Having the right type of health insurance is crucial no matter what stage in life you are in. But trying to navigate the realm of health care plans can be a dauting task for anyone. Though, the alternative of picking a health insurance plan without first understanding how it works can be worse. Misinformation could lead to you spending even more money out of pocket on your medical expenses. If you are ready to get informed about your healthcare options, continue reading below to find out how to pick the best plan for you and your family.
The Basics of Health Insurance
Having a base knowledge of how health insurance plans work is the first step in your journey into the world of healthcare. You should be aware of the types of plans available to you—whether as an individual or as a family—how to choose the right one for you based on the available options. The terms of health insurance plans are another important aspect to consider as plan terms very greatly based on providers.
The cheapest health insurance plan out there should not necessarily be the first one you chose. Typically, low-cost plans make up for what they lack in monthly premium by charging a much higher deductible. Before deciding on whether to go with a lower monthly payment or a higher deductible, you should make sure that the plan coverage is adequate your family medical needs.
How to Sign up for Health Insurance
They type of health insurance available to you will depend on several individual factors. There are various means of obtaining health insurance but perhaps the most popular one is through an employer. Medical coverage through an employer is oftentimes cheaper as well since the business receives a group rate from insurance providers. The employer can then pass on those savings to workers. However, what if you are unemployed or even self-employed? How do you find the coverage you need.
The Health Insurance Marketplace was established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made finding medical coverage that fits your budget much easier. The ACA mandates that households whose incomes are 100 to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) obtain government subsidized health insurance coverage. The program allows these qualifying households to obtain tax credits which lower their out of pocket costs. The marketplace, however, is still a place where any American can shop for medical plans.
The low-income government health care assistance program Medicaid can also be accessed through the marketplace for those that qualify. Those who meet the income requirements can apply to their state’s Medicaid program directly through the marketplace. Medicaid is not technically defined as a health insurance plan but rather a welfare program that covers many medical visits and procedures for free or at a very low cost.
Employed individuals who happen to lose their job or have their hours reduced and in turn their employer-sponsored health care plan is jeopardize have options. They can extend their coverage under these extenuating circumstances. These extensions are offered through COBRA which is the Consolidated Omnibus Budge Reconciliation Act. Under COBRA, group health insurance plans such as those funded through employers must offer individuals the choice to extend their health insurance coverage for a certain amount of time. During this extension, employees are free to shop for another permanent health care plan. Events that qualify individuals to utilize COBRA coverage include the loss of coverage through the loss of a job. This qualifying event allows individuals to shop for coverage even outside of the normal enrollment period.
Learn About Choosing a Dental Coverage Plan
Dental insurance, much like general health insurance can be purchased through an employer or the health insurance marketplace. However, dental insurance is somewhat different. Dental health plans do have a deductible as well that patients must pay before receiving treatment. Co-payments are also the responsibility of the patient. Though, these out-of-pocket expenses are usually much lower than those for regular health care coverage.
A few different types of dental coverage options are available to consumers. While there are some that allow patients to choose their dentist, others require patients to choose a dentist that is within the plan’s network. The latter are called preferred provider organizations (PPOs). PPOs are a good choice for those who prioritize flexibility of choosing a health practitioner. PPOs still cover dentists located outside of their network, but it will come with an additional cost so the patient. Alternatively, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) plans come at a lower cost than PPO plans. However, those with HMO plans do not have to choose but to pick a healthcare practitioner within the plan’s network. Consumers can choose to forego dental insurance plans altogether as they are not required under the ACA. They can instead choose to obtain a dental savings plan.
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