Health Insurance

Health insurance is a complex subject. Whether you’re obtaining private insurance as an individual or you’re looking for a group health insurance plan for your business, you should be aware of some health insurance basics when you look for coverage.

Health Insurance Basics for Individuals

If your employer offers a health insurance plan, take it. These plans are usually more affordable and offer better coverage than individual health insurance plans. When this is not an option and you’re seeking an individual plan, keep the following in mind:

  • Your health is the deciding factor not only on the cost of coverage, but also on whether a company insures you at all. Before insuring you, insurance companies take into account a number of factors, including health history, age and preexisting conditions. High-risk employees who smoke or are obese may pay higher costs or be denied coverage altogether.
  • Low-income individuals have some health care options. Because of rising health care costs, unemployment and the high cost of insurance, some people feel they can’t afford insurance at all. Medicare and Medicaid are national programs for the elderly and low-income families, and most states now have programs to help low-income families receive the coverage they need.

Health Insurance Basics for Employers

The main concern of employers choosing a group health insurance plan is often cost. While all health insurance plans tend to be expensive, employers can cut costs in several ways. For example, they can keep costs down by implementing wellness programs in the workplace or by taking advantage of government tax credits.

Employers can choose from two types of health care plan: an HMO (Health Management Organization) or a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization). Each has its advantages and disadvantages. An HMO is typically less expensive than a PPO, but it limits patients’ choice of doctors or what services are covered. A PPO offers more flexibility for patients, but is typically more expensive than an HMO.

The best way to find a health care plan to suit your individual needs or benefit your employees is to do some research to learn health insurance basics. Once you’ve done your research and decided on the features you need in a health insurance plan, shop around and compare quotes to find the most affordable plan for your needs.

Resources

Brown, B. (n.d.). About small business group health insurance. Retrieved June 26, 2010, from http://www.ehow.com/about_4586867_small-business-group-health-insurance.html.

Insure.com. (2010). Health insurance basics. Retrieved June 27, 2010, from http://www.insure.com/articles/healthinsurance/basics.html.