It seems the concept of health insurance gets more complicated every day. Empowered patients understand not just the basics, but the warnings, too. Here are the articles you can find here at Patient Empowerment to help you gain a thorough understanding of how health insurance works, how to choose the best policy at the lowest cost for your family, and more.
Begin by making sure you understand the basics:
Health insurance policies and plans are intended to subsidize your cost of medical and healthcare. The idea is that you and your insurer will share the cost of your care. You will pay for a portion of your care through deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance. The insurer will pay whatever is left, at pricing they have negotiated with doctors and facilities.
YOU want to save money by spending money for insurance in case you get very sick or injured. You pay the insurance company so that if that catastrophe happens, they will be responsible for paying most of the cost of curing or repairing you.
The INSURER (payer) is interested in only one thing - making a profit. They do that by collecting as much money as they can, then spending as little as they can.
The healthier you are, the happier they are to provide you with coverage, because it's possible you will pay them more in premiums (your monthly payment to them) than they will have to pay out for your medical care.
But if you or a family member has health challenges, like a pre-existing condition, then they will try to be sure you pay them more than they have to pay out on your behalf - again, so they can make a profit from you. That can get to be very expensive for you.
Understanding that the insurer's sole purpose is to make a profit from you, you'll want to be sure to confirm any information the provide to you through a neutral party - one who is focused only on helping you.
So, with that introduction, find links below to articles that should answer your questions and help you make wise health insurance choices for you and your family.
Know the terminology:
Link to each of these definitions (but then come back!)
Choose the right health insurance plan for you and your family:
- Begin with some general advice on how to compare different insurance plans to make the best choice for you and your family.
- If you have an employer who provides health insurance subsidy as a benefit of employment, you'll want to follow these steps for choosing the right plan during open enrollment.
- If you don't have an employer to help you pay for insurance, you'll want to follow these general guidelines for choosing private individual health insurance.
- If you have recently lost your job, or your have lost your coverage because of another life change , you'll find here some additional advice on what do do if you have lost your health insurance. The list of possibilities includes information about COBRA coverage.
- If you're getting ready to turn 65 (or maybe a loved one is), you'll want to understand the basics of Medicare - that point when all the money you've paid in throughout your working life becomes available to you to pay for care you need in your later years. While you're at it, brush up on the differences among original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, too.
- High deductible, also known as catastrophic health plans are so tempting because the premiums are so much lower. But if they are chosen for their lower premiums only, they may instead cost you big money during the course of the year. Here's how to decide if you should choose a high deductible or catastrophic health insurance plan.
- While you are in the process of applying or choosing new insurance , it might help to gain a better understanding of how health insurers actually choose the people they want to insure and how your prescription drug history, or the Medical Information Bureau, might affect the costs of your insurance.
- Was your insurance application turned down? Here are some possible reasons for rejected health insurance applications.
- What Are Health Savings Accounts? If you choose a high deductible or catastrophic health insurance policy, it will work best when paired with a Health Savings Account. You might be surprised to learn that HSAs don't require you to lose money at the end of the year.
- Not sure what the difference is between a Health Savings Account and a Flexible Spending Account? There are actually some similarities and differences, too.
Be aware of health insurance warnings and scams:
- Be sure you visit only doctors and facilities who are in-network - or you'll find your bills are far more than you expect.
- Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (healthcare reform), more and more companies have formed to sell fake health insurance, scamming Americans every day . Learn about these bogus health insurers, how they are taking your money, and how to protect yourself.