Health Insurance Basics – Common Definitions and Tips For First Time Buyers


Choosing a health insurance plan that is right for your family can be a bit daunting…but it doesn’t have to be. Becoming familiar with the different health insurance plans that are available both for individuals and families will help you navigate the health care insurance field and make an better informed decision concerning health insurance. Read on to learn some of the health insurance basics.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST INSURANCE PLAN FOR YOUR NEEDS

First, determine if short term or long term health insurance is what you need. If you are unemployed, yet hope to be hired in a few months with a company that offers group insurance, than perhaps short term health insurance is for you. Also some companies require a new employee to work for three to six months before they are eligible for health benefits. Short term could offer the temporary coverage you need. Next, decide if basic health-care coverage or comprehensive health care coverage will better meet your needs.

BASIC HEALTH CARE COVERAGE

This plans covers inpatient hospitalization and out-patient surgery in case of a major accident or illness. The monthly health premiums are lower and are generally the choice for those who are primarily interested in coverage in case of severe accident or illness.

COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE

This plan covers preventative care, Dr’s visits, prescriptions, along with hospitalizations and out-patient surgery. Comprehensive health care coverage has a higher monthly premium, and it generally has a low co-pay at the time of a Dr’s appointment. This plan may be the better choice appropriate for those who have reoccurring medical expenses.

AVAILABLE INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY INSURANCE PLANS

Health care plans usually fall into two categories, indemnity or managed-care plans. They differ in regard to how bills are paid, ability to choose health care providers and out-of pocket expenses. Generally, you’ll have a broader choice of health care providers with indemnity health-care plans and less out-of -pocket expenses and less paperwork with a managed-care health insurance plan.

MANAGED CARE PLANS

HMO’s (Health Maintenance Organizations), PPO’s
(Preferred Provider Organizations), and POS’s (Point of Service Plans) are all managed health-care insurance plans.

INDEMNITY PLANS

Under this plan, insurance companies pay their share of the cost for services after they receive a bill. This may mean that you will have to pay your bill for medical care at the time of service and then seek reimbursement from your health insurance company.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF AN HMO PLAN?

– Lower out of the pocket expenses

– Fewer choices in regard to physicians and hospitals than other health insurance plans

– A PCP (Primary Care Physician) is required and will meet most of your health-care needs

– A referral is needed from your PCP before seeing a specialist

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF A PPO PLAN?

– Health insurance companies offer a network of preferred doctors and hospitals

– These health care providers offer the members services at discounted rates

– Usually an annual individual or family deductible must be paid before the health insurance companies begins to pay out money for medical bills.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF A POS?

– Combines features of both the HMO and PPO plans

– Members are usually required to choose a Primary Care Physician (PCP)

– PCP services are not usually subject to a deductible

– Preventative care visits are generally covered

HEALTH INSURANCE TERMS

As with any genre, health care insurance is filled with jargon exclusive to its field. The following is a list of terms and their meanings that will hopefully give you good grasp of health insurance terms.

COINSURANCE

The percentage of medical costs you have to paying after meeting the deductible amount that is attached to your plan.

CO-PAYMENT

This occurs under an HMO plan and requires a specified dollar amount be paid to the health insurance provider on each visit.

COVERED BENEFITS

A covered benefit must always be a medical necessity. The determination of whether something is a medical necessity or not is made by the health insurance company.

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