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Never be uninsured

Never be uninsured

You might feel that going for health insurance is an unnecessary expense when you are functioning on a tight budget. Remember, it will take only an emergency like a simple gall bladder surgery to change your perspective. You will then regret not having a policy as health care costs are so high. Go through the section below to know why you should NEVER be uninsured. It will also guide you on the kinds of health insurance available and posing the correct questions before deciding on a health plan.

It’s easy to make yourself believe that you don’t need health insurance until an emergency proves you wrong. By the time this awakens you rudely, you realize that you are paying much more than you would have if you had bought a health insurance policy. If you think that you do not have enough resources to afford a health insurance right now, think about the costs you have to incur if you are suddenly faced with a medical emergency. You cannot afford to go through life without a health insurance policy. This is especially true because there is a wide choice of plans you can chose from which will provide you with covers at a premium you can afford. This will prevent you facing a potentially threatening financial situation.

Kinds of insurance available

There is a wide selection of health plans you can opt for. Before you decide on the plan you would like to for, look at the particular benefits provided, how relevant they are to you, the amount of control you would like to have over your healthcare, the amount you can afford as premiums in a month, deductibles and copayments. Remember, while no plan will provide you coverage for all the costs that you incur, certain plans may pay more towards them. Of course, you have to pay more for more advantages.

If you want flexibilities in the choice of doctors, healthcare facilities and specialists, a traditional indemnity or fee for service plan might be just right for you. This type of plan usually charges an annual deductible before it starts paying for your medical cost. Once your deductibles have been paid, the company will usually pay for a certain percentage of the costs incurred for services covered. Of course, the costs have to fall under the ‘reasonable and customary’ parameters of the company. This percentage that the carrier will pay is generally 80% of the costs incurred. The share you pay, 20% in this case, is called coinsurance.

If the costs for your treatment go over and above what the company deems reasonable and customary, you may have to pay the difference in amounts plus the coinsurance. You may also have to foot the bills for annual checkups and other preventive care. But indemnity plans usually pay for prescriptions and medical tests. A less expensive option may be the fee for service plans.

You also get a wider choice of plans in managed care, each with its own costs and options. One of these types in managed care programs is the HMO or health maintenance organization. It charges you a monthly premium and in return, provides for basic health care services, preventive care options and checkups.

Managed care programs, including HMOs, may provide you with limits on selecting health care providers. They will ask you to choose a primary care provider from their list of doctors. This doctor will be your first point of contact. He will manage your healthcare and refer you to specialists if you need it. If you are part of an HMO, you may have to pay a co payment. This may be as low as $5 also. This will be the payment you contribute towards office visits to doctors, hospitalizations and others. If you prefer to go outside the network of providers arranged by your carrier, you may have to bear the full charges for your treatment.

You should find out whether the professional organization you are part of will provide you with a health plan. You can even approach a licensed agent if you want to find out about managed care programs and indemnity plans. Remember to ask your health insurance department about state plans they may be offering for the individuals and self employed groups. You may also go for plans online and compare the various options open to you. You can get quotes from various companies and compare cover before you decide on the kind of insurance you want.

Posing the correct questions

This is an important question you have to decide on before you hit upon the plan you need. What are the covers you need and what can you do without? You also need to consider what you can afford and what options you would like to include in your health plans. An easy way to decide on this is by estimating how much you spend on health care in the past year, how your particular needs might change in the near future, whether you want to start a family or retire from your job. You might also consider your chances of developing a disabling disease. Also consider covers you may not need. You may not need maternity covers orcovers for mental health care.

Always compare the plans available before you. Consider the premiums, co payments and deductibles you might have to pay and separate out of pocket costs expected for each plan. Also examine the percentage that the plans will pay for these costs and whether this will vary with the health care providers you chose to go to.

If the type of plan you are considering is an HMO, try to find out what costs you will have to pay if you want to visit a provider outside the network. Another important thing you should know is whether the carrier places a limit on the amount of cover they will provide in a year or in your lifetime.

If your income is just not enough for any sort of plan, you might want to consider a state or federal plan. Find out whether you are eligible for such a plan as Medicare. This program provides cover to those Americans who are over 65 years of age and have certain disabilities. Also consider Medicaid, which covers individuals with low incomes.

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