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When disaster strikes in the form of an illness or injury, it can often render you disabled and unable to work. This may last a few weeks, a few months, a few years or the rest of your life. Long-term disability insurance is a special type of insurance coverage that can ensure you stay financially secure during such a time. However, purchasing long term disability insurance should be considered as an investment. Therefore, you need to be careful when buying.

Here are a few tips to make the search and purchase process smooth:

Don’t Rely Solely on Government Assistance

Social Security benefits are often available to those who become disabled due to an injury or illness. However, it can often take months to be approved, if you are approved at all. Therefore, long-term disability insurance is a necessary back-up plan to replace the income that you had from your job.

See If Employer Policies Are Available

Depending on the industry and the employer, you may have a disability insurance policy with your place of employment. Many employers offer both short- and long-term disability insurance to employees. Even so, you may still want your own policy to help bridge the gap between the money you receive from your employer and the money that you need to live.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry because you never know when an unexpected illness or injury can strike. You want to make sure you and your family are taken care of during a time like this and one of the best ways to do so is by purchasing long-term disability insurance.

Contact us for a California long-term disability insurance quote or learn more about securing your financial future with what we have to offer here at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance in Redlands.

You likely have insurance coverage for your house, your automobile and your personal belongings. However, have you ever thought about insuring yourself? We’re not talking about life insurance. We’re talking about disability insurance, which would provide assistance if you were to lose your ability to work and bring in a paycheck.

Did you know that 25% of 20-year-old individuals today will become disabled in one way or another before they are 67 years of age? Further, the average disability payment for Americans as of March 2014 was just over $1,130 a month. That’s hardly enough to pay the bills. More often than not, just missing a day of work can put a family in a real bind financially, so what would happen if you couldn’t work for several months? This is why it might make sense to consider disability insurance.

Disability insurance comes in many shapes and forms, as explained below.

Group Disability Plans

You can purchase a group disability plan, which would be through your employer. This is probably the most common and affordable type of disability coverage, but it may not be enough or there may be fine print that would keep you from receiving all benefits for a certain period of time. So, be careful.

Individual Disability Plans

This type of coverage will be quoted based on your individual situation. Therefore, the price may be higher but you will likely have access to more benefits and options that will be worth it.

Supplemental Disability Plans

This is just a supplemental coverage that will be in addition to your employer policy or your government assistance. If you don’t need much more than what you can expect to get from Social Security benefits, then this may be a feasible choice.

When you think about an illness or injury rendering you unable to earn a living and the amount of money you could expect to receive from the government, you can begin to see the importance of disability insurance.

To learn more about what disability insurance options are available to you and your unique situation, contact us at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance in Redlands, CA.

The majority of people in the workforce never even consider the fact that they may become temporarily or permanently disabled. As a matter of fact, it should be something that people give some thought to. People think about life insurance and how their family will survive financially if they were to die unexpectedly. People are diagnosed with illnesses and are injured every day; if you read a newspaper or turn on the TV you already know this. So, maybe it is time to think about what would happen to you and your family, if you were injured or became ill.

According to the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA), the majority of the workforce has to depend on using their vacation and sick time they have accrued. Eventually, and in some cases quickly, you will be out of paid time off. What are you going to do when the money runs out?

That’s were disability insurance comes in, let’s take a closer look at the different types of disability insurance.

Workers Compensation

If you are injured on the job, you will qualify for workers compensation. Which will pay you 2/3 of your normal salary every two weeks; it will also cover all of your medical care. Workers compensation is required by law – every employer must have a workers comp policy on every employee. However, 2/3 of your paycheck is not the same as a full paycheck and will most likely cause financial hardship. Therefore, investing in private disability insurance is a good idea.

Private Disability Programs

Often times, an employer will offer short and long term disability insurance for a premium. If they do not, then you must find your own.

