Even though we often associate beauty with youth, a recent Gallup survey indicates that we may have it backwards. According to Gallup, 66% of Americans aged 65 and older agreed that they always feel good about their physical appearance. But when it came to younger adults, only 61% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 could say the same thing (1).
Today, when people are not satisfied with their physical appearance or the signs of aging, they often have the technology and resources available to make a change. Over the past decade, the number of cosmetic surgeries performed on women increased by over 538%. Among men, that number increased by 325%. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, men and women spent a combined $13.5 billion on plastic surgery in 2015 (2). Where is this money coming from?
Insurance is intended to cover the health care expenses of essential medical procedures, but health insurance policies can vary in terms of what they choose to cover. Nonetheless, most insurance providers adhere to a set of guidelines and definitions when deciding which procedures are considered necessary and which are considered elective. Typically, cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery are elective, but there are exceptions.
The same thing goes for Medicare and Medicare Supplement Insurance. While it may not seem like a large audience, the Gallup poll shows that there are those seniors who do not feel good about their appearance. There are also those seniors who need reconstructive surgery as a result of an accident or deformity. This makes it important to know what kind of procedures Medicare and Medicare Supplement Insurance will cover.
Health insurance companies and Medicare Supplement Insurance policies are more likely to cover reconstructive procedures than cosmetic ones. In other words, they will determine if the surgery is essential to bodily function or quality of life.
The American Medical Association’s (AMA) definition of reconstructive surgery is “surgery performed on abnormal structures caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors, or disease.”
The AMA defines cosmetic surgery as “the reshaping of normal structures on the body to improve the self-esteem or appearance of a patient.”
Most insurance providers do not cover the health care expenses associated with cosmetic surgery because, by its very nature, this type of procedure is optional and is not necessary for normal bodily function.
Examples of cosmetic procedures that are not routinely covered include liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgeries, or facelifts.
Some procedures that are typically performed for cosmetic purposes may be covered if the individual’s health is affected by a particular issue. Examples include:
”Nose job” – Some people get plastic surgery to change the shape of their nose simply because they don’t like the way it looks. Others alter their nose because the natural shape makes it hard to breathe. In this case, the surgery becomes necessary rather than cosmetic and may be covered by insurance.
Breast surgery – If a woman’s breasts are causing her pain or discomfort because of their size, her insurance company may consider covering the health care expenses of a reduction surgery.
Abdominal surgery – Though liposuction and tummy tucks are not usually covered by insurance, they may be considered if the issue is causing certain health problems like sores, rashes, or back pain.
Before any kind of surgery, you should always check with your health insurance company to make sure your health care expenses will be covered. Contact your insurance provider directly and get the details of your coverage in writing so that there are no surprises when your bill arrives.
Choosing to purchase a disability health insurance plan can be a life-saving decision, although many American adults don't know very much about finding online disability insurance quotes or choosing a healthcare policy with the best short-term disability insurance benefits.
If you are wondering whether or not to purchase short-term disability insurance, it's important to understand just how valuable a disability insurance policy can be. Let's take a quick look at some of the numbers behind disability health insurance policies:
According to a recent Nov. 2015 article from Consumer Reports, more than 25% of 20-year-old Americans today will become disabled before reaching age 67 and more than 43% of 40-year-olds will have a disability which does not allow them to work for at least 90 days by age 65.
Disability health insurance plans can cover everything from physical disabilities to mental health disabilities. Although health insurance providers have strict definitions of what constitutes a "disability," it's common for older Americans to forget that a disability isn't necessarily physical and it isn't necessarily permanent. Depression, for example, can be a treatable condition (and in fact, one in every seven Baby Boomers say they are receiving treatment for it), but depression can also be considered a disability if it interferes with your ability to work and function normally.
The cost of having a disability is very high, even if it's a temporary disability. Consumer Reports states that medical expenses are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy and that three out of every five bankruptcies occur when an individual experiences a loss of income after an illness. The Commonwealth Fund even reported that 21% of Americans (one in every five) had out-of-pocket medical expenses of $2,000 or higher in 2014.
It's not always possible to plan out which disability insurance policy suits you in advance, considering that many disabilities are caused by an accident or an unforeseeable illness. In these cases, you may be able to receive "emergency" coverage through the Social Security Administration.
However, most health insurance companies advise not to rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), if possible. The average short-term disability claim lasts no longer than 31 months, but that can be a very long time to live on the tight income that SSDI provides. According to the most recent data available (from 2012), the average SSDI monthly payment was $1,130.
