The Hows and Whys of Medical Insurance

Most people know about automobile insurance. By law, people must carry car insurance in order to drive. They are savvy enough to contact an insurance agent, obtain a few quotes, and purchase coverage. Medical insurance is a little bit different. Many people, especially those venturing out in the workforce for the first time, are clueless about medical insurance. They’re not sure about what it is, how it works, how much it costs, or how to use it. Here, we try to shed some light on medical insurance.

Medical insurance is like any other insurance policy. Insurance covers you for “just-in-case.” For example, you have auto insurance just in case you get into a car accident. You have renters insurance just in case your possessions are stolen. Medical insurance is coverage just in case you get sick or hurt.

Health care is very expensive. A single visit to the doctor can cost hundreds of dollars. If you experience an emergency and need to be transported to the emergency room of the hospital, the ambulance ride alone can be $150 or more. Then you have the actual cost of the treatment, which can run into the thousands of dollars. When you have insurance, your policy covers doctor visits, ambulance rides, x-rays, and sometimes even prescription medication.

Like other forms of insurance, you pay a premium on a regular basis for medical insurance coverage. The premium you pay will depend on the level of coverage you select. Some insurance plans, for example, require that you use certain doctors or hospitals. In exchange, however, you will pay a lower premium. Other insurance plans will allow you to see any doctor you choose, but the premium will be higher.

How do you get medical insurance? If you’re employed, most companies will offer you insurance under a group plan. You will have been notified of this on your first day of work. They will provide brochures, lists, and other materials that outline what insurance plans are available to you, how much it will cost, and what the plans will cover. Many employers will pay for some or all of the premium. If you do have to pay for a portion of the premium, it is usually done on a pre-tax basis. In other words, your insurance premium is taken out of your paycheck before taxes are deducted. To obtain medical insurance, you’ll need to fill out an enrollment form within the designated time periods to do so. Usually, you’ll have 30 days when you start working to apply. If you miss the 30-day window, companies have an “open enrollment period” in which you can apply. This period usually comes once per year for only a week or two.

If you’re unemployed or self-employed, you can find health coverage online or through a medical insurance provider. Because you’re applying individually and not under the umbrella of a group plan, your premiums will be higher. As well, you are responsible for 100% of the premium. On the plus side, you have ultimate flexibility as to what kind of plan you could get. When obtaining health insurance through an employer, the choices are limited. On your own, you might be able to qualify for just about any plan.Learn more about insurance agencies around you with

Whether obtaining insurance through an employer or on your own, make sure you obtain medical insurance before it’s too late. Spending a few dollars per month today can prevent you from spending thousands in the future.