Spring is in the air – Is your Visiting Family covered ?

With the arrival of spring many of us are planning on bringing over our elderly parents/family members over to the USA for a visit during summer, so that they get to spend quality time with their children and grandchildren.

As we get older we are aware that our bodies do not function the same way as is used to when we were younger. A sudden mishap/accident, sickness, or just a simple case of the flu can set you back hundreds or may be even thousands of dollars with no health coverage. And visitors with no coverage can be at a risk; this could even mean a liability to the sponsor.

India Network Visitor Health Insurance offers plans for visitors that are very affordable with great coverage.  Plans aren’t just for visitors or tourists, but also for students, temporary workers (H1 visa holders) and their families. Visitor medical plans are offered for all age groups with both fixed coverage, comprehensive coverage and with pre-existing condition coverage.

For more information visit http://www.kvrao.org

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Why you need visitors insurance for your elderly parents??

Many young professionals think and their parents insist on not wasting money on insurance as they are "VERY FIT". Yes, indeed they may be very fit in India within the social and cultural context they live in, But when the parents visit United States, they are often home bound with no social interactions and that itself causes a lot of stress. They may not like how the DIL is behaving or SIL is treating their daughter etc.. which are very sensitive issues. Recently, an elderly parent of a friend visiting United States. Our friend called many times to discuss the insurance as he has not taken before any insurance (Both are physicians). But this time he felt discomfort after first hand seeing some cases in his own hospital where Indian parents got admitted without insurance and he tried maximum to help without much success and the bills are staggering, Reluctantly, he took ACE Network plan for his elderly 70+ parents after debating many times. Unfortunately, visitor fall down and severally injured. They rush to ER and an immediate surgery was needed to fix the broken bone. It is a lot of discomfort for the parent who experienced the fall but the ACE Network stood behind and helping the family with 80% of their bills. The India Network Health Insurance Saved them thousands of dollars of hospital bills and others.

It is very important to have the right coverage for the right age group. Elderly parents in 60+ age are prone to not only sicknesses but also accidents while visiting the United States. You need adequate coverage all the time from start to the end of their trip even if you are a physician!

 

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How India Network Pre-ex Coverage differ from all others?

Many visitors and parents coming to the US have one or more problems, known or unknown. These medical conditions and related illnesses are all generally excluded by all insurance plans under the pre-existing condition exclusion clause. However, recently some companies started advertising that they cover pre-existing conditions but their small print says something else. For example Atlas America plan offered by HCC Medical Insurance Services states that they do offer coverage for pre-existing conditions (excludes chronic and congenital conditions).  After this exclusion, pre-existing coverage is further constrained by "for the acute onset of  a pre-existing condition".  This kind of language is common across all insurance plans that advertise pre-existing condition coverage EXCEPT India Network Health Insurance plan with pre-existing conditions. Here, in India Network Plans, Pre-existing conditions are treated on par with new medical conditions and accidents. What that mean?

Visitors are protected against any medical condition whether it is old or new in ONLY India Network plans at affordable premiums. Check it out the difference and do not be fooled by big letters but the small print very carefully!

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Does underwriting Insurance company matters in case of Visitors insurance?

You might be looking for insurance for your visiting parents and come across several web sites that compete for you attention paying hefty advertising dollars to Google etc. The plans are all over the place and two plans may look alike but a very different price structure.  As you perhaps figured out all insurance companies that operate in the US have to meet their claims from the premiums you pay. There is no such thing a good plan with cheaper price. This combination does note exist.

There are two kinds of insurance companies that you will find -

a) an admitted US based insurance company (for example, ACE American Insurance Company) or AXIS Insurance company or AIG, etc. )

b) Non-admitted surplus lines insurance companies (for example, Lloyds, Sirrus International, etc.)

Obviously, admitted US companies provide you much better protection against claims paying capability of the insurance company versus non-admitted companies. There are many other differences and those will be discussed in our next blog.

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How does India Network Plans compare with others on the google search??

India Network Health Insurance program is a custom designed program with several benefits to the policy holder. The India Network Health policy language and definitions are clearly in favor of policy holder and they are geared to help elderly visitor. For example many insurance companies that target Indian visitors to the US excluded coverage for Urinary Track Infections (UTI) as it a very common problem and drain on funds the insurance company. This is the very cause that make India Network plan experience high claims cost to cover UTI problems and their severity.

