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Health Insurance Tips for Finding Great Rates

HOW MUCH DOES SMALL BUSINESS HEALTH INSURANCE COST?

How much does small business health insurance cost?

People are often surprised to learn that small business health insurance coverage often costs less than coverage bought in the individual insurance market.

Research published by eHealth in 2016 found that the average small business health insurance plan cost $286 per person, and those monthly premiums are then split between the employer and employees.

By comparison, the average monthly premium for people who bought individual coverage for themselves without an Obamacare subsidy, cost $393 a month.

With a small group health insurance plan, what you end up paying for can be influenced by three key factors.

Those factors are:

  • the ages of the people in your group and where you’re located,
  • your preferences for out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and co-pays, and
  • how you shop for and buy coverage.

Let’s examine each of these in more detail:

First, your small business health insurance costs may be affected by the ages of the people who are going to be covered, and where you live.

Pre-existing medical conditions generally won’t affect your premiums, and no one can be turned down for coverage because of his or her medical history.

Second, if you want to spend less in monthly premiums, you may want to pick up a plan with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.

Conversely, if you want a plan that offers lower out-of-pocket costs, you may consider paying more in monthly premiums.

Finally, you should know that who you buy your plan from will NOT affect your costs, but shopping around can save you money.

You won’t save anything by buying a plan directly from the insurance company.

That’s because insurance prices are fixed by law for each plan.

So, if you work with a licensed agent that represents multiple insurers, a broker can help you compare multiple plans from different companies to find the best match for your needs and budget.

 

BEST INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE POLICIES

By law, every carrier actually has to have an individual policy but they can be very expensive to look at.

So, you really need to look at what you really need as for a health insurance provider.

You need to look at your health and how you’re utilizing the health insurance, because what’s right for you isn’t going to be right for your neighbor next door.

So, the thing you need to look at is how are you utilizing health insurance: are you planning on having a baby this year, do you have an existing family where you have a child that might have childhood diabetes and need to see in a specialist, or are you somebody that is young, healthy and 27 years old, and you just go to the doctor when your arms falling off.

Actually, taking a look at what’s going to be the best for you is really going to be determined how you go about finding the insurance.

One of the best ways that you can do is you can look at joining an association there’s some you know freelancers unions or some unions and organizations out there that you can become a member of, and that you can have access to their health insurance and they tend to be lower cost rates.

Also, the other thing you should look at is finding a broker.

A broker actually represents all the carriers and works on your behalf to find the best thing for you.

So, you can have a conversation with that individual and then they’ll help you find the right thing for you.

 

ABOUT BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD INSURANCE

Now, let’s talk about Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

This company is one of the oldest insurance carriers, and it’s actually been around since 1929.

It owns 38 insurance companies nationwide.

So, what that means?

When the subscribers are able to use the insurance, they get to utilize a national network of doctors, and Blue Cross Blue Shield actually ensures over a hundred million individuals in the United States.

It’s one of those carriers that since it’s been around for a very long time, a lot of doctors highly utilize this network.

Depending upon what your needs are and then how your doctors line up with different networks Blue Cross Blue Shield might be a great option for you or it might be another carrier that you need to look into.

So, we encourage you to talk to an insurance professional, and see if it’s going to be a good choice for you.

 

SHORT TERM HEALTH INSURANCE

Let’s see some basic information about short-term health insurance.

We will only describe a few key features of short-term health insurance plans, but you should review the entire plan description for any plan you might want to apply for, because plan benefits differ from plan to plan.

Short term health insurance policies often cover benefits like visits to the doctor, unexpected trips to the emergency room, and unexpected surgeries or x-rays.

Some plans also cover the cost of some prescription drugs.

But, short term health insurance is not as comprehensive as major medical health insurance.

So, review the specific benefits and limitations of any plan before you apply.

Yet, why do people choose short term?

There are a few reasons.

Today it’s easier to qualify for short-term health insurance.

Applications are generally easier to complete and the approval process can be fairly simple.

However, short term insures generally agree to only cover new medical problems that arise, but not cover any pre-existing conditions you already have.

Also, be aware that while generally easier to qualify for, your application for short term health insurance can still be declined.

Another reason people are attracted to short term health insurance is cost, since plans on average are much less expensive than major medical insurance.

Here are some things to investigate when shopping for short term health coverage:

  • Look at the length of the coverage, since short term plans are not automatically renewable, and you must reapply every time,
  • Look at the benefit, because the benefits covered by a short-term plan may be different from the benefits provided by a major medical health insurance plan,
  • Look at lifetime coverage limits, because short term plans typically have dollar limits or caps on the amount of coverage will provide over the term of the policy.

