Shop 'Till you Drop: Shopping for Health Insurance Shopping for health insurance can be a frustrating hassle. There are so many companies with so many rates to compare. However, it is important to take your time and find the best company for your money. Although it may be frustrating, health insurance is a necessity. In any area, there are usually quite a few health care providers that can supply you with a quote over the phone. You could also use the Internet as a resource. By using these tools, you can make the shopping process go more smoothly. The first step is going to be deciding which type of insurance you should be shopping for. If you have a family, it would be in your best interest to find a company that will give you one decided premium and co-payment plan no matter how many children you add to the plan at any time. Without a family, you would be shopping for individual health insurance but will need to decide if you are in need of short-term insurance or insurance for an extended period. Short-term insurance is for people who are in-between jobs and expect to enroll in whichever health insurance plan their future employer sponsors. Once you have established what type of insurance you need, it is time to make some calls. Go through your local phone book and start calling down the line. After answering a few simple questions, you can get a quote and move on to the next company. Cost is one of the most important factors. If you find two or more of them with very similar premiums and a low co-payment amount, you should compare the benefits. Can you add immediate family at no charge? Will this health insurance include dental, emergencies, prescriptions, or doctor visits? This may help you find one that appeals more to your needs and is within your budget. Using the services of the Internet to find a company will be a very similar process. Some reputable web sites out there will ask you to fill in a few blanks and then give unbiased quotes from many different health insurance companies. Whether you are going to be doing your shopping over the phone or on the Internet, you should use your best judgment of the information that you get on each company to decide on one that makes you comfortable. The Better Business Bureau can also help you be sure that you are not being scammed. Health insurance is a cost that is necessary to save you money in the long run on prescriptions, doctor visits, and unforeseen emergencies. Don't get left with bills that you have no way of paying because you didn't have insurance.
Advantages to Indemnity Health Insurance Plans Indemnity health insurance plans are more regularly known as traditional health insurance plans. These health insurance plans can be costly but often cover most health problems that may arise, while other insurance plans exclude some illnesses or diseases from their coverage. Some disadvantages to indemnity plans are that they do not usually cover preventative health care like physicals, and traditional health insurance plans often cover only a percentage of your bill. Research the advantages and disadvantages to indemnity health insurance when you are considering health insurance options. While the disadvantages may seem problematic, there are many advantages to indemnity health insurance plans. You may have a higher monthly premium and you may need to pay upfront costs and submit claims paperwork, but your deductible will be more manageable and your coverage will be wider. Some health insurance plans will not cover certain medical expenses or care, but indemnity plans often do. Another benefit of indemnity health insurance plans that many people desire is the freedom to choose your own physician. While other health insurance plans offered by the insurance industry limit your choice of physicians and hospitals to a list of preferred providers, indemnity insurance will cover any physician or hospital. This benefit may seem unworthy of mention, but there has been more than one instance where a mother finds that her son or daughter's pediatrician is not in their preferred provider network and has to search for another pediatrician. This also means that you can see a specialist without having to consult with your primary care physician first. Overall, indemnity health insurance plans also offer you the best emergency medical coverage in the industry. While preferred provider organizations (PPOs) or point-of-service (POS) plans limit the physician you can see to a list of network physicians and hospitals, the freedom of choosing any physician is nationwide with indemnity health insurance plans. This means that if you are traveling across the country and have an accident or a medical emergency, you can go to the nearest hospital or see the closest physician without worrying about the expense. There have been instances where hospitals or physicians will either refuse to treat patients or treat them only minimally because the hospital or physician is not inside the plan's preferred provider network - meaning that the patient's health insurance will only cover a small part of the expense and the patient is liable to pay the rest of the bill. This is a risky financial situation for the physician and/or hospital since patients are often unable to fully pay costly medical bills. With indemnity health insurance plans, this is almost never the case. Consider this and the other benefits of indemnity health insurance when choosing the plan that is right for you.
