Health insurance can be very confusing, especially when terms like HMOs, PPOs or HSAs are thrown at you. To make it easier, you can begin sorting through your options by first thinking about your specific needs.
For example, someone who has a child away at college should consider whether a policy offers coverage outside its regular network of providers.
Unfortunately, regulators have caused insurance policies to acquire too much legal information, but most policies include a summary of key numbers. There are four key things consumers should focus on: the policy’s deductible, premium, co-payments and the maximum amount that the policyholder is expected to pay out of pocket each year.
Another concern should be to look for any numbers that enact coverage limits, such as restricting the days spent in a hospital or visits made to a particular provider. One should be cautious about policies that limit the amount of hospital days. Depending on things like surgery or intensive care unit visits, hospital stays can cost much more than $1,000 a day.
One should also be leery of low lifetime maximums. The cost of cancer care, an organ transplant or treatment for some conditions can rappidly consume lifetime coverage maximums of $2 million or less.
According to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, preferred provider organization plans, or PPOs were the most common forms of employer-based health care last year. Around 57 percent of workers covered by employer-based insurance enrolled in those.
These plans usually offer a large variety of provider choices, and patients usually don’t need a referral from a primary care doctor to see a specialist.
The second most-common insurance type are HMOs or health maintenance organizations. These plans generally offer lower premiums and larger benefits, but customers are limited to a smaller network of providers.
HSAs, or health savings accounts, allow people to save money tax-free for medical expenses. These accounts are often united with a high-deductible plan that contains a low monthly premium. With HSAs, the customer gets coverage for expensive claims, but they must pay more out of pocket for the smaller things.
Learn more aboutÂ an HSA-based plan likeÂ Blue Options HSA from BCBSNCÂ atÂ 1-800newhealth.com. You can also get a free personalized quoteÂ for Blue Options HSA and other BCBSNC products, such as Blue Advantage, and Blue Medicare Supplement.