Do You Know What Your Health Insurance Covers?

Your health insurance is an important part of your overall finances. After all, there are few things in this life as devastating as a major medical accident or health care problem. Health insurance can help you bear the cost and keep it from completely ruining your financial situation.

But, before you feel good about having health insurance, it’s important to stop and think about your coverage. Do you know what’s really covered by your health insurance?

What Your Health Insurance Policy Covers

First of all, it is important to realize that each health insurance policy is different. You will receive coverage for different items, depending on what is in your policy. Some of the things to consider as you check your health insurance coverage include:

  • Network providers: First of all, you need to realize that you might not be covered for care you receive from out of network providers. Even if you do receive coverage, chances are that it won’t be very much coverage. You might only be covered for 50% — or less — of your costs when you go out of the network. Before signing on with a health insurance policy, make sure you know which doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers are considered in the network. If your preferred care providers aren’t in the network, you might want to look for new insurance.
  • Co-pays: A co-pay is the amount of money you agree to pay for your care. In many cases, you are expected to pay 20% of the bill, while the insurance provider picks up the other 80%. You might also have a flat dollar amount, such as $25 for a doctor visit. Find out what your co-pay is, since that is something you will have to be responsible.
  • Deductible: This is the amount of money you agree to pay out of pocket for your care each year. With some exceptions (such as preventative car visits), you are expected to pay all of your expenses until the deductible is met. If you have a high enough deductible, there is a chance that you can go all year without your health insurance company paying for any of your care.
  • Pre-existing conditions: If you had a condition before you signed up for a health insurance policy, there is a good chance that it won’t be covered with your policy. Anything related to that condition might be excluded from coverage. You might find your insurance company absent if your arthritis flares up, or if you have a problem related to a back injury you received five years ago.
  • Certain types of care: Realize, too, that certain treatments might not be covered in your health insurance plan. You might not be able to get alternative treatments, such as acupuncture. Sometimes, mental health treatments are excluded. Make sure you fully understand what’s covered with your health insurance policy, or you could find yourself quite unhappy with the result when you decide you need to go to the chiropractor, or if your teenager needs some psychological counseling.
Read through your health insurance policy carefully before you sign up. Clarify what’s covered, and how much you are responsible for. That way, you will minimize the unpleasant surprises when you try to get your health care expenses covered.

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