Health Insurance for Every Need

In the United States, there are about five different types of health insurance available: traditional health insurance; preferred provider organizations or PPOs; point-of-service plans or POS; health management organizations or HMOs; and most recently, health savings accounts or HSAs. With so many types of health insurance, it may be confusing trying to figure out which one best fits your needs, so thoroughly research each and speak with a professional if you need clarification.

Traditional health insurance is the one that most people think of when they think of health insurance. You pay the insurance company a premium every month, and if you have an accident or need for health coverage, you have a deductible amount you must pay and then the insurance company picks up the rest of the bill. You often have an inexpensive office and/or prescription co-pay with traditional health insurance.

With people living longer, health insurance companies began to look for more ways to reduce their costs, developing different health plans such as PPOs. PPOs are plans which will cover nearly all of your medical expenses as long as you stay within a preferred network of physicians or hospitals. This network creates a “preferred provider” list that you can choose from. Treatment outside this network of providers is covered but only at a reduced rate, meaning you end up paying more to see a physician outside the network. By limiting the physicians and hospitals covered in their network, the insurance company can control, to an extent, their costs and lower your premiums. POS plans work like PPOs, but require you to have a primary care physician through whom you can receive referrals for specialists. If you need to see a neurologist or a dermatologist, you must first visit your primary care physician for an initial diagnosis in order to receive a referral to a specialist for a more thorough diagnosis. POS plans also have a preferred provider network, and if you choose to visit a specialist or physician outside that network, your coverage will be limited.

HMOs combine a stricter version of PPOs and POS plans. HMOs have a defined list of physicians, often much smaller than PPO networks, which you may see. You will not be covered at all if you see a physician outside your HMO network. Furthermore, you must also get a referral from your primary care HMO physician to see any specialist. However, these restrictions mean that you pay an extra low or no monthly premium.

HSAs were recently signed into law by President Bush. You can deposit money into a special non-taxed, interest-gaining savings account that must be used for medical expenses. The ideal situation for an HSA is to combine the account with a low-cost, high-deductible insurance plan. The savings account is designed to allow you to cover the high deductible if you find the need to cover expensive medical costs while the insurance company will pick up the rest of the bill.

Again, it is important to carefully consider each option before choosing a single health insurance plan. Your health is important-make sure it is protected in the best way possible.

Obtaining Health Insurance

Many people are often concerned about obtaining health insurance. They are confused about their options or about how to obtain the best health insurance for them or their family. There are several ways to obtain health insurance, though, and some of them are not always obvious, but can be quite easy in the end.

Health insurance is commonly obtained through an employer. Nearly all employers these days offer some sort of “group” health insurance plan for employees. The term “group” simply denotes that there is a large group of people on the plan, which decreases the cost of the monthly premium for all members. These plans can cover yourself, your spouse, and your family, depending on the specific policy. Covering more than just yourself obviously increases your monthly premium, but the ability to cover your family inexpensively is a huge benefit. To obtain group health insurance through your employer, you should contact your human resources department or whoever is in charge of benefits in your company. You should be able to buy into the group health insurance plan at any time during your employment.

If you leave an employer who offers group health insurance without first finding other coverage, you can also use the COBRA law with your previous employer’s health insurance coverage. COBRA is a government act that allows you to continue coverage under your previous employer, though at a more expensive rate. If you had coverage for your entire family, COBRA will allow you to continue this full coverage for a certain period of time.

There are several million people in the United States who are unable to participate in any group health insurance plans, however. Health insurance companies do offer individual plans for those who do not have coverage through their employer, are self-employed, or are ineligible for government health insurance assistance, such as Medicare or Medicaid. Individual health insurance plans are more often than not very expensive in relation to group health insurance plans. These plans can also cover family members and spouses for additional costs. Finding individual health plans is not difficult. Almost all health insurance companies offer individual plans; you can now search online for individual health insurance plans. Some Web sites even allow you to compare pricing and details of plans offered in your area – much like shopping for car insurance.

