29. July 2016 · Comments Off on Georgia Health Insurance · Categories: Health Insurance

Georgia health insurance offers medical benefits that cover the cost of treatment incurred in a hospital. The coverage provided is comprehensive which includes doctor visits, hospital stays, emergency, prescription, dental care, and mental health care. It serves families, students, kids, employees, workers, self employed, small and large businesses, and retirees.

For the citizens of Georgia, a wide variety of health insurance plans are available to choose from. Each one varies significantly based on the size of deductible and the benefits covered. Individual health insurance, family health insurance, group health insurance, student health insurance, affordable health insurance, health insurance for children only, and temporary health insurance are some of the insurance plans available in Georgia.

In Georgia, health insurance laws and regulations regarding individual health insurance is different from other US states. The law allows insurers to deny the request for individual health insurance based on pre-existing medical condition and current health conditions.

The state of Georgia has moderate insurance regulation which protects both insurance consumers as well as the insurance company. According to “guaranteed renewability provision”, a health insurance policy regulation, an insurance owner is allowed to renew a policy without considering his/her health status.

In Georgia there is no limit on the premiums that the companies can charge for a health plan. Also, the law restricts that an insurer cannot cancel one?s insurance policy based on their health condition or age. In certain states, children of unemployed parents are denied from getting health insurance policy. Through a plan called Peach Care, Georgia State provides opportunity for such children to be insured.

Before purchasing health insurance, it is necessary to compare the different health insurance quotes. An insurance agent or an insurance broker is the right person to help you in finding a health insurance policy that best suits your requirement. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Kaiser Permanente, Assurant Health, Celtic Insurance Company, Time Insurance Company, and United Healthcare of Georgia are some of the leading companies that provide excellent health insurance coverage for the citizens of Georgia.

23. July 2016 · Comments Off on Collector Car Insurance – Top 6 Benefits of Specialty Collector Car Insurance Companies · Categories: Car Insurance

People who own and drive collector cars have different needs for their collector car insurance than they have for their cars that are driven every day. A collectible car is by definition “special”, and so it has special considerations to take into account when it comes to insurance. Your everyday insurance provider that insures the vehicle you drive to work is accustomed to dealing with claims on modern cars that depreciate in value as they age, and the average owner doesn’t notice the difference between a $2000 paint job and a $10,000 paint job. A company that specializes in collector auto insurance has several key benefits to offer the collectible car owner.

Benefit # 1: Lower Premiums – A collector car is normally only driven on a limited basis, stored indoors, not driven in bad weather, and generally leads a “babied” life. Most classic car insurance companies are also somewhat selective in who they will insure. These two factors allow the classic car insurance company to charge much lower premiums than conventional insurance companies, because they know that the collector’s car is less likely to be in an accident.

Benefit # 2: Agreed Value Coverage – Most classic car insurance companies offer an Agreed Value policy, which means that you come to an agreement with the insurance company on what your vehicle is worth before the policy is written. If you have a total loss accident or theft, an Agreed Value policy will reimburse the total amount that was agreed upon when the policy was initiated. Very few conventional insurance companies offer a true “Agreed Value” policy. They offer a “Stated Value” or “Stated Amount” policy has a clause that allows them to only pay what they “think” the car was worth, and it makes the assumption that your collector car is depreciating like a typical used car!

Benefit # 3: They Understand Your Needs – Specialty collector car insurance companies understand your needs better than a typical insurance provider does because in many cases the insurance agents and possibly even the owners of the company are car enthusiasts or collectors themselves. They realize how much your collector car means to you, and they understand the importance of the car being repaired correctly so that it retains its value. When presented with a claim they will give you much less argument and more leeway to get your car repaired the right way the first time.

Benefit # 4: Repair Shop Of Choice – Many everyday insurance companies will only pay a set rate for collision repair at a high-volume body shop that does average-quality work on modern cars. If you take your car to a shop that specializes in restoration work, you may be left footing the bill for the difference in cost. Many antique car insurance companies will allow you to take your car to a specialty repair shop, and they will pay what it costs to have the car repaired the right way by a craftsman that is skilled in restoration work.

Benefit # 5: OE Parts – On a similar note, many everyday insurance companies will only pay for less expensive aftermarket repair parts. Using non-original parts can reduce the value of your vintage car considerably, as they may not fit as well as original equipment parts and an all-original car is always worth more. Many specialty insurance providers allow for the higher cost of using original equipment parts.

