Saturday, May 18, 2013

Health Insurance When Living Abroad

You may not know this already, but when planning on traveling abroad you cannot take your local insurance with you. You will need to purchase an international insurance plan offered by a multinational insurance company. While they may be hard to track down, it is the best way to assure that in the event of an accident or illness you will be able to acquire medical attention if needed.

Many of these plans will cover you up to six months in another country. When you speak with the insurance company, be prepared to give an extensive list of information to them. This will range from health problems you've had in the past ten years, your hereditary conditions to substance abuse, and almost everything else-if it has anything to do with your health be prepared to disclose the information. If you are planning on traveling with more than one family member, then be prepared to give information for each family member as well.

Many times your basic coverage will include emergency treatment regardless of which facility it is administered. This is not the case with minor medical treatment. It is important to know whether you are buying an insurance plan that is an HMO or PPO. If you are under an HMO or health maintenance organization, then you will be limited to receiving care from only the providers who are in their network. You can retrieve a list of all the companies within your insurer's network upon request. If you are under a PPO, or preferred provider organization, you will have the opportunity to pick the best facility you see fit, but your insurer will only cover a portion of the incurred cost.

If you plan on staying abroad for more than six months then you will need to look into what is called expatriate health insurance. Only larger companies supply this type of insurance, as it is much more extensive with the type of options that can be applied to each policy. The type of treatment options that are covered with expatriate health insurance are those that are labeled as specialty treatments, like chiropractic therapy and acupuncture. There are many options that can be applied to expatriate health insurance depending on your family's needs and how long you plan on spending abroad.

There are many options for health insurance when you are traveling abroad. While many individuals never consider purchasing insurance when traveling to another country, this should be at the top of your list when planning for a trip. Health insurance should not be taken lightly. Be sure you understand every aspect of your policy before deciding with any one particular company.

Health Insurance for Every Need: Understanding the Kinds Available

In the United States, there are about five different types of health insurance available: traditional health insurance; preferred provider organizations or PPOs; point-of-service plans or POS; health management organizations or HMOs; and most recently, health savings accounts or HSAs. With so many types of health insurance, it may be confusing trying to figure out which one best fits your needs, so thoroughly research each and speak with a professional if you need clarification.

Traditional health insurance is the one that most people think of when they think of health insurance. You pay the insurance company a premium every month, and if you have an accident or need for health coverage, you have a deductible amount you must pay and then the insurance company picks up the rest of the bill. You often have an inexpensive office and/or prescription co-pay with traditional health insurance.

With people living longer, health insurance companies began to look for more ways to reduce their costs, developing different health plans such as PPOs. PPOs are plans which will cover nearly all of your medical expenses as long as you stay within a preferred network of physicians or hospitals. This network creates a "preferred provider" list that you can choose from. Treatment outside this network of providers is covered but only at a reduced rate, meaning you end up paying more to see a physician outside the network. By limiting the physicians and hospitals covered in their network, the insurance company can control, to an extent, their costs and lower your premiums. POS plans work like PPOs, but require you to have a primary care physician through whom you can receive referrals for specialists. If you need to see a neurologist or a dermatologist, you must first visit your primary care physician for an initial diagnosis in order to receive a referral to a specialist for a more thorough diagnosis. POS plans also have a preferred provider network, and if you choose to visit a specialist or physician outside that network, your coverage will be limited.

HMOs combine a stricter version of PPOs and POS plans. HMOs have a defined list of physicians, often much smaller than PPO networks, which you may see. You will not be covered at all if you see a physician outside your HMO network. Furthermore, you must also get a referral from your primary care HMO physician to see any specialist. However, these restrictions mean that you pay an extra low or no monthly premium.

HSAs were recently signed into law by President Bush. You can deposit money into a special non-taxed, interest-gaining savings account that must be used for medical expenses. The ideal situation for an HSA is to combine the account with a low-cost, high-deductible insurance plan. The savings account is designed to allow you to cover the high deductible if you find the need to cover expensive medical costs while the insurance company will pick up the rest of the bill.

Again, it is important to carefully consider each option before choosing a single health insurance plan. Your health is important-make sure it is protected in the best way possible.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Getting the Most Benefit From Your Policy

The key to getting the most benefit from your health
insurance policy is knowing your policy coverage.

Many people dont actually read the policy for the
policy plan book; they may not be aware that the
policy may pay 100% of certain procedures, like annual
physicals, mammograms, flu shots or certain labs
tests.

