To do a private health insurance comparison is probably a complex task to do, as it isn’t always easy to compare insurance coverage from each other. However, if you start by understanding your health care needs, you will probably make the comparison process easier. You can also follow these guides to make it easier:
Use the Internet
The internet is a powerful tool and using it to your advantage is the best way to utilize it. If you search all over the web, you’ll find plenty of tools very useful to make a private health insurance comparison among potential policies. You can also try to look at every potential health insurance company’s site. By visiting each site, you can check the details of their plans, get free quotes for premiums, see if it’s available in your state and talk to an agent. If you wish, you can also purchase a policy online.
Talk to an agent
Speaking to an insurance agent is a wise way to make a private health insurance comparison. You get more details by speaking to an agent. In addition, if you have any question in your mind that was not answered by looking through the health insurance company’s website, you can always ask them and get direct answers.
Understand your needs
The best insurance company to provide your health needs is the one that are perfectly suited to assist your current condition at any circumstances. Be aware that there is no single policy that is suited or best for everyone. Every individual has different medical situation and conditions. In your case, find one who responds to your health care needs just fine. It is very possible that one policy works best for the others but doesn’t do well for you.
Start by looking at your current needs. See if a policy will provide you benefits to give you a complete peace of mind regarding your condition. In addition to your case, look also for a policy that offers wide reaching network health care providers. So whatever the case, you should be able to find a service in a location you preferred.
Look for lists of the top insurance companies
There are many organizations that are creating surveys annually to list the best and top insurance companies according to consumer reviews and scores. Most of it is published on the internet for reference. This is to help prospective consumers in deciding which insurance companies generate higher consumer satisfaction. Generally the list presents the top 10 choice and explains why they are included in the list. This list will be very helpful for you too.
Unlike buying for a life insurance, where life insurance premiums are set and remained fixed for the term of the policy, a health insurance plan does not function as the same. Private health insurance plan usually are only valid for a period of one year, thus, premiums are reviewed and renewed annually. It means that private health insurance cost is not fixed and may increase its premium as it is renewed per year. The rising premiums are mainly caused by the increasing costs of medical care, treatments and other services. Because of this, most people should make wiser decision in choosing the coverage for their private insurance. They limit it to those areas they think and feel necessary to keep the cost low.
So how much will I need to pay for covered services? You may ask. Most policies now impose an annual deductible, which is an initial amount the insured must pay themselves before any payment will be made by the insurance company. The deductibles, however, does not always apply to all covered services, for example: preventive care. Other insurers have a separate policy for deductibles for a certain covered services, such as medical care and drug prescriptions.
Additionally, after meeting your deductibles, your insurance will generally require you to pay for portion of covered healthcare services. It may also apply co-payments or co-insurance. Co-payments are like a flat dollar fees (such as $15, $20 or $25 in every visit) and co-insurance are payments that are made based on the percentage of covered health charges (10%, 15% or 20%).
Your private health insurance costis also determined whether you choose a plan that either uses or seeks in-network or outside network health care provider from your insurer.
A private health insurance is undeniably a complex and confusing heath care business. One may not fully understand unless they engaged in the business themselves. If you’re an individual seeking private health, balancing your health care needs to include in your coverage benefits against the cost that you need to pay is truly difficult. With the different levels of covers ranging widely from heart insurance to cancer health insurance coverage for big health concerns and comprehensive medical insurance for all and outpatient care; deciding will be really tough.
Let me give you advice in looking for the best deal of insurance cost. Try trawling around the internet. Search on websites that offers insurance quotes from state to state. Compare each level of health insurance cover and cost between different health care insurance providers. This may take up a lot of your time, but you will most likely encounter one that is suited for you.
Hundreds of private health insurance companies are operating in the United States from state to state. Each company provides health insurance to their holders or purchaser. Most companies are all in competition as to which provides the best benefits at desirable costs. In the US, having a good private health insurance that will definitely cover up their health needs is susceptibly significant. Without having any, one may not have an easy access to any medical care they need. If they do, they may be having a hard time paying a very expensive medical bill. In a nutshell, private health insurance companies assist the insured in making their hospital bills, medical check-ups, doctor’s visit and medication affordable.
Finding the right health insurance provider can be really tough. But if you start finding by looking through the best health insurance companies according to surveys, it will be easy to pick up since the list will end up to 10 or less. To help you, here we have listed you the latest top three private health insurance companies:
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (Maine, Massachusetts)
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care or HPHC is a non-profit health care organization. According to JD Power and Associates 2011 Member Health Insurance Plan Study, HPHC ranked firs t in their member satisfaction rating for insurance plan. Founded in 1980, HPHC has coverage of more than 135 United States Hospitals with over 28,000 participating physicians in their network.
