What are my private health insurance options?
Any health insurance plan or policy not funded by grants or by the government is considered private. This includes both group and individual policies. Private health insurance companies offer a vast number of products for you to choose from. They range from very basic care to plans that cover almost every medical need you may ever have.
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No matter what you need there are health insurance options to fit your needs. When shopping for insurance, make a list of what your health insurance policy must cover. Health insurance is a necessity; take your time researching policies.
Group health insurance policies are the most common type of private insurance according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Group health insurance is generally offered through your employer but can sometimes be purchased through member associations.
Group health insurance is popular because it spreads the risk through all of the members on the plan. This allows an insurance company to offer lower premiums.
Your employer will decide which company to use and what type of coverage they want offer though. Your employer may also be required to pay a portion of the premiums depending on the size of their company.
Another benefit to group health insurance is guaranteed acceptance. You cannot be rejected for a group policy for things like preexisting conditions if you meet your employer’s requirements for length of employment and hours worked every week. You can have limitations on coverage for preexisting conditions though such as a waiting period before treatments related to it will be covered.
Group health insurance policies are typically managed care plans because they are cheaper and offer higher coverage. This will include HMO health insurance policies and PPO style health insurance plans. The reason these plans can offer higher care with lower prices is because they have a lot of regulations. They also negotiate costs with doctors and facilities they allow you to use.
Individual insurance policies are purchased by you directly from the insurance company. This is a great option if you do not qualify for health insurance elsewhere. Many people prefer individual insurance because it allows you the option to customize a policy to fit your needs.
A health insurance company can also deny coverage if they feel you are at high risk for illness or accidents. This means if you have preexisting conditions or lifestyle risks you may not be able to find coverage. When you purchase individual health insurance the company can request your medical records and require you to have a physical.
There are many types of coverage available including managed care, indemnity, and supplemental plans. Indemnity plans allow you the flexibility to see any doctor you want at any time. Many people love the greater flexibility of these plans over managed care but they tend to have higher premiums. Supplemental health insurance plans for specialty care or specific diseases are policies designed to be purchased in addition to your regular plan.
In addition to the flexibility of coverage options you can also choose which health insurance company to purchase your policy from. This means you can choose an insurance company that your preferred provider accepts instead of changing doctors.
Make sure you research a company before choosing one. Check with your state’s Department of Insurance if they are licensed in your state and if there have been complaints filed against them. Check the Better Business Bureau to see if they have complaints filed against them.
If you cannot find a private health insurance policy that fits your needs or budget there are other options. This includes government funded programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and state insurance pools. These programs will have strict qualifications based on need and income. Each state has its own set of qualifications, so you will need to research what is available.
Many areas have a free or reduced fee clinic. These clinics use a sliding scale to assess how much you pay for care. Anyone without insurance may be able to utilize their services. Hospitals may also offer you a sliding fee scale if you do not have insurance. Some doctors’ offices have begun offering discounts to cash paying patients as well.
Health care discount cards may be a viable option also. They offer you discounts on services and doctors with a small monthly membership fee. These discounts are negotiated with doctors and facilities and you will be given a list of providers who have agreed to participate.
When considering a discount health insurance plan be aware that not all of these plans are legitimate. Because of how these plans work they have become a popular scam! Get a list of providers before you sign up and call the providers in your area to verify they accept the plan.
You can find several health insurance policies to consider now by typing your ZIP code into the FREE search tool!