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 Charlotte, NC.
Although employers and private insurance companies are the most common providers of health insurance in Charlotte, NC, 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.
Charlotte, NC Health Insurance Plan Comparison
Choosing the right coverage for your health care needs can be extremely hard since the future can be unpredictable. The best way to properly predict how much coverage you’ll need is to use the amount from the past year.
The first type of coverage health insurance plans offer in Charlotte, NC is known as catastrophic insurance. This is the lowest cost insurance and is primarily designed for people who rarely visit their healthcare professionals. Of course, if you plan to visit your doctor on a regular basis and participate in dangerous activities, you will need a healthcare plan that can cover you more. This will usually cost you more in the end.
Most plans that provide more coverage require higher monthly payments. However, this also means that the more you put down, the more your insurance provider will give you when you run into a medical emergency. This, in turn, is why it’s so important to decide on the best plan to cover your health care needs. The last thing you want to do is purchase coverage that will offer less protection or coverage that costs too much to afford.
Types of Health Insurance Coverage in Charlotte, NC
Those searching for health insurance plans in Charlotte, NC have many different types available. Some will have similar levels of coverage, but ease of use could vary significantly from plan to plan. It can be tricky to understand how types of plans work, considering choices include HMO, PPO, POS, HSA, HRA, FSA and MSA plans. The key is knowing the basic differences between all these plans.
With a health maintenance organization (HMO) plan, the policyholder selects one primary care physician to handle all his healthcare needs. The first step in getting any type of healthcare is going to this primary care physician, who evaluates the policy holder’s situation and then refers him to a specialist when necessary. One benefit of HMO plans is that they tend to cost less in terms of monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. There also aren’t any deductibles. However, networks are also smaller and not all doctors will accept HMO plans.
A preferred provider organization (PPO) plan allows the policyholder to select any primary care physician in his network, and networks usually have a large number of healthcare providers available. The policy holder doesn’t need to get a referral to see a specialist and can instead make an appointment with a specialist in the network at any time. This flexibility comes at a cost, as PPO plans also include deductibles and copayments. There is an annual limit on how much coverage the policyholder can get per year. While PPO plans provide some financial assistance on health care costs if the policyholder sees an out-of-network doctor, it’s better to stay in network for more financial coverage.
A point of service (POS) plan serves as a balanced mix between an HMO and a PPO plan. The policyholder chooses a primary care physician from a network of a decent size, and there are no deductibles for in-network coverage. Copayments for in-network coverage are low. Out-of-network healthcare will result in much higher deductibles and copayments, though.
While the three plans mentioned above are the most common types, non-traditional health insurance plans in Charlotte, NC are also available. These include health savings account (HSA), health reimbursement account (HRA), health flexible spending arrangement (FSA) and medical savings account (MSA) plans, all of which work similarly. The policyholder or his employer put money into a tax-exempt savings account, and he can then use that money to pay medical costs. These plans are very flexible. Some even roll over unused funds from one year to the next.
Breakdown of Health Insurance Costs in Charlotte, NC
The premium is a payment you make each month to buy health insurance coverage in Charlotte, NC. You agree to pay the insurance company each month for the privilege of having in-force insurance. You are required to make monthly premium payments even if you don’t see the doctor in that month.
A deductible is the additional amount of money you must pay to health care providers before the insurer pays the promised part of any medical or health care expense. Deductibles differ from out-of-pocket costs. A deductible is the amount of money for which you are responsible before the insurance company begins to pay. In comparison, out-of-pocket expenses refer to how much you spend before the insurer pays 100 percent of your bill.
Both deductibles and out-of-pocket costs generally start over at the beginning of each year. However, the previous year’s medical and health care expenses may have an impact on the current year deductible and out-of-pocket costs. For example, if you have a $4,000 deductible and spent $2,500 out-of-pocket last year, your out-of-pocket expenses reset to zero. The $2,500 spent last year does not roll over to the current year. There are exceptions to this rule of thumb, however. Some plans in Charlotte, NC allow you to rollover the paid deductible amount from the prior year towards the deductible for the first quarter of the new plan year.
Co-payments, sometimes referred to as copays or coinsurance, refer to your portion of the financial responsibility for a medical service or doctor visit. If your co-payment at the primary care physician’s office is $20, you pay $20 to the doctor’s office each time you see him or her. Your insurer covers the balance is the services are eligible for coverage by the plan. Co-payments do not apply towards the annual deductible.
Your insurer may offer a maximum lifetime benefit. In other words, the insurance company establishes a maximum amount of money that it will pay for your health care. Once the insurer’s maximum is reached, the insurer no longer pays for health and medical care claims.
Employment status impacts the type of health insurance plans available to you. If you are employed by a large company, you may qualify for the group health insurance plan. Group health insurance is often the most affordable type of health insurance. However, you are not legally required to accept the employer’s group health insurance. If you accept the employer’s plan, premiums are usually directly deducted from your paycheck. Your employer may share the premium costs to make the plan more affordable.
You may purchase private health insurance if you are self-employed or unemployed. If you age 65 or older or you are considered disabled by Social Security and do not work, you may request Medicare benefits. If you are low-income, you may receive Medicaid insurance. Both Medicare and Medicaid are subsidized by the federal government.
Check with your doctor to discuss which health insurance plan in Charlotte, NC will allow you to continue to see him or her if you want to continue treating with that doctor. Tell your doctors if your health insurance plan coverage changes. Contact your insurer regarding specific coverage questions.
Get a Health Insurance Quote in Charlotte, NC Today
Since it's impossible to predict what will happen from one day to the next, having health insurance is definitely a great decision that will benefit both you and your family. While it can sometimes be very difficult to ascertain which health insurance plan is the best, Wirefly can make the search very simple and hassle-free. Just by entering a ZIP code, you will receive a health insurance quote detailing the available plans in Charlotte, NC.
When deciding on a plan, make sure not to skimp on your specific health care needs. Though it's certainly possible to save some money if certain coverage types are excluded, it's essential that you don't eliminate coverage types that you'll actually need in the future. While the premiums for insurance plans aren't exactly affordable, the out-of-pocket expenses associated with medical care when not insured can be far higher. By using Wirefly, you can find the best insurance plan for your needs, which can save you a lot of time and money. Just enter your ZIP code for a free quote today.
Wirefly Is America's Most Trusted Source For All Cell Phones, Plans, TV, and Internet Deals
Wirefly offers great deals on a large selection of smartphones, cell phones, tablets, mobile hotspots, and other wireless devices for the nation's most popular carriers. Use Wirefly’s innovative cell phone and plan comparison tools to ensure you are getting the best deal on the market. Shop with confidence knowing that Wirefly wants to help you find the best prices on cell phones, cell phone plans, TV, and Internet service.