Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tips for Buying Cheap Health Insurance

Did you know that as women age, we have special health related needs and are more prone to chronic diseases, and yet, a large population of women do not have health insurance. Despite being educated, women have historically experienced discrimination with regard to their health, simply due to ignorance, financial constraints and a lack of awareness of women’s issues. 

Research has shown that uninsured women are more likely to suffer serious health problems. They tend to ignore symptoms and wait too long to seek treatment, and many don't buy prescription drugs because of their high cost. Also many don't get preventive care, including lifesaving screening tests such as mammograms and Pap tests.

Hopefully, with the changing dynamics of today’s world, this can change. There are more working women in companies today than earlier, who are likely to be primary decision makers for their families as well. To satisfy our various roles as decision makers and consumers of health care, it is important for us to have adequate knowledge of health insurance.

There are a variety of private and public health insurance programs. A lot of women get health insurance through their employer or as ‘dependents’ in a family plan. People who have private insurance either buy it themselves or get it through their employer, called "group insurance." Group insurance obtained through an employer typically requires the employee to pay some of the overall policy cost. So it could work out pretty expensive, depending on the treatment you seek.

Of course, we all look for cheap health insurance. One way to keep premiums manageable is to increase your deductible and stick to the basics. Don’t go beyond what you think you can afford to shell out every year. You could skip the dental and vision coverage. However, some benefits are more important than others. A maternity rider is one of the most important benefits you should invest in, even if you decide to have a family in a few years, as by then, it may be too late to add to the coverage.

Some insurers are known to lure customers with attractive teaser rates that change in a few months. Beware of such insurers and make sure you read the fine print carefully. Your plan should be comprehensive enough to cover benefits, should you suddenly fall ill and need to be admitted to the hospital.

There also are public health insurance plans funded by the federal and state governments. The government provides health care coverage for qualifying women through Medicaid, Medicare, and special interest programs. These plans serve those who meet certain financial, age, or situational requirements.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), implemented by Obama in 2010, we can now look at subsidies in insurance options and covering preventive services. The healthcare law ensures that insurance companies can’t deny coverage to women with pre existing conditions such as pregnancy or cancer, women pay lower health costs and get their choice of doctor. Under some health plans, women’s preventive health care services – such as mammograms, screenings for cervical cancer, and other services – are already covered.

Some women face difficult situations, in which they are ‘overqualified’ for government assistance but cannot afford costly medical care, and they don’t have much of an idea about cheap health insurance. For them, there are free clinics provided. In addition, there are drug companies that will work you’re your health care provider or doctor to supply free medicines to the needy.

Some professional associations, clubs, labor unions and such organizations offer private health insurance to its members, which usually work out cheaper than if you had availed of it otherwise.

Bio : Sharon is a writer for several women’s magazines and she is passionate about educating women of all socio economic backgrounds on subjects like cheap health insurance, finance, sanitation and well being. She has been a volunteer for several organizations that reach out to underprivileged kids, orphans and women diagnosed with terminal diseases. She enjoys travelling, reading and learning foreign languages in her spare time. 

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