Similarly Pre-existing conditions coverage advertised by many company in google search engine first page and in the advertisements is any eye wash. All plans in the USA that advertise pre-existing condition coverage really do not provide the coverage when needed. The policy language so cleverly written that no ordinary  person would ever qualify or meet the policy standards to pay the claim.  The typical words used to advertise are - "Sudden Recurrence" and  "acute onset" and most plans require pre-authorizations before you seek treatments.

Please be aware that even if a company pre-authorize the treatment, it does not guarantee that a claim will be paid!!

With India Network plans, pre-existing conditions are treated on par with new problems and accidents and the same definitions/exclusions are used. On the top of it, India Network Plans are the only ones that offer such pre-existing coverage in the US and India.  India Network plans are priced to pay your claims and are not the same as anything else you will find on google searches.

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Obamacare Plans Cost More.. start new enrollment period from November 1, 2015

Obamacare open enrollment period starts from November 1, 2015.  Health insurance premiums for the last two rounds have been increasing under Obamacare by about 30 percent for all age groups and particularly for older age groups 50+ along with high deductibles. All citizens and green card holders filing tax returns and who are under 65 are eligible to apply for a plan through healthcare.gov web site or through state market place web sites. US citizens and permanent residents who have low incomes (for example, below $30k) may receive substantial subsidy from the program and thus can enjoy superior health care benefits for peanuts. While those in the higher bracket will get zero subsidy and they can apply either through Obamacare web site or through individual insurance company links.  In any case, expect to pay a very high premium for a very basic lousy coverage under affordable care plans.

For example, a 50+ years old Living in LA region would pay $462 per month for the following benefits. As you see unless you have a serious medical conditions, you are not likely to see a penny from the HMO plan. Compare to these ACE network plan offered by India Network Health Insurance offers 80% coverage PPO plan for much lower price for visitors coming to the United States.

HMO Standard Benefits for Individuals

Key benefits   under Bronze 60 Health Savings Account
Individual Deductible    $4,500  deductible for medical  & drugs
Family Deductible    $9,000deductible
Preventative Care Copay1     no cost
Primary Care Visit Copay   40%
Specialty Care Visit Copay  40%
Urgent Care Visit Copay   40%
Tier 1 (most generics) Drug Copay   40%
Lab Testing Copay  40%
X-Ray Copay   40%
Emergency Room Facility Copay   40%
High cost and infrequent services (e.g. Hospital Stay)   40%
Hospital Stay Physician Fee  40%
Tier 2 (preferred brand) Drug Copay after Pharmacy Deductible (if any)  40%
Tier 3 (non-preferred brand) Drug Copay after Pharmacy Deductible (if any)  40%
Tier 4 (specialty drugs) cost-share after Pharmacy Deductible (if any)  40%
Maximum Out-of-Pocket For One   $6,500
Maximum Out-of-Pocket For Family
$13,000
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How to choose the right health insurance plan??

Everyday, we get calls from Indian community members in the US and they want to switch to India Network plan because their visiting parent (s) got some serious problem. Most of them have a plan from another company or got it from India and realize that their plan does not cover a particular medical problem they have at hand. Unfortunately, it is too late for the India Network Health Insurance to take them on as the visitors already have symptoms or sometime already in intensive care. How to avoid these circumstances?? It is relatively easy if you as purchaser of health insurance plan concentrate on coverage aspect rather than the cost aspect.  Cost is important but proper coverage is most important as any illness related to pre-existing condition or otherwise can easily cost thousands of dollars (many times the premium paid). Almost all insurance products look similar but they are very different inside the policy as exclusions and coverage for pre-existing conditions vary vastly.

ACE Network plan with pre-existing coverage option is the only one in the whole country that would cover pre-existing conditions on par with new medical conditions or accidents. But this plan cost about $968 per month for 70-79 years old. On the other hand we have plans that cost as low as $58 per month offered by IMG Visitor care plan.  These are two different plan designs. Obviously, like in any other field, what you pay is what you get. If you pay less, your coverage will have to be cut somewhere to be profitable.

Please feel free to call our office to discuss with one of the experts who can provide you an honest analysis of your needs and suggest best suitable plan.

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India Network offers comprehensive plans with First Health Network

India Network Health Insurance offers two kinds of plans - fixed benefit plans and comprehensive (PPO benefit plans). Fixed benefit plans are cheaper to purchase as they do not use any network and insured will get a fixed sum for covered expenses. It is a good choice for price conscious members whose visitors have no medical problems and expect no medical issues during their trip.

ACE Network Plans offer comprehensive coverage with First Health PPO network. The policy holders in this program are protected against exorbitant billing by providers as Providers have to accept First Health Contracted price for their services. These plans cost a bit more but worth every dollar of premium because of their enormous benefits of negotiated prices along with 80 percent bill payment by the insurance company. The network plan is recommended for anyone above 55 years old traveling to the United States.

