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What do I need to know before selecting private health insurance?

need to know before selecting private health insuranceChoosing a private health insurance plan is one of the biggest and most important decisions most of us make in our lives and there are so many factors to consider. There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to buying a family health insurance policy. You will have to figure out what you and your family need and what you can afford.

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When selecting a private health insurance policy you must consider all the costs and benefits associated with it. A good bit of investigation into what medical health insurance policy options you should look for is very important. You will need to look at what kinds of policies are out there, if they fit your needs, what they cost and how you will pay for them.

You’ll need to know what each health insurance policy covers, what each one doesn’t cover, and whether they can meet the healthcare needs of your family.

You should read the benefits summary details of any policy you are considering very carefully and ask for explanations of anything you don’t fully understand. Feel free to call the health insurance company directly for clarification.

How Copayments Work

How do copayments work?   A standard health insurance policy will require copayments. This means you pay a certain amount to the service provider at the time the services are rendered and the insurance company pays the balance later on. The hospital or doctor’s office will often take care of billing the insurance company for you.

Sometimes you can choose your own doctors and hospitals with these plans. The copayment amounts will vary according to the service type you receive. For example, prescription medication may require a different copayment than an examination or an MRI. Be sure to review all the details of what services are covered and if there are any limits.

The benefit of a copay health insurance policy is that it gives you a way to plan for your medical costs. It is clear what your annual deductibles are each year and what your per visit copayment amounts will be as well. This makes budgeting for your health care easier.

Coinsurance Health Insurance Policies

What is a coinsurance health insurance policy?   Unlike copayment insurance plans with set fees, coinsurance plans require you to pay certain percentages of the costs involved with the healthcare services you receive. Typically the split is 80/20, where the insurance company pays 80% and you pay the balance. Different arrangements are available; the more you pay as a percentage, the lower the health insurance premium will be.

You may have to receive services from an approved network of doctors and hospitals with a coinsurance plan. These restrictions usually apply when you are a member of a health maintenance organization (HMO), a point of service plan (POS), or a preferred provider organization (PPO).

The benefits of coinsurance include providing a protective cap, or upper limit, on out of pocket expenses. These plans are less expensive overall than most copayment health insurance plans. The cap provides protection for you against unlimited costs associated with major medical conditions you may require treatment for.

Supplemental Insurance Policies

selecting private health insuranceWould a supplemental insurance policy help with costs?    Supplemental health insurance policies pay for any medical expenses that your primary insurance doesn’t cover. It can help cover your deductibles. Supplemental health insurance can also provide money to pay for things not directly related to your healthcare. This might include lost wages when you are out of work due to an illness.

This kind of insurance can fill gaps, but should never be considered as a replacement for your primary health insurance. Medigap policies for example, pay for the portions of your health care costs that Medicare doesn’t cover.

Another type of supplemental insurance is the hospital indemnity insurance policy that pays cash directly to you. These plans often have waiting periods before cash benefits are paid. Be sure you understand any limitations associated with these types of health insurance plans.

Information on Private Health Insurance Plans

Where can I find information on these various plans and what they have to offer?   Plan ratings compiled by different state governments can be found at the Consumer Health Rating’s web site.  Medicare approved health plans are evaluated and may be seen at the Medicare website. The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has health insurance plan information and ratings at their website .

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