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Wednesday November 13th 2019

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.

Strategies for Saving Money on Health Insurance

With overall health care costs on the rise, finding affordable medical insurance is a priority for most people. Even those who are young and healthy have a difficult time when it comes to buying insurance. The good news is that there are many ways to receive a discount and save money on health coverage. Here are some strategies that will help you get lower rates:

Use the Web

Using the free resources available on the Internet is an excellent way to get health insurance quotes and compare offers from industry-leading companies. The best is that you only need to complete a brief form in order to receive quotes from different insurers. The whole process takes a few minutes, so you will save time and money when shopping for health insurance.

Choose a Family Policy

Married people are more likely to find a reasonably-priced policy than those who are singles. Insurance providers usually offer discounts for buying two or more policies with the same company. Switching to your spouse’s plan may help you save hundreds of dollars a year. However, it is necessary that you do proper research before buying double coverage. In some states, it may be more affordable to get separate plans for you and your spouse. Rates may also differ from one insurance provider to another.

Consider Catastrophic Coverage

Another way to save money on health insurance is to opt for catastrophic coverage. A catastrophic insurance policy is suitable for healthy individuals who don’t need medical care on a constant basis. This type of coverage comes with a very high deductible that can reach $2,500. Unlike indemnity health insurance or managed health care plans, catastrophic coverage does not cover routine check ups, immunizations or maternity care. As the name suggests, this policy only offers protection against a catastrophe.

Use Available Tax Breaks

Individuals who are self-employed can deduct 100% of their health insurance premiums. However, medical expenses have to exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income so that you receive tax benefits. If you are permanently disabled, you may apply for federal or state-subsidized insurance plans. There are many programs specifically designed for those with a low income or extremely high medical expenses. Most states have a high-risk pool offering health coverage to low-income individuals. You may also cut costs by going to subsidized local clinics for medications and vaccinations.

There are many other ways to lower health insurance costs. Individuals who pay a year’s health insurance premium in advance qualify for substantial discounts. Joining various groups and organizations can help you save money. You may also consider a Health Savings Account (HSA) in order to spend less money on medical coverage.

Before you start shopping for medical insurance, take the time to evaluate your needs. As long as you know your options, you will be able to find a plan that fits your budget. Try to determine how long will you need health insurance and how much can you afford to pay every month. If you have pre-existing conditions, then you will get higher rates. Be sure to research your options in order to make an informed decision.

Lost Your Job? Cobra Can Help

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), passed in 1985, works as a stabilizing force for families when the primary breadwinner loses his or her job. The unemployed can continue carrying health insurance despite the loss of employment. Unexpected medical expenses can cripple an already struggling family.


Have to Buy Your Own Health Insurance? Here’s How.

New federal legislation signed by President Barack Obama will provide increased opportunities for uninsured people to buy health insurance.

Most people still obtain health insurance as a benefit from their employer. However, the number of people required to purchase their own insurance has increased with the recent recession. Consumers can buy insurance through their employer, directly from private companies, through subsidized government programs, or through the Medicaid program.

Employer Group Insurance Plans

Many companies allow you to purchase health insurance at special rates through group plans. In most cases, such insurance is offered as a benefit usually once the person becomes a permanent employee. However, some companies offer such insurance plans as an option that the employee must pay for with their own funds. If employer insurance is offered as a benefit, the employer pays the insurance premium without any impact on the employee’s pay.

As the company offers many customers to the insurance company, they qualify for lower rates as an incentive for their business. The health insurance companies also know that by having many customers they distribute the risk since the chance of multiple employees getting sick at the same time are low.

Private Health Insurance

If the employer does not offer an insurance plan, or a person or family is self-employed, then they must find private health insurance plans on their own. Blue Cross is an example of a company that offers health insurance plans directly to consumers.

Since these are most likely not group plans, the premiums will be higher for the same services offered at group rates. Also the deductibles will tend to be very high. However, as health insurance companies recognize that self-employed people can have limited budgets, they usually offer a wide range of programs, so that everyone can have at least some minimal coverage. Some insurance plans work together with a health savings account that provides tax-free funds to pay for health-related costs.

Finding health insurance plans is not difficult and can easily be done online where many websites offer comparison services. Such sites allow you to sort different policies based on criteria that you select. Most insurance companies also offer free online quotes to help you when shopping around for the best deals.

Subsidized Government Health Insurance

The new federal health care bill will allow Americans to obtain low cost health insurance through special markets known as “exchanges.” In order to qualify for these exchange programs, the person or family must not earn more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

Although these exchanges will not be available until 2014, there are some special programs available now to seniors and children. Seniors at least 65 years old, and certain other individuals like the disabled are eligible for Medicare health coverage. Children are covered by a federally-mandated state program known as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP coverage is available for families who cannot afford private health insurance.

People who belong to certain high risk categories such as those with pre-existing health problems can take advantage of a special high risk pool. The pool was established by the new health care bill and will stay in existence until 2014 when the exchanges begin operation. People who qualify as high risk will have out-of-pocket medical costs capped at $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families.

Free Medicaid Health Insurance

Each state has its own Medicaid program that provides coverage for families who do not qualify for other types of coverage, or who otherwise need additional coverage. In order to qualify, families must meet specific limits on income and assets. Some families may also qualify for Medicaid with a spend-down, a monthly deductible that must be paid before coverage begins. Medicaid is a federally mandated program, but each state is allowed some leeway in how they run the program.

Starting in 2014, the new healthcare legislation will expand Medicaid coverage to anyone who earns less that 133 percent of the federal poverty level. In 2009, the federal poverty level for a four-member family was $29,327. The program’s reimbursement system will also be brought up to par with that of Medicare in order to encourage more doctor participation.