Medicare Medicare is a governmental program which provides medical insurance coverage for retired persons over age 65 or for others who meet certain medical conditions, such as having a disability. Medicare was signed into legislation in 1965 as an amendment to the Social Security program and is administered by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Department of Human Services. Medicare provides medical insurance coverage for over 43 million Americans, many of whom would have no medical insurance. While not perfect, the Medicare program offers these millions of people relatively low cost basic insurance, but not much in the way of preventative care. For instance, Medicare does not pay for an annual physical, vision care or dental care. Medicare is paid for through payroll tax deductions (FICA) equal to 2.9% of wages; the employee pays half and the employer pays half. There are four "parts" to Medicare: Part A is hospital coverage, Part B is medical insurance, Part C is supplemental coverage and Part D is prescription insurance. Parts C and D are at an added cost and are not required. Neither Part A nor B pays 100% of medical costs; there is usually a premium, co-pay and a deductible. Some low-income people quality for Medicaid, which assists in paying part of or all of the out-of-pocket costs. Because more people are retiring and become eligible for Medicare at a faster rate than people are paying into the system, it has been predicted that the system will run out of money by 2018. Health care costs have risen dramatically, which adds to the financial woes of Medicare and the system has bee plagued by fraud over the years. No one seems to have a viable solution to save this system that saves many people throughout the country.
Affordable Health Insurance for the Unemployed Being unemployed can be a financial downside to say the least. You may be dependant on someone else to cover your daily expenses such as a place to live and food to eat. 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. 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 with 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. Many free Internet services are proven reliable by the Better Business Bureau Online. By 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 an affordable coverage rate on your own can be a hassle. 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 nightmare 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. Do not let yourself become one of the many people who are unfortunately living life without proper insurance coverage.
The Importance of Keeping Good Files As in everything that involves money, it is important to keep good records of your medical expenses for many reasons. Keeping track of deductibles, especially for a family, can be time consuming, but is an important task. Every policy has different deductibles for lab work, hospital emergency room visits, hospital stays, doctor visits and x-rays, and it is often difficult to track. Keeping track of your out-of-pocket expenses becomes very important when it comes time to complete your taxes. It also comes in handy to know what your expenses are for medical care when choosing to change companies or policies. A file folder that includes a copy of the policy, copies of your medical bills and copies of what your insurance company has paid on those bills is usually all you will need. When a bill comes for a provider, you will usually receive a statement from your insurance company showing what portion of the bill they paid, and many times providers write off the remainder, if it is not a large sum. If you visit several doctors, you may want to have a file folder for each doctor or provider. Insurance companies do occasionally make mistakes, but they are usually on top of their game. Having a copy of the policy handy makes it easy to check deductible levels and whether a particular service is covered or not. It also serves as a ready resource for telephone numbers, website information and your contact at the insurance company.
How to Choose the Best Health Insurance for You With so many different types of health insurance plans and restrictions out there, it can be difficult finding the best health insurance for you. However, this process is not impossible to do well with a little research. There are a few items to look for when deciding on health insurance plans, and by considering them all you can make a good decision for yourself and your family about health insurance. The most important thing to look for is coverage. More often than not, insurance will cover physician visits and fees. Your health insurance should also cover hospital expenses such as room and board in case you are kept overnight or longer for observation or treatment. Good health insurance should also cover surgeries and any expenses associated with surgical treatment. Beyond these typical items of coverage, health insurance plans can diverge greatly. To really understand what coverage you would utilize and which plan would save you the most money, you will need to make a list of items that you want covered in an insurance plan. For instance, do you have glasses or contacts? Then you may be more interested in a plan that covers vision - either paying for your eye exam and/or partially paying for your glasses or contacts. Though many people think that health insurance covers prescriptions, prescription coverage is actually an optional benefit. If you know that you often have prescription drugs to fill, finding insurance that offers prescription coverage may be a must. If you are a woman and plan on having or want to have children, maternity care or family planning services are also optional benefits that you may want to consider. Once you make this must-have list of optional coverage, you can begin looking for health insurance plans that give you the opportunity to add these optional benefits. Another item you should definitely consider is if your current physicians or specialists are included in the health insurance company's preferred provider network or if you have the opportunity to choose any physician (often the case only with indemnity or traditional health insurance plans). If you would like the freedom to choose your own doctor, traditional health insurance plans or preferred provider organizations may offer more attractive plans - though these also cost a little more. Lastly, consider price. After researching different coverage plans and physician requirements, compare deductibles and monthly premiums to find the best deal. Often, you can get group rates through your employer, or you may find that artist organizations (for freelance artists) offer health care plans. By researching price, as well as other health insurance options, you can make the best choices for your family.