The policy plan book will outline for you what
procedures are not subject to the deductible or co-pay
(your out-of-pocket expense).

Some insurance companies have shifted their emphasis
from health insurance to health improvement and
maintenance and will pay for the cost of gym
membership, nutritional counseling or plans to stop
smoking.

If you were trying to lose weight and knew that you
could get these services at no cost, wouldnt you take
advantage of them?

If you wanted to quit smoking, wouldnt it be
beneficial to know that you could get the patch for
free?

It is very wise to know what services are available to
you through your insurance company, and you will only
know if you take the time to read through your policy.

Health insurance is an expensive item; take advantage
of every aspect of it that you can, not only for
yourself but for the members of your family.

By taking full advantage of the free benefits of your
health insurance policy, you will be healthier and
possibly require fewer visits to your doctor.

For the In-between Times: Short-term Health Insurance

When people think of health insurance, they think of traditional health insurance, with office visits, co-payments, and prescription drug coverage. However, such health insurance is not always available. Perhaps you are transitioning from one job to another; or maybe you are employed part-time or with a temporary agency that does not offer full health coverage; or you might be attending or just graduating from school. In these situations, traditional health insurance is sometimes not available. If you are unable to afford traditional health insurance but would like some coverage in the case of an accident or emergency, short-term health insurance is your best bet.

Short-term health insurance fills the gap in health insurance coverage that may come about for a number of different reasons, including those listed above. The idea of short-term health insurance is built into the name - it is a short-term solution offering short-term coverage, with the expectation that at some point, you will begin or resume traditional health insurance coverage. It is designed for those who would like some coverage in case of accident or injury and covers only emergency or serious medical expenses, such as x-rays, ambulance fees, intensive care, and a certain amount of hospital care. Though policies vary, these are often standard in short-term health insurance coverage. However, short-term health insurance does not cover regular physician visits, nor do they cover pre-existing conditions. If you are looking for this sort of coverage, you should consider obtaining a traditional health insurance policy or looking into other options.

Short-term health insurance costs vary greatly; you will have a monthly premium, ranging anywhere from $25 to $100, depending upon the plan's coverage and deductible, which often begins at $250 and can increase to $5,000. Most policies these days also offer a reasonable pay-out amount (often one or two million dollars). Policies allow you to choose coverage for specific lengths of time, from 30 days to 90 days or six months, but almost no short-term policies extend past one year.

How do you find short-term health insurance? It is not as difficult as it may seem. A simple Internet search will yield a number of companies that offer short-term health insurance coverage. Searching online will also give you the opportunity to compare different companies and different plans. Just be sure to research each of the policies carefully to understand your maximum pay-out as well as deductibles, coverage, and other terms of the agreement.

For College Students

The tuition arrangements are set up; the dorm room is
assigned and your son or daughter is headed off to
college in the fall. In all of the confusion of the
paperwork, deadlines and financial arrangements did
you remember to check on their health insurance?

Many, but not all, insurance companies provide for
health insurance for college students under a family
policy; do you know for sure that yours does?

With some insurance companies, coverage depends on
whether or not the student is a full time student.
Review your policy or ask your insurance
administrator; if you have an HMO plan, will your
student be covered if they go to the student
healthcare facility away from home?

Check the age limit as well; you may find that once
your son or daughter reaches a certain age they are
dropped from the policy no matter what.

Ask your insurance company to provide an extra
insurance card for your son or daughter to carry with
them; if there is an additional card for prescription
medications; make sure they have that too.

This preventative step will help eliminate confusion
when they suddenly have to see a doctor.

There are student health care plans that are available
through most colleges that are a reasonably priced
alternative if your policy excludes your child.

Isnt college confusing enough without having to worry
about whether your child is covered should he or she
need to seek medical attention? Take the time to look
into health insurance before they head off to college
in the fall.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Easy as 1-2-3: Obtaining Health Insurance

Many people are often concerned about obtaining health insurance. They are confused about their options or about how to obtain the best health insurance for them or their family. There are several ways to obtain health insurance, though, and some of them are not always obvious, but can be quite easy in the end.

Health insurance is commonly obtained through an employer. Nearly all employers these days offer some sort of "group" health insurance plan for employees. The term "group" simply denotes that there is a large group of people on the plan, which decreases the cost of the monthly premium for all members. These plans can cover yourself, your spouse, and your family, depending on the specific policy. Covering more than just yourself obviously increases your monthly premium, but the ability to cover your family inexpensively is a huge benefit. To obtain group health insurance through your employer, you should contact your human resources department or whoever is in charge of benefits in your company. You should be able to buy into the group health insurance plan at any time during your employment.

