Disability insurance helps the employee financially when an illness or injury prevents him from working. Although many employers offer some form of disability insurance to their employees, you can also purchase disability insurance to expand your coverage.
What types of disability insurance are there?
- Short term: they have a maximum benefit of two years.
- Long time: they have benefits that can last a lifetime.
Ask these questions when shopping for individual disability insurance:
- How does this policy define disability?
- When do benefits start?
- How long do the benefits last?
- What amount of money does the policy promise to pay?
What help is there for people unable to work?
There are two programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that offer help for people with disabilities:
Social Security’s disability insurance program pays you if a terminal or non-terminal medical condition keeps you from working for at least one year. Some of your family members may also receive benefits.
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides financial assistance to disabled adults and children from low-income families. People over the age of 65 can receive benefits if their income is below the required limit.
For more information call 1-800-772-1213 (press 7 for Spanish) or 1-800-325-0778(TTY, for the hearing impaired).
State disability insurance
The following states offer temporary disability insurance. These insurances provide short-term income replacement.
The life insurance contract establishes that you will have to pay an amount of money periodically (premium) for the duration of the contract. In exchange for its payments, the insurance company will have to pay, when you die, a certain amount of money (indemnity) to one or more people chosen by you (beneficiary).
What types of life insurance are there?
There are two basic types of life insurance:
- Permanent life insurance policies give you protection (coverage) for your entire life. As long as you pay the premium, the policy remains in force.
- In addition to paying a benefit after your death, some of these policies combine long-term savings and investment products. This means that you accumulate cash value over the life of the policy. This cash value that you’ve built up over time can offer you several options, for example, it can be borrowed and used as collateral. Keep in mind that the conditions vary from one company to another and according to the insurance you buy.
- Term life insurance policies provide protection for a set period of time (term). Beneficiaries receive compensation only if they die during that period.
- Term life insurance policies are generally less expensive than permanent life insurance policies. This is because term life insurance policies are only in force for a specific period of time.
What happens if you lose your policy?
If you have lost your life insurance policy, state insurance regulators can help you locate it. Contact information for insurance regulators in your state can be found in our state directory.
Locator services from a private company can also help you find the policy, but this service has a cost.
If the insurance company knows that the insured person is deceased but cannot locate the beneficiaries, the company must return the benefits to the state’s Office of Unclaimed Property (NAUPA). Check with this office if you believe you are the beneficiary of an insurance policy.
You can prevent your life insurance policy from being lost by giving your beneficiaries a copy.
What is the medical report for insurers?
A health history report summarizes a person’s certain medical conditions, which insurance companies typically request when someone quotes certain types of insurance. This report does not include your complete medical records such as diagnoses, blood tests, or a list of your medications.
The entity that issues these reports is the MIB (previously called the “Medical Information Bureau”), an agency whose objective is to protect insurance companies in the United States and Canada against potential fraud and manage the medical report database.
Insurers read these reports before approving applications for life, health, long-term illness, critical illness, or disability insurance to decide whether to offer you insurance and, if so, what the premium amount will be.
You have the right to obtain a copy of your MIB report.
Where does the information in my medical report come from?
If you reported a medical condition when applying for life insurance, it will likely be reported to the MIB.
A piece of information stays on your report for seven years. Your account can only be updated when you apply for an insurance policy with a MIB member company and permit them to submit your medical conditions to MIB.
Doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other health professionals cannot submit information to the MIB.
How do insurers use medical history reports?
Depending on the type of insurance you apply for, the insurer may ask your permission to review your medical history report. An insurance company can only access your account if you give them permission. Please note that the report contains the information you included in previous insurance applications.
Where do I request my free medical history report?
You have the right to get a free copy of your health history report or that of your immediate family members, once a year.