Should You Get A Private Health Insurance Policy?

By Mark Di Vincenzo. May 7th 2016

Should you get a private health insurance policy? The short answer is yes, if you have no better options.

In an ideal world, you will work for an employer that will give you excellent benefits, and one of those benefits will include paying for a very large percentage of the monthly health insurance premium for you and your family. These days fewer and fewer jobs are offering that. Not that many employers stopped offering health insurance, but many employers are paying a smaller and smaller share of the premium, leaving the employee to pay what’s left.

Having an employer – whether it is a private company or the military or a local, state or federal government – pay any of your health insurance premium is a good thing. But what if you work for one that doesn’t? And what if you’re married and your spouse also either works for a company that doesn’t offer health insurance or he or she is self-employed?

In those cases, private health insurance very definitely is something you should have. It is true that private health insurance premiums can be very expensive, but not having it is a huge risk, especially if others are financially dependent upon you. An illness or injury or a condition that requires surgery can create a huge financial burden – one that can bankrupt you and your family.

In the rest of this article, we’ll spell out the pros and cons of private health insurance. Yes, there are pros, and that is where we’ll start:

Pros

Private health insurance offers an abundance of choice. If you have private health insurance, you can choose your health insurance benefits. That includes the amount of coverage your want, the types of treatment you want covered, the doctors you want to see and the hospitals and urgent care centers you want go to. You can search online for health insurance online that excludes maternity, mental health or dental coverage if you don’t need or want those services. In fact, you can purchase relatively cheap health insurance for catastrophic coverage only. Talk with people at HMOs and other similar systems, and you’ll be glad you have this choice.

Private health insurance sometimes offers flexibility with co-payments. Some private health insurance companies allow their customers to pay very small co-payments, in many cases half of what other plans offer to do.

Private health insurance stays with you as long as you can pay for it. If you have private health insurance, it doesn’t go away if you lose your job or get a new job or travel overseas. It’s there when and where you need it. Private health insurance policies can only be cancelled if you stop paying for premiums or if the insurance company proves that you lied on your application.

Private health insurance sometimes covers you when group insurance doesn’t. Federal laws preclude group insurance from covering pre-existing conditions if you have not been insured in the last two months. Not so with private health insurance. What’s more, your children cannot be excluded from your policy due to pre-existing conditions.

Cons

Private health insurance isn’t cheap. This is for a number of reasons, the most obvious one of which is an employer is not helping you pay for premiums. It’s all you. Another reason is you must have pay for the luxury of having so many choices regarding your coverage and your doctors. Premiums will increase every year, and deductibles and co-payments also may be higher.

Private health insurance companies require you to undergo a battery of medical tests. Before you can get private health insurance, the company will send a nurse or other employee to your house to take your blood pressure, check your breathing and collect blood and urine samples. They also may pinch the fat around your waistline and conduct other tests that may make you uncomfortable.

Private health insurance doesn’t like pre-existing conditions. Private health insurance companies can deny you coverage for a number of reasons, including if you have pre-existing health problems, if you have a family history that makes it likely you will have cancer or heart disease or if you are in what they consider a “hazardous occupation.” And if you smoke or drink too much, those also are big strikes against you. Even if the insurance company decides to insure you, you probably will be charged very high premiums and deductibles, and the company may not pay for certain pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, type-two diabetes, hay fever or rheumatoid arthritis. To compare, group health insurance plans do not use your personal medical history to determine your risk. In fact, group policies are subject to separate health discrimination laws in almost every state.

Health insurance is something that everyone should have. If private health insurance is your only option, shop around for the best plan for you and your family. It’s expensive, but they’re worth it.

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