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Choose the Best Health Plans For Your Family

Aug 3, 2008
Health insurance concerns almost everybody in the US these days. You may get a health plan from an employer, but probably have some options to choose from, and that choice can be confusing. Millions of Americans do not get health insurance at work, and they need to find coverage on the individual health plan market. Finding an affordable and quality medical plan is even more complex than choosing a group benefit from work!

The best choice for you, and your family, will depend upon many things. For one thing, available policies vary by local area or zip code. Your age, health status, budget and expectations will also affect your choice.

Younger families, without any severe health problems, will probably have an easy time finding affordable coverage. Older Americans, who are not quite old enough for Medicare, will have a harder time. And of course, those who already have a serious health issue will have a harder time finding a low cost medical policy, if they can find a private plan that accepts them at all!

If you do get declined for individual health insurance, know that every state has a high risk plan to cover people like you! You should find a qualified insurance agent or your state insurance commission in order to find out what the next step is in your state.

If you get accepted, but a health condition causes a rate increase that really strains your budget, consider raising the deductible. The premium difference between a $500 deductible and a $2500 deductible can be hundreds of dollars every month. When faced with high costs of medical coverage, people need to purchase a policy to save them financial collapse, and not to cover every small expense.

PPO plans are popular because they use a network to contain costs, but still allow some flexibility. In general, a covered person may leave the network if they accept less coverage. Of course, emergencies and some other limited situations will still provide full coverage. Make sure you check with your insurance company if you seek non-emergency coverage outside the network.

HSA plans work with a health savings account, and they allow a participant to make tax deductible contributions to an interest earning account. This account can be used to pay a higher deductible on health claims, and also for some other medical services. This is a good choice for good savers. The HSA money rolls over, so you never lose your contributions if you do not use them. Then, at Medicare age, you can withdraw the money without a penalty.

HMO plans use a nework, much like a PPO. The difference is that under most situations, they will not provide any coverage for non-network medical services. Of course, emergencies are generally covered. Certain medical services that are not provided by the HMO network may also be approved for coverage, but that needs to be authorized before seeking care.

In order to find the best health coverage for you, and your family, compare the available plans, and make sure you understand your policy. In my experience, people tend to be satisfied with their coverage when they understand it before they have to make a claim!
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