Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Baby Insurance

Note: Make sure you read Cari's comment below!

Today I watched a documentary on "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room."  It was totally fascinating.  Anyway, the basic theme of the show was "If it seems too good to be true, it is."  This got me to thinking about our Aflac Insurance policy-- "Baby Insurance" as we called it, and I decided to use my Tuesday post to tell you all about it.  At first, it seemed "too good to be true."

Our good friends Tim and Mindy Boyd clued us in to the world of Aflac.   Tim and Mindy had heard about it while visiting family in Iowa (a short 15-20 min drive from Omaha) and had a referral in Iowa and signed the papers in Iowa.  So, when we decided that we wanted to "start trying" we talked to Tim and Mindy and took their referral.  So we called this lady and met her at the classy classy establishment of Mall of the Bluffs in Iowa.  We met with the agent, who confirmed what Tim and Mindy said-- that we pay for this insurance, approximately $100 a month, and when we have a baby it pays out on Mom and Baby-- about $6500.  Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?!?

We had some serious questions.  First, we were worried that we were doing something unethical by signing the papers in Iowa.  Seemed kinda sketchy.  We were super up-front that we live and work in Omaha, NEBRASKA.  We double checked that the agent made this very clear on our paperwork, which she did.  Plus, she reminded us that she is only licensed in Iowa.  Finally, we _think_ that Iowa had a shorter waiting period, but we can't remember.  Honestly, the reason we signed the papers in Iowa is because that is where we had a referral for an agent who our friends trusted.

I remember walking back to our car thinking... "are we throwing money down the drain.  It's too good to be true."  We did ask the agent, if this is all true, how in the world does Aflac make money.  She said that this policy is typically sold to commercial customers, like construction companies.  That made sense to us.  We kinda high-fived each other in the car and took a deep breath-- we had "baby insurance."  We were taking a very REAL step toward having a family.  I can't remember, but I'll bet we beamed all the way home :)

Here are a few things I want to note:

* You can't be pregnant when you take out the policy.  If you are, it will be kicked out in underwriting.  And I think you have to have the policy for 10 months before getting maximum benefit, meaning you need to wait a month before getting pregnant.  I THINK this is the case.  This probably changes state by state so you need to ask about this if you decide to do it.

* We actually took out two policies: Hospital and Sickness.  Again, combined, they cost about $100 a month.  Our payout was about $6500, cash.  This is totally unrelated to your health insurance and does not affect your taxes.  We had great health insurance and used this money to pay our out of pocket portions.

* Obviously, you "make" more money the "quicker" you get pregnant.  If you pay on the policy for 2 years while you try to get pregnant, you have already spent $2400 of your "profit" in premiums.  (But if you do the math, you still "make" $4100.  Still not bad.)  However, note that you do take quite a risk if it takes you a long time to get pregnant, or if you go through a series of miscarriages, etc.  This is part of why insurance companies still make money.

* You will want to double check in the state that you get your policy-- first check on the waiting period and second, check on IF the policy covers BOTH Mom and Baby.  If it only covers Mom, it is still a good deal, but not nearly the "deal" we got-- it would be about half the payout.  Our agent told us that Aflac was considering "closing this gap" in several states, so double check.  We have heard nothing of this happening, so we're hopeful.

* Be totally honest with your Aflac agent.  You don't have to try and "hide" what you want this policy for.  You are not breaking any rules, so ask all these questions and don't "beat around the bush" so to speak.  Be upfront, be prepared.

* Claiming the money through Aflac was a total breeze.  It took us a little longer because I didn't send in paperwork for both me and Dekker (my mistake).  It was so easy it was almost scary.  It did require a doctors signature but that was about it.  We were prepared and had the sheet (which we printed off the internet) in the hospital for the doctor to sign.

In the end, we got the policy and got pregnant quickly.  It was almost perfect.  Then we miscarried and since I miscarried within the first 3 months of having the policy (this was the wait period... I could get pregnant in the first 3 months but they wouldn't cover any expenses during that time) it didn't cover anything.  We also got five $25 doctor visit reimbursements and we did turn those in during that time.  We were lucky to get pregnant after our miscarriage as soon as we did.  In the end, we paid for the policy for about 14 months-- $1400.  We paid for it a few months after we had Dekker until all the paperwork was filed and our money was in.  We didn't have to do this, but we did anyway.

We didn't tell almost anyone about this.  The few people that we did gave us a look like "You're getting scammed" and honestly, we weren't 100% sure it would work out like we hoped-- just seemed too easy.  But it did!  We'll do our homework, and I would guess that we will do it again-- it's totally legit.  It totally paid for our deductible!!  We also paid ourselves back for the money we spent on it monthly, and after both those things we still "made" money to help pay for my maternity leave from work.

We have told several friends about this, all who thought it fell into the "too good to be true" realm and ducked out, only to find out that we made $6500 when we had Dekker. ("It worked?")  We also have several friends who thought it would be too much hassle but I assure you, that is not the case.  It's almost too easy.  Meeting with the agent and signing the papers took about one hour.  We have about four friends who actually took out the policy and all who enjoyed a debt free baby!

So do your homework and consider if this might be a good option for you and your family.  Don't take my word-- I don't want any nasty grams in 9 months because you didn't read the fine print!  A lot could have changed since we had Dekker.  Ask questions, research your options, but don't count it out.  Sooooo glad that we didn't.

On the journey,



  1. A lot has changed, unfortunately - Iowa no longer has these policies in a "direct" fashion; you can only sign up for them through your employer via payroll. AND they no longer pay on mom & baby, just mom. So you can sign up in Nebraska now, but Nebraska only pays on mom too, since the mom & baby thing was actually just an Iowa loophole somehow. Nebraska will let you buy these policies 'direct' without going through your employer. But if you do that, you'll miss out on several riders that just expired via direct, but that can still be purchased going through an employer. And the waiting period before getting pregnant is just 30 days. I think that covers what's changed. The payout for direct policies (i.e. not through an employer) might not be worth what you'd pay for the policy at this point, depending on how long you pay for the policy before having the baby, since you're not getting a payout on the baby or the riders. But probably still worth checking into!

  2. Booo! This is making me laugh a little, but I am honestly not surprised. It was _such_ a good deal. Do you have any idea, Cari, how much the Nebraska "direct" plan would pay out on Mom? I tried to get Short Term Disability through Aflac also before Dekker and that is only through employers, too. So I'm not surprised this is the direction they are going. Bum news though. I think we would still do it, even if the payout was much smaller. Well, I don't know, I guess that depends how much smaller! Thanks so much for this info.

  3. The payouts always depend on what "level" of each plan you sign up for. I think there are three levels and sometimes you get more than one plan, like you said you guys did. I have a couple Aflac contacts for those that are interested. Specific figures can be tricky, so I hesitate to say for sure, but I think the payout is probably about half to a third of what you guys got. It's significantly less without the payout on the child & those riders. And the cost has risen a bit, too. So that's why it might not be worth it, depending on how long you pay into it before it pays out. The Aflac agent we spoke to in Council Bluffs said Iowa was losing a lot of money on these plans in the past, which is why they made the changes. And then I think Nebraska was too, which is why they got rid of the riders on the direct policies, which just took affect today. But it can still be worth looking into, especially through an employer! And it isn't hard to get an employer to sign up for payroll accounts either. It doesn't cost them anything & the paperwork is really easy.