Universal Health Care and Insurance
The health care system in the United States has been called a paradox of Too Much Care and Too Little Care.
Forty-seven million people in the United States have no health insurance. Many are victims of the changing economy, which has shifted from a manufacturing economy based on highly paid full-time jobs with good fringe benefits, toward a service economy with lower-paying jobs that are often part-time and have poor or no benefits
Three-fourths of uninsured adults are employed. Lack of insurance is not simply a problem of the poor, but has also become a middle-class phenomenon, particularly for families of people who are self-employed or work in small establishments. Many people with health insurance have inadequate coverage. In 2005, 26% of adults below age 65 had serious difficulty paying medical bills
For people with private or public insurance who have access to health care services, the melding of high-quality primary and preventive care with appropriate specialty treatment can produce the best medical care in the world. The United States is blessed with thousands of well-trained physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health caregivers who compassionately provide up-to-date medical attention to patients who seek their assistance. This is the face of the health care system in which we can take pride. Success stories, however, are only part of the reality of health care in the United States.
Finding A Health Insurance Plan
When you shop for health insurance, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by your options. There are more insurance companies than you can keep track of. And each one of those companies offers several plans.
The internet has made it easier. Now there is plenty of information about health insurance right at your finger tips. And the increased speed of communication has made it easier than ever for people who need insurance to connect with the agents who sell it.
Your Health Insurance Options
When you talk to agents, the options may be confusing at first. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make it clear what you can spend and what you need.
In general, you’ll be choosing from these kinds of plans:
- Health Maintenance Organizations
HMO plans are the among the most affordable plans you can find. HMO plans give you a low-cost way to get routine healthcare. In an HMO plan, you get all your healthcare from within a "network" of doctors and hospitals.
- Preferred Provider Organizations
PPO plans offer many of the same savings advantages as HMO plans, but with more flexibility. In a PPO plan you can choose to see any doctor you want, regardless of whether or not they're in the plan's network.
- Point Of Service
POS plans combine the features of HMO and PPO plans. Like an HMO, you choose a primary care physician for routine care. And like a PPO plan, you can choose to see any other doctor or care giver.
- Fee For Service
FFS plans are the traditional kind of health insurance. In an FFS plan, you pay for your healthcare expenses, and then file claims to be reimbursed by your insurance company. Though FFS plans were once popular, most now choose one of the affordable alternatives.
- Prescription Drug Coverage
Not all health plans include prescription drug coverage. You want to add an additional plan to cover your medications, especially as you get older. Senior citizens can turn to the Medicare prescription drug program for help paying their bills.
Narrowing The Choices
You may also learn about Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs. HSAs aren’t insurance policies, but they are becoming a popular way to make healthcare more affordable. And if you can’t find a health insurance policy that meets your needs, you can join a discount medical program. These programs offer savings on doctor and hospital visits, and prescription drugs. They cost very little to enroll in, and anyone can join.
Part of the reason so many plans are available is that people have so many different needs. A recent graduate will have different needs than a small business owner. A retiree won’t want the same coverage as someone who needs to protect their family. That’s why careful planning and research are important before you invest in coverage.
The first thing to do is consider your healthcare needs. When you start looking at plans, knowing what you need — and what you don’t — will help you get the best value out of it.
Next, work out a budget. You want as much coverage as you can get, but you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it. Get a sense of how much you can comfortably afford to put toward monthly premiums.
With those two crucial pieces of information in mind, it’s time to start talking to agents. Some agents represent only one insurance company, while others represent several. By talking to more than one, you get a better chance of finding a good deal on your new policy.
When you’re ready to start talking with agents, use our free quote service. We’ll match you with agents in your area, so you can move forward with finding the right plan.