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Health Insurance Basics

Feb 20, 2008
When it comes to insurance, there are so many different varieties that many folks don't know quite where to start. However, when you peel back the layers, it can be pretty simple. There are some basic things to know when considering health insurance.

1. Insurance may be cost a lot but not having it at all can cost you a lot more. There are ways to save money on health insurance but opting not to have it at all isn't one of them. One car accident or slip and fall could land you straight into bankruptcy if you don't have the protection of health insurance.

2. Enroll in a plan if your employer offers it. This is almost always financially beneficial because most employer plans are partially subsidized if not completely paid for. Regardless of your age to state of health, it's usually a better deal. Take it if it's offered.

3. Compare and contrast several plans. Costs and benefits differ greatly between plans. It's best to shop around and look at multiple plans before deciding on one. There is, unfortunately, no "standard coverage", do doing the legwork will hold you in good stead in the long run.

4. Even the best coverage has fine print. Read your policy carefully. Even the best coverage can have big loopholes. Most policies cover hospital and doctor visits but prescription, mental health and dental coverage are optional.

5. The lowest premium may not always be the best option. You may opt for a high deductible, lowest premium plan but you find that you need to go the doctor much more often than you had planned and now you have major out of pocket expenses you hadn't planned on. Check out the policies and find which plans have services that have the best prices.

6. If you want flexibility, you'll pay for it. If you are looking for a plan with comprehensive coverage with the lowest out of pocket costs, you'll pay for it in high premiums. If you want to go out of network, you'll pay even more.

7. There are sources that allow you to review networks before joining. There are now several private and public entities that offer data and information on doctors, hospitals and health plans.

8. You can continue benefits if you lose your job. Legislation through the government protects you allows you to keep your health insurance plan should you lose your job. The premiums have to be paid in full by you every month and are no longer subsidized by your employer.
About the Author
Frank Abbott is a freelance writer who has interested in politics, health and especially health insurance reform. For more information about insurance, go to http://www.nehealthinsurancetrek.com
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