Understanding the Kinds of Available Health Insurance for Every Need

March 9th, 2010

In the United States, there are about generally five different types of health insurance available: traditional health insurance; PPO’s or preferred provider organizations; POS or point-of-service plans; HMO’s or health management organizations; and most recently, HSA’s or health savings accounts. With so many types of health insurance, it may be confusing to try and figure out which one best fits your needs, so research each thoroughly and speak with a professional if you need additional 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 pays the rest of the bill. You often have an inexpensive office and/or prescription co-pay with traditional health insurance.

Since people are now living longer, health insurance companies have begun 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 of 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 hospitals and physicians covered in their network, the insurance company can control, to an extent, their costs and lower your premiums. POS plans work like PPO’s, but require you to have a primary care physician through whom you can receive referrals for specialists. If you need to see a dermatologist or neurologist, 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.

HMO’s combine a stricter version of PPO’s 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.

HSA’s 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 pay the rest of the bill.

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

How To Find Affordable Health Insurance When Unemployed

March 7th, 2010

Being unemployed can be a financial downside. You may be dependant on someone else to cover your daily expenses such as a place to live and food. Health insurance is something that everyone needs and not enough people have available because of these other financial burdens. Any emergency such as a car accident or broken bone will require adequate medical assistance. What do you do when you don’t have insurance and can’t afford expensive medical bills? If you are unemployed, you need to find health insurance to prevent this from happening.

The first line of defense in keeping your health insurance needs to a minimum is to take care of yourself and stay healthy (so you don’t need the insurance). Stay active, avoid processed and junk foods focusing primarily on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, get plently of rest and avoid unnecessary stress.

COBRA is a law in which many people could be eligible to remain on an employer’s health insurance plan even after they lose their employment. The most ideal person for this coverage is someone who is between jobs and is not in need of long-term help. It can last at least a year to those who qualify, but the premium amount is still an expense that some unemployed individuals may not be able to take care of due to their lack of income. If you are able to pay the premium and are eligible, COBRA will also cover your spouse and children who are dependent on you for insurance. The best way to determine if you could receive health insurance is to contact your local employer’s benefits department and fill out the required forms.

You can also shop around for typical health insurance. There are many free health insurance search services proven reliable. By reviewing these websites, or speaking with one of these insurance experts, you can get help finding the most affordable health insurance that will fit your specific needs. They know the rates of thousands of insurance companies and can fix you up with appropriate coverage for your specific needs. If you have a spouse or children, having health coverage is a necessity. Life is full of unexpected events and you cannot ensure that everyone will stay completely healthy until you have insurance again because accidents do happen. Finding affordable coverage on your own can be a challenge, but with the new online services this is getting easier. The experts at these companies are offering their assistance to you, often as a free service. Whether you need to find something short-term or for an extended period, they are qualified and dedicated to helping you.

If you find yourself unemployed at any time in your life, you are probably without health insurance. This can be a challenge whether you have a family or not because medical expenses can put you into debt quickly. Luckily, there are ways of finding affordable coverage providers that can keep your health, as well as your finances, safe. A simple doctor visit can cost you significantly more money than it would with insurance. Don’t let yourself become one of the many people who are unfortunately living life without proper insurance coverage.

Do You Need A College Health Insurance Plan?

February 28th, 2009

When you are finally done with your high school education, there is no doubt that you’ll be enrolling into college or higher education. Many times when a child reaches the age of 20, they are no longer covered by their parents’ insurance. This can lead to a troubling situation if they are not working and just going to college full time. However, many colleges offer health insurance plans. Whether one of these insurance plans are right for you or not takes some comparisons and deliberation.

College health insurance benefits vary from campus to campus. Although many people think that they are free, this is not the case. While there is usually no charge for an office visit and routine checkups, the student will have to pay for lab work and other specialist type of visits. Benefits will usually pay completely for only types of covered services at the campus health center. In the event that you have to see an outside doctor then the student’s coverage can drop up to 70% and run the risk of being required to pay a high deductible.

