4 Benefits of Long-Term Disability Insurance

 Long-Term Disability InsuranceA survey recently conducted by an association of financial services and insurance companies found that 65 percent of respondents believed that most people needed disability insurance, but only 48 percent of those respondents believed they personally needed it. Even more worryingly, 20 percent of those respondents actually had disability insurance. Long-term disability insurance is something in which everyone should invest for the following four reasons:

  1. It provides a financial safety net – If you experience a disability as a result of an illness or disability that prevents you from being able to work, long-term disability insurance can help to cover as much as 50 to 60 percent of your income. In fact, some policies will continue to cover you for as long as you can’t work due to your disability until you reach the age of 65.
  2. Long-term disabilities are common – A lot of people think they don’t need long-term disability insurance because they believe the chances of becoming disabled are slim. However, according to the Social Security Administration, as many as 25 percent of people who are currently 20 years old will end up being disabled before they reach their 67th birthday.
  3. Many employers do not provide long-term disability coverage – Many people simply take whatever insurance plan their employer offers. However, only 41 percent of employers offer long-term disability insurance, even though group plans only cost an average of $256 a year. Additionally, many employers are offering the coverage as a voluntary benefit, which means that employees must pay for this premium themselves.
  4. Benefits are tax-free – Employees that end up paying for long-term disability coverage themselves using after-tax dollars, their benefits will be tax-free should they ever need to use their coverage as a result of a disability. This can make voluntary coverage beneficial to employees, but unfortunately, many employees skip the extra cost thinking that the coverage isn’t needed.

These are four reasons why long-term disability insurance is something that everyone should consider purchasing. For more advice or news concerning health insurance, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

November Is Long-Term Care Awareness Month

Long-Term Care Awareness MonthLong-term care involves the need for a range of services and support due to a chronic illness or disability. Generally speaking, long-term care does not involve medical care. Instead, it concerns the need for assistance with the activities of daily living. Many people require long-term care, which is why the month of November was designated as National Long-Term Care Awareness Month.

Long-Term Care Statistics

The following are a few statistics that you should know about long-term care:

  • According to the National Family Caregivers Association, roughly 78 percent of adults that receive care at home depend on friends and family as their only source of care.
  • There are around 45 million informal caregivers in the U.S. and, according to the AARP, the typical caregiver is a woman that’s on average 46 years old.
  • According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, caregivers spend around 26 hours a week providing care for a loved one.
  • The Center of American Progress revealed that 41 percent of family caregivers had to take a leave of absence to provide care for a loved one, with 37 percent having to switch from full-time to part-time.
  • According to the Volunteers of America, 29 percent of caregivers use their own savings to provide their loved ones with the long-term care they need.

Who Needs Long-Term Care?

More and more people are requiring long-term care because they are living longer than before. A hundred years ago, the average American life expectancy was only 47. It’s now 78. As far as demographics go, more women need long-term care than men. Around 3 out of four assisted living residents are women and almost twice as many women over 65 are receiving long-term care at home than men. This is in part because women tend to live longer.

The average length of the long-term care a person needs is around three years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Because of this, it’s important to plan for the possibility of long-term care to avoid financial problems. For more health information and advice, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Immune Protein Flutters Like a Butterfly

Immune ProteinThere’s a lot that we do not know about how viruses work; however, the continued work by research teams across the world is changing this. For example, a group of researchers at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School recently pinpointed a vital step in the process that allows the body to fight viruses. In fact, their research also revealed how mutations that derail this process to fight viruses lead to autoimmune disorders.

The Immune System Works Like a Butterfly

A virus spreads by replicating itself within a host cell. The immune system has intricate mechanisms in place that help to defend against both common viruses and emerging viruses. Researchers studied the process in which RIG-I (an immune protein) searches for viral RNAs. Once the RIG-I finds a viral RNA, it activates the antiviral response of the cell in which it was found.

