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Shopping for Health Insurance

Shopping for health insurance can be a frustrating hassle. There are so many companies with so many rates to compare. However, it is important to take your time and find the best company for your money. Although it may be frustrating, health insurance is a necessity. In any area, there are usually quite a few health care providers that can supply you with a quote over the phone. You could also use the Internet as a resource. By using these tools, you can make the shopping process go more smoothly.

The first step is going to be deciding which type of insurance you should be shopping for. If you have a family, it would be in your best interest to find a company that will give you one decided premium and co-payment plan no matter how many children you add to the plan at any time. Without a family, you would be shopping for individual health insurance but will need to decide if you are in need of short-term insurance or insurance for an extended period. Short-term insurance is for people who are in-between jobs and expect to enroll in whichever health insurance plan their future employer sponsors.

Once you have established what type of insurance you need, it is time to make some calls. Go through your local phone book and start calling down the line. After answering a few simple questions, you can get a quote and move on to the next company. Cost is one of the most important factors. If you find two or more of them with very similar premiums and a low co-payment amount, you should compare the benefits. Can you add immediate family at no charge? Will this health insurance include dental, emergencies, prescriptions, or doctor visits? This may help you find one that appeals more to your needs and is within your budget. Using the services of the Internet to find a company will be a very similar process. Some reputable web sites out there will ask you to fill in a few blanks and then give unbiased quotes from many different health insurance companies.

Whether you are going to be doing your shopping over the phone or on the Internet, you should use your best judgment of the information that you get on each company to decide on one that makes you comfortable. The Better Business Bureau can also help you be sure that you are not being scammed. Health insurance is a cost that is necessary to save you money in the long run on prescriptions, doctor visits, and unforeseen emergencies. Don’t get left with bills that you have no way of paying because you didn’t have insurance.

Healthcare for Long-term Patients

Long-term care insurance is not right for everyone. For a small percentage of the population this coverage is an affordable and worthwhile type of insurance. Determining whether or not long-term care insurance is right for you won’t be the only task at hand; looking for scams will also be a concern.

As you get older, the need for assistance in your everyday life increases. Whether it is in-home care or residing in a nursing home for a few months you will most likely need some way to pay for these types of services. In order to maintain long-term care insurance you must pay for them each and every year until death. Many policies are canceled by policyholders that are on fixed incomes and are simply unable to pay for the increasing premiums as they get older. If the only funds you are receiving were those from Social Security or SSI, then it would be wise to not purchase a policy. Also, if you find that every day purchases and paying for utilities makes you stretch your budget to the limit, you probably should stay clear of this policy. This type of policy is only right for someone who has significant assets they want to preserve for their family, remain independent, or just to spare their family the expense of a nursing home bill.

Comparing policies can prove to be difficult because every company is selling a different combination of benefits and coverage. Many companies offer to pay a fixed amount for each day you receive care, while others will cover a percentage of the overall cost of care or supply a specified amount. Beware of these types of policies unless they offer inflation protection. You see, if they do not account for the increasing cost of nursing home costs, then you are stuck with a policy that really does you no good.

Just like a standard healthcare plan, you will have to receive services at designated locations. If you go outside of this network they will simply refuse to pay for any care that you receive. If you have any type of mental disease or nervous disorder then don’t expect many carriers to accept you (the one exception is Alzheimer’s). There are more restrictions in this type of insurance than any other health insurance.

If this type of policy is right for you, please make sure that the company is reputable. There are many individuals who thrive on the fact that not many people will make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing long-term health insurance. Be sure to read the fine print and find out everything you can about the policy before committing to a company and a long-term health insurance plan.

Health Insurance and Retirement

Health insurance for retirees or senior citizens can be confusing, especially with so many options and requirements. However, health insurance is crucial for retirees. As you grow older, your health obviously becomes more of an issue; you may visit the doctor more, need to fill more prescriptions, or even receive in-home care. Before you retire, prepare for health insurance to ensure that you receive the best benefits.

The first step in planning your health insurance coverage in your retirement is to see if your employer offers insurance coverage after you retire. If the company does, you should certainly consider it. Look at the plan, the deductible, and the coverage. Many near-retirees believe that Medicare will cover their medical payments, but this is not always the case. With this sort of coverage, you will most likely receive better health care but at a more expensive cost. As a retiree, you will certainly have a health insurance budget to maintain, and you will have to decide if the cost of your employer’s insurance is too expensive.

If your employer does not offer coverage, Medicare will be an important and integral part of your health insurance if you are 65 years of age or older. Medicare works like traditional health insurance plans in that you have been contributing a small portion of every paycheck you earn into this plan. Once Medicare begins, you will make co-payments for office visits or treatment. Medicare will also cover the expense of certain medical equipment or needs.

