Differences in Health Insurance Plans

Health insurance plans have changed dramatically over the past ten years, and American’s currently have several different options to choose from- including HMO’s, PPO’s, fee-for-service plans, MSA’s and major medical. There are two main categories of health insurance plans that each of these policies is classified as; managed care plans and indemnity care plans. The differences between each of these health insurance plans mean the differences in how you will receive health care when you need it.

Managed care health insurance plans, mostly the HMO’s, focus primarily on prevention, and people with these types of policies pay less for their coverage. The drawback is that you are limited to specific health care providers. Indemnity plans, also known as fee-for-service plans, will cost you more- but you are completely covered no matter what illness or accident might occur. Indemnity plans place an emphasis on patient choice, allowing you to choose where and when you are treated.

The newest options in health insurance plans include the PPO (preferred provider organization) plans. These are somewhat a hybrid between the managed care and indemnity categories. Due to their flexibility, these plans are becoming the most popular. PPO plans are similar to managed care plans in that they encourage preventative care, such as routine check ups which are covered under the plan, but you are allowed more of a choice over what doctors you can see in this type of health insurance plan.

So how do the different plans effect how you receive health care? When you are part of an indemnity plan, you are typically able to choose the doctor you want to see when an unexpected illness occurs. You will have to fill out paperwork to submit claims, and keep track of your receipts and medical bills. If you are covered under the managed care health insurance plans, you have a higher chance of having your routine check ups covered, since they believe strongly in preventative medicine. You typically are required to choose a health care provider from a list of participating providers, but most of the paperwork required to process your claim is the responsibility of the insurer.

Brad Triggs provides more information and free insurance quotes at his website: http://www.my-insurance-quotes.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

 

Cheap Health Insurance Rates and Personal Health Insurance

If you’ve been out of school for a couple of years or perhaps just graduated from college, you’re probably a candidate for cheap health insurance. Once a person reaches a certain age they’re no longer covered by their parents health insurance plan – which means you may be able to get cheap health insrurance rates. If you’re just starting out it’s important to find cheap health insurance coverage. If you’ve just graduated from school or just started work and you don’t have coverage, don’t be tempted to forgo this necessary expense because you never know when an accident can happen. At the same time, because of your age and health, you may be able to easily find cheap health insurance rates.

Most people are looking for modest coverage but also want some essentials. Generally, when a person buys their own coverage, they tend to favor high deductibles to save money on the cost of premiums.

Personal health insurance, Cheap Health Insurance and low cost health insurance rates.

Even if you’re on a tight, limited budget, it’s very important that you pick up some kind of cheap health insurance. Even if you only have a cheap health insurance plan that covers unexpected hospitalization, your peace of mind will be greatly enhanced with this cheap health insurance than without. Keep in mind that a cheap catastrophic health insurance policy can come with a high deductible before their coverage kicks in. They don’t pick up the cost of preventive physician visits or emergency room visits to get a few stitches with these types of cheap health insurance plans.

Some questions to ask when considering cheap health insurance.

1) Can your and/or your family afford to pay ALL your medical expenses if you’re sick or injured?

2) How much is the deductible?

3) Can you afford the deductible?

With a little searching and comparison shopping you find the best rate for your personal cheap health insurance.
About The Author
Mike Yeager, Publisher
http://www.a1-healthinsurance-4u.com/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

 

How to Shop for Individual Health Insurance

If you find yourself in the position of shopping for an individual health insurance policy, there are certain things you’ll want to keep in mind. Whether you are coming out of a job that covered you before, or are at the end of your COBRA benefits, or simply have never had coverage before there are things you can do to get coverage on yourself and your loved ones.

The basic thing to know is that if you have a shot a group health insurance, whether through a job or an association you’re a member of, that is usually much more affordable than buying individual health insurance on your own. First you need to figure out your health insurance goals; in other words, what are you after? If you’re young, healthy as a horse, no dependents and not attempting Mt. Everest next week, you may want to opt for a policy that covers only the catastrophes, and cover the rest out-of-pocket. On the flip side of that, if you’re the sole bread winner with a family to support, the scenario is different.

