Amanda Stanhaus

Tag: insurance

Car Insurance

Insurance for a vehicle. Pretty much mandatory. But there are options within the requirements. Choose wisely.

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy vocab blog: XO, Bettie Vocab.)

New Year’s Resolutions

Whizz! 2013 flew by.

Yikes! 2014 is almost here.

I have lots of big dreams for 2014…I’m not ready to broadcast them yet…they will be reality soon enough!

But in regards to mundane money management—and growth— I’m going to have fun with it!

Organized by category, here are my realistic—yet fun—New Year’s resolutions.

Essentials

The ideal is to pay my credit card in full each month. I’m going to break it down and pay off my balance each Sunday. If successful, I will celebrate by going out for a Sunday nightcap!

Milestones

I’m still saving up for my Vespa. In addition to my automatic saving system, whenever I walk somewhere, the public transit fare I saved will be placed in a jar for safe keeping. The more I walk, the sooner my Vespa will be mine!

Investing

Reading in full my monthly investment statements is no easy task. Eating coconut creme cookies constantly is the easiest task I can imagine. So I am going to mix the two. I will treat myself to coconut creme cookies once a month when I read the investment statements.

Insurance

While I am still on my parents health insurance plan since I am pre-26, I do want check out these exchanges everyone is talking about.  Not that I want to buy my own health insurance until I’m 26…so I will religiously attend weekly family dinners.

Oops

Just like I am able to spot my friends’ future husbands (unfortunately, only my friend’s, not mine), I want to spot my oopses before they happen..  If the potential oops has to do with being frugal, I will ask myself, what would Warren Buffett do? And If the potential oops has to do with being fabulous, I will ask myself, what would Helen Gurley Brown do?

Convo (By: Birdie)

Just like Bettie is making financial literacy fun, I am going to break the mold of the grumpy academic economist and be the world’s first PR-perfect conversational economist. I’ll build my fan base here by translating the economic news of the week into key takeaways to provide a bird’s eye view!

O Canada (By: Belle)

Inspired by Bettie, I will do a monthly review of my RRSP while eating maple creme cookies. And when the review is fini, c’est fini avec the cookies!

Happy New Year! Best of luck with your realistic resolutions!

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog: XO, Bettie.)

Disability insurance

If an injury does not allow me to continue working, this insurance compensates me for temporary loss of income.

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy vocab blog: XO, Bettie Vocab.)

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

FDIC. The sticker (hopefully) on your American bank’s door. If shit hits the fan,  deposits are covered up to $250,000.

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy vocab blog: XO, Bettie Vocab.)

Disability Insurance

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Even before I started researching insurance for my fabulous & frugal journey, I loved the Aflac insurance commercials. My all time favorite is the one with the duck in speech therapy—it gets me giggling every time.

Advertising geniuses somehow have me laughing about disability insurance. And even better, when I stopped giggling, I realized how much I needed disability insurance. But, their advertising wasn’t sure-fire…I shopped around for my disability insurance.

There is only so much emergency savings I can put aside. God-forbid, I might need a chunk of cash to take care of me while I recover.

Monthly, I pay tiny amounts towards my disability insurance, so if needed I can receive cash to replace a portion of the income I am missing out on while I recover.

As always, insurance gives me assurance than my finances won’t shrink when life happens.

Stay safe!

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(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog: XO, Bettie.)

Insurance

Attempt to create financial predictability in an unpredictable world.

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy vocab blog: XO, Bettie Vocab.)

Health Reform: Implications of Optional Medicaid Expansion

Originally submitted for an independent research project comparing North America’s welfare states with Professor Antonia Maioni at McGill University.

The American political structure limits the ability of comprehensive health reform. Marmor and Oberlander note, “If the U.S. instead had a Westminster-style parliamentary system, it is likely that America would have adopted national health insurance over 60 years ago when President Harry Truman proposed it.”[1] America’s system of checks & balances with inherent veto points maintains the status quo with The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Marmor and Oberlander describe the ACA as, “patching-up the existing patchwork of public and private insurance.”[2] The ACA creates coverage for the uninsured by tinkering with the established components of American medical financings, namely employer-sponsored insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.[3] In June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government’s forceful “tinkering” with Medicaid, a state program, was an abuse of its power.[4] A premier patch of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–Medicaid expansion–is now optional; if not implemented, despite overwhelming financial incentives, yet another coverage gap will be unintentionally created by America’s most recent attempt at comprehensive health reform.

