- Health Care, Drugs & Insurance
Health Insurance Rates - Reduce Your Premiums Now
Shop For Lower Health Insurance Rates The Right Way
Anybody can shop for health insurance rates. But will it help lower your rates or will you just get bombarded with phone calls and emails from every part of the country? If you shop the right way, you'll be able to easily compare rates and get expert advice.
Choose the websites you visit very carefully. Before providing any information (such as phone number, zip code etc...) read some of the articles on the website. Are they well-written? Is the grammar correct or do the articles appear to have been written by someone that is not fluent in English? Also, are the articles helpful and do they provide current and relevant information.
If the website does not meet these simple tests, it is probably best to consider a different website. Actually, you may have to review a few different websites before finding a reputable one. Once you do, you may be asked to provide some information before you either instantly view quotes or you or contacted with your quotes.
Providing basic information is acceptable. That is, you can give out your name, zip code, age and answer some basic health questions. You should never provide your social security number or personal financial information to a website that you don't trust and are not familiar with. You may also be asked to provide some information on your spouse and/or children. This is acceptable since you would need to know the rates for everyone.
Usually, you, as the applicant, are not required to pay foe medical information that is needed or requested. In almost every case, the health insurance company will pay for it. The cost is generally in the $30-$80 range and the information can often be faxed. But because of HIPAA laws, the medical information must remain private.
There are some occasions when you will be asked to pay the cost of obtaining medical records. This could occur when the insurer can not locate a physician or health care facility. Or if records are incomplete or missing, the applicant must provide specific details that underwriting is requesting. And if you are over the age of 50 and have not had a recent physical, it is likely a complete physical will be required at your expense. if you are uninsured, it's possible additional questions may be asked.
Many health insurers do not insist that you pay a premium with the submitted application. If you prefer not to pay an upfront payment (this is often the case if you are replacing other insurance coverage), then by selecting a "bill at home" option, you may be able to bypass the initial premium requirement. Of course, when the policy is approved, you will have to pay that amount, assuming you accept the offer.
When your contract is approved, you'll have time to look over the policy and be certain that the terms are what you requested and the rate either matches the original quote you were given or you are accepting the offer that has been made. The most popular billing option is monthly, so you will be able to non-renew the policy at any time.
What Is The Future Of Health Care Costs?
What is the future of health care costs? Will they increase? And by how much? Or will the "Affordable Care Act" help bring prices of medical coverage down? Of course, if Obamacare is repealed...then what?
Currently, affordable medical insurance is offered in many states for individuals, families and the self-employed. For persons that are uninsurable, "Open Enrollment" programs are available through many states that virtually guarantee coverage for applicants regardless of health conditions. State risk pool coverage is now available for applicants with major health problems that have had no coverage for six months.
One of the main factors that will determine the cost of future health care is us! Yes, to a large degree, we can control the most important factor in medical insurance prices. And that's our own health. As a society, if we reduce major medical expenses, use cost-cutting prescription drugs and stay healthier, premiums will drop, and perhaps dramatically.
Almost all health care plans now include preventive benefits. And unless it is a short-term plan, there will not be any coinsurance or deductible to pay, nor a waiting period that holds up the usage. If this free coverage was utilized as intended, there's no question that we would be a healthier society, with far fewer medical claims, and of course, lower costs for everyone.
So why don't policyholders use these free benefits? Amazingly, many people don't realize they can get a complete free annual physical or an annual OBGYN visit. Even though their policy clearly states the coverages. Sometimes, it's a time issue. You know..."I just don't have time to get that physical." These behaviors are not easy to change, but it is a critical component of reducing current and future medical insurance costs.
An important component in reducing spiraling health care costs is controlling the cost of prescriptions, especially non-generic or non-formulary drugs that can cost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars every month. For example, rheumatoid arthritis, which is a debilitating condition that seniors often deal with, is treatable with medications. However, the cost could be as much as $20,000-$50,000 per year. This puts a big strain on the insured and the company (or Medicare) that is paying for the coverage.
Research, that is used by drug companies, is expensive and naturally, not all experimental drugs come to market. However, somehow, the drug companies, insurers and consumers will have to find a way to work in synergy to bring costs down.
What If I Can Not Qualify For Medical Coverage?
If you can not currently qualify for medical coverage from a standard insurer, you still have some very good options. Hopefully, one of them will help you obtain a policy and get the health care treatment you need.
If the reason you can not get covered is financial-related, it's possible that a local, state or federal program may be able to assist you. There are many variables and many of them are related to your financial situation including the income of yourself and your spouse. Also, the number of dependents you have will impact your options. The more members of your household, the higher the amount of subsidy you could possibly receive.
There are some prescription-related assistance programs that can help with the cost you pay on medications. If you are taking multiple non-generic or formulary medications, the monthly cost can easily exceed a few hundred dollars per month, and sometimes double or triple that amount. Also, occasionally, drug companies and manufacturers will help with substantial reimbursement programs.
Sadly, there are many low-quality "health insurance" plans that can be found online. Typically, these policies are not issued or affiliated with the most reputable carriers and often the benefits they tout, never live up to your expectations. There's plenty of fine print and often an application fee costing anywhere from $50 to $250. And often, these plans are not actually considered qualified health insurance and will print a disclaimer indicating that you are simply purchasing a series of discounts. A licensed broker can easily check the validity of these types of coverage.
Throughout the country, there are a few health care plans that do not require any medical questions to be answered. Guarantee-issue policies typically feature short applications and quick approval processes to issue plans within a week or less. However, rates tend to be rather high since a high percentage of applicants have serious health conditions. However, if you are unable to qualify for other coverage and your State Risk Pool rates are unaffordable, this option should be considered.
In 2014, The Affordable Care Act will be almost fully implemented and consumers will be able to purchase health care, regardless of any existing health conditions. Exchanges will be established for each state that will create a website that aids residents of those states to buy coverage. Properly licensed agents should be able to assist persons when they buy their coverage.
Thus, virtually every applicant should be able to qualify for a plan of their choice. Premiums could be quite expensive, depending on how the program is funded. However, tax credits could be substantial for persons that have lower incomes. Any household that makes over $90,000 may not be eligible for these tax credits. Plans will be able to be purchased "outside" the Exchange, but tax credits may not apply. There also may be limited options compared to the hundreds of available policies that are currently offered by health insurers.