The basic choices you’ll have are Fee-for-Service, Managed Care Plans, and Association-based health insurance. Fee-for- service is the traditional indemnity plan, harder to acquire, more expensive, but usually great coverage. Managed care plans include most HMO’s and PPO’s. These offer lower costs but your choices are somewhat limited. Another way to get insured is through a group or association you may already be a member of, such as professional, religious or trade organizations. Often they may offer health insurance. It’s worth checking out, as sometimes you can strike gold in this vein.

Things to consider when you’re looking for any policy are what’s covered on this plan, how much are the monthly premiums, what is the yearly out-of-pocket, what is the deductible, how much are office visits, does it cover preventative medicine, vision, dental? And I’m sure you can come up with many of your own. Sit down before you go shopping and make a list of your needs and wants, and decide in advance what you’re willing to give to get. Be aware that once you start getting quotes they can vary as much as 50% for the same person! Remember, you’re shopping, and nobody’s making you do anything. If one insurer isn’t cutting it, move on to another. If you’re coming at this cold and have no good recommendations it may be wise to use a broker who represents several companies, as he or she wil be more likely to find the best policy for you, as opposed to selling the company they work for.

Shopping for individual health insurance can be frustrating and time-consuming, but if you come armed with facts you’ll be able to navigate this highly competitive and ever-changing field.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Keith Thompson is the webmaster at health Insurance Plans, a site geared toward helping you find great individual health insurance! Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/


This information on health insurance coverage, low cost health insurance, health insurance plans, family health insurance, affordable health care and child health care is provided free of charge by  The Affordable Health Insurance Source.

How To Best Handle Health Insurance Plan Changes

Many economists have suggested and recent economic data indicates that the economy is steadily moving in the right direction. A combination of several factors has no doubt had a negative impact on the economy over the last several years.

The recent state of the economy, combined with the increasing cost of healthcare, has made it difficult for all size employers to continue to offer the same level of employee benefits. In the case of health insurance, future plan modifications may be necessary over the next few years. This article should help you with health insurance plan changes – how to negotiate health insurance plan changes, how to prepare for health insurance plan changes, and how to live with health insurance plan changes.

After much consideration, these health insurance plan changes may take the form of increasing deductibles, out of pocket maximums, office visit copays, and prescription copays. Employees may also be required to increase their contribution amount. A vast majority of employees understand the current strain facing employers. Employees are particularly aware of the difficulties faced by medium and small business owners with health insurance costs and, thus, health insurance plan changes.

If you find that plan changes are inevitable, several aspects are very important to pay attention to when modifying your group health insurance coverage. Modify the parts of your plan that provide a savings while having the least impact on your employees. Make sure the changes are fair to both the employer and employee. Develop and execute a strategy that clearly communicates the plan changes as well as the reasons for the health insurance plan changes.  Health insurance plan changes are important, and your employees deserve to know everything entailed in these health insurance plan changes. Do not leave the health insurance plan changes completely up to your employees to live with and learn. Explain these health insurance plan changes to them thoroughly and thoughtfully.

When the outlook for your business does improve, your organization’s ability to capitalize will greatly be dependent on your ability to attract and retain productive employees during difficult economic times.
Michael Ertel is the President of Ertel & Company, Inc. and has over 15 years of experience in the health insurance business. He is the founder of http://www.MedicalInsuranceNow.com which is an internet based service that assists individuals, families, and small business owners by providing side by side comparisons of health insurance alternatives and the convenience of applying for health coverage online.

Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/

Health Care and Health Insurance Costs Can Be Controlled Through Lifestyle Choices

As you probably know all to well, the cost of healthcare and health insurance premiums continue to increase at levels substantially above the general inflation rate. The reasons given for these extraordinary health insurance premium increases are numerous and include: technological advancements in the medical field, increased demand for medical services and prescription drugs, the aging of the population, cost shifting caused by the uninsured and governmental reimbursement rates, state and federal mandates, and costs associated with medical related lawsuits.

