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How Much Does Your Health Insurance Policy Really Cost?

The cost of a health insurance policy goes beyond simply the monthly premiums. Deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance amounts should all be included in the
calculations when determining what you should actually expect to pay each year on top of the premium amount. When comparing health insurance quotes, be sure to factor these other costs of health care in so you are certain you’ve chosen the best option.

How Often Do You See The Doctor?

Most insurance plans require that you pay a set amount, known as a co-pay, each time you see the doctor. If you have a lot of regular doctor visits, such as when you are pregnant or in treatment for a particular condition, your copays can add up quickly. When comparing health insurance policies, determine the co-pay amount and estimate how many times you think you will see a doctor in the coming year. You can then calculate your co-pays for the year.

What Is The Policy Deductible?

Many policies carry a deductible, which is the amount you will be expected to pay out of pocket before the full terms of the policy kick in. A larger deductible can mean a lower monthly premium and vice versa. You will need to decide whether you would rather pay the extra amount on a monthly basis, or pay the deductible bills as they come, which could be in one large chunk in the case of a hospitalization. You should also bear in mind that each person on the policy will likely have to meet their own deductible amount.

Is There a Co-insurance Amount?

In order to bring premiums down, some plans use a co-insurance option, which is usually calculated as a percentage of the medical bills that you will be expected to pay out of pocket. For example, if you have an 80/20 coinsurance plan, your insurance company will pay 80% of the bill, and you will pay 20%. Again, try to estimate how much medical care you think you will need to get an idea of how much you might pay out of pocket.

The Out Of Pocket Limit

Just as it sounds, the out of pocket limit is the maximum amount you will be required to pay out of pocket for the year. If you have added up all of the co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance amounts for the year, and it comes out above this amount, then you have a pretty concrete idea of what you will pay for health care that year—the premiums, plus the out of pocket limit amount.

For those who see the doctor rarely and are in good health, it is often a good financial choice to take a policy with a high deductible, large co-insurance percentage, and larger co-pay amounts. If you anticipate more health care needs, you might be better off with a higher monthly premium and lower out of pocket limit.

Protect Yourself With Disability Insurance

Protect Yourself With Disability Insurance

When it comes to selecting the insurance policies you need to protect yourself and your family from unforeseen events, you have probably covered all of the basics. Auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, life insurance. Many people never look beyond these main three. There is one particular policy, however, that is often overlooked and that could prevent you from losing everything in the event that you are unable to work. Disability insurance is one of the policies that everyone should carry, but in many cases it is overlooked.

You Really Do Need It

Many people balk at the cost of paying for disability insurance, especially when they are already paying premiums on so many other policies, most of which are not optional. It is easy to let something like disability go. However, becoming disabled is a very real risk that each of us faces every day. Accidents, injuries, illness—there are many things that could leave you unable to work and thus without an income.

Disability insurance is designed to protect you in the event of any sort of disabling event that puts you in the position of being unable to bring in your regular salary. You may have some coverage with your employee benefits, but in most cases it isn’t really enough to pay your living expenses and take care of yourself and your family. A disability insurance policy will make certain you have the money to continue paying the bills and living your chosen life in spite of a disability.

More Than A Good Idea

Most people will acknowledge that having disability insurance is a good idea, and yet many of them still won’t take out a policy. Much like health insurance, disability insurance is one of those policies everyone wishes they had when it is too late. You can’t get coverage once you are already disabled. Sadly, this is the time when many people realize just how important it really is.

Disability insurance should be considered just as important as those top three: auto, home, and life. It truly is a must-have insurance policy that will make an incredible difference should the day come when you need to use it

Talk to your insurance agent about disability insurance. He will help you determine how much you need and what type of policy is right for you; it is well worth it for your peace of mind.

 

Choosing The Prescription Drug Plan That Is Right For You

Choosing The Prescription Drug Plan That Is Right For You

If you are relying on a workplace health insurance plan, then you may not be covered for prescription drugs. As the population gets older, and with the increasing costs of pharmaceuticals, you really can’t afford not to be covered. So what are the options for getting you and your family covered for prescription drugs and what will the cost be? Here is everything you’ll need to know to choose the right plan.

Existing Coverage

If you have existing coverage through work, you may be able to add-on a prescription plan at a significantly reduced rate. This may also include plans for the elderly and children, and may even be free.

Types Of Drugs

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a health insurance plan is the types of prescription drugs that are covered. Most plans have a list of approved drugs they cover; this may reflect which pharmaceutical companies they do business with as well as current research on the effectiveness of particular drugs. In some cases there may be cheaper alternatives that are not covered, or drugs that you use that are not included. Your best option is to discuss you prescription drugs with your doctor as well as any possible alternatives you could take before choosing a plan.

