The biggest way that the evolution of health insurance companies has progressed is that there are a lot more health insurance options. Not only is there more variety of benefits offered, but there are a lot more companies as well.
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Health insurance right now can be very confusing because there are so many choices, not only with the types of plans but the details of the plans as well. When health insurance was first offered it was a lot simpler and less complicated. It is better to have all these different types of health insurance, but you do need to make sure you understand all of the details of your plan.
How long has health insurance been around?
Plans that covered wounds and injury caused by rail and steamboat travel became available during the period of the civil war. In 1847, group insurance became available to help cover accidents. What is considered to be health insurance in its current form did not start until the 1920s and 1930s.
How did health insurance begin?
Health insurance came into being for the most part due to rising medical costs. Prior to the twentieth century, most illnesses were taken care of at home. If a doctor was needed, in many cases he would make a home visit.
In the 1920s, new medicines and medical procedures began developing. More patients were expected to visit hospitals and other treatment clinics for their care. This in turn increased the patients’ medical costs. Health insurance began to help decrease the costs of medical treatment.
How did group health insurance begin?
Health insurance offered by employers is also known as group health insurance. It became popular during the 1940s and continued to expand through the 1950s. During World War II, the United States government put a freeze on wages. As a benefit and strategy to attract more laborers, businesses began offering health insurance in their benefit packages.
One way that group health insurance has evolved is in the type of plans offered by employers. In the first few decades of employer sponsored health insurance, the major plans offered were those that were fee for service.
When health care costs began rising in the 1980s and 1990s, employers changed the types of plans offered in order to save money. The way employers saved money while still offering insurance coverage to their employees was to switch to managed care plans.
What are managed care plans?
One way that health insurance has evolved is that more employers began to offer managed care plans in order to save money. There are a few different types of plans that are considered to be managed care.
An HMO is an affordable plan that consists of a network of hospitals, physicians, and a variety of health care professionals. In order to be covered by your insurance plan, you must go to one of the providers or facilities in the network. You also have a primary doctor from whom you need a referral in order to see other specialists.
A PPO costs you more than a HMO health insurance but it is more flexible. You can choose a doctor in the network or out. It usually costs you more in terms of deductibles and co pays if you go to an out of network provider.
A POS plan combines aspects of both a PPO and an HMO. For more information about any of these managed plans, visit the Insurance Information Institute.
How has health insurance evolved in terms of government involvement?
For those who can’t afford health insurance, the government has developed a number of programs to help cover the costs. In fact, by 1995 the government covered about 50% of health care costs in the country.
Health insurance plans that are sponsored by the government cover a variety of groups. A major one, Medicare, was developed to help individuals 65 and older, as well as those with specific disabilities.
Other programs sponsored by the government include Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, State-specific plans, military health care, and Indian Health Services. The government requires that every individual has health insurance of some kind so if you cannot afford it on your own, you should check into the programs sponsored by the government.
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