Health care costs have continually risen in recent years, leading to increases in the amount most consumers pay for medical insurance each month. In some cases, individuals may experience additional difficulty in obtaining health insurance coverage due to pre-existing health conditions, age, or other high-risk status. It can be challenging to find a quality health plan to meet the needs of individuals and families. Especially for self-employed individuals, private health insurance can be costly and time-consuming to obtain. However, a number of insurance products currently available can provide at least a basic level of coverage for most consumers.
Important elements of a quality health plan include coverage for preventive medical procedures. These include regular examinations, well-child check-ups, mammograms, immunizations, and standard screening procedures; most health insurance plans cover these essential health care services in order to detect problems early, reducing the severity and cost of preventable medical conditions. Additionally, most plans offer catastrophic health care coverage. This is intended to provide major medical health insurance in the event of a serious accident or illness that requires extensive medical procedures or a lengthy hospital stay. Most major health plans employ the services of a large-scale preferred provider network; this allows patients to manage their health care costs by choosing to visit physicians and facilities that have agreed to a negotiated fee arrangement.
Deductibles and copayments are additional factors to consider when selecting a quality health plan for yourself and your family. Increasing the deductible amounts can significantly reduce monthly premiums, but may increase out-of-pocket expenses if major medical treatments are required. Some HMO plans require no copayments and no deductible for preventive and routine medical care; these can save a considerable amount of money for larger families. While HMOs and PPOs are more expensive than comparable discount medical plans, they usually provide more comprehensive services and include coverage for catastrophic medical care as well, making them a better investment in most cases. Consumers should be aware that discount plans are not actual insurance and will not provide any benefits for most major medical expenses.