For families look to purchase health insurance policies, the costs can be surprising. The price usually depends on the amount of people needing coverage, their ages, their genders, and if any of the members are smokers.
Many companies offer two forms of health insurance; an indemnity plan or managed care plan. An indemnity plan lets you make more decisions, but usually requires you to pay for those visits. With a managed care plan, the costs are cheaper because the company makes the main decisions including when and where you receive care. With families, managed health insurance is almost always the cheaper option.
When applying for coverage, be completely honest about the medical history of everyone in the family. If you lie and the company discovers it, they can claim fraud and cancel your policy, as well as requesting a refund of any medical coverage they paid, which is an expensive proposition.
If you need medical coverage after losing a job, consider COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1965). COBRA allows you to continue your health coverage from your employer for up to 18 months after unemployment. The costs can be high (I personally saw my monthly fee raise from $120 to over $500 per month), but may be worthwhile if you can’t find another policy. COBRA also allows you to pick who is covered and not continue the coverage for everyone in the family . For instance, if your son suffers from asthma and you are having problems finding health insurance, think about continuing his plan.
If coverage is not available through COBRA, the first thing you should do is shop around. No two companies have the same policies or coverage available. In some cases one member of the family has a pre-existing condition, which will raise the cost of a family health insurance plan.
Contact the State Health Department, and ask for help. Some states hold an “open enrollment” period where anyone can apply for and be granted coverage despite existing conditions. Keep in mind that you need to apply for a policy within 62 days. The new laws state that a person can go without health insurance for 62 days and still receive coverage of a pre-existing condition. If you wait any longer, the company can deny coverage, or make you wait a certain amount of time, usually a year, before they will pay for costs associated with that condition.
Even if no one in the family suffers from any pre-existing conditions, the first step should be the Insurance department of your state. They are an excellent resource, and available to answer your questions about policies and insurance companies. Sometimes there are issues that you are unsure of asking about, but they should be able to help.
Lastly, consider checking a website for help. www.einsurance.com lets you enter in the information for a family up to 6 members and get quotes from some of the leading health care providers. Or you can go directly to each company’s website and look for information, as well as call their customer service number for more help.
The best tip for finding a family insurance policy, is to do your research and make a plan. Know beforehand exactly what your needs are, and find a company that fits those needs.