In order to best provide coverage for the uninsured, an individual purchases insurance in a subsidized exchange or becomes a Medicaid beneficiary, depending on whether their income is above or below 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL).[5] To incentivize expanding state Medicaid programs, the federal government would foot the expansion bill; Marmor et al. explain, “The federal government is willing to pay the entire cost of new beneficiaries in the period 2014-2017. The federal government’s contributions will then decrease slightly until they reach a steady state of 90% federal/10% state funding for 2020 and thereafter.”[6] Medicaid is already a great expense on a state’s balance sheet, so the federal government fully-funding its expansion should be welcomed.[7] The ACA’s Medicaid expansion provision relied on state cooperation; despite overwhelming financial incentives, states and business were resistant to reform and their case was taken by the Supreme Court.

In June 2012, the Supreme Court did not alter the provisions of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but Medicaid expansion became optional.[8] Breaking with a tradition of recognizing Congress’s ability to make federal grants to states conditional, the court found that the ACA’s conditions were “unconstitutionally coercive.”[9] “Genuine choice” was key to the Roberts plurality, as the Kaiser Family Foundation describes, “The Roberts plurality found that Congress had unconstitutionally threatened non-compliant states with the loss of all of their existing Medicaid funds, which amounted to a ‘gun to the head.’”[10] The Ginsburg Concurrence argued Medicaid expansion was constitutional; Congress reserved the right to amend the program from conception in 1965 and had frequently expanded the population and services covered.[11] While the Supreme Court decision left the ACA intact, the Kaiser Family Foundation explains, “the practical effect of the Court’s decision makes the ACA’s Medicaid expansion optional for states because, if states do not implement the expansion, states can lose only ACA Medicaid expansion funds.”[12] Breaking with tradition and ruling in favor of the states, the Court’s ruling creates a coverage gap due to the nuances of the ACA.

With the patch of Medicaid expansion now optional, a gap that was supposed to be covered will not be. The Kaiser Family Foundation describes how this coverage gap came to be, “The ACA envisioned people below 138% of poverty receiving Medicaid and thus does not provide premium tax credits for the lowest income. As a result, individuals below poverty are not eligible for Marketplace tax credits, even if Medicaid coverage is not available to them.”[13] The Kaiser Family Foundation calculates, “Nationally, nearly five million poor uninsured adults will fall into the ‘coverage gap’ that results from state decisions not to expand Medicaid, meaning their income is above current Medicaid eligibility but below the lower limit for Marketplace premium tax credits. These individuals would have been newly-eligible for Medicaid had their state chosen to expand coverage.”[14] Now that a key component of the ACA is optional, the goal of affordable health coverage for all is unattainable in the states not participating in the Medicaid expansion.

States that do not expand Medicaid will notice a drastic difference in their balance sheet compared to their neighbors who do expand Medicaid.[15] Maioni notes that the non-uniform expansion of Medicaid will “exacerbate regional and state differences.”[16] Yet, without a deadline, states can expand their Medicaid programs at any time.[17] States contemplating Medicaid expansion will be encouraged by the results of Tsai et al.. Their study reviewed the insurance implications for the chronically homeless, comparing those with Medicaid coverage to those who rely on state assistance and concluded:

chronically homeless adults who received state and local assistance were largely similar to Medicaid enrollees in reported health status and health care use patterns suggesting that states and localities could potentially experience savings from the decreased use of state and locally funded services if these people transitioned to Medicaid. Savings will be particularly substantial for adults who are made newly eligible by the expansion, since coverage for newly eligible individuals will be 100 percent federally funded until 2016, after which federal funding decreases to 90 percent over time.[18]

By transitioning citizens currently reliant on state assistance to Medicaid, the federal government would pay for these previously state expenses. Writing as an expert in public health and state senator in a state opposed to Medicaid expansion, Wisconsin’s Kathleen Vinehout points to America’s past, “Back in 1965 only half of the states participated but over the next few years almost all joined up. If saved lives didn’t trump ideology then, money did. I sure hope Wisconsin is smart enough to do the same now.”[19] States must act, perhaps against their ideology, if only to shuffle expenses off their balance sheets and on to the federal government’s, not to mention providing health insurance coverage for their citizens.

