Life is often unpredictable. As hard as we work to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, our circumstances can change in an instant. While most of us understand the need for health insurance to protect our health and financial security, why does it have to be so confusing? The number of options and all the variations between plans can overwhelm us.
Here we cover some health insurance basics to get you started. Peace of mind, medical attention when you need it, and financial security are great reasons to weigh your options against your current situation.
Why health insurance is important
Taking care of our health can be costly, especially when a problem arises. While no one plans to get sick or injured in an accident, most people will need medical care at some point. Health insurance provides financial protection when you need it.
Health insurance can help:
- Contribute to a longer, healthier life
- Offer financial help with medical bills and avoid high debt
- Support wellness offerings such as regular health screenings, check-ups and vaccinations
- Save money using doctors and services on the network
- Get the affordable care you need close to home
- Grant access to health information and other benefits to support a healthy lifestyle
This is how health insurance works
Although complex, health insurance works in a similar way to home or car insurance. You (or your employer) sign up for a plan and agree to pay a monthly premium. In return, the insurer agrees to pay part of your insured medical expenses.
What health insurance covers – and how much – varies by plan. The best health insurance plan for you may be different than what works for someone else.
As you consider which plan might be a good fit, keep the following in mind:
- Where you can be cared for
- What is covered
- How much will it cost
Besides the monthly premium, questions about other expenses should be understood before committing to a plan:
Is there a deductible?
A deductible is a set amount that you must pay each year before the insurance company pays for covered benefits.
Is there co-insurance?
Coinsurance is the percentage amount you are responsible for once you reach your deductible. You have to pay a percentage, as does your insurance.
Is there an additional payment?
A co-payment is a flat fee that you expect to pay at the time the service is performed. When a policy requires co-payments, the amount usually varies depending on the type of benefit.
What is the out of pocket maximum?
The Excess Cap is the maximum you will have to pay for Covered Expenses over the life of your plan, typically one year.
Learn more with a consumer’s guide to understanding healthcare pricing.
Five things to consider when considering your insurance options:
- Your health and how often you need care. How often do you have to see the doctor? Do you have chronic medical conditions that require ongoing treatment?
- Rewards versus Benefits: How much money are you willing to spend to get what you need?
- Your current medical and health services. Are they on the network with the policy you are considering? If not, are you willing to switch doctors or consider a different plan?
- What else is included in the plan? Are there convenient childcare options, self-care and virtual services, healthy lifestyle programs, or fitness offerings at discounted rates?
- Are there additional coverage options that you may need to consider e.g. B. prescription, vision or dental insurance?
Figuring out which plan is right for you and your family can be a challenge. Our financial advisory services staff are trained in financial advisory services specifically for medical services. They can help you navigate your current insurance plan, show you which plans and networks Nebraska Medicine accepts, and help you determine which market plan is best for your situation.
“If you have any questions or need clarification about an invoice, claim, or insurance coverage, don’t hesitate to contact us,” said Kim Stueve, Nebraska Medicine’s director of patient financial services. “We’re here to answer your questions and help you understand the process.”
How to get cheap health insurance
There are several ways to get health insurance:
- Employer-based: through your job or your spouse’s job if the requirements are met
- Health insurance marketplace during the open registration period (typically November to mid-January)
- Public coverage through Medicaid or Medicare
- Individual health insurance taken out directly or through an insurance broker
- Children’s Health Insurance Program
- If you are under the age of 26, you may be able to continue coverage under your parents’ insurance plan
“If you need financial support or can’t afford health insurance, contact us,” says Stüve. “Our financial advisors are here to answer your questions and help you choose your options.”
Phone call 402.559.3140 or 888.662.8662 to arrange a personal or virtual appointment.