Tips to Finding Affordable Health Insurance in Virginia
Individual health policies are for those who are responsible for their own health insurance expenses. 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.CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield and to some degree Kaiser Permanente 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. Since the cost of drugs has steadily risen we recommend that you select a plan that has a high annual drug benefit maximum or if possible one with no limit.
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 but may not offer the network discounts that you will enjoy in a PPO arrangement. If your doctor does not take any kind of insurance then the Indemnity Plan is what you want. So the best thing to do is always check to see whether your doctor accepts the insurance plan you like before commiting to buy.
-Preventive 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. Preventive care has become almost standard with most carriers but some may be subject to a short waiting period before you are eligible for preventive 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.
Springfield 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.
Humana Health insurance offers great plans at very affordable rates in Virginia. The network is growing and is very well featured in Springfield VA and surrounding Area.
Aetna health insurance is one of the most popular insurance carriers in Virginia. This company offers solid plans that have great benefits and that are accepted by most doctors in the state of Virginia and nationwide.
How you can save up to 47% on your Health Insurance, Right Now. by Dennis Alexander
Do Not Read This Unless You are Making a lot of Money!:
If you would like to know how you can save up to 47% on your current Health Insurance Coverage read on… this is going to be one of the most informative messages you will ever read. After reading this message you will never going to have words; expensive and health insurance in the same sentence.
As you already know health insurance costs are at highest they have ever been and there is no sign of them slowing down. More and more Americans are forced to cancel their coverage simply just because they cannot afford it.
Who are the uninsured?
• Approximately 46 million Americans, or 15.7 percent of the population, were without health insurance in 2004 (the latest government data available).
• The number of uninsured rose 800,000 between 2003 and 2004 and has increased by 6 million since 2000.
• The increase in the number of uninsured in 2004 was focused among working age adults. The percentage of working adults (18 to 64) who had no health coverage climbed from 18.6 percent in 2003 to 19.0 percent in 2004. An increase of over 750,000 in 2004.
• Nearly 82 million people - about one-third of the population below the age of 65 spent a portion of either 2002 or 2003 without health coverage.
• The number of uninsured children in 2004 was 8.3 million - or 11.2 percent of all children in the U.S. (1).
You might say that I have great coverage that I am happy with… that’s totally fine.
For past sever years average rate increase for health insurance was 16.2% and what if it keeps on going? If you are right now paying $500 per month for your health insurance in three years from now you would expect to pay over $780 for the same plan. Wait… we all know that insurance companies consistently decrease their benefits and increase co-pays and deductible. Therefore you will pay more for less coverage. By the way if you keep same plan for over five years you will pay over $1000 a month just for your medical coverage. What if you use your Health Insurance?... Chances are if it is not for a regular doctor visits or a check ups it would be considered pre-existing condition. That means your chances of changing to a more affordable coverage in the future will be nearly impossible. That is one of the main reasons people cancel their health insurance because they were diagnosed with something or taking a prescription medication and the insurance company kept raising their rate until they could not qualify for any other coverage and could not afford the one they had.
Now you are saying I do not need coverage my spouse works for a company and I have group coverage… Great.
What would happen if your spouse left that job or the company stopped providing benefits? Probably the most obvious things that you can see how much that group coverage is really costing you. Next time check how much is deducted out of the paycheck for health coverage, especially for dependents. Group plans do cost more money because by law they are what are called “guaranteed issue”. That means you can have serious medical conditions and still get coverage. Insurance companies have to follow the law and they know they have to accept everyone who works for a large company, therefore they do charge more money for coverage. The biggest problem is not the cost of group health insurance it is what happens if some one, while on the group plan, is diagnosed with a condition or starts to take prescriptions medications. We get back to same issues as mentioned before, unable to qualify for health insurance in the future. There are people that want to leave their job but they cannot because they are going through treatment and cannot to pay for it on their own.
