Life and Health Insurance News You Can Use: The Ideal Valentine Date

Is it Time to Revisit Your Decision on Life Insurance?

Chances are, if you have a comprehensive financial plan, you have considered life insurance. However, if you decided you don’t need it, you may want to revisit that choice.

Life insurance is a contract between an insurance policyholder and an insurance company. The policyholder pays a premium, either regularly or as a lump sum. In exchange, the insurance company promises to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money (called benefits) upon the policyholder’s death. Depending on the contract, events such as terminal illnesses may also trigger benefit payments.

Life insurance offers the policy holder peace of mind, assuring him or her that death will not lead to financial hardship for loved ones. Life insurance, then, is usually purchased by individuals with dependents: spouses, children, even pets.

As your life circumstances change, it’s a good idea to reconsider whether you need life insurance and how much.

A remarriage, for example, might lead to more child dependents; a spouse losing a job or retiring might create a spousal dependent.

Before deciding if you need life insurance, it’s a good idea to discuss your individual circumstances and options with your advisor.

There are many types of life insurance, the most basic being term insurance, with coverage that lasts for a set period of time provided you pay the monthly premium.

Other types are more complicated. For example, whole-life policies combine life insurance with an investment fund; your beneficiaries receive a fixed amount on your death, and part of your premium is invested and used to build cash.

Others include universal, variable and variable universal – the list goes on and on, and you have a myriad of choices.

One important point: If you decide you do need life insurance, don’t delay. Premiums are less expensive when you’re younger but tend to rise steadily as you age.

Are you considering divorce? Unfortunately, there’s one more thing to add to your list of concerns: the state of your health insurance after you split.

If you are now receiving health care coverage under a spouse’s plan, you likely won’t qualify as a dependent under that plan after a divorce. That means you will need to get a private health insurance plan. Otherwise you may lose your coverage.

Although both men and women can be cut off their spouses’ plans after divorce, a study published in December 2012 indicates that women most commonly lose their insurance or have to settle for lower coverage.

According to a University of Michigan study, found in the December Journal of Health and Social Behavior, about 115,000 women lose their private health insurance after a divorce.

Will You Lose Your Health Coverage After a Divorce? 

  • Women’s overall insurance coverage remains lower for at least two years after a divorce.
    • Middle-class women are most impacted: They tend to lose coverage more than women with higher incomes, yet their incomes aren’t low enough to make them eligible for public insurance.
      • Even when women are covered by their own employers’ plans, they may have difficulty paying their share of the premiums because of financial hardship after a divorce.

The Affordable Care Act includes provisions that could help remedy this situation for both sexes, including tax credits in 2014 for people with incomes of 100% to 400% of the poverty line who don’t qualify for other affordable programs.

The Ideal Valentine Date

Some cynics believe Valentine’s Day is just another opportunity for retailers to flog jewelry, candy and flowers. In fact, the gifts sometimes become more important than the reason behind this celebration – your love for someone else.

But fear not, there are still ample ways to celebrate a special Valentine’s Day. These great ideas for unique Valentine’s dates come from an unexpected place: men.

While women are usually excited by flowers, wining and dining at expensive restaurants, and perfume, jewelry and lingerie, men have great ideas that would put Cupid himself to shame. This February, why not try one of these unusual date ideas that are almost guaranteed to make you fall in love all over again.


You can find out how to do just about anything on the Internet. These online tips are fun and clever and can even cut prep time.

  • Geocaching. Treasure hunting with technology, geocaching offers the best of both worlds: an exciting adventure and a Valentine’s date to remember.
    • Love under the moon. Head for the great outdoors with your significant other. Bring drinks and s’mores to your favorite camping spot. Enjoy each other’s company and celebrate the view by a fire you built yourself.
    • Love is in the air. Yes, it’s expensive, but flying in a helicopter with your loved one is surely worth the price.
    • Skating on thick ice. Even if you’re not a great skater, an ice rink offers the perfect excuse to hold onto each other and laugh in the crisp air.
    • Music to your ears. Buy concert tickets to your favorite band, then dance and sing the night away with your love.

Try These Quick and Quirky Internet Kitchen Shortcuts

    • Aerate your wine quickly. Wine connoisseurs know that red wine should breathe a little, optimally in a decanter for half an hour. Aficionados swish their reds around in their glass; the rest of us may want to try this sexy tip: Use a stick or regular blender for a minute to speed up the process. Too weird? Toss the wine from one decanter to another (about 15 tosses) and even the aficionados won’t notice. Try a taste test. Can you tell the difference?
    • Bang your pomegranate. Love pomegranates but hate seeding them? There’s a better way. Cut one in half across the middle (not top to bottom). Hold one half face down in your palm above a large bowl. Bang the bottom end with a heavy wooden spoon for a couple of minutes. It’s not perfect, but it’s the closest to hassle-free you’ll get.
    • Prepare perfect pancakes. When you’re finished with your ketchup, try washing and filling the squeeze bottle with pancake batter. This trick lets you squeeze out just the right amount of batter for perfect pancakes. If you’re using a flat griddle, you can squeeze the perfect amount of batter into your metal cookie cutters to create pancakes in your favorite shape.
    • Freshen the air. Dilute vodka with water in a spray bottle to squelch kitchen odors.

Recipe: Valentine’s Breakfast Pancakes

Makes about 12 pancakes

Serves 4

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 to 3/cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup


Sift flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and nutmeg into a medium bowl. In another bowl beat egg, milk and slightly cooled butter until blended.

Add wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir to moisten. Do not beat.

Heat and grease a griddle. Drop a 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle until the surface of the pancake is dotted with holes. Flip and cook the other side until light brown.

Gently heat raspberry jam and maple syrup in a small pot. Stir until raspberry jam is melted.

Serve pancakes with warm syrup, fresh berries and a mint sprig.