IMG Platinum plan also offers network based coverage and is available for shorter duration. However, please beware that IMG Plans require prior authorizations for medical services and differ in several ways from ACE Network Plans or ACE Fixed benefit plans. FOR example, IMG plans exclude coverage for Urinary Track Infections (UTI) common among elderly as well as pre-existing conditions coverage is limited to acute onset and sudden recurrence. There are other differences b

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India Network Visitor Health Insurance Plans are not the cheapest.. but they are the best

Many members searching and googling for web sites may find that the India Network Visitor Health Insurance plan premiums are a bit higher than the market offerings.  Many plans are copy cats of India Network visitor health insurance plans to some extent ( note - India Network started offering visitor health insurance around 1990) but the comparison end in policy maximums and deductibles only and now what exactly the plans do and offer coverage.

For example, IMG plans require pre-certifications, exclude Urinary Tract Infections (common among elderly) and very narrowly defined language for pre-existing conditions besides these plans are underwritten by an International insurance company. These plan features, limitations, and other safe guards in the plan language allow IMG to offer lower premiums. Only people who have purchased these plans and have a claim will first hand see the problems but it would be too late at that point.

Another company that often come  up in google searches on first page is Atlas America plan. One has to read their specimen policy document to know how the plan works and the issues. For example, in all case pre-certification is required and pre-existing coverage under this plan states "Acute Onset of Pre-existing Conditions(excludes chronic and congenital conditions)".

Every plan that advertised pre-existing conditions attach a lot restrictions and most likely that what you think you are getting is not the same as what you will get when you needed.  On the other hand, India Network visitor health insurance, ACE Network plan and ACE Premier plans offer a simple and straight forward approach to pre-existing conditions.

ACE Network comprehensive plan and ACE Premier plans consider pre-existing problems and new problems alike. The new and old medical conditions are treated the same way and claims will be paid in the same way. The only exception to this process is that if a claim is determined to be related to a pre-existing medical condition, then it will be subject to a specific deductible and specific pre-existing condition maximum.  India Network Visitor Health Insurance plans are the only ones that can offer you assurance of coverage and claims payment irrespective of the medical problem. All India Network Policies are completely underwritten, administered, and claims processes in the United States following US standards in claims processing time lines. The premiums are designed to pay the claims and hence they are a bit higher but worth every penny, and much cheaper than the plans available for US citizens at market plans.

Members are advised to read through and understand the program language carefully and ask questions. Remember, what you pay is what you get in claims.. as claims money has to come from the premiums collected!

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Indian are Living Longer with ill Health – A Global Study Finds

India Network Health Insurance for visitors is the only one that provide health insurance coverage for all age groups. It is no surprise that many parents and grandparents in their 90s are traveling to the United States, thanks to the cover accorded to them by the India Network accident and sickness medical insurance.

A recent global study confirms that people across India are living much longer than before due to advancement of medicines and medical facilities. However, they are spending a large part of their later life with ill health. For example, retirement in India continues to be around age 60 while many are making now to reach 90 years. The major conditions are depressive disorder, iron-deficiency anemia, diabetic, blood pressure, etc.

A recent report published in Asian Age gives more details of the study and confirm India Network data on living with disability.

According to a new analysis of 301 acute and chronic diseases, and injuries in 188 countries in 2013, migraines, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and hearing loss were among the 10 leading causes of years lived with disability (YLDs) in India. Other leading causes included neck pain, diabetes and anxiety disorders. For both sexes combined, the leading causes of YLDs had remained largely the same during this time period, but they took an increased toll on health due to population growth and ageing.

Significantly, for women in India, musculoskeletal disorders — which include shoulder injuries and fractures from osteoporosis —and diabetes replaced diarrheal diseases and uncorrected refractive error that causes vision problems as leading causes YLDs.

According to the study published in the Lancet, between 1990 and 2013, YLDs from diabetes increased by 109 per cent, and YLDs from other musculoskeletal disorders increased by 110 per cent. On the other hand, Iron-deficiency anaemia YLDs decreased by 12 per cent.

Diabetes YLDs also increased for men in India between 1990 and 2013, climbing 136 per cent. YLDs from COPD increased by 76 per cent and iron-deficiency anaemia Elides] decreased by 32 per cent.

“The health of Indians is increasingly threatened by depression, back pain, and migraines,” said an expert.

Source: Asian Age, June 11, 2015

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