Types of medical insurance

Health insurance means any program that helps pay for medical expenses and provide protection against the cost of medical services. Once you purchase insurance coverage, you and your health insurer each agree to pay a part of your medical expenses.

These amounts are usually a certain dollar amount or percentage of the expense. It is estimated that up to 33 million Americans do not have adequate health insurance to cover them in the event of illness or disability.

How do I get health insurance?

There are several ways to access health insurance. A group plan through your employer or that of your spouse or partner can be a good option. If you are under 26 years old, you can also get covered by your parent’s plan, or you can purchase a private plan directly with a health insurance company.

If a private plan is not an option, check your state as it may provide a government funded plan, otherwise, national government plans such as Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can also help.

Types of medical insurance

Types of health insurance plans

Health insurance plans typically fall into three categories:

  •     Traditional fee-for-service health insurance plans are usually the most expensive choice, but they offer you the most flexibility in choosing health care providers.

  •     Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offer lower co-payments and cover the costs of more preventive care, but your choice of health care providers is limited.

  •     Preferred provider organizations (PPOs) offer lower co-payments like HMOs but give you more flexibility in selecting a provider.

Choosing a health insurance plan

Do read the fine print when you are choosing a healthcare plan, and ask lots of questions. Things to consider would be if you can go any doctor or hospital you like - or if and certain treatments like dentists and eye doctors are included. Make sure the plan covers home care or a nursing home if that is what you need. Also, ask if there are any exclusions or deductible items that may affect you further down the line.


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