Health Insurance 101 For Individuals And Families
The changing healthcare and health insurance landscape in the United States has resulted in more individuals and families purchasing health insurance coverage on their own. Rather than touch on the number of reasons why this is the case, I would like to provide individuals and families finding themselves in this position with ten basic ideas to assist them with getting the best health insurance policy for their specific situation. Below is a combination of ten questions and suggestions that will provide the tools necessary to get a medical insurance policy that will best work for you and your family.
1)What are your typical health and medical care expenses in a calendar year? Most people are surprised when they go through this exercise to learn that they would be financially better off in most years to purchase a high deductible health insurance plan and use the premium savings to directly offset heath care expenses throughout the year.
2)How long do you anticipate needing the health insurance coverage? For example, many companies sell temporary policies that can be put in force for 1-6 months and they are relatively inexpensive. If you are in between jobs or in a waiting period for employer coverage, this may be your best option.
3)What is your budget? If your budget is tight, having a $1000, $2500 or even $5000 deductible is better than having no coverage at all. The ability of doctors and hospitals to save and prolong life in the United States is in many cases extraordinary. However, their treatment is not free and going without health insurance coverage can in some cases result in you and/or your family losing an entire life's worth of savings and assets.
4)Be careful to choose a plan that covers the "big stuff". It is nice to have a policy that covers items such as: physician office visits, routine physicals, outpatient testing, and blood work. However, it is essential to have coverage for major services such as cancer treatment, transplants, critical illness, traumatic accidents, and infectious diseases. Find out the lifetime maximum amount as well as if the policy contains "internal" dollar limits.
5)Always carefully read and understand the pre-existing condition clause and policy exclusions so that you will not be surprised down the road if a claim is denied. This is important whether you are purchasing a standard medical, temporary, or student health insurance policy.
6)Does the insurance company you are considering have a substantial network of preferred doctors and hospitals in your area? In addition to family doctors, what type of access will you have to specialists and the best hospitals in the event you or a family member is diagnosed with an illness that requires specialized care? Also, what are your options for preferred health care providers when traveling?
7)If you need to go "out of network", will you still have coverage? Most insurance policies will have coverage in the event you need to go outside of their network for care. However, review how these out of network claims will be paid. Will there be an additional deductible? How are reimbursement levels determined for out of network claims? What is your maximum out of pocket for out of network claims?
8)Are you looking for an opportunity to reduce your taxable income? If so, make sure your plan qualifies as a high deductible health plan and look into all of the aspects of a Health Savings Account. In the right situation, HSAs can be an excellent way to pay for eligible health care expenses, reduce your taxable income and save for retirement.
9)What are the financial ratings of the insurance company you are considering? A.M. Best, Standard & Poor's, and Moody's are organizations that rate the financial stability of insurance companies.
10)What type of customer service will you get from your insurance agent? Do they specialize in health insurance? Do they have a staff that is willing and able to assist you in the event you have a claim, billing, or other customer service problem?
If you do not have the time or patience to look into all of the items mentioned above, develop a relationship with an independent insurance agent that specializes in evaluating and servicing health insurance policies. A good independent insurance agent will be able to save you time, money, and be an excellent resource for evaluating all of the items mentioned above.
Michael Ertel is the founder of http://www.MedicalInsuranceNow.com . This is a website that assists individuals and small business owners by providing side by side comparisons of health insurance alternatives. He can be reached at MErtel@medicalinsurancenow.com .
Global Warming: Why Consumers And Insurers Are Getting Hot Under The Collar Over Life Insurance.
Global warming may have been lurking on our horizon for a number of years and historical records of terrorists have existed for thousands of years, but we are coming into a new age where we try and financially protect ourselves against such problems and if we're honest ? we're struggling.The recent terrorism attacks in London brought home the fragility of human life to many Brits, who had previously been able to distance themselves from terrorist activity. For the partners and offspring of city workers, the fragility of their finances also became apparent with the potential loss of a loved one alongside the loss of future income and possibly the family home.It is widely agreed that most life insurance policies should cover acts of terrorism, though most websites (including the Association of British Insurers) ...(related: Insurance)
An Introduction To Uk Home Insurance
Unlike motor cover, home insurance is not a legal requirement in the UK. It is, however, a vital precaution aga...(related: Insurance)
What Is Travel Insurance?
Travel Insurance is designed to protect your health, belongings, and your financial investment in your trip. It provides peace of mind for you and your family while on your vacation.If you are travelling abroad, be it on business or pleasure it is a good idea to consider taking out travel insurance. Whilst it is not compulsory, most travel companies and tour operators usually insist on some form of insurance as a stipulation of their holiday product.Travel insurance is an insurance product specifically designed to cover you when travelling abroad. We all think about the small things when considering whether to purchase travel insurance, such as loss of money or having luggage stolen. However there are many other factors to consider such as illness & accidents which can also be ...(related: Insurance)
Affordable Insurance Quotes To Save You Money!
Whether you're looking for insurance quotes for auto, life, travel or health you can find some great rates on the internet. Insurance quotes coverage can provide peace of mind and also financial coverage in the event that something untoward happens.Originally health insurance in the United States took the form of a voluntary program. Such programs date from about 1850, when health insurance was provided chiefly by cooperative mutual benefit and fraternal beneficiary associations. Insurance quotes can now be obtained online from the internet.Insurance quotes for life insurance, originally con...(related: Insurance)
Student Health Insurance - Is It Necessary?
As a young, healthy college student, it might be tempting to forgo the expense of health insurance. After all, you're young, you're careful and you're not sick. You don't real...(related: Insurance)
What Is Health Insurance?
What is health insurance and why do I need it? Health insurance protects you and your family from a financial hardship due to medical expenses in the untimely event tha...(related: Insurance)
Hidden Ways To Cut Car Insurance
Consumers are countering rising gasoline prices and other vehicle operating costs by capitalizing on lower auto insurance rates, according to leading insurers.Auto policy costs and regulations vary significantly from state to state, but there are a number of areas that consumers are able to...(related: Insurance)
Medical Insurance - Health Insurance Coverage & Plans Explained
If you're trying to decide between health insurance plans, you'll find that there are several different kinds from which to choose. It's important that you weigh ...(related: Insurance)
Useful Tips On Reducing Insurance Costs
Most people want lower insurance costs but are often too lazy to do anything about it. All it takes is a little time and effort and you could be looking at a reduced insurance premium.Here are some useful tips on reducing insurance costs:Shop AroundAlthough it may sound an obvious thing to do, you will be surprised at how many people just renew their policy without comparing prices. It'll take some time, but could save you a good sum of money.Check consumer guides, insurance agents and online insurance quote services. Ask friends what they are paying for their policies. This will give you an idea of price ranges and tell you which companies have the lowest prices. But don't cons...(related: Insurance)