Getting the Most Benefit From Your Policy The key to getting the most benefit from your health insurance policy is knowing your policy coverage. Many people don’t actually read the policy for the policy plan book; they may not be aware that the policy may pay 100% of certain procedures, like annual physicals, mammograms, flu shots or certain labs tests. The policy plan book will outline for you what procedures are not subject to the deductible or co-pay (your out-of-pocket expense). Some insurance companies have shifted their emphasis from health insurance to health improvement and maintenance and will pay for the cost of gym membership, nutritional counseling or plans to stop smoking. If you were trying to lose weight and knew that you could get these services at no cost, wouldn’t you take advantage of them? If you wanted to quit smoking, wouldn’t it be beneficial to know that you could get the patch for free? It is very wise to know what services are available to you through your insurance company, and you will only know if you take the time to read through your policy. Health insurance is an expensive item; take advantage of every aspect of it that you can, not only for yourself but for the members of your family. By taking full advantage of the free benefits of your health insurance policy, you will be healthier and possibly require fewer visits to your doctor.
What Happens When I Retire? Health insurance considerations weigh heavily on the minds of people wanting to retire before Medicare coverage kicks in at age 65. Many people put off retirement simply because the cost of an individual health insurance policy is too great on a limited income. What options for health insurance do you have if you choose to retire before age 65? Although they are not required to, you may be able to get COBRA-like coverage from your employer. As an added retirement benefit, your employer may allow you to pick up the premium on your policy; although paying 100% of your premium may initially appear to be an expensive option, purchasing an individual policy apart from a group may be even more costly and not provide you with the level of coverage you previously had. Some companies are offering basic high-deductible insurance reasonably in the hopes that they will be able to enroll you in Medicare Part C (supplemental insurance) when you retire. Another option is to budget and save money to cover your anticipated medical costs for the time period between retirement and age 65. If you are in very good health, this may be a viable alternative for you. Pre-planning for retirement is an important issue; the earlier you start planning, the better. Realizing the Medicare does not pay all of your medical expenses, you should budget money for medical expenses even after retirement.
Disability Insurance We all know how important typical health insurance is, but did you know that disability insurance is just as important? In the event that you are hurt on the job, and cannot work, disability insurance will give you peace of mind-you will still able to provide for your family. While we would like to think that we always work safely, accidents do happen and you need to be sure that you have every angle covered in the event of an accident. If you become ill or injured on the job and as a result you are unable to return to work, there are a couple of options that will replace lost income. These types of disability insurance are not going to fully replace your income because they want you to have an incentive for returning back to work once you get well. Social Security benefits are paid to you when your disability is expected to last for at least 12 months. Most of the time this is when no gainful employment can occur and you must remain out of work for the entire duration of your leave. Employer-paid disability is required by almost every state in the United States. This type of disability insurance is deducted from your paycheck, and is there for you in the event of an accident. When you are looking at disability insurance policies, it is important to understand what they mean. While the two available policies are both for disability, they both cover a different amount of time you will be covered, and when you will start receiving your compensation. A short-term disability policy means that you will be covered for no longer than 2 years. With this policy you may have to wait up to 14 days before you start receiving compensation. A long-term disability policy is a little different. The disability compensation will not kick in for several weeks, sometimes a couple of months. However, long-term disability will cover you for a longer period of time, and sometimes for the rest of your life. Along with having the two different types of insurance policies, there are also two different protection features. Protection is offered to you to ensure that you are not going to be treated unfairly due to your inability to work. Non-cancelable means that for no reason other than not paying your premiums can your policy be canceled. With this type of policy you will lock in your premium and will not risk a decrease in the benefits. On the other hand, a guaranteed renewable policy means that the same benefits will be available every year. The only way that your premium will be increased is if every policyholder within the same rating class as yourself increases also. While there are many options when choosing disability insurance as well, these are the most popular selections. It is important to discuss all available options when choosing a disability insurance policy to ensure that you know what you will receive in the event of an accident or illness. Research your options to find the best choice for you and your family.