However, Medicare did not cover a number of items that are typical of health insurance. The government recently updated Medicare and divided it into three parts: Part A, B, and C. Part A covers hospital care, such as home health care, hospital stays, and hospice care. This part does not require a premium. Part B covers the more routine medical expenses, such as office visits and laboratory tests, while Part C enrolls you into a fee-for-service or managed care plan that reduces your out-of-pocket costs. Despite these different options, Medicare restricts your coverage by not covering certain kinds of care or illnesses and diseases. Thus, there is also Medigap coverage, which helps fill in the gaps in health insurance that Medicare leaves. Medigap coverage differs from state to state and has different payments.

Beyond Medicare and Medigap, there are also long-term care insurance plans that you can buy. You often see these plans advertised on the television at very low prices. These plans can help cover the costs of a nursing home or home health care. With so many different options and limitations, if you are retiring soon, you should take a look at your budget and what you can afford as well as what sort of coverage you feel you will need.

Health Insurance Limitations

Health insurance often requires a mountain of paperwork that has a lot of fine print. Unfortunately, this means that few people read their plans thoroughly nor do they fully understand what their plan covers or does not cover. Here are some common limitations in health insurance coverage that you should know.

Some of the most shocking health insurance limitations are found in the the fine print holes in the insurance policy. For instance, many people have found that their health insurance did not cover a routine or necessary medical procedure because they did not receive an authorization code prior to the procedure or the hospital did not correctly fill out the paperwork. Your medical claim can be denied simply because the hospital used odd codes for your treatment. While any claims denied by the insurance company can be disputed, this process is not only tedious, but time-consuming and draining, especially for someone who is already ill. There is also little success in winning disputed claims, which makes this option rather limiting.

Another surprising health insurance limitation happens more often than people realize. Imagine this situation: you are diagnosed with a medical condition and need an operation. You research surgeons and hospitals within your plan. You understand your plan’s coverage of hospital care. You have your operation and then you find a massive medical bill in the mail. Apparently your health insurance did not cover the anesthesiologist or other specialists that may have consulted in your operation. Thus, you have to pay these specialists for their services, even though you were under the impression that your plan would cover these costs associated with the surgery. Such a bill can be in the thousands of dollars, and there is little you can do to dispute the charges. The only way to avoid these charges is to make sure that you ask before the operation who will be involved and ensure that they are covered in your health insurance plans.

Other limitations are put on a number of treatments. For instance, you may need physical therapy or visits to a psychiatrist. Many health insurance plans will put a limit on the number of covered visits for such medical treatment. Without realizing it, you may surpass the maximum visits allowed by your health insurance and end up racking up huge bills.

Many people think that buying health insurance will cover them medically, but this is only correct to a point. When securing insurance, you should read through your health insurance package carefully, and when you are about to undergo any expensive medical procedure, be sure to consult your health insurance plan first.

the Best Health Insurance

With so many different types of health insurance plans and restrictions out there, it can be difficult finding the best health insurance for you. However, this process is not impossible to do well with a little research. There are a few items to look for when deciding on health insurance plans, and by considering them all you can make a good decision for yourself and your family about health insurance.

The most important thing to look for is coverage. More often than not, insurance will cover physician visits and fees. Your health insurance should also cover hospital expenses such as room and board in case you are kept overnight or longer for observation or treatment. Good health insurance should also cover surgeries and any expenses associated with surgical treatment. Beyond these typical items of coverage, health insurance plans can diverge greatly. To really understand what coverage you would utilize and which plan would save you the most money, you will need to make a list of items that you want covered in an insurance plan. For instance, do you have glasses or contacts? Then you may be more interested in a plan that covers vision – either paying for your eye exam and/or partially paying for your glasses or contacts. Though many people think that health insurance covers prescriptions, prescription coverage is actually an optional benefit. If you know that you often have prescription drugs to fill, finding insurance that offers prescription coverage may be a must. If you are a woman and plan on having or want to have children, maternity care or family planning services are also optional benefits that you may want to consider. Once you make this must-have list of optional coverage, you can begin looking for health insurance plans that give you the opportunity to add these optional benefits.

Another item you should definitely consider is if your current physicians or specialists are included in the health insurance company’s preferred provider network or if you have the opportunity to choose any physician (often the case only with indemnity or traditional health insurance plans). If you would like the freedom to choose your own doctor, traditional health insurance plans or preferred provider organizations may offer more attractive plans – though these also cost a little more.

Lastly, consider price. After researching different coverage plans and physician requirements, compare deductibles and monthly premiums to find the best deal. Often, you can get group rates through your employer, or you may find that artist organizations (for freelance artists) offer health care plans. By researching price, as well as other health insurance options, you can make the best choices for your family.

