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What is Health Insurance?

In general, health insurance pays for a majority (but not all) of your medical expenses, and sometimes covers disability or long-term nursing costs as well. It protects your finances, provides lower medical rates, and allows you access to better health care.

Your health insurance policy will have a deductible amount and a premium amount. Your policy's deductible is how much you'll pay out-of-pocket before the insurance provider pays for medical claims. The premium is what you pay every month or year to the insurance company in exchange for coverage.

Some Health insurance expenses also involves a copayment, which is the amount you'll pay upfront.

Coverage - What's Insured?

Health insurance typically covers:

  • Doctors visits s
  • Surgery
  • Hospital bills
  • Pharmacy costs
  • X-Ray & lab expenses

Certain plans will also cover:

  • Vision
  • Dental
  • Long-term care
  • Short-term care
  • Mental-health care

Please note that this is a summary of typical coverages. Read the terms of your policy carefully to learn what coverages are provided under your insurance policy.

Buying Health Insurance

Health insurance options can seem overwhelming, and deciding between a PPO and HMO is just the beginning. Simply put, you'll need to explore the trade-offs between coverage, price and risk. You can decide how to manage these by considering how much you could comfortably spend in the case of an injury or illness.

Policies with a lower deductible are more expensive at first, but typically provide more coverage options so you take less out of your own pocket. This type of policy works for families with kids and routine doctor visits, and prepares you better for unexpected health expenses. If you want to save money in the short term, and don't anticipate a lot of medical expenses, consider opting for a low-premium, high-deductible policy. With this type of policy, you'll be saving with lower premium payments, but you'll be paying more out of pocket when you use your benefits.

Occasionally, you can save money by paying your premium in a lump sum instead of monthly. And if you expect to visit a doctor frequently, consider a policy with a lower copayment.

Take a look at the maximum out-of-pocket costs on your quoted policies, too. This amount sets the limit to your annual financial responsibility.

Lastly, be as honest as possible when getting your quote. In certain cases, undisclosed conditions can result in a cancelled policy when you need it most.

Staying Healthy

The best way to control your health expenses is to live a healthy lifestyle:

Healthy eating: A healthy diet starts in the grocery store. You can increase your overall health by eating smaller portions of healthy foods. Don't skip breakfast - it's the most important meal of the day.

Stress: Stress influences your overall health. Minimize your stress where possible, and even consider stress reducing supplements, like magnesium and Vitamin B.

Exercise: It keeps you active, strong and mentally alert. It's also another way to reduce stress.

Sleep: A good night's sleep is critical to maintaining your health.

Germs: Remember to wash your hands, and to cough or sneeze into your elbow. Through a combination of these and other healthy habits, you may be able to fight off the common cold.

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