Health insurance is one of the hot topics in news, print media and online. The Affordable Care Act requires every resident to carry health insurance, or they will incur a tax penalty.
It's important to have health insurance. Like a first aid kit or fire extinguisher, it's there when you need it. From simple emergency coverage to cancer coverage and indemnity plans, there are many health insurance policies available to get you the coverage you need in order to satisfy the minimum requirements set forth by the law.
Alabama Health Insurance Statistics
- Health insurance is now required by law for all AL residents.
- More than 20% of AL residents do not have health insurance.
- This is higher than the 16% rate of uninsured Americans.
As the statistics show, Alabama has a high number of uninsured individuals compared to the national average. Whether this is due to lack of knowledge about health insurance, or believing that health insurance isn't affordable, the state has a very large number of residents who are completely unprotected in case a medical need arises.
What Is Health Insurance?
Health insurance is a policy that covers medical expenses. There are many types of health insurance available, including the following:
- Health maintenance organizations: HMOs offer policies where you choose a primary care provider, who must refer you to any other physicians or specialists you need to see. All your providers must be within the HMO network in order to be covered. They also usually include a prescription plan. Plans with an HMO are usually more affordable than a PPO.
- Preferred provider organizations: Plans with PPOs allow you to choose any healthcare provider or specialist within the network. If an out-of-network provider is seen, you will have to pay a portion of the visit. These plans also include a prescription drug plan, and are usually more expensive than an HMO.
- Point of service: With a POS plan, you pay for the costs out of pocket, and then submit your costs for reimbursement. Typically, the reimbursement amount is around 80 percent.
- High deductible health plan/health savings account: You must have an HDHP health plan to obtain an HSA. With this plan, you pay lower premiums, however, your deductible is much higher, which makes it a plan not suitable for the typical healthcare insurance subscriber.
Supplemental Insurance Choices
If the most common plans don't fit your situation, there are supplemental plans avaialble. They can be stand-alone plans or additional plans:
- Medigap: This plan is limited to those enrolled in Medicare. While medicare is a program designed to help individuals cover medical costs, unfortunately, many procedures and benefits aren't covered. Medigap can help bridge the gap to help make medical care more affordable.
- Supplemental hospital insurance: This policy is also called a hospital indemnity plan. This plan will help you cover costs from a serious illness or injury requiring a hospital stay, including childcare and transportation.
- Supplemental cancer insurance: This policy falls under the category of critical care insurance.The American Cancer Society estimates that 67% of cancer treatments are not covered by medical insurance. This insurance can help cover those costs.
- Accidental death: This plan is typically offered by a high-risk employer. If you are killed or dismembered in an accident, your beneficiaries will receive benefits.
- Umbrella coverage: An umbrella option helps you extend your coverage limits.
- International policies: If you travel internationally, this plan can help you get care in case of an accident or illness abroad.
How Much Health Insurance Do I Need?
In order to satisfy the medical insurance requirements set forth in the ACA, your health insurance plan must pass one of the following tests:
- Minimum value test: By law, the plan must pay for at least 60% of medical expenses for an average person. The Department of Health and Human Services has created a tool for employers and healthcare administrators to use in order to determine if it passes the test.
- Affordability test: The affordability test looks at each employee instead of the company as a whole. The plan may not exceed 9.5 percent of the employee's wages.
What Will My Health Insurance Quote Look Like?
Health insurance costs vary depending on a variety of factors. When you're shopping for a health insurance quote, be sure to have the following information available:
- Your location
- Your personal information
- Your medical history
- History of medicines/surgeries
- History of other health plans you've been enrolled in
- Desired coverage
- Desired deductible
This is a basic information you will need to provide to your insurance agent in order to get an accurate quote.
Are There Discounts on Health Insurance?
While conventional discounts are not avaialble for health insurance, there are things you can do in order to lower your policy costs, such as:
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight
- Raise your deductible
- If you are young and healthy, consider a fee-for-service plan
How Do I Get Health Insurance in Alabama?
Health insurance can be an overwhelming. With all the plans and choices available, it's important to have a professional at your side who can make sure you're getting the right coverage. A Trusted Choice® agent is always available to help you discuss plans, provide insight into coverages, and even help you enroll.