Benefit # 6: Perks and Special Situations – Some collector car insurance companies offer many other types of benefits, such as coverage for spare parts, memorabilia, tools, car trailers, coverage for overseas transport, etc. Some even offer medical coverage for personal injuries that occur at car shows, and “event disruption” insurance that reimburse car show entry fees and non-refundable hotel deposits if you miss an event due to a mechanical breakdown on the way there!

All in all, specialty collector car insurance companies have a lot of advantages for the classic car owner. If you own and drive a collector vehicle, you will find that an everyday insurance policy from an everyday insurance company is severely lacking in comparison.

15. July 2016 · Comments Off on Small Business Health Insurance – The Best Policy Is A Great Agent · Categories: Health Insurance

I have been a health insurance broker for over a decade and every day I read more and more “horror” stories that are posted on the Internet regarding health insurance companies not paying claims, refusing to cover specific illnesses and physicians not getting reimbursed for medical services. Unfortunately, insurance companies are driven by profits, not people (albeit they need people to make profits). If the insurance company can find a legal reason not to pay a claim, chances are they will find it, and you the consumer will suffer. However, what most people fail to realize is that there are very few “loopholes” in an insurance policy that give the insurance company an unfair advantage over the consumer. In fact, insurance companies go to great lengths to detail the limitations of their coverage by giving the policy holders 10-days (a 10-day free look period) to review their policy. Unfortunately, most people put their insurance cards in their wallet and place their policy in a drawer or filing cabinet during their 10-day free look and it usually isn’t until they receive a “denial” letter from the insurance company that they take their policy out to really read through it.

The majority of people, who buy their own health insurance, rely heavily on the insurance agent selling the policy to explain the plan’s coverage and benefits. This being the case, many individuals who purchase their own health insurance plan can tell you very little about their plan, other than, what they pay in premiums and how much they have to pay to satisfy their deductible.

For many consumers, purchasing a health insurance policy on their own can be an enormous undertaking. Purchasing a health insurance policy is not like buying a car, in that, the buyer knows that the engine and transmission are standard, and that power windows are optional. A health insurance plan is much more ambiguous, and it is often very difficult for the consumer to determine what type of coverage is standard and what other benefits are optional. In my opinion, this is the primary reason that most policy holders don’t realize that they do not have coverage for a specific medical treatment until they receive a large bill from the hospital stating that “benefits were denied.”

Sure, we all complain about insurance companies, but we do know that they serve a “necessary evil.” And, even though purchasing health insurance may be a frustrating, daunting and time consuming task, there are certain things that you can do as a consumer to ensure that you are purchasing the type of health insurance coverage you really need at a fair price.

Dealing with small business owners and the self-employed market, I have come to the realization that it is extremely difficult for people to distinguish between the type of health insurance coverage that they “want” and the benefits they really “need.” Recently, I have read various comments on different Blogs advocating health plans that offer 100% coverage (no deductible and no-coinsurance) and, although I agree that those types of plans have a great “curb appeal,” I can tell you from personal experience that these plans are not for everyone. Do 100% health plans offer the policy holder greater peace of mind? Probably. But is a 100% health insurance plan something that most consumers really need? Probably not! In my professional opinion, when you purchase a health insurance plan, you must achieve a balance between four important variables; wants, needs, risk and price. Just like you would do if you were purchasing options for a new car, you have to weigh all these variables before you spend your money. If you are healthy, take no medications and rarely go to the doctor, do you really need a 100% plan with a $5 co-payment for prescription drugs if it costs you $300 dollars more a month?

Is it worth $200 more a month to have a $250 deductible and a $20 brand name/$10 generic Rx co-pay versus an 80/20 plan with a $2,500 deductible that also offers a $20 brand name/$10generic co-pay after you pay a once a year $100 Rx deductible? Wouldn’t the 80/20 plan still offer you adequate coverage? Don’t you think it would be better to put that extra $200 ($2,400 per year) in your bank account, just in case you may have to pay your $2,500 deductible or buy a $12 Amoxicillin prescription? Isn’t it wiser to keep your hard-earned money rather than pay higher premiums to an insurance company?

Yes, there are many ways you can keep more of the money that you would normally give to an insurance company in the form of higher monthly premiums. For example, the federal government encourages consumers to purchase H.S.A. (Health Savings Account) qualified H.D.H.P.’s (High Deductible Health Plans) so they have more control over how their health care dollars are spent. Consumers who purchase an HSA Qualified H.D.H.P. can put extra money aside each year in an interest bearing account so they can use that money to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Even procedures that are not normally covered by insurance companies, like Lasik eye surgery, orthodontics, and alternative medicines become 100% tax deductible. If there are no claims that year the money that was deposited into the tax deferred H.S.A can be rolled over to the next year earning an even higher rate of interest. If there are no significant claims for several years (as is often the case) the insured ends up building a sizeable account that enjoys similar tax benefits as a traditional I.R.A. Most H.S.A. administrators now offer thousands of no load mutual funds to transfer your H.S.A. funds into so you can potentially earn an even higher rate of interest.

