Health insurance is costly and it is not likely to get any cheaper in the near future. The high costs make it difficult for many families to get it, but there are many forms and you may be able to find one that is suitable. Here are some different ways that you can get health insurance.
Four Basic Kinds of Health Insurance
When you start searching for private health insurance, you will find that there are four basic types. The lowest cost form will always be group medical insurance. This is the kind that you get from most employers or from most associations.
1. The health insurance companies that issue this type of medical coverage, called HMO’s, seek to keep the costs as low as possible. In order to do so, they control the type and amount of services the most. Each patient must have all services and tests approved in advance by their primary care physician.
2. One step up from this is the Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO’s). This form of health insurance coverage enables people to go outside of the organization, but it will be less expensive to receive medical care within it. When going outside, it may be necessary to pay as much as 20% of the bill, and sometimes you may pay the entire bill.
3. Point of Service (POS) gives policy owners even more control about which services they will receive and how much. There is a primary care physician, but you are allowed to go outside the system. There are also some preventive services offered.
4. Fee for Service (FFS) is the form that gives the insured the greatest amount of liberty. You will be able to go anywhere you want for medical services. The insurer, however, will only pay what is considered to be an average cost in your area. There is an annual deductible, and the insured will need to pay about 20% of each bill they receive after the deductible is met.
COBRA Health Insurance
COBRA health insurance is a program that enables a previous insurance that you had with an employer to be continued. You must decide to get it within 63 days of the “event” as to why you no longer work there. This is especially valuable for those who are laid off, surviving members, divorcees, or when an illness strikes and the employed cannot continue working. COBRA health insurance, however, will require that the full premium amounts are paid, but some recent government decisions may allow reductions of about 60% to be obtained.
Other Health Care Options
Most communities will have some form of free health clinic that will provide basic medical services. These are usually free, but there may be some charges for some people who make a little more money.
Health Discount Cards:
These are readily available everywhere (emails, faxes, etc.), but you should be aware that they are not health insurance. They will not pay any bills. All that you may get from one of these cards is a discount at the time of some medical service, but you will be responsible to pay the remaining portion of the bill. Many of these are scams, too, so be careful. You can find out which ones are real from your state’s Department of Insurance Webpage.
Money can also be saved on health insurance by shopping around. Getting put into a group health insurance plan will always be cheaper than private family medical insurance. In addition, you can get additional savings when family members are in good health. A spouse can be put on to an existing health plan for less cost than having two separate policies.