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Health Insurance for Hurricanes Victims

January 1, 2010

 

by Health Insurance , MBA, MT, OnlineAdviser support for MedSave.com

Recent storms affected many aspects of health insurance ranging from the need to find replacement coverage quickly to replacing lost bills and ID cards.  MedSave.com has expanded free service available through OnlineAdviser to help with all of these issues.

MedSave.com has received a large number of requests for additional health insurance support from individuals who were affected by the recent hurricanes.  This report is intended to address a number of the most common concerns.

Availability of Health Insurance

Residents of the southeast and south-central states have adequate supply of low cost health insurance plans that can be issued immediately upon demand to address suddenly changed conditions.  Permanent and temporary residents of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas all have an extensive listings of health plans at MedSave.com.  Most enrollments are handled online and there is not expected to be any problem with an overload on enrollment resources or shortage of low cost health insurance.

Of course, the hurricane does not make it any easier for individuals who always had trouble finding affordable health insurance: those with significant pre-existing medical conditions like pregnancy, diabetes, cancer, heavy prescription drug use, etc., will find very few choices available.

Policy Delivery

Delivery of most policies is available online or by mail.  If a policy is lost (either lost in the mail or lost by the owner after delivery) a duplicate can be ordered at no additional charge.  See the note about overnight delivery below.

Call OnlineAdviser enrollment support for special help getting confirmation of coverage or to have proof of insurance sent to an alternate address.

Extension of Time to Pay Premiums

Health insurance policies automatically have a built-in 30 day grace period from the premium due date.  Insurance companies have the ability to extend the deadline of a case by case basis.  No universal action has been taken to extend the due dates of health insurance premium payments.  If you need an extension of time to pay a health insurance premium, please call the member services department of your health insurance company.

A listing of phone numbers for commonly used low cost health insurance companies at MedSave.com is posted at the bottom of www.KymberlyMorrison/contact.htm.

Coverage Area

All of the health insurance plans at MedSave.com offer national coverage with any doctor or hospital in any state.  There is no list of medical providers.

If you are moving temporarily to another state, it is best to list your former address on the health insurance application because rates are generally lower at your former permanent address.

Support Workers

Individuals who moved into the affected areas to help with cleanup and other support often lose access to the benefits available under their former health plan.  These support workers are also eligible for any of the low cost health plans listed at MedSave.com.

State-to-State Relocation

When planning a move from one state to another it makes sense to compare available health plans in each state prior to the move.  The state of resident address at the time of application is a significant factor in determining the availability and price of health insurance.  It is permissible to use either the old state or the new state address, especially for a short term health insurance plan.

Discount Pricing for Hurricane Victims

The price of health insurance is regulated by state law and no states have acted to allow any modification in the price of health insurance.  Still, for most people the price of temporary insurance during this period of adjustment will be less than half the price of regular health insurance.

Financial Security of Insurance Companies

The storms are likely to increase claims paid by health insurance companies in those areas hardest-hit by the hurricanes but there is no indication that any health insurance company will suffer significant financial stress as a result of the storms.  Some health insurance companies are likely to purchase additional reinsurance (think of it as insurance for insurance companies) on a temporary basis to protect their financial ratings. Fortis Health, parent of Time Insurance and formerly known as Assurant Health, already announced that additional reinsurance has been purchased.  MedSave.com is not changing its recommendations or opinion on the safety of any health insurance company as a result of the storms.

Tax Relief

The federal government authorized tax relief for those affected by the hurricane.  This relief is available to anyone affected regardless of where they live.  Taxes and tax filings are postponed for the rest of the year.  This affects most small businesses that offer employee benefit plans including health plans.

OnlineAdviser also provides free support for hurricane-related tax issues and questions but these are handled through the personal finance Web site www.askKymberly.KymberlyMorrison.com

Overnight Delivery of Policies and OD Cards

Charges for overnight delivery of policies will be temporarily suspended for applicants living in hurricane-affected areas.  See procedures at www.MedSave.com for more information.

Expanded  Telephone Support

OnlineAdviser telephone support will be temporarily extended to accommodate additional requests for support. 

E-mail OnlineAdviser support for fast response for hurricane victims who need to change health insurance.

 

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