June 10th, 2009 – In this Go, Go, Go world we live in, people are almost always a hurry. But as the old saying goes sometimes haste makes waste. That is certainly true in the complex world of health insurance.
According to a recent study by the American Journal of Medicine, six of of ten personal bankruptcies were at least partly due to illness or injury. Worse, 75% of those people had health insurance. But, did they have good health insurance. No, they did not!
One all to common example, showed a person with a $1000 deductible policy that wound up owing $38,000. How can this be?
There are many policies marketed online by clever Madison Avenue types with the full knowledge that many hurried consumers will just look at 3 things when evaluating a policy: Premium, Deductible and Copays. The policy may look good on the surface, buy may have large gaps that leave you exposed with things like limits on daily hospital fees, limits on surgical fees, surgical assistants, very high coinsurance out of pocket maximums and so forth.
People tend to make one of two mistakes.
1. They either sign up for health insurance online without speaking with a professional broker to explain the positives and negatives of the plan and to see if they might have a more attractive option for you.
2. They fill out a fake online quote request form and get a barrage of phone calls from high pressure salespeople that insist on meeting you in your home. Not to say that all agents that want to meet you in your home are bad, but they ought to be able to answer your questions on the phone and email you a quote that you can review at your leisure prior to your agreeing to a meeting. If you feel compelled to take this meeting be sure to ask for a Colorado Health Plan Description form for the plan and read through it CAREFULLY.
How do you avoid this mess? Slow down! Work with an experienced and reputable broker that works with multiple carriers. Ask lots and lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask “What if” type questions either. A good broker wants you to understand your options and the policy and should be happy to answer your questions. Now, if the unexpected does happen, you’ll have a much better up front understanding of the financial implications, so you can focus on restoring your health and living your life.
Source: Wall Street Journal article “Some Financial Medicine to Cushion Health Crisis” by Victoria Knight