Health Insurance Quotes in Palo Alto, CA
Compare Health Insurance Plans in Palo Alto, CA
Shopping for and comparing health insurance plans in Palo Alto, CA is a daunting task. With so many different plans to choose from and various coverage options, it's hard to know what is best for you and your family. Some plans may be subsidized by your employer while others require you to pay the entire premium yourself. Some will pay your healthcare providers directly while others will reimburse you. Fortunately, MyRatePlan makes it easy to compare insurance plans and get a free online quote so you can make an informed decision about your healthcare coverage.
Health insurance comes from three primary sources. The first is from your employer. If you work full time in Palo Alto, CA, your company may offer you a health insurance plan. Some employers will buy this plan for you while others will help make the insurance affordable by paying a portion of it for you. In some instances, you will be asked to pay all of your premiums yourself, but will be offered a discount for being part of a large group who is buying insurance services together. Think of this as a type of group discount.
The second possible source of health insurance is the government. Medicaid and Medicare programs provide insurance for the elderly and those in certain income brackets. You may also provide yourself with health insurance by purchasing a policy from an insurance agent or directly from an insurance company.
How to Compare Health Insurance Coverage in Palo Alto, CA
It is often difficult to predict one's future healthcare needs. For this reason, it is best to use previous healthcare costs as a way to estimate future needs. For instance, those who are healthy and don't often visit doctors or specialists can generally make do with a less-expensive health insurance plan. However, people with serious or chronic health problems generally require costlier plans, as they must frequently visit doctors and hospitals for treatment.
In general, more coverage requires payment of a higher premium. The more the insured pays each month, the more an insurance company will pay out for the insured's healthcare costs. To get the best deal on health insurance in Palo Alto, CA, it is imperative that consumers consider past medical needs before making a decision to purchase insurance. For instance, some people like to buy a cheaper plan, and then add coverage when necessary.
Catastrophic only insurance is one of the cheapest health insurance plans in Palo Alto, CA. This type of plans is designed for those who hardly seek medical care and only need insurance in case of a dire emergency. On the other hand, people who travel often and live dangerously require a plan that provides regular visits to a doctor as well as emergency room visits.
Different Types of Health Insurance Coverage in Palo Alto, CA
You have several different options as far as types of healthcare plans available in Palo Alto, CA. While the levels of coverage offered may be similar, the flexibility and convenience of these plans vary greatly. Some choices include a PPO, an HMO, an HSA, a POS, an FSA, an HRA, and an MSA. As confusing as this may seem, it really is important to understand the basic differences before you select a plan.
HMO, which stands for Health Maintenance Organization, provides health services for a fixed annual fee. This kind of medical insurance organization provides or arranges managed care, serving as a liaison with healthcare providers on a prepaid basis. When you have an HMO plan, you must choose a Primary Care Physician (PCP) to be the gatekeeper for all of your health-related needs. You choose the PCP from a network of local healthcare providers in Palo Alto, CA who will then refer you to specialists or hospitals in the network when necessary. So if you need to see a specialist, you have to go to your primary care physician first and obtain a referral to a specialist if your primary physician deems it necessary for you to visit one. Some doctors do not accept HMO insurance plans, so although HMOs typically have lower premiums than other plans, there may be a limited network of doctors available to the insured. The best things about HMO plans are the reasonable out-of-pocket costs and the lack of deductibles.
PPO stands for Preferred Provider Organization, and this type of plan allows for more flexibility and more choices thanks to a large network of healthcare providers that participate. Individuals insured under a PPO plan can choose any primary care doctor within the network and see a specialist or go to a hospital without the need for a referral. This applies even when you travel. However, your out-of-pocket costs are lower when you go with an in-network healthcare provider. With that being said, you can still get partial financial assistance for out-of-network costs. With PPOs you typically have deductibles, co-payments, and yearly spend limits for out-of-pocket costs.
