Health Insurance Quotes in Bellingham, WA
Compare Health Insurance Plans in Bellingham, WA
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 Bellingham, WA area, and even get a free quote online.
Most health insurance in Bellingham, WA 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 Plans in Bellingham, WA
It can be quite hard to figure out how much coverage is needed for a particular year. That means that looking for the best policy to fit an individual's needs involves making the most educated guess possible. The best way to make a good estimate of your needs for the future is by assessing your past needs. A person who does not have any conditions that require regular medical visits, and who has stayed relatively healthy in recent year will likely be well suited by a lower costing policy with limited coverage. On the other hand, a person with a chronic disorder or weak immune system who requires constant medical attention will be best served by a more expensive policy that offers enough different types of coverage to serve individual needs.
Catastrophic Only policies provide health insurance for the lowest prices available in Bellingham, WA. Such policies are only for people who are healthy enough to feel comfortable with a plan that only covers the most pressing emergencies. Therefore, they are too limited for most in need of medical insurance. Even activities like frequent travel and daily chores can put people at risk for small medical needs that would not be covered in such a policy but cannot easily be planned for. While it's definitely challenging to plan for the unforeseen, small injuries and illnesses can cost much more than anticipated if health insurance coverage is not sufficient for the needs at hand.
As a general rule, the more inclusive the coverage offered in a policy, the higher the monthly premium is. Thus, medical insurance can be seen as a financial investment. The more you invest in your policy every month, the better covered you are when you have a medical need and the less you will need to pay out-of-pocket for expensive procedures, tests, and treatments. Finding a policy in Bellingham, WA that covers ER visits and frequent doctor appointments will always help should health needs change suddenly. So, in deciding how much is best for you to invest in a health insurance policy, an assessment of lifestyle and the danger involved in daily activities will help towards planning for the unpredictable. The most important aspect of choosing a health insurance policy is making sure that the basics are all met, and then add more coverage based on the perceived needs from that assessment.
Types of Health Insurance Plans in Bellingham, WA
Many types of insurance plans are currently available in Bellingham, WA. 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 Bellingham, WA 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 Bellingham, WA, 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 Bellingham, WA 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.
Cost of Health Insurance in Bellingham, WA
Your premium is the monthly charge you pay to your insurance provider. This payment is made regardless of how much you actually use your insurance. Your deductible is the amount of money you pay to your healthcare provider for covered services. Once you reach the maximum required amount your insurance company will take over the costs of your healthcare. For example, if your deductible is $2000 then you must pay for services until you have paid $2000. After you have paid this amount you are only required to pay a copayment or coinsurance.
A copayment refers to the portion of the bill that you pay for a Bellingham, WA doctor's office visit or medical service. If the copayment for a given treatment is $15, then every time you are given that treatment you would pay $15. Any cost for the service beyond the $15 is paid by your insurance. These payments cannot be used to pay into your deductible.
Deductibles are not the same as your out-of-pocket costs. A deductible is the annual fixed amount that you must pay before your insurance starts to cover you. Your out-of-pocket cost is the total, cumulative amount of money that you will spend on your healthcare from your own finances.
Payments made toward deductibles usually do not roll over with each new year and are instead reset. For example, say you have paid $1500 on your $2000 deductible. When your insurance plan renews your paid amount will reset to zero and your deductible will remain at $2000. There are some plans that allow you to keep your paid amount from the previous year and apply it toward part or all of the new year's deductible.
Some insurance companies enforce lifetime benefit maximums and only pay a set amount for your medical services. A maximum amount of benefits is set and the insurance providers will not pay for more, regardless of deductibles or out-of-pocket costs.
Many individuals in Bellingham, WA receive health insurance through their employment. People who work for large businesses or corporations are likely to qualify for their company health insurance. This type of insurance will typically cover the employee's family, as well. Being on a company insurance policy is usually an easy and affordable option, but anyone is allowed to purchase insurance through a private party.
Self-employed workers have the freedom to purchase private, individual insurance. Senior citizens and disabled individuals can qualify for health insurance through the government program Medicare. Low-income families in Bellingham, WA can get coverage through Medicaid, a similar government assistance program for needy individuals.
Check with your primary care physician to see the types of insurance they accept and notify them of any changes. Remember to ask your insurance company about any questions you may have regarding your plan.
Get a Quote for Health Insurance in Bellingham, WA
One of the best things a person can do for themselves or their family is to make certain they have access to a health insurance plan in Bellingham, WA. Life brings on so many ups and downs in regards to health, and these items can affect not only the plan options available but what rates are being applied. Looking forward to all of the aspects of life that can make certain that the right plan is chosen. For example, if a woman plans on having a baby in the future, she needs to make certain that her plan offers maternity coverage and that a new family member can be added to the plan. It is important to note that eliminating coverage to save up-front costs is not the wisest idea in case disaster does strike. Here at MyRatePlan, we want to help people find the right plan for them, so enter your ZIP code for a free quote today.