Tufts Associated Health Maintenance Organization (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island)
A non-profit health care organization, Tufts is founded in 1979. Their coverage include for individuals and employers. Last 2010 rankings, Tufts ranked third in the national rankings. Tufts network includes 90 hospitals with more than 20,000 physicians. According to current statistics, Tufts are serving at least 750,000 member or insured patients.
Grand Valley Health Plan (Michigan)
Founded in 1952 which is located around West Michigan, Grand Valley Health Plan or GVHP is providing health insurance for more almost three decades now. Their practicing physicians are employed in-house, as well as medical staffs and medical practitioners. As the primary provider of health insurance in West Michigan, GVHP has boost up third insurance policy by making it easier for insurance holder to receive coverage without the need to fill up claim forms. However, GVHP recommends receiving treatment through their network provider. Out of network specialists are covered as the need arises on a case-to-case basis.
The hardest part in purchasing a private health insurance is making a comparison as to which insurance company would like to purchase with. In making a comparison, the easiest part however, is by starting to compare private health insurance cost, which will fit your budget. The next thing is to know which company gives you the best offer of their health coverage benefits.
First, if you are working on a company, try to ask your employer first the coverage and benefits of the health insurance offered in your office. Most employers offer health insurance to their employees, so your employer probably offers one, especially if it is a large company. Most of the time, an employer offers the easiest health insurance option. If you find it reasonable, sign on with them along with your co-workers.
Next, know the COBRA. COBRA is the acronym for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. The COBRA is an added benefit to health coverage. If you hold coverage under your employer, and you are suddenly laid-off from the job, COBRA gives you the right and the option to extend your health insurance coverage under your employer. This is if you are still willing to continue paying your insurance premiums. Premium payments are made either directly to the previous employer or to the health insurance company. The extension allowed typically is from 18 to 36 months or until you purchased insurance for a new job.
Then look for a plan that gives you access on drug prescriptions. Best way to do this is to know your prescribed medicine for your current health condition. Find out if those drugs or medicines are available or offered in the plan. Also, find out if the prescriptions are offered for a lesser cost or best, without additional cost.
Always check-out for a renewable clause. A good insurance should pre-qualify you for renewing your coverage at the current premium rates.
Always consider the time needed in treating your current medical condition. Some insurance coverage keep you waiting before you can get treatment. If your condition needs a quick attention, be sure to choose one that respects your need for immediate assistance.
Finally, to compare private health insurance, you can summarize in these three phrases: the price you pay for the coverage, the benefits you receive, and the quality of service you expect from your provider.
In the United Kingdom, majority of the people still rely on using National Health Service or NHS. NHS is a publicly funded healthcare system. Those people fortunate enough to afford paying premiums for a health insurance offered by their employers, or certain privately purchased insurance, are may be the one’s on a private health insurance plans.
There are many different types of healthcare plans in the private sector. Their insurance varies depending on the level of coverage purchased that one may afford and what kind of treatment for.
In the UK, some private health insurance plans are designed so they could top up to the services offered by the NHS. And this includes paying for screenings and cancer drugs which are not available on NHS. Furthermore, a top up healthcare plan might provide you with drugs you need in just a few pounds.
Cash back plans
There are different types of healthcare plans that offer cash back in paying for treatments. Bupa plans, for example, are used for treatments such as dental care, optical care and other so called “everyday treatments.” In this kind of healthcare plan, the everyday healthcare cost may be reclaimed 100%. Other kind of cash back plans helps you with the cost for the everyday treatments, complimentary therapies, consultations and cover up for children under 18 year-old who is still under the insured.
Exclusive Provider Organization plan which EPO plan stands. If you become a member of an EPO plan, it will only mean using only their in-network health care providers; their medical professionals, hospitals, and pharmacy, where you cannot seek for an outside network for care aside from their EPO network. The only advantage of EPO is that you won’t need to get referrals to be able to see a specialist. And you can even get lower rate which is negotiable, one thing you can’t do either in HMO or PPO health plans.
The definition of a network plan varies by state. But we can tell that it is similar to PPO plans. “Network,” as the name implies, refers to the large group of the different health care providers (doctors, physicians, hospitals and etc). Those health care providers belonging to the so-called “network” agrees to provide medical care service and assistance to a particular health insurance plan members at a discounted or low medical cost.
If you are planning to purchase yourself from one of the above private healthcare plans, you can have contacts on their agents by state, where contact numbers are available online. You can look for it in their website. Don’t forget to filter first by state so you will directly contact an agent in your location.