In my experience, I believe that individuals who purchase their health plan based on wants rather than needs feel the most defrauded or “ripped-off” by their insurance company and/or insurance agent. In fact, I hear almost identical comments from almost every business owner that I speak to. Comments, such as, “I have to run my business, I don’t have time to be sick! “I think I have gone to the doctor 2 times in the last 5 years” and “My insurance company keeps raising my rates and I don’t even use my insurance!” As a business owner myself, I can understand their frustration. So, is there a simple formula that everyone can follow to make health insurance buying easier? Yes! Become an INFORMED consumer.

Every time I contact a prospective client or call one of my client referrals, I ask a handful of specific questions that directly relate to the policy that particular individual currently has in their filing cabinet or dresser drawer. You know the policy that they bought to protect them from having to file bankruptcy due to medical debt. That policy they purchased to cover that $500,000 life-saving organ transplant or those 40 chemotherapy treatments that they may have to undergo if they are diagnosed with cancer.

So what do you think happens almost 100% of the time when I ask these individuals “BASIC” questions about their health insurance policy? They do not know the answers! The following is a list of 10 questions that I frequently ask a prospective health insurance client. Let’s see how many YOU can answer without looking at your policy.

1. What Insurance Company are you insured with and what is the name of your health insurance plan? (e.g. Blue Cross Blue Shield-“Basic Blue”)

2. What is your calendar year deductible and would you have to pay a separate deductible for each family member if everyone in your family became ill at the same time? (e.g. The majority of health plans have a per person yearly deductible, for example, $250, $500, $1,000, or $2,500. However, some plans will only require you to pay a 2 person maximum deductible each year, even if everyone in your family needed extensive medical care.)

3. What is your coinsurance percentage and what dollar amount (stop loss) it is based on? (e.g. A good plan with 80/20 coverage means you pay 20% of some dollar amount. This dollar amount is also known as a stop loss and can vary based on the type of policy you purchase. Stop losses can be as little as $5,000 or $10,000 or as much as $20,000 or there are some policies on the market that have NO stop loss dollar amount.)

4. What is your maximum out of pocket expense per year? (e.g. All deductibles plus all coinsurance percentages plus all applicable access fees or other fees)

5. What is the Lifetime maximum benefit the insurance company will pay if you become seriously ill and does your plan have any “per illness” maximums or caps? (e.g. Some plans may have a $5 million lifetime maximum, but may have a maximum benefit cap of $100,000 per illness. This means that you would have to develop many separate and unrelated life-threatening illnesses costing $100,000 or less to qualify for $5 million of lifetime coverage.)

6. Is your plan a schedule plan, in that it only pays a certain amount for a specific list of procedures? (e.g., Mega Life & Health & Midwest National Life, endorsed by the National Association of the Self-Employed, N.A.S.E. is known for endorsing schedule plans) 7. Does your plan have doctor co-pays and are you limited to a certain number of doctor co-pay visits per year? (e.g. Many plans have a limit of how many times you go to the doctor per year for a co-pay and, quite often the limit is 2-4 visits.)

8. Does your plan offer prescription drug coverage and if it does, do you pay a co-pay for your prescriptions or do you have to meet a separate drug deductible before you receive any benefits and/or do you just have a discount prescription card only? (e.g. Some plans offer you prescription benefits right away, other plans require that you pay a separate drug deductible before you can receive prescription medication for a co-pay. Today, many plans offer no co-pay options and only provide you with a discount prescription card that gives you a 10-20% discount on all prescription medications).

9. Does your plan have any reduction in benefits for organ transplants and if so, what is the maximum your plan will pay if you need an organ transplant? (e.g. Some plans only pay a $100,000 maximum benefit for organ transplants for a procedure that actually costs $350-$500K and this $100,000 maximum may also include reimbursement for expensive anti-rejection medications that must be taken after a transplant. If this is the case, you will often have to pay for all anti-rejection medications out of pocket).

