With the purchase of cheap health insurance, insured customers should be aware that their deductible will typically be a higher number and the co-pay for a visit is not exactly cheap. Cheap health insurance, however, is affordable for individuals that are not covered on a company plan and offers all of the necessary coverage.
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An HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), is typically a cheaper health insurance plan. An HMO requires that the patient have a PCP (primary care physician) in order to receive referrals to specialty doctors in the area. If the patient goes to a new doctor without obtaining a referral from their PCP, they will be charged for the entire medical bill, rather than just the co-pay. Having an HMO health insurance plan enables the customer to have cheaper insurance. However, the strict rules for going through a PCP sometimes restrict the patient from seeing a specialist of their choice.
Who looks for cheap insurance plans?
Typically, the customers who are searching for cheap insurance plans include:
- Single mothers
- Recent college graduates
- Individuals that do not receive a full benefits package from their employer
This demographic that is searching for cheap insurance plans should look for a low annual premium, which will reduce their health insurance cost monthly as well.
According to WebMD, health insurance premiums have risen over $3,000 for family health care plans. In order to find a cheap insurance plan, both companies and families need to do a bit of researching.
Though cheap insurance plans allow its customers to pay a low annual premium, they must meet a deductible before they receive medical procedures, emergency room visits, and surgeries free. Though deductibles can range anywhere from $500-$10,000, individuals who have a health insurance plan typically will have a deductible in the thousands range. For example, if an individual is purchasing a cheap insurance plan that is $60 per month, their deductible may be somewhere around $2,500.
If that same customer does not make frequent trips to the emergency room and has an immaculate medical history, all of their small needs such as a sonogram or an x-ray, will not be covered by their insurance until they receive medical bills that add up to $2,500. Usually, an emergency room visit or a surgery, for those with cheap health insurance plans, will meet the deductible in no time. Once the deductible is met, the patient still has to pay a co-pay for doctors’ visits, unless they have a HMO plan.
How long does a deductible last?
Although it would be wonderful for the deductibles to remain in effect for an entire lifetime, sadly, deductibles are sadly restarted at the beginning of each new year. If a patient had a rough year, medically, they will have most likely met their deductible within the year. For example, if they meet their deductible by September, their physical therapy sessions, medical procedures, and diagnostic tests will all be covered until January of the next year.
However, once the new year starts, the deductible goes back to zero, meaning that if the patient has to receive more medical procedures after the new year, they will have to pay out-of-pocket for them. Though the insurance companies still cover a portion of the medical procedures before the deductible is met, if a patient is on a cheap health insurance plan, they will be lucky if the health insurance company covers half of the procedure.
Besides the HMO health plan, what is the other option?
The other option for a health insurance plan is the PPO, also known as the Preferred Provider Organization, which is opposite of the HMO plan. With a PPO, you are able to go to a specialty doctor without obtaining a referral from your primary care physician (PCP). This enables the patient to explore their options, without being restricted to their doctor’s recommendations. The positive side to a PPO plan is that if a patient needs a second opinion on their health status, they can find another doctor other than their PCP or their recommendations.
A negative of the PPO plan is that if you go to a doctor or hospital that is out of your PPO network list, you will be entitled to pay more for your visit. When researching what PCPs or specialists are in your PPO network, your health insurance provider will typically provide this information online.