The Truth on Employers Life Insurance

Employer Life Insurance 
Doctor and PatientMany of us receive our life insurance through our employers, and it’s often cheaper that way. But there may be reasons to buy supplemental life insurance. Here are three:

It may not be sufficient

First, your employer may not offer enough life insurance to meet your needs. If your death would be a financial burden on your loved ones, experts often recommend you obtain coverage worth five to ten times your annual salary. And be sure you include supplemental income, such as bonuses and commissions, in your calculations of your annual salary; they count.

It may not be portable

Second, you could lose your coverage. When you change jobs, you typically lose your life insurance coverage; if you are going to a new job, it may offer coverage, but it may not be as good. This lack of portability is particularly problematic as we age, because as older workers we’re less likely to be able to qualify for an individual life insurance policy. And even if we are able to, it might be very expensive. As well, it’s always a possibility that your employer might stop offering life insurance to save money, leaving you without coverage.

Carrier ratings

Finally, with employer-sponsored life insurance, you don’t get to choose the provider. It’s possible that the insurance carrier your company has chosen is rated lower than you’d like, risking the possibility the insurance you paid for won’t be there when you need it. Your carrier’s A.M. Best rating will tell you whether it’s financially stable or not.

Be prepared

While it’s certainly wise to take advantage of the free or inexpensive life insurance offered by your employer, you may want to supplement it with insurance from other sources. Ensure you purchase when you’re younger and it’s less expensive, and buy sufficient supplemental insurance to ensure you’re covered in all eventualities, including job loss and declining health.

This Month’s Smile: DIY Jokes 

SmilesWe all love to laugh at – or with – the Do-it-Yourselfer in our homes. But there’s just a bit of admiration accompanying the laughter. Here are some great jokes about DIYers whose projects don’t always turn out right.

Last week I replaced every window in my house. Then I discovered I had a crack in my glasses.

I got a self-assembly wardrobe. It didn’t work. I got it out of the box, but it just didn’t do a thing.

I put six locks on my door. When I go out, I lock every other one. I thought that no matter how long somebody stands there picking locks, they’re also locking three of them.

And, especially for the DIY overachiever: My husband just built a set of shelves for our house and now he’s writing some books to put on them.

Make BBQ Season Sizzle with These Grilling Tips 

SteakGrill masters, rejoice: Prime barbeque season is here! To make the most of your time behind the grill, consider the following hot tips:

  • It’s hard not to dive right into a steak fresh off the grill. But you and your guests will be rewarded for your patience. Tent steak (and other meats) with tinfoil and let rest for about 10 minutes. The meat’s juices will distribute evenly, ensuring maximum flavor and texture.
  • No thermometer? No problem. has a hot trick for gauging the heat of a grill with your hand. Hover your open palm about thirteen centimeters (five in.) above the rack. If the fire is high, you’ll likely need to move your hand within two seconds. If it’s at medium, it will be about five seconds. If the heat’s low, you’ll probably want to move your hand at about ten seconds.
  • When should you use direct heat and when should you use indirect? Elizabeth Karmel, a grill pro and author of Taming the Flame, gave Better Homes and Garden (BHG) this tip: if the food item requires less than twenty minutes to cook, use direct heat. If it takes longer, use indirect heat.

No one likes a dry kebab. Jamie Purviance, author of Weber’s Way to Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling, told BHG to stack ingredients close together on the skewer to keep them juicier longer. But don’t cram them.

Of course, grilling isn’t only about the food; it’s also about the outdoor experience. In a recent National Post story, landscape designer and builder David Veron recommended installing backyard elements that lend themselves to an activity, such as an outdoor pizza oven and an outdoor fireplace. The best part? They aren’t just for summer. Brave enthusiasts can fire up the grill in the winter and hang out-bundled up, of course-by the outdoor fireplace while they cook.

Cost Management Tips for HDHP Policyholders
High-deductible healthcare plans (HDHPs) are great options for those seeking lower premiums. And, as many employers are now passing on more employee benefit costs to their employees, more individuals may find themselves with HDHPs. It’s estimated that in 2015, four of five large employers will offer HDHPs as an option, and one in three will offer HDHPs only.
While HDHPs are on the rise, so are HDHP deductibles. In 2014, the average deductible was $1,217 for a single employee with group insurance, almost twice what it was in 2006. And the increases extend to HDHPs offered through health insurance exchanges, as well as employer plans.

HDHPs are good options for many individuals and families. However, HDHP policyholders should understand that higher out-of-pocket costs mean that they must be very conscious of managing their healthcare costs.

For HDHP policyholders-especially those with extremely high deductibles-there are several ways to keep healthcare costs down without putting their health at risk. For example:

Practice preventive care: First, make full use of policy-covered preventive services even if deductibles haven’t been met. Second, improve your overall health and that of family members to avoid future health problems.

Track healthcare expenses: Keep receipts and records so you’ll know when you’re close to meeting deductibles.

Get price estimates for services you may need down the line, so you can plan ahead for possible healthcare expenses-which you may have to pay yourself if your deductible hasn’t been met.

Enroll in a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA), funded by an individual, an employer, or another individual, or in a Health Reimbursement Arrangement or Account (HRA), funded through an employer.

As always, read your policy very carefully. HDHPs can be good options, but they can also be confusing. Ask your insurance agent or your employer if you have any questions.