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Low Cost Health Insurance - Hazardous to Your Health?

Oct 12, 2007
Ah, the beauty of the Free Market! Competition has brought to us low cost health insurance - but with the lower costs, guess what! often you will find there have been changes (compard to a standard policy) in the terms and conditions of the policies. If you don't watch out, these changes can significantly impact the QUALITY of the policies, and the amount of coverage that they can provide.

How can this impact you? The main problem would be you could end up with major expenditures that the insurance policy would not pay, and that you would have to pay from your own pocket. For example, you might go to the doctor, and expect to just pay a small co-payment, let's say $40, but then later on you get a bill for another hundred bucks that the provider says your insurance is not paying. Then you find out in order for the $40 co-pay to apply, you have to have ALREADY spent $1,000 out of your pocket that year! This kind of provision is actually pretty common - and it may only sting a little for an office visit, but if you go to the emergency room, get an x-ray, spend the night in the hospital... well you could be out $2,000 easily!

If you're thinking about buying into a low cost health insurance policy, you'll need to be VERY careful when reading and researching, to see that the terms are comparable with those of a more traditional 'standard' health insurance policy.

I mean, after all - how do you suppose they manage to cut the prices so much? Now, let's be fair: in today's market, YES it is certainly possible for companies to offer heavy discounts compared to more traditional companies, becasue they choose to do business in ways that result in much small business 'overhead.' For example, they don't spend millions of dollars on TV ads but rather advertise mostly on the Internet or via affiliate programs. Sometimes, however, the low-cost health insurance policies are sold by companies that make small changes in the language of the terms, but these small changes can have a BIG impact on your medical expenditures when it comes time to make a claim.

How in the world could a wary consumer be expected to do a careful comparison? Perhaps the best way to go about this, is to stop by a major insurance provider's office and ask for a copy of the terms and conditions of a sample policy. Then you can compare the features that are offered by the 'big guys' to those of the low-cost insurance policy that you are thinking about buying. Anywhere you find a difference... ask questions about that difference with the prospective insurance provider, and make sure you are satisfied with the explanation before signing on the dotted line!

Just remember that good old consumer advice: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is! If you're not careful, low cost health insurance can become more expensive in the long run.
About the Author
Sam Hodgeman runs a website, at target="_blank">www.insure-your-health.blogspot.com, with education, advice, and latest news about Health
Insurance
. Visit his site to learn all about Health
Insurance, and for instant online tools to search providers and get comparative quotes.
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