If you’re approaching your 65th birthday and starting to research options for Medicare, navigating through all of your new health care choices can be overwhelming. In addition to enrolling in a Medicare plan to meet your anticipated needs, you’ll also have to decide if a Medicare Supplement plan is right for you.
At Erie Insurance, we’re here to help. Here are some things you should know when considering a Medicare Supplement plan.
WHAT IS A MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN?
Medicare Parts A and B provide insurance coverage for health-related expenses, but they don’t cover all of the health care costs you may have. A Medicare Supplement plan, sometimes called “Medigap,” is a private insurance policy that can help pay for some of the health care costs that Medicare doesn’t cover. This can include out-of-pocket expenses such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles.
With health care and out-of-pocket costs for Medicare participants on the rise, a Medicare Supplement plan can help set your mind at ease.
WHAT DOES A MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN COVER?
Medicare Supplement plans are designed to help pay for the costs that you would normally pay out of your own pocket. But the costs and benefits will depend on which Medicare Supplement plan you select.
Erie Family Life offers four supplemental insurance plans designed to meet your needs and fit your budget. They include:
- Plan A: This plan includes basic benefits to help with copayments for services covered under Medicare Parts A and B.
- Plan B: Available only in Pennsylvania, this plan provides the same benefits as Plan A but also pays your Medicare Part A hospital deductible.
- Plan F: This plan offers the most coverage of all our Medicare Supplement plans. It covers all out-of-pocket costs for medical expenses covered by your Medicare Supplement insurance. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, this plan will no longer be available to those becoming newly eligible for coverage.
- Plan G: Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, Plan G will be the go-to plan for new Medicare enrollees. It includes the same basic benefits as Plan F, including Part B excess charges and Foreign Travel Emergency coverage.
- Plan N: This is our middle-of-the-road coverage offering. Under Plan N, you’ll pay a lower premium in exchange for taking on a small annual deductible and some copayments. It covers your Medicare Part B copays, as well as your hospital deductible, copays and coinsurance.
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN?
You can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan policy if you are age 65 or over and enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. The one-time Open Enrollment period, which begins on the first day of the month an individual is 65 or older and enrolled in Part B provides for guaranteed issue. Individuals under age 65 eligible for and enrolled in Part B; are not eligible for guaranteed issue unless they have lost or are losing creditable coverage. In some states, Medicare Supplement insurance policies are available to people with disabilities who are under the age 65.
HOW DO I ENROLL?
To enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, contact your ERIE agent or find a local agent near you. Be sure you have your Medicare ID card ready. Your agent can help answer questions and determine which plan and pricing best meet your needs.
ERIE® Medicare Supplement insurance products and services are provided by Erie Family Life Insurance Company. Go to erieinsurance.com for company licensure information.
*The policy has exclusions, limitations and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs and complete details of the coverage, contact your ERIE agent or refer to the government guide Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People With Medicare.
Eligibility for insurance coverage will be determined at the time of application based on applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.
ERIE Medicare Supplement insurance is not available in the District of Columbia, New York and Wisconsin. Life insurance not available in New York.
Medicare Supplement policy forms for Tennessee: EFLMS3003 9/17 (A) TN; EFLMS3009 9/17 (F) TN; EFLMS3014 9/17 (G) TN; EFLMS3019 9/17 (N) TN.
Maryland: Medicare Supplement policies are available to disabled individuals under the age of 65.
Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the Federal Medicare program. This is a solicitation of insurance. An agent (or the company) may contact you.
Posted on 14 September 2020 | 9:00 pm
Life insurance: It’s not exactly the kind of topic that comes up during family dinner. No one really wants to talk about the death of a loved one. But when it comes to securing your family’s financial security, it’s a conversation that needs to happen.
The fact is, there are many things about life insurance that people don’t know.
Find out what people had to say about the cost of life insurance and their reasons for (or against!) buying coverage in the new national survey from Erie Insurance.
Life Insurance: It’s More Affordable Than Most People Think
When asked why they don’t have life insurance, almost four in 10 (38%) said it would be too expensive. However, survey results show most people probably overestimate the cost.
For example: With Erie Family Life, a 20-year, $250,000 term policy would cost roughly $200/year for a healthy 30-year-old man and $185 for a healthy 30-year-old woman.
When asked to estimate the cost, more than half of respondents (56%) said that policy would cost $300/year or more, including 10% thinking it would be $500/year. A full 11% more than doubled the actual cost, estimating the cost at more than $500/year.
The good news? Life insurance is probably more affordable than you think. Estimate your coverage with our life insurance calculator, or talk to a local ERIE agent who can provide you with a customized quote based on your specific circumstances (and budget).
Top reasons and motivations for having life insurance
So why do people buy life insurance, anyway? It’s not for you – it’s for those you leave behind.
