How To Save on Health Insurance

With health care costs soaring through the roof, the cost of health insurance premiums are increasing as well. Health insurance is a necessity, however, when you consider the costs of one visit to the emergency room, surgery to set a broken bone, scans, lab and other costs. When your budget is limited, how can you keep the costs of your health insurance premiums down? There are several steps you can take to reduce your health insurance costs and still maintain adequate medical coverage when you need it.

First step is to consider what health insurance options you have. Does your employer offer a group medical benefit? Many employers (and/or labor unions) offer health benefits to full-time employees. Group health insurance is usually the cheapest way to get medical coverage; an employer can negotiate with health insurance companies to get a group health plan at cheaper rates. In addition, many employers will pay part of the premium, reducing your health insurance cost even further. Another consideration is whether your spouse has health coverage available through their employer? If so, compare your health benefits plan to that of your spouse, and decide which health plan is the better buy. It may be possible to have one spouse carry family health insurance coverage and the other drop their health benefits. Many employers have multiple health insurance options, so review these plans as well. Choose the health plan that best meets your needs at the cheapest rate.

If no health insurance coverage is available through your employer, there are other ways to obtain health insurance coverage. Individual and family private health insurance policies are available. Shop and compare benefits and premiums from each health insurance plan. If you and your family are generally healthy, the new Health Savings Account (HSA) may be worth consideration. The HSA is an account that allows you to save tax-free dollars for your medical/health expenses. Similar to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), you are limited in the amount that you are allowed to contribute each year; however, with the HSA, withdrawals for health expenses are not penalized, and no tax is paid on the withdrawal. When paired with a health insurance policy that has high deductibles and low rates, the HSA may be ideal for you. Save money in the HSA for deductibles and co-pays, and you’re set.

For those over 65 or permanently disabled, Medicare is available through the federal government. The original Medicare is an 80/20 plan (they pay 80% of eligible expenses and the insured pays 20%) with an annual deductible and a monthly premium. Supplemental health plans are available to cover this deductible and co-pay. These supplemental health plans are usually private and the insured pays a premium. In addition to the original Medicare plan, there are Medicare HMOs. In these Medicare HMO health plans, the Medicare premium is paid to an HMO to provide benefits to the insured. HMO plans are more restrictive in that patients must get care through a network provider, but often these plans cover more prescription drugs and preventive care than original Medicare does.

Recently some employers have offered lower premiums to employees who do not smoke cigarettes. This is currently a controversial topic for some, but it certainly may begin a trend. In the future, employers and their health insurance providers could offer reduced premiums for employees who maintain normal weight, exercise regularly, and receive certain wellness benefits. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle lowers the risk to the health insurance company that they will be paying big bucks in health care down the road. And health insurance, as any other insurance, is all about risk.

Bottom line: going without health insurance coverage is a big risk for you. Find health coverage that you can afford just in case Murphy comes knocking at your door!

A New Idea To The Health Insurance Crisis In America

Lack of health insurance coverage for over 41 million Americans is one of the nation’s most pressing problems. While most elderly Americans have coverage through Medicare and nearly two-thirds of non-elderly Americans receive health coverage through employer-sponsored plans, many workers and their families remain uninsured because their employer does not offer coverage or they cannot afford the cost of coverage. Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) or HAWK-I here in Iowa help fill in the gaps for low-income children and some of their parents, but the reach of these programs is limited. As a result, millions of Americans without health insurance face adverse health consequences because of delayed or foregone health care and extending coverage to the uninsured has become a national priority. -(Information taken from

The number of people that are forced to go without health insurance is nothing less than a crisis in this country today. We have fallen into a vicious cycle over the last few decades in which health insurance premiums have become too expensive for even a middle class family to afford. This in turn results in the inability of the uninsured to cover medical costs which often times results in the financial ruins of the family, and in turn results in the continuing loss of income by the medical community, which in turn drives the cost of medical expenses higher, finally cycling back to the insurance company which then must drive the premiums of health insurance higher to help cover the rising cost of health care.

