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Health Insurance

What you need in a health insurance plan

Insurance is an expensive and confusing part of life, but it's also very necessary. There are thousands of options available in the United States, so we've done the research to help you find the affordable health insurance plan that's perfect for your needs.

There are two major options available to you when you are choosing a health insurance plan: group or small business plans and personal plans.

Group health insurance plans are offered by employers to employees and their families. Everyone gets grouped under a policy, which helps save everyone money compared to individual coverage. Plans will vary depending on the company they are purchased from but can include any of the following: dental care, medical care, vision care or life and disability insurance.

Unfortunately, not everyone in a company always wants the same things, so it is up to the employer to provide the most universally pleasing plan (and the least expensive for the company). On the plus side, employers can write off premiums as business expenses, and offering a plan encourages employee loyalty and longer-term commitments, and makes staff feel safer and more relaxed (anyone with a health care plan is more relaxed than someone who doesn't have one!).

If your employer does not offer a group insurance plan, you should consider looking into a personal plan. It is necessary to get one if you are not covered by your employer or a loved one. Depending on the plan you choose, you may receive anywhere from 40 to 80 percent coverage on medical expenses, which can reduce significant medical bills by hundreds of dollars.

How to Determine the Type of Health Insurance Coverage You Need

  • Look at the benefits of different plans. Compare things like premiums, deductibles, payments, additional costs and coverage for traveling.
  • Ask yourself what special features you're looking for – perhaps you need help getting pregnant and would like fertility services covered, or maybe you need mental health care, long-term care or nursing care coverage. These and other specific needs can be addressed by your individual plan.
  • Contact an insurance provider and ask as many questions as you can. What is the deductible? What if you have another child? Must you see specific doctors? What benefits do you get from the plan? What happens in case of an emergency?
  • Every individual or family's needs are different, so costs will vary. Contact at least 3 insurance companies before making a decision. Your extended family and friends in your area can help guide you to services they use and will be wonderful resources when you're selecting health insurance.
  • It is also helpful to get a health insurance quote from more than one company so that you can compare rates based on what is included in different plans. Don't just look at the big names like Blue Cross - be sure to check out smaller insurance providers, too.
  • Be sure to take note of any special considerations that apply to you. Student health insurance rates can be very different from company to company, so look into affordable student health insurance if you're in school.
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