Types of Low Cost Health Insurance Plans
Whether you're a student, a stay-at-home mom or a single professional, every person needs to have health insurance.
As everyone knows, health insurance provides security, preventing you or your family from having to experience serious financial burdens as a result of expensive medical bills. With the rise of medical insurance costs, most people look for low cost health insurance plans that will ensure quality medical attention at the time of need, but at a price they can afford.
Getting Health Insurance at Work
The majority of employed individuals are covered by group health insurance provided by their employer or a spouse's employer, who sponsors the premium fully or partially. Even if you have to pay a portion of the premium, this group health insurance offers the best low cost health insurance option.
But there are many employers running small businesses that cannot afford to offer their employees health insurance coverage. The employees of such small organizations might obtain health insurance coverage through the membership of a labor union, professional associations, or shop for their own insurance through websites dedicated to providing multiple health insurance quotes from competing health companies.
Insurance Through COBRA
Another low cost health insurance option is "COBRA" (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985), which allows you to get affordable health insurance coverage for at least 18 months. COBRA is also applicable for laid off employees, their school age children, and their spouses who were previously covered under the employee's group plan, but who are now widowed or divorced.
Indemnity Plans, HMOs, PPOs
While searching for low cost health insurance, you often end up with a lot of confusing terms like "indemnity plans," "HMOs" and many more. While none of them cover your complete medical expenses 100% , each has their respective benefits. Keep in mind that with low cost health insurance options, you will need to compromise on the grounds of variety of services covered.
The following is an overview of each of the three main types of health insurance policies which can help you decipher which type of coverage is right for you.
- This traditional style of health insurance policy gives you the liberty of visiting any doctor of your choice, offers maximum flexibility, but charges the maximum amount of premium as compared to other types of health insurance. Its main advantage is the freedom to get treatment anywhere without prior recommendations.
- This health insurance policy also requires you to pay the hospital or doctor's office at the time of your treatment or appointment, submit your claim, and then receive a reimbursement from the insurance company.
- These insurances are also described by the terms, "fee-for-service" or "point of service" plans.
Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs):
- Under this plan you are entitled to obtain health care services from an HMO, which offers medical facilities as a package for a fixed price.
- HMOs consist of levels of medical practitioners, including the primary care physician (PCP) and the specialists. Under this plan, HMO members must choose a PCP from among the HMO member physicians. The PCP provides general medical care and must be consulted before you can see a specialist, who must also be part of the HMO.
- Since pre-approval of any treatment or medical attention by a specialist is required, there is a risk of being denied and not getting adequate medical care that you truly need.
- One advantage an HMO plan is it always keeps your up-front costs low and within a known limit. You also do not have to produce claim forms with these plans.
- A big disadvantage of this plan is any medical expenses that occur outside your HMO network, such as a trip to a hospital emergency room while you're traveling, will not be covered by this plan. In addition, some areas of healthcare are not covered.
Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs)
- A PPO has the same features of an HMO with regard to the managed health care packages. But PPO is a plan with greater flexibility that allows the patient to obtain the services of a professional outside the network if needed.
- The drawback is thatthe extra cost for seeking services outside the network must be paid out of your own pocket.
- Employers often offer their employees the choice of HMO or PPO. If given the opportunity, the PPO is the preferred option for the majority of people.
Travel Health Insurance
This insurance offers health insurance coverage for medical expenses while traveling abroad and typically comes at a low cost. This does not include any travel cost incurred to receive treatments abroad. Those who are older or with chronic medical problems are charged a higher premium.
On the basis of the above tips, you should be able to find a low cost health insurance plan that meets your medical requirements as well as your financial situation.
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