COVID-19 and Life Insurance

COVID-19 and Life Insurance

The novel coronavirus is continuing to leave its trail.

Life insurance underwriting is the crucial step of the life insurance process. A group of people, known as underwriters, examine life insurance applications and determine how much of a “risk” they are. Age, health, occupational work, medical history and the applicant’s gender are specific factors underwriters evaluate.

Underwriters play the most important role in the life insurance application process (besides the actual applicant) because they have the power to accept or deny someone for a life insurance policy.  Another purpose that underwriters have is to determine the appropriate level of premium based on the risk of the particular applicant.

So, how does COVID-19 impact future life insurance underwriting?

The underwriting process is stricter.

This is because insurers bear an increased risk of the policy holder dying that typical mortality tables would normally predict.

We do not know complete future implications of COVID-19.

If the applicant is older and has preexisting conditions, they are more at risk for contracting the coronavirus, which could pose a risk to life insurance policies. In addition, when an applicant contracts the virus, it is impossible to know what the future may hold and whether it could affect their risk of dying. Ultimately, it is difficult for underwriters to predict the future health of someone who has contracted the virus. This identifies many challenges you may face when applying for a life insurance policy.

When an underwriter cannot accurately predict mortality, they tend to get a little more conservative in their underwriting decision, i.e., They are not as willing to take as many risks.

What changes have we seen so far with underwriting?

Susan Rupe’s article, Underwriting Among Early Effects Of COVID-19 on Life Insurance, says, “COVID-19 has had the biggest short-term effect on life insurance in two ways: Insurers extending grace periods for paying premiums and placing a greater emphasis on accelerated underwriting.”

Accelerated underwriting means that the insurance company does not require someone like a paramedic to visit the applicant’s home to take blood, urine and vital signs. Due to the pandemic, underwriters are limiting exposure to applicants.

It’s important to remember that when applying for a life insurance policy during a pandemic, you must disclose whether you have traveled or if you will travel to affected areas. If an applicant plans to travel out of the country, or if they recently returned from abroad within the last month, life insurance companies may delay approval. Some companies even have travel restrictions in place that could prevent application approval. If you are not truthful, underwriters can choose not to write you a policy.

The main takeaway of this article is that life insurance underwriting is becoming stricter as no one knows future implications that the virus may pose. If you have contracted the virus, or you are at a higher risk, underwriters might take this into account and deny you for a life insurance policy, especially if you have other conditions.

We highly recommend that you apply for a policy now in case new restrictions arise or conditions worsen. If you plan now and buy life insurance today, your family will be protected, and your beneficiary will receive the death benefit even if you later get COVID-19 and pass away.

How can we help you?

We offer Term Life, Return of Premium, Whole Life and Universal Life Insurance.

We know that understanding life insurance can be difficult and having it now is more important than ever. Give us a call at (864) 467-8738, and we can answer any questions that you may have, and we can do a free life insurance application for you.

Time is Ticking – Open Enrollment is Ending

Time is Ticking – Open Enrollment is Ending

What is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is a period of time that people can enroll in individual or family health plans for the upcoming year. An annual occurrence, usually from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, is specified by the government. It is imperative that you enroll in health insurance during open enrollment because it is not permitted outside of this period. Unless there is a qualifying life event, such as, loss of coverage, change in household and change in resident, you must wait until open enrollment begins.

Enrollments will be scheduled for 30 minutes. This is a major challenge because we are covering a lot of information in a shortened amount of time. In a theoretical and efficient way, we can get everyone enrolled for the next year.

COVID-19 concerns 

Due to the pandemic, we are particularly sensitive about everyone’s health. While we prefer face-to-face enrollment and catching up with our clients, we can also enroll you in a plan over the phone. When you call to schedule an appointment, you will have the option to choose from either. If you prefer in person, we have masks available and will be socially distanced.

In order for us to make an appropriate and logical decision over the phone, we do ask that you have access to a computer and internet.

Our website, www.insure-u.com, is a valuable shopping tool to take advantage of.

Beginning at the first of the month, you will be able to determine 2021 coverages and rates on the website. This development allows you to compare plans side-by-side to determine whether your doctor is in the network, if your medications are covered and how much it will cost.

There are times when it takes more than a half hour, usually for Medicare.

It is possible to get an enrollment done in 10 minutes. This is greatly impacted on whether you have gone to our website shopping tool to see 2021 rates and options. Don’t wait to book your appointment, and come prepared to make a decision about your plan.

Certain plans are more attractive

The following are coverages in 2021:

  1. BlueChoice
  2. BlueEssentials: Individual and family plans
  3. BlueExclusive Reedy: Prisma Greenville Health and BlueCross joint venture
  4. BlueExclusive Cooper: Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Charleston and BlueCross joint venture
  5. Molina: New 2021 coverage covered below
  6. Bright Health

Molina is a new carrier that is the lowest cost in the market. However, at first they did not have a hospital or a doctor’s network in Greenville County. With the help of my team and for people like you, we were able to change this. My team and I created a campaign that addressed the unfair situation that we would be soon encountering in 2021. After many calls and letters were made and sent to the DOI, we helped hundreds of people in the county. An executive with Molina Healthcare called and informed me that they signed a contract with Bon Secours Saint Francis. Customers who go with this new option will NOT have to drive 35 miles to use a network hospital!!

Thank you to any and all of you who may have let the Governor and the Director of Insurance know that having at least one hospital in Greenville County for all plans sold in Greenville is an absolute must!

Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC), also known as “Subsidy” or “Government Bucks,” are based on the lowest cost in the silver market, which will be Molina in 2021. As a result, those insured under BlueCross BlueShield and Bright Health will pay more than what they were paying, simply because of the low-price carrier. We face a bit of a challenge in the upcoming year.

Since the average open enrollment appointment is only half an hour, you are our main focus, and we are committed to helping you find the health insurance that you deserve.

In order for us to get the most out of your time, you should know the following:

  • Income projection for the following year
  • Primary information (SS# for you and immediate family, address, DOB’s)
  • Payment information (in the event it is needed)
  • Medications: We can determine whether your medications are covered and what the out-of-pocket costs will be. (See below image for prescription drug tiers)
  • Preferred doctors and hospital in non-emergency situations
  • For family plans, we ask for each decision maker to be present

We understand that income projection for the upcoming year is difficult, especially for realtors and small business owners. A projection is needed because subsidies are based off of this. If you are under 400% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL), the government will step in and help with costs.

Even if we will not be seeing each other this year, we are thrilled to speak with you over the phone to enroll you in the health plan that works best for you and/or your family.

My team and I are committed to helping you find the absolute best health coverage.

We know this is a difficult time for you, and having health insurance is more important than ever. Do not hesitate to give us a call, and we will answer any of your questions and concerns.

If you haven’t already, make sure to call us at (864) 467-8738 to schedule an open enrollment appointment. It’s essential to visit our website to have an idea of your preferred coverage option.

Since last open enrollment, we moved to a new location: 300 John St. #4A, Greer, S.C., 29651