Medical bills are often very high and most people will be unable to afford them out of pocket but when it comes to paying for healthcare, Americans have a range of options. Health insurance companies exist to make the burden of high healthcare costs bearable to people other than the very wealthy. However, choosing the right health insurance company is an important decision that many people may not be fully equipped to make. Health insurance can be a complicated issue and there are certain factors that should be taken into account when comparing health insurance companies. This type of insurance is not optional. There are few things that can ruin a person’s financial future more effectively and completely than the medical bills that will come in the event of a major illness.
Health Insurance Plans
• Indemnity plans allow the individual to choose their own doctor, this means that they are not limited to a healthcare professional specified by the insurance company and will not need to have it approved beforehand. The drawback of indemnity plans is that they tend to be expensive.
• A Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) provides their clients with healthcare cost that is fixed and usually low, which is their main benefit. However, the client will have to be approved by a primary care physician before going to a specialist. This primary care physician will determine if the patient needs to see a specialist and then make the referral to a professional in the HMO’s network, without that referral no specialist care will be provided. The result is that patients often never get specialist care.
• A Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) combines the flexibility of an indemnity plan with the stability of an HMO so that the patient can go outside of the network if they need to. Treatment outside of the network is more expensive and the patient may receive less coverage. Because the costs are not fixed in the way they would be with an HMO, they are less predictable.
Choosing From Among Health Insurance Companies
When choosing a health insurance company, it is important for an individual to ensure that the doctors in the network are all local and easily accessible to them. Another important factor is the type of coverage they offer. For example, prescription drugs can be a huge expense for anyone dealing with a serious illness, therefore the individual who is shopping for health insurance should not choose to omit this important benefit in the hope of getting a lower premium. Those shopping for health insurance should also investigate a company’s customer service and the level of difficulty involved in getting their help. The main benefit of a health insurance company is seen when it becomes necessary to file a claim. The process should be simple and fast with as little stress involved as possible.
When choosing from among the health insurance companies available to them, it is important for an individual to make sure that the company has stable finances and is highly rated by its clients.
Frank Lee writes for Healthinsurancecompanies.com and is open to writing on a freelance basis about anything related to insurance industry.