Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Health Insurance: Tips on Getting Your Own

The rising cost of health insurance today has led many people – employed and unemployed – into the ranks of the uninsured. The high premiums coupled with big deductions are almost always enough to make people rethink their need for insurance. Employers and insurance providers alike are also limiting the benefits of their health care plans due to the high costs.

But when it comes to crunch time, health insurance is really something you can hold on to. It is like a safety net that is ready to catch you in case you fall seriously ill or suffer from a chronic disease. Despite the high costs, getting health insurance is still one of the best decisions you can make – more so, if you are self-employed and have to take care of yourself on your own.

1. Apply for subsidized health care. Government-funded insurance can help your health care spending, particularly for prescription drugs, go down since part of it is shouldered by the government.

2. Stay within network. If you have to go for diagnostic tests or buy medicines, go for those that are part of your policy’s in-network for discounts and reduced costs.

3. Compare health insurance plans. Before you commit to any insurance plan, take the time to shop around and compare health plans from different providers. Look for one that suits your health needs and budget for better usability.

4. Maximize your parents’ health insurance plan. If you just graduated from college or vocational school, you have some time before you are required to fund your own insurance coverage. Find out how long you can depend on your parents’ health insurance instead of wasting money on your own policy too soon.

5. Determine the amount of coverage you need. If you are young and healthy, you probably do not need to invest on a major health insurance plan. However, if you have any preexisting condition or health problem, a comprehensive insurance with an extensive formulary is probably best.

6. Get incorporated. If you are self-employed or own a small business, it is helpful to get your venture incorporated. This way, you can be eligible for tax deductible employer and employee costs like health insurance.

7. Find out which health insurance option is best for you. There are many kinds of health insurance. To get the most out of your plan, you must determine whether you need disability insurance, life insurance, or long term care insurance. Thoroughly understanding and knowing how to work the conditions presented in your policy can help you make the most of its benefits.

8. Avail of discount medical cards. A discount medical card allows you to gain access to the medications you need without the exclusions, limitations, and tedious paperwork typically associated with health insurance.

9. Get a discount dental plan. If you signed up for a minor health insurance plan, it may not cover all the healthcare services you might need. A discount dental plan is a viable option if you intend to supplement your individual coverage.

10. Stick to high co-pays if you rarely get sick. If you rarely visit a doctor, arrange to have higher co-pays in your insurance plans. It pays better to have higher co-pays in exchange for lower premium. Alternatively, if you have a chronic disease or is suffering from a preexisting condition that requires frequent doctor visit, a plan with lower co-pays and higher premiums will work better for you in the long run.

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