|What kinds of health insurance are there?
There are essentially two kinds of heath insurance -- Fee-for-Service and
Managed Care. Although these plans differ, they both cover an array of medical,
surgical and hospital expenses. Most cover prescription drugs and some also
offer dental coverage.
These plans generally assume that the medical professional will be paid a fee
for each service provided to the patient. Patients are seen by a doctor of
their choice and the claim is filed by either the medical provider or the
2. Managed Care.
More than half of all Americans have some kind of managed-care plan. Various
plans work differently and can include: health maintenance organizations
(HM0s), preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and point-of-service (POS)
plans. These plans provide comprehensive health services to their members and
offer financial incentives to patients who use the providers in the plan.
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|Can I buy an individual policy?
1. Ask your insurance company if you can convert its group
policy to an individual policy. You will pay a higher rate than you did before
and your benefits may be limited, but the terms will still probably be better
than if you buy your own policy.
2. If you are married, see if your spouse�s employer will add
you to its group plan
3. Try to join a group health plan through a trade association
or alumni group or professional association may offer reasonable rates. If you
are over age 50, you can join the American Association of Retired Persons
(AARP), which offers an extensive plan. Even some credit card companies offer
health insurance coverage.     4. As a last resort, you can buy an
individual policy. The rates will be high and coverage limited, but it is
important that you be protected against financial catastrophe if you or your
family are hit with a major illness or injury. If you are self-employed, most
of the health insurance premium will be tax-deductible.
To find the best policy, consult with a health insurance agent or broker who
will help you find the contract that gives you the most for your money.
1. You leave a company and become unemployed or self-employed
for up to 18 months.
2. You are a widow or widower or child of an employee who dies
while working for the same company for three years or more.
3. You are the divorced spouse or child of an employee who has
left the company he or she was employed at for at least three years.
4. You are the child of an employee who left a job and have not
yet reached age 23.
NOTE: If you need COBRA benefits, you must fill out the appropriate forms from
your employer�s benefits department within 60 days of leaving your job. If you
do not act within that time, you may be denied coverage.
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|If I change jobs or become unemployed, can I bring my
coverage with me?
If you switch employers, you have the right to carry your group health
insurance coverage with you to a new job for up to 18 months under the
Congressional Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
You must pay the full premium, but at group rates that are far cheaper than the
individual rates you would pay for similar coverage. Health insurance under
COBRA is available if you are in these situations:
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