Despite all the attention recently paid to health insurance and medical care at the state and national levels, many North Dakota residents are still struggling to find affordable coverage. What do the new healthcare reforms mean for you? How can you find a health insurance policy that meets your needs? Before you search for health insurance, there are several factors to consider.
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How North Dakota Fares on Health Insurance
Census data and market analysis gives us these facts:
- More than half, about 57%, of North Dakota residents obtain health insurance coverage through their employer.
- Nearly 10% of residents find coverage by private means.
- More than 20% of North Dakota residents are on Medicare or Medicaid.
- That leaves more than 10% of the population without coverage.
- North Dakota residents enjoy some of the lowest costs of health insurance in the nation, with average single coverage costing around $4,700 and family coverage starting at $11,000 per year.
What Is Health Insurance?
Health insurance can help pay for anything from yearly physical exams, doctor visits and medical prescriptions to major surgery.
Even though a majority of North Dakota residents purchase medical coverage from their employer, it may be possible for you to find lower coverage by enlisting the services of an independent insurance agent who can help you navigate North Dakota's health insurance exchange, compare several quotes and policies from a variety of providers and help you identify your health insurance needs.
What Does Health Insurance Cover?
Health insurance coverage options can vary substantially from plan to plan and even from one insurance company to another. However, the Affordable Care Act sets forth the minimum standard services that all health insurance policies must cover, as follows:
- Ambulatory care
- Emergency care
- Maternity care
- Mental health
- Substance abuse treatment
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services
- Laboratory services
- Preventive services and chronic disease management
- Children’s dental and vision care
Depending on the plan you choose, your health insurance policy can cover much more than the minimums set forth by the ACA.
How Does Health Insurance Work?
For most health insurance policyholders, the monthly or yearly premium is not the only expense they will face when seeking medical treatment. The vast majority of ND health insurance plans require the following:
- Co-payments: This is what the policyholder must pay for most medical services such as doctor visits and for prescriptions. The typical co-pay is about $25 for most routine visits and drugs and can be up to $100 for emergency services.
- Deductibles: A deductible is the amount of money that you must pay before your insurance begins to cover services. Normally, you will need to meet a deductible within a calendar year.
- Coinsurance: Some policies may have coinsurance, which requires you to pay a certain percentage of services rendered. Your coinsurance may be an amount you pay in addition to your co-pay and may apply toward your deductible.
Are You Required To Carry Health Insurance?
Although the ACA does mandate that most people carry health insurance, there are several exemptions. It's a good idea to speak with a qualified insurance agent who can help you find out if you are among those exempt from the individual mandate.
For most people, however, beginning in 2014, health insurance is required, and you could face a fine for failure to obtain a policy.
Assistance is available for those who qualify. Subsidies can help offset your premium costs if you meet the income requirements. Be sure to ask your agent if you are eligible to participate in any of these programs.
How Much Does Health Insurance Cost?
The statistics above show the average cost for health insurance in North Dakota, but those rates and the quotes you receive can vary greatly depending on factors such as these:
- Whether you need individual or family coverage
- The amount of your deductible
- The coverage options you need
- Whether you qualify for premium assistance
On average, individual coverage can cost around $300 to $400 a month, whereas family coverage can cost around $900 to $1,000 a month. Remember, however, that most people have part of these costs paid for by their employers.
Where To Find Health Insurance
Medical coverage is one of those protections that many people do not appreciate until they have a serious injury or contract an illness. But trying to find affordable coverage can be confusing and frustrating. Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents in the Trusted Choice® network are always available to answer your questions, suggest coverage options and even assist you in filing a claim.
Contact a Trusted Choice member agent near you to find out how you can obtain the perfect health insurance policy that meets your needs and budget.