10. Do you have to pay a separate deductible or “access fee” for each hospital admission or for each emergency room visit? (e.g. Some plans, like the Assurant Health’s “CoreMed” plan have a separate $750 hospital admission fee that you pay for the first 3 days you are in the hospital. This fee is in addition to your plan deductible. Also, many plans have benefit “caps” or “access fees” for out-patient services, such as, physical therapy, speech therapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. Benefit “caps” could be as little as $500 for each out-patient treatment, leaving you a bill for the remaining balance. Access fees are additional fees that you pay per treatment. For example, for each outpatient chemotherapy treatment, you may be required to pay a $250 “access fee” per treatment. So for 40 chemotherapy treatments, you would have to pay 40 x $250 = $10,000. Again, these fees would be charged in addition to your plan deductible).

Now that you’ve read through the list of questions that I ask a prospective health insurance client, ask yourself how many questions you were able to answer. If you couldn’t answer all ten questions don’t be discouraged. That doesn’t mean that you are not a smart consumer. It may just mean that you dealt with a “bad” insurance agent. So how could you tell if you dealt with a “bad” insurance agent? Because a “great” insurance agent would have taken the time to help you really understand your insurance benefits. A “great” agent spends time asking YOU questions so s/he can understand your insurance needs. A “great” agent recommends health plans based on all four variables; wants, needs, risk and price. A “great” agent gives you enough information to weigh all of your options so you can make an informed purchasing decision. And lastly, a “great” agent looks out for YOUR best interest and NOT the best interest of the insurance company.

So how do you know if you have a “great” agent? Easy, if you were able to answer all 10 questions without looking at your health insurance policy, you have a “great” agent. If you were able to answer the majority of questions, you may have a “good” agent. However, if you were only able to answer a few questions, chances are you have a “bad” agent. Insurance agents are no different than any other professional. There are some insurance agents that really care about the clients they work with, and there are other agents that avoid answering questions and duck client phone calls when a message is left about unpaid claims or skyrocketing health insurance rates.

Remember, your health insurance purchase is just as important as purchasing a house or a car, if not more important. So don’t be afraid to ask your insurance agent a lot of questions to make sure that you understand what your health plan does and does not cover. If you don’t feel comfortable with the type of coverage that your agent suggests or if you think the price is too high, ask your agent if s/he can select a comparable plan so you can make a side by side comparison before you purchase. And, most importantly, read all of the “fine print” in your health plan brochure and when you receive your policy, take the time to read through your policy during your 10-day free look period.

If you can’t understand something, or aren’t quite sure what the asterisk (*) next to the benefit description really means in terms of your coverage, call your agent or contact the insurance company to ask for further clarification.

Furthermore, take the time to perform your own due diligence. For example, if you research MEGA Life and Health or the Midwest National Life insurance company, endorsed by the National Association for the Self Employed (NASE), you will find that there have been 14 class action lawsuits brought against these companies since 1995. So ask yourself, “Is this a company that I would trust to pay my health insurance claims?

Additionally, find out if your agent is a “captive” agent or an insurance “broker.” “Captive” agents can only offer ONE insurance company’s products.” Independent” agents or insurance “brokers” can offer you a variety of different insurance plans from many different insurance companies. A “captive” agent may recommend a health plan that doesn’t exactly meet your needs because that is the only plan s/he can sell. An “independent” agent or insurance “broker” can usually offer you a variety of different insurance products from many quality carriers and can often customize a plan to meet your specific insurance needs and budget.

Over the years, I have developed strong, trusting relationships with my clients because of my insurance expertise and the level of personal service that I provide. This is one of the primary reasons that I do not recommend buying health insurance on the Internet. In my opinion, there are too many variables that Internet insurance buyers do not often take into consideration. I am a firm believer that a health insurance purchase requires the level of expertise and personal attention that only an insurance professional can provide. And, since it does not cost a penny more to purchase your health insurance through an agent or broker, my advice would be to use eBay and Amazon for your less important purchases and to use a knowledgeable, ethical and reputable independent agent or broker for one of the most important purchases you will ever make….your health insurance policy.

Lastly, if you have any concerns about an insurance company, contact your state’s Department of Insurance BEFORE you buy your policy. Your state’s Department of Insurance can tell you if the insurance company is registered in your state and can also tell you if there have been any complaints against that company that have been filed by policy holders. If you suspect that your agent is trying to sell you a fraudulent insurance policy, (e.g. you have to become a member of a union to qualify for coverage) or isn’t being honest with you, your state’s Department of Insurance can also check to see if your agent is licensed and whether or not there has ever been any disciplinary action previously taken against that agent.

