December 22nd 2010

Health Insurance: Do you need it?

In today’s job market, it’s not uncommon to see plenty of folks without health insurance. But we also know that our health is often on our mind. Paying for health insurance can be a hardy sum, but when it comes for caring for ourselves, we need to take heed.

Recently, the Obama administration reported that they want insurance firms to explain increases of 10% or more each year. State regulators will have to explore these rate hikes and see if they are justified to the cost of care.

Any insurers whose rate has an increase that is unreasonable will have to provide, in writing, a justification of why it is that way. Currently, they say it’s because of the rising cost of health care, and resist this new scrutiny.

But do we even need health insurance at all?

A health insurance plan protects you by assisting with medical care or, in some cases, providing medical care. Most policies will pay for any medically necessary care to treat an injury or illness. Depending on the health care insurance provider and options that you choose, you may receive more than this simple coverage.

What if I’m already covered?

If you have the option of health insurance through your employer, or purchasing your own, be aware that there might be others choices and options available for your family.

When shopping for insurance, they recommend keeping the following in mind:

  • How affordable is the cost of care?
  • How much are monthly health insurance premiums?
  • How much are the deductibles?
  • Are the co-payments or coinsurance flat fees or percentages of service fees?
  • What out-of-pocket expenses have to be paid before the plan begins reimbursement?
  • How does the reimbursement process work?
  • What is the cost of out-of-network care?

Does the plan cover the services that I may use? For example:

  • Doctors, hospitals, laboratories and other health insurance network professionals.
  • Out-of-network care
  • Treatments for pre-existing medical conditions or chronic conditions
  • Prescription drugs

What is the quality of the health insurance plan? Research factors of the plan such as:

  • Ratings of the plan by independent government and non-government organizations
  • Accreditation from groups like the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) (NCQA) or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)
  • Patient complaints
  • Member drop-out rates for the plan
  • Other patient experiences with the plan
  • Doctor experiences with the plan

What are your experiences with insurance, either online, in person, or your specific company?

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Andrew's Biography

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.