Out-Of Pocket-Expense

A last consideration to take into account when choosing a prescription health plan is the percentage of the cost of the drugs that is included in your premiums. The 80/20 spilt is a popular option for prescription drug plans; in this case you pay out-of-pocket 20% of the cost of the drug in addition to your premiums, and the insurance company pays 80%. There are also some cases when there may be an annual deductible for each family member covered under the plan, and you will have to pay out-of-pocket for 100% of the cost until the deductible amount is reached.

With many health insurance plans, the out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs are the greatest additional expense, and making sure that you choose a plan that suits your particular financial situation, as well as your healthcare needs, is important.

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Health Insurance For Singles

If you are young, healthy, and single, health insurance may seem as though it is not a priority for you. Health insurance, however, is one of life’s essential expenses, and choosing not to purchase it could be one of the most costly and potentially risky decisions you could ever make. Here are the clear reasons why you should have health insurance when you are young and single.

Healthcare Is Not Just An Expense For The Elderly

The unfortunate reality is that most of us at some point will incur medical expenses. Whether it is prescription drugs for a chest infection, or emergency care as a result of a car accident, age does not play a factor in the need for health insurance. While these expenses may be within your reach should they occur, the potential cost of a more serious illness or accident could leave you with thousands of dollars in medical expenses that could force you into bankruptcy. There are affordable and flexible healthcare insurance options that can protect you from these kinds of devastating events.

Purchasing Insurance While You Are Young Will Save You Money

While it may not seem that it makes much sense to purchase health insurance while you are young and in good health, it does save you money in the long run. Often you can find policies that ensure minimal or no premium increases over time, but these are usually offered only to those that are young and healthy. Also, if you wait until you are sick and actually need insurance you will be paying very high premiums; you will likely be stuck with these premiums after you get better, or you may not qualify for insurance at all.

Even if you feel you cannot afford it, health insurance is definitely an expense you should consider working into your budget. As with any insurance, it is always a good idea to shop around first and find the plan that it right for you.

Health Insurance For Families

Starting a family is a major undertaking and will change everything about your life. Now that you are responsible for the health and wellbeing of your children, having good health insurance takes on a whole new meaning. When you are single, it is easy to shrug off the importance of health coverage. Now that you have a family, your policy will need to offer a whole lot more.

Maternity And Beyond

Before you need health coverage for your child, you will need coverage for the pregnancy. The nine months prior to birth and the delivery itself will put a big strain on your wallet if you don’t have good coverage. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead for starting a family. Good prenatal care will give your child the best start in life, so be sure you are covered for it.

Health Care For Children

In the first few years of life your child will need regular well visits with pediatrician as well as many vaccinations for protection from dangerous childhood diseases. In fact, it may seem you are constantly headed to the doctor’s office with your child, and that’s just when they are healthy. With their immature immune systems, children are susceptible to all kinds of illness, from colds to ear infections and more. Expect to visit the pediatrician several times a year for illness. Because children are also clumsy and impulsive, especially in the toddler and preschool years, they are also prone to accidents that may send you to the emergency room.

Your health plan has to be up to the task of keeping your child covered through all of the bumps, bruises, fevers, and mistakenly swallowed items that are such common parts of growing up.

What To Look For

When choosing a health plan for your family, look first for good maternity coverage, unless you have already had children and don’t plan to have more. Next, you will want something with low co-pays for office visits, since you will probably have a good number of those. Also check on what you would be expected to pay out of pocket for an emergency room visit. You will usually be responsible for a co-pay unless the child is admitted to the hospital. In that case, a different sort of co-insurance may apply. Check what percentage of emergency room bills and hospitalization is covered under the plan.

Family health plans carrying deductibles generally have a per person deductible as well as a family deductible that has to be met. These are good numbers to know when comparing health plans.

If you are switching health plans and would like to keep your current pediatrician, you will want to look for a PPO plan in which he or she is member.

The Difference Between HMO And PPO Health Plans

When you are shopping for a health plan, you will run into two main categories: HMO and PPO. These two different methods of managing your health care each have their own pros and cons, and it’s important to know the differences before you make a decision as to which type of plan you would like to sign up for.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

An HMO is a type of managed health care program in which all services are provided by the main HMO company, and only doctors who are members can provide you with care. Under an HMO plan, you will be required to select a primary care physician who will be in charge of your health care. All referrals to specialists will be made through this primary doctor, and only to other doctors who are also a part of the HMO.