Many proposals have been tossed around by politicians on both sides of the isle ranging from socializing health care comparable to the Canadian system, to endorsing health savings accounts and cracking down on frivolous law suits against the medical community. Many of these proposals have good points, but along with whatever good points they bring they also bring major downfalls. For instance; a socialized national health care program would eliminate the need for health insurance all together and the cost would be taken on by taxes, which in theory doesn’t seem like a bad idea. However, the downfalls to this system include a deficit in new doctors willing to get into the field due to the inevitable decline in income while the demand would grow due to no personal responsibility. In short if people didn’t have to worry about deductibles or copays that would normally keep the person from seeking medical treatment for minor things, they would simply go to the doctor every time they had an ache or pain. So now we have waiting lines for people with major health problems since everyone is scheduling an appointment while at the same time we are losing doctors due to lack of incentive.

The current battle cry by the republican Bush administration is to push HSA’s (Health Savings Accounts) which reduce premium by taking a less expensive high deductible health insurance plan with a tax deferred savings account that earns a small interest on the side that you contribute to along with your premiums each month. Any money withdrawn from the savings account for qualified medical expenses are taken “tax-free”, and unlike a flex spending account like many people are familiar with in employer based plans, you don’t lose the money you put into the account that you don’t use. Basically if you never used any of that money in the savings account you could withdrawal or roll it over into another vehicle once you turn 62 1/2 penalty free to be used for retirement. This is a viable option for some people, however for many the premiums for these plans are still too expensive, and the problem remains that if you need major treatment in the first few years of the policy you will not have a big enough amount in the savings account to help cover the gaps leaving that person responsible for a large portion of the cost out of pocket.

Now we come to what I believe is one of the biggest problems from a health insurance agent’s point of view, which is the inability for persons with pre-existing health conditions to obtain coverage. From the number of people that contact my office searching for health insurance coverage, I would have to say that about half of them have a health condition that will either result in an insurance company declining that persons application, or result in an amendment rider which basically excludes coverage for any claims related to that condition. An example of a condition that I run across constantly is hypertension or high blood pressure. This condition will sometimes result in a company declining an application all together if other factors are involved, but most generally result in an amendment exclusion rider. You may think that this isn’t that big of a deal, after all, blood pressure medicine is about the only thing they would have to pay for out of pocket, but what many people don’t realize is that this rider will exclude ANYTHING that could be considered part of this condition including heart attacks, strokes, and aneurisms which would all result in a huge out of pocket claim. Consider the fact that my father had a double by-pass surgery recently that ended up with a final bill of around $150,000. This whole amount would have had to come out of pocket had he had a hypertension rider on his health insurance policy, not to mention the added cost of 2 months off of work thrown into the mix. On a modest income of $40,000 per year this would have ruined him financially.

So what how do we fix this problem? Obviously the proposals thus far have been flawed from the beginning, and even if one of these plans gained support from the American people chances are it would never be passed into law simply due to political infighting. One side wants to keep health care privatized while the other wants to socialize it, which as we discussed before both have upsides and downsides. It seems that we are doomed on this issue and there is no real ideas or light at the of the tunnel right? Maybe not, let me tell you about a client I had in my office a couple of years ago.

A young woman came in wanting to compare health insurance plans to see if there were any options for her and her family. She had several children and had been on Title 19 Medicaid and had been going to college paid by the state. She had recently graduated from college and had gotten a job with the local school system, however for whatever reason she was not eligible for health insurance benefits. Obviously she still couldn’t afford 5 or 6 hundred dollars per month for a plan so she went back to the aid office and explained her situation. They ended up working with us to find an acceptable private health insurance plan and reimbursed her for a percentage of the cost which I didn’t even know was possible!

This got me thinking, consider how many more people would be able to obtain coverage if they could be reimbursed by the government a percentage of the premium according to their income. For example; take a young married couple in their 20’s with one child, let’s say that their family income is $25,000 and that the average premium for a $500 deductible health insurance plan for them is $450. Just as an example let’s say that the government determined that a three person family with an annual income of $25,000 is reimbursed 50% of their premium taking the actual cost to the family to $225 per month. This is now an affordable enough premium for the family to consider.