As individual consumers who have to pay health insurance premiums, we have very little control over some of the factors contributing to the cost of healthcare. However, all of us have control over lifestyle related health insurance claims. A simple formula of eating a balanced diet, getting the appropriate amount of daily exercise, participating in annual physicals and other recommended routine care, limiting alcohol consumption, and eliminating the use of tobacco products will no doubt reduce our personal healthcare costs and lower your health insurance premiums. In addition to reducing lowering health insurance premiums , the other benefits of following such a formula include more energy, self confidence, less stress, and increased productivity. If you are not doing so already, I encourage you to consider practical ways to promote a healthy lifestyle for you and your family. For example, one of the individual health insurance companies my organization works with has an option that will offset 25% of the annual cost of a health club membership. Simple things such as taking a walk, bike ride, or going swimming promote both a healthy body and mind. If you have a sweet tooth, consider limiting yourself to eating desert once a week. You will enjoy it more and your body will thank you.

Health insurance premiums will continue to increase as long as the cost of healthcare continues to go up. The best way to reduce the overall cost of healthcare is to decrease our need for healthcare, not just lower your health insurance premiums. Healthy lifestyle choices and prudent use of the healthcare system are the best and easiest ways to get a handle on our healthcare expenditures rather than try to lower health insurance premiums. Perhaps the greatest benefit of a healthy lifestyle is our ability to enjoy our precious time here on earth to the fullest.

 

Michael Ertel is the President of Ertel & Company, Inc. and has over 15 years of experience in the health insurance business. He is the founder of MedicalInsuranceNow.com which is an internet based service that assists individuals, families, and small business owners by providing side by side comparisons of health insurance alternatives and the convenience of applying for health coverage online.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

Health Insurance for Solo Entrepreneurs

One of the most important benefits employed people enjoy is health insurance coverage. It is also the single most costly expense for self-employed entrepreneurs. So what can you do to reduce ever increasing costs of health care coverage? Here are a few tips on health insurance coverage.

1. If a medical bill seems excessive, try negotiating

Your doctor or the office manager who handles billing will probably be flexible, provided you make a valid case. When one woman in Texas was charged $900 for surgery and “consultation,” she explained that she had visited the hospital just once, for surgery; her bill was promptly cut by $370. Your health insurance coverage will not do this on your behalf, it is up to you to cut costs.

2.. Contact a medical bill “auditor”

Several services have a medical bill “auditing” system that evaluates your medical bills to determine if errors occurred in the billing process. Considering that 97 percent of hospital medical bills contain errors, it’s no wonder why out-of-pocket medical expenses are on the rise for consumers. Because the typical hospital bill is extremely complicated, often containing several hundred line-item charges, there is ample opportunity for computer mistakes and accidental human error. Do a Google search for medical bill auditors to find companies offering this service. Your health insurance coverage will not do this for you, so stay vigilant to save on costs.

3. You may get a tax break on your medical bills

Keep all your medical bills together and add them up at tax time. If they exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, you may deduct the excess. Please note that these items also may be included in the total: the cost of eye glasses, contact lenses, physical therapy, x-rays, hearing aids, psychiatric care, insurance and transportation to the hospital or doctor’s office (at 30 cents a mile). There are phase-outs in some cases based on adjusted gross income. Check with your professional tax adviser. Your health care coverage will not inform you of this necessarily, so be thorough.

4. Deduct 100% of your healthcare costs from your taxes

The IRS allows all self-employed to deduct 100% of health care costs from their taxes by using Section 105 of the Internal Revenue Code. To receive this deduction, you must do the following:

a) Hire your spouse as an employee of your business.

b) Have your spouse receive health insurance in his or her name, and include the family on the policy.

c) Pay your spouse a salary that will cover the costs of the insurance.

d) Talk to your tax professional about planning for Section 105 on your taxes.

We all know your spouse is active in your business. Now, you can equally recognize their contribution he or she makes – and get Uncle Sam to give you a tax break.

