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 Clarkston, GA.
Typically, health insurance plans in Clarkston, GA 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.
Evaluating Health Insurance Plans in Clarkston, GA
The challenge in selecting a health insurance plan is accurately predicting health care needs for the year. If an individual doesn’t get enough coverage, he’ll pay more out of pocket, but if he gets a plan with extra coverage that he doesn’t need, he’ll end up paying more than necessary for his monthly premiums. The best strategy for most people in Clarkston, GA is checking out their past health care needs to assess how much coverage they’ll need going forward. Those who are fairly healthy and don’t make too many doctor’s visits will most likely be fine on a low-cost plan. People who make frequent trips to the doctor or have a chronic condition should look for a more comprehensive plan so they don't get stuck with any hefty out-of-pocket costs.
When it comes to low-cost plans in Clarkston, GA, it doesn’t get much less expensive than catastrophic-only insurance. As the name implies, this type of plan only covers health care for serious emergencies. People who travel often or participate in high-risk activities will require insurance that covers visits to the ER and trips to the doctor.
As coverage gets more comprehensive, monthly premiums tend to get higher. When a person pays more for an insurance plan each month, he can expect the insurance company to also pay more when he receives healthcare. People should use their personal health histories and lifestyles to find the insurance plan that provides the coverage they need at the most economical price. The best way to do so is start with the basics and then add any other important coverages that are within budget.
Common Types of Health Insurance Plans in Clarkston, GA
There are many types of health insurance covers to choose from in Clarkston, GA. These plans may look like they offer the same coverage; however, their convenience and flexibility is very different. The main types include HMO, PPO, POS, HSA, HRA, FSA, and MSA. Determining the differences between these choices will help you choose an appropriate plan.
Health Maintenance Organization, or HMO. An HMO is a plan that restricts you to a particular healthcare provider. This means, whenever you have a health concern, you will only visit a particular physician for assistance. In cases where you need additional attention, this primary care doctor will be the one to refer you to a specialist. Health maintenance organization plans in Clarkston, GA are cheap compared to other plans. The major downside of HMO plans is that the network of doctors you can choose from is limited because some physicians do not offer HMO plans. The upside of HMO is that out-of-pocket expenses are relatively low and reasonable. Furthermore, you do not have to pay any deductibles.
Preferred Provider Organization, or PPO. A PPO plan involves a large network of physicians. This means that you have a bigger circle of doctors to choose from. With this coverage, you are not limited to the referrals given by your primary care doctor. You can visit a specialist without consulting your primary physician. When you are treated by doctors who are within the circle of health care providers contracted by your insurance carrier, you get to pay low medical costs. However, if you are treated by doctors who are outside the network, your insurance carrier will only pay a small fraction of the costs. With PPOs, you are subject to copayments and deductibles. There is also a limit to the amount of out-of-pocket expenses you can incur annually.
Point of Service, or POS. A POS plan combines the features of HMOs and PPOs. With POS coverage, you have a reasonable circle of medical practitioners from which you can choose a primary care doctor. Provided you remain within the circle of doctors in Clarkston, GA, you will pay low copayments. There are also no deductibles in this plan. However, if you insist on seeing a physician outside the network of doctors, the deductibles and copayments are high.
Non-Conventional Health Insurance Plans. Some of the non-conventional health insurance plans in Clarkston, GA, include "Medical Savings Account" (MSA), "Health Reimbursement Account" (HRA), "Health Savings Account" (HSA), and "Health Flexible Spending Arrangement" (FSA). All these plans work on the grounds that you or your employer has set aside some money in a savings account for all your medical expenses. The funds that have been set aside are used for paying doctor prescriptions, surgical treatments, doctor visits, and over-the-counter medicine. These plans provide a lot of freedom with regards to how you can use the money. Some plans even give you the option of rolling unused funds to the next year.
A Breakdown of Health Insurance Costs for Clarkston, GA Policyholders
Deciding on the right health insurance plan can be difficult enough, but if you don’t know much about insurance terminology, you may not know what you’re getting yourself into. The premium is the amount that you will pay each month for your insurance coverage. You will not get this money back, even if you don’t use your insurance for several months in a row. Keep in mind that a higher premium usually means more options while a lower, budget-friendly premium typically means that you will have fewer options within your network.
When you have insurance coverage in Clarkston, GA with a deductible, this is money that you must pay out to your doctor before your insurance company will begin to pay their share of your health care costs.
A deductible is different from out-of-pocket costs. Your deductible is the amount that you are responsible for paying each year before your insurance provides you with coverage. Out-of-pocket costs are the money that you will spend for health care before your insurance plan will pay for 100 percent of your medical bills.
Your deductible and out-of-pocket costs reset at the beginning of each calendar year. With most policies, the expenses from the past year have an impact on your plan moving forward. Most plans will not allow your deductible from the previous year to rollover, however, there are some insurance plans in Clarkston, GA that are an exception. These plans allow your past year’s deductible to roll over and go toward your deductible for the first part of the new year.
A co-payment is the amount that you are financially responsible for when you receive medical care. There are many health insurance policies in Clarkston, GA that offer a copay of $20-$30 for a routine appointment with your doctor. This is the price that you pay every time you see your doctor. Your insurance plan will take care of the remaining balance on your bill. Co-payments do not go toward your deductible, and different companies offer different co-pay amounts for other services such as surgical procedures, lab work or prescription medication costs.
There are some insurance companies that offer a maximum lifetime benefit. This is the maximum amount that they will pay for your health care throughout your lifetime. Once the maximum amount has been reached, the company no longer pays for any medical claims.
Your employment status is another factor that can impact the health plans in Clarkston, GA you are eligible for. If you work for a large corporation, you can usually enroll in their group health insurance plan. These plans can be very affordable and many people often choose a job based on whether they offer this type of healthcare coverage.
For those who are self-employed or unemployed, there are many affordable private or individual insurance plans there. And if you are over the age of 65 or are unable to work, you are eligible to receive free or low-cost health insurance solutions through the government with the Medicare program. Individuals or families that are considered low-income can apply for a similar type of government health insurance known as Medicaid.
If you want to continue seeing your current physician, be sure to find out if they take the insurance plan you have in mind before you switch. There are some plans that will not allow you to see a doctor that is outside their network, so be sure to ask your healthcare provider, or your Clarkston, GA insurance representative any questions you may have before you enroll.
Receive Your Health Insurance Quote in Clarkston, GA Now
Signing up for health insurance is one of the greatest decisions you can make, for both and your family. The process may seem overwhelming as there are a number of things that can impact your health insurance plan options and rates. However, Wirefly makes getting a health insurance quote in Clarkston, GA simpler than ever. All you need to do is enter your ZIP code.
It may be tempting to try to cut down on health insurance costs, but be sure you do not cut out any coverage that you actually do need. For instance, if you plan on having children later in life, you should choose a plan that covers maternity care. This way you will be prepared for the future and you will not need to worry about when the time comes. Do not try to cut down on coverage just to save a quick buck or two. Insurance premiums costs are never cheap, but ultimately, they are less expensive than paying medical bills without the help of health insurance. We here at Wirefly can help you save money on your health insurance and find the best insurance plans in Clarkston, GA. Get your free quote today!
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