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Volume 4, Issue 9

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
Synergy Home Health
Date: September 10, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Location: Ruston Civic Center
401 N. Trenton St., Ruston, LA 71270

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital
Date: September 10, 2013
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: 701 Cypress St.
Sulphur, LA 70663

Louisiana Automobile Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority (LATIFPA) Board of Directors Meeting
Dates: September 11, 2013; December 11, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: 4th Floor Conference Room, Poydras Building
1702 N. Third St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
The Louisiana Coalition of Breast Cancer Survivors
Date: September 14, 2013
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Location: Pennington Biomedical Research Center
6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
VSD - Our Lady of the Lake Retiree Association
Date: September 17, 2013
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: Ollie Steele Burden
4250 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
Lunch & Learn - Golden Opportunity
Date: September 20, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: River Room @ Ochsner Health Center
2500 Belle Chasse Hwy., Gretna, LA

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
Medicare Updates
Date: September 23, 2013
Location: West Monroe Senior Center
1800 N. 7th St., West Monroe, LA 71291

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
Ochsner Golden Opportunities
Date: September 24, 2013
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Location: Ochsner Medical Center
17000 Medical Center Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70816

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
Sterling Place Nursing & Rehab
Date: September 25, 2013
Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Location: 3888 North Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
LANA Conference
Date: September 26, 2013
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
Location: Quality Hotel
210 S. Hollywood Road, Houma, LA 70360

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
VSD - Medicare Update 2014
Date: September 26, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: Ochsner Main Campus - Brent House
1514 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, LA 70121

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
Northshore Golden Opportunity
Date: September 27, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Location: Ochsner Health Center - 2nd Floor Training Room
1000 Ochsner Blvd., Covington, LA 70433

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
Northshore Golden Opportunity
Date: September 30, 2013
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Location: Ochsner Health Center - Camilla Room
105 Medical Center Dr., Slidell, LA 70461

To find out if Consumer Advocacy will be in your area or to request a speaker for your organization or group, call (225) 219-0619 or send an email to
consumeradvocacy@ldi.la.gov

If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter please send an email to the following address with "REMOVE FROM CONSUMER ADVOCACY MAILING LIST" in the subject line.
public@ldi.la.gov

Annuities 101: Learning the Basics

In recent years, annuity sales to senior citizens have significantly risen. With this increase in sales, there has also been an increase in confusion among consumers about annuities. If you are looking to purchase an annuity, it is important to arm yourself with the correct information, so that you are able to make an informed decision that best fits your needs.

An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company in which the insurance company pays you income payments in regular intervals in return for a premium or premiums you previously paid. Annuities are most often bought for future retirement income and can pay an income that is guaranteed to last as long as you live.

There are several different types of annuities, all of which come with varying levels of risk and guarantees. When shopping for an annuity, you should closely consider each of these options based on your current situation and future needs. Annuities should not be used to reach short-term financial goals, but instead should be used to supplement other forms of retirement income. When determining whether an annuity would benefit you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much retirement income will I need in addition to what I will receive from Social Security and my pension plan?
  • Will I need supplementary income to support others in addition to myself?
  • How long do I plan on leaving money in the annuity?
  • When do I plan on needing income payments?
  • Will the annuity allow me to gain access to the money when I need it?
  • How much risk am I willing to take on in relation to the premiums I will pay?

To help protect yourself, you should always review the contract before you decide to purchase an annuity. Each contract’s terms and conditions are different, and it is important to familiarize yourself with them before you purchase. Be sure you understand the long-term nature of your purchase and that you plan to keep an annuity long enough so that the fees do not take too much of the money you invest.

As with any insurance contract, make sure to compare information from several different companies to ensure that you are getting the best deal for your needs. Also, verify that the company and agent are licensed. In order to sell insurance in Louisiana, companies and agents must be licensed with the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI). To confirm the credibility of a company or agent, visit the LDI's website at www.ldi.la.gov and look for the Active Company Search Form under the Consumers tab.

You should also check the credit rating of the company you're considering purchasing a policy from. Legitimate insurers have their “creditworthiness” rated by independent agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, A.M. Best Co. or Moody’s Investors Services. An “A+++” or “AAA” rating is a sign of a company’s strong financial stability. Lastly, once you’ve made a purchase, be sure to keep a copy of all paperwork you complete and sign, as well as any correspondence, special offers and payment receipts.

Finally, do not allow yourself to be fooled by deceptive sales practices. Skilled scam artists know how to prey on your “time fears” to convince you to purchase before you have time to do adequate research. If you feel that the sales pitch is putting unnecessary pressure on you or making you feel uncomfortable or aggravated, walk away. If the agent is unwilling or unable to provide you with proof of their credibility, do not sign a contract with them. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

If you suspect you’ve been a victim of deceptive sales practices, or you have a specific question and can’t get the answers you need from an agent or the insurance company, please contact the LDI at 1-800-259-5300.

School’s Back in Session – Time to Hit the Books and Review your Insurance Policy

Sending your child off to college can be an exciting and proud, albeit stressful, time in your life. One of the best ways to eliminate some of that pressure is by reviewing and updating your auto, homeowners and health insurance policies to ensure that your loved ones are protected during an emergency.

