Saturday, April 7, 2018

Thrifty Thinking: How to Choose the Right Health Insurance Plan

In the USA, everyone needs to have insurance coverage because it is important. Insurance is not something that would be nice to have; it is something that you need to have. If you decide to go without health insurance, you might have to pay an annual fine and if somebody gets sick, you will pay out of pocket for medical care.

Get Started
Before you start shopping for a health insurance plan, you should find out if your child could get coverage in any other way. A person will be considered covered if she or he has CHIP (child health insurance plan), Medicare, or Medicaid. If you are wondering what the term Medicare means, you should check online sources such as Health Markets (source: When you understand what Medicare is, you can make an informed decision.

You can only buy insurance through the healthcare marketplace when the enrolment period is open. If the period is over, you need to go through a private insurance company for coverage. The open enrolment period is between the months of November and February.

How to Apply for a Loan
 If you are applying through the healthcare marketplace, you should use a state site or download a form, print it, and fill it before sending it. Before you fill any online application, you should create an account on your state’s healthcare marketplace or You should be ready to provide the following:
 - Your policy numbers if you have a current insurance plan
 - Social security numbers
 - Income and information about your employer

If you are not comfortable with the insurance plan offered by your employer, you should get your own. However, you will have to fill out a form known as the Employer Coverage Tool from the website. You will have to give information such as your child’s name, your name, your email, and home address.

If you want help in paying for your health insurance, you need to give out information about your annual income. Such income includes:
 - Property rental
 - Social security
 - Alimony
 - Unemployment
 - Retirement accounts

If you usually pay interest or alimony on your student loans, you can subtract the amount when filling out an application.

What Happens Next?
After you fill out and submit your online application, the site will determine whether you qualify for CHIP, Medicaid, or Medicare. You will also find out whether your children are eligible to get insurance through the healthcare marketplace. If you are a legal immigrant who is not in jail or an American citizen, you should qualify. You can qualify for marketplace insurance but your children might not. If this happens, you should apply for insurance through a private company.

How to Choose a Policy
When shopping for a policy, you need to remember the words deductible and premium. A deductible refers to the amount that you must pay out of pocket for medical care before the insurance starts paying. On the other hand, a premium refers to the amount of money that you will pay monthly for coverage. Generally, plans with low premiums usually have high deductibles and vice versa. The basic levels of coverage include:

  • Bronze plans – these plans have high deductibles and low premiums but usually offer better coverage than the catastrophic plan by paying for 60% of your medical costs.
  • Catastrophic insurance – this plan is for protecting a healthy person when a major illness occurs.
  • The catastrophic plan is available for people below the age of thirty that cannot take out any other plans because of financial hardship. It covers less than sixty percent of healthcare costs per year. Silver and gold plans – these plans have average premiums and deductibles. Gold plans tend to cover 80% of medical costs while silver plans cover 70%. 
  • Platinum plans – these plans offer maximum coverage and have low deductibles and high premiums. Ninety percent of your medical needs will be covered by a platinum plan. 

After getting an insurance cover, you should choose a doctor who operates within your insurance plan’s network. A network consists of specialists, doctors, and healthcare providers. If you take your kids to a doctor who is out-of-network, you will pay full price for some services.

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