Louisiana Department of Insurance Consumer Alert LDI Website James J. Donelon Follow us on Twitter Become a Fan on Facebook
Volume 4, Issue 7
Health Fair
Date: July 27, 2013
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Mount Canaan Baptist Church
5820 Evangeline St., Baton Rouge, LA 70805

Mid Delta Home Health Training
Date: July 31, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: Concordia Parish Library
1609 3rd St., Ferriday, LA 71334

To find out if Consumer Advocacy will be in your area or to request a speaker for your organization or group, call (225) 219-0619 or send an email to
consumeradvocacy@ldi.state.la.us

If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter please send an email to the following address with "REMOVE" in the subject line.
public@ldi.la.gov

Health Insurance Hurricane Preparedness

Last month we told you why it’s important to review your health insurance policy before hurricane season, but there are also several things you should do when a storm is approaching and after a storm with regards to your health insurance.

When a storm is approaching, first find out from your insurance company about filling prescriptions ahead of time or in the event that you are displaced. Try to have at least a one-month supply of all medications on hand. Ask your doctor if he or she will give you a written prescription for any important medications you may need to fill away from home such as insulin or heart medications. If you have online accounts for your insurance policy and pharmacy, keep a hard copy of your log-in and password information on hand so that you are able to access it from anywhere. Also ensure that your first aid kit is fully stocked with anything you may need in the event of an evacuation.

If anyone is dependent on life supporting devices such as oxygen or dialysis they must evacuate. Have the name and phone number of your medical supply company on hand and, if possible, make arrangements with them ahead of time to assure you have adequate supplies.

After a storm has passed there are also a few things you need to remember. If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), remember to save any medical or prescription receipts to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.  Be sure to let your health insurance company know if you will be away from home for a period of time and ask them for a list of preferred hospitals and medical providers in the area in which you are staying.

If you are in an area with standing floodwaters after a storm, avoid direct contact including drinking. Also, do not use floodwater to wash and prepare food, brush your teeth, wash dishes or make ice. For these tasks, use water that has been declared safe by local or state authorities or bottled water. Residents under a boil water notice should bring water to a rolling boil for one minute. Pregnant women and infants should not use boiled water. Instead use bottled water for these individuals. While floodwaters are unlikely to trigger disease outbreaks, these are precautionary measures to ensure the safety of you and your family.

Foods that have come in contact with floodwaters, including canned goods, should be discarded. In the event of a power outage, refrigerated food is generally safe for two hours. Perishable, refrigerated foods, such as meat, dairy products and eggs, that have been without refrigeration for more than 2 hours must be discarded. If they are left closed, most freezers will keep food safe without power for 36 to 48 hours.

Don’t forget: It is also important to keep a document with important information with you at all time. This document should include your name, names of your family members with you, your contact information and an emergency contact or next of kin. It is also important to include health insurance information, list of medications you or anyone in your family is currently taking and a list of any known drug allergies.

Lastly, be aware. Scam artists are always looking for opportunities to take advantage of people- even during emergencies - so always be cautious of identity theft and do not give out personal information such as your social security and phone number.

Residents can get information about how to prepare for disasters online from the following agencies:

SHIIP - Who Are We?

The Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is a Louisiana Department of Insurance program that helps Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing Medicare process by providing free and unbiased information on the various coverage options, rights and benefits available to them. SHIIP enables senior citizens, people with disabilities, and their families to make wise decisions when it comes to their Medicare coverage, as well as provides information on programs that can help lower their drug costs.

To accomplish this goal, the SHIIP Volunteer Team provides Medicare counseling and assistance via telephone and face-to-face sessions, public education presentations, email correspondence and media activities in communities through the state. In 2012, SHIIP assisted 43,315 Medicare beneficiaries in Louisiana, helping them save $7,098,102 in medical expenses.

SHIIP is part of a national network of State Health Information Programs established by Congress in 1990 to assist Medicare beneficiaries in navigating the often confusing and increasingly complex healthcare system.