There is also federal health assistance available depending on certain criteria. If you are over the age of 65 or if you have a disability or specific condition (detailed by the government), you are eligible for Medicare. Medicaid is another government health insurance program that is based on income. Overall, it is simply important to be covered, no matter how you go about doing it. Research your options of coverage and speak with a professional to find out more about the health insurance options available to you.

Advantages to Managed Care Plans

There are many different types of Health insurance plans out there. Picking the right one for yourself can be troublesome in the beginning, especially if you don’t know what you are looking for. You might have trouble deciding which one would be better for you.

Health insurance is divided into two large categories-indemnity and managed care plans. Indemnity plans, also commonly called reimbursement plans, will reimburse your medical expenses up to a certain limit. Under the Reimbursement plan, the insurer pays a percentage of the total charges, regardless of how much the charges are. With the indemnity plan, the insurer will pay a specified amount every day for a specified number of days. The amount reimbursed does not rely on the cost of medical care, but what you are reimbursed will never exceed your expenses.

The other popular type of health insurance plans is managed care plans. The three types of policies categorized as managed care plans are HMOs, POSs, and PPOs. This type of insurance is more popular than the indemnity plan, as they offer more flexibility. With these types of options you either pay a monthly fee no matter how many times you see a doctor, or pay a co-payment but no monthly fee. With managed care plans, you are given options of care. The plan you choose and the amount of money you wish to pay determines how big of a network of doctors and specialists you can see and still be covered under the plan. Some managed car plans (most often PPOs) offer sponsorship programs from a network of hospitals and medical services. You can often get this kind of plan through your employer.

Managed healthcare plans are better for the average person due to the fact that they are more cost effective. While indemnity plans may give you a lot more freedom in cost, you will have to use the healthcare provider that the insurer chooses. If you have a specific disability, this can present itself as a problem. In the long run, a managed care plan will save you money, especially if emergencies arise when you are out of town. These types of plans also are more flexible in policy. Before you purchase any kind of health insurance, be sure to research the many options available for you and your family to ensure you receive the best coverage possible for the lowest monthly premium or deductible.

Information Sources on Health Insurance

Health insurance can be confusing, especially if it is your first time shopping around with different providers. Terms such as deductible, co-payments, and pre-existing conditions can be confusing if you do not know what they really mean. There are many ways to find out more about health insurance so that you are as knowledgeable as possible. You could talk to a health insurance company who can give you an explanation and also an example to further your understanding. The Internet is also a great informational tool when you have any questions regarding information that you need to know about health insurance.

Logically, you would assume that the experts at the insurance company would be able to answer any questions that you have about terminology and any other queries that you have. The best way to get in touch with them is to simply call your provider and ask any questions that you have, no matter how general or specific. They are there to help you, and this should be your primary concern. Think about it-if an agent isn’t helpful with your preliminary questions, just how helpful will he or she be if you need to settle a claim? If you get your health insurance through the company that you work for, there is usually a person in charge of handling any questions. Usually their title is “benefits administrator” and you would go to them with any questions regarding your health insurance plan, such as adding a spouse or children to your plan.

For answers to general questions such as terminology confusion, an Internet search engine can point you straight to your answer. This is a great options available to anyone who does not want to call their health insurance company just for a couple of simple questions. There may be information that you had overlooked in the past when you quickly skimmed through your policy. Your specific provider may have a web site where you can get facts about anything, including anything that you may not have been clear on regarding any additional benefits they offer. You can read all of the literature available at your own pace and on your own time.

If you would like to know more about health insurance, rest assured that there is a lot of information out there. You could make a call to your current provider and ask away on any questions that you have. For those who would prefer to learn the ins-and-outs of insurance at their own pace, the Internet has limitless information that is available to you at any time of day. Health insurance can be complicated at first, but the more you know the better off you will be.