Affordable Personal Health Care and Insurance

Congress can debate health care forever. You cannot wait. You have a sense of urgency for yourself and your family if you do not have health insurance. Whether you favor the so-called “public option” or whether you prefer private insurance, you feel you must do something now, no matter what congress decides. Changes can always be made later.What can you do now? You can begin to explore, seek answers to questions, and decide what is best for you and your family. If you have lost your job and your health insurance with it, there is the option of continuing with COBRA (COBRA is a government program-the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). But COBRA can become very expensive, and it is not a good long-range solution.Sometimes you might be able to find a part-time job that offers you the opportunity to participate in a group plan, which could lower your health care costs. This could work out very nicely and be salvation to you. But in today’s bad economy, finding a part-time job for basic or additional income is hard enough, let alone finding one for the bonus of health insurance.Here are some definitions and descriptions related to health plans that you might find useful when shopping for individual health insurance:o PPO Plans-Preferred Provider Plans. In these plans insurance companies create a network of hospitals and doctors that the company “prefers.” The amounts you pay to these providers are lower than you would pay as an individual because the health providers have contracted with the insurance company for set fees.o POS Plans-Point of Service Plans. In these plans you have more freedom to go out of a preferred network of providers, but you will probably pay higher out-of-pocket expenses.o HMO Plans-Health Maintenance Organization Plans. In these plans, for your monthly or quarterly premium, you receive managed care by your primary care physician. Also, you are pretty much limited to the network of health providers with whom the HMO has negotiated fees.o Discount Health Plans. These are really supplementary health plans. By charging a flat fee, these plans provide per visit discounts on health care services. But you must be careful that the plans provides services that you want and need to use.These descriptions are selective, but they give you a start in educating yourself about health insurance.

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