In a nutshell, private insurance plans are any kind or health insurance which is not funded by the government. Thus, it is not public. Every insurance plans purposes is to protect their policy holders or beneficiaries from a probable high cost incurred in receiving health care services. In the United States, majority of the private insurance plans are employment-based or company sponsored.
These plans can be purchased by an individual or on a group basis. Group plans are offered by large employers and are mostly cheaper than individual plans. If you belong into a large company, you are most likely to receive offers to join into group plans. However, some of these aren’t really mandatory, especially if you already purchased an individual plan, because group plans are sometimes available through voluntary associations.
Indemnity Plan - this type of plan allows you to direct your health care to almost any doctor and hospital of your choice. Here, the insurance company from which you purchase the indemnity plan will pay a set of your health care total charges. This is also called “fee-for-service” plans. Many indemnity plan insurance plans are offered today that features managed care and are called “managed indemnity” plans. Indemnity plan is the best choice if you don’t want to get stuck into the same health care provider, doctor, physician or hospital.
Point of Service Plan – this type of plan has a similar quality as Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Health Plans and Preferred Provider Organization Health (PPO) Plans. However, benefits vary depending on where you would like to receive your health care, either on their company’s network providers or outside network providers. If you don’t completely like the policies in HMO, and you like only part of the PPO policies, then POS plan is most likely the best for you. POS is like a HMO and PPO combined. The HMO policy that is the same in POS is the required designated personal PCP or primary care physician. In PPO plan that is similar in POS is that you may received treatment from non-network health care provider, but with greater out-of-pocket costs. This may be an added an added expense for you. And you are also most likely to be responsible for co-payments and deductibles. However, you will not be paying any annual deductibles before the coverage begins.
Health plan is the tended term used by managed care organization or systems providing health care coverages such as Health Maintenance organization, Preferred Provider Organization, and Point of Service Plan. This type of health plans are also referred to as a subscription-based medical care arrangement similar to prepaid dental, prepaid legal and prepaid vision plans to name a few. Managed care is the term used in the United States for organizations which provides reduced cost of health benefits and care and improved quality care using variety of techniques and mechanism. Sample techniques include increased beneficiary cost sharing and selective contracting with health care providers.
Mainly there are eight known manage care organization/system providing health plans: Health Maintenance Organization, Preferred Provider Organization Health Plans, Exclusive Provider Organization, Point of Service plans, Indemnity plans, Network Health Plan, High Risk Insurance Pools, and Catastrophic Health Plans.
Two of the popular manage care and how they work is listed and stated below:
Health Maintenance Organization Health Plans - HMO, if we compare to other manage care organization, their plans offers a wide range of health care services. After becoming a member, they will require the insurer to have his/her own primary care physician which will they care most of the healthcare needs otherwise a specialist is needed. If so, a referral from the assigned physician is still needed. As we have said, there are wide ranges and there are many variations to choose from. This plan maybe one of the offering lower premiums as before a coverage starts, the insurer may not be required to pay deductibles and co-payments will probably be minimal. The plan is also hassle free since it doesn’t generally need to submit insurance claims to the insurance company.
Preferred Provider Organization Health Plans – for an individual and the family market, this plan is by far the most popular type of plan. Unlike HMO, PPO allows insurer to visit any network physician or health care provider they wish without a referral from their PCP or primary care physician. However, members of the plan are encouraged to use their networks preferred doctors; hence, a PCP won’t be needed anymore. But keep in mind, that whoever healthcare provider are chosen, out-of-network services covers lower benefit level than in-network services. Again, unlike HMO, before the coverage of the insurance company starts, an annual deductible pay is most probably collected to the insurer. Co-payment is most likely to be required of about $10 – $30 for covering certain percentage of the medical bills.
Working in a company always requires you to enroll for a company health insurance. Having none might lead you difficulties and problems if unexpected medical condition problems, such as illness, happen or if a member of your family requires medical treatment and/or attention. Such emergencies will cost you a lot because hospital bills and medicines are really expensive. But you can avoid this when you have health coverage which covers almost all the bills you need to pay. But if not, you have to really reach out to your pocket and pay it with your own money.
Of course, company health insurance is offered within the company you’re working on. Where you and other employees are receiving health insurance coverage especially programmed for the company’s working force. Your company’s insurance provider may be a big provider where your company are affiliated or others. And just like any the health insurance, your company’s coverage includes physical check-ups, medications, maternity assistance, specialists needs and visits, doctors visit and etc. Coverage also differs. Some employers offer a certain selection of package so deciding the right insurance package should be considered. Best, choose the plan that works for you.
