As a subcategory in the broader field of insurance, health insurance is the section that covers part of the health expenses incurred by an insured person. Today, there are different kinds of health insurance plans available. Depending on the coverage, there are two possibilities when an insured individual seeks medical services. Either the insurance company pays the medical service provider directly, or the insured person covers the costs with an out-of-pocket payment and is later reimbursed by his or her insurer.
As a health insurance comparison website, Wirefly offers more than free online quotes. It also makes it easy to compare the different types of health insurance plans available in North Carolina.
Although employers and private insurance companies are the most common providers of health insurance in North Carolina, it is also available to low-income earners through Medicaid and to senior citizens via Medicare. Compared to private insurance companies, Medicaid and Medicare provide health insurance services at a significantly lower cost. There are several levels of coverage included in this type of insurance. While the least expensive plans usually cover catastrophic events only, high-cost plans will most certainly provide full coverage. As a result, people often try to anticipate their medical care needs before deciding the most suitable health insurance plan.
Comparing Health Insurance Coverage in North Carolina
It is so hard for a person to predict what he might need in the form of health care services. People can evaluate what has occurred in recent years to anticipate what might happen in the years to come. If an individual is health and does not go to the doctor very often a low-cost plan will probably be adequate. However, if a person suffers from numerous health problems and are forced to go to the doctor regularly, they will need insurance that provides excellent coverage.
Catastrophic only insurance is the cheapest type of insurance offered in North Carolina. Individuals who are healthy and do not need regular visits to the doctor might want this type of insurance coverage. If a person has an emergency, this insurance will pay some of the bill. However, people who regularly participate in high-risk activities or who might have a dangerous profession, will want insurance coverage who will pay for trips to the emergency room or visits to the doctor.
If a person wants a low deductible, he will pay higher premiums for coverage. If an individual wants full coverage health insurance, he will pay a higher price each month. However, the insurance will pay most of the bill when medical issues arise. With full coverage, the insured should be able to see a doctor for whatever is needed, or he will be able to visit the emergency room for drastic situations. Therefore, when considering an insurance plan in North Carolina, people need to look at their way of life and past health problems to determine what they need to pay for health insurance. It is important for people to have basic coverage, and then they can decide what they can afford to add.
Common Types of Health Insurance Plans in North Carolina
There are many types of health insurance covers to choose from in North Carolina. 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina, 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 North Carolina, 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.
Breaking Down Health Insurance Costs in North Carolina
The premium is the monthly fee for a health insurance policy in North Carolina. The policyholder pays this amount for coverage even if he doesn’t use it that month. The deductible is the amount that the policyholder pays for healthcare coverage first before the insurance provider pays its portion of the bill.
People sometimes confuse deductibles with out-of-pocket costs, but they’re not the same. The deductible is the amount the policyholder must pay for the year before his insurance provider covers anything, while out-of-pocket costs are how much money the policyholder spends before the provider covers all of the bill.
With a typical health insurance plan in North Carolina, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs reset to $0 at the start of a new calendar year. For example, if a policyholder's plan has a $3,000 deductible and he spends $2,000 in out-of-pocket costs that year, his out-of-pocket expenses go back to $0 on January 1. This isn’t always the case, as there are a few plans that roll over the paid deductible amount from the end of one year to the next.
The co-payment, also known as co-insurance, is the amount the policyholder needs to pay for a service. The amount can vary depending on the service. If a plan has a primary physician visit co-payment of $10, then the policyholder must pay that $10 every time he visits his primary physician. The insurance provider pays for the remaining balance as long as the policyholder has coverage for those services. Co-payments don’t count towards a plan’s deductible.
A plan could have a maximum lifetime benefit, which is the most that the insurance provider will pay out for the policy holder’s healthcare costs. After hitting that mark, the insurance provider won’t pay any more healthcare costs for the policyholder.
A person’s health care options rely quite a bit on his employment status. Employees of large companies can typically sign up for a group health insurance plan. While no one is legally required to sign up for a group plan, these plans tend to cost less than individual plans.
Those who are unemployed or self-employed will need to get private, individual health insurance plans. There are other options available for senior citizens who don’t work and people with low incomes. Seniors can sign up for a Medicare plan for financial assistance from the government. People with low incomes can get government-provided financial assistance through a Medicaid plan.
If a person already has a doctor he likes, he should ask what health insurance plans in North Carolina that doctor can accept. He must also notify the doctor regarding changes to his insurance plan.
Get a Free Health Insurance Quote for Insurance Plans in North Carolina Today
One of the smartest decisions you can make for your well-being and the safety of your family is ensuring that you have health insurance. Numerous factors affect your health insurance coverage and rates, but using Wirefly simplifies the process of obtaining a quote for health insurance in North Carolina. All you need to do is enter your ZIP code.
While it is possible to cut the cost of health insurance coverage in several ways, it is crucial to avoid cutting out essential parts of coverage. For instance, if you are hoping to start a family in the future, you should make sure to select a plan that includes maternity coverage so you do not run into trouble trying to obtain it later. It is also important to ensure that you are not skimping on necessary coverage in order to save money. In the end, insurance premiums can be costly, but nowhere near as expensive as out-of-pocket medical expenses. Wirefly helps you in finding the insurance plan in North Carolina that is best suited to your needs.
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