Health Insurance

Health Insurance Quotes Online

In 1981, only eight percent of families filing for bankruptcy cited medical bills as the main contributor to their financial woes. A Harvard study published in 2009, however, found that 62 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States resulted from the inability to pay medical expenses. The Commonwealth Fund found that 50 million Americans did not have health insurance and that 73 million Americans had a difficult time paying for health insurance in 2010. While there are many different ideas about how to solve the problem, the United States undoubtedly faces a health insurance crisis.

Health insurance falls into two major categories: indemnity insurance and managed care insurance. Indemnity insurance pays for a certain portion of a person’s medical bills after the policy holder pays a specific amount, or deductible. Usually, these plans have a maximum for out-of-pocket expenses, meaning that after policy holders pay a certain portion, the insurance will cover their expenses in full. Generally, indemnity policies allow people to choose whatever doctor or specialist they prefer. However, in order to receive reimbursement for expenses, policy holders will have to submit claims paperwork.

Managed care insurance falls into one of three categories: health maintenance organizations, preferred provider organizations, and point of service. HMO plans do not charge deductibles. Instead, they charge flat co-pays, and provide no lifetime limit on coverage. With an HMO, policy holders receive most of their care through their primary care physician. If a policy holder needs a specialist or a hospital stay, then the visit must be coordinated through their primary care physician.

PPOs and POS policies allow people greater flexibility in choosing their health care providers. For in-network providers, these policies work like an HMO, charging only a co-pay for services. For out-of-network providers, these policies work like an indemnity policy, paying a percentage of the cost and requiring policy holders to submit claim paperwork. Out-of-network care will also require policy holders to meet a deductible.

Many people save money by choosing their employer’s health care plan, but others may save money by purchasing an individual policy. When looking at a policy, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people focus on premiums, coverage, access to care and out-of-pocket costs. As with life insurance, the better a person’s health and the lower their age, the less they will pay for coverage. A higher deductible will also mean lower premiums. Self-employed people may be able to deduct up to 100 percent of their health insurance costs from their gross income.

People who are older or who have financial challenges should check into Medicare or Medicaid. However, many people who participate in government-sponsored programs also purchase health care policies to cover the costs that Medicare doesn’t pay. People also need to consider prescription drug coverage, especially as they age. Getting inexpensive health insurance isn’t easy, but many providers do deliver health insurance quotes online so you can shop around and compare deals.