Looking for Cheap Health Insurance?
Are you in need of affordable, individual health insurance that qualifies as major medical and is not just an indemnity or discount plan? Utilize our free service to find reputable companies who will prepare health insurance quotes for you. Simply complete the interview quote form, and you will be presented with the best plans available in your area, usually within just a day or two.
While you are waiting for your quotes, let us explain why you may be feeling a bit frustrated. If you worked for an employer who provided medical coverage, most likely the employer paid most of the premium. Thus you may have had a premium of no more than $100 or may $200 per month. When you have to purchase private health insurance, the first impression is that it is very expensive. If you are under age 50 and in good health, you can get good coverage from some companies for about the same price as you paid on the job. However, if you are older, need family coverage, or have health issues, you will find the premiums to be much higher, and, in some cases, you may be unable to even purchase a traditional fee for service plan.
If you do have a pre-existing condition, you may have to be open minded toward other types of plans such as PPO or HMO plans which are not actually insurance, but are instead health care management programs. Of course, they do count as creditable coverage.
Defining Various Types of Medical Insurance Plans
Fee for Service
Often regarded as “traditional” health insurance, fee for service plans simply pay your doctor according to the usual and customary for your area—minus a deductible or copay that you pay at the time of service. Usually, you can go to any doctor you want as long as the doctor is a participating provider. There is no “network,” but the company will have a list of providers who will have agreed to accept payment from the company.
Health Maintenance Organizations
Health Maintenance Organizations, known as HMOs, were particularly popular in the 1970s and 1980s. The objective of the insurer was to control health care costs by requiring the patient to work with a “gate keeper,” or primary care doctor. Without the referral of a primary care physician, the patient would not receive coverage for seeing a different doctor. Doctors who managed their practices “efficiently,” meaning they seldom sent anyone to a specialist, often received a bonus from the insurance company. Because of the restrictions of these plans, they soon fell out of favor with the public and were largely replaced by PPO plans. HMOs are still available, however, and with the high cost of today’s health care, some areas have seen a revival of the HMO.
Preferred Provider Organization
The preferred provider organization, or PPO, provides the patient with a network of doctors and specialists from which to choose. There is no gatekeeper and no referral required. However, if the patient goes outside the network, he/she will have to pay a larger portion of the bill. PPO plans are numerous and fairly well accepted in today’s medical arena. Usually there are plenty of doctors in the network, so it is fairly easy to find the type of specialist a person needs.
Regardless of the type of plan you choose, you want to make sure the company has a solid reputation for paying claims in a timely fashion. A company no one ever heard of may be cheaper, but you may have little recourse if they have a habit of denying claims.