Should I consider family private health insurance?
You should consider family private health insurance if you currently have no health care coverage and you still have children living at home. With the cost of healthcare getting higher with each passing year, continuing to live without some sort of health plan becomes increasingly more risky. If you have an objection to health insurance or simply can’t afford it, there are other options available.
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For purposes of definition, private family medical health insurance is a health care plan purchased on behalf of your family either directly from a carrier or through your employer or other group. The opposite would be public healthcare coverage which would be available through government programs like Medicaid and Medicare. Don’t confuse private and public health insurance with group and individual plans. The definitions of group and individual plans are entirely separate altogether.
Can I purchase from my union or trade group?
According to 2010 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 64% of all Americans under the age of 65 were covered by some sort of private health insurance. Furthermore, 55% purchased their private insurance directly through their employers. That means the remaining 9% used a union, trade organization, or other large group to acquire their private health insurance policies.
The advantage of acquiring private health insurance this way is mainly lower cost. Groups provide better rates because the entire cost of health care is spread out among all of its subscribers. The larger the group, the lower your health insurance premiums should be.
On the other hand, when you purchase private family health insurance directly from an insurance company you are not able to share the cost with anyone else. Higher rates are the inevitable result. This is perhaps the main reason why so many self-employed individuals go without family private health insurance.
HMO plan or catastrophic care policy?
Most typical private health insurance plans for families are based on the health maintenance organization (HMO) model. This is generally preferred for families because it provides excellent coverage for routine medical care. Families with young children find it especially helpful when it comes to annual checkups, routine vaccinations, and other types of standard care. The downside to this model is that it often comes with higher deductibles and lower coverage limits for more serious illnesses or conditions.
Families with older children might want to consider a catastrophic care plan to replace an HMO if possible.
Also known as major medical insurance, a catastrophic care policy typically is more heavily weighted toward protecting you in the case of a major illness or accident, a chronic condition, or other catastrophic circumstances that could result in extensive medical bills.
These types of plans typically don’t offer much by way of routine or preventive care.
Can I keep my college student on my plan?
The University of Washington correctly points out that one of the first provisions put in place by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 is one that allows adult children to continue on their parents family health plan up to the age of 26. This is beneficial for college students who cannot afford their own health insurance coverage while still in school. It also provides protection for couple of years after graduation.
Students whose parents do not currently have their own private health insurance plan might be eligible for government subsidized insurance in some states. The University of Washington recommends purchasing a short term health insurance policy as one option. Short term health insurance policies tend to be very inexpensive and can have terms ranging between three and six months. They are ideal for college students, individuals between jobs, and others who need basic coverage against major medical expenses for a short period of time.
Another option may available through your student’s school via the alumni association. It’s not uncommon for such associations to set up funds or private foundations that will help cover student costs, including temporary health insurance. Health insurance for college students is important, as they are exposed to many germs in the college environment.
Private family health insurance is one tool by which you can cover the medical expenses for you, your spouse, and your children. Unfortunately, it is prohibitively expensive for a lot of people. If you need health insurance for your family and cannot afford it, be sure to check with your state insurance department to see if there’s anything your children will at least qualify for. It’s better to get basic coverage for them then continue with nothing at all.
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