The purpose of health insurance is to cover or offset the cost of health expenses, whether medical or surgical, for insured individuals. There are a variety of health insurance plans available. Some types require the individual to pay up-front costs (also referred to as out-of-pocket costs) and be reimbursed later while other plans involve direct payments to the provider. To simplify the process of determining which health insurance plan is best for you, Wirefly offers free online quotes for comparing health insurance options in Georgia.
Typically, health insurance plans in Georgia are offered through private companies or employers. Senior citizens can also receive coverage through a program known as Medicare while low-income individuals can be covered by Medicaid. Medicaid and Medicare are both offered at lower rates than private insurance plans.
It is possible to select varying levels of coverage in health insurance plans. Lower cost plans may only offer coverage for catastrophic events, while more expensive plans would offer more complete coverage. In most cases, individuals attempt to anticipate their upcoming medical needs prior to choosing a specific coverage plan.
Comparing Health Insurance Policies in Georgia
For many individuals, one of the most difficult things about choosing a health insurance plan is not knowing what the future holds. You could end up with an insurance policy that doesn’t fulfill your healthcare needs. To ensure the best results, you should base your decision on your past medical history.
If you are a relatively healthy person, you could save money by choosing an affordable health insurance plan that only pays for the basics such as an annual check-up or the occasional sick visit. However, if you have a serious health condition that requires you to see your doctor on a routine basis, a health insurance company that offers various coverage options would be a better choice.
An affordable option for individuals in Georgia who only want health insurance for emergency situations would be catastrophic-only insurance. This is a good choice for those who rarely visit their doctor and only want health insurance if they are involved in a severe accident or have a sudden health issue that requires immediate medical assistance.
One thing to remember when comparing health insurance plans in Georgia is if you have higher monthly premiums, you will also have better overall coverage. This is something to consider if you currently have a health condition such as heart disease or diabetes, and need quality, ongoing coverage.
Your lifestyle is another factor to think about when enrolling in a new health insurance plan. If you are an avid traveler, enjoy adventurous activities such as skydiving or mountain climbing, you will want to find an insurance plan that will cover visits to the emergency room for accidents or injuries.
Types of Health Insurance Coverage in Georgia
When individuals shop for health insurance coverage in Georgia, they have many options. Some of the types of plans include PPO, HMO, POS, HSA, HRA, FSA, and a MSA. People need to find the right one that is best for them. These plans each differ in what they will offer. The terms and flexibility will vary. Selecting an insurance plan can seem complex; therefore, it is important that people understand each type of plan, so they will know what to expect from each one.
A Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) is a plan in which people usually have less out-of-pocket expenses, but they will also have fewer choices in the doctor’s they can see. Normally, with an HMO, people will have coverage for most preventative medical procedures. One of the best things about HMOs is that people will not be required to pay a deductible. Most of the time, the co-payment will be small. Individuals must choose a physician inside the network with proper authorization from the primary doctor, so sometimes the options are limited. This type of coverage is good for people who prefer lower premiums, and want certain preventative coverages for regular check-ups.
A Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) is a plan that offers a larger network of providers. These doctors are contracted to offer services to members at a lower or discounted price. The insured is not required to choose a primary care doctor, but has the option to see a choice of physicians within the network. Individuals normally have a yearly deductible that they must pay before coverage can begin. Many of the services require a copayment that the insured needs to pay. With this option, there are also limits on how much a person can spend annually. If a person chooses a doctor out of the network, the out-of-pocket expenses will be higher. No referral is needed for a PPO. This type of coverage is good for people who like flexibility and the freedom to choose their doctor and do not mind the higher premiums.
A Point of Service (POS) plan is a combination of an HMO and PPO. The insured will choose a primary care doctor in Georgia from the network of providers. Co-payments are minimal, and no deductible is needed. If a person goes to see a doctor out of the network, the prices are much higher. This is good for individuals who prefer flexibility when choosing doctors and enjoy the balance of more choices as opposed to lower premiums.
In Georgia, there are some unconventional options to health insurance. A Health Savings Account (HSA), a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), a Health Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), and a Medical Savings Account (MSA) are options for health insurance in Georgia. With these choices, individuals will set up a tax-exempt savings account and put money aside to pay for anything that people need for medical care. This can include prescriptions, routine doctor’s visits, and surgeries. In some cases, the money can even be used for over the counter medications. This option has lots of flexibility when it comes to how the money is distributed, and any extra funds can be applied to the next year.
Basic Breakdown of Health Insurance Costs in Georgia
Health insurance premiums are the amount paid each month to receive coverage. The premiums paid are not returned to you, even if the subscribers do not use the insurance benefits. Deductibles are additional money that must be paid to healthcare providers for services received where the health insurance company doesn’t cover the whole cost of the procedure.
Out of pocket costs are treated differently than deductibles. Health insurance providers require a minimum amount to be paid by a subscriber before they will begin to pay for services; this is what’s referred to as the deductible. Out of pocket refers to the amount of money that must be paid by the subscriber before their health insurance will pay 100% of medical costs incurred. Both the out of pocket and deductible amounts paid reset each time the plan renews, which is generally annually, and are not eligible to roll over to the next year. While this is a general rule, there are some health insurance plans in Georgia that allow an exception for deductibles paid in the previous year may count toward the deductible amount only for the first quarter of the new plan year.
Health insurance co-pays and co-insurance refers to the subscriber’s responsibility to pay certain amounts for a medical visit or for a given procedure. As an example, if the PCP co-pay on a health insurance plan is $25, then the subscriber can expect to pay $25 each time he or she visits their primary care physician. The insurance company will cover the balance of what the physician charges for a visit and the co-pay amount.
Most health insurance companies that provide coverage in Georgia will have an allowance for a maximum lifetime benefit under their plan. This amount is usually quite large and doesn’t come into play for most subscribers and is meant to protect the insurance company from being responsible exorbitant medical expenses. Once this maximum amount is met, the insurance provider will not make any further payments for the subscriber.
In today’s market, the subscriber’s employment status determines which health insurance plans may be available to purchase. Large employers will generally provide health insurance as a benefit of employment. The employer shares part of the premium costs making this method of access to insurance more affordable than most. Employees are not required to participate in the group plan sponsored by their employers, but it benefits them in most cases.
Self-employed individuals, or those who do not work, are able to buy health insurance in the private market. Seniors, low-income families, and unemployed individuals may be able to apply for and receive premium assistance through the government, usually under a service called Medicaid.
If a subscriber already has a family physician or a specialist they see for treatment in the Georgia area, it’s important to check with a potential new insurance provider to ensure the physician is in the plan’s network. The subscriber also must notify their physicians when coverage changes so the proper health insurance company can be billed for expenses.
Get a Health Insurance Quote in Georgia Today
Buying health insurance is one of the best ways to care for yourself and your family. There are many different factors that may affect insurance plan coverage and rates. Wirefly simplifies the task of comparing health insurance plans and getting health insurance quotes in Georgia. Just enter your ZIP code to start.
While it is possible to save money on health insurance in several ways, do not pass on the coverage you may need. For instance, if you plan to have a child in the future, choose a plan that includes maternity coverage to avoid the trouble of obtaining coverage later. Make sure that you do not eliminate coverage you need to save money on premiums. Although insurance premiums are not cheap, out-of-pocket costs for future medical care are potentially many times more costly. Let Wirefly help you find the best insurance plan in Georgia. Save on health insurance by getting free quotes now.
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