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What kind of personal health insurance plans are available for me?

young business man seeks individual health insurance planThere are many forms of health insurance plans on the market today. The most popular regular health insurance plans are:

  • Co-pay
  • High deductible
  • Health savings account
  • Short-term plans

Supplemental health insurance plans are also becoming more popular as many employers are starting to reduce health insurance coverage to save money.

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Supplemental health insurance is a good choice for someone that does not receive enough coverage through his or her employer or just wants added coverage. One of the more popular forms of supplemental coverage is cancer coverage. More information about this type of insurance and other cancer related issues could easily be found at Cancer.gov.

What are the most common forms of insurance coverage and how do they work?

Co-pay insurance is probably the type of health insurance in which most people are familiar. This is the type of plan that is most often provided by employers. With a co-pay plan, the policyholder has to pay a set fee for routine medical costs like a trip to the doctor’s office. After the co-pay is paid, the insurance covers the rest of the costs associated with that trip. It is not uncommon for a doctor’s visit co-pay to be as low as $20.

This type of plan typically covers around 80% of the policyholder’s medical costs. This takes a large burden off the policyholder if they ever find themselves in the hospital. This type of plan typically includes prescription medication benefits as well. Since this type of plan covers so much of the medical costs, it tends to have a high monthly premium.

If money is tight and having a low monthly premium is a priority then a high deductible health insurance plan might be a better choice. This plan is able to give the policyholder very low monthly premiums because the yearly deductible is so high. With this plan, the policyholder takes responsibility for all medical costs themselves until the deductible is met. Once the deductible is paid for the year, the insurance covers all of the medical costs for the rest of the year.

These types of plans are not a good choice for someone that goes to the doctor a lot. They are a much better option for someone in good health that just wants a safety net in case they are in a major accident. If they are in an accident, all they would have to pay is whatever they owe on their deductible for the year and then the insurance company will pay for the rest of their hospital costs.

A health savings account is a high deductible plan coupled with a savings account. The savings account helps the policyholder save money to help pay for medical expenses until their deductible is paid. This savings account is often tax free, which helps the policyholder save money faster. It also helps that the money in the account is rolled over into each new deductible year and continues to collect interest.

For someone that is in between jobs or has recently started a new job and is waiting for their new health insurance benefits to kick in short-term health insurance might be a great choice. This insurance is meant to fill in the small gaps of time people have with their health insurance when they are in transition periods in their life. College students with part time jobs and retirees waiting to qualify for Medicare coverage are also good candidates for this insurance.

What are the two main health insurance networks?

After choosing what type of health insurance plan you need it is important to then consider the type of health insurance network you will have. The two networks are HMO and PPO. Insurance on an HMO network tends to cost less than with a PPO, but there are many limitations to an HMO.

If you have an HMO health insurance plan then you are required to choose your doctors, hospitals, and clinics from an approved network of providers. If you choose to seek treatment outside of the network, the insurance provider will most likely not cover your costs. A PPO lets the policyholder go outside of the network. While a PPO allows you to choose whichever provider you want, it still might be cheaper to choose an in-network provider.

Do I need supplemental health insurance?

Supplemental insurance is a great choice for someone if they do not have a certain type of coverage, like dental, or just want more coverage to be on the safe side. No matter what type of health insurance plan you have or what provider you go with no health insurance plan will cover 100 percent of your medical costs. Supplemental insurance is just a way for people to make sure that if the worst happens they will have as much coverage as possible.

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One Review

  • Thanks for this article, Julia, and I hope you’ll continue to expand on the many options open to us Baby Boomers as we turn the golden age of 65 and can finally look forward to having Medicare health coverage.

    Choosing a supplemental insurance plan can really be a daunting process, and it’s great to have someone as knowledgeable as yourself sharing and clarifying this important information.

    We appreciate you as a trusted resource and value your help in sifting through the staggering number of options presented to us in the daily barrage of mailings as we approach the time to pick a plan.

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