Short term health insurance can be a very cost effective alternative to major medical insurance over a short period of time.

 

PPO VS. HMO: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE AND WHICH IS BETTER?

Do you know the difference between a PPO and an HMO is?

Do you know which one is better?

Well, that’s we’re going to find out today.

Now, let’s talk about PPO versus HMO.

What do you need to know?

Which one’s better?

What should you buy?

Well, let’s get into that right now.

So, if you want to know the answer to which is better you need to ask yourself a question first: do you want to see more or less doctors?

Once you have the answer to that question, then you can decide if the HMO is right, or the PPO is right.

PPO HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN

At first, well let’s back up what does PPO actually mean?

The letter’s PPO stand for “Preferred Provider Organization”.

This plan is going to offer a higher reimbursement level for the treatment you receive from that preferred doctor.

If I were to say that in less fancy insurance terms, that means you’re just going to pay less, basically.

You might also hear this Preferred Provider Organization referred to as your insurance companies network of doctors and hospitals.

Again these preferred doctors are going to offer their services to you at a discounted rate, because that health insurance company is telling you that you can go see them.

You’re also going to have the option to see non-preferred doctors as well again you’re just gonna have to pay a little bit more if you stray outside of that network of doctors.

That’s most commonly known as you’re “out of network coverage”, and to be honest for the last 10 to 15 years PPOs have dominated the bulk of what’s been available from your health insurance companies.

HMO HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN

So, what does HMO stand for?

HMO stands for “Health Maintenance Organization” and they’re making a comeback fast.

This HMO plan is going to work a little bit differently than that PPO plan.

So, instead of choosing from a list of doctors, you’re only going to be able to go to those specific doctors and hospitals that have an agreement with that insurance company.

The goal of this plan structure is to have a primary doctor to tell you what you need to do, when and where and who to go see.

The most famous example of this HMO structure is the company known as Kaiser Permanente.

The catch here with these HMO plans is that generally less expensive than a PPO plan.

However, again that is an exchange for a limited selection of providers.

But, how many doctors and hospitals do you want to be able to go to if something really bad happens?

The answer to that again will settle your PPO and HMO debate that you’re having with yourself.

But if we want to go even deeper here’s what you have to think about.

When does an HMO plan makes sense?

It’s an obvious question and it’s really a hard one to answer since it’s going to determine on your personal preference.

If you have an HMO plan available to you that has doctors and hospitals within close proximity of where you live, and those doctors and hospitals also happen to be of a quality and a standard that you want to receive treatment from, than that’s a decent first step.

But you also need to be able to save a decent amount of money every month from the health insurance policy as well.

Finding both of these things together is really the tricky part.

So, why is a PPO so great then?

Well, that’s a very honest question.

Like I mentioned above, the PPO is going to give you the ability to not just go see the doctors within your network, but also any other doctor that you need to.

It’ll just fall under that out of network benefit.

Of course you will be paying more to see those out-of-network doctors.

However, it is better to have them covered under your plan at a lower percentage, than not covered at all.

So what’s the bottom line?

HMOs really need to widen the price gap from PPOs to really be considered a serious contender in my opinion.

Until they do PPOs are still going to dominate what should be at the center of your health insurance plan.

Really, the trickiest thing about this is spotting the difference in the first place.

Again, outside of three subtle letters that are listed next to plan type on the summary of benefits that you’re looking at, there really isn’t much else to indicate that you know you’re looking at an HMO plan versus a PPO plan and you could actually buy one by mistake.

That’s not to also insinuate that PPO plans are without blame here, because there are even some PPO networks that I would recommend that you probably want to stay away from.

The doctors and hospitals that you have access to is the most important thing your health insurance does for you.

Carefully pay attention to this.

 

HEALTH INSURANCE FAMILY COVERAGE DEFINITION

When you’re looking at insurance coverage, many plans offer family coverage.

What exactly does family coverage mean?

Well, it’s going to differ depending on which insurance company you’re dealing with, but the federal government really has helped us come up with a standardized definition that most insurance companies abide by while they can’t expand the coverage beyond what the government requires.

There are limits and minimums that the most employers have to meet.

So what is that limit?

Well, when you say “family coverage”, usually that’s going to mean “you, your spouse and any dependent children of yours under the age of 26”.

If your children are under the age of 26, regardless of whether they are full-time students are not, they can remain on your insurance plan.

Once they reach age 26, they will then be offered Cobra and can extend their coverage that way.

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