If you leave an employer who offers group health insurance without first finding other coverage, you can also use the COBRA law with your previous employer's health insurance coverage. COBRA is a government act that allows you to continue coverage under your previous employer, though at a more expensive rate. If you had coverage for your entire family, COBRA will allow you to continue this full coverage for a certain period of time.

There are several million people in the United States who are unable to participate in any group health insurance plans, however. Health insurance companies do offer individual plans for those who do not have coverage through their employer, are self-employed, or are ineligible for government health insurance assistance, such as Medicare or Medicaid. Individual health insurance plans are more often than not very expensive in relation to group health insurance plans. These plans can also cover family members and spouses for additional costs. Finding individual health plans is not difficult. Almost all health insurance companies offer individual plans; you can now search online for individual health insurance plans. Some Web sites even allow you to compare pricing and details of plans offered in your area - much like shopping for car insurance.

There is also federal health assistance available depending on certain criteria. If you are over the age of 65 or if you have a disability or specific condition (detailed by the government), you are eligible for Medicare. Medicaid is another government health insurance program that is based on income. Overall, it is simply important to be covered, no matter how you go about doing it. Research your options of coverage and speak with a professional to find out more about the health insurance options available to you.

Do You Need A College Health Insurance Plan?

When you are finally done with your high school education, there is no doubt that you'll be enrolling into a college. Many times when a child reaches the age of 20, they are no longer covered by their parents' insurance and this can lead to a troubling situation if they are not working and just strictly going to college. However, many colleges offer health insurance plans. Whether one of these insurance plans are right for you or not takes a lot of deliberation.

College health insurance benefits are going to vary from campus to campus. Although many people think that they are free, this is not true. While there is usually no charge for an office visit and routine checkups, the student will have to pay for lab work and other specialist type of visits. Benefits will usually pay completely for only types of covered services at the campus health center. In the event that you have to see an outside doctor then the student's coverage can drop up to 70% and run the risk of being required to pay a high deductible.

If you have a pre-existing condition, then you may have a problem with getting treatment at the college health center. Having a pre-existing illness or disability does not mean that you will be disqualified for obtaining a college health insurance plan, but you may not be able to get treatment for that pre-existing illness. This can lead to a number of problems if a new problem arises and is a product of a pre-existing illness.

All plans are different, so be sure you find out everything you can about your college's plan. Be sure to check if you or your child will be covered during summer break when students are not taking classes. This is important because you don't want to have an accident and find out that the insurance becomes inactive when they are not in class. Many colleges have coverage during summer break, but some do not.

Make sure you understand the plan. Is it an HMO, or can the member use any provider they want? This is just as important because you want to know where you can go in the event of an emergency, and there is nothing worse than finding out after the fact that you will be stuck with paying the full amount for a medical bill.

There really is no definitive answer as to whether you should or shouldn't commit to getting college health insurance. Be sure that you understand your plan fully so that no problems can arise in the event of an emergency. While it is not free insurance, it surely will save you money in the event of an accident or illness.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Disability Insurance

We all know how important typical health insurance is, but did you know that disability insurance is just as important? In the event that you are hurt on the job, and cannot work, disability insurance will give you peace of mind-you will still able to provide for your family. While we would like to think that we always work safely, accidents do happen and you need to be sure that you have every angle covered in the event of an accident. If you become ill or injured on the job and as a result you are unable to return to work, there are a couple of options that will replace lost income. These types of disability insurance are not going to fully replace your income because they want you to have an incentive for returning back to work once you get well.

Social Security benefits are paid to you when your disability is expected to last for at least 12 months. Most of the time this is when no gainful employment can occur and you must remain out of work for the entire duration of your leave. Employer-paid disability is required by almost every state in the United States. This type of disability insurance is deducted from your paycheck, and is there for you in the event of an accident. When you are looking at disability insurance policies, it is important to understand what they mean. While the two available policies are both for disability, they both cover a different amount of time you will be covered, and when you will start receiving your compensation.

A short-term disability policy means that you will be covered for no longer than 2 years. With this policy you may have to wait up to 14 days before you start receiving compensation. A long-term disability policy is a little different. The disability compensation will not kick in for several weeks, sometimes a couple of months. However, long-term disability will cover you for a longer period of time, and sometimes for the rest of your life.

