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FIVE SMART REASONS TO BUY PET INSURANCE

(NEA Member Benefits provides a discount program for this insurance!)

One of our best health allies is often just a tail wag or purr away. They bring us back from the brink of tears, join in when we feel like cheering and possess uncanny abilities to tame our daily stress.

It goes without saying that we embrace dogs, cats and other companion animals as full-fledged family members. Many of us scrutinize pet food labels to pick healthy choices, scour the pet supply store for just the right bed and delight in treating them to oodles of toys. Yet, according to the latest American Pet Products Association’s Pet Owners Survey, only 4% of dog owners and 1% of cat owners carry pet insurance policies.

 

“It’s puzzling why we are a nation so in love with our pets, yet so slow to embrace the concept of pet insurance,” says Kristen Lynch, executive director of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), the consortium representing the voice for this pet industry.

But when a pet medical emergency strikes, just how financially prepared are you? Carrie Powers, a school guidance counselor from Burke, VA, had to coax her husband, Bill, into agreeing to purchase a Pets Best Insurance plan when they adopted a Shih Tzu puppy they named Cooper nearly 6 years ago. In February, their always-energetic dog sat frozen in the driveway, unable to move. Veterinarians at the emergency clinic diagnosed a ruptured disc in Cooper’s vertebrae. He required life-saving surgery that night and extensive post-surgical care that lasted several weeks.

The bill totaled $6,913. Within 3 days, Pets Best reimbursed the Coopers $5,476.

“No one is ready for a $7,000 pet emergency bill,” says Bill Cooper. “We got Cooper after a failed adoption. To say he is spoiled is an understatement. But Pets Best came through and I’m happy to say Cooper is back to his old playful self.”

 

Jack Stephens, DVM, who founded the pet insurance industry in the United States nearly 30 years ago and now heads Pets Best, offers these reasons why buying pet insurance is a smart move:

  • Allows you to pick your veterinarian. Unlike human health insurance policies that may require you to use a specific health care provider, pet insurance policies allow you to obtain care from the veterinarian of your choosing. You simply provide the veterinary bill to the insurance company for reimbursement of qualified expenses.
  • Does not discriminate against any breed or age of pet. While it is advisable to obtain pet insurance as soon as you adopt your pet to obtain lower premiums, you can also insure your pet years later.
  • Delivers peace of mind. Having pet insurance allows you to choose treatments for your ailing or injured pet based on the best medical option available and not restricted based on family finances. Most pet insurance policies reimburse up to 80% of costs after deductibles.
  • Provides an easy way to budget pet care costs. Pet insurance policies can be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. You decide which payment plan works best for you. Most plans offer discounts for additional pets in the household.
  • Prevents dipping into the family’s emergency fund. True, you can set up a pet savings account, but it can be tough to discipline one’s self from dipping into this designated account when you face pricey car repairs, household renovations or other major unexpected expenses.

And, most important, pet insurance coverage could save—and extend—the life of your pet by enabling you to authorize the medical treatment your pet needs should he develop cancer or require surgery, as was the case with Cooper.

“I admit I was skeptical about getting pet insurance at first,” says Bill Cooper. “Our premiums are $34 a month and we never really had to use it until this year when Cooper ruptured his disc. He means the world to us. I tell my pet-loving friends that you wouldn’t think of not insuring yourself or your child. Cooper is the first pet for both of us and he has become our kid.”

 

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FIVE KEYS TO KEEPING YOUR DATA SECURE

Protect yourself from would-be identity thieves.

By Lisa Gerstner

Chances are, you may have been swindled at some point in your life, or you know someone who has. Nearly half of consumers surveyed recently by Stanford University’s Center on Longevity and the Finra Investor Education Foundation reported being a victim of financial fraud in the previous year—a far higher tally than earlier surveys indicated. No socioeconomic or demographic group is immune. “Men and women, college students and retirees, rich and poor—all are potential targets,” the report’s authors found. Nearly 40% of victims never told anyone about the fraud.

 

Estimates are problematic, but Americans are thought to lose some $50 billion a year to financial scams. And there are indirect costs: bounced checks, late fees, trouble meeting monthly expenses and even bankruptcy. So, it’s not surprising that the emotional cost of fraud is also high, with 50% of victims reporting severe stress and more than one-third citing depression. The toll is compounded for senior victims, who have little time to make up for lost resources. “When elderly people lose their life savings, they lose hope,” says Ricky Locklar, an investment fraud investigator at the Alabama Securities Commission. “To me, those crimes are worse than someone robbing the corner drugstore at gunpoint.”

