Avoiding hidden costs and coverage limitations is key to choosing the right health insurance provider and a plan that won't leave you in a financial predicament
Fort Worth, TX (PRWEB) July 14, 2009
It is no secret that the cost of healthcare in America continues to rise dramatically. Currently, one out of every five dollars the government spends goes toward Medicare or Medicaid. In 2008, America spent more than $2 trillion on healthcare and some experts say that number will nearly double in eight to 10 years.
As a result, many Americans find themselves in stressful financial situations when unexpected challenges such as a serious accident, illness and disease occur. Most of these circumstances can be avoided if customers knew the right questions to ask and traps to avoid when choosing individual and/or family health insurance.
"Avoiding hidden costs and coverage limitations is key to choosing the right health insurance provider and a plan that won't leave you in a financial predicament," said Jerri McDonald, Executive Director of Insurance Services at TSCRA Insurance Services. "At TSCRA Insurance Services, we focus on helping our customers choose an affordable plan that meets their specific needs - making sure they know exactly what they are getting."
To assist their members in making smart insurance choices, TSCRA Insurance Services identified the 10 most important issues customers should be aware of to avoid hidden traps including:
1. Preventative care: Most plans do cover preventative care which typically entails routine doctor visits, immunizations and screenings. Routine check-ups and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can prevent common health problems. Check to see if your plan places limits on preventative care.
2. Rate increases: Some service providers can raise rates two to three times a year. Look for plans that only evaluate your premiums on an annual basis, leaving you with no unexpected mid-year surprises.
3. Caps on benefits: Insurance plans have caps on the amount of coverage they will provide in a year and in a lifetime. Look for plans that will cover you at least up to $2 million.
4. Caps on prescription drugs: Many Americans spend more money on prescription drugs than any other medical treatment. Prescription drugs costs are rising in the midst of a weak economy. Make sure that your plan covers the majority of the cost. This is especially important for the elderly, children and those with health complications.
5. Premiums: Be sure you understand how your premium relates to your total health care spending. Make sure you know how it impacts your deductible, co-pay and lifetime benefit caps. It is important to look at the overall amount you will spend on healthcare rather than just the cost of premiums.
6. Deductibles: High deductibles mean that you will pay more out of your pocket before your plan kicks in to cover the health care charges. In the event of an unexpected medical condition, a high deductible can often leave you in financial distress.
7. Out-of-pocket maximum: Make sure you look for a company that does not require you to pay over-the-top costs for your medical coverage. This will ensure that your insurance company is paying for the bulk of your coverage and that you will not be left with unexpected costs should there be a health issue.
8. Co-Pay: Doctor visits can add up, especially when you least expect them to. Make sure you know how much your co-pay will be and compare it with your deductible. Does your plan limit the number of co-pays available each year?
9. Co-Insurance: Make sure you're aware of what percentage the insurance company will pay toward your coverage. A standard amount is when the plan covers 80 percent and you cover 20 percent.
10. Network Providers: Check to be sure that the network you choose is wide- spread and has a comprehensive list of doctors.
"This is especially important for farmers and ranchers. Recent research in California found that even though farmers and ranchers are likely to have higher-than-average net worth, a high percentage are burdened by the cost of health coverage and care," McDonald said.
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 132-year-old trade organization and is the largest livestock association in Texas. TSCRA's 15,000 members manage approximately 4 million head of cattle on 51.5 million acres of range and pasture land, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma. TSCRA provides law enforcement services, livestock inspection, legislative and regulatory advocacy, complete insurance services, and educational opportunities for its members.
Wortham Insurance Company, San Antonio, Texas, TSCRA's preferred insurance provider, offers members access to business and personal insurance including automobile; property and equipment; livestock mortality; liability coverage for recreational activities conducted on ranches for profit. Disability and long-term care are also available.
For specific policy questions about TSCRA Insurance Services, please contact Client Services at 1-800-252-2849 or visit http://www.thecattlemanmagazine.com/insurance.asp.