Before you can buy inexpensive medical insurance with confidence you will need to do a little research. There are some strategies you can use to avoid paying too much. There are three main steps. The first step is learning how health insurance policies work. The second involves shopping around. The third step is to compare the policies.
In order to compare health insurance policies, you should learn how they work. Knowing how health insurance deductibles, copays and coinsurance work is crucial.
Once you have a basic understanding of how insurance policies work, you should then start to shop around. Be sure that you limit your shopping to insurance companies that are approved to sell health insurance in your state. You can check with your department of insurance to see which companies have been approved for your area.
No insurance company offers the best bargain for every age, gender and situation. Each situation should be looked at separately. Some companies are better than others, but it is important to look at the policies as well. Not all of the policies offered by a good company will be good for you.
Finding insurance cover at a good price involves a little work, but learning a little more about health insurance can mean lowering your costs a lot.
Many insurance policies marketed to students and their parents have several flaws. Student health insurance plans often have limited annual benefits, limited lifetime benefits and may not protect future insurability.
Policies marketed to students are often very cheap both in price and in value. However, since most students are young their rates are low with most companies, not just the ones marketing bare bones health insurance policies to students. Purchasing a regular health insurance policy to provide student insurance for your child can mean that you get much better coverage at about the same price.
More info on student health insurance below video
Many health insurance plans marketed to college undergrad and graduate students will have limited benefits. Typically you will find that the maximum amount that they will pay in a year is limited. You will probably also find that the maximum amount that they will pay in a student’s lifetime is limited as well.
Many of us have never had a major hospital bill. Many who have, haven’t bothered to look too closely at the hospital bill because most of was covered by our insurance policies. This lack of information can lead us to believe that the $100,000 annual benefit limit on many student health insurance plans is more than adequate.
It is not for many students. This can leave a student who thought they were well covered weighed down with a major debt for a long period of time. Many unfortunate students wind of walking away from college with an albatross instead of a degree.
In addition to annual benefit limits, most student medical insurance policies will have low lifetime limits as well. Although most policies have lifetime benefit limits, the poor-quality policies marketed as “student health insurance plans” usually have benefits limits of one million dollars or lower. You may be able to find affordable coverage for a person in their 20s on a standard health insurance policy with a benefit limit of $5 million. Many policies have no benefit limit.
If a desire to have an adequate annual benefit limit and an adequate lifetime benefit isn’t enough to impel you to look at other options, there is another issue. The typical student health insurance policy sold through a university will not protect your student’s future insurability.
Your child could develop a major illness or have a major accident while covered by the university’s policy. Even if the policy covers the expenses he or she had while covered by the policy, you child could still be left with a problem. Your child could be left with a preexisting condition.
The preexisting condition could impact your child’s ability to get coverage long after they graduate. Health insurance may not be available to him or her after their eligibility for the student health insurance policy expires.
Many parents never investigate purchasing health insurance for their student through a standard policy. This is often because they believe that these policies are more expensive than they are. Health insurance companies will typically offer these policies at a very low rate to younger people whether they are students or not.
For a comparable price, you should be able to find a much better policy if you don’t limit your search to the policies sold by the school. You should be able to find policies with robust lifetime benefit limits and no separate annual benefit limits. With most plans your student will have the option of keeping the policy until they are eligible for Medicare.
When looking at options to insure your student, be sure to read the literature carefully. Many student health insurance policies will have “Limited Benefit Policy” in bold print on their brochures. There is a reason this verbiage is there. Be sure to look at other options, you may be surprised that for the same, or slightly more money, you can purchase health insurance for your student from a major carrier with much better benefits.
The stop loss or out-of pocket maximum amount in a personal health insurance policy is as important to understand as is your deductible. Knowing how this provision of your policy limits your cost for health care makes it easier to select the right policy for yourself or your family.
Most health insurance policies will have a coinsurance provision that will require your paying 20% or more of your expenses after you have met your deductible. The stop loss provision limits your coinsurance to a few thousand dollars in most cases.
This way you will not be required to pay 20% of a catastrophic medical expense. You may required to pay 20% of the first $5,000 or $10,000 that is in excess of your deductible.
Regarding out of pocket maximum or medical stop loss. Insurance companies have 2 different ways of making their calculations. To make it even more confusing, the limits imposed by these provisions may not apply to all of your spending.
When comparing policies and determining which to buy, it is important that you understand which calculation method each company uses so that you can select the right policy. In some policies, your out-of-pocket maximum or stop-loss only limits the amount of coinsurance you are required to pay. In others, the limit also includes your deductible.
You may find two separate policies that work the same way, but have different stated limits for their out of pocket maximums. Both may require that you pay the first $1,000 of your medical bills each year (this is your deductible) and then 20% of the next $7,500 of your expenses each year (this is your coinsurance). The literature for one policy may express your out of pocket maximum as $1,500 because their calculation ignores the deductible. The other may express your out-of-pocket maximum as $2,500 because they include the deductible in their definition.
Not knowing how each policy defines these terms can cause you to under value or over value a policy and make the wrong choice. For this reason, it is important that you ask questions or read the literature carefully. You should be able to determine what your deductible and coinsurance limits are by reading each policy’s outline of coverage.
Regardless of which method a company uses to calculate their stop-loss or out of pocket maximum, the term applies to a 12 month period unless the policy’s term is less than 12 months. With some policies, the 12 months will start on the effective date or its anniversary. With others it may start on January first of each year.
The Term “Maximum Out Of Pocket” Can Be Misleading.
This is because the stop loss or maximum out of pocket provision will probably not include your copays. Copays are usually not limited. If you have to pay a copay each time you visit your doctor, you will pay that copay even after you have met your deductible and coinsurance limit.
Family deductibles, coinsurance and stop-loss provisions.
The stated limits for your cost shares, which include your deductible, coinsurance and stop loss, may be based on a per-family member basis. It could also be based on the medical expenses for the family as an aggregate. Stop loss insurance provisions as well as deductibles can work one of three ways:
You can have separate out of pocket limits for each family member
You can have one out of pocket limits limit for the family as a whole
Combined out-of-pocket limits
Separate limits for each family member
Which can be further limited by your family limit
The stop-loss or out of pocket maximum provision is an important part of a health insurance policy. Understanding how this provision limits your exposure should you have catastrophic medical expenses is important if you are going to buy the right health insurance policy.