How do I find health care insurance?
In today’s world, there are more choices than ever to find affordable health insurance. You just need to first do your homework to understand your options and how much coverage you can afford. To follow are several steps you might take to finding the healthcare plan that is right for you.
A first step to finding the right health care insurance plan for you might be for you to perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine how much money you are comfortable paying for health care.
Second, you want to review the types of insurance plans available to you to better understand the coverage each provides. To follow are a few plan options:
Employer Sponsored Plan
Many employers offer health insurance as part of their employee benefits package and pay a portion of the premiums. If the option is available to you, you should buy coverage through your employer, since it's less expensive than if you purchased an individual policy on your own. Most employers offer only 1-2 packaged options such as a HMO, PPO or traditional indemnity plan. An employer sponsored health insurance plan is typically going to be your most attractive option for affordability and coverage.
If your employer doesn't offer health insurance, you might contact your state insurance department for information on possible individual health insurance programs for which you may qualify. Typically your income level will determine your qualification into state sponsored programs. If you do not qualify for state sponsored coverage, you can visit, phone or research online the numerous insurance companies in your community that can provide you with health insurance plan options.
If you are self-employed, check to see if you can join business or industry associations that offer group health insurance. If there are no organizational benefits available to you, you might need to purchase independent healthcare coverage. You can visit, phone or research online the numerous insurance companies in your community that can provide you with health insurance plan options. A last option for the self-employed is state-sponsored health-care plans. However, you must qualify for these plans based on your income level as they are geared toward lower-income individuals.
If you are unemployed, you might be able to receive health insurance coverage via COBRA. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances, such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events. COBRA generally requires that group health plans sponsored by employers with 20+ employees in the prior year offer employees and their families the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage (called continuation coverage) in certain instances where coverage under the plan would otherwise end. For additional information on COBRA, you can visit http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/cobra.htm.
If COBRA is not an option for you, you can purchase independent health care coverage by visiting, calling or researching online the numerous insurance companies in your community and evaluating the plans they have to offer.
If you're retired and relying on Medicare, you might research purchasing a Medigap policy that covers the medical expenses that Medicare doesn't, such as the inpatient deductible.
A last step in shopping for health insurance (for those persons shopping for individual coverage) is finding the right provider. When you visit or call an insurance company, you should have a list of questions ready to ask so you can compare plans and quotes. These questions might include asking what is excluded on their health insurance plans, which health care physicians would be available to you, what your deductibles and co-pay amount will be, if there are additional fees or qualifications for persons with pre-existing health conditions, and whether there is a specific referral process for specialized physicians.