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Affordable health insurance: what to look for in a good health care plan

Price should not be the only thing you consider, however, when looking for affordable health insurance. You need to make sure you understand the policy completely, and here are some things you should keep in mind.5 affordable health insurance things you should keep in mind

Affordable health insurance

1.Pre-existing conditions. This may be changing with the new healthcare reform law passed by Congress. Even so, the future of the healthcare law and its exact implementation are still uncertain, so you need to make sure that you understand your policy fully when it comes to pre-existing conditions. Many times there are waiting periods for perhaps six months or a year before the insurance company will cover pre-existing conditions like diabetes, asthma, or other illnesses. This is important to keep in mind since these kinds of chronic conditions often involve repeat doctor visits and ongoing medication that can become pretty expensive.

2.How much does a policy pay for medications? Speaking of chronic conditions and the medicines they require, make sure you understand how much the insurance company will pay for prescription drug coverage. Many people are shocked to learn just how expensive some medications can be when they aren’t covered by insurance. There may also be a difference between coverage for generic drugs and brand names.

3.Does your affordable health insurance plan allow you to see any kind of specialist? Some plans assign you a primary care provider (who is usually an internal medicine doctor or family practitioner), and this doctor has to refer you to specialists like cardiologists, neurologists, or any other kind of medical specialties besides general care. You may have to live with this for the time being if you can’t afford a more expensive plan, and access to a primary care provider is the most important first step in taking care of your long-term health anyway. In any case, you should still be aware of the limitations of these kinds of plans when it comes to being referred to specialists.

4.What is your normal copayment and how many times can you visit the doctor per year? Some plans will only cover a certain number of office visits before they charge you extra. You should also take note of what your copayment would be under various plans, as you often have to pay more for a visit to specialists than to your primary care provider.

5.Deductibles are one of the most important parts of any affordable health insurance plan, and they can be confusing sometimes. Depending on the plan you choose, your deductible may only be a few hundred dollars per year or it may end up being several thousand dollars. The deductible is the amount you have to pay before your health insurance coverage kicks in. For example, if you need a $20,000 operation and your deductible is $5000, you’ll have to pay the $5000 before your coverage comes through and covers a certain percentage of the remaining $15,000.

If you need several hundred dollars in lab tests and have not met your deductible for this year, you would have to pay this cost out of pocket (assuming that these kinds of laboratory exams are not excluded from the deductible). Normally, your office visits are treated differently, though. You would only have to pay copayments (often $30 or so) regardless of whether or not you have met the deductible.

All this may sound a bit confusing or discouraging, but stay persistent until you find a good plan that will give your family peace of mind without breaking the bank. You may have to be creative to find some solutions. For example, if you work for yourself, you may be able to find a plan that caters to self-employed individuals. This will allow you to take advantage of lower rates just like many companies do with group health insurance plans. Just make sure to do your due diligence and pick the best affordable health insurance plan you can for you and your family’s security.


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