Avoiding Insurance Fraud

Everyone knows that the health insurance industry is continually raising monthly premiums, and many feel this is unjust to you as the consumer. However, the health insurance industry has had to fight increasing health insurance fraud. The amount of money spent on investigating and prosecuting fraud is then passed on to policyholders. Many people do not understand what health insurance fraud entails, though. With reports estimating health insurance fraud is a $30 billion to over $100 billion industry per year, the topic should not be taken lightly. Every health insurance policyholder should understand what health insurance fraud is and its consequences. By doing so, you are more able to recognize and fight fraud.

Health insurance fraud is typically defined as intentionally deceiving, misrepresenting, or concealing information to receive benefits from the insurance company. Essentially this means that you assert that you paid for certain medical procedures or expenses out-of-pocket which you have not actually received, and you are submitting claims to the insurance company to receive reimbursement. Another example of member fraud is to conceal pre-existing conditions or to alter medical documents so that non-policyholders or ineligible members receive medical benefits under your policy. Perhaps your sister does not have insurance and needs medical attention. Having her use your name and policy to cover the expenses is health insurance fraud. While you may think that this is a small issue in comparison to your sister receiving treatment, it is actually very serious to your health insurance company and industry, and will result in fines and possible imprisonment if your are caught.

Not only policyholders commit fraud, but providers (physicians, hospitals, etc.) do as well. Since physicians and hospitals bill the insurance company for services they provide for you, they are also receiving reimbursement from the insurance company. When providers commit fraud, they may be billing the insurance company at higher rates for services rendered or they may bill for services you never received. In these cases, you will probably be asked to cooperate in the insurance company’s investigation.

Another type of health insurance fraud that has developed recently targets the policyholder more than the insurance company. Schemes have developed where fake insurance companies or agents sign unsuspecting customers for coverage at surprisingly low premium rates. They often act much like a regular insurance company for the first few months, paying for smaller medical claims like physicians visits. But once you have a more serious medical condition that needs treatment, the insurance company will disappear – along with the money you have been paying in premiums.

The rule with health insurance fraud is much like that of any other scam: if a deal seems too good to be true, just remember – it probably is. Remember to be honest in your dealings with health insurance companies and expect the same in the return from these companies, as well as your health care providers. Stay legal to avoid fines and prison and to continue receiving health insurance coverage.

Dental Benefits

Dental insurance is often an afterthought when obtaining health insurance for a number of reasons. Some people may simply dislike the dentist and use the lack of dental insurance as a reason to not visit the dentist; others may feel that dental insurance is not worth the added cost to their monthly health insurance premium. Still others may simply feel that their teeth are in good shape and there is little need to spend the extra money to cover a part of their body that does not currently have any problems. Nevertheless, dental insurance is important because of several benefits.

When people think of the cost of dental work or procedures, they often think of costly bills. Even simple procedures like getting your wisdom teeth removed can average in the hundreds of dollars per tooth! However, one obvious benefit to dental insurance is the coverage of simple but costly dental procedures such as getting a tooth removed. In the end, the slight increase in a monthly premium may be worth it to avoid a high dental bill. Moreover, dental insurance also helps financially if a dental emergency develops. Perhaps you are in need of a root canal or dental implants – both extremely costly procedures that you often do not anticipate. Dental insurance will most likely cover a portion, if not all of these expensive procedures.

Also, while many feel that brushing and flossing daily is all the dental care they need this is simply not true – even for young, healthy adults. Dental disease is common and can affect your body in a number of ways. For instance, some dental diseases left untreated can lead to more serious medical issues such as kidney infections or even diabetes. Most people do now know of the connection between dental diseases and other illnesses. Thus, having dental insurance that covers routine visits to the dentist, which can help uncover dental diseases early, is extremely important. Dental insurance is designed to encourage preventative care, because spotting dental diseases or dental problems early reduces the overall cost of treatment.

Dental insurance may seem like just another gimmick to get a few more dollars out of you, but it is essential for your health. Your regular health insurance plan, whether it is through your employer as a group plan or an individual plan, should offer you the option of buying dental insurance coverage, and you should consider this piece of the plan thoroughly when purchasing health insurance.

Value Your Health-Buy Insurance

Many feel that health insurance is a waste of money. These people are often quite healthy and have no need to see their physician beyond yearly check-ups. However, health insurance is extremely important because it not only offers you protection from harmful illnesses or diseases and creates a better quality of life, but it can protect you from financial devastation in the case of an emergency.

One of the most crucial reasons to have health insurance is to cover the costs of medical bills – emergency or non-emergency. Without health insurance, you may be tempted to not see a doctor about medical issues you have, or you may assume that they are not serious. Both of these options are harmful and unwise as medical issues will often progress and become worse over time.

