Friday, October 2, 2009

Comparing Health Care Plans

Comparing Health Care PlansWhen it comes time to compare health insurance plans to make a decision which one fits your needs and budget, compare for PCQ. (Price you pay, Coverage you receive and Quality you expect). Having to choose between numerous health care plans can be a hard work. Firstly, try to ask your boss about the health insurance plans in your office. Your company usually presents the easiest and effortless options. Take these plans into consideration, as you can save more and get an extra comprehensive coverage.

Find a health insurance agent and gather information about the accessible health insurance plans. Agents can be very helpful because they often represent more than one insurer. Also, since they don't work directly for one insurer, they do not always know the latest policies or changes in plans. In addition, since their earnings are based on how many insurance plans they sell, they may not be as objective as you would like them to be.

Besides your ability to find the money for health insurance, whether or not you can even get insurance will depend on your health insurance history. If you can prove you have been insured over the past year or more, but need to make a change due to some situation (like getting laid off), it will be easier to get insurance than it will be if you have not had any health insurance for awhile.

As for pregnancy or travel... Not all insurers offer pregnancy and birth coverage. Not all insurers expand their coverage area outside the country, although most will cover you while you travel within the United States. True elective surgery is rarely covered, although which surgeries are considered elective vary from insurer to insurer.

Some health care plans require you to use their doctors. If you currently have a physician that you would like to keep seeing, then check first to see if your doctor is included in the health care plan you are considering. Location and availability are also important aspects to consider when choosing a doctor. Not only check where the doctor is located but you will also want to find out the hours of the facility and make sure that the doctor is available all of those hours as some doctors work in several facilities.

If you like getting regular physicals and health screenings you will want to ensure they are covered. Most managed care plans cover these types of screenings yearly, but some independent insurance plans do not cover them at all. Also, if you have children find out if well-baby check-ups and immunizations are covered.

Not every health plan covers the cost of prescriptions. If you use prescription drugs on a regular basis or think you may need to in the future, you will want to consider a plan that has good prescription drug coverage. If you are very healthy and don’t take prescription drugs often, then this will be less important to you.

Consider what bonus services are covered when comparing health plans. Some examples of extra services that may be important to you include: Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation, Mental Health Care, Counseling, Home Health Care, Nursing Home Care, Hospice, Experimental Treatments, Alternative Treatments, Chiropractic Care.

Most insurers will charge you for monthly premiums, or they may charge you quarterly or bi-monthly. Some may charge an enrollment fee to be put into a group of others like you who want individual insurance. Still others will tack on a monthly billing fee if you don’t pay for it all at one time. You will find premiums for a single person, for a couple or for a family (three people or more.) These premiums will be what your insurance costs before you or your family member ever gets ill or needs to get the services. It is money you will shell out even if you are completely healthy all year.

There are some newer health insurance plans that seem like a great deal because their premiums are so low, and their deductibles are manageable. What they do not want you to figure out is that they limit the amount they will pay if you get sick or hurt. Somewhere in the fine print, you will find a statement of annual cap or a lifetime cap. The lower those caps, the lower your premium.

A health insurance policy that costs you $10,000 over the course of the year in premiums, deductibles and co-pays, but limits your annual reimbursements to $20,000 is rip-off. You need to look for annual caps of $1 million or more, and lifetime caps of several million. If you have difficulty telling what those caps are, call the plan’s 800 number and ask. Missing this question has cost others their entire life savings, so pay close attention.