Insurance Assurance: Essential Health Insurance Knowledge


Some people are tempted to go without health insurance. After all, it’s a costly thing to have. But to go without health insurance could be very risky. (And these days, in America at least, it can result in tax penalties.) If you can afford it, it’s best to go with it. Here are a few things you should know before signing any contracts!

You don’t have to go with your employer’s plan

A lot of people want to find a job that offers health insurance. And this can definitely save you a lot of money. In fact, you may be able to get it for free for as long as you’re employed there. That “may” is key to remember. Employers who offer health insurance usually offer it at a reduced price as part of a group plan. And if you’re healthy and having to pay for it? Then you may be better off just looking for a different policy.

Doctor greating patientFlickr

You’re under no obligation to use the health insurance that is offered by your employer. At the end of the day, the insurance that is offered may not work out best for you. In fact, it’s even possible you could find a cheaper plan. (This is because it’s all worked out on an ‘average cost’ across all employees.)

Low premiums don’t always mean low cost

A lot of us will be looking to save money when we look at health insurance plans. After all, many of the great ones aren’t exactly cheap. People will tend to look for plans which offer the lower premium. This sees lower upfront costs than other plans. But lower monthly costs don’t always translate to lower overall costs.

health-insuranceThe Blue Diamond Gallery

Plans with lower premiums often increase costs in other ways. You have to keep the annual deductible in mind. At the start of every year, you’ll have a bigger payment to make. You may also have to face coinsurance costs. So you may have to find others ways of saving money if overall costs are too high. Those who are looking to save money may be better off looking into mutual health funds. There are not for profit health funds out there that are bringing lower costs to more people.

Your current doctor and prescriptions may not be covered

There are certain things that should be included in any good health insurance plan. Any good insurance policy will cover the expense of your room and board at a hospital. Surgeons’ fees and related surgical costs should also be covered if you have to have surgery. Coverage for physicians and lab services like x-rays and diagnostics should be covered, too. If a policy doesn’t cover all of these things, you should look elsewhere.

But there are several things that are seen as additional benefits, not ubiquitous insurance coverage. Your current doctor may not be covered. Prescription drugs and preventive care are also seen as additional benefits. Treatment involving maternity, mental health, vision, and dentistry may also not be covered. Make no assumptions: check your policy to see exactly what is and isn’t covered!

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