Shopping Health Insurance vs. Accepting It With Your Travel Contract
Let’s face it, health insurance is a great big pain in the rear! For many of us, it’s a big expensive black hole we throw a lot of money at, yet we aren’t ever 100% sure what we are getting. Most families are paying monthly premiums almost as much as their mortgage. The difference is when we make a home purchase, it’s easy to find what we need, we read through the fine lines, inspect the details, and know exactly what we are getting! Unfortunately, there is not a Zillow for health insurance. Not yet anyway.
Health care travelers have even more complex issues to deal with. In your case, a PPO vs. an HMO or EPO is mandatory. Only a PPO pays claims nationwide. Most are unaware that HMO/EPO plans ONLY pay claims in network, in a network consisting of just a handful of zip codes. If you have a medical event out of network, and it is not life threatening, 100% of the bill is on you! So for travelers, it just won’t work. The other issue is deductibles. With most policies, you have to come out of pocket with your deductible, before you get any benefit. So, let’s say you take a 3 month contract, and incur a medical event, and pay your full deductible amount. This means that the balance of the claims for the year should be mostly paid by insurance Company. But, if you start a new contract with another Company, your deductible restarts. Other issues involve constantly examining new policies you switch to in order to understand waiting periods, what will/won’t be covered, etc. And if you accept Cobra? Ouch!! If you take Cobra, you are paying your portion of the monthly premium plus any portion the Company was paying plus an extra 2.5%. In addition, you must watch the calendar if you lose health insurance in between contracts. After the loss of coverage, the option of getting a marketplace plan goes away after 60 days.
The best strategy for any traveler would be to get a PPO policy that you own 100%. When you are shopping, look for the following: A high policy max Low Co-insurance Low deductible Is Wellness included? Buy a PPO vs. HMO or EPO Is Prescription Drug coverage included? Tele-Doc service so you can have a conference call/video with doctor vs. having to physically go to the doctor (for non-emergency situations of course) Be sure to ask if the policy is short term or not Is catastrophic coverage built in Study the exclusions Typically dental/vision is optional Look at the breakdown for how hospital related claims are paid Is maternity covered? Is mental health covered?
An important consideration to keep in mind for short term policies… Typically they do not cover pre-existing conditions. Today, these policies are normally 3 months in duration and then you renew. Let’s say that you are super healthy and before you sign up for the first 3 months you have no pre-existing conditions which is awesome! However, during the next 3 months, you have a medical condition show up and treated. Now, when you go to renew for the next 3 months, the new medical condition is now considered pre-existing and will not be covered. These policies are cheap, but they may end up costing you big time!
A couple of places to shop for insurance are www.healthcare.gov and www.esurance.com I would also shop for private PPO plans. There are new ones now that reward good health, and still allow pre-existing conditions. Whatever you do, refrain from entering your phone number on any of these websites! If you do, your phone will be blown up with calls from multiple Companies that purchase leads. You will get hundreds of calls/texts. Trust me on this one.
I was just like most of you, and knew only the basics about health insurance in the past. I decided to leave the corporate world and take on a brand new challenge of health insurance. What led me here was a desire to help people, just like you, and become an expert on a topic that was costing me a lot of money. I saw so many suffering to pay premiums and some that could not afford it at all. So, I studied for the exam, passed on my first try, and here I am. My pay is like night and day compared to my corporate job, but that does not matter to me. The satisfaction I get from helping people shop for the right plan, or just educating them is enough reward. You can contact me below if you need help shopping for a plan, advice, or tips to save money in the crazy world of health insurance. You can like/follow my Facebook page below for helpful advice as well. Stay healthy travelers!
Cheryl Farmer 678-644-6977 Facebook – Search for Affordable Health Insurance Club USA Cheryl_farmer@comcast.net