is supposed to expand health insurance coverage to 30 million more Americans. This is expected to cost about $849 billion over the course of 10 years. It was stated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that this will not add to the current deficit but will instead reduce federal deficit by $130 billion over the next 10 years. On Saturday, November 30th, debates on amending the bill will begin if Senate decides to take up the bill. This bill is expected to be the largest revision of the US health care system since the creation of Medicare health insurance program in 1965.
The goal of this reform bill is to offer affordable and reliable coverage for those who are not insured and also help to lower costs for individuals, families, businesses and governments. It seeks to reduce long-term costs of health care for governments, businesses, as well as individuals and families, while also increasing the efficiency and quality of health care services provided by reforming how health care is provided. The bill is expected to introduce many new taxes and fees. A new feature of this bill is that it would require all individuals to purchase health insurance and would be fined if they do not comply with this rule. Parents are also liable for covering their children who are under 18 years of age. Another new feature is the Medicaid coverage will be expanded from the poor to everyone.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Protect yourself against liabilities

By Quang Nguyen

We learned in class that in order to protect ourselves against any liability, it is best to purchase an umbrella insurance. But what really is an umbrella insurance? It makes sense for adults to start taking responsibility for their own lives, much has to be taken into account. One of the hardest parts to be able to plan for, however, is the possibility of unexpected expenses. It’s not only a good idea to have cash or another form of liquid asset in order to cover for this, but it’s a great idea to have insurance, as well. And, one of the best and easiest ways to cover all your bases is having umbrella insurance.

By definition, the umbrella insurance refers to an insurance policy that protects the assets and future income of the policyholder above and beyond standard limits set on their primary policies. It provides coverage beyond the typical auto or home insurance and can include coverage for claims such as false arrest, libel, slander, and invasion of privacy.

It is very likely for any person to get sued in America. With so many lawsuits being filed today, purchasing umbrella insurance is almost a must. According to Bobbie Sage of, with an umbrella policy, one can add an additional 1-5 million in liability protection. The umbrella kicks in when the amount that the other policies cover has been depleted. Some might think that with this extra policy that adds so much more liability protection that it would cost an arm and a leg. On the other hand, for the protection that one receives, the additional cost is fairly low.

You should learn your lesson from so many famous court cases that resulted in millions of dollar in damage reward. Some of the examples include the McDonald hot coffee case. In this case, Stella Liebeck purchased a hot coffee from McDonald. She then spilled it on her lap on her own fault and causing herself third degree burns. She then sued McDonald and was awarded $2.9 million in damage.

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It's a start: Health-reform bill will help 30 million Americans

Posted by Quang Nguyen
By Dr. Joe K. Gerald - Arizona Daily Star

The Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962) that was recently passed by the House of Representatives is an imperfect solution to a difficult problem. However, waiting for a perfect solution may be laudable but is unreasonable as well.

While most developed countries have already adopted universal health care, the United States has struggled throughout the 20th century to provide affordable access to health care to all. Medicare and Medicaid provide health insurance to the elderly, disabled and poor, but roughly 20 percent of Americans under age 65 are without insurance.

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