What are HIPAA Laws? Your visit to the doctor now contains a page where you sign that you acknowledge that the physician's office has notified you about their compliance with HIPAA laws. More often than not, you probably read through quickly or barely skim the authorization form before signing it. However, HIPAA laws are important, and they are in place to protect you from identity theft, being denied care, and/or health insurance coverage. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, enacted in 1996. HIPAA laws created a new national standard in protecting your health information. As you see different physicians or become admitted to different hospitals, your health information should follow you. HIPAA delineates the need to properly protect your health information as it flows through to these different channels. As more and more transactions are completed electronically these days, HIPAA laws focus on the protection of your health information specifically through these channels.
So what does HIPAA protect? For you, HIPAA protects personally identifiable health information, such as your Social Security number, birth date, address, etc., as well as current, past, or even future physical and/or mental conditions or treatment. Such information may not be disclosed except for specific uses. Information that HIPAA does not cover must specifically be personally non-identifiable. In protecting this sort of information, there is more protection against identity theft and more recourse if such a thing should happen. HIPAA also protects how health insurance providers may use your health information.
These entities may use your information without your authorization only if they are sending you information, using this information to provide the best treatment or health care, or collecting payment on medical expenses, among other things. If disclosure of your health information does not fall under these categories, you must authorize the transfer of information in writing. Furthermore, because the government understands that highly technical language can be a barrier in understanding your health information privacy rights, any authorization must be in plain language. This may all seem like unnecessary paperwork, but beyond identity theft, HIPAA laws also help those looking for health insurance coverage.
Title 1 of the HIPAA laws oversees the availability and range of health insurance plans for those without perfect health. It outlaws any health insurance plan from creating discriminatory rules to create premium rates or deny coverage. HIPAA laws are quite extensive, but this gives you a look at how your health information is being protected and used. Your department of health should be able to give you further information, or you can search the government's Web site for the entire HIPAA law.
Health Savings Accounts If you are considering changing your health insurance policy, you should be aware of the alternative of a Health Savings Account (HCA). Health Savings Accounts started to become available (and legal) in 2004, allowing people with high-deductible insurance policies to set aside tax-free money to fund medical expenses up to the maximum deductible amount. If you don’t have to use the funds, it rolls over every year. Once you reach age 65, you no longer are required to use it for medical expenses, although you certainly can; you can withdraw funds under the same conditions as a regular IRA. Although you will be penalized if you use the funds for non-medical expenses prior to age 65, you can use the money for vision care, alternative medicine or treatment and dental care. For 2008, an individual may fund up to $2,900 tax free. The maximum deductible would be $1100 and the maximum out-of-pocket cost would be $5,600. For a family, the maximum tax-free contribution is $5,800 with the maximum deductible of $2,200 and the maximum out-of-pocket cost would be $11,200. Health Savings Accounts are certainly a viable way to shelter income while providing catastrophic insurance coverage in light of the high cost of low-deductible health insurance plans. For healthy people, it deserves some research. Consult with your insurance agent for all of the details involving this approach to managing your insurance needs.
