Health insurance covers the cost of medical care. There are two types of health plans: health maintenance organizations (HMO) and preferred provider organizations (PPO). In a HMO, a family doctor refers patients to an approved provider network. In a PPO, an insured person can choose any doctor or specialist they choose.
In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) is a publicly funded health care system that covers all citizens who normally reside in the country. Unlike many other countries, the NHS does not charge premiums and does not pre-pay costs for care. However, it achieves the main aim of insurance: spreading the financial risk of illness among many people. It does this by funding a public hospital network and requiring doctors to accept its members.
Since the mid-70s, the cost of health insurance has outpaced the rise in real income, leaving a significant gap between the cost of care and the ability of individuals to pay it. This gap in purchasing power has contributed to an increase in the number of uninsured individuals each year. Despite the economic prosperity in the U.S., the number of uninsured Americans remains high. The rise in the uninsured rate during the early 1990s was partly due to a decline in employment-based coverage. However, since the mid-90s, the rate of uninsured adults has remained stable or even declined.
The costs of health insurance vary according to age, health, and location. For example, premiums for bronze plans are typically lower than those for platinum plans. However, deductibles are not fixed in stone. It is always wise to read the fine print and know exactly what your plan covers before choosing a plan. While most health insurance policies cover most of the costs, they may not cover all benefits.
If you are not sure about the cost of individual health insurance, you can seek help from a health insurance agent or professional. Ask for several quotes from different companies and compare the costs. Also, be sure to check out the financial stability of the insurance company. You can also visit the A.M. Best website to find information about the financial health of insurance companies.
The government provides several public health insurance programs. Medicare covers older people and those with disabilities, while Medicaid covers low-income individuals and pregnant women. Public insurance, however, is difficult to obtain and maintain because of strict eligibility requirements and enrollment procedures. But public coverage is available for low-income individuals, and is often better than the alternative.
If you’re married and working at Penn State, you should get medical coverage through your spouse’s employer. In the past, employees were permitted to stay under the same health care plan but the policy changed in 2018. The change will not affect dental or vision plans, however.