When looking for the best health insurance companies it’s always a good idea to first know what you need for coverage. If you are just looking for yourself your options for pricing and competitive insurance premiums will be a little wider, but if you’re looking for more than just one person, premiums will be higher.
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According to Kaiser Education, health care costs have been rising for many years; they accounted for over 2.3 trillion dollars in 2008. This is more than three times what was spent in the beginning of the 1990s and eight times as much spent a decade before that!
With salary rates not rising nearly as fast as medical insurance, the average U.S. citizen is struggling to keep up.
What should you look for in a good health insurance policy?
Researching quotes online is always a good step when hunting down health insurance. However, it’s important to do your research on the insurance company as well.
- State Insurance Board: A good place to look is your state board of insurance. See if there are any complaints against an insurance company you are considering before you purchase a policy with them.
- Financial: Find out what the insurance company’s financial outlook looks like by visiting websites like A.M. Best. These websites will give you ratings on insurance company’s ability to meet obligations to their customers as well as their financial strength and financial outlook. Those companies with A- or A+ rating are considering excellent.
- Cost: When looking at the actual policy, make sure you’re comfortable with the plans monthly premium rates, copayment amounts and deductible amounts. Most policies will have high monthly premiums, but in return give you lower deductibles and copayment options. Those policies that have lower premiums will have higher health insurance deductibles and copays. It’s important to know how much you can afford in monthly premiums or deductibles before deciding on a policy.
- Benefits: Look at the health insurance policy’s benefits and limitations before signing on the dotted line. In medical emergencies you can rack up large sums of money with diagnostic testing, overnight stays and even ER visits.
- Emergency Care: It’s important to know if emergency care or medical treatment is covered in your policy should it arise. If emergency care is not included, you could end up with thousands of dollars to pay out of pocket.
- Physician Choice: Many health insurance companies offer HMO health plans and PPO health plans. It’s important to check whether or not your primary doctor or hospital is included in your health insurance plan’s preferred doctor or specialist list.
- Specialist Choice: It’s also important to note whether or not you can receive treatment with a specialist outside the preferred list without having to pay everything yourself.
Why are health insurance and health care costs skyrocketing?
It seems as though you can’t get away with the bare minimum for health insurance these days. Everyone enjoys a safety net and that’s something health insurance can provide those who are worried about the potentials of medical emergencies. There are some variables that are driving the costs of health care up which in turn makes health insurance more expensive. These include:
- Age: With the average age of the population increasing so has the need to fight off chronic illnesses. Treatment for illnesses and long term health care services has increased. This is in correlation to our aging community of baby boomers and their need for senior health insurance.
- Prescriptions: Prescription medication has been a huge contribution to the health care costs recently as well. The cost of producing prescription products has increased because of the demand for new drugs and also the use of new technology to aid in production.
- Administrative Costs: Since there has been an increase in the need to treat illnesses and the number of U.S. citizens utilizing health care, the costs for billing insurance companies and other such administrative tasks are increasing. This can be time consuming and expensive for health care agencies, creating large overhead costs which in turn lead to increased amounts in health care spending.
What are some red flags to look out for with health insurance companies?
It’s important not only to look for those health insurance companies which are highly recommended, but to recognize a red flag when you’re doing your research. If a health insurance policy seems too good to be true, in most cases it is.
Those health insurance companies who offer a much lower premium than average may be fraudulent. Another red flag is a health insurance company guaranteeing you coverage even with a preexisting condition.
Preexisting conditions are hard to find insurance for. Any company claiming to do so should be researched thoroughly before you sign with them.
It’s a good idea to research health insurance rates. You can do this by typing in your ZIP code and pressing enter!