In closing, I hope I have given you enough information so you can become an INFORMED insurance consumer. However, I remain convinced that the following words of wisdom still go along way: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” and “If you only buy on price, you get what you pay for!”

©2007 Small Business Insurance Services, Inc. http://www.smallbusinessinsuranceservices.com

09. July 2016 · Comments Off on Finance, Money and Internet Scams-4 Rules to Keep in Mind · Categories: Finance

When shopping for online work at home, which homebased businesses are real? It sounds like a straightforward question with a straightforward answer: just use common sense. But hold on a second.
Not so fast. Do you think you could separate the scams from the legitimates? Have you seen all the various homebased business offerings on the web?

O.K. Sure. If someone is offering you the Brooklyn Bridge for $1.99–I’t’s a scam. That’s an easy call.
But beyond that, how can you tell? These job opportunities are often counter-intuitive, What seems to
be “too good to be true” often is real, and the legitimate-seeming businesses are a scam. But most
people don’t have the time or money to check them out.

I’ve spent the past five years researching and actually implementing many of these money making schemes on the internet, the ones most people tend to dismiss out-of-hand.
And that’s the problem. Most people dismiss them first, without giving a serious second thought to them. They think they know, but they don’t. It’s not as straightforward as people first assume.

Here I’ve compiled four basic rules to keep in mind when shopping for a homebased business opportunity. This list is by no means comprehensive, but is a good thumbnail starter for those interested in home based businesses.

1. Look for Money-Back Guarantees. Reputable companies will always offer money-back guarantees–most within 60 days–some with no time limits at all. Some companies (I’m thinking
PaidSurveysOnline & Survey Scout) offer money-back guarantees, but must be contacted.

2. Avoid Excessive Join-Up Fees. It’s O.K. to pay for the initial program fee, but avoid
companies that continue to ask for “dues,””bonuses” or “club memberships” after you’ve purchased their program.

3. Do Your Homework. Find out how well the product is selling, and what percentage of people ask for their money back. Go to Clickbank.com for the stats on thousands of products sold online.

4. Expect Some Extravagance and Exaggeration in the Ad Copy. People aren’t stupid. Ad
copy writers know this. They know most intelligent adults can make adjustments for hyperbole in an ad.

Keep these four rules in mind, and use common sense. If you keep an open mind, approach these offers seriously, and implement their strategies, many of them can make money for you.

02. July 2016 · Comments Off on Learning About Budgeting and Money Management is Vital to Avoid Financial Disasters · Categories: Finance

Anyone who has worried and stressed about their finances has probably also had a lot of concern over doing a good job with the budgeting and money management of their personal affairs. It is important to have good money management skills in this day and age so that you are able to enjoy the many things that life has to offer, rather than constantly worrying that you just don’t have enough money to get by.

Learning the ins and outs of personal financial budgeting and management is something that is ideally taught to youngsters at an early age so that they can develop good money management skills right from the start. The later someone begins to take financial management seriously, the more potential there is for them to get into personal money management problems and even into serious financial straits that can be difficult to recover from.

It is always best when children and teens are able to learn about budgeting and money management because this education and turn into a set of money management skills that will be with them for the rest of their lives. When people don’t have the chance to learn how to manage credit and their personal finances, they will most likely waste money and burn through it as soon as they earn it, and they may get themselves into debt way over their heads.

There are many people who enter adulthood without having learned about budgeting and personal financial management. They find themselves exhilarated at the money they make at their first full-time job, and often such exhilaration leads to overspending and a lack of preparing for the future, of not being prepared for emergencies and of overusing credit cards and other credit vehicles that can soon lead to serious debt.

If a person sinks deeply into debt when they are still in their twenties, because of immaturity and poor money management abilities, then they can end up spending the next twenty years, or more, trying to dig out of the hole of consumer debt that they put themselves into. Even worse, poor money management and significant debt can also lead to bankruptcy all too easily and this is a blemish on a person’s credit record that lingers for over a decade.

The ramifications and consequences of bankruptcy are more than just a matter of clearing away excessive debt and having your credit damaged. There are many other underlying issues that arise and filing for bankruptcy can affect your ability to get a good job, affect the insurance rates you pay, affect the interest rate on a mortgage, auto loan, and other types of loans, and can be an embarrassing thing to have to try to explain every time someone needs to pull your credit report.

The fortunate thing is that people who make the effort to learn about budgeting and money management will stand a good chance of averting personal finance money management disasters, such as bankruptcy. Indeed, it is never too late to start improving financial management in your life, yet starting sooner rather than later is always recommended.

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