The idea of a preferred provider organization is that the providers will provide the insured members of the group a substantial discount below their regularly-charged rates. This will be mutually beneficial in theory, as the insurer will be billed at a reduced rate when its insured utilize the services of the “preferred” provider and the provider will see an increase in its business as almost all insureds in the organization will use only providers who are members. Even the insured should benefit, as lower costs to the insurer should result in lower rates of increase in premiums. Preferred provider organizations themselves earn money by charging an access fee to the insurance company for the use of their network. They negotiate with providers to set fee schedules, and handle disputes between insurers and providers. PPOs can also contract with one another to strengthen their position in certain geographic areas without forming new relationships directly with providers.
What is a Health Savings Account (“HSA”)?
A Health Savings Account is an alternative to traditional health insurance; it is a savings product that offers a different way for consumers to pay for their health care. HSAs enable you to pay for current health expenses and save for future qualified medical and retiree health expenses on a tax-free basis.
You must be covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to be able to take advantage of HSAs. An HDHP generally costs less than what traditional health care coverage costs, so the money that you save on insurance can therefore be put into the Health Savings Account.
You own and you control the money in your HSA. Decisions on how to spend the money are made by you without relying on a third party or a health insurer. You will also decide what types of investments to make with the money in the account in order to make it grow.
What Is a “High Deductible Health Plan” (HDHP)?
You must have an HDHP if you want to open an HSA. Sometimes referred to as a “catastrophic” health insurance plan, an HDHP is an inexpensive health insurance plan that generally doesn’t pay for the first several thousand dollars of health care expenses (i.e., your “deductible”) but will generally cover you after that. Of course, your HSA is available to help you pay for the expenses your plan does not cover.
For 2008, in order to qualify to open an HSA, your HDHP minimum deductible must be at least $1,100 (self-only coverage) or $2,200 (family coverage). The annual out-of-pocket (including deductibles and co-pays) for 2008 cannot exceed $5,600 (self-only coverage) or $11,200 (family coverage). HDHPs can have first dollar coverage (no deductible) for preventive care and apply higher out-of-pocket limits (and copays & coinsurance) for non-network services.
How can I get a Health Savings Account?
Consumers can sign up for HSAs with banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other approved companies. Your employer may also set up a plan for employees as well.
How much does an HSA cost?
An HSA is not something you purchase; it’s a savings account into which you can deposit money on a tax-preferred basis. The only product you purchase with an HSA is a High Deductible Health Plan, an inexpensive plan that will cover you should your medical expenses exceed the funds you have in your HSA. However, HSA trustees often will charge fees for their services.
What is Short Term Health/Medical Insurance?
Short Term Health Insurance Defined:
Short term health insurance is health insurance coverage issued for a relatively short period of time. When you buy this type of policy, you can choose a period of coverage that may be as short as 30 days, or as long as 365 days (depending on state). Several deductible and coinsurance options are available, with the premium cost varying according to what features you choose. You customize your health insurance to meet your needs. Best of all, temporary plan coverage begins immediately! Apply today and your coverage will begin as soon as tomorrow. Short term health insurance is also referred to as short term medical insurance, temporary health insurance, temporary medical insurance or interim health / medical insurance.
What is Covered Under a Typical Short Term Health Plan:
Short term health insurance typically covers the same things as conventional, “permanent” major health insurance such as prescription drugs, hospitalization, emergency room, doctors’ services in hospital and in office etc. It does not cover dental care or optical care (except as it pertains to an accident or illness), normal pregnancy or childbirth, well childcare, sports injuries, pre-existing conditions, or care received outside the USA.
Who Can Use Short Term Health Insurance:
If you’re between jobs, a recent college graduate, or waiting on a new health plan to take effect, customized short term health insurance can provide you and your family with the security you need. If you’re not sure if short term health insurance is right for you, here are a list of typical situations.
Who Can Use Short Term Health Coverage?
Does your health insurance need match any of the profiles below?
· Looking for an Affordable Alternative to COBRA?
Individuals not wishing to pay for expensive COBRA insurance can benefit from a less expensive customized health insurance plan.
· Working Freelance, Part-time or Contract Positions while Looking?
A temporary health plan is often a good option for freelance, part-time or contract workers looking for major medical coverage.
· No longer Eligible for Your Parents Insurance Plan?
Young adults no longer covered by their parents’ plan can often find affordable (and immediate) insurance coverage through a customized short term medical plan.
· Unemployed, Laid Off or Between Jobs?
If you’re unemployed or between jobs, short term health insurance is an affordable way to get immediate insurance coverage for you and your family?
· A College Graduate or Soon to Graduate?
Customized short term health insurance plans are ideal for college graduates because they’re affordable, offer immediate coverage and give you the piece of mind of insurance coverage while you job search and qualify for an employer-sponsored group insurance plan.
· Waiting for Employer-Sponsored Insurance Through Your New Job?
A short term health Insurance policy is a perfect way to affordably fill the gap between now and when your employer-sponsored plan takes effect. Can you afford to go uninsured?
· Close to Being Eligible for Medicare?
If you’re within 6-12 months of becoming eligible for Medicare, short term health Insurance may be more affordable than your existing insurance plan. Learn more here…
· Self-Employed or A Small Business Owner Looking to Save on Health Insurance?
Self-employed professionals and small business owners can save money by using temporary health insurance. A couple of ways are described.
· A Business Manager or Owner who uses Contract Associates?
This is a challenging situation because group insurance requires the employer-employee relationship. But short term medical insurance can be the solution.
· Looking for an Affordable Child-only Health Insurance Plan?
A child-only temporary health plan is often a good option for parents looking for major medical coverage only for their children.