With the costs of medicines and hospitalization increasing, health care has become extremely expensive for most people to tolerate. As important as it is to buy health insurance, it is also important to save money, especially in these times of economic difficulties. The only way to save money and to get a good deal is by researching. Before committing to a specific health care insurance, one must study the variety of health plans that are being offered by conducting some online research.

It can be overwhelming to research and not understand a word of what is being read. That is why prior to researching, one must learn there are two different types of health insurances. One type is called indemnity plans, also known as reimbursement plans, and the second type is the managed care plans, which include health maintenance organizations, preferred provider organizations, and point of service plans.

With indemnity plans, offered by most traditional insurers, a person is allowed to choose their own doctor and is entitled to either completely pay for the medical expenses, pay part of it, or up to a specified amount per day for a specific period of time. Then the medical expenses are reimbursed, however, in some cases the reimbursement may be limited.

The managed care plans provide wider coverage and make an arrangement between the insurer and a selected network of health care providers like doctors, hospitals etc. Policyholders are offered major financial motivation to use the providers in that network. However, a health maintenance organization may require that a primary care physician in the network will coordinate the entire health care of the patient and refer to specialists, also in the network.

One must be aware of what managed care plans consists of and their differences. Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are prepaid policies; members pay a monthly fee despite of how much medical care is needed in a specific month. By being a member, this grants you and your family complete care including doctors’ visits, hospital stays, emergency care, surgery, lab tests, x-rays and therapy.

Preferred provider organizations (PPOs) are made up of doctors and/or hospitals and the insurer pays for services as they are rendered and then it is reimbursed. With point of service plans (POS) one pays no deductible and usually only a minimal co-payment when they use a healthcare provider within their network.

POS plans are a mix between an HMO and a PPO where you have a primary care doctor and you get most of your health care from but you also have the option to choose to see doctors outside of the network at your own cost.

One should also examine the type of coverage offered by each health insurance organization and understand that it may vary. If one were to be hospitalized, hospital expense insurance pays for the room, board and incidental service costs. Surgical expense insurance covers surgeon’s fees and related costs associated with surgery. Physicians’ expense insurance pays for visits to a doctor’s office or for a doctor’s hospital visits.

Major health insurances offer a very broad coverage with maximum benefits that are designed to protect the customer from catastrophic illness or injury. While buying health insurance like these, one must check carefully and read between the lines of the policy to see if the additional benefits include prescription drugs, preventive care, mental health benefits, maternity care, vision care and others.

There may also be some expenses besides the monthly premium expenses that are not covered by some health care insurance organizations which can be really heavy especially if there are small children or members who visit the doctor frequently. Another expense one should be aware about is a co-payment. A co-payment is an amount one has to pay every time a health insurance provider is visited. There are some deductibles which are amounts to be paid towards medical expenses before the insurance company begins to pay the claims. There can be coinsurance also where the percentage on the medical costs has to be borne.

Health insurance is usually offered through a group plan such as at work or through another group affiliation like a club or a school. However, one can also purchase an individual health insurance. Before buying any health insurance, one should get online and find information, compare rates, review plans and options offered by each company and select the one that appeals the most. The best health insurance plan is the one which has the greatest flexibility and the most benefits at the lowest costs. One needs to shop around and get the best quotes before committing to a specific insurance. One must also make sure the reputation of the health insurance broker is good and in case of doubt the state’s department of insurance gives the full information.

Author's Bio: 

Sandra Cohen is a contributing writer for HealthInsurancePlan.us, which is the one-stop resource for finding the right health plan. Buying health insurance can be challenging, find a health insurance agent in your area to assist you in getting affordable health coverage.