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 Washington.
Typically, health insurance plans in Washington 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 Different Health Insurance Plans in Washington
The future healthcare needs of any person are quite unpredictable. As such, correctly determining the amount of coverage you will need for the coming year might prove difficult. An individual’s past is the best indicator to use for his/her future healthcare needs since it offers an educated guess about what one might need in future. For instance, if you are healthy more often than not and rarely need to see a medical service provider, you will most likely get adequate coverage from a low-cost health insurance plan. On the other hand, looking into a medical insurance plan that offers a broad range of coverage is probably the best option if you are suffering from a chronic health condition and need to pay a specialist or your primary healthcare physician regular visits.
The catastrophic only insurance is one of the health insurance plans available at a low price in Washington. This insurance plan is ideal for those who rarely visit medical service providers and only want to be covered in case of a serious emergency. For those who participate in dangerous activities or travel on a regular basis, an insurance plan that covers frequent trips to the doctor‘s office, as well as ER visits, is probably the best choice.
Higher coverage is usually available at a higher monthly premium, meaning the more your monthly payments, the more your insurer pays towards your medical needs. As such, considering your lifestyle and medical history is important. It helps you to determine the most economical option for your healthcare needs. Aside from ensuring you have the basics covered, adding more coverage based on affordability and necessity is also recommended.
Types of Coverage for Health Insurance in Washington
There are many different types of health insurance plans that can be purchased in Washington. While most offer different levels of coverage, some will offer similar levels of coverage that make the plans appear exactly the same. However, there are key differences that everyone must look out for, even if the coverage types are the same. For one, the premium may be lower on one plan than the other. The flexibility of each plan might also vary. Some of the main health insurance plans available include an HMO, PPO, POS, HSA, HRA, MSA, and FSA. Each of these types of plans are slightly different from one another.
For instance, an HMO is a health maintenance organization plan, which means that the individual covered by this plan will need to travel to their primary care physician for all healthcare-related needs. Under this plan, the individual is usually able to select a primary care physician in Washington from a vast pool of options. If ever the individual needs to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist, they must first seek a referral from the primary care doctor. This applies to all specialists. These plans tend to come with lower premium amounts but with a limited network of doctors. Despite these small downsides, deductibles are eliminated and out-of-pocket costs are kept low.
A Preferred Provider Organization, or PPO, plan differs slightly from an HMO in that the individual who purchased the plan can choose from a much larger network of health care providers in Washington. When selecting a primary care doctor, the individual has sole choice of which one they use, while no referrals are necessary to see additional specialists. While this insurance plan offers a substantial amount of coverage for in-network costs, it's still possible to receive a limited amount of coverage when visiting a doctor or hospital that's out-of-network. These plans tend to come with copay options and deductibles as well as slightly higher premiums than an HMO.
A Point of Service, or POS, plan is crafted to be a combination of the previous two plans. The network is rather sizable and provides the individual with a choice of which primary care physician to see. There are no deductibles and very small copayments when visiting a healthcare provider in-network. However, both of these are very high when the doctor or hospital is out-of-network.
While the three previous types of insurance plans are among the most popular, there are also plenty of others to choose from, including a health reimbursement account, a health savings accounts, a medical savings account, and a health flexible spending arrangement. With any of these accounts, the individual's employer will set money into the tax-exempt account to cover any medical expenses. This money can be used for a wide range of healthcare costs, though is not always available for over-the-counter medications. If some of the money is not used during the course of the year, certain plans allow this money to be placed into the account for next year.
Health Insurance Costs in Washington
To have health insurance coverage in Washington, people will pay premiums each month. Even if you do not go to the doctor, you will not get the money back. Depending on the insurance plan, a deductible might be required. A deductible is the amount of money a person will be required to pay at the doctor’s visit. Many doctors require the deductible to be paid up front.
Deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses are different. A deductible means the amount a person will pay yearly before the insurance begins, and out-of-pocket expenses is what individuals will pay before the insurance company will pay the full bill.
When a new year begins, both deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses will reset. Going forward, the previous year’s expenses will affect what happens. For example, if a person in Washington has a deductible of $4000 and they spend $3000 out-of-pocket, the insurance plan will remain the same for the next year. The $3000 does not carry over, so they out-of-pocket expenses will be $0. Some plans allow rollovers to occur. Therefore, the deductible amount a person paid can be used for the first quarter of the next year.
When a person visits the doctor, he might be required to pay a copayment or coinsurance. If the co-payment is $50 each time a doctor’s visit occurs, the insured will be required to pay $50. The insurance will pay the remaining portion of the bill. Co-payments will not be put toward the deductible.
In some cases, an insurance company will offer a maximum lifetime benefit. This is the most amount of money that the insurance company will completely pay for the healthcare. After a person has used all of the money, the company will no longer pay for any medical services.
Where a person works has a huge impact on health insurance coverage. Larger companies will provide a group health insurance plan. These are usually less expensive than if a person chooses a private plan. However, by law individuals are not required to participate in an employer’s plan.
Self-employed or unemployed individuals have the choice to buy private individual health insurance. Government programs, such as Medicare will assist seniors in receiving health care. Medicaid will assist people who make lower income.
Individuals need to ask their physician in Washington which insurance plans they take if they want to continue seeing a certain doctor. If a person’s insurance plan changes he needs to make sure he informs his doctor of the change. If the insured has any questions about coverage, he should contact the insurance company with any questions.
Get a Health Insurance Quote in Washington Now
Everyone, including individuals and especially those with families, needs suitable health insurance coverage. While many factors have an effect on plans and their rates, it’s quick and easy to get quotes in Washington on Wirefly just by entering a ZIP code.
Saving money is great, but it shouldn’t be done at the expense of important coverages. Couples who plan to have children at some point should make sure they get plans with maternity coverage to avoid any difficulties with getting that coverage later. The most important thing to remember is that it’s never smart to get rid of coverage just to save a buck. Monthly insurance premiums may not be cheap, but they pale in comparison to how much health care can cost when paying out of pocket. People looking for the best health insurance plans in Washington should use Wirefly to find the right plans and save money by getting free quotes from a variety of providers today.
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