While the topic of health insurance can cause many to break out in a cold sweat and heart rates to rise, choosing the right health coverage for you and your family does not have to be a daunting task. When it comes to comparing the different insurance plans offered by your employer, learning basic insurance lingo will go a long way in easing fears and raising your confidence level so that you can make the best decision possible.
On a very basic level, health insurance is insurance that covers illness and injuries on the part of the insured, either partially or fully. The type of insurance will determine what exactly is covered, but most insurances cover partially or fully the basics, such as well checks and vaccinations.
There are four major types of insurance plans: HMO, PPO, POS, and HDHPs but the most common are the first two, HMO (Health Maintenance Organizations) and PPO (Preferred Provider Organizations). Both types have their own pros and cons, and only you can decide which is best for you and your family. In general, HMOs come with lower out-of-pocket costs but less choice of providers, and PPOs offer more choices or providers and higher out-of-pocket costs.
The major benefits of health coverage are knowing that you will not have to incur massive amounts of medical debt should a medical emergency come up, and getting regular preventative care which can lower medical costs in the future. The peace of mind offered is usually greater than or equal to the monthly and out-of-pocket costs.
Most insurance companies offer the same basic services, such as a greatly diminished doctor’s visit costs and prescription drug copays. You are also offered more speciality care, as your own healthcare provider knows you better than the randomly assigned doctor at the neighborhood clinic or urgent care, which are usually the only affordable options for the uninsured.
It is important to read extensively on the different options when comparing plans, as pros for one family could be cons for another.