With this merging of private insurance with government assistance we get the best of both worlds. Of course the next question goes to cost, how much more would this cost the American tax payer and how much would this raise taxes? I don’t think that it would cost the tax payers much more an here’s why I think that: First off we would bring down significantly the amount of uninsured people that are unable to pay for the medical care they get in turn driving down the total cost of health care. Secondly the number of people that are forced into bankruptcy and driven to Medicaid Title 19 assistance due to medical bills stemming from catastrophic medical conditions that don’t have health insurance coverage would be significantly reduced. This is important to keep in mind considering that once someone is on Medicaid they are receiving health care basically 100% covered by the government so there is no more incentive to not seek treatment for minor or non-existing conditions. On the flip side many conditions that would have not been caught before they became severe because a person didn’t seek treatment due to not having insurance coverage would now be caught before they turned into a catastrophic claim. Finally, if the government allocated a certain amount of money to help cover claims by people that have pre-existing conditions the private insurance companies could do away with exclusions and declines due to already existing health problems, this is already done is some states such as the HIPIOWA Iowa Comprehensive Plans which insures Iowa residents that can not obtain coverage elsewhere.

You may be sitting there thinking that this is all just wishful thinking and that these ideas could never be implemented, but all of these ideas are already being implemented. The problem is that only some states do some programs and not even most health insurance agents know that some low income families can get reimbursed for health insurance premiums. If these programs were all standardized and put into effect on a national well publicized level I believe it would put one hell of a dent in the uninsured population in this country. Now I don’t pretend to know what the reimbursement levels should be for what income levels but I do know that anything is better than nothing, and in my opinion this is the best middle ground we could find. The Democrats would be happy with the socialized aspect of the reimbursement, and the republicans should be happy that health care remains privatized giving this solution a better chance at a by-partisan backing.

I have faxed this idea to several senators and congressmen but always received the same type of standard response about how they are concerned with health care and that they are working hard to find a solution knowing full well that no one really even read my letters. The only way to get these ideas out into the public is for you that read this to pass it on to others by word of mouth, by email, or by linking your websites to this webpage. If enough buzz is created than these ideas would get the consideration that they deserve, and if enough people like you and I demanded that a solution be found than perhaps enough stress can be placed on the politicians to get something done. The number of uninsured Americans is only going to go up, the cost of health care is only going to go up, and the cost of health insurance premiums are only going to go up if something isn’t done now! Until then the only thing that I as a health insurance agent can do is to compare all of the options out there and present you with the lesser of all of the evils, which in too many cases the option that is chosen is the biggest evil of going without coverage.

Low Cost Health Insurance – Where To Start

Assuming that you have already decided upon the type of health insurance that will best suit your needs (indemnity, managed care HMO or hybrid managed care PPO or PPS) the next step in finding a good low cost health insurance policy is to make sure that you fully understand just how the cost of health insurance is made up. Most people will start by looking at the monthly premium charged for a policy but, unfortunately, this is just the initial cost and not the final cost of your policy.

The total cost for any health insurance policy is made of several different elements and you need to understand just what each element is before you start looking at different low cost health insurance quotes and working out exactly what you are likely to end up paying.

The first and most obvious charge is the monthly premium and you should not be put off if this initially seems to be very high. This is one element of your policy that can be adjusted as we will see in a moment. One thing to be aware of though is that some companies may offer a low premium in order to entice you into buying the policy. This “special offer” will only apply however to your first year with the plan and your premium will then increase markedly for the second and subsequent years.

The second charge is what is known as the deductible. This will be a fixed sum of money that you will need to pay out of your own pocket each year before your insurance company will meet the cost of any claim. It is important to remember that this sum applies to each year of the policy’s life and that having met the deductible this year you will need to start all over and meet it again next year and in subsequent years.

In most cases insurance companies will allow considerable flexibility in the deductible attached to a policy and a low deductible will mean paying higher monthly premiums and a high deductible will mean paying lower monthly premiums. As a general rule it is a good idea to set your deductible as high as you can reasonably afford to keep your premiums low but you will need to consider your likely requirement to claim on the policy as there are circumstances in which setting the deductible as low as possible and paying higher premiums may be an advantage.

The next two charges which will be applied to your policy are co-payments and co-insurance. These are essentially the same things although each will affect the cost that you end up paying quite differently.

A co-payment is a fixed sum of money that you will be required to pay before the insurance company will meet any bill. For example, you may be required to pay say $10 towards the cost of each visit to the doctor and $5 towards the cost of each prescription.

A co-insurance works in exactly the same way except that instead of paying a fixed amount of money you pay a percentage of each bill.

