Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Are You Really Covered With Your Health Care? - Part 1

You might think you don't have to worry about paying for medical care if you have health insurance. But you would be wrong. There are several ways in how to make the most of your health plan.
  • Know What You Have. There is no such thing as a "standard health plan". If you're lucky, your employer insurer will provide you with a handy list of features. If not, check your Summary Plan Description, - that book that you probably got when you first signed up for it.
  • Sweat The Details. Remember, insurance isn't for when you're healthy - it's for when you're sick. Check for mental-health coverage...does it include ample counseling visits, inpatient days and substance-abuse treatment? How many days of physical therapy, in case you have stroke? Good "durable medical equipment" coverage can make all the difference for someone who needs a breathing machine or a wheelchair.
  • Do The Math. Do a "worst case" calculation of your maximum annual costs. Here's how: Add up the total annual cost of your premium + your plan's annual out-of-pocket cap. If too high, you might want to trade higher premiums for a lower out-of-pocket limit. if you have enough money saved up to cope with an occasional bad year, your trade-off might go the other way.