Health Insurance Quotes in California
Compare Health Insurance Plans in California
What is health insurance? Health insurance covers a person's medical expenses, including everything from surgery to other health related costs. In the United States, a number of different healthcare coverage options are available. Some options charge the individual an out of pocket expense, later reimbursing them through the insurance company, while others involve the insurance company paying the provider directly. With MyRatePlan, one can compare health insurance rates and coverage in the California area, and even get a free quote online.
Most health insurance in California comes from either employers or private companies. Senior citizens also have access to Medicare, and low-income individuals are covered through Medicaid. Medicare and Medicaid offer health insurance coverage at a reduced rate, making it more affordable than private plans.
Private insurance plans offer many different levels of coverage. Less expensive plans might only cover catastrophic emergencies, providing people with minimal coverage. More expensive plans, by contrast, often offer complete health coverage. When seeking a healthcare plan, individuals must anticipate their future healthcare needs and choose their plan accordingly.
Health Insurance Coverage in California
Health coverage needs vary widely between different demographics and influences like age, diet, genetics, and overall fitness play a big role in what your healthcare needs are. Your future health is unpredictable, but you can use your past medical history to estimate what your future needs may be. A healthy individual that rarely visits a hospital or doctor's office may not want or need an expensive, full-coverage plan. On the other hand, an individual with a pre-existing or chronic condition should look into policies with extra coverage.
Catastrophic health insurance is one of the most affordable plans available in California. This plan is for individuals that only want coverage for the most serious of emergency situations. It has high deductibles and is not designed to cover routine doctor's office visits, maternity care, prescriptions, or emergency room visits that are not life threatening.
Individuals in California who want more coverage from their insurance plans must pay a higher monthly premium. If you pay more money into your policy each month then your insurance company will cover a wider array of issues. This makes it important to choose your insurance based on your lifestyle and medical history so that you are covered at the right price for your needs. Basic needs like doctor's office visits and prescriptions are a good place to start, and more coverage can be added according to need.
The cost of premiums and deductibles are usually inverse, meaning that if you choose a policy with a high premium your deductible will be lower. Conversely, if you choose a plan with a high deductible then your monthly charge will be lower. It is important to understand your financial situation very well before choosing your insurance coverage.
Types of Health Insurance Plans in California
Many types of insurance plans are currently available in California. However, they vary based on convenience and flexibility. Among the most popular plans are PPO, HMO, POS, HRA, MSA, HSA and FSA.
A Health Maintenance Organization, also called an HMO, is a network that requires the customer to choose a primary doctor who acts as gatekeeper. When the customer needs to see another doctor or any type of specialist, that customer must go through the primary care doctor first. The primary care doctor must assess the patient and determine if he or she needs to see a specialist. If so, the primary care doctor makes the referral to the specialist. A benefit of HMOs is that they are more affordable in that they require low monthly premiums, no deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses are reasonably priced. One drawback is that the patient is generally only seen by a small network of doctors, and this is because many healthcare facilities do not accept HMO plans.
Another popular health insurance plan in California is the Preferred Provider Organization, also called a PPO. Unlike HMO plans, PPOs generally have a large network of participating providers. The insured person may choose whichever in-network doctor they desire, and specialists can be seen with no referral requirement. Choosing an in-network provider rewards the insured by giving them more coverage to see the in-network doctor. However, going out of network is not a complete loss to the customer, as PPO plans also offer partial assistance for expenses paid to out of network healthcare providers. PPO plans also have drawbacks. While they do limit the yearly out of pocket expenses to the insured, they also require deductibles and co-payments.
A POS, also called a Point of Service plan, utilizes a combination of PPO and HMO services. A POS plan offers a moderately-sized network of physicians as options for primary care doctors. The insured pays no deductibles and pays low co-payments, but only if the insured stays in network. However, the insured must pay a much higher price for co-payments and deductibles whenever treated by an out of network doctor.
In addition to the above options, consumers in California, also have the option of purchasing a less traditional insurance plan, such as a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), a Health Flexible Spending Account (FSA), a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Medical Savings Account (MSA). These four options all require the insured or the insured's employer to set money aside for medical expenses in a tax-exempt savings account. The money is then used to pay for doctors, surgical procedures, prescriptions and other medical expenses. One benefit these plans all have in common is the flexible of how they can be used. Some of the plans even permit the insured to roll the money over and use it the following year.
A person's employment status is a huge factor in determining the type of health coverage offered. Large companies can typically offer a group plan, which is less expensive than a single health insurance plan. However employees are not bound by law to enroll in a group plan.
Unemployed and self-employed people in California may choose to buy an individual or private plan. Unemployed senior citizens can get Medicare from the federal government, which provides financial assistance. Some people qualify for Medicaid if they have a very low income. Medicaid is a type of government assistance designed to benefit the poor.
Breakdown of Health Insurance Costs in California
You may have heard the term "premium" when it comes to health insurance. A premium is the amount of money you pay monthly to have health insurance coverage. Whether you use your insurance or not, this money is never returned to you. Another familiar term is "deductible." This is the additional money you are required to pay to any healthcare providers before your insurance company starts to make their promised contributions for any medical costs.
Keep in mind that deductibles are different from out-of-pocket costs. A deductible is an annual financial responsibility but out-of-pocket refers to how much you have to spend before your insurance company will pay 100% of your bill.
Deductibles and out-of-pocket costs typically reset each year, with the previous year's expenses having no impact moving forward. So if you have a deductible of $5,000, for example, and you spent $3,000 out-of-pocket last year and your insurance renews with the sample plan in place, your out-of-pocket expenses are reset to $0 and that $3,000 from last year does not roll over. However, some plans in California offer an exception to this rule and allow a rollover of your paid deductible amount from the previous year into the first quarter of the new insurance year.
Co-payments, also known as co-insurance, refers to your financial obligation of a medical visit or service. If your co-payment for visiting a primary care physician is $25, then every time you see your primary care physician, you pay $25. From there the insurance covers the balance if the services rendered are within coverage on your plan. Co-payments are not applied toward deductibles.
You may also receive a lifetime benefit from your insurance company. This refers to the maximum amount of money that your insurance company will pay in total for your healthcare. Medical claims will no longer be paid by the insurance company once this maximum amount is reached.
Your employment has a significant impact on the health insurance plans that are available to you in California. Working for a large company will likely qualify you for their group health insurance plan. This is usually more affordable than getting individual healthcare, but no one is required by law to participate in these group health insurance plans.
Being self-employed or unemployed presents the option of purchasing private, individual health insurance. If you are a senior and do not work, you are eligible for government financial assistance through Medicare. Low income individuals can apply for government assistance as well, which is called Medicaid.
It is important to check with your doctor to see which health insurance plans they accept in California if you want to continue visiting a specific physician. Notify your doctors if your insurance plan changes, and be sure to check with your insurance company regarding any specific questions or concerns about your coverage.
Get Quotes On Health Insurance Plans in California Online
Health insurance is one of the most important decisions you can make for yourself and your family. Make sure you take the time to consider all of the health insurance options available to you in California. As you assess all these factors in choosing a health insurance plan, MyRatePlan can help simplify the process greatly. Just enter your ZIP code above and see many ways in which you can save money on your health insurance policy.