In an effort to spread the word about SHIIP, the Louisiana Department of Insurance has released a 30-minute educational video entitled “SHIIP- Lighting the Way to Medicare.” The video explains how Medicare beneficiaries can benefit from SHIIP services and walks through some of the basics of Medicare.

The video also provides information on how to become a SHIIP volunteer counselor. The SHIIP Volunteer Team was developed to increase the Louisiana Department of Insurance’s capacity to educate and counsel Medicare beneficiaries. SHIIP volunteers are computer-literate, tech savvy people who can serve their community as counselors, recruiters, educators, administrators or marketers.

The video can be viewed on the Louisiana Department of Insurance website home page at www.ldi.la.gov. To contact SHIIP counselors, or to learn how to become a volunteer, please call the LDI at 1-800-259-5300, or go to www.ldi.la.gov/SHIIP.

Setting Expectations and Limits for Teen Drivers

The ultimate goal when teenagers start driving is to ensure their safety and the safety of others. According to AAA, more teenage motor vehicle fatalities happen in summer months than any other time of year. Reports also show that one in five 16 year olds have an accident in their first year of driving. While teen driving statistics are troubling, research shows teens whose parents set rules are half as likely to get in an accident.

There are many factors that contribute to teen-driver crashes including inexperience, distracted driving, speeding and drug or alcohol uses. One way to help your teen become a safer driver is to talk openly about your expectations for when they’re behind the wheel.

  • Set a driving curfew. More than 40 percent of teen auto deaths occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Put a limit on the number of passengers allowed in your teen’s car. For teenagers, the relative risk of a fatal crash increases as the number of passengers increases.
  • Make the cell phone off limits while driving. Talking and texting on a cell phone can double the likelihood of an accident. Recently, Governor Bobby Jindal signed Act No. 62 into law which makes the use of all social media while driving illegal, not just texting.
  • Encourage your teen to exercise his or her rights as a passenger. Only 44 percent of teens say they would speak up if someone were driving in a way that scared them.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s designed a Teen Driving Contract which offers parents a customizable interface for creating an agreement that outlines rules and consequences associated with driving privileges. Users select from pre-written rules and associated consequences, including loss of driving privileges. Users also can write in their own rules prior to printing out a copy for signatures and easy reference. These safety measures may also help save money on auto insurance for teenage drivers.

There are other ways to lower insurance costs for teen drivers. First and foremost encourage teen drivers to keep his or her driving records free of accidents and moving violations for at least three years. Many companies grant discounts to “safe drivers.” Here are fewer other things you can do to lower insurance costs for teen drivers:

  • Enroll new drivers in a defensive driving course. Some companies offer discounts for completion.
  • Some companies may offer driver awareness programs, either online or with a smartphone app for young drivers. Ask your insurance agent or company if they use one of these programs.
  • Encourage teen drivers to keep their grades up. Many insurance companies offer discounts or preferred rates for teens at particular GPA levels.
  • Ask your insurance company about an “accident forgiveness” clause that guarantees premiums will not increase after one minor accident.
  • Consider a higher deductible and only allowing the teen to drive the family’s oldest, least expensive car. SUVs, convertibles and performance vehicles typically cost more to insure than other cars.

While education and preparation can help, accidents still happen. In the event of an auto accident, make sure everyone knows what steps to take to stay safe and protect their identity when exchanging information for a claim. The NAIC’s free WreckCheck app (available on the iPhone® and Android® operating systems) guides users through what to do — and not do — after an accident. The app helps drivers collect necessary information on the spot, then immediately emails a report to your home and your insurance agent.

For more information on ways to educate your teen on the insurance implications associated with teen driving visit the NAIC’s all-new Teen Driving 101 online hub which provides a variety of free resources on teen driving.

Office of Consumer AdvocacyP.O. Box 94214Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9214
(225) 219-0619 or (800)259-5300www.ldi.la.govconsumeradvocacy@ldi.la.gov