The survey asked life insurance policyholders to list their top one or two reasons for buying this coverage.
The top answers were:
- To have money to leave as an inheritance for loved ones: 37%
- So my loved ones would have money to pay for my funeral expenses: 37%
- So my spouse and/or children would have enough money to maintain our current standard of living without my income: 32%
- So my loved ones could pay my debts: 17%
- So my spouse and/or children could keep our current home: 10%
See more surprising facts and statistics about life insurance in the infographic of survey results.
More coverage questions? Check out these related blog stories:
- I Have Life Insurance Through Work. Is that Enough?
- Term vs. Whole Life Insurance: Which Do You Need?
- Buying Life Insurance for the First Time? Then Read These 8 Tips
CAN YOU GET A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY DURING COVID-19?
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health event in many of our lifetimes.
Have you ever wondered how someone diagnosed with the virus would be affected when it comes to purchasing life insurance?
When asked, 10% of respondents said they believe people who have had COVID-19 cannot get life insurance. Four in 10 people (41%) said they don’t know how the virus could affect someone’s eligibility to buy a life policy.
The truth: Some insurance companies have developed specific screening questions during the quoting process, related to COVID-19.
Generally, a person who had tested positive but had been asymptomatic may see no impact on their ability to get life insurance. However, a person who had tested positive and been hospitalized may see an impact. For eligibility questions, talk to a local professional such as your local ERIE agent.
LIFE INSURANCE AND HEALTH CONDITIONS
When you’re looking to buy life insurance, how does your overall health come into play?
Survey says: The majority of people know that certain health conditions affect the price of a life insurance policy, but there is some uncertainty. When asked if high blood pressure can impact the price of your policy, 65% of people accurately said that insurance companies consider that when determining a rate. Others (20%) weren’t sure, while 15% incorrectly assumed high blood pressure doesn’t affect your rate.
Many people were also unsure about how a history of cancer might affect someone’s ability to get life insurance. Almost one in five (19%) think a person who has had cancer cannot get life insurance, while 37% don’t know whether they could or not.
In fact, cancer, along with other past serious conditions like a heart attack or stroke, often will not automatically disqualify a person from getting life insurance. Erie Insurance considers the type and severity of the illness, the time that has elapsed since the diagnosis, and current medications or treatment regimen when determining if a person is eligible for a life insurance policy.
WHO ARE THE MOST COMMON LIFE INSURANCE BENEFICIARIES?
According to our survey, most people name their spouse (59%) or child/children (38%) as their life insurance policy beneficiaries. However, some people want to take care of their furry friends who are left behind. Surprisingly, 10% listed their dog as their beneficiary while 4% listed their cat!
Generally speaking, a person cannot literally name a pet as a life insurance beneficiary. This is because, legally speaking, pets are considered property and are unable to sign off on legal documents.
Learn more in our related blog story: How to Choose a Life Insurance Beneficiary.
AFFORDABLE AND FLEXIBLE LIFE INSURANCE COVERAGE
“Just as with any type of insurance, what’s right for your neighbor may not be right for you,” said Lou Colaizzo, senior vice president, Erie Family Life. “Your agent can help you determine the best life insurance policy for you and your family based on your individual circumstances and needs.”
Erie Family Life offers the right coverage and flexible options, helping you build a policy now and adaptable later. Find an ERIE agent near you and start the conversation.
Methodology: This survey was conducted online by Falls on behalf of Erie Insurance, from July 10 through July 15, 2020, among 650 U.S. residents ages 19 and older. Falls established the sampling quotas, designed the questionnaire, tabulated the survey responses, and managed the overall project. Falls used Dynata (Plano, TX) to administer the survey via the internet, including mobile devices, to Dynata’s captive U.S. panels who met the age, gender, income, and regional demographic criteria.
**ERIE® life insurance products and services are provided by Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home office: Erie, Pennsylvania). Erie Family Life Insurance Company is not licensed to operate in all states. Go to erieinsurance.com for company licensure information. Life insurance products are not available in New York. The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this article are in effect as of September 9, 2020 and may be changed at any time. Rates for a particular product will be determined by underwriting at the time of application.
Posted on 8 September 2020 | 9:00 pm
Picture this: You land an exciting new job with great benefits: vacation time, health insurance, 401(k)… even free lunch once a week!
They offer group life insurance, too – two times your annual salary. That sounds like a lot, right? In many cases, it might not stretch as far as you think.
