Health insurance is one of the most important security blankets that money can buy. It allows you to go through life without worrying about getting sick, helps you stay healthy through low-cost or free preventive care, gets you the help you need to get well when prevention fails, and saves you thousands of dollars if you ever do get sick.
If you are lucky enough to work for a company that offers health insurance benefits, all you need to worry about is the type of plan you want and which doctor to choose. Unfortunately, millions of Americans (myself included) don’t get to participate in employer-based health plans… if you are like me, read on…
If you don’t have the luxury of employer-based insurance, don’t despair; there is help. Many health insurance providers do sell plans directly to the public – and buying one may be as simple as clicking on a few links and entering some information about your health. Read the rest of this article to understand the types of health plans available in the market. Then use our health plan finder to get quotes from a variety of providers and find the policy that fits your physical health needs without destroying your financial health.
Health Insurance Plans
Individual/Family health Insurance provides health coverage for you and/or your family. There are many sub-types, including “fee-for-service”, HMO, and PPO; each of which also allows a vide variety of deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, coverage levels, provider choices, and of course, premiums.
Group health insurance offers plans for a group; which can include small businesses, professional associations, student or religious organizations, or even your softball team. By buying as a group, you get more negotiating power, but of course you need to make sure that the coverage satisfies all of your needs.
Short-Term health insurance is a great option for people who know that they will only need coverage for a few months (most short-term plans run for six months, but can often be renewed if you don’t have any claims). If you are waiting for your employer coverage to kick-in, or currently in the job market – but expect to be working for a company with health benefits within six months, this option may work for you. You may also qualify for health coverage through COBRA under certain conditions - if you lost your health insurance due to unemployment, death, divorce, or another life event.
Medicare Supplemental or Medigap insurance, offers coverage for medical expenses not paid for by Medicare. It’s an additional financial buffer for older Americans who don’t want an unexpected health condition to destroy their financial health.
Dental insurance provides coverage for a variety of dental needs including routine examinations, cleanings; fillings, and even more advanced procedures such as crowns and root canals. Similar to other insurance programs you have choices based on premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and reimbursements. The plan may also have pre-negotiated lower rates with providers so that you pay significantly less for service than an uninsured patient.
Student health insurance: Many schools require students to have health insurance while enrolled. Even though most students do not have much disposable income to work with, be heartened that student health insurance premiums are generally much lower than the equivalent available to the public – students tend to be younger and healthier than the population in general and insurance companies recognize that. If you find yourself in this group, check out the student insurance options and you may find a better deal than you get from your school.