According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control, there are approximately 30.1 million people in the U.S. under the age of 65 who are uninsured.
Do you fall into this group? Are you unsure of the different types of health insurance coverage and what’s available to you?
Read on for an in-depth guide to various health insurance types so you can choose the best plan for you and your needs.
Why Do You Need Health Insurance?
The number of people who are uninsured has increased over the years since the individual health insurance mandate was repealed. Because it’s no longer required by law for them to be insured, a lot of folks are wondering why they should bother with coverage at all.
In reality, there are lots of benefits that come with being insured, regardless of whether there’s a mandate in place or not. The following are some of the most noteworthy reasons to sign up for coverage:
• Save money and pay less out of pocket when you go to the doctor, pharmacy, etc.
• Get regular preventative care
• Catch potential health problems early and get treatment before they become more serious
• Enjoy peace of mind
The peace of mind, alone, is reason enough for people to make sure they’re insured. Knowing that, if an emergency arises, you’ll be covered and won’t have to pay the entire bill out of pocket can definitely put you at ease.
Types of Health Insurance Coverage
Okay, you’re convinced that you should invest in health insurance. There are so many health insurance plans out there, though. How do you know which one to choose?
Understanding the different types of health insurance coverage will make your decision much easier. Here are some of the most well-known types of coverage that you might want to consider:
Preferred Provider Organization Plans
Preferred Provider Organization plans (also known as PPO plans) are a type of group health insurance. These plans encourage you to choose doctors and hospitals that are part of a specific network. These healthcare providers are contracted with the insurance company and provide services to members at a lower rate.
When you’re part of a PPO plan, you typically don’t have to designate a primary care physician. The plan does have an annual deductible that you must meet, though, before coverage kicks in and the insurance provider starts paying.
For those who want and need flexibility when it comes to choosing their healthcare providers, a PPO plan can be a good option. This plan is also a good fit if you value choice over low premiums (PPO plans tend to have higher premiums than some other plans) and don’t want to have to select a primary care physician.
Health Maintenance Organization Plans
A Health Maintenance Organization plan (also known as an HMO plan) is another type of group health insurance.
This plan comes with lower out-of-pocket expenses and premiums, but it also is less flexible when it comes to the physicians and hospitals from which you can choose. With this plan, in most cases, you’ll also be required to select a primary care physician, and you’ll need to consult that physician for a referral if you want or need to see a specialist.
One of the best features of an HMO is the fact that this plan often provides coverage for more preventative services than other health insurance policies do. You might or might not need to meet a deductible before your coverage starts, and you’ll usually have to make a copayment when you receive healthcare services.
Point of Service Plans
A Point of Service (or POS) plan is a hybrid that combines elements of PPO and HMO plans. POS plans often require you to choose a primary care physician from a specific network. Your coverage also varies depending on whether you see a healthcare provider who is in or out of your network.
POS plans provide more flexibility than HMO plans, but they still allow you to enjoy the benefits of working with a primary care physician.
An indemnity plan is also known as a fee-for-service plan. In most cases, with this type of plan, you will pay out of pocket for treatment first. Then, you’ll file a claim so that you can get reimbursed for a specific amount.
Indemnity plans are some of the most flexible coverage options. They provide you with a high level of flexibility and plenty of choices, so they’re a good option to consider if that matters to you.
Gap Insurance Plans
Gap health insurance fills in the, you guessed it, gaps that are left by your deductible. It ensures that you don’t have to pay a ton of money for treatment before your other coverage kicks in. Gap insurance also helps you cover other expenses, including the cost of prescription drugs.
As FeedsPortal.com points out, there is even a type of gap insurance that’s available for folks who are covered by Medicare. In this case, it’s known as supplemental coverage.
Health Savings Account
A Health Savings Account (also known as an HSA) is, technically, not a type of health insurance. Rather, it is an alternative option for those who want peace of mind but don’t necessarily want to sign up for a more traditional plan.
An HSA is a tax-free savings account. You can put money into this account and then use it to cover healthcare-related expenses. Any money that you don’t use will roll over and collect interest so that you can use it the next year.
Health Share Program
Although the health share program is not the same as a health insurance program, it can offer financial help to those patients who are looking to keep their out of the pocket medical costs low by sharing the cost to each other’s healthcare. These organizations’ members split the cost of qualified medical bills and have access to these funds when they need to pay for medical care. Look into Health Share Programs like Annual Open Enrollment where members help each other by sharing in the cost associated with eligible medical expenses.
Start Shopping for Health Insurance Today
Now that you know more about the different types of health insurance coverage and the options you have to choose from, it’s time to start shopping. Keep this guide in mind so you can simplify your experience and find the plan that works best for you and your family.
Do you want to learn more about choosing health insurance or handling healthcare-related matters? If so, check out the Health and Lifestyle sections of our site today.