Short Term Disability Insurance

Short term disability policies are intended to provide coverage for a limited time period. The waiting period for payment is quick, usually within two weeks. You have to decide the length of time you may need short term disability insurance payments. You can choose between a month and up to a year. For example one month, two months etc… The longer the timeframe of the policy the higher the premiums will be. However, you should not let the amount of the premium discourage you from purchasing a policy because if you ever need it, it will have been worth every dime!

Long Term Disability Insurance

Long term disability policies are intended to provide coverage for a longer period of time (anywhere from one year to the rest of your life.) The waiting period is much longer; the average timeframe is 3 months although it could be up to 2 years. That is why having both a short term disability policy (up to one year) and a long term disability policy is a good idea. In the event it takes a long time for you to start receiving your payments from the long term disability you will have been receiving payments, so a short interruption in payments will not be as hard on your bank account. Long term disability policies pay benefits until the maximum dollar benefit has been reached or the specific timeframe that was chosen is reached.

Public Disability Insurance Programs

In the United States there are two types of public disability programs, Social Security Disability and Veteran’s Disability. Both of these public disability programs are backed by the government. In addition, the Social Security Disability program can be difficult to get approval for and in most cases the person will need an attorney.

Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI)

According to the Social Security Administration, almost 11 million people receive a SSDI payment every month. This government funded program offers both temporary and permanent benefits.

Veterans Disability Benefits

Disability benefits offered to veterans are easier to get approved for than Social Security benefits. The requirements for a veteran to receive benefits are to have been injured or diagnosed with an illness caused during their active military service. To inquiry about Veterans Disability benefits you can file a claim through your local Veterans Administration.

Understanding disability benefits can be a challenge, for more information on the types of disability insurance in California please contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance, located in Redlands.

The open enrollment period for 2014 is almost over; after March 31st, any new policy (or additions to your present coverage) will have to wait for the next open enrollment period.  But when, precisely, will that be?

For the general public, coverage starting in 2015 can be shopped for on the marketplace starting in late autumn.  Though an exact date has yet to be officially determined, at present the proposed window is November 15th 2014 through January 15th 2015.

There are a few notable exceptions; certain life events (such as a change in your family size, losing your job, moving to a new state, or large changes to your income) can qualify you for a special enrollment period.  Usually this period is within sixty days of your qualifying life event.

Of course, the best way to determine your eligibility (and the best policy for you) is to discuss your situation with an insurance professional.  For more information about the Affordable Care Act or health insurance in California, contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance

While Open Enrollment for 2014 is nearly over, certain qualifying life events will entitle you a Special Enrollment Period in which to adjust your coverage in accordance with this life event.

A few notable instances which will entitle you to this Special Enrollment Period are: changes to your family size (this may be caused by marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death in the family, etc.), a large change in your income, the loss of a job, the loss of alternate health coverage, a move to a new state, change of citizen status, or change of eligibility for subsidy.

Generally, the Special Enrollment Period will open in a sixty-day window after the event that triggered your eligibility.  The best way to determine said eligibility (and the best policy for you) is to discuss your situation with an insurance professional.  For more information about the Affordable Care Act or health insurance in California, contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance

Responding to intense consumer (and voter) allegations of promises not kept, the Obama administration announced another extension for those wanting to keep current individual and small group health insurance plans. People can keep current, non-compliant coverage plans for the next two years. During Congressional debate about adopting the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the President promised Americans "if you like your current plan, you can keep it."

However, as the implementation date of the ACA approached, the White House changed its position. After many insurance companies issued termination notices, in November 2013, to insured people and groups, the President allowed a one-year extension of non-compliant healthcare plans.

However, consumer and small employer dissatisfaction continued. In March 2014, the White House announced a further extension increase from one to two years. The Department of Health and Human Services, Treasury Department and the IRS have issued "regulatory guidance" to help you understand this latest policy change.

The two-year extension to the Affordable Care Act allows you to keep otherwise non-compliant plans through October 1, 2016. This applies to both individual health insurance and small group health insurance plans already in force.