The Louisiana Department of Insurance’s new renter’s insurance brochure offers a wealth of information on renter’s insurance policies. The brochure offers guidance on purchasing renter’s insurance, how to file a claim, and the importance of purchasing a policy if you rent a house or apartment.

Here are a few tips to follow when updating your policies and sending your child off to school:

Homeowners and Renters Insurance:

  • Check your homeowners policy to see if your student’s valuables are covered in case of theft, fire, or any other disaster while living in a college dorm. If not, purchasing a separate policy may be a wise move.
  • Remember to report to your insurer if your student’s dwelling has protective devices such as smoke detectors, dead bolt locks or security alarms as having these items may reduce the amount of your premium.
  • For those living in an off-campus dwelling such as an apartment, do not make the common mistake of believing that personal possessions are covered by the landlord’s insurance. Consider purchasing a renter’s insurance policy to cover your student’s valuables as most landlord insurance policies simply cover the building and not its contents.

Health Insurance:

  • Be aware of local physicians and hospitals in the school’s area that accept your family’s health insurance provider. This simple task can prove to save money by avoiding out-of-network penalties and fees.
  • Make sure your student has a copy of all necessary insurance cards.

Auto Insurance:

  • Be mindful of the fact that when you add the newest driver in the family to your auto policy, you’re more than likely going to experience a premium increase. In some cases, your rates may almost double. Help offset this increase by checking with your insurer to see if it offers discounts for completing defensive driving courses, being accident-free for an extended amount of time, or maintaining a certain grade point average.
  • For college students, the school’s location could play a major role in deciding whether or not keeping your student on the family’s policy is a good idea. As premium rates differ from city to city, a completely separate policy may prove to be the best option in some instances.

Updating your insurance policies regularly is not only a way to ensure peace of mind, it also guarantees that your family and possessions are properly insured in the event you need to file a claim.

For more information, please contact the Louisiana Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300 or visit www.ldi.la.gov.

Under 30? Insurance is Important for You, Too!

Insurance is important for everyone, even when you are young and just starting out. Parents, friends and co-workers will all have advice on what type of insurance is best for you and what company you should purchase your insurance from, but unless they are in the same stage of life as you, it’s often hard for them to fully relate.

Understanding insurance does not have to be difficult. With a little help and research, it can be easy to make the best decision for you. First take this short insurance quiz, and see how well you do. Then read on for some quick insurance tips that can help ensure you have the best insurance coverage for you. 

*See end of article for correct answers to quiz.

  1. Which of the following does NOT affect auto insurance premiums?
    1. Vehicle make and model
    2. “Theft-ability”: Whether the vehicle (model) is more often stolen than others
    3. Installed safety equipment
    4. Fuel efficiency

  2. TRUE OR FALSE: Using your vehicle for weekly recreation and not for daily commute may lower your auto premiums.
    1. True
    2. False

  3. Which statement below about plans provided by preferred provider organizations (PPO) and health maintenance organization (HMO) is NOT correct?
    1. PPO plans typically cost more than HMO plans.
    2. PPO plans typically offer a wider range of participating doctors than HMO plans.
    3. HMO plans typically provide more restricted services than PPO plans.
    4. HMO plans typically allow patients to see specialists without a referral.

  4. What is renter’s insurance?
    1. An insurance policy that covers a landlord’s property and possessions.
    2. Insurance on a rented car or boat.
    3. Insurance that protects that policyholder’s belongings and provides liability coverage against damages and accidents that occur in and in some cases away from a rented residence.
    4. None of the above.

  5. If a guest at your party causes damages to your apartment, who is responsible for the repairs?
    1. The guest
    2. The landlord
    3. You and anyone else on the lease agreement
    4. None of the above

  6. What is your best resource to ensure an insurance company is legitimate and licensed to sell in your state?
    1. Your parents
    2. Your friends
    3. The insurance agent selling the policy
    4. Your state insurance department

How well did you do? Are you an insurance expert? If not, here are a few more tips to help as you’re getting started and making some of your first purchases and decisions.

  • Before you buy that new car, check with your insurance agent to find out what the insurance costs are for that specific make and model. Depending on what you are looking to buy, this could dramatically affect your decision.
  • Still driving that old beater? If it’s paid off, the cost of collision or comprehensive coverage may be more than your car is worth. Check in to dropping your coverage down to liability.
  • Renting your first apartment? If something happens, could afford to replace all of your belongings? Your landlord’s insurance only covers the property itself not your belongings, so look into purchasing renter’s insurance to ensure you’re covered in the event of an accident or disaster.
  • When you begin your job hunt, don’t only look at the salary and vacation time. Check out the health insurance benefits available to you, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.

No matter your situation or life stage, the Louisiana Department of Insurance website and The National Association of Insurance Commissioners website Insure U both offer free and unbiased information on how to ensure you have the best insurance coverage for you.

1. D        2. A        3. D        4. C         5. C         6. D

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Office of Consumer AdvocacyP.O. Box 94214Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9214
(225) 219-0619 or (800)259-5300www.ldi.la.govconsumeradvocacy@ldi.la.gov