If you’re in the market for a great health insurance plan that works for you and your family or want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth with an existing plan, this article is for you.
Read on to see shortcuts and corners you can cut to save over the life of your plan.
Shopping For New Insurance
Any lawyer will tell you that when it comes to contracts, it’s important to read over everything, especially the fine print. The tricky thing is that you never really get to see the actual contract or fine print when it comes to purchasing new insurance. What you are handed is the shiny, colorful insurance pamphlet or brochure that highlights only the good stuff the insurance companies want you to see. Instead, you should ask for the “certificate of coverage” or “evidence of coverage” statements, which are the real contracts insurance companies file in their respective state.
These contracts are lengthy and may take a considerable amount of time to read, but you’ll never fully understand what you’re getting unless you see the entire plan. Check to see if it covers preexisting conditions and what their corresponding stipulations are. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Once you have a full understanding and are satisfied that the coverage sufficiently protects you and your family’s health for the duration of the plan, then you can sign with the knowledge that you made a sound financial decision.
Provided that a married couple has health benefits through their employers, the logical thing to do to save money and take advantage of all the options available to them is to split ways – and by split, that means healthcare plans. Instead of both husband and wife choosing an HMO or PPO, only one of them should, while the other chooses a different coverage plan altogether – perhaps an indemnity or fee-for-service plan.
Splitting yet combining plans in this way amongst the couple will open them and their household up to more options, should someone in the family have a major illness or injury. During such time, they will be able to select their preferred doctors and receive the best possible care – which isn’t likely under HMO or PPO plans alone.
Married couples don’t get all the benefits. Singles can also enjoy those same savings by going for a fee-for-service (FFS) or indemnity plan instead of an HMO or PPO. The downside to FFS-type plans is that large deductibles are required up front. On the plus side, however, FFS plans allow insurance holders to choose their own doctors to receive top-notch care.
Furthermore, a lot of insurance companies now offer tax-free Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSA) to help absorb some of those costs. The money for Archer MSAs are deducted from the insurance holder’s paycheck (only a small percentage), but they cover the cost of hospital parking and related expenses which aren’t normally covered by insurance, like dental and vision expenses.
It actually makes better financial sense for married couples to keep individual health insurance plans throughout the course of marriage even if they have children down the road. God forbid, divorce should occur in the future; at such time, any preexisting conditions husband or wife had while married with a family plan will transfer to any separate plans they get down the line and significantly raise their insurance premiums.
Also, if married couples have individual plans, they may save more money in the long run when one or both of them have a chronic condition like diabetes. Switching to new insurance policies forces you to start over and go through examination and questioning all over again for approval.
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