Any type of insurance plan protects you from certain life events or “risks” such as sickness, accident, catastrophe, or even death. These events obviously incur costs that, if you’re not prepared, can cause big problems in the long run. If you have insurance, the insurer will assist you when it comes to the expenses brought about by these risks.
Health insurance, or more commonly referred to as health card in the Philippines, is one of the many kinds of insurance available today. It is a type of coverage or plan that shoulders all or shares the medical and surgical expenses of the insured. Numerous insurance providers offer various types of coverage resulting in different insurance policies which are legal contracts that state the amount of premiums, pay-outs, coverage, benefits, lock-in periods, and terms and conditions that both the insurer and the insured have discussed and agreed upon.
Obviously, insurance documents may include technical terms that are hard to understand. This makes the task of choosing an affordable and credible health insurance quite overwhelming and time consuming. Then again, finding the right health card for you need not be difficult. Here are some basic things that you should do before you get a health insurance.
1. Start early. As with savings, the earlier you start with your insurance, the better. After all, your health is your greatest treasure and an insurance is considered an investment—something that you can use should the need arise. Many procrastinate, thinking they are prepared enough for any unlikely event, only to regret it when an accident or illness occurs. What you should realize is that starting early means having more time to look at the nitty gritty of the insurers’ products and having a better shot at protecting yourself and your loved ones as early as possible.
2. Do your research. It really pays to look around and get as much information as you can about health insurance providers. This may be the hard part initially, but you will be spending some hard-earned money so it’s worth the effort of looking at different providers and determining what they offer.
Word of mouth is likewise helpful, as getting feedback from previous and current clients of an insurer can give you valuable insights as to how plans are managed. Ask family members, friends, and/or colleagues—they might be able to tell you details that are not discussed to you by the insurers.
3. Determine your budget. How much can you pay on a regular basis? Knowing how much you can afford can help you narrow down your options. Take note that health insurance policies have lock-in periods, so make sure that you can cover the premiums for the entire coverage period.
4. Identify your employment status. If you are employed, your company most likely provides health insurance. Many providers or health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offer corporate packages and they will let you know about your coverage depending on your job position. Usual packages include inpatient, outpatient, and emergency room benefits as well as access to a large network of accredited hospitals, clinics, and other medical professionals. Of course, you can get your own health insurance, in which case you’ll have to manage the regular payments yourself.
If you are self-employed, you need to do all the work—from finding different insurers and comparing their insurance plans, to understanding the coverage and paying premiums. A medical insurance enables you to have your own choice of doctor, clinic, or hospital for reimbursement, as well as benefits as an outpatient.
The selection process can be a bit daunting at first, considering the amount of information that you need to understand. The good thing is that reputable insurers make it very easy for you to understand the benefits you are entitled to in terms of health coverage. Moreover, most insurers have advisers who are more than willing to assess your needs and even recommend the right plan for you. All you have to do is study everything you can on your part.
5. Check your health status and lifestyle. These will play a significant role in determining the type of health insurance plan as well as the coverage that is suitable for you. For instance, most providers take pre-existing conditions into account. These are illnesses that you may already have before availing the health insurance. If you have any pre-existing condition, it may not be covered by the insurance. As with lifestyle, if you are smoking and/or drinking, this will also greatly affect the type of health coverage that you can get.
Taking care of yourself is of utmost importance, especially if there are people who are relying on you. Choose a credible and affordable health insurance so you and your loved ones will not have to worry about the future.
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