Monday, May 24, 2010

Health Care and Accidents

When you get a boo-boo, often the best remedy is a hug and a bandaid. When you have a major life-threatening accident, you'll need alot more help. Accidents have a way of interrupting life, and sometimes can stop it all together. Are you prepared for serious injury or worse if an accident should happen to you or a loved one? Too many people are caught by surprise. By sheer definition, an accident happens with no advance warning. According to Dictionary.com, an accident is an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; or any event that happens unexpectedly, without a deliberate plan or cause.

An accident can be life-changing. It often creates a chain of events that you are not prepared for, according to Accidents.com. There are many types of accidents: vehicle, work, medical, fall down, product liability, aviation, watercraft, recreational, and many others. For example, on the water the US Coast Guard estimates that each year hundreds of lives are lost... thousands are injured... and millions of dollars of property damage occurs because of preventable recreational boating accidents on U.S. waterways. Too often pleasure outings turn tragic. Operator errors account for 70% of boating accidents. Simply using preventive measures, such as wearing a life jacket, will save lives. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that life jackets could have saved the lives of over 80% of boating fatality victims. And alcohol consumption is a huge factor in boating accidents with many incidents caused by individuals on the water and abusive drinking. As a boat operator, you're in command of the safety of your passengers. But accidents can, and do happen with terrifying speed on the water. There's rarely time to reach stowed life jackets, especially if you are under the influence of an alcoholic beverage.

According to OSHA.gov, thousands of accidents occur throughout the United States every day, especially at the worksite. The failure of people, equipment, supplies, or surroundings to behave or react as expected causes most of them. Employers are required to post safety standards and instruct their workers on proper safety procedures while on the job or in the office. An effective safety and health program depends on the credibility of management's involvement in the program, inclusion of employees in safety and health decisions, rigorous worksite analysis to identify hazards and potential hazards, including those which could result from a change in worksite conditions or practices, stringent prevention and control measures, and thorough training. Companies who ignore these practices end up in serious trouble when an accident happens and employees are hurt.

On average, another person dies in a car crash every 12 minutes in this country - that's approximately 123 deaths per day, according to CarInsuranceList.com. Through the coordinated efforts of automobile designers, manufacturers and organizations like the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), the safest cars, with the most advanced safety features are being driven off car lots each year. If that is the case, what are the most common causes of car accidents? Well, there are four major factors that contribute to vehicle accidents. They are, in ascending order, mechanical issues, road design / maintenance, road condition, and poor driver performance. The latter is, of course, the most significant, and 95% of all accidents involving motor vehicles - worldwide - include poor driver performance in tandem with one of the other three. If you drive long enough, chances are you will have an accident, or know someone who does. Accidents on the road in the US are so common that the number of individuals injured every year is in the millions.

While distractions can cause accidents - cell phone conversations, sipping coffee, applying make-up - the biggest cause of vehicle accidents is speeding, though aggression is quickly becoming a significant cause as well. Law enforcement officers are also generally quick to remind us that the chance of a motor vehicle accident increase by 50% once the sun goes down. According to CarInsuranceList.com, the following factors (in order) cause the most accidents - and all of them are under the driver's control:
--Speeding.
--Unsafe or too-frequent lane changing.
--Not using turn signals.
--Tailgating.
--Not yielding the right of way.
--Ignoring traffic signals.
--Driving while impaired by alcohol or chemicals.

Injuries are a major source of childhood emergency department and hospital admissions. The most recent accident statistics from the National Safety Council, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and other sources tell us that:
--Injury is the leading cause of death in children and young adults. According to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 2,800 children, ages one to 14 years, that died from an unintentional injury.
--Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury for children. Children ages 14 and under account for one-third of all fall-related visits to hospital emergency rooms.
--In 2005, nearly 252,000 children ages 14 and under were treated in the US for bicycle-related injuries. Nearly half (47 percent) of children ages 14 and under hospitalized for bicycle-related injuries are diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.
--Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages one to 14. The majority of drownings and near-drownings occur in residential swimming pools and in open water sites. However, children can drown in as little as one inch of water.
Airway obstruction injury is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among infants under age one.
--Approximately 45 percent of unintentional injury deaths occurred in and around the home.
--Unintentional home injury deaths to children are caused primarily by fire and burns, suffocation, drowning, firearms, falls, choking and poisoning.

It pays to be prepared for the unprepared. No one can forecast when an accident will take place. Although, accidents can be deadly, or at least very injurious, you can help yourself financially to some degree by purchasing accident insurance. Many companies offer their employees voluntary benefits that include Accidental Death & Dismemberment and Accident Medical Insurance. Additionally, families and individuals can purchase these types of products through various insurance agents, brokers, and agencies who specialize in these policies. Coverage can range from as little as a few thousand dollars to much more, depending on the type of policy and amount of premium you are willing to pay. Usually, they are guaranteed issue.

If you are involved in a fatal accident, this type of policy will offer protection for your family. In addition, if an accident renders you disabled or with the loss of your limbs, you can collect a lump sum from an AD&D policy, to make up for your lost income if you can't go back to work after the accident, according to ezinearticles.com. If an accident is identified as the cause of your death or injury, your AD&D policy will pay out. AD&D insurance doesn't cover health-related deaths, drug overdoses or suicides. Usually, AD&D insurers have restrictions on the types of accidents that are covered. Combined with an accident medical policy that pays up to a certain indemnified amount, this type of plan is great to even combine with a high deductible health plan or a limited medical benefit plan. If you are denied life insurance, then AD&D insurance is a good way to get some insurance. The low premiums that AD&D insurance commands will work towards easing your family's financial burden if you died in an accident. For more information about AD&D insurance, log on to a reputable life insurance quote provider website where you can weigh your options and receive free life insurance quotes. You can compare quotes and compare the financial standing of insurance companies, so that you can make a quick, well-informed decision. At the end of the day, it is always better to have some insurance, than none at all.

There are many great accident insurance plans on the market through companies like Aflac and American General. Going through an agency like Core Five Solutions (www.corefivesolutions.com) can provide multiple options from a variety of carriers for consumers for the plan that makes the most sense. Also, instead of figuring it out on your own, you have the ability to talk with an agent who can assist you with the choices available for accident insurance. Another great option is to combine the AD&D and Accident Medical policies with a discount health plan. That will stretch your savings further by getting immediate savings with participating health care or dental providers to reduce your out of pocket medical expense and still receive payment from any claims you submit to the insurance company for your accident. A great source for one of these types of plans can be found with a discount medical plan organization, such as Careington International (www.careington.com), for an inexpensive membership between $30 and $45 per month. You'd have the best of both worlds--discounted medical and dental rates combined with an insurance product that pays you for accidents.

Accidents happen. Some are worse than others, and you never know when they will happen. It's up to you to prepare for the unprepared.

Until next time. Let me know what you think.

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