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Tuesday November 21st 2017

Five Must-Know Facts About Health Insurance

Many people have a difficult time finding health insurance at a reasonable price. Rates vary drastically from one insurer to another and from state to state. More than that, health insurance premiums depend on your age, gender, medical history, pre-existing conditions and zip code. The amount of coverage you buy may also influence costs. If you want to make savings and get the best deal on health insurance, consider the following:

1. Comparison Shopping Can Save You Money

When shopping for health coverage, be sure to compare as many quotes as possible. You only need to visit two or three insurance websites and fill in a short form in order to receive free quotes from top rated companies. Research your options before making a decision. Evaluate each offer and compare plans side-by-side to find a good deal.

2. Cheap Insurance is Not Always the Best Choice

There are many companies featuring health insurance plans that seem too good to be true. In most cases you get what you pay for. Although searching for an affordable policy is highly recommended, buying the cheapest health insurance plan might result in higher medical expenses over time. The least expensive policy probably won’t offer as much coverage as you need. You should rather choose a plan that is slightly more expensive, but includes decent coverage.

3. If You Get Offered a Group Plan, Take It

Most individuals get health coverage through the company they work for. Group health insurance is a viable option for anyone looking to save money and reduce medical expenses. A typical plan usually covers routine check ups, specialist consultations, in-patient and day-patient treatments, vaccinations, maternity services and emergency care. If you are unsure of whether or not the company offers medical coverage, talk with your employer.

4. More Flexibility Equals Higher Expenses

In general, health insurance plans that offer great coverage at low rates will only allow you to use a specified network of doctors and hospitals. An indemnity plan features more flexibility than Preferred Provider Organizations, but it has higher costs. Health Maintenance Organizations provide members with a greater range of health benefits at the best rates on the market. However, policy holders are required to see only health care professional within the network.

5. Any Insurance is Better than None

Skipping health insurance is not an option. Even if you don’t have enough money to buy the policy you are interested in, you should still sign for a plan that you can afford. Medical bills from an unexpected medical condition can push you into bankruptcy. With no insurance, a simple procedure could cost you hundreds of dollars.

There are many other things that you should know about health insurance. Before you go shopping, do proper research to find out more about medical coverage. Evaluate at least five quotes from multiple insurance providers, check out networks and search for information about the company you are interested in. Ask about the discounts that are being offered and negotiate your rates in order to get the best possible deal.


Don’t Retire Early If It Means Going Without Health Insurance

Early retirement used to be a sign of prosperity, but nowadays, it seems almost foolish to try. There are no guarantees that the retirement income you have established today will be available tomorrow. Rates of return on investments are low. Add to that the difficulty of managing health care, and the outlook for early retirement looks bleak indeed.

Generally, we do not qualify for Medicare until age 65. That leaves a big gap for anyone wanting to retire at age 55. It’s important to look at all of your options and plan accordingly. If you have your heart set on retiring early, here’s what you need to know about making the most of health benefits available to you.

Piggy Back on Your Spouse

If your spouse has health insurance benefits through work and continues working, you may secure benefits that way. Generally, this works best if your spouse is a few years younger than you are. Otherwise, you may be in line for a spot of jealousy as your spouse comes home from the grueling grind every day only to find you relaxing in the sunshine. If your spouse just hasn’t reached retirement age, there is less chance of conflict.

Pensions

If your employer offers a good pension plan, you may be able to secure private health insurance cheaply until Medicare takes over. Such plans are becoming rare, as companies have begun scaling back benefits to meet ever-increasing demands for profits. Don’t assume the option isn’t there for you. Check into your pension plan and read it carefully. Some employers have been hoping to get away with denying promised benefits.

COBRA

Even if your pension does not include health insurance benefits, you can stretch those employer benefits out when you retire. Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), the typical employer must allow you to pay them to continue your health insurance coverage for at least 18 months. You benefit from the employer’s group insurance rate. Be sure to sign up within 60 days of separation or you may lose this option.

Individual Health Insurance

Once your COBRA eligibility period is over, you’re on your own until age 65. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), those who receive COBRA benefits can secure a certificate that allows them to bypass coverage problems that arise because of a preexisting condition. If your health is good, you might be able to get special coverage that is designed only for catastrophic illnesses. You pay for your annual checkups, prescriptions and routine care. The insurance kicks in for large expenses only after they exceed the deductible.

Going Without

You really shouldn’t consider this an option at all, even if that means paying for our own health insurance. Going uninsured, hoping you make it to age 65 when you can afford that life-saving surgery, is no one’s idea of a relaxing retirement. You’d be better of working and knowing you’re protected if you get sick.