What You Don't Know Can Kill You: Health Insurance Limitations Health insurance often requires a mountain of paperwork that has a lot of fine print. Unfortunately, this means that few people read their plans thoroughly nor do they fully understand what their plan covers or does not cover. Here are some common limitations in health insurance coverage that you should know. Some of the most shocking health insurance limitations are found in the the fine print holes in the insurance policy. For instance, many people have found that their health insurance did not cover a routine or necessary medical procedure because they did not receive an authorization code prior to the procedure or the hospital did not correctly fill out the paperwork. Your medical claim can be denied simply because the hospital used odd codes for your treatment. While any claims denied by the insurance company can be disputed, this process is not only tedious, but time-consuming and draining, especially for someone who is already ill. There is also little success in winning disputed claims, which makes this option rather limiting. Another surprising health insurance limitation happens more often than people realize. Imagine this situation: you are diagnosed with a medical condition and need an operation. You research surgeons and hospitals within your plan. You understand your plan's coverage of hospital care. You have your operation and then you find a massive medical bill in the mail. Apparently your health insurance did not cover the anesthesiologist or other specialists that may have consulted in your operation. Thus, you have to pay these specialists for their services, even though you were under the impression that your plan would cover these costs associated with the surgery. Such a bill can be in the thousands of dollars, and there is little you can do to dispute the charges. The only way to avoid these charges is to make sure that you ask before the operation who will be involved and ensure that they are covered in your health insurance plans. Other limitations are put on a number of treatments. For instance, you may need physical therapy or visits to a psychiatrist. Many health insurance plans will put a limit on the number of covered visits for such medical treatment. Without realizing it, you may surpass the maximum visits allowed by your health insurance and end up racking up huge bills. Many people think that buying health insurance will cover them medically, but this is only correct to a point. When securing insurance, you should read through your health insurance package carefully, and when you are about to undergo any expensive medical procedure, be sure to consult your health insurance plan first.
Health Insurance When Living Abroad You may not know this already, but when planning on traveling abroad you cannot take your local insurance with you. You will need to purchase an international insurance plan offered by a multinational insurance company. While they may be hard to track down, it is the best way to assure that in the event of an accident or illness you will be able to acquire medical attention if needed. Many of these plans will cover you up to six months in another country. When you speak with the insurance company, be prepared to give an extensive list of information to them. This will range from health problems you've had in the past ten years, your hereditary conditions to substance abuse, and almost everything else-if it has anything to do with your health be prepared to disclose the information. If you are planning on traveling with more than one family member, then be prepared to give information for each family member as well. Many times your basic coverage will include emergency treatment regardless of which facility it is administered. This is not the case with minor medical treatment. It is important to know whether you are buying an insurance plan that is an HMO or PPO. If you are under an HMO or health maintenance organization, then you will be limited to receiving care from only the providers who are in their network. You can retrieve a list of all the companies within your insurer's network upon request. If you are under a PPO, or preferred provider organization, you will have the opportunity to pick the best facility you see fit, but your insurer will only cover a portion of the incurred cost. If you plan on staying abroad for more than six months then you will need to look into what is called expatriate health insurance. Only larger companies supply this type of insurance, as it is much more extensive with the type of options that can be applied to each policy. The type of treatment options that are covered with expatriate health insurance are those that are labeled as specialty treatments, like chiropractic therapy and acupuncture. There are many options that can be applied to expatriate health insurance depending on your family's needs and how long you plan on spending abroad. There are many options for health insurance when you are traveling abroad. While many individuals never consider purchasing insurance when traveling to another country, this should be at the top of your list when planning for a trip. Health insurance should not be taken lightly. Be sure you understand every aspect of your policy before deciding with any one particular company.
Prescription Insurance Policies Some health insurance policies do not provide for prescription coverage and a separate policy must be purchased for prescription medications. This is an area where it pays to do some homework and research and find the best policy for you. Prescription coverage insurance is not a necessity; like health insurance coverage, it is a calculated risk, although the risk is not as high. Usually you can buy prescription insurance at any time, so if the doctor determines that you need an expensive maintenance drug, you may opt in at that time. It is important to know that if you presently have prescription insurance you can usually only change it at a specific time of the year, although you can add new prescriptions, you can’t change plans. The person who seldom takes prescription medications probably does not need prescription insurance; however, a person who takes maintenance drugs for high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, heart disease or immune disorders most likely needs insurance against the high costs of drugs. Prescription insurance policies usually have "tiers", which usually means that a generic drug is at a low or no co-pay, a tier 2 level may be the brand name genuine, and a tier 3 may be a brand new expensive drug that the co-pay could be a set high-percentage of the cost. In choosing prescription insurance, you should first list the prescriptions that you take and the retail amount of them. If you chose not to purchase insurance, this would be your monthly cost. Find out from the provider what the monthly premium for you would be, then what the prescription co-pay amount would be and add these two figures together. Which is the less expensive alternative?
