Posts tagged: claim

Managing Your Medical Bills

Medical expensesAny person, who has ever undergone a major surgery or was forced to spend several nights in a hospital bed, will likely remember the mountain of paperwork they had to fill out, in order to ensure their insurance coverage would be effective at the time of the procedure. At the same time, health insurance policies can be very complicated, and it is not uncommon for many individuals to be confused by their insurance provider’s explanation of benefits. Oftentimes, it is not until several weeks – or even months – later, when all medical bills are forwarded to the patient, that paperwork errors are finally discovered. Unfortunately, it usually also becomes more challenging to correct these errors after the bills have already been processed by your insurance provider. However, you may still be able to fix any discrepancies, as long as you keep a good record of all the procedures, tests and other medical services that were provided. In addition, there are several great tools that can make the process of managing all of your medical bills a lot easier and far less time-consuming.

  • Managing your Medical Bills: Errors, Clerical Mistakes and other Discrepancies

According to the Medical Billing Advocates of America, as many as 80% of all medical bills contain errors and mistakes that ultimately lead to higher bills, as well as higher insurance premiums. The mistakes can range from double-billing for individual procedures, charging for exams with contrast when none was used, and even decimal point mistakes that convert a minor $100.00 dollar charge to a major $1000.0 expense. Furthermore, these mistakes will very rarely occur to the advantage of the patient, and hospital accounting staff members seems to be far more diligent when it comes to catching errors that go against their employer’s best interest. Consequently, checking the bills for clerical errors is the first, and the most important step of managing your medical bills.

  • Claims, Billing Statements, and Explanation of Benefits: What is the Difference?

Currently, when any medical service is provided to a patient that has health insurance, the billing is usually forwarded directly to the insurance provider that settles the claim, and the patient may – or may not – receive a billing summary from the insurer. However, the summary will only serve as the explanation of covered benefits, and will not be the bill itself. For example, if your insurance decides not to cover certain procedures, they may notify you about it, but you will not be liable for any remaining balance until you receive another bill directly from the medical provider. However, it is still important to check the bill received by your insurance company for any errors, and you should request a statement listing all of the services provided on the specific date in question. You should then compare this list against the report you receive from your insurer, checking for any discrepancies in terms of care received or dollar amounts charged. It is also important to keep these statements together with your personal medical record, in case you need to dispute any claims several months after the medical services have been rendered.

  • Taking Advantage of Online Services Provided by your Health Insurance Company

Many health insurance providers in the United States including all the major providers, now offer online services to their clients that allow them to check the status of their claims from their home computers. In most cases, you will first need to make an online account using the insurance information from your card. Once that is all done, you will be able to access the list of currently pending claims, as well as those that have already been settled with the medical provider. However, you must realize that it can often take several weeks for the provider to notify your insurance about any services you have received, and the claim information will not be immediately available.

  • Other Management Tools Available Online

In addition to the services provided directly by your medical insurance company, there are several apps that can help you manage your medical bills. One of the more popular ones is Simplee – a free online service that can act as a database of medical records, claims and other insurance information. The service is also able to automatically spot errors such as duplicate entries, or eligibility issues, as well as predict your insurance coverage for specific treatments. Although the service was introduced only two years ago, it has rapidly grown in popularity, and – especially considering its automatic error detection – its number of users is only expected to further increase in the future.

How Will The Flat Rate Pension Affect You?

Pension after retirementAlthough it isn’t due to be introduced until 2016, the flat rate state pension is a major shake up of the retirement benefits system and will have an impact on anyone retiring after that time. It’s therefore important to understand what it means and to carry out a pension review accordingly.

If you’ll be retiring before April 2016 then the changes won’t affect you and you’ll be paid a state pension under the current system. Currently this is £107.45 a week for the basic pension or £142.70 if you get the additional pension based on National Insurance contributions or you get pension credit.

Retirement After April 2016

If you reach state pension age after April 2016 then you’ll receive the flat rate pension rather than the existing one. This involves some major changes as follows:

1. You’ll need to have made National Insurance contributions for at least ten years to qualify for a pension (currently it’s only one year) and this will only get you £41 a week.

2. To get the full state pension you’ll need to make 35 years’ worth of NI contributions (currently you only need 30 years).

3. With 35 years’ NI contributions you’ll receive £144 a week at today’s values. Since state pensions are adjusted for inflation this is likely to be more when the policy comes into effect. The new pension will be adjusted in line with the CPI index or 2.5% each year, whichever is higher.

