Puzzled by Your Insurance Coverage? Let's
OverHaul the Pieces!
by: Janet L. Hall
Health insurance, you either have it or you don't. But wait a minute.
Even if you have health insurance you might not have it, meaning,
you might not have the coverage you'll need for your particular
illness or injury. If you work for a company, chances are they offer
what I like to call * boiler plate insurance *. Take it or leave
it. If youre self-employed, chances are you can get the coverage
you want but you also end up paying * big time * for it if you don't
understand the products and options available in the market place.
A friend told me about a female executive she had met who knew nothing
about her family's insurance coverage because her husband handled
all * that *. She woke him up one night asking him if their insurance
covered them if they should get Alzheimer's.
He tells her, "Yeah, were covered, go back to sleep and
But she wasn't so sure if he really knew
and thought she had better find out exactly what their insurance
What exactly does your insurance cover? More importantly, what DOESN'T
IT COVER? You need to know and understand what your plan covers
BEFORE you need to use your insurance.
I don't claim to be an insurance person but I have done some research
and here is a sampling of what I have discovered.
You've got PPOs, POSs, HMOs,
and COBRA. You've got Indemnity or Fee-for-
Service plans and Government run plans such as Medicare,
Medigap or Medicaid. Then there's Disability, Hospital Indemnity,
Long-Term Care, and Nursing Home Plans. Let's not forget Dental
You want and need to have health insurance to protect yourself and
loved ones from financial disaster if you or they should fall into
an illness or injury!
So I'm writing to urge you to get out your health insurance policies
and take a good look at them. See if your policies need an * OverHall
*. Call the provider if you don't understand something or you have
Get the family together for an hour or so and talk about the coverage
you currently have and write down any questions that come up.
Listed below are several questions and answers I came up with:
- Do you have a choice
in the type of plan? ASK
- Should both spouses carry
their company's plan or just one plan?
- Which is the best plan
for you? Find out your family's health history to help you determine
what type of coverage you should be looking at.
- Should you get or be
concerned about Long-Term Health Care? Depends on your family
history and your finances. It is suggested that you should start
thinking about this type of insurance when you are in your 40's.
However, the premiums are lower the younger you are. Also, check
with your accountant about this type of insurance as the premium
cost * could be a possible * deduction on your Federal Tax Form.
- What about Disability
Insurance? This is also know as Income Replacement Insurance
if you should become disabled (NOT the same as Worker's Compensation
if you get injured on the job).
- Should I get a Medical
- Are there any Federal
Laws concerning Health Insurance? Yes! Let me list but two:
a. Employers with 25
or more workers are required to offer employees the chance
to enroll in an HMO.
b. COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of
1985) requires if the business you work for has 20 or more
employees and you leave your job or are laid off that you
can continue to get health coverage for at least 18 months.
If you dont have insurance, find out if you qualify for any
state or government run plans or do some research to find out what
type of insurance you need and can purchase. The best site on the
internet I found while researching health insurance is by the Agency
for Healthcare Research and Quality (formerly know as the Agency
for Health Care Policy and Research). On their site you can find
a 14 page article, * Checkup
on Health Care Insurance Choices * that includes a checklist
and a worksheet for you to use.
They also have a very informative article, * Choosing and Using
a Health Plan * at http://www.ahcpr.gov/consumer/hlthpln1.htm As
you can see, there are a lot of pieces to the insurance puzzle.
Now it's up to you to take the time, make the time, to find all
the pieces you and your family need to complete this * crazy * puzzle!
The Organizing Wizard, Janet L. Hall, is a Professional Organizer,
Speaker, and Author of 'Secrets of a Professional Organizer and
How-To Become One.' She is the owner of OverHall Consulting and
Organizing By Phone. Subscribe to her FREE organizing newsletter
or visit her web site at http://www.overhall.com
Copyright ( c ) 1999, 2000, 2001 by OverHall Consulting
P.O. Box 263, Port Republic, MD 20676 All Rights Reserved.
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