Affordable Health Insurance Resources
With health care reform set to roll out across the United States in the next several years, it is now more vital than ever to consider your own health insurance status. Under new regulations, if you are self-employed or work for a small business outside the regulations, you will not be covered by a company plan, but you will still be required to purchase health insurance. This is the time to start considering individual plan options and how they can save you money.
A Health Plan in Your Own Hands?
An individual health plan (or a family/small business version, depending on your situation) may sound frightening, but they can actually offer several benefits. Insurers understand that people looking for individual plans rarely want to spend money on high premiums, so they offer customizable packages. If you want to save on monthly bills, you can ramp up the deductibles and choose low-coverage plans to help you through emergencies. Understandably, these plans are a good fit for younger generations looking to follow new health regulations without breaking their budgets.
Insurance Options For You
No single insurance plan fits all – none are designed to. As you move, take on new employment, and raise a family, your health plan needs to shift. Likewise, health insurance differs drastically based on your age, health level, and location. Despite the differences, here are several popular examples of companies that make it their business to offer individual health plans
Tufts Health Plan: The Massachusetts-centric Tufts has a strong general health care package to offer interested consumers. The online tools the insurer offers are easy to use, and the company has a network of 25,000 health care providers and 90 hospitals in its HMO/PPO/POS standard network. There are a few notable discounts that come with the plan, such as massage, gym membership, and Weight Watchers deals, as well as worldwide coverage in case of emergencies. In addition to the customary calculators, it also offers a database of health information and a hospital advisor tool to compare health centers. Health plans for members are divided into three tiers, each of which requires payments between $10 and $45 for a month’s worth of pharmaceuticals. Non-routine office visits are covered with required payments at $10 per visit under the premium coverage package, as are mental health outpatient care visits and other options.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care: Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, with its 28,000 doctor network and 135 hospitals, is another highly rated East Coast insurer. Young adults (18-26) can opt in for the Pulse Plan, which requires a $15 payment for generic prescriptions and fitness club rebates of up to $150 per year. The company also has a Medicare Supplement Plan and discounts on safety products for people who like to get outdoors.
Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield: Empire Blue is also a little limited in its scope – EBCBS serves primarily New York, but remains an excellent example of the types of affordable healthcare insurers are offering. The TraditionPLUS Hospital plan may be especially attractive if you want basic hospital coverage for the accidents and events of your life (from sport injuries to childbirth) but want to save money by skipping typical patient coverage. The insurer also offers Child Health Plus and Healthy New York plans for families or small businesses.
United Health One: United Health One gets high marks when it comes to usability and low costs. If you are shopping for individual health care and want to cut through the complications to find a low cost program, this may be the option for you. If you need a copay, you can choose the $15 generic RX option with a 70/30 coinsurance option. This lets you pay a little more yourself but save on premiums. The company also offers a special High Deductible plan for people who don’t worry about the little visits but want something to cover major emergencies.
Kaiser Foundation Group: Kaiser Permanente and the other incarnations of the Kaiser Foundation Group also have highly acclaimed individual and family health plans for you to explore. This is another strong online option, with a large database of 40,000 health topics, online programs for wellness, healthy recipes, and a variety of tools. Copayment plans have set charges and no deductibles but tend to be pricey, while the deductible plans have lower premiums, although specific plan titles shift from state to state.
Aetna: Aetna is a very broad national insurer, with a vast array of different individual plans for you to choose from (including some in several European countries). With such a vast network, the company prides itself on experience and customizability. However, this makes it difficult to narrow down options. For California, for example, Aetna offers an attractive Preventive and Hospital plan that drops premium levels for no copay coverage for office visits or prescriptions, but only a 20% payment requirement for hospitalization and similar serious events. With a $2,750 deductible for individuals, it may be worth it to check for a similar Aetna plan in your area.