If you’ve ever been sick or injured, you know how important it is to have health insurance coverage. Health insurance pays for things big and small, from a lab test that might cost $75 to a hospital stay for major surgery that could cost thousands of dollars. It gives you peace of mind of knowing that no matter what kind of care or procedure you or a family member might require, you won’t have to worry about shouldering the cost on your own.
As important as health insurance is, it can also be very confusing. To make smart health insurance choices, you need a basic understanding of all the key terms, acronyms and concepts. Many don’t know where to look or whom to contact for information on the coverage of speech-language pathology services, audiology services and hearing aids, let alone how to interpret the coverage guidelines.
There are five main types of health insurance plans. Traditional indemnity plans are at one end of the spectrum, and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are at the other. Preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and point-of-service plans (POS) combine features of both indemnity plans and HMOs, but are generally considered managed care plans. A new option, created by Congress in 2003, is a Health Savings Account (HSA). It combines a high-deductible health plan (HMO, PPO or Indemnity) with a tax-advantaged savings account.
It’s important to understand the differences among the types of plans, and we encourage you to read through this section to familiarize yourself with each. But you should bear in mind that distinctions among plans grow increasingly blurred everyday. Almost all indemnity plans (also called fee-for-service plans) apply managed care techniques to contain costs and guarantee appropriate care. Likewise, an increasing number of managed care plans contain fee-for-service elements. The most important thing to keep in mind is that there are more health insurance options available today than ever before, and that’s good news for consumers, so give us a call and we will walk you through the process.
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