Years ago, acquiring your first health coverage was almost a right of passage. You began your career and you were automatically enrolled in your employer’s health plan. That still takes place today but the health care industry has moved into a gigantic monster gobbling up resources everywhere. Rates keep going up at an astounding pace and more employers are cutting back on their plans or doing away with their health benefits entirely. Where does this leave you?
The most important tool you can have when looking for good health insurance is knowledge. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many places where you can obtain that knowledge without having to spend months (or even years) going through the small print. This is why you should consult with a specialist, a true expert. Your local Auto Insurance guy or gal may not be the answer.
A word of caution: Do not rely on employer-based group insurance. This could be a threat to your financial future. How long do you think an employer will keep you on the pay-roll and provide benefits if you are too sick or hurt to work? Eventually the company will replace you and you will lose the benefits along with it. Sure, they may offer you COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budge Reconciliation Act) to continue your coverage at your own expense. Usually, these premiums are quite high and will eventually run out. Then what? You may qualify for the High Risk Pool of your state but this could be just as expensive and in some cases more. This whole problem can be prevented with the right knowledge.
Our Health care system does not make a direct connection between receiving a service and paying for it. Instead, a third party actually processes and pays the bill. This could be the insurance company or plan administrator. The consumer never sees the actual price of these services. The consumer is usually only aware of the amount of his or her co-payment or their deductible, rather than the full price for Doctor Office visits, lab tests, etc. The co-payment seems to be the price most know. As services become more expensive, the consumer does pay for the increase indirectly, through higher deductions from wages for health care or their benefits reducing by going with higher co-payments or deductibles. The result is that premium costs are pricing health care out of reach for employers and individuals. Dissatisfaction with the lack of choice in care and financing adds to the precarious state of health care coverage.
Conclusion: Since our Economy has changed there is no guarantee that you will have a job with the same employer until you retire. The employers that are dropping their health plans all together to stay in business is increasing each year. Our chances of having the employer-sponsored health plans are slowly going away. Just like with any change, you have to prepare. In order to be prepared you have to obtain more knowledge specifically to the area of change. Most of us are so busy in our everyday lives that it’s hard to take time away from our family and work to learn more. This is why you should consult with a health insurance expert when it comes to your health insurance.
By: Butch Zemar, President