It is often said that health is more important than wealth. Studies have found that today’s generation is a lot unhealthier in many ways than before. Doctors blame, the stress and pressure that working brings together with a lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet. Today, health insurance is a very competitive field as there are many players with very good insurance plans. How does one define health insurance?
It is insurance where an insurer pays the medical bills of the individual who is insured with him. If the insured persona falls sick, or has to undergo an operation of some sort, or meets with an accident, the medical bills of will be covered. The important thing to note is that the cover that every person gets would vary from one person to another.
First, an application form needs to be filled out which asks some very detailed person. Information like whether you have any diseases or illness and also the health status of your family members is an important piece of information that any insurer will need. After taking note of your age, type of employment, other details a plan would be drawn out for you. It should be remembered that the premium rates could change from time to time. One should read the contract carefully before signing anything.
There are different kinds of health insurance which are available to you. You should be aware of all the terms and conditions of each policy :
- Indemnity- Here you can choose your own doctor and hospital, is expensive, but at the same time gives flexibility to take decisions about healthcare. All the bills that you incur can be reimbursed by the insurance company. Bills too can be paid after the services have been rendered.
- Health Maintenance Organization- This is a cheap plan, where a network of doctors and hospitals selected by the insurance company is given to you. You can avail of treatment at any of the centers on the list. Here a monthly fee needs to be paid.
- Preferred Provider Organization- This is generally preferred as there is no monthly fee, but payment is given after medical care if received. Although there are a list of doctors you could consult, if you wish to consult a doctor who is not on the network, a fee would have to be given.
- Point of Service Plan- This plan is taken by people who wish to have both options- of consulting a doctor who is on the network list and also of having a doctor who is not on the list.
With so many options how do you decide what policy to go for? No matter what you settle on, there are some factors which are important and should be remembered.
- When you are insured with a medical company, you pay a small amount of your medical bill, where the rest is paid by the insurer. What you pay is called the deductible, which means that higher the amount of deductibles, lower would be the premium.
- It is important to note the length of time for which the policy will cover you. If it is a short term cover, the premium would be much lesser.
- Access to a good doctor in the network is important.
- A basic coverage will only cover surgery costs and hospitalization, whereas a comprehensive coverage covers routine medical checkups, medicines, and other costs.
- There are also plans where a general physician, has to recommend a specialist, but the plan itself may also be expensive in nature.
- Other factors such as after how many months of paying the premium, will you be able to avail of the benefits, and how much would be covered is important to know.
- There are times when a doctor may recommend expensive medicines such as antibiotics to you. Medicines which are this expensive might be prescribed especially after a surgery. Some plans cover medicines prescribed in one’s lifetime, whereas others cover only generic drugs.
Having a good health insurance is a decision of a lifetime, which means that you also need to get proper guidance about the terms and conditions of the policy. It is essential that you have an idea of your own health as most insurers will have a limit on the amount of money they will put in to clear your bills. You should be aware of what that limit would be. Secondly, other than the basic coverage that is given in policies, there would always be other deductibles such as a testing deductible, separate accident deductible etc which you may not use. Understand the meaning of those deductibles, because most often they would not be used by you and the insurer will still get a lot of money from it. Make sure that the doctors who are in your network, and who you can refer to anytime, are all reputed, and are of good credibility. Although you may be very comfortable with a personal doctor or a family doctor, getting treatment from a doctor on the network would reduce your bills largely.
Most insurance companies are not interested in signing up with just one person in a family. The trick is to get the whole family insured at once. Which is why there are different policies such as insuring the family as a whole, and so on, which are available? Taking a policy for children is advisable as it can be used at any time in their lifetime; moreover the premium to be paid is also likely to be lesser. So in all, taking a health insurance has a wide variety of options and benefits which would make life a lot easier, without making your pocket lighter.