Along with having the two different types of insurance policies, there are also two different protection features. Protection is offered to you to ensure that you are not going to be treated unfairly due to your inability to work. Non-cancelable means that for no reason other than not paying your premiums can your policy be canceled. With this type of policy you will lock in your premium and will not risk a decrease in the benefits. On the other hand, a guaranteed renewable policy means that the same benefits will be available every year. The only way that your premium will be increased is if every policyholder within the same rating class as yourself increases also.

While there are many options when choosing disability insurance as well, these are the most popular selections. It is important to discuss all available options when choosing a disability insurance policy to ensure that you know what you will receive in the event of an accident or illness. Research your options to find the best choice for you and your family.

Disability Coverage

Disability insurance policies are designed to pay part
of your wages should you be injured in an accident or
are unable to work because of illness. Here are two
types of policies available: long-term disability and
short-term disability.

Short term disability pays a portion of your wages
should you be out of work due to injury for up to one
year. Some employers pay for this benefit for their
employees, some offer it for employees to purchase.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, the time
to enroll is during the initial enrollment period when
a medical exam is not required.

Replacement of wages is only partial; insurance
underwriters, as well as your employer, want you back
at work as soon as possible. Usually there is a
waiting period of 14 days in which you will not
receive payment.

Long term disability policies are purchased to replace
what your potential earnings would be from the time
you become disabled until age 65 when Medicare would
be available.

For instance, if you are 55 and make $40,000 per year,
you should purchase a policy for $400,000.

You cannot get a long term disability policy if

(1) you are or are soon to be pregnant,

(2) make less than $18,000 per year,

(3) are unemployed, or

(4) you are required to carry a weapon for your job.

Typically, the waiting period for long-term insurance
to kick is at least 60 days and as much as a year.

Disability insurance is an important aspect of your
overall insurance coverage plan, and if your employer
offers it as a benefit you should definitely consider
it as a wise investment.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Attract Employees: Group Health Insurance

Many small business owners know that in order for them to be successful they must offer an incentive to recruit employees to work for them. This can be any number of things, but most often it is the benefit of offering group health insurance. While this could be an excellent strategy for your small business to take in order to recruit new employees, there are a few things that you must know first before you dive into selecting a plan. Research group insurance policies thoroughly before choosing one for your company.

A group health insurance plan can be obtained by any small business that has as little as two employees to as many as fifty. There are two ways you can go about supplying the health insurance to your employees; this will mainly be decided by your own budget. Many small businesses that offer group health insurance help contribute towards the cost of the plan. On the other hand if an employee wants to have coverage for their families, the employer might offer to pay the employees' premiums and have them pay the premium for their families.

Another aspect of the group health insurance plan will be deciding between managed care or fee-for-service. Managed care plans include Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), or Point of Service plan (POS).

An HMO will significantly reduce the cost that your members will have to pay for medical care as long as they use the providers specified by the HMO. A PPO will not require a referral in order for them to see a specialist. While the PPO is more flexible it will bring higher costs to the per-visit and annual deductibles. The POS plans are basically a combination of the features that you will find in an HMO and PPO. Members get to decide whether to pay a flat fee for offices in the network, or pay a deductible charge to see someone out of network. The fee-for-service plan gives the employee the power to select health care providers themselves. This means that they will have way more flexibility with where they can go for medical assistance.

Adding an appealing Group Health insurance plan to your business could potentially bring you more employees. This is just the basic information about Group Health insurance; there are many options to consider when choosing a plan. Be sure to investigate all options to create the best plan for your employees.

Always on the Hunt for Knowledge: Information Sources on Health

Always on the Hunt for Knowledge: Information Sources on Health Insurance

Health insurance can be confusing, especially if it is your first time shopping around with different providers. Terms such as deductible, co-payments, and pre-existing conditions can be confusing if you do not know what they really mean. There are many ways to find out more about health insurance so that you are as knowledgeable as possible. You could talk to a health insurance company who can give you an explanation and also an example to further your understanding. The Internet is also a great informational tool when you have any questions regarding information that you need to know about health insurance.

Logically, you would assume that the experts at the insurance company would be able to answer any questions that you have about terminology and any other queries that you have. The best way to get in touch with them is to simply call your provider and ask any questions that you have, no matter how general or specific. They are there to help you, and this should be your primary concern. Think about it-if an agent isn't helpful with your preliminary questions, just how helpful will he or she be if you need to settle a claim? If you get your health insurance through the company that you work for, there is usually a person in charge of handling any questions. Usually their title is "benefits administrator" and you would go to them with any questions regarding your health insurance plan, such as adding a spouse or children to your plan.