Here’s how to keep your data secure:

  1. Play it safe at the ATM. Cover the keyboard with your hand when you enter your PIN—a camera may be recording your keystrokes, which thieves can later match with your payment-card data.
  2. Check bank and credit card accounts. At least once a week, look for suspicious charges. Sign up to receive alerts when your bank account balance falls below a threshold you specify, say, or when a charge higher than a certain amount goes through on your card.
  3. Head off ID thieves. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to get free yearly reports from each of the three major credit bureaus. Check for accounts you don’t recognize and other red flags. Or enroll in a service that monitors your credit reports. If you’re worried about a breach, consider placing a freeze on your reports with each bureau. New creditors will be unable to view them, minimizing the chances that thieves will be able to open new credit accounts in your name.
  4. Watch for tax and medical ID theft. Fight tax ID theft by filing your tax return as early as possible. Doing so may block any thieves who want to use your Social Security number to file a return in your name and collect a refund. Signs of medical ID theft include treatments or services you never used appearing on bills or explanations of benefits.
  5. Don’t fall for phishing expeditions. Be on guard for phone calls or e-mails from fraudsters posing as representatives from your bank, the IRS or other entities. If you’re unsure of an e-mail or text message, don’t click on links within it, which could install malware on your device or lead to a scam website.

© 2018 The Kiplinger Washington Editors

Brought to you by NEA Member Benefits.

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Here are some related links on the NEA Member Benefits website that help with this topic:

Disney Tickets at work

PLANNING FOR SPRING BREAK? – MAJOR DISNEY WORLD SAVINGS!!

Experience the magic of Walt Disney World® Resort with this limited time offer from TicketsatWork.com. Buy a 5 Day Park Hopper® or Park Hopper Plus® ticket, and get 2 days FREE! Stay for an entire week!

By selecting the Park Hopper® or Park Hopper Plus® ticket option, enjoy more than one Theme Park per day. With so much to see and do at the Walt Disney World® Resort, you’ll love the ability to come and go from Theme Park to Theme Park on the same day. In addition, your ticket includes MyMagic+ and Disney FASTPASS® service, which allows guests to reserve access to select Disney FASTPASS® attractions and entertainment experiences before you even leave home.

 

Want to take advantage of this offer for this summer?  Go for it.

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Through TicketsatWork.com you receive discounts and special access to theme parks and attractions.  Besides Disney Word:  Universal Studios, Las Vegas and New York City shows and performances, Disneyland, SeaWorld, Six Flags and Cirque de Soleil.  Also save on sporting events and other special events.

 

TicketsatWork.com is a benefit offered by IEA Member Benefits.  To take advantage:  Go to www.TicketsatWork.com.  Click on the “Become a Member” box at the top of the homepage.  You will then be prompted to create a username and password, and enter the IEA code.  (call IEA Member benefits to get the code – 208-344-8336; 1-800-223-6583.)  Once enrolled you will have access to discounts on theme parks and attractions nationwide!

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CALIFORNIA CASUALTY – GREAT AUTO/HOME INSURANCE – PLUS ADDED FEATURES

California Casualty, an NEA Member Benefits National Auto and Home Insurance Program, has been a business partner with IEA Member Benefits since 1988.  Currently there are over 2,000 IEA member policies in force with the company.

Not only is California Casualty a great company with very competitive premium rates, but they offer other added benefits as well.  Examples:

 

·         When you switch from your current company the chances are very good that you will see a premium savings (California Casualty insures only the best population risks:  educators, first responders, etc.)

·         Premium rates are locked in for a full year, even if you have a claim.

·         Pay zero deductible for vandalism or hit and run damage to your car while parked within 500 feet of your school.

·         Skip-a-payment option – allows a two-month premium payment deferment – perfect for summer months.

·         Free identity theft protection – monitoring and resolution services.

·         Get a refund of unused premiums from your current insurance company.

·         You are covered in any car – your own, a rental, or a borrowed vehicle.

·         Towing and roadside assistance are available for a small additional fee.

·         California Casualty enjoys a 99% customer satisfaction on claims with 24/7 claims service and 100% USA based agents.

 

IEA Members give high marks for their relationship with California Casualty.  For a quote call 1-866-531-2605.

From the IEA Executive Director

"I feel that being an IEA member is a professional right and responsibility. Partnering with MBC just makes your membership an even more valuable resource."

Sue (Scott) Wigdorski
Idaho Education Association
Executive Director

From the IEA President

“The IEA is the voice for public education in Idaho, the leader in professional development opportunities, and the greatest source for support for the education profession. Having access to discounts from an array of vendors through Member Benefits is an added bonus for members!”

Kari Overall
President
Idaho Education Association

Contact Info

208.344.8336 / 800.223.6583  
ieamemberbenefits.org
iea-mbc@idahoea.org

IEA Member Benefits Corporation
620 N 6th Street - Boise Idaho 83702

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