Do You Need A College Health Insurance Plan? When you are finally done with your high school education, there is no doubt that you'll be enrolling into a college. Many times when a child reaches the age of 20, they are no longer covered by their parents' insurance and this can lead to a troubling situation if they are not working and just strictly going to college. However, many colleges offer health insurance plans. Whether one of these insurance plans are right for you or not takes a lot of deliberation. College health insurance benefits are going to vary from campus to campus. Although many people think that they are free, this is not true.
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 a problem with getting treatment at the college health center. Having a pre-existing illness or disability does not mean that you will be disqualified for 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 summer break when students are not taking classes. 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 class. Many colleges have coverage during summer break, but some do not. Make sure you understand the plan. Is it an HMO, or can the member use any provider they want? 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.
Protection during the Golden Years: Health Insurance and Retirement Health insurance for retirees or senior citizens can be confusing, especially with so many options and requirements. However, health insurance is crucial for retirees. As you grow older, your health obviously becomes more of an issue; you may visit the doctor more, need to fill more prescriptions, or even receive in-home care. Before you retire, prepare for health insurance to ensure that you receive the best benefits. The first step in planning your health insurance coverage in your retirement is to see if your employer offers insurance coverage after you retire. If the company does, you should certainly consider it. Look at the plan, the deductible, and the coverage. Many near-retirees believe that Medicare will cover their medical payments, but this is not always the case. With this sort of coverage, you will most likely receive better health care but at a more expensive cost. As a retiree, you will certainly have a health insurance budget to maintain, and you will have to decide if the cost of your employer's insurance is too expensive. If your employer does not offer coverage, Medicare will be an important and integral part of your health insurance if you are 65 years of age or older. Medicare works like traditional health insurance plans in that you have been contributing a small portion of every paycheck you earn into this plan. Once Medicare begins, you will make co-payments for office visits or treatment. Medicare will also cover the expense of certain medical equipment or needs. However, Medicare did not cover a number of items that are typical of health insurance. The government recently updated Medicare and divided it into three parts: Part A, B, and C. Part A covers hospital care, such as home health care, hospital stays, and hospice care. This part does not require a premium. Part B covers the more routine medical expenses, such as office visits and laboratory tests, while Part C enrolls you into a fee-for-service or managed care plan that reduces your out-of-pocket costs. Despite these different options, Medicare restricts your coverage by not covering certain kinds of care or illnesses and diseases. Thus, there is also Medigap coverage, which helps fill in the gaps in health insurance that Medicare leaves. Medigap coverage differs from state to state and has different payments. Beyond Medicare and Medigap, there are also long-term care insurance plans that you can buy. You often see these plans advertised on the television at very low prices. These plans can help cover the costs of a nursing home or home health care. With so many different options and limitations, if you are retiring soon, you should take a look at your budget and what you can afford as well as what sort of coverage you feel you will need.