Co-payments and co-insurance will vary from one policy to the next and may be applied to only certain bills. In some cases the payment required may also be set as low as $0 or 0%. The important thing to watch out for here is that co-insurance in particular can quickly build into a large sum of money and so needs to be carefully considered when assessing the likely cost of a policy.

All health insurance policies will provide an overall level of protection for both the insurance company and the policyholder and this is one element in assessing the cost of a policy which is often overlooked or to which far too little attention is paid.

The insurance company will protect itself by setting a ceiling on the maximum amount of money that it will pay out over the life of a policy and this is known as the lifetime payout provision. This is usually stated in terms of millions of dollars and when you are reasonably young and healthy can seem like a fortune. However, when a catastrophic event occurs or major illness strikes it can quickly become a significant issue.

You will need to use your own judgment here but, as a rule a policy with a lifetime payout of less than $1,000,000 is probably not worth the paper it is written on. Indeed, many people today would argue that a figure in the region of $2,000,000 should be your absolute minimum.

The insurance company will also provide protection for you as the policyholder by setting a limit on the maximum amount of money that you will be required to pay in any one year. This is known as the out-of-pocket maximum and, once it has been reached, the insurance company will meet 100% of your healthcare bills.

This out-of-pocket maximum is extremely important and you should never accept a policy with an out-of-pocket maximum which is greater than you can afford to pay. It is a sad fact that all too many people fail to pay sufficient attention to this and, as a result, there are more bankruptcies in the United States today caused by difficulties in meeting medical bills than for any other reason.

Individual Florida Health Insurance

Individual health insurance quotes are easily found on the Internet. The availability for instant quotes makes shopping for insurance much quicker and easier. In past years it would take upwards of three days to get accurate quotes for health insurance. It is now possible to obtain quotes from various insurance carriers with only one easy online application. This is a favorable concept, as many insurance carriers will be competing with each other for your business. Overall this intense competition will give you options for the best rates while increasing your benefits.

When comparing individual health insurance quotes in the marketplace it is very important that you are comparing plans that have similar policy benefits. It is sometimes a hard task to read between the lines and figure out what plans to compare. Be sure to contact an insurance agent on this matter, as many individuals when comparing health insurance quotes are not looking at comparable benefits for the price quoted. Make sure to examine the exclusions and limitations of a policy in great detail this would be the next step and most important item on your agenda. After choosing between a few carriers that you have been quoted get together with your insurance agent over the phone to discuss the exclusions and limitations of your potential health insurance policy. A policy may list all items included on a policy, but are not specific to the benefits that have limitations or are not covered. A limitation or exclusion list can be very general with terms and leave a great deal of room for interpretation. So when in doubt with your decision call your professional insurance agent to get more detail.

Find Individual Health Insurance Quotes Online

It is very important to have all questions that you have answered in full when comparing individual health insurance quotes. Many individuals in the marketplace looking for new coverage coming of a group sponsored coverage will be very surprised with the difference in cost to benefit upon speaking to there insurance professional. Very similar coverage is available when making the change from group to individual insurance. The major difference would be the simple fact that you are now paying one hundred percent of your premium with out a contribution from your employer. In most states employers by law are to pay at least fifty percent of the premiums total cost. When you start paying for your entire premium yourself it would make sense to consultant an agent. He would be able to let you know about the many alternative approaches to securing your family’s financial future.

Receiving individual health insurance quotes online does not obligate you to purchase or enroll in that policy. With most large insurance carriers the initial quote may change based on your medical history. Once you complete your application with your insurance professional or online through online submission of application it will be sent off into underwriting. In many cases the underwriting department will first look at your claims that have been made in the Medical Information Bureau or MIB report. If you are a fairly healthy individual they may just underwrite the policy based on previous claims made. Consult with insurance professional if you believe that any pre-existing conditions might affect the issuance of your policy. If they find in your claims that based on the state law for the company’s criteria for a pre-existing condition on of three issues will arise.

Individual Health Insurance Quotes Will Differ

First, the company may deny coverage completely based on your medical history. Second, the company may give an increase in the rate to compensate for the pre-existing conditions. Third, the pre-existing will be excluded from coverage for an extended period of time. If there are no pre-existing issues, coverage and premium amounts are quick and easy to determine. Your rate should stay preferred to the insurance carrier with quick issuance. Once the insurance carrier has determined the final rate for the individual or family, it would be at the consumer’s discretion to carefully read the policy and get any questions they may have answered.