If you are looking for better disability coverage or if you've run out of emergency funds before being approved for a new plan, supplemental health insurance plans may be able to provide an extra layer of protection. These plans generally provide short-term coverage, they are often issued through an employer-based insurance plan for a single individual, and they may be able to provide funds for certain medical expenses that a long-term plan would not provide.
It has never be
en more important to find a good disability insurance plan, but it's imperative that you find the best plan for your own needs and circumstances.
Tax season is underway, and while some Americans are looking forward to a nice refund, others are dreading the day they get slammed with penalties and additional payments. And if you didn’t sign up for health insurance last year, you may be kicking yourself.
In 2015, the uninsured rate among working-age adults was 13%, which was a 7% decrease since just 2013. Ultimately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made it easier for a lot of Americans to purchase health insurance policies; however, not everyone signed up. Since the government mandates that every U.S. resident must have health insurance (unless they qualify for an exemption), individuals who are uninsured are penalized.
Of course, that might eventually change now that there's a new administration in the White House. For now, you should prepare for the 2017 tax season as if the individual mandate and associated penalties for not having health insurance are still in effect.
If you are uninsured for a full three months in a row, you will be required to pay a tax penalty that is calculated in one of two ways: It is either 2.5% of your total household gross income, or a flat rate of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child. You will pay whichever is higher.
Some individuals may be exempt from the Obamacare penalty. Those who don’t have health insurance coverage may not have to pay a penalty under the following circumstances:
The easiest way to avoid the penalty is to simply sign up for health insurance. You can look into Obamacare health insurance policies at Healthcare.gov or purchase coverage through your employer or a private insurer.
When you file your 2017 taxes, the government doesn’t care if you’ve been living a healthy lifestyle and don’t believe you need insurance coverage. Likewise, the taxman won't care if you are happy to pay for your own health care expenses out-of-pocket. The reality is that every eligible U.S. resident must have health insurance. The question is: what policy will you sign up for?
For more information, talk to an expert at Bankers Fidelity about your insurance coverage options.
Do you know what your health insurance plan covers? There may be some obvious services that you already know about, but here are a few of the lesser-known health care expenses that are totally covered under the Affordable Care Act. Make sure you take advantage of these so you can live a happy, healthy lifestyle.
The Affordable Care Act eliminates out-of-pocket expenses for preventative care services, including routine immunizations. The flu shot is offered at most clinics and pharmacies.
Autism can be hard to diagnose, particularly because it affects patients at such a young age. Fortunately, these screenings are now covered by law.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Americans can now receive counseling to help them kick their smoking habit. Roughly 40 million adults in the U.S. currently smoke tobacco despite the many health risks, and counseling can certainly make quitting a lot easier.
Though controversial, the U.S. government recently stated that contraception must be covered under the Affordable Care Act. Not all of the 18 FDA-approved methods are covered under every plan, so check with your health care provider to find out which are available at no cost to you.
Mental health counseling
One in seven baby boomers (14%) is currently being treated for depression, which is a higher rate than among any other generation of American adults. In fact, depression affects nearly 7% of the entire adult population each year. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you can now receive mental health counseling at no cost, so that you are free to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Pediatric dental services
Learning the importance of good oral health at a young age is extremely important. That is why the U.S. government requires insurance companies to cover pediatric dental care. There is no reason not to make regular dentist appointments for your little one.
Support for breastfeeding
Breastfeeding isn’t always as easy as it looks, especially for first-time moms. Counseling, supplies, and other services are now covered by health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
These services are all free of charge, but only if you are enrolled in a qualified health plan. Health insurance isn’t just essential for your wellbeing; it is required by law. Enroll in a health care plan today.
For seniors, you will also want to see what is covered under your Medicare policy and look into a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy to see what else you can get covered for.
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Understanding Medicare Supplement
Neither Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Company® nor its Medicare Supplement policies are affiliated with or endorsed by the U.S. Government, the federal Medicare program, or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This is a solicitation of Medicare Supplement insurance and an independent agent may call on you. The Medicare Supplement products issued by the Company are insurance policies. Policy form series B 21092 is issued by Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Company®, Atlanta, GA; policy form series B 21492 is issued by Bankers Fidelity Assurance CompanyTM, Atlanta, GA. Limitations and exclusions apply; actual policy provisions control. Rates subject to change on a class basis. Individually underwritten; application to determine eligibility required.
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