Something Old, Sometime New: Insurance When You are Getting Married Health insurance providers are not created equal. Before a couple is married, the option of sharing coverage is extremely unusual unless one of your insurers offers domestic partner insurance. As you become engaged, if you both have separate insurance it is important to talk about the both of you switching to the better plan once you are married. There are a few factors consider, which include deductibles, co-payments, and the benefits of each separate plan. Marriage is a big step, and it can be done with ease if the two of you settle important decisions such as your health insurance plan before you take the big leap. Your deductible is the amount you must pay each year to start your policy. Once this payment is made you will be responsible for whatever amount of co-payment your insurance company requires for you to pay for the health expenses that are covered in your particular policy. The amount of co-payments that you will be responsible for is established at the time you agree to your health insurance policy. It is going to be a certain percentage of health expenses; for instance, you pay 10% while your insurer will be paying the other 90%. You and your fiancй should compare both of your plans and figure out which deductible and co-payment plan seems most appropriate for the two of you. Married couples are usually eligible for certain benefits that unmarried couples are not. Being insured separately by the health care provider sponsored by your employers may no longer be the most beneficial option for you. If you or your fiancй has insurance, and the other does not, once the two of you are married they can be added to the other partner's plan. Cost of adding an additional person is definitely something that should be examined. You should not be required to pay more for adding a spouse or even a child in the future because most plans are offered to immediate family at no extra cost. The best way to compare policies is to estimate a yearly amount of normal health expenses, emergencies, co-payments, and deductibles. Whichever plan has the lowest cost to you will almost always be the best choice. In addition to sharing health insurance with your new spouse, you may also want to consider switching the rest of your insurance plans, such as the policies you have for your separate automobiles. This is because most companies will give you a discount on having more than one vehicle insured. You may also be interested in finding a company that can insure you home, automobile, and health in one place. If you carry more than one policy with a company, they will also usually give you some sort of discount on them. It is important to sit down and discuss insurance with your fiancй because the two of you could be saving money and stress by figuring out what decision is best before the time comes.
Easy as 1-2-3: 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.
Healthcare for Long-term Patients: Is this Insurance Right for You? Long-term care insurance is not right for everyone. For a small percentage of the population this coverage is an affordable and worthwhile type of insurance. Determining whether or not long-term care insurance is right for you won't be the only task at hand; looking for scams will also be a concern. As you get older, the need for assistance in your everyday life increases. Whether it is in-home care or residing in a nursing home for a few months you will most likely need some way to pay for these types of services. In order to maintain long-term care insurance you must pay for them each and every year until death. Many policies are canceled by policyholders that are on fixed incomes and are simply unable to pay for the increasing premiums as they get older. If the only funds you are receiving were those from Social Security or SSI, then it would be wise to not purchase a policy. Also, if you find that every day purchases and paying for utilities makes you stretch your budget to the limit, you probably should stay clear of this policy. This type of policy is only right for someone who has significant assets they want to preserve for their family, remain independent, or just to spare their family the expense of a nursing home bill. Comparing policies can prove to be difficult because every company is selling a different combination of benefits and coverage. Many companies offer to pay a fixed amount for each day you receive care, while others will cover a percentage of the overall cost of care or supply a specified amount. Beware of these types of policies unless they offer inflation protection. You see, if they do not account for the increasing cost of nursing home costs, then you are stuck with a policy that really does you no good. Just like a standard healthcare plan, you will have to receive services at designated locations. If you go outside of this network they will simply refuse to pay for any care that you receive. If you have any type of mental disease or nervous disorder then don't expect many carriers to accept you (the one exception is Alzheimer's). There are more restrictions in this type of insurance than any other health insurance. If this type of policy is right for you, please make sure that the company is reputable. There are many individuals who thrive on the fact that not many people will make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing long-term health insurance. Be sure to read the fine print and find out everything you can about the policy before committing to a company and a long-term health insurance plan.
The Basics Health insurance, in this modern world of cancer, heart disease, AIDS, diabetes, asthma, ageing and other diseases and afflictions, it is essential to have some sort of health insurance. There are many levels of health insurance coverage available; unfortunately, like most things in life, you get what you pay for, and good coverage can be very expensive. The two most common terms in referring to health insurance are premium, which is the amount paid for the insurance, and deductible, which is your out-of-pocket expense before the insurance pays your provider. For instance, you might pay $300 premium per month for family coverage, and your deductible might be $250 per person, which means if you fell and broke your ankle and went to the hospital emergency room, you would be required to pay the first $250 of the bill. You can purchase very basic catastrophic coverage, which would carry a very high deductible and the premium would be less than comprehensive coverage which would have a higher premium and lower deductible. It pays to invest the time to investigate various insurance options, taking into consideration your age, your general health and the health of your family members. Your employer may offer group health insurance, which is most likely the least expensive option for you, and usually the premium is deducted from your paycheck. Health insurance is a calculated risk; can you afford the premiums or are you willing to risk that you would pay less out of pocket for medical expenses in a year than the premiums would cost? Consider carefully.