5. Help for families with kids — CHIP

All states have established new programs that help lower income families with children to pay for health insurance for their kids. Financed partly by the federal government, the Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) operate either as an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program or a subsidy for basic private health insurance. Eligible families may be able to access coverage for their children at greatly reduced premiums which will vary depending upon family income. Contact your state Department of Health or Insurance for more information.

6. Shop around

Hospital costs vary widely, especially between urban and rural facilities. If your doctor has admitting privileges at more than one hospital, find out if you can be admitted to the one that’s less expensive. Keep in mind that hospitals operated by non-profit foundations are usually less expensive than investor-owned, for profit hospitals. To find out how much your local hospitals charge, ask your doctor. Many states have Health Services Cost Review Commissions, which compile such data.

7. Check for free clinics in your community

You and your entire family can save hundreds of dollars by taking advantage of the many free screenings, immunizations, and other health clinics offered by your local community or a town near you. Numerous community hospitals and social services can provide blood pressure checks, shots for your children, free contraceptives and/or advice, and other preventative health care at little to no cost.

8. Get a second opinion out of town

Believe it or not, your chance of undergoing an expensive surgery or preventative procedure may depend solely on where you happen to live. Statistics show that the frequency in which certain medical procedures are performed varies widely from location to location. For example, residents of New Haven, Conn., are twice as likely to undergo a coronary bypass operation as residents of Boston, Mass. What’s the reason for this discrepancy? One Dartmouth Medical School expert, John E. Wennberg, M.D., M.H.P., explains that certain operations are simply more fashionable in some parts of the United States than others. So, if you plan to get a second opinion prior to surgery, consider going to a specialist in another city. In addition, try to find out what the surgery rates for your procedure are in different cities. HealthAllies.com also offers this service online at www.healthallies.com. To get the names of second-opinion doctors in your region, call the U.S. government’s toll-free second-opinion hotline at 1-800-638-6833.

9. Don’t pay double for a second opinion

As you make arrangements for a second opinion, ask your doctor to send copies of your medical records, x-rays, and lab tests to the second-opinion doctor. These tests don’t need duplication; your second doctor will have the information he or she needs – and you don’t pay double.

10. Emotional stability

Your mental health is equally important as your physical health. Do you have blue days once in awhile, or struggle with gray winters? St. John’s Wort, an over-the-counter herbal supplement, has been proven to increase positive moods. Before rushing to your family physician for medication to make you feel better, try supplements with a combination of expressing your feelings with friends and a healthy lifestyle. Mood stabilizers are some of the most costly medications on the market today. However, you should be aware of the signs of stress or even depression. Give yourself a simple screening test:

  • Do you have feelings of sadness and/or irritability?
  • Has there been a loss of interest in pleasure activities you once enjoyed?
  • Have there been changes in your weight or appetite?
  • Have you noticed changes in your sleeping pattern? Are you feeling guilty?
  • Do you have the inability to concentrate, remember things or make decisions?
  • Are you fatigued or have a loss of energy?
  • Do you experience restlessness or decreased activity noticed by others?
  • Do you have feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness?
  • Do you have thoughts of suicide or death?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, consider consulting your family physician. If they recommend mental health treatment, it is more cost-effective to have your family physician prescribe mood stabilizers instead of seeing a psychiatrist. However, follow your doctor’s instructions on counseling and referrals to mental health professionals.

11. Order your prescription drugs by phone, web or mail

There are many discount prescription drug benefits available for a modest cost. Communicating for Agriculture and the Self-Employed offers a free prescription card through PCS. This program saves its members up to 40 percent at over 55,000 pharmacies nationwide. On average, CA members save $9.39 per prescription order. You can enroll free on their Web site at www.selfemployedcountry.org.

12. Ask your doctor to prescribe generic drugs

Medicine marketed under its scientific name is usually 50 percent cheaper and just as effective as brand-name versions. In addition, look for generic drugs in the medicine you purchase over the counter. For example, 100 generic aspirin may cost $1.79; the same ingredients packaged under a well-known brand name can cost more than $5 for 100 tablets. Consider, also, just how important the new easy-to-swallow products are to your comfort. The lesser price of some medicines may be comparably easier to swallow when thinking about your budget.