To choose for the best coverage, narrow and weigh-down your options according to premium costs and co-payments. Make sure that the insurance costs won’t drown your monthly salary; just enough for you to pay the insurance coverage at the same time still fitting your budget. However, health insurance is continuously rising today and having a company health insurance won’t leave you not doing anything. In every year, as you continue working in a company, you’ll notice some changes happening in your working environment. These events will likely alert you to open up enrollment for a company health insurance, or maybe the time where you can switch or upgrade to a new one. Because these also the events where the company changes providers, limit or expand your options and sometimes – increase your costs. Hence, your plan may become obsolete or no longer are availble and signing up paperwork’s is needed for a re-up. As we also connect to the worsening economy of today, companies are on grim causing workers to pay more for insurance. Statistics even says that insurance premiums are expected to rise in 2012. If this happens an increase might terribly hurts, especially if wages didn’t increase. Thus it really helps to watch your coverage every year, to keep you updated, know if you’re still satisfied with your plan, so to keep your coverage.
It is important to understand what does a private coverage really means. We can begin describing it from what is private insurance, and continue describing the type of organizations or systems providing it, then its key down to how it’s regulated.
So what is private insurance? It is the mechanism for people in protecting themselves from potential extreme financial risk and cost in seeking medical treatment if they become severely sick and ill. It is also a way to have instant access to health care whenever it necessary, we can term that as “medical necessary.”
For low and median salary earner, health care is definitely costly. And we must admit; those “rich people” are the only ones who can afford without having any trouble in paying for the costs of medical treatments and other services. But thanks to private health insurance products, average earner individual are permitted to pay a premium based on average of medical care and services for a group of people. Thus, the spreading function of what is private insurance is to make health care cost reasonably affordable to all sorts of people.
Health coverage is provided by wide variety of different sources, private and public. Public sources include Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration to name a few. Private health coverage is primarily provided in benefit plan sponsored by employers (if employed) and or insurance purchased on their own (without employer) through individual health insurance market.
So now maybe you are asking how private insurance is delivered. There are two types of organization providing private health coverage to a person insured: the state licensed health insuring and self-funded employee health plan.
State-licensed organizations include the following:
The three mentioned above are the three primary types of state-licensed organization. As the name implies, the three are organized and regulated under the state law.
On the other hand, self-funded health plans are operated under the federal law. Health benefits in this kind of plan are arranged by sponsors such as employers, employee organizations, and or the combination of two. Under self-funded health plan the arrangement is that the sponsor (employers or employee organizations) will have the responsibility to directly pay the health care and services of the participant (or in this case, you – the insured).
There is still so much information you need to understand in private health insurance. Check out more on the other articles in this blog posts to learn more.
The only few place in this world that offers a universal free public health care service is the United Kingdom. The NHS is their publicly funded health care system. So maybe you are thinking if I lived in the UK, why would I choose to pay for a private medical insurance where in fact I can get it for free? According to surveys, even though UK has a good public health care system, other people opt to going private because of their concern in superbugs and health facilities cleanliness. And of the main reasons, is that they want to skip the long waiting lists for treatment.
Thinking of going private? Here are the limitations you might want to consider before making a switch to private medical insurance (PMI):
With serious illness, let’s say life threatening, you can’t necessarily receive quicker treatments like in NHS.
Accidents and emergency treatments are not covered, which means PMI cannot replace all services offered in NHS.
You won’t always end up in a private hospital after getting a treatment. And in some cases (which ideally have minimal case) insured under PMI ends up in NHS wards.
When you buy a PMI policy, you’ll likely to choose a hospital list. The list denotes the hospitals and treatment centers where you will be entitled to cover or receive medical care. Policies with broader selection lists have higher premiums compare to policies with fewer selections.
Most PMI are designed to cover short-term treatments, and curable medical situations and problems. And anything that is not short-term, or deemed long-term, are most likely to be excluded in the policy. For instance, long-term treatments for kidney dialysis.
Warning in switching insurers
If you have serious health problem that is needed monthly check-ups and rehabilitation, this may tie you up to your current insurer, thus making it hard to switch. The main reason why an individual wants to make a switch is to take advantage of a more competitive premium. But the switch also means losing the covers for your health conditions that you have developed since the start of you current policy.
Extra policy coverage
Some PMI policies offer extra coverage. Sample extra coverage are for therapies, a private ambulance for emergencies, home nursing (especially for the elderly), and a parental accommodation if the plan insurance holders’ child is in the hospital.
Levels of cover
Typically, most private medical insurers offer a variety of policies at different levels. The three levels which each insurer’s offers include top-level policy (comprehensive), medium-level policy (standard) and lower-level budget policy.