If you have a pre-existing condition, then you may have challenges with getting treatment at the school health center. Having a pre-existing illness or disability does not mean that you will be disqualified from obtaining a college health insurance plan, but you may not be able to get treatment for that pre-existing illness. This can lead to a number of problems if a new problem arises and is a product of a pre-existing illness.

All plans are different, so be sure you find out everything you can about your college’s plan. Be sure to check if you or your child will be covered during breaks when students are not taking classes like fall, summer and winter breaks. This is important because you don’t want to have an accident and find out that the insurance becomes inactive when they are not in school. Many colleges have coverage during summer break, but some do not. 

Make sure you understand the plan. Can the member use any provider they want or is it an HMO? This is just as important because you want to know where you can go in the event of an emergency, and there is nothing worse than finding out after the fact that you will be stuck with paying the full amount for a medical bill.

There really is no definitive answer as to whether you should or shouldn’t commit to getting college health insurance. Be sure that you understand your plan fully so that no problems can arise in the event of an emergency. While it is not free insurance, it surely will save you money in the event of an accident or illness.

Is Long Term Care Insurance An Unnecessary Expense?

February 27th, 2009

Long-Term Care Insurance is still fairly new on the market and a lot of people don’t know that it even exists or what it covers. Even those who have heard the term don’t know always when benefits are paid, how they are designed, and who qualifies or needs coverage. Many people don’t think about this type of coverage until it is too late to get a great rate and higher benefits. They wait till they are past retirement age and closer to needing to cash in the benefits instead of investing earlier and maximizing your options. It is becoming more of a common practice for people to start thinking about what will happen 30, 50, or more years ahead. Many people invest in 401Ks, IRAs, stocks and bond, and other types of investments to prepare for the future. Many people think this will pay for living expenses and leisure activities once retired. Things don’t always go according as planned.

What happens in the unfortunate incidence of an accident and you need help with your daily living activities? Or, you get to a point in your elder years that you require home care, as you grow older? You may decide you would rather live in you home for a long as possible and would need to have enough for personal home care. Some seniors enjoy assisting living facilities that provide 24 hour nursing care, but still let you be as independent as you can. There are also those unfortunate instances where nursing home facilities are need to tend to varying degrees of illness. Long-term care is designed to provide you help with these services due to a long-term illness or disability. The average cost of these types of care can cost around $40-$100 thousand per year and sometimes more. It is a very quick way to eat your saving and social security benefits. If you think Medicaid or Medicare will help, think again. Even if and when you qualify, your saving is now gone and they will only pay up to 50% of the cost, someone has to come up with the rest. Long-Term Care insurance can help with these costs in the unfortunate event you require nursing care.

Who should consider Long Term Care Insurance? If you think you will not qualify for Medicaid or full Medicare benefits due to a large saving, assets, or high income, this is a program for you. You do not want to end up having your children to pay for these expenses while you have to have them and possibly well after your death. It will keep you able to leave your loved ones a little something instead of sucking all your assets dry. Also if you can afford to pay the premiums you will likely not qualify for assistance so would truly benefit. If you currently have chronic health issues or have a family history of a long-term illness you would be off purchasing now than waiting. It will be too late to get a policy after you have already developed a long-term illness or disability. If you think at any point you might fall into any of the categories you might want to consider getting a plan earlier to be safe and covered. You can purchase a policy from most large insurance companies. As always, every state has different insurance regulations, therefore it is best to check with your state on specific determining factors and qualifications.

This coverage will help provide nursing-home care, home-health care, personal or adult day care usually for individuals above the age of 65 or with a chronic or disabling condition that needs constant supervision. LTC insurance offers more flexibility and options than many public assistance programs. Long-term care is usually very expensive, which is why most people need insurance. For example, on average, nursing facilities providing skilled care charge $150 to $300 per day, or over $80,000 a year or more. Even custodial home care at three visits per week, can cost over $9,000 a year. Most LTC insurance policies will cover only a specific dollar amount for each day you spend in a nursing facility or for each home-care visit. Thus, when considering an LTC insurance policy, read the policies carefully and compare the benefits to determine which policy will best meet your own needs.