Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Affordable Health Insurance

Searching for an affordable health insurance plan can be somewhat of a nuisance if you do not do your research in an efficient manner. The upside of searching for low cost health insurance is that there are many different type of plans to choose from: Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s), copay plans, and traditional deductible only plans. However, this benefit can also be somewhat overwhelming just simply due to the glut of information that is available on the Internet and elsewhere.
Here are some general rules of thumb that will help you in your search to find health care coverage that is affordable and comprehensive:
1. Decide between group health insurance and individual health insurance. For many the decision is already made if an employer is willing to pay a portion of the premium cost if the company plan option is chosen. If the coverage is from a reputable company then it almost always makes sense to take the free money and choose the company plan! If your company does not offer to pay any of your premiums then you will probably want to obtain some individual health insurance quotes in order to compare prices.
Count on individual health insurance being approximately half the cost of a comparable group health plan. What’s the catch? You must be fairly healthy in order to be approved for most individual health insurance plans. (HINT: Many employers will only pay the premium for an employee not for the employees spouse and kids – you may be able to save quite a bit of money by placing your spouse and kids on a lower cost individual health plan – possibly even from the same insurance company that provides your group health plan insurance).
2. Decide between an HSA and a traditional plan.
With an HSA you never have copays and you never have coinsurance – you have a higher deductible than found in most traditional plans. After you meet your deductible for the year in an HSA then everything is covered 100% for the remainder of the year. In an HSA your maximum out of pocket cost is always equal to your deductible. HSA’s also have many tax benefits that traditional plans do not have so consult a qualified tax advisor to learn the specifics and how they may apply to your personal situation.
Traditional plans typically involve a deductible, copays and some type of coinsurance (usually 80/20). With traditional copay plans you will typically have a copay of $25 of $35 for doctor’s visits and prescriptions with the deductible reserved for pretty much anything that is not covered under a copay. Of course, everything else being equal a plan with a copay will cost more than a plan without a copay so be sure and compare both types side by side.
Take advantage of the price transparency of the Internet by comparing affordable health insurance quotes. Do your research and compare top health insurance companies offers side by side!

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