What is Health Insurance?
There’s a lot of talk and often rather heated debate about the 50 million Americans without health insurance. However, surprisingly there are a lot of people that don’t understand what health insurance is, what it does, and why it‘s important to have.
Health insurance is an insurance policy that assists you with certain medical expenses that you incur throughout your life so long as the policy’s premiums are paid in full and on time. In other words, you will pay a portion of the medical bill, which is called your co-pay, and the insurance company you have your policy with will pay a set portion of the medical bill. The portion paid by the insurer will vary by policy.
An insurance policy can be purchased as an individual policy for you alone or as a group or family policy that would include other individuals. There’s an array of different types of health insurance available to consumers, each with a different cost, terms, limits, and coverages. While covered medical expenses will depend on the specific policy you have, most policies generally provide coverage for doctor visits, specialist visits, hospital stays, emergency room visits, prescription medications, diagnostic testing and so forth.
You can obtain a health insurance policy several different ways. Most employers provide access to some type of health insurance policy to their employees, and some even pay a percentage of the premiums for the employees. Otherwise, you can purchase a health insurance policy directly from insurance company or health insurance broker. Certain associations and purchasing pools can also be used to purchase a group health insurance policy.
When seeking out a health insurance policy, you need to consider what type of plan is best for your needs and budget and what’s covered within any plan you’re considering purchasing.
Purchasing a Health Insurance – Some elements to consider include:
- What is the premium for the policy?
- Are the hospital and physicians I want to use covered (in-network)?
- What’s my co-pay for doctor visits?
- Does the plan have a prescription drug benefit and what‘s the co-pay?
- What’s the annual amount of medical expenses I’m responsible for (annual deductible) before my insurance will start to pay?
- What is the most I’ll be expected to pay annually (out of pocket annual maximum) in medical expenses?
Remember that health insurance comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms. It’s best to speak with a professional insurance agent to determine what health insurance policy will best suit your specific medical needs and budget.