Category Archives: Insurance

One Size Health Insurance Does Not Fit All

Health insurance coverage and associated costs vary greatly based on whether the insurance is an individual policy (for the self-employed/unemployed), for a small businesses (from 2 to 50 employees), or for a large group. Coverage for group plans is far more comprehensive and considerably less expensive because there are more people paying into the insurance pool making more money available group-wide to cover medical claims.

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Those who try to get health insurance on their own, either because their employer does not offer this benefit or because they are self-employed or unemployed often have difficulty obtaining health insurance. Many simply cannot find an insurance company in their state that is willing to offer individual plans. Pre-existing conditions complicate this search and put individuals into a ‘high-risk’ category. It’s often the reason coverage is denied.

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Those who are fortunate enough to find individual coverage don’t feel so fortunate once they review the policy details. They typically find that the cost is significant and the coverage less than desirable and loaded with out-of-pocket costs. Those who obtain health insurance on their own can usually purchase a family plan, but then the costs are even higher.

Those individuals who are employed by small businesses, defined as having more than 2 but 50 or fewer employees, also find themselves in a difficult situation when it comes to health insurance. If the employer chooses to, it may offer a group type of health insurance to the employees. When applying for coverage, the overall costs will be based on the number and physical condition of all the employees who wish to participate. High risk individuals and those with pre-existing conditions will bump up the costs for everybody. Even so, the costs for this type of coverage will usually be better than if each employee obtained an individual policy. Employers are not required to cover other family members and can choose the percentage of the employee’s costs that they will cover.

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Group health insurance generally offers the best coverage at the most affordable price. Group insurance is available to all eligible employees of the company offering the health insurance and generally also to the employee’s immediate family members, including spouse and/or children. A group plan must accept every eligible employee even if the person has a known pre-existing condition and even if that person or his/her family members fall into a high-risk category.

Whether you need private health insurance if you participate in a group health plan is not an easy question to answer. To adequately assess this situation, you’ve got to review your group insurance coverage and compare it to what you need. Some group health insurance plans exclude certain medical services such as dental and vision care, experimental treatments, cosmetic surgery, some mental and substance abuse therapies, and more so you may find you need to complement your group plan with a private health insurance plan. In doing so, you’ll incur more costs so you’ll have to weight the additional benefits against the additional costs to see what makes sense for you.

Understanding Temporary Or Short-term Health Insurance

There are a variety of reasons that you may find yourself in the market for temporary or short-term health insurance. You may have graduated from college and can no longer be covered on your parent’s policy, but don’t have a job yet that will provide coverage. You may have lost or left your job and now need health insurance coverage until you find a new one. Or you may have started a new job and have to wait a period of several months before you are covered under their plan. Whatever the reason, going without health insurance coverage, even for a few months, can be a costly gamble. If you find yourself in this predicament, temporary health insurance coverage may just be the key to solving your dilemma.

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What Is Temporary Health Insurance Coverage?

It’s basically just what the name suggests. Temporary health insurance coverage offers you the opportunity to continue to be covered under a health plan for a limited amount of time, usually one to six months, although there are plans out there that will cover longer periods of time. If you find you will need to be covered for more time than you originally thought, some temporary policies can be extended past their expiration date, but you may want to consider getting a more traditional health insurance plan instead.

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What Do These Plans Cover?

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Temporary health insurance plans cover most of the same types of medical occurrences that permanent policies do, but there are some very important differences.

For one, these plans are usually strictly indemnity plans. Preventative treatments like check-ups, as well as dental and optical coverage are generally not covered. Pre-existing medical conditions and work-related injuries or illnesses are also not covered.

Your temporary health insurance policy will generally cover any emergency medical care you may need, prescription drugs, hospital and intensive care needs, lab and x-ray needs, ambulance care, and even some in-home medical care.

How Do I Get It?

Your first step should be to find an agent that specializes in temporary health insurance. Decide in advance how many days or months you need the coverage and when you want it to start. Pay attention to the ‘exclusion’ clauses in the policy and ask questions about any concerns you may have. Review the application and make sure all your personal information is correct before you sign anything. Also, remember to get a copy of all paperwork for your files.

The cost of the temporary health insurance plan will depend on the type of coverage you pick. To keep the cost down, you can choose to have a higher deductible with a 50/50 co-insurance option rather than the more common 80/20 ratios. There are some extras that you may want to consider, though. With the high cost of prescription medicines, you may be better off buying the coverage rather than leaving it off.

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The important thing is to read through the temporary health insurance policy carefully and make sure you are being offered the coverage you think you are paying for.

A Guide To Travel Health Insurance

None of us want to think about all the things that can go wrong when we’re on that much needed vacation, but the truth is, many things can. You could become ill while away, or you could even get sick right before the long awaited day has arrived and not even board that pre-paid cruise ship at all. Travel health insurance is set up to protect you from all the above-mentioned occurrences and many more but before you purchase this type of health insurance, you need to know what it is and just what coverage to look for.

What Is Travel Health Insurance And When Do I Need It?

We consider that we have only touched the perimeter of information available on health insurance. There is still a lot more to be learnt!

Travel health insurance is an insurance policy that you can purchase prior to your departure that covers you for a variety of occurrences, whether medical or not, while you are away. This insurance can be pricy so you should take some things into consideration before you buy it. If you are going on a short trip that only requires one round-trip airline ticket of $250 then travel health insurance may be overkill. If you have booked a $5,000 once-in-a-lifetime cruise well in advance, then travel health insurance begins to makes more sense. You need to decide if the cost of the policy is worth it.

What Should It Cover?

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A good travel health insurance policy should offer you coverage for a number of things. First, you should be covered the entire time you are on your trip and at any destination. It should cover personal injury or death to you or anyone else named on the policy. It should cover the costs of all medical-related expenses you incur while on your trip. Travel health insurance policies can also cover you in the event you need to be evacuated due to a medical emergency.

Should you be visiting a third world country where medical experience and supplies are limited, make sure your policy covers any type of transportation to a more adequate country to receive proper medical care. If you travel often, you can purchase a multi-trip travel health insurance policy.

Where Do I Get It?

First, check into the coverage you are entitled to under your regular health insurance plan so you don’t end up paying more for coverage you already have. Once you know what you need, you can buy travel health insurance from your cruise line, travel agent, or an independent insurance agent. Although the independent insurance agents can be the most expensive, you don’t have to worry about your cruise line going bankrupt and not honoring your travel insurance