For answers to general questions such as terminology confusion, an Internet search engine can point you straight to your answer. This is a great options available to anyone who does not want to call their health insurance company just for a couple of simple questions. There may be information that you had overlooked in the past when you quickly skimmed through your policy. Your specific provider may have a web site where you can get facts about anything, including anything that you may not have been clear on regarding any additional benefits they offer. You can read all of the literature available at your own pace and on your own time.

If you would like to know more about health insurance, rest assured that there is a lot of information out there. You could make a call to your current provider and ask away on any questions that you have. For those who would prefer to learn the ins-and-outs of insurance at their own pace, the Internet has limitless information that is available to you at any time of day. Health insurance can be complicated at first, but the more you know the better off you will be.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Affordable Health Insurance for the Unemployed

Being unemployed can be a financial downside to say the least. You may be dependant on someone else to cover your daily expenses such as a place to live and food to eat. Health insurance is something that everyone needs and not enough people have available because of these other financial burdens. Any emergency such as a car accident or broken bone will require adequate medical assistance. What do you do when you don't have insurance and can't afford expensive medical bills? If you are unemployed, you need to find health insurance to prevent this from happening.

COBRA is a law in which many people could be eligible to remain on an employer's health insurance plan even after they lose their employment. The most ideal person for this coverage is someone who is between jobs and is not in need of long-term help. It can last at least a year to those who qualify, but the premium amount is still an expense that some unemployed individuals may not be able to take care of with their lack of income. If you are able to pay the premium and are eligible, COBRA will also cover your spouse and children who are dependent on you for insurance. The best way to determine if you could receive health insurance is to contact your local employer's benefits department and fill out the required forms.

You can also shop around for typical health insurance. Many free Internet services are proven reliable by the Better Business Bureau Online. By speaking with one of these insurance experts, you can get help finding the most affordable health insurance that will fit your specific needs. They know the rates of thousands of insurance companies and can fix you up with appropriate coverage for your specific needs. If you have a spouse or children, having health coverage is a necessity. Life is full of unexpected events and you cannot ensure that everyone will stay completely healthy until you have insurance again because accidents do happen. Finding an affordable coverage rate on your own can be a hassle. The experts at these companies are offering their assistance to you, often as a free service. Whether you need to find something short-term or for an extended period, they are qualified and dedicated to helping you.

If you find yourself unemployed at any time in your life, you are probably without health insurance. This can be a nightmare whether you have a family or not because medical expenses can put you into debt quickly. Luckily, there are ways of finding affordable coverage providers that can keep your health, as well as your finances, safe. A simple doctor visit can cost you significantly more money than it would with insurance. Do not let yourself become one of the many people who are unfortunately living life without proper insurance coverage.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Advantages to Managed Care Plans

There are many different types of Health insurance plans out there. Picking the right one for yourself can be troublesome in the beginning, especially if you don't know what you are looking for. You might have trouble deciding which one would be better for you.

Health insurance is divided into two large categories-indemnity and managed care plans. Indemnity plans, also commonly called reimbursement plans, will reimburse your medical expenses up to a certain limit. Under the Reimbursement plan, the insurer pays a percentage of the total charges, regardless of how much the charges are. With the indemnity plan, the insurer will pay a specified amount every day for a specified number of days. The amount reimbursed does not rely on the cost of medical care, but what you are reimbursed will never exceed your expenses.

The other popular type of health insurance plans is managed care plans. The three types of policies categorized as managed care plans are HMOs, POSs, and PPOs. This type of insurance is more popular than the indemnity plan, as they offer more flexibility. With these types of options you either pay a monthly fee no matter how many times you see a doctor, or pay a co-payment but no monthly fee. With managed care plans, you are given options of care. The plan you choose and the amount of money you wish to pay determines how big of a network of doctors and specialists you can see and still be covered under the plan. Some managed car plans (most often PPOs) offer sponsorship programs from a network of hospitals and medical services. You can often get this kind of plan through your employer.

Managed healthcare plans are better for the average person due to the fact that they are more cost effective. While indemnity plans may give you a lot more freedom in cost, you will have to use the healthcare provider that the insurer chooses. If you have a specific disability, this can present itself as a problem. In the long run, a managed care plan will save you money, especially if emergencies arise when you are out of town. These types of plans also are more flexible in policy. Before you purchase any kind of health insurance, be sure to research the many options available for you and your family to ensure you receive the best coverage possible for the lowest monthly premium or deductible.