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Health Insurance Your comprehensive guide
Health insurance is one of those things we don t always think about. In fact, many of us would rather it just worked when we needed it. In a recent Kaiser study. nearly two-thirds of Americans polled did not know when the new health insurance markets opened (October 1st). Given how front and center healthcare has become to American legislators in the last year, and given that the mandates of ACA are already upon us, it s crucial you make sure you re getting adequate and cost-effective coverage for you and your family.
The keys to getting the right coverage are:
- Assessing your needs
- Educating yourself on industry terms and norms
- Comparing and contrasting plans
It s also important to understand that though health insurance isn t always cheap, it is required. Under the new Affordable Care Act (ACA), every American citizen must have coverage. According to the U.S. Census Bureau. 15.4 percent of citizens in 2012 went without health insurance, so if you re in that group, you ll want to carefully – and somewhat quickly – consider your options.
Important Health Insurance Terms
You ll need to know these terms in order to understand the details of potential coverage.
- Premium: The amount per month you pay for your health insurance.
- Benefits: The services your healthcare provider agrees to cover. Examples of common benefits include preventative care, sick doctor visits, prescriptions, and medical equipment. This doesn t mean the insurer covers all costs; it may be partially covered by the insurance company.
- Copayment/Copay: The flat fee you pay when you go to a medical facility under certain plans. Copays differ depending on the service needed; the national copay average in 2011 was $23. but the average emergency room copay was $76. Your copay also depends on your insurance type:
U.S. Health Insurance Copay by Payment Type 2010-2011 Average health insurance copay in 2010 and 2011, by payment type (in U.S. dollars)