HMO coverage is often more affordable, with lower monthly premiums, lower co-pays, and lower out of pocket costs overall. The downside, however, is that you are limited to the doctors who are members of the HMO, and any doctor you see outside this group will not be covered at all, except in an emergency situation. You will also have to rely on your primary care physician for everything, and can’t see a specialist without a referral.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

A PPO is a health care plan that allows quite a bit more freedom that an HMO can offer. Doctors fall into two categories: in-network and out-of-network. An in-network doctor, also called a participating provider, will be covered at a higher rate than a doctor who is not a member of the PPO. Unlike an HMO, however, a PPO plan will cover any out-of-network doctor or service, albeit at a lower rate than the in-network allowance.

PPO plans don’t usually require a referral from a primary care physician in order to see a specialist. You can make an appointment with any doctor you choose at any time, bearing in mind only that you will pay more out of pocket if the doctor is not a participating provider. A PPO plan is usually quite a bit more expensive than an HMO, but gives you much more freedom. Co-pays and co-insurance amounts may be higher, with higher premiums as well.

How To Choose

Whether you choose an HMO or a PPO depends on your needs as well as your family’s health care requirements. If having your choice of doctors is less important to you than affordable monthly premiums, an HMO might be a great choice. If you value the freedom to choose and don’t mind paying more for the privilege, look at a PPO. You should be sure to compare the actual coverage on each policy before making a decision. What is covered is just as important as the type of plan.

Finding The Right Health Insurance Policy

Everyone’s health insurance needs are a little different, and there are many types of policies available to fit varying budgets, lifestyles, and health care requirements. Whether you are single with no plans to start a family or have a large family already, there is a plan that is right for you. When you shop around for health insurance, keep in mind the things that are most likely to be of concern to you and your family.

Young, Healthy And Single

If you are in good health, relatively young, and single, with no intention of

starting a family any time soon, you might be okay with a simple and less

comprehensive plan. Single men don’t need to worry about things like

maternity coverage, and even single women might be able to go without this

coverage if the risk of a pregnancy is low. You might be able to take out a

simple policy that covers your basic well visits with a doctor as well as some

catastrophic coverage to protect yourself in case of a serious accident or

major illness. Because you have only yourself to cover and are in good

health, options for low-cost insurance are easy to locate.

Starting A Family

Even if you don’t plan to have a baby right away, if you are in a position in

which a pregnancy is possible, it’s important to choose a policy with excellent

maternity coverage. Having a baby is extremely expensive, from the regular

obstetrician visits to the labor and delivery. Even if you have a simple,

natural childbirth, it can cost plenty. In the event of a cesarean section or

complications with the baby, the hospital bill can skyrocket. If having a baby

is a possibility, be sure you are covered for maternity and for neonatal care.

If you already have children, you will need a good, comprehensive policy that

covers all of the basics of childhood care as well as protection in the case of

accidents and illnesses that so commonly result in emergency room visits

and hospitalizations of young children.

 

As You Age

As you grow older your health insurance needs will change. You are more

likely to have health problems and will need your coverage more than ever.

Unfortunately, this can also mean higher premiums. It’s a wise idea to

remain with the same insurance company without a lapse as you grow older,

so that you won’t see major premium increases as the years go by. If you

do need to shop for health insurance later in life, choosing higher deductibles

and co-pay amounts can reduce the cost of your coverage.

Why Is My Prescription So Expensive

The cost of health care products and services can seem overwhelming with

expenses on the rise constantly, especially for prescription drugs.

Understanding why these necessary expenses are so high and how your

health insurance covers them can be confusing. So why are prescriptions so

expensive, and why are some covered and some not? Here is a simple

breakdown of how health insurance companies rank prescription drugs, and

your options for finding a policy that will work for you and your family’s

prescription drug needs.

 

Why So Expensive?

There are three major reasons why prescription drugs are so expensive. The

first reason is that prescription drug use is at an all time high, and the basic

economic principle of supply and demand means prices are going up. More

and more of us are taking prescription drugs and so more of our income is

going toward keeping us healthy. Another reason prescription drugs are

seemingly so expensive is that we are using more new drugs whose

development has involved more technology and research dollars. The last

factor which affects the cost of everything we purchase is inflation. These

factors combine to produce the high cost of prescription drugs.

 

How To Make It Cheaper

The best way to make prescription drugs more affordable is to have a

prescription drug plan that offers you the comprehensive coverage you need.

If you are currently on a specific drug and are in the market for a

prescription drug plan, it is important to be sure the plan you select covers

your specific medication, including the specific brand that you are taking. If,

on the other hand, you have a current plan that does not include a drug you

have recently been prescribed, asking your doctor if there are any alternative

drugs or generic brands that do the same thing may help you find a drug for

which you are covered.

 

As with most issues regarding healthcare insurance, asking both your doctor

and your insurance expert about alternatives and money-saving options will

help you reduce your overall healthcare expenses while keeping you covered.

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