Are you self-employed? You may have to obtain your own insurance coverage since you don’t work under an employer. Various insurers offer different types of individual policies to meet the specific needs of every customer. The choices available can, however, be confusing when applying for health insurance for the first time. Since the aspects of coverage may differ from one policy to the other, you have to do some research before choosing a policy. Have a basic understanding of the types of policies so that you can pick the plan that can suit you best. As you shop around for health insurance, some of the policies that you may find include the following.
Health maintenance organization (HMO) policy
Most of the plans that are available in many states fall under this category. If you are looking for the most affordable coverage option, you need to choose HMOs. When you get sick, you should visit a medical facility or doctor that is included in the HMO policy. The list can restrict you to specific facilities such that if you visit other specialists, your health insurance policy may not cover you. You would have to pay with money out of your pocket. The only thing that your policy can cover in this case is emergency care. Your current physician can refer you to a specialist that is included in the policy. Before the insurer starts paying for your medical care, there is a set amount that you are required to pay known as the deductible.
Preferred provider organization (PPO) policy
If you want more flexibility, you should choose a PPO policy. This, however, costs more compared to an HMO policy depending on the precise plan you choose. The policy involves a list of specific hospitals and doctors that you can see. The providers are known as in-network providers. You can still visit any other provider you want even if they are not part of the network. If you do this, the insurer can cover only a part of the service while you pay a big percentage from your pocket. This policy requires co-payments and carries deductibles.
Fee-for-service (FFS) policy
Though rare in some states, FFS policies still exist. Beware that this is the most costly policy that insurers offer. The advantage of this policy is that it is not as limiting like the others. You get the chance to pick any hospital and doctor you are comfortable with. At the end of the services, you pay the bills from your pocket then file the necessary paperwork with your insurance company. The insurer is expected to reimburse for the medical charges.
For you to choose the right policy, you need to consider what is essential for you and your family. If you are trying to save on some costs, an HMO policy would be an ideal fit. If picking your own doctor is a priority, you can consider an FFS or PPO policy.