As the cost of health care keeps going up, affordable health care becomes more and more important. There are options available for affordable health insurance, depending on your particular situation. These options include employer-sponsored health insurance, group health insurance, HMOs, PPOs or high deductible health insurance plans. How affordable each option may be for a particular person or family may vary based on which insurance company is involved, which state they are in and the exact details of the coverage.
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An employer-sponsored health insurance plan is usually the lowest in cost because there is a group rate and the employer will generally pay a portion of the premiums. Professional organizations might also be able to get you a group rate discount. If you need affordable private health insurance, your best option would most likely be a high deductible plan, followed by an HMO and a PPO.
High Deductible Plans
A high deductible health insurance option is a plan that allows you to pay a lower health insurance premium in exchange for a higher deductible. These plans make sense for someone who is in perfect health and can afford to contribute to an accompanying health savings account (HSA).
A high deductible health insurance plan provides some protection against catastrophic injury or illness and the out of pocket costs for a given year would not be too great for someone whose only doctor visit is a regular checkup.
Since money in an HSA is tax free, accumulates interest, and can be carried over from year to year, a few years with decent contributions and good health could allow someone to build up a pretty good safety net for future medical expenses while still spending less on total health care and insurance than they would with a traditional plan.
The danger of a high deductible health insurance plan occurs when health starts going bad. One procedure or expensive test may be enough to require your entire deductible to be paid at once, and there aren’t many people who can afford to suddenly hand over several thousand dollars. An article in the New York Times warns that meeting the deductible on these plans is not necessarily the end of spending. Even after you meet the deductible requirement for a high deductible health insurance plan, you may be responsible for high copayments on doctor visits, hospital stays and prescription drugs.
Health Maintenance Organizations
HMO health insurance is a type of plan that requires you to belong to a network and direct most of your care through a primary care physician. If you were to seek care outside of your HMO network, you would have to pay a much higher percentage or sometimes the entire medical bill. Your primary care doctor would have to refer you to any specialists or for any tests or procedures for them to be covered at all.
The main attraction of an HMO is often financial. HMO premiums are low compared to PPOs and old fashioned health insurance plans and they often do not require deductibles for basic services and preventative care in the network.
Preferred Provider Organizations
PPO health insurance is similar to an HMO in the fact that there is a network involved, but a PPO generally has larger network and less of a penalty for seeking care outside the network. The extended networks are especially handy for someone who travels a lot, since there are often in-network treatment options across a number of states. Similarly, travelers appreciate the fact that a PPO will usually cover up to 50 percent of health care costs even if you go completely outside of the network.
PPOs can be a good choice for people who have health concerns that may require multiple opinions and multiple different treatments. The idea is that the flexibility of the plan and the expanded network will help you to get treatments and opinions more quickly. Flexibility and an expanded network come with a cost, however. A PPO will often have a higher cost than an HMO for premiums, deductibles and even copayments.
If all of the affordable traditional health insurance options are out of your price range, there may still be some health insurance available to you.
If you are at or below the poverty level then you will probably qualify for a state-run Medicaid health insurance program.
Failing that, you may at least qualify for government assistance with prescriptions through one of the various plans that they offer.
There is are health insurance plans that you can afford! Get health insurance quotes now by typing your ZIP code into the FREE search box!