The basic things you should look for in a private health insurance policy include low premiums, low deductibles and copayments, good coverage, doctors you trust in the network, and a company you can trust. In reality, you are not likely to find all of those things, so you need to decide which are most important to you. Then you’ll be ready to save money with a health insurance comparison.
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It is often difficult to make a direct comparison between private insurance policies because there are so many variables. There are a lot of websites available that try to make it easier to compare these plans. For example, the National Committee for Quality Assurance creates a report card for different health insurance policies. They also give tips on what to look for and how to make an informed decision between policies.
Different Types of Insurance Policies
What different types of insurance policies are there? Most people in America who have health insurance have a managed care plan of some kind. According to Consumer Reports, 34% of Americans have a preferred provider organization (PPO) and 31% have a health maintenance organization (HMO). A subset of these is the high deductible health insurance plan, which can be PPO, HMO, or neither.
Once you have some idea of which factors are most important to you, you can start to look seriously at private health insurance companies and rank them according to whether they meet your requirements.
With PPO health insurance, you get reduced fees and copayments for dealing with health care professionals in your network, but you can seek treatment outside the network for an additional cost. You would not need a referral to see a specialist with a PPO. A PPO usually has a larger network with more options.
HMO insurance usually has cheaper deductibles and copayments than a PPO, but you will usually pay the full cost for treatment if you see a health care professional outside your network. You will need a referral from your primary care physician to see a specialist, even in the network.
A high deductible plan takes a normal health insurance plan and raises the deductible while lowering the premium.
In a way, it’s like gambling- if you’re healthy, you get lower health insurance premiums and will probably only have to pay for a single checkup. Of course if you get a serious illness or injury, you will pay thousands of dollars out of pocket just to cover the deductible.
Best Type of Health Insurance Plan
What is the best type of health insurance plan? The best type of health insurance plan really depends on who you are. Different people in different stages of life have different needs. A young, healthy man with no kids may benefit from a high deductible health insurance plan, since he is unlikely to need major medical assistance. Someone who is married with two kids, travels a lot and might not always be close to hospitals in their HMO network might be better off with a standard PPO or POS plan.
Most experts recommends looking at a number of factors when comparing health insurance plans. Some of the factors they say to look for include cost, whether or not your favorite physicians are in the network, whether there are wellness incentives and what type of prescription coverage is included.
Affording Private Health Insurance
What if I can’t afford private health insurance? If you can’t afford private health insurance, there are still options. There are federal care centers that provide a lot of health services and set their fees based on your ability to pay. Another option for low income uninsured people is a state run Medicaid program, which provides coverage for a number of different procedures and treatments, although coverage varies by state.
Prescriptions can often be obtained for free or cheaply by low income patients through one of the many prescription drug programs run by the city or federal government or by private companies. If you have a preexisting condition that makes it too expensive to get health insurance coverage, you may be able to get assistance through a high risk insurance pool, also run by the state. Of course, if you are 65 or older, the federal government’s Medicare program can provide you with insurance as well.
Can you afford private health care insurance? Take a look at health insurance options in your area by typing your ZIP code into the FREE search box now!