Planning for a Death: Things to Do Ahead of Time

There are certain things in life that no one wants to think about, much less plan for.  I can’t say that I’m counting down the days to my next dentist appointment.  Surely most of us don’t look forward to Mondays.  But, we all know that dentist appointments and Mondays are always coming, and the more prepared we are for them the smoother they tend to go and the better the results.

What about death?  No one wants to think about their death or the death of a loved one.  However, we are all eventually forced to face our own mortality.  The better prepared we are, the smoother and less painful these events can be for us and our loved ones.

Life insurance is a key component in planning for the future of our loved ones and ourselves.  I would like to share a short checklist of items we all need to keep in mind as we use life insurance to plan for a death.

Understand how the policy works: Not all life insurance policies work the same way.  Some policies are term life insurance policies, meaning that they only last for a set period of time.  Others can have death benefit values that can increase or decrease depending on different factors, such as how the markets are doing.   Some may even have riders that affect how the policy works.  Study your policy.  Make sure you know what it covers and what it doesn’t.  Look for information on how it works once you or your loved one passes away.  Help the beneficiaries understand how the policies work.  Speaking of…

Know who is a beneficiary, and update if necessary: Every life insurance policy has one or more designated beneficiaries that are assigned by the policy holder.  The beneficiaries are the ones that receive the death payout once the insured passes away, and thus are important in the whole process.  Check to see who is listed as beneficiaries on the policy.  Make sure their information is correct and up-to-date.  If necessary, the owner of the policy can make changes to their information, or even change the beneficiary to someone else.  Make sure these beneficiaries have a copy of the policy.  As with anything related to a policy, always feel free to reach out to the agent for any questions.

Keep your policy active: This is probably pretty obvious, but is extremely important: make sure the policy is kept active and paid current!  Many policies have a grace period for if the payments are running a little late, but passing that puts you at risk of have the policy lapse.  Once something like that happens, reinstating it can result in the premiums going up and having to go through the underwriting process all over again.  Sometimes, depending on the situation, the policy may be lost forever.  Imagine thinking that your loved one had life insurance coverage, only to find out they let it lapse long ago and now you have to come up with funeral funds yourself.  No one wants to do this to those we care about, so don’t.

Following these tips can help make the process so much smoother and less painful when the time comes.  I know it’s hard, but we all need to plan for our deaths and the deaths of our loved.  I would encourage everyone to listen to these tips and prepare for the inevitable.

…also, stop putting off the dentist…

Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Creative Marketing Specialist II for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

How is Sentinel Helping Seniors?

Although I have spent the last 15 years in the insurance industry, I am relatively new to the rapidly growing category often referred to as the “Senior Market.” As part of my career development in this marketplace, I am fortunate to work for a company that has dedicated itself to providing solutions to this specific category of insurance consumers.

Sentinel has long been known for providing our New Vantage™ Life insurance as a way to help seniors pay for final expenses. A few years ago we added the Sentinel Plan® Medicare Supplement that helps pay some of the health care costs that original Medicare doesn’t cover including co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles. Last year, we released our Personal Choice Annuity™, which is a unique solution that allows consumers flexibility when planning for their retirement.

Over the past few months I have been fortunate to be involved in the development of a new product called the Sentinel Plan® Hospital Advantage Plus™, which has an anticipated release date of October 1, 2012. This product pays a cash benefit to our policyholders for expenses resulting from hospital stays, emergency room visits, surgeries and physician office visits. Typically, these are expenses that are not covered under existing insurance policies (such as Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage).

For example, let’s consider the financial impact of a hospital confinement. If you have original Medicare you would be responsible for a $1,156 Part A deductible before receiving any benefit. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you would be responsible for a $250 per day (for days 1-5) coinsurance. However, if you have the Sentinel Plan® Hospital Advantage Plus™ you would receive a cash benefit of $250 per day (for up to 5 days). If your hospital stay lasted 5 days, you would receive $1,250 in your pocket.

Some of the other benefits provided by the plan include payments for expenses related to Ambulance Services, Emergency Room Care, Outpatient Surgical Services, and Primary Care Physician Office Visits. There are even benefits for Wellness Visits and Preventative Care Services. This new product is another example of the ongoing commitment we have at Sentinel to help our senior policyholders manage the various costs associated with today’s economic environment.

I am happy to be part of a company that is growing and developing with an eye focused on the needs of our current and future policyholders. For additional information on the Sentinel Plan® Hospital Advantage Plus™, or any of our existing insurance products, please visit us at www.sslco.com or call 800.247.1423.

Blog written by: Dan Hudgens, National Sales Manager for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.