Is Buying Health Insurance Through The Internet an Advantage?

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Health Insurance Plan Purchasing Options

Internet buying is becoming more and more popular and the web is a wonderful tool for research. However, is purchasing health insurance plans through the internet a good idea?

It is noted that medical health insurance premiums are rising substantially at this point in time. The reasons can be debated, but it is important to know all major medical plans must pay a minimum of 80% of the premiums paid, in claims. (85% if you are insured by a large employer plan) In short, the insurance premium increases are causing people to shop for lower rates.

First it is important to understand, there are different types of health insurance products. People over age 65 or other disabled people on Medicare would look at Medicare Plans. People under age 65 that wish to have protection and coverage for medical bills, may look at a number of types of major medical products. People wishing to protect their earnings/paycheck should look at disability coverage. And sometimes people look at supplemental types of insurance products. These policies can range from “mini-medicals”, accident and cancer policies among other types of policies.

When looking at medical insurance, it is important to understand the difference between a scheduled benefit “mini med” and a major medical plan. Mini meds pay up to maximum dollar amounts stated in the policy for hospital room and board, emergency room, surgery and other medical services. These plans are limited in the payments/reimbubursements they will make for medical expenses. Major medical plans usually have a deductible and may have a co-pay, but will, most likely, pay better when looking at a major illness or accident. Major medical plans often have networks of preferred providers (PPO) where benefits are better with the PPO providers. Short term or temporary plans may be available and pay much like a major medical plan; but do not pay for expenses incurred due to a pre-existing condition.

Also included in medical plans are critical disease plans, cancer, accident and other limited benefit plans. These plans can work well for people if they understand what and how the plan will pay.

Payroll protection or also named disability plans protect a person’s earnings. What would you do if you were sick and hurt and unable to work? These plans continue a percentage of one’s paycheck. This money is used to pay for living expenses such as one’s mortgage, utilities, and groceries.

People on Medicare have the basic option of a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan. Each have advantages and are vastly different; so this becomes a personalized choice.

In summary, there are probably more questions than answers that can be the result of internet shopping. Professional insurance agents that sell an insurance product are paid by the insurance company. Most importantly, your premium is the same whether or not you use an insurance agent. In addition, the agent can guide you to the best type of product for you, the PPO network you prefer, and a product that may best handle any conditions you presently have. In some cases, people have applied for coverage online and been rejected or denied issuance of that insurance. The rejection then has reduced their options to apply for a plan which prior to the rejection, would have issued coverage on them.

Use a professional insurance agent whenever possible and ask about your specific needs, wants and options. Do your research, but use an agent wherever possible. That agent may prove invaluable if/when a claim is incurred. For a list of professional agents contact Central Illinois Health Underwriters at www.ciahu.org Always feel free to contact our office.

Written by

Steven A. Buttice is the president of Medical Reimbursement & Management Services, Inc., a firm specializing in issues affecting seniors, including seminars and consultation on Medicare Plans, Long Term Care and other types of insurance, claims issues, and sales/service of insurance products since 1984.

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