13. Get enrolled in a group plan

For self employed people including those involved in small businesses, individual health insurance can be extremely costly – sometimes as much as 30 percent of your take home pay. By joining associations like National Association for the Self Employed (www.nase.org), you have the opportunity to enroll in a group insurance plan with unique built-in cost controls.

14. Choose a higher deductible

Often for the healthy family, the number of visits to the doctor totals less than $250 a year, a normally low deductible rate. This low deduction rate, however, can end up costing you more in the form of higher premiums. If your family has enjoyed good health for a number of years, you may want to switch to a higher deductible of $500 or $1000. You’ll notice greatly reduced premiums.

15. Pay premiums annually

You avoid the service fee and may also receive a discount from your insurance carrier. Check with your insurance agent about how much money you can save if you pay your premium one time during the year.

16. Make sure there’s a ceiling for out-of-pocket expenses for catastrophic illnesses

About half of individual policyholders lack this important provision, according to insurance experts, who recommend a major medical policy with a stop-loss clause limiting policyholder payout to $2,000 or $3,000.

17. Get educated about your health

Invest in your health by becoming information-rich. Read publications about health care. Pay special attention to free wellness publications like Inside Mayo Clinic at www.mayo.edu/healthinfo/public.html or have on hand a book on medical self-care, like The AAFP Family Health and Medical Guide and The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. A wealth of information is also available on the Internet.

18. Take advantage of free health advice

For free information booklets from the U.S. government about nearly every health care topic you can imagine, simply write to the Consumer Information Center in Pueblo, Colorado. The government offers several dozen booklets on topics ranging from nutrition, medical problems, mental health, to drugs, exercise and weight control. To receive a catalog explaining these booklets, write to:

Consumer Information Center
PO Box 100
Pueblo, CO 81009
www.pueblo.gsa.gov (you can download booklets from this site)

Once again the U.S. Government comes through by providing a number of toll free health care information phone services. Topics are numerous, including hearing aids, cancer information, Alzheimer’s disease, drugs and pregnancy issues. For information on the health topics and phone numbers, call the National Health Information Center at 1-800-336-4797.

19. Brush up on first-aid skills and become CPR certified.

Proper treatment of various accidents may reduce the number of visits to the doctor, and can save lives in an emergency. It’s important to always keep an updated medical kit in your home or office.

Here are the basics for your first-aid kit:

  • bandage supplies, including a roll of 3 inch wide gauze, individually packaged 4 inch sterile gauze pads, a roll of 1 inch bandage tape, butterfly bandage tape, and scissors
  • elastic bandages
  • cotton swabs
  • sterile dressings or towels
  • pain reliever (acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
  • anti-inflammatory medicine (ibuprofen)
  • ipecac syrup (for use on advice of medical professional to induce vomiting)
  • tweezers
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • skin creams, including hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion and antibiotic creams
  • an antihistamine (diphenhydramine for allergic reactions)
  • flashlight
  • eye patch
  • arm sling
  • tongue depressors (to be used as a finger splint)
  • ice pack re-hydration fluids (such as Pedialyte or Infalyte)

20. Take a lifestyle approach to wellness – every day

Take charge of your health by making simple changes in your lifestyle. By following these seven basic rules of good health, you’ll improve your chances of living a long, healthy, active life.

  • Get eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Eat breakfast every morning.
  • Cut down on snacks between meals.
  • Keep within 10 pounds of your recommended weight range. If you’re unsure what your weight range should be check with your doctor.
  • Exercise aerobically for at least 30 minutes three times per week.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t drink more than two alcoholic beverages per day.
  • Take recommended dosages of vitamins and supplements. Copyright 2004, Monikah Ogando, Ogando Associates, Inc.

