Monday, November 18, 2013

Compare Health Insurance Plans to Ensure Adequate Coverage

Health insurance plans are probably one of the hottest topics of the 21st century. It's the one thing families can't afford to be without, especially those with children, of child-bearing age, the elderly, or anyone with a chronic medical condition or a family history of serious illness looming overhead. And yet, for many families, it is the one thing they also can't afford financially.

If you're self-employed, you need to find your own health insurance. If you work for a small employer, it may not be offered to you. But even if you do work for an employer that offers it, many employer plans are extremely limited and do not provide the kind of coverage you really need for your family.

There are, however, many affordable health insurance options available on the open market today. But as a consumer, you need to do your homework. All health insurance plans are not created equal.

Often health insurance plans are available as single coverage, married coverage, single plus one, family coverage, or single plus two. But the differences between the various plans may incorporate more than just the number of people covered. For instance, many policies do not cover prenatal or maternity care or the delivery of a child. If you and your spouse are in your 60s and can't have any more children, that may be fine, but if you are of child bearing age and planning to have children, you need to make sure any health insurance you consider includes that coverage or you could have a whopping bill to pay on your own if you discover you're going to have a child.

Even if you aren't planning to have more children, if you have a minor daughter in her teen years, it's a good idea to be sure any plans you look at cover maternity expenses. Many a parent has been surprised to learn their daughter would soon be expecting a baby, though the pregnancy may not have been planned.

When comparing plans for health insurance, it's also important to look at wellness coverage, such as immunizations, annual exams, pap smears, mammograms, and physicals. These should be considered for coverage, in addition to the co-pay for prescriptions, doctor visits, walk-in care, emergency care, outpatient surgery, and in-hospital stays. The amount of the individual deductible and family deductible per year is also an important consideration.

Yes, good health insurance plans that meet the needs of your family are available, but you have to look for them, and you have to be sure you are comparing apples to apples when you look at plans from different providers. It's also a good idea to consider the reputation of the company or provider, because health insurance is no longer a luxury. It really is a necessity, and you need to know you can count on your provider when medical needs arise, without any unanticipated surprises. Always read the fine print and ask questions before purchasing a policy for you and your family.

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