Let’s say you make $50,000 per year. A benefit of $100,000 can make a big difference to your family – for a while. But through the years, could it really go the distance to pay for expenses and reflect the legacy you want to leave for your family? Think about how far $100,000 could go to pay for these common needs over time:
- Private student loan debt
- Mortgage or rent payments
- Utilities, groceries and other costs of living
- Childcare expenses
- Charitable giving
Life insurance is, by its very nature, a deeply personal financial decision. When you rely exclusively on group coverage through work, you miss the opportunity to personalize your coverage based on your specific needs. Here’s why that matters.
4 Reasons to Consider Getting Your Own Life Insurance Policy
The experts at Life Happens*, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public on the importance of life insurance in financial planning, offer these four disadvantages of relying on your group insurance alone:
- If your job situation changes, you may not be able to maintain the same coverage. Whether that means being laid off, moving from full-time to part-time or leaving the company… in many cases, an employee can’t retain their policy when circumstances change.
- Coverage may end when you retire or reach a specific age. Many people tend to lose their insurance coverage when they continue working past a specified age or when they retire. This could mean losing your insurance when you need it most. (Related: Term vs. Whole Life Insurance: What’s the Difference?)
- It’s a benefit… not a guarantee. Your employer can change or stop offering life insurance coverage without your consent, since the contract is between your employer and the insurer. With many employers in cost-cutting mode, employee benefits might (unfortunately) be among the first things on the chopping block.
- Your options are limited. This type of coverage is not tailored to your specific financial needs. Furthermore, your employer might not offer the option for you to purchase extra coverage as you need, leaving you exposed.
Individual life insurance plans can offer superior benefits, and regardless of your employer or employment status, you can tailor them to meet your individual needs and circumstances. Read the full article on the Life Happens blog.
Life Insurance from ERIE Can Help
You shouldn't have to choose between your budget and your family's security in the future. With flexible coverage options, we can help you build a policy that’s affordable now and adaptable later.See how different types of life insurance stack up, or request a free quote from a local ERIE agent in your neighborhood.
*Life Happens does not endorse any product, company or insurance adviser.
ERIE life insurance products and services are provided by Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home office Erie, PA), a member of Erie Insurance Group, and are not available in New York.
This story was originally published in 2019.
Posted on 7 September 2020 | 9:00 pm
In the midst of this pandemic, you may have found yourself among the 63 percent of Americans working from home. A recent Gartner poll predicts that 48 percent of workers will continue to work remote at least part time even when it’s safe to physically return to work again.
Of course, working from home has pros and cons. It also raises serious questions like what would happen if an employee becomes injured while performing work at home.
Workers' compensation (often shortened to workers’ comp) laws and requirements vary by state, but generally, any business that has employees must have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. It helps cover medical care and lost wages for an employee who is hurt at work.
With many employees working from the kitchen table or the home office, it helps to know how workers’ compensation can kick in. (As always, talk to your local ERIE agent for questions about your specific policy.)
Will Workers’ Compensation Cover An Employee If They Get Injured While Working From Home?
If an employee is hurt on work premises, they’re typically covered by the employer’s workers’ compensation policy. Workers’ compensation provides coverage for injury or disease employees sustain in the course and scope of employment. It applies regardless of negligence, with workers’ compensation laws varying by state.
Most telecommuters are still covered under their employers’ workers’ compensation coverage, whether full-time remote workers or temporary due to pandemic stay-at-home orders.
“It’s important to remember that workers’ compensation insurance isn’t tied to a building,” says Leo Heintz, vice president of commercial products at ERIE. “It follows you wherever you go, subject to the policy conditions, while you’re at work.”
What Are Common Injuries That Can Happen When Working From Home?
Common injuries telecommuting office workers experience include carpal tunnel syndrome; back sprains and strains; and slips, trips and falls. The injury or disease typically has to arise out of a work-related activity to be covered under workers’ comp.
“Injuries are possible even if you have a desk job,” Heintz said. “That’s why it’s important to practice the same good ergonomic activities at your home office as you do when at your regular office. Simple things like good posture and remembering to take time and stretch, or getting up and walking around, can make all the difference.”
Posted on 3 September 2020 | 9:00 pm
Roofing insurance claims can be complicated. That’s why it’s so important to have the right homeowners coverage for your roof.
Replacing a roof is one of the most expensive home projects a homeowner will encounter. According to Home Advisor, the 2020 national average a homeowner will spend on installing a new roof is more than $8,000.
While you can save up over months or years to replace an old roof, sudden damage from something like a windstorm doesn’t give you that option. Don’t wait until you need to submit a claim to understand what your policy can – and can’t – pay to replace. Keep reading for general answers to a few common questions. As always, your local Erie Insurance agent can give you more specific information (including a free quote customized just for your home).
How Does Homeowners Insurance Cover My Roof?
Short answer: It depends on your policy — but some offer more coverage than others.