A Point of Service (POS) plan combines elements of HMOs and PPOs by offering a decent-sized network of options to choose your primary care physician from. As long as you stay within the network, you don't pay any deductibles and copayments are low. However, seeing a doctor that is out-of-network makes copayments and deductibles high. You can also consider some non-traditional approaches to health insurance in Palo Alto, CA. These options include a Health Savings Account (HSA), a Medical Savings Account (MSA), a Health Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), and a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA). These plans come with a lot of flexibility and operate on the general idea of you or your employer setting money aside in a tax-exempt savings account for all medical-related expenses. This money can be used for doctor's visits, prescriptions, and surgical treatments. In some cases, this money that has been set aside can even be used for over-the-counter medication.
Breaking Down Health Insurance Costs in Palo Alto, CA
There are several potential costs with health insurance plans in Palo Alto, CA. The first is the premium, which is how much the individual pays every month for his coverage. It's essentially a monthly service fee, as the individual never gets this money back.
The deductible is the amount that the individual needs to pay for medical expenses first each year before the insurance provider starts paying its portion. There are also out-of-pocket costs, which are different than deductibles in that out-of-pocket costs are the amount an individual needs to spend each time before the provider pays 100-percent of the bill.
With most plans, the deductible and out-of-pocket costs reset at the beginning of the year, and expenses from the previous year don't factor in moving forward. For example, if an individual's plan has a $5,000 deductible and he paid $3,000 out of pocket one year, his out-of-pocket expenses will go back to $0 at the start of the year. There are plans in Palo Alto, CA that allow policyholders to roll over what they paid for their deductibles to the first quarter of a new year.
The co-pay is the amount the individual must pay each time he visits a healthcare facility. If his primary care physician co-pay is $20, he'll pay that every time he visits his doctor. His insurance provider covers the rest of the costs from the visit, provided any services he receives are covered on his plan. Co-pays don't count towards a plan's deductible.
Some insurance plans have maximum lifetime benefits, which are the maximum amount that the provider will pay for the individual's healthcare. If the provider reaches this maximum, it won't pay any further for the policyholder's claims.
A major factor in health insurance plan options in Palo Alto, CA is the individual's employment status. Large companies usually have group health insurance plans with lower rates than employees would get purchasing individual healthcare. However, the law doesn't require employees to participate in these plans.
Individuals who are self-employed, such as freelancers and business owners, and those who are unemployed can purchase private, individual insurance coverage. Senior citizens are eligible for financial assistance from the government by getting Medicare. Those who are in low-income brackets can also apply for government assistance through the Medicaid program.
If an individual has a specific doctor he likes, he needs to check the health insurance policies in Palo Alto, CA that will allow him to keep seeing that doctor. It's also important that he informs his doctor if his plan changes, and that he contacts his provider if he has specific coverage questions.
Get a Free Online Health Insurance Quote in Palo Alto, CA
Providing health insurance for self or family is one of the most important endeavors of responsibility. With so many factors affecting health insurance rates and plans, MyRatePlan helps to narrow the search for suitable health insurance coverage in Palo Alto, CA with just a ZIP code. Saving money on health insurance should not mean denying necessary coverage because of cost. The trick is to eliminate cost without compromising coverage.
One of the easiest and most convenient ways to save money and maintain proper coverage is proper and realistic planning for possible future events. For example, if the insured intends to marry and/or have children, then it may be more beneficial in the long run to choose a plan that includes spousal or maternity coverage from the beginning. Some plans force the insured to wait until a certain time of year to make changes or apply additional fees to make changes. These stipulations can cause out-of-pocket expenses that overwhelm the insured.
No matter what type of insurance is chosen and no matter how much the premiums are, out-of-pocket expenses are always going to be much higher. Let the professionals at MyRatePlan narrow the search for quality, suitable insurance plans in Palo Alto, CA. Entering your ZIP code is all it takes to search for and save on health insurance with a free quote today.