Since September 11th, 2001, international travel has changed drastically. Quite honestly, all domestic travel has changed as well. Life since then will never be the same for anyone, not just when it comes to travel. Since many changes have been implemented in regards to domestic and international travel, travelers need to constantly be aware of what is going on. As many people have already discovered, the rules and regulations can change on a daily basis – especially with international travel. At airports very recently, a new terror threat caused much havoc for passengers carrying on many items. Airport garbage cans were overflowing with items that were banned and needed to be abandoned. Passports were checked and rechecked numerous times. Security for international travel was incredibly intense and should remain that way. It is a shame that there are such radicals in the world that have the need to force all of society to live in fear and paranoia when it comes to not only international travel, but life.
Remember the days of simply being able to show your driver’s license and walk onto an airplane without having to be searched and searched again? The biggest fear was whether or not your plane would crash, and that was almost unheard of. Now, if you watch passengers sitting in the airport lounges and waiting in lines, they are all checking each other out and sizing one another up. I know this because I am one of them. I don’t mean to be racist, but you can’t help but notice certain individuals who may look suspicious because they appear a certain race. I flew right after September 11th, and there was a dark skinned gentleman waiting for the same flight as I was. As I sat there with the other passengers that were to be on the same flight as well, he got quite a few glances and stares. He began to look incredibly uncomfortable and while I felt a sense of sympathy for him at that moment, I couldn’t help but put him through my own scrutiny as well.
International travel has its warnings for survival in an intended country as well, not just for the process of getting there. Americans are not as well liked throughout the world as they once were. All you have to do is open up the newspaper or turn on the television to see or hear other countries bashing Americans. Our government warns Americans to be cautious about international travel. There are many more dangers in the world today than there once were. International travel to some countries that are in the midst of wars is simply not wise. Many tourists do it every day, but it simply isn’t the safest decision to make anymore. There was a time in my youth that I was determined to see the world. Now, with international travel being as risky as it is, my determination simply isn’t there anymore.
Group insurance is the most common type of coverage in the United States today. One can usually obtain broader benefits at a lower cost if one is covered as a member of a professional group, a service club or as an employee of a covered company. However, for a slightly higher premium one may join associations
such as Blue-Cross Blue-Shield or Kaiser as a non-group subscriber and receive similar benefits. With both spouses frequently working nowadays, it is not uncommon to find oneself covered under more than one group policy; once as a subscriber and again perhaps as a dependent of a spouse. Group policies
have provisions, however, limiting benefits to 100% of expenses covered so there can be no duplication or windfall for the insured covered under more than one group policy.
Because one’s health is likely to change over a period of time, a consumer should take a good look at renewal provisions when purchasing health insurance. There are three classifications to consider. Renewal at the option of the insurer is the least desirable alternative from the insureds’ point of view. The
insurance company reserves the right to periodically reevaluate the insured in terms of possible deteriorating health and economic conditions in general. The insurer can cancel the policy, raise premiums and insert restrictions as to the future coverage offered.
The second category is the guaranteed renewable policy which prohibits the insurance company from canceling or changing coverage or raising premiums unless the entire class of policy holders is affected. The most lenient renewal provision is the non-cancelable (“non-can”) policy which gives the insurance
company no right to make any changes in the consumers’ coverage or premiums as long as the policy is kept in effect by the offer of timely payments.
Of course the trick when evaluating insurance is to weigh the cost against the privilege. In this case the more lenient the renewal provisions in a particular policy, the higher the premiums will be. However, the higher cost may well be worth it to a consumer who anticipates failing health because of family history or some other reason and therefore does not want to risk being turned down for coverage in future years or having to pay prohibitive premiums for inadequate coverage.
Basic medical coverage is limited as to the benefits provided and has relatively low policy limits in this age of soaring health care costs. Most people find major medical coverage preferable and almost mnecessary. High limits on benefits are possible by using deductibles, coinsurance provisions and inside
limits to bring the premiums within the range of most consumers. Coupled with stop-loss provisions, the risk of catastrophic illness is adequately eliminated. There are many providers of health insurance but group plans are the most popular. The majority of workers receive some such coverage for their families through their employment. Often premiums are paid by their employer as a fringe benefit of the workplace. You should familiarize yourself with the provisions of government policies such as workman’s compensation and Medicare. Make sure you check to see exactly what the renewal provisions are before you buy a particular policy and weigh the benefits to your specific situation against the cost.
Like any insurance policy, money (premium) is paid to the insurer (government) periodically, so that it is available to an employee should he find himself without a job. Like some group health insurance policies, the premium is paid by the employer not the employee (beneficiary) who receives the benefits. The one big difference is that whereas health insurance is an optional fringe benefit provided as a supplement to wages, unemployment insurance is a mandatory
payroll tax in order to fund the program. There are exceptions and modifications to this broad statement.