Despite what you may have heard, there are no discount health insurance companies. Giving a discount implies the same goods or services provided at a lower price. Health insurance companies claiming to be discounters do not provide the same common health insurance benefits.
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To be fair, there are less expensive health insurance companies who provide plans more affordable than your standard HMO or major medical policy. But keep in mind these plans are very specific in terms of their coverage and tend to have significant limitations. These health insurance plans may be ideal for you depending on your circumstances; they may also be a waste of your money if they don’t provide adequate coverage for your needs.
What is a fair price for health insurance?
The idea of the discount health insurance plan gives rise to the question of how to determine what a fair price for health insurance really is. You may have three or four different health insurance options to choose from, each with its own price and coverage terms. It’s your job to determine whether or not the premium for each policy is fair in relation to the amount of coverage provided. Fortunately, there are some resources that can make conducting this type of analysis a little bit easier.
A good place to start is your state’s insurance department. The Colorado Division of Insurance provides quite a bit of helpful information about health insurance plans in that state. They publish one document that specifically breaks down average premium prices over several different types of health care plans. By reading this document and comparing their prices with the premiums you have in front of you, you can get a good idea of whether or not a specific plan is fair in comparison to others in that state.
When is a limited health insurance plan appropriate?
Limited health care plans are available from a fairly large number of providers throughout the country. Typically such plans are designed to cover very specific groups of individuals with very specific needs. In return for offering limited coverage, the average American ends up with affordable health insurance coverage.
A few years ago there was a regional provider offering limited coverage in New York State. One of the health insurance plans offered was what could be considered a “mini HMO” with an emphasis on routine care. The cost was about $250 per month for a family of four.
This plan was very limited. It did not provide substantial coverage for major medical issues such as cancer treatments, heart attacks, and maternity coverage. This type of policy certainly would not be appropriate for older Americans. For young singles it could be a good option to help cover the cost of their routine medical needs.
Are medical discount cards health insurance?
You may have seen promotions for medical discount cards which claim to provide standard medical services at a greatly reduced rate. According to the letter of the law, in most cases, such claims are legitimate. However, their marketing tactics seem to be misleading consumers to believe the cards provide them with health care coverage similar to a health maintenance organization (HMO) or preferred provider organization (PPO) health insurance company.
In reality these discount cards are very similar to coupons. They can be used to procure discounted medical services from doctors and health care facilities who choose to participate. To be fair, they are a great way to help supplement the cost of healthcare for people who pay for it out of their own pockets. None of these discount cards are actually health insurance.
You should also be aware of the fact that some discount card companies charge membership fees- and they can be rather pricey depending on the card issuer. In some cases you may be limited as to what the card can be used for, where it can be used, and the methods of payment you’re allowed to use. Keep in mind that you will most likely have to pay for your medical services at the time they are rendered.
For more information about discount cards, you can take a look at the website of the insurance division of the state of Delaware.
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