Monikah Ogando is a highly skilled facilitator and charismatic speaker. She continues to inspire her audience through her expertise in Business Development, leadership effectiveness, individual accountability and the values that guide excellence.  She practices what she speaks: an entrepreneur, Monikah leads her own two companies, consulting firm Ogando Associates and Exodus House Publishers and is a Team Member of Solo-E.com Find more articles like this at http://www.Solo-E.com – Keeping Solo Entrepreneurs Juiced in Business and in Life. Our team of Solo Entrepreneurs are comprised of small business experts who support others in finding business success with the flexibility and freedom to have a life, too. Network with other freelancers, self-employed and Solo Entrepreneurs in our forums, enjoy our articles and newsletter, and find other online training opportunities.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

How to Shop for Individual Health Insurance

If you find yourself in the position of shopping for an individual health insurance policy, there are certain things you’ll want to keep in mind. Whether you are coming out of a job that covered you before, or are at the end of your COBRA benefits, or simply have never had individual health insurance coverage before there are things you can do to get coverage on yourself and your loved ones.

The basic thing to know is that if you have a shot a group health insurance, whether through a job or an association you’re a member of, that is usually much more affordable than buying individual health insurance on your own. First you need to figure out your health insurance goals; in other words, what are you after in individual health insurance? If you’re young, healthy as a horse, no dependents and not attempting Mt. Everest next week, you may want to opt for a individual health insurance policy that covers only the catastrophes, and cover the rest out-of-pocket. On the flip side of that, if you’re the sole bread winner with a family to support, the scenario is different for individual health insurance.

The basic choices with individual health insurance plans you’ll have are Fee-for-Service, Managed Care Plans, and Association-based health insurance. Fee-for- service is the traditional indemnity plan, harder to acquire, more expensive, but usually great coverage. Managed care plans include most HMO’s and PPO’s. These offer lower costs but your choices are somewhat limited. Another way to get insured is through a group or association you may already be a member of, such as professional, religious or trade organizations. Often they may offer health insurance. It’s worth checking out, as sometimes you can strike gold in this vein.

Things to consider when you’re looking for any individual health insurance policy are what’s covered on this plan, how much are the monthly premiums, what is the yearly out-of-pocket, what is the deductible, how much are office visits, does it cover preventative medicine, vision, dental? And I’m sure you can come up with many of your own. Sit down before you go shopping for an individual health insurance policy and make a list of your needs and wants, and decide in advance what you’re willing to give to get out of an individual health insurance .

Be aware that once you start getting quotes they can vary as much as 50% for the same person! Remember, you’re shopping, and nobody’s making you do anything. If one insurer isn’t cutting it for your individual health insurance, move on to another. If you’re coming at this cold and have no good recommendations it may be wise to use a broker who represents several companies, as he or she wil be more likely to find the best policy for you, as opposed to selling the company they work for.

Shopping for individual health insurance can be frustrating and time-consuming, but if you come armed with facts you’ll be able to navigate this highly competitive and ever-changing field.

Keith Thompson is the webmaster at health Insurance Plans, a site geared toward helping you find great health insurance.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

 

Health Insurance Coverage

Health insurance coverage is something that everyone needs today. The rising cost of visiting a health care provider or a hospital stay makes it imperative that everyone have some type of health care coverage. Government statistics estimate that over 40 million people in America do not have any health insurance coverage on any given day. That’s an enormous number of people who really are taking a financial risk.

While most Americans are able to obtain some type of health insurance coverage through their place of employment, many others, the underemployed, the self-employed and the unemployed simply don’t know where to find good, quality health insurance coverage at a fair price. The Census Bureau estimates that nearly 15% of the population has no coverage. The long term effects of this are hard to quantify because it means that young children do not see a health care provider unless they are seriously ill. Unfortunately this approach while appearing to save money can be devastating to the long term health of the child.

Health care providers and other experts all recommend that every one have some type of health insurance for the necessary time when they’ll need to visit their Doctor or hospital.

We’ve searched all over the web and have located a few quality companies that we feel are not only financially sound and secure, but which also offer competitive rates. You don’t need to even sit down and visit with an agent, all the information gathering and work can be done over the internet.

You’ll find the best life insurance for your needs that will comfortably fit into your budget. Solid life insurance will give you peace of mind and confidence.

About The Author

Mike Yeager
Publisher
http://www.a1-insurance-quotes-4u.com/