Living without health insurance is a bad plan, regardless of your current age or health. Did you know that more than 50% of bankruptcy filers cited high medical bills as a major contributing factor to bankruptcy?
Most people get health insurance through their employer (group policies). Others sign up for individual policies.
Group Health Insurance: Each company or organization has its own guidelines for what qualifies you to participate in their group plan. You may be required to work a certain number of hours each month. Or, you may be asked to pay a certain portion of the monthly payment as your contribution to the plan. Many companies today only pay for the employee. If the employee wants to include his or her spouse or children, he or she must pay the full monthly payment for the coverage. This will still be less expensive than purchasing similar coverage under an individual health plan.
Individual Health Insurance: There are many uninsured Americans. Some work for employers who do not provide plans. Some have been unable to afford independent plans, while others do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. For these individuals, the Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as Obama Care, provides a path to affordable coverage.
Every citizen is required to have insurance or face a penalty. However, you can choose how to get coverage. If you already have a plan, whether through your employer, Medicaid, Medicare, or privately, you can keep it. If you don't have access through any of these sources, you have additional options. You can purchase it from a health insurance exchange where you may qualify for a subsidy, or you may be eligible under expanded Medicare guidelines. For more information go to www.healthcare.gov.
Employers typically offer three types of Managed Health Care Plans plus a Dental plan. They are:
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): This type of health insurance consists of a group, collection of doctors, hospitals, clinics, and other types of health care providers. You can go to anyone within the system but must pay a co-pay for each visit. A typical co-pay may be $20-$50. The rest of the payment is based on what your policy will pay, less any deductible you may have.
Point of Service Plan (POS): This type of health insurance asks that you choose a primary care physician who refers you to other doctors, hospitals, and clinics within the plan. If you do not want to stay within the guidelines of the plan, you are welcome to go to your own doctor; but the percentage amount of the bill you will be required to pay will be much greater.
Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO): This type of health insurance provides you with a group of doctors, hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers that are a part of the plan. You must have a primary care physician who must make all referrals to other doctors and other health care services within the plan. You are restricted to doctors and health care services provided within the plan and can't choose doctors or services outside of the plan.
Dental Insurance Plans: Companies and organizations may also offer dental insurance as part of their group plan coverage. Most offer a managed care plan where you must use a primary dentist form a list of approved dentists.