Health Insurance Plans
There are a variety of health insurance plans available in the United States. The most common types of plans are traditional copay plans, traditional deductible only plans, and newer high deductible health plans (HDHP) that are designed to be coupled with a Health Savings Account (HSA) which replaced the Archer Savings Account and the Medical Savings Account (MSA) (Archer plans and MSA’s are similar in a lot of respects the HSA – there are still Archer plans and MSA’s in existence but no new plans are being issued as the HSA replaced them).
How To Choose A Health Insurance Plan
Which type of plan should you choose? Which plan is the best fit for you and your family’s needs? Here are a few guidelines that are by no means hard and fast but should help you with your decision (keep in mind that the most important thing is to choose a well known and reputable insurance company that offers a plan with comprehensive coverage [meaning no indemnity plans with limited benefits] – extras such as copays and additional benefits are strictly a preference issue).
If you are:
Looking to keep your out of pocket expense low when going for doctor’s visits and prescriptions – you may want to investigate a traditional copay type plan with copays for Dr. visits and prescriptions.
Looking for a low monthly premium – you may want to choose a straightforward deductible plan as everything else being equal a plan without copays is cheaper than a plan with the copay feature.
Looking for a very low monthly premium and some tax benefits – you will want to consider a Health Savings Account and then be sure and take advantage of the tax savings that come with contributing to the savings account portion of the plan.
No matter who you are or what your situation is there is a health insurance plan to meet your need. Take a few moments and compare the different health insurance plans side by side with monthly premium information from the top health insurance companies that offer coverage in your area. Use the free quote finder at the top of the page to get started comparing health insurance quotes now!
The Importance Of Choosing A Health Plan With Comprehensive Major Medical Coverage
Health insurance is a necessity in the United States to not only protect your assets and protect your loved ones in the event of a medical emergency but also to facilitate affordable and comprehensive medical care.
Did you know that medical bills are the single biggest cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States?
A lot of the financial trouble that ensues is simply due to 1) Not maintaining health insurance at all times and 2) Not maintaining comprehensive health insurance. There seems to be a lot of misinformation floating around about is considered adequate health insurance coverage. You CAN find a health insurance policy that is both affordable and comprehensive. There is no need to have to sacrifice one for the other.
Read through some of the articles in our learning center and throughout our site so that you can be an informed insurance shopper and then request free health insurance quotes from our quote finding tool. Compare the top insurance companies that offer coverage in your home zip code by requesting a free health insurance quote comparison!
The Importance Of Understanding Which Health Insurance Plan To Choose
Understanding the basic offering of health insurance plans before you commit to one is critical. This is the one type of insurance that you are almost guaranteed to use, so it doesn’t make any sense to invest time in looking at health insurance plans you can’t afford or don’t meet your needs. By reading through the information below, you’ll learn the basic elements that you will find in all the health insurance plans you receive quotes on.
Types Of Health Insurance Plans
Most types of health insurance plans can be categorized as either indemnity plans or managed care plans. Read on to find out which plan may be the best fit for your needs.
Indemnity Health Insurance Plans
These are also referred to as traditional or fee-for service plans. These are often though of as the most flexible (although PPO plans are just as flexible and usually offer more comprehensive benefits – hence the growing popularity of PPO plans).
Here’s how one of these plans might work. You go ahead and visit any doctor you choose. Your provider them submits the bill to your insurance company and they pay the agreed upon portion. For instance, many will be responsible for 80% of the bill and you cover the other 20% (this is termed coinsurance although coinsurance is certainly not unique to just indemnity plans).
One thing to watch very carefully with an indemnity plan is that some insurers offer plans with very low benefits in the policy. Indemnity literally means “stated benefit” so insurers will reimburse you for expenses according to a pre determined benefit schedule irregardless of how much the cost of the medical procedure really costs (you can imagine the trouble if the indemnity policy has a stated benefit amount of $10,000 for a broken leg and you are billed $30,000 for a broken leg – you guessed it, you are responsible to pay the $20,000 difference. It is for this reason that most experts recommend purchasing a full comprehensive major medical plan and not an indemnity plan with low benefit amounts).
Managed Care Health Insurance Plans
The high costs and limited benefits of some indemnity plans led to the developed of managed care plans in which providers and subscribers follow rules designed to keep costs lower. In a managed care plan, there is some type of voluntary or mandatory provider list involved for you to choose from. There are many different managed care options available.
The common managed care plans you’ll encounter are HMO’s (Health Maintenance Organizations), PPO’s (Preferred Provider Organizations), and POS (Point of Sale) plans. The differences between the 3 usually involve restrictions and flexibility in choosing providers and paying for services.
HMO Health Insurance Plans - HMO's usually contain the most restrictions. You are provided with an approved provider list and must select a primary physician from this group. Your primary physician must refer you to any specialists. If you decide to choose a doctor who is not on the approved list you will not receive ANY coverage.
Your HMO may not have a deductible, but you will be required to pay a Co-Pay upon each visit to your provider.
PPO Health Insurance Plans - PPO's usually require both a deductible and a Co-pay. The nice thing about a PPO is that, while you are given a preferred provider list to select from, you also have the option to pay a slightly higher fee to see a doctor who is not on the list. Unlike with an HMO, you can still receive some benefits even if you choose to step outside the network. Basically, the percentage of your bill your insurer pays will decrease if you leave the network.
POS Health Insurance Plans - POS Plans combine benefits of HMOs and PPOs. It’s like an HMO in that you still need to depend on your primary physician for referrals; however, you can pay a higher fee to go out side the approved network just like a PPO (note that POS plans do differ in their functionality from one insurer to another).
How To Choose The Best Type Of Health Insurance Plan
How do you know which plan is best for you? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Is it important to stay with your same doctor, even if you have to change jobs or insurance plans?
Are you willing to pay higher fees to see a doctor of your choice?
Do you or does someone in your family have a specific medical condition that makes it important to be followed by the same doctor over time?
How important is saving $5 on a co-pay? Families with multiple children often find $50 co-pays can add up quickly.
Is saving money, flexibility, or access to a specific physician the greatest concern at this point in your life?
Alternative Types Of Health Insurance Plans
There are other health insurance plans available through certain providers. 3 of the most popular are:
High Deductible Health Plans – This type of plan is attractive to someone who can afford to pay a higher yearly deductible (the fee you must pay before your insurer starts to make payments) in order to lower the monthly premiums. Deductibles can range from as low as $100 to the $1000s. So make sure you truly know what you can afford to pay.
Health Savings Accounts (HSA) – HSA plans combines the benefits of tax savings and investing with your health plan. These plans usually allow you to put part of your payment toward the premium and the other part into an interest bearing account. You then have the ability to use these tax free dollars to help pay your deductible. Plus, you can write it off your taxes as an above the line tax deduction subject to certain IRS limits.
Discount Health Plans – Stay away from these plans at all costs! These plans are not true health insurance plans and offer benefits that make even low benefit indemnity plans seem like comprehensive coverage. Do a couple of searches online for discount health plan information and you will see a number of different government websites warning consumers to beware of purchasing a discount health insurance plan.
Compare Health Insurance Plans Now!
Now that you know the basics of health insurance plans, the next step is to get some quotes for coverage. Simply go to the free quote tool on the top of this page and get started comparing health insurance plans from competing insurance companies right now!