An easy introduction to understanding the basics of health insurance in the United States. Learn about why you need medical insurance, where to get it, how much it costs and more.
Understanding The Basics Of Health Insurance
A hot topic today in the medical, business, and political arena is health insurance. Why? Because most people need health insurance at some point in their lives, but choosing the right health insurance company is not always easy.
There are many companies and plans to choose from, but you might be wondering which plan will fit your budget as well as take care of your medical needs for today and in the future.
Understanding the basics of health insurance is important. A couple of questions that might come to mind are, "Why do I need health insurance?" or "What type of plan is right for me and my family?" Let's explore these questions and more below.
Why You Need Health Insurance
When it comes to health problems, it's not a matter of "if" they will happen, but "when" with most individuals. Whether it's a minor outpatient surgery or a major surgery with a prolonged hospital stay, the medical bills can mount up in a hurry to thousands of dollars. When medical needs do arise, that's when health insurance counts the most. That is why understanding the basics of health insurance is vital.
If you feel you don't need health insurance right now, think about the future. Health costs are steadily increasing, and you can never predict what your healthcare expenses will be from year to year. With any major medical event or serious injury, the healthcare costs can be anywhere from $20,000 to $1,000,000! The average household wouldn't be able to afford a high amount such as this, even if payments were made for 30 to 40 years. With health insurance, however, you pay in now for future protection in case a serious illness or injury does arise. Health insurance can make the difference between paying $4,000 instead of $20,000, or even much higher amounts.
Another reason healthcare is so important is because it gives you the means for routine physicals and preventive care. You're more likely to visit the doctor for regular checkups if you have insurance. This enables you to catch disease and illness in the early stages, which often means the difference between life and death. When you consider the savings and peace of mind knowing your family is protected, understanding the basics of health insurance is definitely a worthy investment of your time.
Types of Health Insurance
There are several types of health insurance including group, individual, Medicare, & Medicaid plans. Most insured people obtain health insurance through their employer or an organization such as a association or union. This type of insurance is called group insurance. With group insurance, the employer usually pays part or all of the premiums, which allows employees to obtain very affordable insurance. When getting insurance through a club or organization, there is usually a discount for each individual, but the organization does not actually pay part of the premiums.
Individual insurance is a type of insurance available to those who cannot obtain insurance through a group plan. Those who are self-employed or who work for a company that does not provide medical benefits can purchase an individual plan. There are also national, state, and local medical insurance offerings for those who qualify, including Medicare, Medicaid, disability, military, and veteran programs.
Where to Get Health Insurance
Health insurance companies usually work on a local, state-wide, or national scale. It's easy to compare premiums, benefits, and deductibles online using comparison websites. You can also call various health insurance agents in your local area to compare plans. Keep in mind that individual insurance requires you to pay the entire premium, so it's a good idea to shop around. You also should learn how to be sure your health insurance claim gets paid.
Some things to compare when shopping for health insurance include premiums, coverage and benefits, access to hospitals, doctors, and other providers, emergency care benefits, out-of-pocket costs (or co-pay and coinsurance options), and limitations and exclusions. Also consider what types of services, equipment, and medications are covered (or not covered) in the plan. Some insurance policies require supplemental plans to cover certain expenses.
Make sure you understand how the policy works before making a commitment. Read the entire policy and ask questions. An insurance agent can help you understand how the claims process works, how long it takes to receive benefits, and other policy details.
If you are self-employed, you will be able to deduct your health insurance premiums from your taxable income for federal taxes. This can mean savings on taxes in addition to the many benefits of health insurance.
Understanding The Basics Of Health Insurance - The Bottom Line
We hope this article on understanding the basics of health insurance was informative. Keep in mind that no two insurance companies are alike. Choose a plan that fits your needs and budget, but one that will also be dependable for many years to come.