For more information about changes in the Affordable Care Act, contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance in the Redlands, California area. Their professionals can explain these confusing changes, in simple English, in small group and individual health insurance plans. Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services understands these ACA changes and can help you comply with ACA requirements.

If you are one of the millions of Californians in need of health insurance, you should consider a certified agent as your go-to for the numerous questions you might have lingering about the Affordable Care Act or Covered California.

Certified agents are trained and subsequently certified to help you with your individual or small group health insurance needs.  They know the state and federal laws better than anyone, and are ready to answer any quandaries you might have.

Additionally, since certified agents are registered through Covered California, you can verify the identity of the individual you are working with before you hand over your sensitive personal information.  This is just one more way to protect yourself from predators who lurk amidst the insurance system.  The Covered California Service Center is always available for this kind of verification via their business office: (800) 300-1506.

For more information about individual health insurance or small group health insurance in Covered California, contact a certified agent at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment deadline for health insurance is rapidly approaching. The last day for part-time and subcontract employees to get health insurance via Covered California, the state healthcare website, is March 31, 2014. Fortunately, if you’re still confused, you can get advice and sign up from a certified agent you trust for the same health insurance as you find online.

Small group employers don’t need to offer healthcare plans to subcontract and part-time employees because the Affordable Care Act specifies required coverage for full-time employees or "full-time equivalents." While independent and subcontract employees are not included in small employer mandatory coverage requirements, these people must qualify as independent contractors.   Subcontractors must meet the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) definition as independent.

Just because an employer calls someone an independent contractor doesn’t mean the IRS will agree. The IRS examines the "substance of the work relationship" to rule on the nature of the employment. If the legal status is that of an independent contractor, the window for open enrollment closes on March 31. The same deadline applies for part-time employees that don’t qualify for small group insurance.

Confused yet? To clear away the "fog," contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance. Don’t miss the open enrollment deadline because you are confused about your options. You can use Bernardini & Donovan Insurance to get the advice and coverage you need. The firm is a certified agent for healthcare plans listed on the Covered California Marketplace. You’ll get the coverage you want at the same price listed on the Healthcare Marketplace site.

The Affordable Care Act has made healthcare available to anyone who needs it and has created penalties for those not enrolled in a healthcare policy.  Make certain that you’re not fined for failing to acquire the proper insurance in 2014; check your coverage before the March 31st open enrollment deadline.

After March 31st, you will have to wait until the next open enrollment period to enroll in, or change, a policy.  You also risk paying a fine for failing to acquire insurance.  This is particularly important if you have a family; you’ll want to make certain that you are covered in the event of an emergency before the emergency occurs.  The last thing you need in a stressful situation is to find out that your coverage isn’t what you thought it would be.

For more information about individual health insurance or Covered California, contact a certified agent with Bernardini & Donovan Insurance

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, or simply the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as it is more commonly known, gives all Americans and small business owners an option to buy private health insurance through state or federally managed healthcare exchanges. The plan is designed to give uninsured and under-insured Americans a way to shop for and compare multiple plans and buy healthcare coverage regardless of financial status, age or previous medical history. The ACA’s health care exchanges are expected to radically transform the manner in which American’s purchase medical insurance. However, such exchanges are not the only option for getting coverage.

Under the ACA, all healthcare plans are required to comply with certain minimum coverage requirements regardless of whether the plans are offered via a healthcare exchange or sold directly to the consumer. All health insurance options outside the exchange have to include the same drug coverage and essential benefits as those offered via a health exchange. As an individual consumer, or as a small business owner, you have the ability to go directly to health insurance websites, insurance agents and brokers and buy the same insurance coverage that you would get via an exchange for exactly the same price.

If you live or operate a small business in Redlands, California and want to learn more about health insurance options outside the exchange please contact the health insurance specialists at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance.

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