A butterfly constantly flutters to and from anything that looks like a flower. Like a butterfly, the RIG-I immune receptor constantly investigates the RNAs in the cell in order to identify viral RNAs. Essentially, RIG-I (and butterflies) are involved in a continuous cycle of association and disassociation. Once the RIG-I discovers a viral RNA, it stops its search and signals its multiple molecules to gather on the viral RNA, which in turn, activates the antiviral response of the cell.

RIG-I immune receptors are supposed to move on if they do not identify viral RNAs. However, an autoimmune disorder known as Singleton-Merton syndrome interrupts this process. Instead of moving on to other RNAs, mutated versions of the immune receptors remain and become trapped in the RNAs, causing abnormal immune responses.

The research revealing the details of this process could potentially be used to leverage RIG-I immune receptors in both antiviral and cancer therapies. Stay up-to-date on all the latest health-related discoveries and news by visiting us at The Benefits Store today.

Sudden Price Hikes on the Generic Drug Market

Generic Drug MarketMedication can be quite expensive, which is why many people opt to buy generic drugs instead of name-brand drugs. Generic drugs often do the exact same thing as name brand drugs but are much more affordable. Unfortunately, a new study by the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics revealed that generic drugs are going up in cost.

The Rise in Cost of Generic Drugs

Even generic heart medications and antibiotics are increasing in price, according to the USC study. More generic drugs are beginning to double in price year-over-year. In 2007, only one percent of generic drugs doubled in price from the previous year. In 2013, 4.39 percent of generic drugs doubled in price.

One of the reasons there has been such a sharp spike is due to a new strategy employed by manufacturers to enter therapeutic areas that have little competition. They then raise their prices significantly.

This has led to outrage amongst the public, especially about medicines that patients need to stay alive. It has led to many questions from critics concerning whether the generic drugs’ market is still effective. Generic drugs not only take up 90 percent of the prescriptions that are filled throughout the country, but they’ve historically been available at lower costs that even decreased over time.

The study revealed that even though the prices for most generic drugs actually declined from 2007 to 2013, the number of generic drugs that doubled in price during that time period grew 400%. It was found that the cause behind these increases mostly had to do more with a lack of competition than a shortage in supply.

Patients’ out-of-pocket costs have not increased as a direct result of increased generic drug costs. However, that could change if insurers respond to continually increasing prices by raising premiums.

To stay up-to-date with all of the latest health news, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Death Tolls Spur Push for Flu Vaccine

Flu VaccineLast year was one of the worst flu seasons in decades. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, some 80,000 people died during the 2017-2018 flu season. As a result, there’s been a significant effort to increase awareness and to get people to go get their flu vaccine as this year’s flu season begins.

The Impact of 2017-2018 Flu Season

Among those that died as a result of the flu last year, 180 of them were children, most of whom were not vaccinated. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 40 percent of American children did not get vaccinated for the flu last year. The number of children between the ages of six months and four years that weren’t vaccinated increased as well.

Besides the surprisingly high death toll, the flu caused serious enough problems that 900,000 people were hospitalized as a result. Although the flu season lasted from October to May, it was in November that the virus began to really have a huge effect. In fact, last year’s flu season was the first to be considered “high severity” for people of all ages.

The Importance of a Flu Vaccination

Getting a flu vaccination every year is the responsible thing to do. Not only will you protect yourself from getting the flu, but you’ll help prevent the virus from being spread to others. Some inoculated people may get the flu but it may not have a big impact on their health. Their bodies may be able to fight it off within a week or so. However, if they aren’t vaccinated, they could spread it to others and cause them more serious health problems.

It’s particularly important for the elderly, children, pregnant women, and adults who have chronic health problems to get their flu shots. Because different strains of the flu spread every year, it’s also important that you get your flu shot before every flu season. Flu vaccinations are not lifetime vaccinations.

For more information about the upcoming flu season or to stay on top of all health-related news, visit us at the Benefits Store today.