Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How Do Low Income Families Find An Affordable Family Health Insurance Plan?

By Donald Saunders

Although rising healthcare costs mean that it is not as easy as it used to be to find an affordable family health insurance plan, you can still find a plan which meets your budget providing you are willing to do some research.

Start by doing some comparison shopping using the Internet which gives you easy access to an enormous number of health insurance companies. Select several companies from your search and get a quote online by completing the simple application form which nearly all of the sites will provide. Before starting your search though you will find it helpful to write down some basic information about yourself and your family's medical history which will make filling in the forms a little easier.

As soon as you have a number of quotes, pick those which look suitable at first sight and then consider the cover that each plan provides carefully and compare the plans to see which will give you the cover you are looking for at the price you can afford.

In reviewing each quote you should be aware of some common pitfalls.

You will find for example that there are a large number of great looking deals around with extremely affordable premiums but, on investigation, you will often find that these affordable premiums only apply to the first year of cover and that your premiums then rise considerably in the second and subsequent years.

You will also discover that a large number of companies offer low premiums as long as you do not make a claim against the policy. Once a claim is made however your premiums will rise markedly when it comes time to renew the plan.

A common problem with many low premium plans is that the health insurance company will either ask you to pay a substantial number of your medical bills before they will begin to pay out, or will pay only a small percentage of each bill. In the vast majority of cases you will be required to contribute towards you medical costs and this is typically set at around 10% or 20% of each bill. In exchange for a low monthly premium the health insurance company may however raise this figure, to perhaps as high as 30% or 40%, which can end up costing you a great deal in the longer term.

Many plans will also dazzle you with the huge range of things that they cover, but is this really necessary? If your family is reasonably young, fit and healthy and has not had to visit your doctor for some time then you might think about simply selecting a plan that covers you for accidents and emergencies and will take care of hospital bills and the cost of surgical treatment.

Select a policy which suits your needs, rather than a plan which appears to be the biggest and best and reduce your costs by taking out only the insurance that you need. If you want to have all of the 'bells and whistles' then you can always increase you cover at a later date when your finances permit.

Finding a suitable plan is not easy but, with a little bit of time and effort, it is certainly not impossible to find the affordable family health insurance plan that you need.

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