As a life and health insurance agent with fifteen years of experience, I am still unsettled by the number of inquiries I get from prospective clients who I cannot help.
Pregnant mothers looking for maternity insurance, consumers who need dental insurance because of a root canal, family members trying to purchase long term care insurance for someone entering a convalescent facility – the list goes on. Simply put, you must plan ahead and purchase insurance before these types of event occur.
A major issue facing many Americans is what to do when they lose employer sponsored coverage. Senior employees may wish to retire, but are not yet eligible for Medicare.
Additionally, the recent economic downturn has led to many layoffs and forced many employees off of company health plans. COBRA is an option for some, but unfortunately it is only temporary in nature and can be very expensive.
In order to address this problem, United Healthcare (United HealthOne) has created a very innovative product for those who wish to plan ahead. It is called UnitedHealth Continuity and is designed to protect against voluntary or involuntary health insurance loss. Consumers can purchase insurance and by paying a small percentage of the premium can keep their coverage dormant until it is needed.
Like all insurance products, this policy needs to be purchased while the prospective member is healthy enough to be medically underwritten. In this way, the medical coverage is a hedge against the unanticipated poor health coupled with the loss of employer coverage.
The consumer can purchase a traditional health insurance plan of their liking and add the continuity rider to the policy. If they are already insured through their place of employment, then the policy can be deactivated until it is needed.
The insured only pays a fraction of the premium to keep the policy in force, but inactive. (If the insured needs individual or family coverage now, then the policy would be in force and could be deactivated later if group coverage became available.)
Once the loss of group coverage occurs, the insured provides proof and their previously selected plan with United Healthcare is now active. Medical underwriting is not required as the consumer was already underwritten when the plan was purchased. In this way, there are no gaps in coverage and the insured does not have to worry about changes in their health status.
In summary, by purchasing a health plan with a continuity rider now, early retirement and/or loss of group coverage will no longer cause problems. Employees are not tethered to their jobs because of health insurance issues so long as they purchased a plan in anticipation of loss of coverage. By simply planning ahead, consumers can worry less about early retirement and loss of group benefits.
Category: Health Insurance