There is another solution… Some might save, so what is the point of even having health insurance. Once you diagnosed with something and insurance company is going to keep raising rates to the point where I am going to have to cancel it anyway. Especially if something does happen and I have to use my coverage I might not be working and I might not have income. Is my insurance company is still going to keep raising my rates? YES.
Before you think about canceling your coverage consider this. Here are some statistics
• A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that the average out-of-pocket medical debt for those who filed for bankruptcy was $12,000. In addition, the study found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses. Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem.
• Illness and medical bills caused half of the 1,458,000 personal bankruptcies in 2001, according to a study published by the journal Health Affairs.
• Average day in the hospital is $7500 per day.
How can you save up to 47% on your health insurance? Simple… You probably already heard of Health Saving Accounts. They are becoming more and more popular everyday. With the way health insurance prices are moving today Health Saving Accounts are the only way to keep your coverage, save hundreds per month on your health insurance and still have a peace of mind.
To this day I was not able to hear a good definition that everyone can understand. I will do everything I can to make it simple to understand. The easiest way to understand Health Saving Accounts is to think of them as Roth IRA or your Company’s 401k plan. Instead of giving your money away to insurance company you get to keep it more of it for yourself. The way HSA plans work is there health insurance combined with savings account which works in a similar way to your retirement account. There tremendous benefits to have HSA qualified health plan. First all the money that you put in to your HSA account is 100% tax deductible and it is your money that rolls over year after year. At the age of 65 and up if you have not used up all of your HSA money you can roll it over in to your retirement account. Second your health insurance costs are going to be cut almost in half. For example if you had Health Insurance plan with $2500 deductible now and it is costing you $300 per month the same plans with HSA qualified plan, now will cost you only about $160 per month. The reason you save so much money with HSA qualified health plan is because HSA qualified plans do not cover anything until the deductible is met. There are exceptions depending on the Health Insurance Company. Some insurance companies will pay for your once a year physical before you meet your deductible.
Let take an example of how HSA qualified plan could benefit you. Let take some actual numbers from actual health insurance company. In this example I am going to use HSA plans from company called Assurant Health. Assurant Health is leader in Health Saving Accounts and they one of the first companies to implement them. The main reason is that Assurant Health is part of the world’s largest financial company that sets up retirement accounts. In this example I am going to use a family of four, husband 46, wife 42, kids are 12 and 16. On a regular family plan with $2500 deductible, maximum out of pocket of $5500, co-insurance of 80% and doctor visits covered with $35 co-pay, they are going to pay $676.40. Something to keep in mind that all of the regular PPO plans that are available on the market today have family deductible which is double of individual deductible. That means that if you have a plan with $2500 deductible and $5500 maximum out of pocket that means that your family deductible is $5000 and your family maximum out of pocket is $11,000. When we are comparing HSA qualified health plans there is only one deductible, once you meet it you are covered at 100% on the most plans. There are some companies and plans that you still might be responsible for the percent age of the bill until you reach your maximum out of pocket. Most HSA plans do not have maximum out of pocket that meant once you met your deductible you are covered at 100%, it’s that simple. The same plan with $5700 deductible for the entire family with HSA qualified health plans will only be $491.64 per month. For the total monthly savings of 184.76 per month. Also your maximum out of pocket will decrease from $11,000 on a regular plan to $5700 with HSA health plan. That’s yearly savings of $2,217.12 and additional savings of $5300 on the maximum out of pocket. (that’s if you have had to use the plan for emergencies) The main reason for starting HSA health insurance is for Saving Account and being able to put money in to account, at your discretion, tax free. You can put money in to HSA qualified account up to your deductible and you do not have to put any money in to that account if you do not want to. Health Saving Accounts are as flexible as you would want them to be. TO get more information on HSA accounts and get quotes for HSA qualified health coverage see my bio.
Dennis Alexander - leading consultant for employer group and individual/family health insurance. Marketing consultant for major health insurance resource websites and brokerage firms online. Some of the websites consultant and/or administrator http://www.HealthCoverageQuotes.com and http://www.GuideToHealthInsurance.org. For Assurant HSA Plans visit http://www.AssurantHealthCoverage.com
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