4. The second state pension, pension credit and other top-up schemes will cease. However, if you’ve already built up an entitlement to a higher pension through second pension or SERPS contributions before 2016 this will be protected but you won’t be able to add to it.

5. You’ll be able to take time out to raise a family and still build up state pension qualifying years, which isn’t currently the case.

6. Eligibility for a pension will be on an individual basis, so married couples will each get their own pension rather than the married couple’s rate that’s paid at present. The other side of this is that a widow without enough qualifying years for a full pension will no longer get a portion of her husband’s pension after he dies.

7. If you’re still in a final salary pension scheme with an employer you’ll end up paying more in NI contributions as the contracting out option will no longer be available.

8. The state pension age will be reviewed every five years starting in 2016. It’s currently planned to increase it to 66 in 2020 and 67 in 2028.

Additional Pensions

Because the changes mean the end of the second state pension if you need to increase your income in retirement you’ll need to look at other means. These changes overlap with the government’s plan to have all employees enrolled in a workplace pension scheme which will give them an additional means of saving for retirement.

Low earners and the self-employed, who may in the past have found it hard to build up enough contributions for a full state pension, will benefit most from these changes.

If you’re on a higher income want to save more for your pension then you’ll need to look at other alternatives outside of National insurance such as starting a private pension plan or a SIPP. If you’re in a pension scheme with an employer you could also look at making additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) to boost the value of your pension pot.

Kay Brown is a writer who has a keen interest in personal finance. With the imminent changes to pensions, she suggests conducting a pension review so that you know the impact that the flat rate pension will have on your retirement.

Three Of The Most Common Injuries That Result In Lawsuits

Injuries That Result In LawsuitsPersonal injury lawsuits are among the most common legal proceedings in America. In fact, legal blogs report the staggering statistic that a new personal injury claim is filed every two seconds. While some describe personal injury lawyers as “ambulance chasers” and assume they are creating legal issues where none would exist otherwise, most personal injury lawyers are not overly-litigious.

Personal injury lawsuits can take several forms, and attorneys assist their clients in receiving compensation for damage to personal property, inconvenience or injury stemming from defective products and physical and psychological injuries affecting the body. By far, the most common type of personal injury lawsuits are those dealing with physical injuries to the body. Personal injury attorneys assist average people facing uncomfortable, painful and debilitating personal injuries in receiving the compensation they deserve. Below are three of the most common personal injury claims.

Back injuries resulting from an automobile accident

Car accidents happen every day, ranging from minor fender-benders to serious, even fatal, crashes. In fact, there are more than six million automobile accidents recorded annually in the United States. Most people will be involved in a car accident at some point in their lives, and many of them will experience some time of physical injury due to the accident.

The impact of a car crash and the strain it puts on the human body is most often absorbed in large part by the body’s core, including the back. Many times, back injuries sustained during car crashes show no immediate symptoms. Rather, the pain and discomfort begin to manifest hours, days or weeks later. Common back injuries sustained in car accidents include sprains, fractures and slipped discs.

Slip and fall injuries

Commercial businesses and homeowners alike know the importance of maintaining safe conditions for family, friends, neighbors or customers. Still, over seven million slip and fall accidents are reported each year in the U.S. An astounding 20,000 people die annually from injuries sustained in these types of accidents. Slip and fall injuries are common because they can happen anywhere from the grocery store to a school to an apartment complex.

Slip and fall injuries often result in broken bones in the extremities, as well as in head wounds. While many slip and fall cases wind up in court, it can be difficult for a plaintiff to prove that the defendant was negligent and failed to remedy an unsafe situation. Sometimes, accidents just happen and no one is at fault.

Work-related injuries

With so many Americans spending the majority of their days at work, the workplace is rife with injuries. Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than three million work-related injuries, and the actual number is estimated to be much higher since many employees fail to report their injuries for fear of retaliation.

Most often, work-related injuries are not one-off, traumatic injuries that take place in a matter of seconds. Rather, work-related injuries often stem from repetitive motion that causes undue stress on a particular part of the body. Carpal tunnel syndrome is, perhaps, the most well-known repetitive stress injury, but back and neck injuries resulting from frequent lifting are also common.

If you find yourself suffering any of these common injuries, you may wish to consult a personal injury attorney. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a personal injury claim, you may be forced to pay financial compensation. In either case, it’s important to know your rights and to seek out appropriate legal representation when necessary.

