District of Columbia Health Insurance
Tips to Finding Affordable Health Insurance in Maryland DC and Virginia
Individual health policies are for those who are responsible for their own health insurance expenses. My best recommendation is that you have a Health Insurance Broker licensed in your state assist you make the best decision. The coverage you should choose is determined by your particular needs and those of your family.
Examples of specific considerations:
-Maternity and Fertility coverage
If your family is young and growing, you will want to consider a policy that includes maternity care from the onset. Blue Cross and to some degree Kaiser do offer plans that may provide fertility coverage.
Some plans have prescription plans that only cover generic drugs while most do cover preferred brands. It is just good to know what you are going to get.
Check and see if your doctor is included. Typically PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans provide the most freedom of choice and greater flexibility as compare to HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) . Traditional Plans or Indemnity plans do not have network restrictions.
-Preventative Care Packages
If you can opt for a plan that includes a preventative plan without having to first meet a deductible. Preventative Care usually includes Annual Physical, OB/GYN Exams, Mammograms, PSA screening and well child care.
-Dental and Vision are pretty important but do not allow these to disproportionately affect your Major Medical plan decision. If need be get them separately and focus on a health plan that is solid and that meets your needs.
VALUE NOT PRICE
Be diligent, compare plans and comb through the outlines of coverage. My little rule is that the better insurance companies have simple and easy to understand plans as opposed to those that present you volumes of literature and very little coverage.
DC- DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PLANS
Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield probably offers the most coverage for the best price in DC. The savings are pretty substantial.
NORTHERN VIRGINIA PLANS
Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield both serve Northern Virginia but their territories do not overlap. They both offer very comprehensive and competitively priced plans. Most Plans include a nice preventative package - Contact your broker to determine which side of the fence you are on. (HMO & PPO) Blue Cross Blue Shield boasts the biggest PPO network in the DC metro area.
Kaiser Permanente (HMO) offer very inclusive and competitive plans in this area too. This company's plans almost always include maternity for no extra cost.
Golden Rule (United Healthcare) also offers Health Plans in some Northern VA zip codes. Great PPO and HSA plans offered.
Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield offers very comprehensive and competitively priced plans. The majority of the Plans include the important preventative package. (HMO & PPO) Blue Cross Blue Shield boasts the biggest PPO network in the DC metro area. Do Consider the Blue Preferred Plan. The Blue Choice Saver plan offers great outpatient benefits at an affordable price . At the writting of this article, both the Blue Choice and BlueChoice Saver Plans in Maryland offer maternity benefits without addition premium.
Kaiser Permanente (HMO) offer very inclusive and competitive plans in this area too. This company's plans almost always include maternity for no extra cost. This is indeed a popular company in this state.
Golden Rule (United Healthcare) also offers Health Plans in Maryland. These plans are very competitive and the Network is large. Great PPO and HSA plans offered.
-Blue Cross Blue Shield Families may realize substantial savings by submitting separate applications for each individual as opposed to a family application. The savings seem to be greatest for a two parent (adult)-one child family especially when there is a notable age difference between the parents (adult)
-Blue Cross will accept domestic partner family applications.
5 things you Must Know before you choose your Health Insurance! by Jimmy Wild
Making a wise decision on which Health Insurance Policy to buy may seem like a confusing task, but if you consider just these five most important items you and your agent will both find that you are a Savvy Buyer! These items are your KEYS to picking a policy that's right for you:
1. The Insurance Company's Rating
Ask your agent for the Company's A.M. Best rating. If the company is highly rated at this national rating registry, then the company will have literature showing their rating with an explanation of what it means. Choose only companies that have an A or A+ rating.
2. The Insurance Company's Record of Complaints at your State Board of Insurance
Every large company will have some complaints. Avoid companies that have a high number of unresolved complaints. Ask your agent for the phone number for your State Board of Insurance. If he will not give it to you, this is a warning signal! You can also look up the number in any directory of your state's agencies. No matter what your agent says, CALL your State Board of Insurance and ask them for the record on any company you are considering.
3. The Limits Shown On Your Health Insurance Quote
Check your quote to see if you are comfortable with the benefit levels. You can usually change several levels to fit your needs and budget. For example, a higher deductible will cost less each month. Also, many plans give you a choice to split your medical bills with the Insurance Company either 50/50 or 80/20 (with them paying 80%). Then they will have an amount (your stop loss) where they will take over at paying 100% of your covered bills for the remainder of the year. These deductibles and other levels start over every year in most plans. Some plans, though, have a "per cause" deductible. Such a deductible means that you will be responsible for bills up to that deductible for each accident or illness. Make sure you are aware of this distinction, so you can choose a plan that's right for YOU!
4. The Limits Revealed Within The Policy
Ask your agent for a sample policy, and then check two sections: The Benefits and The Limitations and Exclusions. Many of your benefits are actually limited in the Benefits section. For example, diagnostic testing or outpatient treatment may be severely limited. These days, you could have a serious disease such as cancer, and never go into the hospital for it. You could rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills for the diagnostic and follow-up lab tests and MRIs, and then have surgery, chemo, or radiation therapy all on an outpatient basis.
Other items that may be limited are your hospital room rate and intensive care. Your hospital room rate should be at least average semi-private and your intensive care benefit should NOT be tied to your room rate, but should, instead, be covered as whatever is an average ICU rate for the area of the hospital, also. Some policies limit the ICU benefit to 3 times the regular room rate, when ICU can cost you 10 or 20 times the room rate each day. A short hospital stay with a limit like this in your policy can cost you literally thousands of dollars. A long hospital stay with a limit like this in your policy could drive you into bankruptcy. Even if your policy says it takes over at 100% after $5,000 of covered medical bills, the important term here is "covered" medical bills. If the policy only pays three times the room rate for ICU, then the rest of the ICU bill is considered an "uncovered" charge!
Look out for these types of limits!
Also, be sure to check the Pre-Existing Conditions Limitation if you already have any medical conditions, and ask your agent if the Company will be excluding your conditions permanently on your policy.
5. Pay the Insurance Company, Not the Agent, & Follow Up!
And lastly, make your check payable to the Insurance Company, and then follow up to make sure it was received. When you get your policy, check the Schedule of Benefits to verify you got the coverage you ordered, and then check to see if any special Amendments were added to your policy to exclude any of your conditions. If an Amendment exists, these conditions will always be excluded from this policy, even after the Pre-Existing Conditions Limitation expires.
Following these five tips will help you choose a health insurance policy which will protect you from catastrophic medical bills. You may think, "Isn't that what any health insurance policy is for?" Yes, that is the reason for buying any health insurance policy, but, unfortunately, many policies fall short of actually providing this protection! Be sure to take the time to choose wisely when it comes to your health insurance!
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Insurance Quote Puppy for free health insurance quotesJimmy Chuang is the publisher of http://insurance-quote-puppy.com. He provides more insurance information and offers free home, life, health and auto insurance quotes on his website.
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