Almost every major insurance carrier offering group coverage also offers individual health insurance quotes. Every state will vary in the offers and restrictions by insurance companies. Ask your insurance professional to obtain information that enables you to contact the state’s department of insurance for specific guidelines in your location. Some states limit a specified amount of time for pre-existing conditions while other states do not require carriers to offer any coverage for pre-existing.

Make Sure Your Family Is Covered

Individual health insurance quotes will differ according to age, gender, and geographic area. Some individual policies automatically include maternity benefits for females within a certain age span even if they do not desire or need the coverage. Other plans offer maternity only as an added benefit that you will be an additional premium for. An accurate quote is based on accurate information. It is important to provide all the information requested.

Individual health insurance is one of the fastest growing areas of health insurance coverage. With the gap between jobs and the growing market of the self employed individual health insurance quotes are in demand. This puts the responsibility of providing health insurance coverage for the family on the individual. If you have difficulty finding coverage that fits your needs and budget give us a call. Every company has a little different view on insurability. If you are insurable we will find the product that meets expectations, try for all of your individual health insurance needs today!

Pet Health Insurance – What It Is and How It Is Beneficial

Pet health insurance is the one which only provides you money for issues related to healthcare. It will not provide you money if your pet is missing or if it damages property. It is a simple process where you need to pay a deductible annually, and you can claim money when you need a large amount of money for your pet’s treatment. There are different organizations where you can get it done, and the rate varies from one to another. In some organizations, it starts from $19 per month.

Let us go through the things which pet insurance covers and the ones it does not cover.

A pet health insurance covers the following areas:-

• Vet Fees

• Surgery Costs

• Medicines

• Cancer treatments

• Medical Tests

• Alternative Treatments like homeopathy

• Vaccinations

• Oral Treatments

The areas which are not covered by pet insurance include:-

• Pre-existing Diseases

• Vitamins and Supplements

• Food

What is the process involved?

To get a pet insurance done, you need to choose an organization first. You need to fill up a form specifying your personal details and details regarding the pet. They will discuss the policy and its terms with you. If there are multiple policies available, you can choose from them according to your convenience.

Here are some of the standard policies:-

• Lifetime Insurance: – In, this type of insurance, you are offered a payment every year. You can renew the policy and the amount then gets regenerated.

• Limited-time Insurance: – Here, the amount you can get can be covered within a certain period. After that time is over, there will be no value to your insurance.

• Maximum-amount Insurance: – Here, an amount is specified which you can get for the coverage of the bills. There is no time limit, you can avail it anytime, but you will not get more than the specified amount.

• Accident-only Insurance: – This type of insurance is valid only for accidents that your pet might come across.

Benefits of getting a pet insurance done:-

By getting a pet insurance done, you get a significant amount of money paid against your veterinary bill by paying a lesser amount on a monthly basis. So, it is more economical. Also, during times of emergency or accidents, it is not easy to arrange for a huge sum of money. If you have a pet insurance done, it becomes easier for you to arrange it since most organizations bear about 80% of the total expenses (depending on certain conditions). It gives you a sense of relief and satisfaction and proves your responsibility as a pet owner.

Apart from covering the serious diseases, a pet insurance also provides money for routine wellness care. If the conditions recur, they pay your bills, and you don’t need to pay any additional costs for this.

After you get the insurance done, you can go to any vet of your choice. You can also go to specialists, physiotherapists, or medical stores. It does not matter for the companies where you are going. They are ready to pay the bills based on certain criteria.

The difference between a pet insurance company and HMO

A pet insurance company allows you to go any vet or hospital of your choice, unlike HMO where particular hospitals or medical centers are specified.

A pet health insurance can be sub-divided into dog insurance and cat insurance. The coverage is almost similar in both the cases. These are the two general categories which people prefer for insuring their pets. However, there are also provisions for insuring birds like parrot or birds of prey and also other mammals apart from cat and dog. Reptiles and some exotic species can also be insured.

There are manifold advantages of getting a pet health insurance done. Just choose the plan that is ideal for you and you will be relieved of the tension of sponsoring your pet’s health treatment costs.