Longer answer: Buying insurance is all about your comfort level with risk. A cheaper policy means you might pay a little less right now, but you could be stuck paying more out of pocket later if you need to file a claim.
With homeowners insurance, there are different ways you can choose to be compensated when you experience a sudden loss that’s covered by your policy. That is known as your “loss settlement option.” Simply put, it’s how your insurance company assesses the cost to rebuild, repair or replace your stuff.
At ERIE, coverage for your roof is factored into the cost to insure your dwelling. Loss settlement options for your dwelling may vary by state, so talk to your ERIE agent to better understand your options.
Common loss settlement options for your roof include:
- Actual cash value (ACV) which factors in the roof’s age and condition to determine how much it’s worth as-is when you file a claim. That’s known as a depreciation amount. When the bill comes in from the roofers, an ACV policy factors in depreciation and only pays up to the amount your roof is currently worth – even if the cost to repair or replace your roof is higher than that.
- Replacement cost which pays to repair the damage to your roof without factoring in depreciation.
- Functional replacement cost is the amount that it would cost to repair or replace the damaged roof with less costly common construction materials and methods which are functionally equivalent to obsolete, antique or custom construction materials and methods.
Other loss settlement options, such as extended replacement cost and guaranteed replacement cost, are also available (and good to have) with your homeowners policy. These are designed to give you an extra cushion if you experience a total loss of your home. Generally speaking, they’re less likely to kick in if you experience a covered loss of only roof damage.
Not sure which loss settlement option you have? You can find your dwelling amount and policy limits on your declarations page. (If you’re an ERIE customer, that’s easy to find in your Online Account.)
So, when it comes to insuring a big investment like your roof – you can see how your loss settlement option can make a big difference in how you can be reimbursed after a loss.
Age of Roof and Insurance
Remember that homeowners insurance is designed to cover the cost of sudden and unexpected damage. Generally, your policy doesn’t cover damage from delayed maintenance or routine wear and tear to an old roof.
If your roof is worn or in poor condition, having a roof covered on an ACV basis could become a big financial burden if you have to file a claim.
For example, let’s say your roof has seen better days. Then, bam! Lightning strikes and your neighbor’s tree falls on your roof. What happens next?
- If it’s insured on an ACV basis: If your roof is damaged near the end of its life expectancy, you’ll likely see a larger deduction for depreciation… but you’ll still get the same bill for what it costs to repair or replace it. That could leave you stuck paying the difference out-of-pocket.
- With replacement cost: There is no deduction for depreciation. This means you may pay a little more in premium for that policy (vs. ACV) –but you won’t be hit with out-of-pocket expenses
One way to make a replacement cost policy more affordable is to increase your deductible. Your deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket after a claim and before your insurance company pays its part.
Ask your insurance agent to show you the cost difference with different deductibles so you can decide which dollar amount is best for your budget.
What Makes ERIE’s Coverage Different?
Each insurance company covers roof damage differently. It pays to understand how your policy works so you don’t run into any surprises after you have to file a claim.
Here are a few factors – known as “provisions” – to look for:
- Roof payment schedule or a breakdown of how your insurance company would pay for a roof claim based on factors, such as the age of the roof. (At ERIE, roof losses are paid based on the loss settlement that you select for your home.)
- Mandatory deductible or an amount that you will have to meet before the insurance company will cover your claim. (ERIE allows you to choose your deductible for your home and property based on what’s comfortable for your budget.)
- Wind or hail deductible or a separate dollar amount that applies to loss caused by wind or hail. Some carriers may require a higher wind or hail deductible without giving you a choice. At ERIE, it is an optional customization that can help lower your premium.
Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim for Roof Damage
Uncertainty is part of life – but that’s why you have insurance. If you think your roof is damaged and you’re considering filing a claim, here’s what to do:
- Prevent further damage. Once the scene calms down (such as a hailstorm), take action to prevent any further damage to your home and belongings if it’s safe to do so.
- Document what happened. Take photos of the damage and list what was affected. (An updated home inventory can be helpful here.) List any date or timeframe that the event occurred.
- Call your insurance agent. Your agent can explain your options and help you understand if and how to file a claim.
- Know how to spot a scam. Sometimes, fraudulent or dishonest contractors – known as “storm chasers” – show up after severe weather hits. Storm chasers may point out pre-existing damage, create their own damage, or say that there is damage when there isn’t. Learn the signs to spot hail fraud and tips for hiring a reputable contractor.
Homeowners Insurance That Protects You Without Surprises
If you are unsure what your home insurance can cover – and what it can’t – ask your agent. Or you can request a homeowners insurance quote from a local ERIE agent near you
Then relax and enjoy more of what makes you and your family happy knowing that your home, the investments you made in your home and the things you value most are protected.
Posted on 30 August 2020 | 9:00 pm