With the recent increase in advertisements for cheap and low-cost health solutions, many consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical of the veracity of some health insurance advertisements. Those consumers may be wise, says the Idaho Department of Insurance – the state regulatory authority for the Idaho insurance industry. However, if consumers need lower-cost health plans, they should look into opening Health Savings Accounts that come with low-cost high deductible health plans.
According to a press release issued late January from the Idaho Department of Insurance, consumers should beware of television and print advertisements for low, affordable health insurance. Those ads, the organization says, may not provide consumers with enough information about health policies, prices, and alternative health opportunities.
“Be sure you understand the details of any plan you may be considering before you make a purchase,” says Department Director Bill Deal. “Consider the current or future medical needs you or your family may have. Coverage and deductible options differ widely from plan to plan.”
Deal wants to make sure that consumers understand that “bare bones” health plans that cover very specific health care expenses may have stifling limitations on what health care services and products are covered by the plans. These limitations, says Deal, may be far greater than limitations associated with more comprehensive health insurance plans. However, many qualifying Health Account plans may come with high deductibles, but they may also cover regular check-ups and provide lower cost prescription medications.
“Limited benefit health plans are not intended to replace but to supplement other plans,” the organization said in its press release. “Coverage is restricted to fewer types of medical expenses and has higher co-insurance percentages, higher co-pays and higher deductibles.”
Moreover, the organization wants consumers to be aware that some low cost “High deductible health plans only cover catastrophic health care costs. Consumers pay much more of the up-front cost before the policy pays any benefits for eligible medical expenses.” Again, high deductible Health Savings Account qualifying plans may help to provide solutions to many of the problems associated with other high deductible health insurance plans.
One of the best ways that consumers can ensure that they are getting a health insurance plan that suits their specific needs and budget is to work with a health insurance agent. A health agent will learn about a consumer’s lifestyle, health needs, family needs, financial situation, and other concerns, then match the consumer with the most appropriate health insurance policies for his or her needs. These health insurance policies may include comprehensive health insurance plans, but they may also include low cost high-deductible health insurance plans that come coupled with Health Savings Accounts.
Consumers should also be sure to revisit their health insurance policies annually to ensure that their current policies are congruent with their current health care needs and budgets. Health insurance companies revise their plan offerings and options regularly, which means that consumers may be able to get more appropriate health insurance plans this year than they could last year. Health insurance companies have also adapted many of their plans to meet the needs of consumers who are navigating the current economic situation and who may be affected by health care legislation.
The Idaho Department of Insurance also urges consumers to contact their state insurance departments to ensure that the health insurance company and agent with whom they are dealing are licensed in their state.
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