[1] Theodore Marmor and Jonathan Oberlander, “The Patchwork: Health Reform, American Style,” Social Science & Medicine 72, no. 2 (2011): 126.

[2] Marmor and Oberlander, 127.

[3] Theodore R.Marmor, Jerry L. Mashaw and John Pakutka, Social Insurance: America’s Neglected Heritage and Contested Future (Thousand Oaks: CQ Press, 2014), 124.

[4] Kaiser Family Foundation. “A Guide to the Supreme Court’s Decision on the ACA’s Medicaid Expansion,” August 2012, http://ow.ly/qwQXN, 1.

[5] Depending on how the federal poverty level is calculated, the cut-off can be 133% or 138% of the FPL.Please see the American Public Health Administration’s explanation here, http://ow.ly/qzkAX.

[6] Marmor, Mashaw and Pakutka,124.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Kaiser Family Foundation, “A Guide to the Supreme Court’s Decision on the ACA’s Medicaid Expansion,” 10.

[9] Ibid, 4.

[10] Ibid, 5.

[11] Ibid, 6.

[12] Ibid, 10.

[13] Kaiser Family Foundation, “The Coverage Gap: Uninsured Poor Adults in States that Do Not Expand Medicaid,” October 23, 2013, http://ow.ly/qwPEE. Also, please see note #5 about FPL.

[14]Kaiser Family Foundation, “The Coverage Gap.”

[15] Please see Kaiser Family Foundation’s Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision for details http://ow.ly/qyZ7A.

[16] Antonia Maioni, “Obamacare vs. Canada: Five key differences,” The Globe and Mail (Montreal, QC), Oct. 2, 2013.

[17] Kaiser Family Foundation, “The Coverage Gap.”

[18] Tsai, et al.,”Medicaid Expansion: Chronically Homeless Adults Will Need Targeted Enrollment and Access to a Broad Range of Services,” Health Affairs 32, no. 9 (2013): 1557-58.

[19]Kathleen Vinehout, “Biography,”  http://ow.ly/qz0Mk & Kathleen Vinehout, “Medicaid Expansion: The High Cost of Ideology,” Feb. 8, 2013,  http://ow.ly/qz0NX.

Car Insurance

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A hoodlum scratched my vespa—in my nightmare last night. Once I calmed down… it was only a dream…I realized I will need to get my real vespa insured.

(click on the bold-faced vocab words:))

The coverage for my two-wheeler will be similar to four-wheel car insurance. From a scratch to a complete ruin, I can buy insurance to give me financial assurance for any range of accidents.

The legal requirements differ by location. I’ll decide between how much to pay in monthly payments compared to paying out of pocket, if something bad happens.

But, insurance will make every joy ride more joyous knowing I’ll be worth the same amount of $$ rain or shine.

Here are the dirty details explained by Mint’s fabulous blog.

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(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog: XO, Bettie.)

Renter’s insurance

Keeps my goodies in my apartment safe. If something bad happens, the insurance company will replace my goodies for no extra charge (on top of my insurance payments).

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy vocab blog: XO, Bettie Vocab.)

Public Display of Affection Insurance

My man thought it would be romantic to throw rocks at my window (à la The Rolling Stones) to announce his arrival.

Click! Click! THUD! My computer monitor was scarred from this public display of affection.

   

Now I don’t think my renter’s insurance payments were a waste of money…because even though I don’t own my apartment, I own my things in it!

(click on the bold-faced vocab words:))

My landlord has insurance for the building (and my broken window). My renter’s insurance insures my possessions within my apartment. Plus, if anyone injures herself within my apartment and she sues me, the insurance company will handle the claim (and pay up to the limit of my policy, less any deductible)! Handy with my monthly wii tennis tournaments. Ace!

Renter’s insurance gives me financial assurance, regardless of what happens to my expensive-to-replace set up in my apartment.

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(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog: XO, Bettie.)