Why Purchase Bicycle Insurance In Australia?

Purchase Bicycle InsuranceCycling is a great pastime for fun, health, and recreation. There has been an increase in the availability and uptake of boutique and high end bicycles in Australia. There are a number of specialist insurers that focus on bicycle insurance.

The first simple answer to this is that expensive bicycles are as easy to steal as cheaper ones – and that is easy. The next is that lightweight carbon fibre compound and other expensive alloy and composite materials are almost always impossible to repair. A frame broken in a driveway accident will usually require replacement. For an $8000 bike, that is not a happy proposition.

Aside from a clumsy to carry profile, and perhaps the proliferation of security cameras in city areas, there is not much to prevent a determined bicycle thief from making off with an expensive lightweight bike. Most expensive racing and off road bicycles are light, which makes them a favourite and easy target – easy to carry off and high value. Determined criminals know that parts are worth a lot of money, and so they are not shy to opt to break or cut a frame or remove a wheel to take the remainder of the unit. As with vehicle theft – the parts can end up being combined with those of other stolen units.

Bicycle insurance is still regarded as a relatively new kind of insurance product. It is important to read all of the fine print, do research, and seek the advice of a professional insurance advisor. As with vehicle insurance, the location where the bike will be parked and stored makes a difference. Different cyclists have very different insurance needs based upon the kind of cycle usage. If the bike is ridden to work daily and parked in an underground carpark, then the insurance profile will be different than that for a bike that is only used for professional racing. Transport on car racks involves certain breakage risks, and any bike that is left in a car park or driveway is at risk of both theft and damage by vehicles.

One way to insure a bicycle is with standard home and contents policies, or for professional cyclists there may be business type insurance policies that cover the bike as a part of insured equipment. However, there are some sound arguments for using a specialist bicycle insurer and bicycle specific insurance policy. As noted above, expensive bicycles have expensive parts or accessories, and there are often limits on what will be covered by home and contents policies. There can also be significant variability between the cost of insurance policies, and so shopping around is essential.

Joanne Lemke is a final year creative writing student at UOW, who is looking to break into the corporate copywriting space once she graduates and hopefully go on to eventually some day write a book around her other passions, namely business and financial changes.

Insurance Industry Must Bring Climate Issues To The Fore

insurance-industry-newsThe insurance industry is footing an ever increasing bill for the devastation being caused to thousands of homes and vehicles across the UK as a result of climate change. The huge rise in payouts over the past decade or so for risks such as floods could render the insurance industry unsustainable if the current trends continue.

The insurance industry is being urged by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) to step up their efforts to engage the government and policymakers on the issue and increase awareness of the dangers climate change poses. It is feared that without swift action insurers will be unable to offer cover to residents in high risk areas of the UK as well as oversees.

The CII recently published the third in their series of reports looking closely at the impact climate change is having on the insurance industry. The report put forward three visions of the future, devised by leading climate change and insurance experts, and the risks each posed for insurers and society as a whole.

Best case scenario

This favourable scenario looks at the future in a world that has managed to harness renewable sources of energy effectively and successfully minimise the amount of green house gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels. Governments across the world have been able to develop infrastructure sufficiently to ensure there are early warning systems in place to allow them to counter any climate risks without the destructive consequences such events bring today. In this scenario insurers encourage the development of sustainable practices by incentivising their customers financially.

The middle ground

In much the way the insurance industry is headed at present, this scenario bases its premise on a limited endeavour to introduce sustainable practices and sporadic efforts by governments to increase the use of renewable energy sources. In this scenario the insurance industry would be left with little choice but to withdraw cover from high risk locations prone to extreme weather conditions.

Worst case scenario

In this scenario only very little effort is made to increase the use of renewable energy sources. This would push the climate of the earth beyond the point of redemption, whereby efforts to increase sustainability in the future would be essential, but their implementation would be extremely costly and would only have limited success. The insurance industry would be unable to meet the costs of such an increasingly turbulent natural environment, with freak weather events and localised devastation becoming commonplace.

Although these scenarios are future predictions and far from definitive, they have been created based on detailed analysis of current and historical trends. The consequences of neglecting to act now and allowing our climate to become increasingly tempestuous are clearly severe, and potentially irreversible.

Claire White is an employee of ConstructaQuote, one of the UK’s leading insurance comparison sites, working with some of the UK’s leading insurers to find businesses and private customers alike great prices on a wide range of insurance products .