Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Health Insurance: A Family Affair


Families don’t buy health insurance for just certain members like the son who plays Pop Warner football or the daughter that’s a soccer star. They buy it for everyone in the family which is why everyone’s needs should be taken into account. For instance, is Mom still having babies? Does dad like to go rock climbing? All these situations need to be taken into consideration before you sign on the dotted line.

Should You Reject Your Employer’s Health Benefits?

There is a growing trend among employees to reject the health benefits offered by their em-ployees and instead, take the funds they would need to pay to subsidize their work health insur-ance by forming their very own group: The Family. According to the National Association of Health Underwriters (HAHU), “Insurance is regulated in large measure by each state. Therefore, the laws regarding health insurance offered by the different types of employers can vary significantly from state to state.” It may sound unbelievable but some insurance companies such as Briggs & Butler UK are recognizing families as groups entitled to quality for group health insurance. Family groups ranging from parents, children and perhaps even grandparents are being accepted as legitimate groups for group in-surance rates. With employers reducing benefits and raising rates and increasing co-payments, it’s not such a far-fetched idea to insure your family privately.

The Benefits of Private Insurance

Private of insurance offers many benefits and one of the main ones is the ability to customize your insurance plan to match your lifestyle. It you’re an active family, perhaps ER or Quick Care should be a priority. If you have an elderly person in your family maybe in-home care is an im-portant addition. Policies offered by employers are based on the need of the many, not the spe-cial needs of the few like your family. All participants will receive member cards virtually ac-cepted at every healthcare facility, affordable monthly rates, and even the choice of private medical insurance coverage or individual health plans. While it’s a little after the fact, according to an article on mommyrantings.com, “Romney and his running-mate are planning to cut senior Medicare benefits. "How will this hurt families?" you ask. Many elderly people are exhausting their social security and pensions on their nursing care, and still yet it's not enough. They still need to use Medicare benefits to cover the other 40-60%.

The Cost of Peace of Mind

Groups (in this your case, your family) can chose between two kinds of insurance coverage. Making private care an affordable option. These are the two choices:

PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations)
HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations)

Most Americans who have health insurance through their employer (and many who are self-insured) are enrolled in some type of a managed care plan -- either an HMO or PPO. The most common types of managed care plans are health maintenance organiza-tions (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs). A careful analysis of both plans will make you alert to various pros and cons of each policy. Keep in mind that the process involves countless choices among various insurance companies. The choices are further complicated by a great variety of plans within each category to chose from with every plan offers traditional medicals insurance covering you and other family members at various rates.

Health insurance plans offer a second alternative for coverage, though these plans operate slight differently than traditional medical insurance. These highly affordable forms of supplemental insurance offer made-to-order solutions for specific health needs, reducing out-of-pocket ex-penses by offering coverage for routine treatment options and everyday health expenses. Some plans even offer cash back up to certain limits to reimburse families for the cash they routinely spend for health management.

A Better Bottom Line

By carefully shopping for the best coverage and rates for a group family plan, you can reduce your premiums drastically. And you can reduce your premiums by shopping for the best value and choosing your options carefully.

Author Karen Boyarsky is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @Boyarsky_kareni.

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