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Are You Sure You’re Covered In A Medical Emergency?
There are few better times to look at how ready you are to deal with a health care crisis in the family than in the middle of a widespread pandemic. While the ongoing threat might be somewhat new, the risk of dealing with a medical emergency certainly is not. It’s one that every family should be adequately prepared for, but not all are.
Here, we’re going to look at how to ensure that you’ve got the coverage you need, and what steps you can take to ensure you’re ready in the event of a medical emergency.
Medical Emergency: the importance of being covered
It should be stated just in case any people are reading this who might not know: your financial security and future can depend on whether or not you have the means to pay for treatment in any medical emergencies. Until recently, you would have to pay a fine called the Shared Responsibility Payment if you didn’t have insurance.
Nowadays, however, you might have to pay a fee when filing state taxes without insurance, but this is not applied across the board. However, what is more likely, and a situation that thousands of people face every year is that you may have to take out a loan or pay for treatments and medication on credit. This has lead to a medical debt problem that is crippling households, with medical emergencies being one of the most common causes of bankruptcy.
Know what’s covered in your insurance
If you’re reading this, the likelihood is that you already have some form of health insurance. If you do not, then now is the time to look at the kind of coverage you need (and we will look at what you should be looking for a little later in the post.) Otherwise, take the time to really get a good look at what is and what is not covered in your private health insurance. It’s easy to assume that it will cover you in the vast majority of instances where you need health care, but that’s not always the case.
This information on what’s not included in health insurance from Investopedia gives a better idea of what typically isn’t covered across the industry. However, you also need to take a closer look at your plan and compare it to those offered by other providers to see any other gaps in your coverage. With these gaps, you need to consider, do you actually need the coverage that you’re missing?
Medical emergency: get the extras that you need
As mentioned, you must take a closer look at any health insurance coverage you have to make sure that you’re fully aware of what’s covered and what isn’t. Once you know what isn’t covered, you don’t necessarily need to switch to a new provider that offers what your current does not. Sometimes it can make more sense to find another provider that fills in the gaps.
For instance, supplemental insurance from TrueCoverage can cover a range of things that might not usually be included with your regular health insurance, such as hospital indemnity, cancer insurance, and critical illness insurance that might affect your earnings in the short term. Take the time to compare supplementary insurance plans alongside your existing plan and other primary health care plans to find out which might be the most cost-effective in your individual situation.
Know how to pick the right plan for you
There are many different health care plans out there, and, as mentioned, if you don’t have insurance, there’s no better time than the present to make sure that you’re getting the cover that you need. Otherwise, if your current contract is up, it’s always wise to look at the market to see if there are better options available than to sign on with the same provider immediately.
In the insurance industry, there is rarely much reason to stay loyal. Choosing the right health insurance plan may involve choosing based on your location, plan options, coverage level, and costs. When you’re looking at the costs of health care, be sure to look not just at premiums, but the estimated yearly costs, which typically include premiums, deductibles, as well as any additional fees that might get added on top.
Can Medicare help?
If you’re unable to pay for health insurance on your own, then there is a good chance that Medicare is the public option that you need. Though some people have issues with how effective a solution is, there’s no denying that it’s better than having no insurance. However, aside from Medicare, there is also what’s known as Medigap or Medicare Supplement Insurance.
This works a lot like the supplemental insurance options, as mentioned above; only it’s a form of public assistance to provide coverage that your current provider might not. As such, it might not offer the breadth of coverage as private supplementary options but is good for those who can’t afford them.
Looking at long term provisions as well
Not only should you be considering the health insurance and supplementary insurance that can help you cover a wide range of medical costs you might have to deal with. We have to necessarily think about the costs caused by a longer-term illness or injury, especially if it’s one that can affect our livelihoods as the bread-winners of our household.
Of course, social security does exist and is there to help in such instances, but it’s not always enough, nor is it always a given that you will get it. Disability insurance is the kind of provision that ensures you’re covered in the case of a disability, taking care of not just the costs of treatment, but also the long-term costs of losing a job due to disability. As with all insurance, it’s important to take a closer look at the deal that you’re getting, as they differ majorly from provider to provider.
Know the difference between necessary and elective
Even with supplementary insurance, there are some kinds of treatments that normally fall outside a health insurance company’s realm. These are known as elective health care treatments. Effectively, necessary medical treatments are those that treat or diagnose an illness or severe symptom and are needed to help your body function as it’s supposed to.
Elective treatments do not necessarily exclude these definitions, but they typically tend to go the most regularly recommended treatment. While having a knee replacement to treat arthritis is medically necessary, it goes beyond the usual use of joint injections and anti-inflammatory drugs and is still an elective treatment. Insurance providers offer elective treatment insurance, but this usually comes at a fairly steep cost.
Is it a good idea to save for health care treatments?
The vast majority of health insurance policies will require that you pay for deductibles when you seek treatment. These deductibles are essential a fee on the treatment, the part of the cost that isn’t covered by the monthly premiums that you are likely paying. Depending on your policy, these deductibles can still be expensive, and, as a result, a lot of people prefer to have some savings lined up for them.
However, it’s a good idea to put your money in a regular savings account. The rate may instead want to look at Health Savings Accounts. These are, effectively, savings accounts that you don’t get taxed on, at all. As a result of being tax-free, however, you cannot use any funds gathered in them for any reason other than paying off medical costs.
What about Medicare For All?
If you have been paying any attention to the conversation around health care in the country, then you may have heard of Medicare for All and how it can potentially help a lot of people who have trouble affording good health care. However, this is not an option currently available, but rather a policy proposal that has a lot of both political and general support.
The idea behind it differs from person to person, with some suggesting that it be a more widely available public option than existing medicare provisions. Others, however, suggest that private health care insurance should either be reduced to a significant degree or even outlawed as an industry, with public health care available to everyone through taxes rather than having to pay through deductibles or premiums. However, for the moment, this is only a proposal, with no such option available in the country.
Of course, no-one wants to have to deal with a medical emergency in the family. It’s simply a fact of life that it’s likely to happen at some point. The tips above offer no promise that everything will go smoothly if you follow them, but they can help a non-negligible degree.