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Medical Insurance: The battle rages on

Posted Feb 25 2010 5:50am


Introduction
Ever since the economy has suffered a collapse, medical insurance has become a cause for concern thanks to the convenient hikes in insurance premiums.

Just today President Obama is expected to give the federal government more authority to ensure that the increase of insurance premiums are kept in check, which is in response to the company Anthem Blue Cross based in California that have raised its premiums by almost 39% for 800,000 policy holders come this May.

And the battle rages on, but who will win the war remains to be seen. Of course, the only folks who stand to gain from this are the comedians who seem to churn out new material on this sensitive issue that the current government is left to deal with, leaving us in no doubt that Obama truly has his work cut out for him.

Medical Insurance
Much like other forms of insurance, medical insurance also works in the same way that most other forms of insurance works. People pay premiums (monthly payments) to ensure that they will not have to bear a heavy part of the expenses if a medical emergency arises.

Of course, this doesn’t mean any kind of medical emergency, as the contract between the organization and the individual clearly states coverage limits (the maximum amount that will be covered for healthcare based on the premium, of course) as well as the list of ailments which can/ cannot be covered.

Now, just because you are paying premiums this doesn’t mean that your medical bills for a particular illness will be covered completely. There is a certain amount of money that the policy holder must pay from his pocket before the insurer pays his share as per the contract which is known as the ‘deductible’.

Depending on your needs, there are two types of insurance plans such as ‘comprehensive’ and scheduled’. With the former, the premiums can be expensive as the payouts can amount to anywhere between one to five million dollars depending on whether it is for hospital or physician charges.

Not only is this a significant difference between the two but comprehensive insurance covers a large variety of illnesses as well.

With scheduled insurance also commonly known as mini-med plans, it is just a basic policy that gives its holder daily access to a doctor or prescription drugs at a minimum cost, not covering for emergencies with their annual benefit maximums ranging anywhere between $1000 to $25000.

So, your next question might be: What are my options then?

Options
It’s very simple, really. A large part of health insurance is provided by the private sector, while the government provides also caters to the needs of its citizens with programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Veterans Health Administration.

While the former requires you to pay a premium for excellent health care services, the latter caters to disadvantaged groups such as veterans, low-income adults, children, the disabled and for people who are above the age of 65 years and above.

In Closing

Interestingly, as the baby boomer generation retires, the numbers will balloon from 45 million to about 78 million in 2030, making Medicare, the single largest health care payer in the nation, and without doubt will remain that way for some time to come.

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