General Insurance-Frequently Asked Questions

Question: I am 66 and my husband is 69 and on Medicare. Where can I find more information on Medicare?

Answer: You may contact our SHIIP (Senior Health Insurance Information Program) office. You may reach them at 800-351-4664.

Question: I am covered by Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Minnesota, but I reside in the state of Iowa, can you assist me with getting a claim paid?

Answer: Each State governs its own plan. You would need to contact the Minnesota Insurance Division for assistance in this matter.

Question: I am looking for information on the HAWK-I (Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa) program?

Answer: You may contact them at 1-800-257-8563, or visit their web site at www.hawk-i.org.

Question: I am pregnant and recently changed jobs. Will my pregnancy be covered under my new insurance or is pregnancy considered a pre-existing condition?

Answer: Under federal law, pregnancy is not to be considered a pre-existing condition. If you are having problems, you may contact the Health Care Financing Administration in Kansas City who governs this federal law. They may be reached at 816-426-5131.

Question: I am trying to contact the Iowa Fair Plan, it is my understanding this is an insurance program sponsored, sanctioned or underwritten by the State of Iowa?

Answer: Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plans were created in the late 1960s to make property insurance more readily available to people who can't obtain it from private insurers because their property is considered "high risk." The plans are operated by the insurance industry and make insurance available to property owners meeting certain requirements. It is not underwritten by the State of Iowa.

You can contact the Iowa Fair Plan Association at:

Iowa FAIR Plan Association
6967 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
(515) 255-9531
Fax: (515) 255-6549

Question: I found a life insurance policy in my father’s belongings after he passed away. I can not find a current address or phone number for this company?

Answer: You may contact our Financial Regulation Bureau for assistance in finding companies that have changed names or no longer in business. Their number is 515-281-7367.

Question: I was recently turned down for health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. Is there a program in the State of Iowa that would help us find affordable health insurance?

Answer: Call HIPIowa at 877-793-6880 if you have been denied health insurance due to a pre-existing condition.

If you are aged, disabled, or are in a family with children under the age of 18 you may be eligible for Medicaid. Call the Iowa Department of Human Services at 515-281-8621 for more information about Medicaid.

Question: Is there a certain amount of time under Iowa law that a claim must be paid?

Answer: There is no law to this effect; however, we feel that a company should act within a reasonable amount of time of 30 days. If you are experiencing unusual delays, please file a complaint with our division.

Question: What If I Want To File A Complaint Against An Insurance Company?

Answer: To file a complaint write to the Market Regulation Bureau, Iowa Insurance Division, 330 Maple St. Des Moines, IA 50319. Your complaint should specify the insurance company's name, policy number, name of insured and if known, the name of the agent. A statement outlining the problem should accompany the above information.

Question: What Is A Premium And How Is It Calculated?

Answer: A premium is the payment you make on the life insurance policy payable monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. Premiums are calculated based on the age, sex and health of the person who is insured by the policy. The younger you are, the lower the premium. With Straight Life Insurance your premiums usually remain the same from year to year. With Universal Life Insurance, you can raise or lower your premiums. Term insurance policy premiums increase upon renewal.

Question: What Is Life Insurance ?

Answer: Life Insurance is a contract to pay benefits upon the death of a person. A life insurance policy is the contract between an insurance company and the person who is the owner of the policy.

Question: What Is The Most Common Type Of Life Insurance?

Answer: The most common type of life insurance is called Straight Life Insurance. It is also commonly called Ordinary or Whole Life Insurance. This type of life insurance has two elements: A death benefit paid to a specific person (beneficiary) and cash value that grows over time.

Question: What Steps Should I Consider In Buying A Life Insurance Policy?

Answer:  First, decide if you really need life insurance. Make sure the insurance company is licensed to do business in your state. Determine the type of policy and the benefits which would meet your needs. Shop around by comparing premiums, and costs of insurance of several policies from several companies. Calculate that the premiums paid do not exceed the death benefit within the first ten years of the policy. Lastly, never feel pressured into buying life insurance.

Question: What Types Of Life Insurance Can I Purchase?

Answer: There are three types of life insurance:

  • Straight / Ordinary / Whole Life - All describe a life insurance plan that includes a death benefit, cash value and a fixed premium.
  • Universal Life - Life insurance death benefits with cash value based on variable interest rates and premiums that can be flexible.
  • Term Life - Life insurance for a specified time (usually one year) with a death benefit, no cash value and premiums that increase upon renewal.
Question: Who Can Be Covered By A Life Insurance Policy?

Answer: A life insurance policy can be taken out to cover a family member or a person with whom you share a pecuniary interest, such as a business partner.

Question: Why Choose Term Life Insurance?

Answer: Term Life Insurance is useful to a person who desires only death benefits. Premiums for this type of insurance are lower because there is no cash value build up. Term Life Insurance pays a lump sum upon the death of the person insured under the policy. No dividends or very small dividends are given on Term Life Insurance, and some companies have age restrictions on this type of policy.

Question: Why Choose Universal Life Insurance?

Answer: Universal Life has premiums which the policyholder can vary (within limits), cash values which grow at an interest rate which the company can change from time to time and death benefits. You may also borrow against the cash value of your policy.

Question: Why Purchase A Life Insurance Policy?

Answer:  Life insurance can be used as a type of protection to cover living and/or child care expenses or income protection in case the bread winner in a family dies. It can also be a type of security for paying final expenses and bills for older adults or to assure education expenses may be met. Life insurance can also be used to leave an inheritance for their loved ones or favorite institution.

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