I’ve heard it said that hospitals have to treat you whether you have insurance or not. That’s not true. An emergency room has a legal obligation to stabilize you and that’s all. Having an insurance card can make the difference between life and death.
That being said, I’d like to devote the rest of this article to exploring the question of whether one should purchase the most comprehensive health care policy or purchase only cheaper catastrophic coverage. There is an valid argument supporting each position.
Because of the nature of our system, insurance companies will continue to raise your rates until they have priced themselves out of your budget and are forced into either joining the nation’s 47 million uninsured, or back into the market to shop for a new company.
It’s been speculated that insurance companies do this because they have determined statistically that you are more likely to use your policy after a certain number of years with them then you would have in the initial time of coverage.. Whether or not that’s true is open for debate. Whether or not they will continuously raise your rates, is not. They will
If they raise your rates to the point where you can not afford to insure with them any longer and the rates for other companies seem appealing, be aware that if you have used your insurance for any major health condition, from heart problems to cancer, to even depression, you may not be insurable with another company. You may not be able to switch to another company no matter how much your present insurer may increase its rates.
If you choose to make your initial purchase based on price, with perhaps a high deductible, co-payments, or minimal coverage, you may be stuck with this forever. Quite a few people who chose basic coverage over comprehensive coverage, have found, to their chagrin, that having once used their policy, that they have fewer options.
On the other hand, just having insurance, however minimal, is far better than having none at all. If you can show an insurance card, to any doctor or hospital, you will find, if it’s within “network”, that you’ll be given a substantial discount, and in most cases, offered services, and billed later.
This author had been paying an exorbitant amount of money for health insurance. When the last increase letter was received I switched to a catastrophic only policy. In doing so I saved close to $800 a month. Several months into my new policy I had need of serious medical care. I spent two days in the hospital for which I was build $17,000. Before the claim was submitted to my insurance company the hospital and doctors involved (about 20 of them) all applied my network discount. My final bill, from all 20 combined was reduced to just over $2000. The insurance company with which I had a $5,000 deductible, paid nothing. I paid to $2000 and in so doing was already better off, after less than three months, than had I continued to pay on the more comprehensive policy.
Whether it’s best to purchase the best coverage, or only the least expensive, catastrophic-only coverage, is up for debate. What is not up for debate what is immutable fact, is that in America in the 21st century you must have health insurance of some kind.
Jeff Wild is an independent health insurance agent and a representative of some of the highest rated insurers in the United States. His Web Site, Simple Health Coverage was created to educate, inform and connect consumers with the best carriers, policies agents and choices in their geographic area.
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