Insurance is often about ensuring you are covered in an emergency situation. For instance, you carry automobile insurance so that if you ever get into an accident, you will not be responsible financially. Health insurance works in much the same way, but it is also used to cover basic medical expenses and sometimes even preventative care depending upon your insurance provider. This can increase or improve your quality of life by allowing you to be proactive in your health care instead of simply reacting to medical issues that may arise.

Furthermore, the costs of medical procedures and consultations have increased with time. Even a routine outpatient procedure, like the removal of gall bladder stones, can be a costly medical expense. Even a short visit to a specialist for diagnosis can be extremely expensive. Emergency medical issues or the development of possibly fatal or debilitating illnesses are one reason to have health insurance. The expenses to treat these medical issues can cost hundreds of thousands dollars and pull you into a financially disastrous situation. With late fees and minimum payments, you may never be able to pay off your medical bills, and hospitals and doctors will often send collection agencies after you. This is not only inconvenient, but can also can ruin your credit and make it impossible to rent an apartment or buy a car.

As you can see, health insurance is very important. It will not only improve your quality of life and ensure that you are in top-notch health, but it can save you money in the long-run. When you consider what in your life is most important, your health has to be on the top of the list. If you protect your possessions or your home with insurance because of their value, then you should insure your health as well. After all, isn’t your health valuable too?

Traveling Alternative Roads

Health insurance can be expensive if you are not lucky enough to have it provided by your employer. Even shopping around for the best quotes may not be within your budget. Luckily there are alternatives to health insurance that you can take advantage of so that you and your family will be safe even if an emergency situation comes up. You can apply for the prescription discount card program, which is a low monthly cost and works at most of the of corporation drug stores that we all use. There are also programs that give you health care but are not considered “health insurance”.

The prescription discount card is great for anyone who has regular prescriptions that need to be filled over a long period of time. The cost of prescriptions without insurance is high and always rising. If you cannot afford health insurance, there is no way that buying these full priced prescriptions will come without difficulty. You can enroll in a discount card program on the Internet or you can call around to try and find one locally. The reported savings for each person is estimated to be at least 50%, and some programs will enroll you for under $5 a month.

Health care programs are another popular alternative to expensive health insurance. BeniCard, for example, is a highly acclaimed health care program, and for a small monthly fee, you can have your immediate family covered. You will not be turned down because there is no limit to who is eligible, even if you have a pre-existing condition. It is not health insurance, but you will be able to save money on doctor visits, vision and hearing care, dental services, and prescription drugs. This is just one of the programs that can help you if you cannot get health insurance due to expense or because you have been turned down due to an illness.

No one should go without health care of some sort. Prescriptions are extremely costly without insurance, and if you or someone in your family has an emergency health situation, you could be left with a large debt for years. Insurance companies are hesitant to accept anyone with a pre-existing illness because it will definitely cost them plenty of money. For anyone who has been turned down for health insurance or simply cannot afford to pay a deductible, health care programs and prescription discounts are a low-cost alternative that could save you money.

Ways of Paying for Health Insurance

When it comes to health insurance, many people don’t exactly know everything that there is to know about the subject. That only stands to reason, it is not something that is easily understood because of its complexity. For instance, when you visit the doctor you may be asked to pay something that is called the “co-pay”, and other times you may not have to do anything at all depending on your plan. Let’s look at some of the ways that health insurance is paid for.

Often times, your employer will sponsor your insurance and you only have to pay what is known as a “co-pay” or co payment. The co-pay is a set amount that is determined by your insurance company when you receive covered services. This is a significantly smaller fee than you would be paying without the co-pay. Many companies offer this type of payment option because it is easier on the employee to pay this way.

You may consider opening what is known as a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA). This will assure that you always have a location in which to retrieve payments for various medical expenses. The HSA is a pre-tax savings account where a portion of your pre-tax income, determined by you, is deposited into an account automatically. Since this account comes from your paycheck pre-tax, that means it will lower your overall taxable income. This means you are saving money in terms of taxes and saving lots of money towards your overall health care costs.

For certain disabled individuals and those above the age of 65, Medicare is also another way to pay for health insurance. While they will not pay all of your healthcare expenses, they will pay for most of them. Medicare, however, doesn’t cover prescription drugs and nursing homes. It is important that you check the different types of restrictions that may apply. There are low-cost prescription discount cards that have been proven to save people who require costly medications on a regular basis over 50% of what they would have been paying without any health care.

Paying for health insurance doesn’t have to be complicated as long as you understand just what is going on in terms of where you stand with your plan. Discuss any questions you may have about the plan before committing to one. While one plan may be right for many people, it does not always mean that it will fit your specific needs.