HEALTH INSURANCE - Basics
What is health insurance?
Simply put, health insurance is protection against medical costs. A health insurance policy is a contract between an insurer and an individual or group, in which the insurer agrees to provide specified health insurance at an agreed-upon price (the premium). Depending on your policy, your premium may be payable either in a lump sum or in installments. Health insurance usually provides either direct payment or reimbursement for expenses associated with illnesses and injuries. If your employer does not offer a health insurance plan, you may wish to purchase health insurance on your own.
Why do you need it?
In addition to medical emergencies, routine conditions requiring visits to a physician happen all the time. This is especially true if you have children. Ear infections, rashes, and high fevers are commonplace with infants and children; numerous trips to the doctor can be pretty expensive without health insurance.
What do you need to know?
You should also make every effort to understand your own health insurance policy, and become familiar with common health insurance provisions, including limitations, exclusions, and riders. It's important to know what your policy covers, and what you'll have to pay for in out-of-pocket expenses.
When comparing health insurance policies, you should strive to balance coverage against cost. While price is an important consideration, there are also other factors that may influence your decision when it come to choosing a health insurance plan.
Understanding the taxation of health insurance benefits and premiums is also an important issue, especially if you're self-employed.
Being aware of your COBRA rights, in the event that you lose your health insurance coverage due to a change in employment or other factors is also worth investigating.
When to get it