Monday Afternoon Link Potpourri

Monday, April 27, 2015
Some interesting items for your consideration:

■ "Nearly a fifth of the National Football League settlement approved this week compensating former players with head injuries could go to their health insurers instead"

Briefly, the NFL settled a players-filed lawsuit asking for compensation for life-altering head injures. The problem is, most of the costs associated with treating those injuries were borne by the players' health insurers. Under the concept of subrogation (a common feature in health, auto and other indemnity-based insurance products), the players waived their rights to any amounts rewarded that could go towards reimbursing those carriers. It's not really "news" except that most people haven't read their policies, and are unfamiliar with the principle.

■ Next up, this helpful info courtesy of FoIB Jeff M:

"COBRA considerations when Medicare-eligible. Clients may not realize the need to combine them."

A lot of folks who've recently retired (voluntarily or otherwise) opt for COBRA continuation of their previous coverage, since that's often the path of least resistance. But that may, in fact, be disastrous:

"With rare exceptions, COBRA coverage is secondary to Medicare Parts A and B ... The result is that when Medicare-eligible individuals do not have Medicare Parts A or B, they are left to pay 80% of their costs out of their own pocket."

And that's not all:

"Medicare has a window of opportunity to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B that lasts eight months after leaving employment."

Miss that special enrollment opportunity and you're facing a lifetime of fines once you do manage to sign up, which could also be a while.

Good info here.

■ Finally, some news on the viatical front:

"In 2013, the top 15 life settlement providers paid more than $362 million for unwanted life insurance policies."

That "investment" was worth a potential $2.2 billion in death benefits. It's also a major (29%) increase over the previous year. But what's driving this thriving [ed: really?] market?

According to the article, it's a rebounding economy, with institutional investors looking for better returns. I'm not convinced: it seems to me that more and more middle class folks, still hurting in a reduced labor market, are looking for ways to raise capital quickly, and what better way than to sell off unwanted (or unaffordable) policies, raising quick cash and easing the budget?