Affordable Health Insurance Plans
In today's world, health insurance is a necessity. One accident or sudden illness could potentially bankrupt an individual or family. However, finding affordable health insurance plans is easier said than done. Fewer and fewer employers are offering health insurance to their employees, so having a job does not necessarily mean that you also have health insurance. Individuals with pre-existing conditions are in a particularly difficult situation, and often go without insurance because they cannot find a company that will cover them. Self-employed persons also need affordable health insurance, but many times the policies available to them simply cost more than they can afford to pay. Fortunately for all of these people, you can find affordable health insurance plans to meet your needs and those of your family.
You have many factors to consider when looking for affordable health insurance. If you are fortunate enough to have health insurance available to you through an employer, you should still evaluate the available alternatives; you may actually find that another provider is a better deal. Group coverage through an employer can mean that most if not all of the insurance costs are paid by the employer, even if the employee adds family members to the premium. But that is not always the case, so make sure you study all the details of the plan before you decide whether or not to enroll.
For individuals who are self-employed or unemployed, a good affordable health insurance option can be purchasing a major medical policy with a high deductible. This policy will cover most expensive medical treatments and emergencies without costing an arm and a leg in monthly payments. The downside, of course, is that the policy will require you to pay more out-of-pocket before the deductible kicks in. However, since the monthly premiums are lower, the policy helps you save money over time while still protecting you in the case of an unforeseen medical crisis.
Another option for finding affordable health insurance is to see if a company offers group coverage through professional associations. This can be a good option for sole proprietors and for people with pre-existing conditions, but it will require quite a bit of research into various providers to find any that do offer this service.
When shopping for affordable insurance plans, take some things into consideration ahead of time. Most importantly, think about what you realistically need in an insurance policy. What is the maximum monthly premium that you can comfortably afford? How much coverage do you really need? After all, an insurance policy need not cover every single relatively minor health issue in many cases; it needs only cover major issues that you could not afford on your own.
When shopping for health insurance, you have many different types of plans from which to choose, including HMOs, PPOs, Major Medical, Point-Of-Service (POS) and so on. No one plan type will always be more affordable than other types, but understanding their basic differences can help you compare plans more effectively. For example, HMOs, or Health Maintenance Organizations, require you to choose a primary care doctor, and only allow you to see specialists after being referred by the primary care physician. You can only use doctors and providers within the HMO network, or the HMO will not cover their costs. In addition, HMOs may limit the treatments available to its members in some cases.
PPOs, or Preferred Provider Organizations, offer more flexibility than HMOs, but also tend to include higher premium costs. PPOs do not require you to choose a primary care doctor, and allow you to seek treatment from a variety of doctors and hospitals. If you use a doctor not listed with the PPO, it will still pay a portion of the treatment cost, and a referral is usually not required before you can see a specialist.
POS (Point-Of-Service) plans are basically hybrids of HMOs and PPOs. Like HMOs, you must choose a primary care doctor and be referred to specialists. And like PPOs, you have the option to go out of the network and have the plan pay a smaller portion of the expense. POS plans have fewer restrictions than HMOs but also less flexibility than PPOs.
So how does one find affordable health insurance? The answer is research, research and more research. Finding affordable health insurance can be a daunting task, but it is not an impossible one. By taking the time to catalog exactly what you need in a health insurance policy, and to carefully examine exactly what options are available to you, you will be better able to find a policy that meets your needs without breaking the bank.