A Consumer Guide for Getting and Keeping Health Insurance
The American public struggles to make decisions on buying individual health insurance policies, mainly because health insurance has been supplied by employers for decades. The average worker is told by the company they are working for if you want health insurance, this is the way it is. Because a large portion of the employee rate is paid by the employer and because it’s easy just to add your dependents, most people know very little about how health insurance works or the reason a lower deductible plan costs more. Not being knowledgeable about health insurance can cost you a lot of money. The time factor also makes purchasing health insurance an expensive venture. Because most people don’t have the knowledge on how health insurance works (the amount of time needed for underwriting), they wait to the last minute to purchase protection.
First, you need to know there are different types of health insurance plans available to purchase. Major medical PPO plans for an individual has different guidelines than the group Major medical plan you have had for years. There are also Short term Medical plans and Mini medicals to consider. And on top of different products to consider there is a time factor, depending on your current health status, to speed up your selection process or be penalized with preexisting clauses. In less than two paragraphs I’ve probably mentioned five phrases that have no meaning to you whatsoever. It doesn’t matter what your income is, with the price of everything going up, protecting your income needs to be a priority to survive in this economy.
Second, become familiar with your current policy. Understand the layers of protection in the group health insurance policy you have today. You may not be aware of your total liability only because you have been so healthy. When you look you’ll see you have co pays for doctor visits and for your prescriptions. Anything at the hospital is subject to an annual deductible and coinsurance and an additional deductible per occurrence on some procedures. These types of limits are common in all policies, these are ways to keep the premium low enough for everyone to afford. When selecting an Individual Policy these levels of protection are normally higher.
Last but most important, hire a professional licensed agent to help you understand your options; agents’ commission is already included in the premiums, this makes them part of buying a policy. Get in touch with a general agency on the internet; they represent multiple individual health insurance companies. They are not tied to one carrier; this will assure you are getting the best coverage for your needs. Once you have found an agent and an agency you are comfortable with, stay in contact with them, especially at renewal time. If you are not happy with what the insurance company is telling you about the increased costs at renewal, have your agent shop for a new carrier for you.