What to Consider When Choosing a California Health Insurance Company

Do you live in the state of California? If you do, are you in need of medical insurance, which is also commonly referred to as health insurance? If you are self-employed or if your employer currently does not participate in a healthcare program, you will need to find a health insurance company or provider to do business with. When doing this, there are a number of important factors that you will want to take into consideration.

When it comes to finding a California health insurance company to do business with, there are some individuals who make a mistake; a mistake that is actually quite common. That common mistake involves focusing too much on the available health insurance plans, instead of the actual companies or providers offering them. Of course, it is advised that you obtain a reasonably priced health insurance policy, but one that has great coverage, but that isn’t all that you should be looking for. To give you comfort and peace of mind, you will also want to make sure that you are doing business with a reputable and reliable California health insurance company.

If you are interested in researching California health insurance companies, there are a number of different approaches that you can take. First, you can use the internet. Online, you should be able to find a number of websites that discuss insurance companies, including California health insurance companies. You can also find consumer reporting websites that outline particular businesses, including California insurance companies. In addition to using the internet, you can also ask those that you know for recommendations or suggestions. In addition to speaking your friends, family members, neighbors, or coworkers, you may also want to think about asking your current healthcare provider. They may be able to give you insight into a number of well-known or even relatively unheard of insurance companies.

When furthering examining a California health insurance company, or even a number of them, there are a number of points that you will want to keep in mind. Of course, you will want a California health insurance company that has a good reputation. You will want one that has a proven, successful track record. You will want to be cautious of any California health insurance company that has numerous complaints against them. Whether those complaints concern the customer service received or inaccurate payments, you will want to try and choose a California health insurance company that is perceived in a positive matter, as it will likely benefit you later on.

You will want to review each and every California health insurance company that you come across, even the ones that you may already know by name. However, if you are interested in buying health insurance from a relatively unknown or unheard of California health insurance company, you will definitely want to make sure that you research the company in question. With something as important as health insurance, you can never be too sure.

The Advent of Private Health Insurance Companies

Private health insurance companies stemmed from the public’s need for financial assistance in cases of general medical emergencies. The concept of health insurance is collectivism – it collects each individual’s small monetary contributions into a pool which can be readily used in case of a person/s medical need. There are also some insurance companies who cover long term disabilities and nursing needs. Social security is a form of insurance provided by the government through taxes, which can be used to cover a citizen in a medical situation. Healthcare is a need that each individual needs to have to avoid fatality.

Private health insurance companies originated from the concept of Hugh Chamberlen in the late 1600’s, but was never enacted until the 1900’s. The first form of insurance came in the nature of accident insurance, which are a lot similar to what we know of today. In the United States, the first accident insurance company was known as the Franklin Health Assurance Company of Massachusetts. The concept of covering sickness in insurance, other than just accidents or sudden disabilities, began in 1866, but was never successfully enacted until the year 1890. As the years progressed, employer-enacted health plans came to effect in the year 1911.

Private health insurance companies didn’t start until the middle of the 20th century, when private hospitals began offering individual health plans to patients to help them finance expensive medications. These are the predecessors of what we now know to be HMO’s or Health Maintenance Organizations, Blue Cross being one of its original founders. Health care is a big and sensitive issue all over the world, and especially in the United States, with the recent health care reforms from the current president Barack Obama – but that is another topic altogether.

Health insurance responsibility and terms are clearly stated on the policy holder’s booklet, and is largely based on the premium he or she pays on a monthly basis – not all services are covered, and there are certain limits to the insurance coverage. Still, with all these, one can’t stress enough the importance of health plans to an individual and his or her family’s health. There are also several types of insurance plans offered by health insurance companies; long term, short term, scheduled, etc., and their prices may vary as well.

There are a lot of top health insurance companies in the US today: Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Associated Health Maintenance Organization, Capital Health Plan, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Allstate, and many others. One thing is for sure, though, with the economy as it is, private health insurance companies will surely continue to emerge in the coming years.

Individual Health Insurance Companies

Individual health insurance is that health insurance coverage provided to individuals, not to a group of people. The premium for such policies is usually higher than a group health insurance policy. However, not all individuals can apply for group insurance policies, as not everyone qualifies for a group plan. The individual health insurance company caters to the insurance needs of self-employed individuals and professionals.

There are many individual health insurance companies available, both online and offline. It is up to you to decide which individual health insurance company is better for you. Get different health insurance quotes from the different health insurance companies. When applying for your quote, the health insurance company makes you answer a health questionnaire and undergo a medical examination to provide proof of your insurability. The company has the authority to decline your coverage on the basis of your personal habits, health, age, medical history, income or other factors that bear on risk acceptance. There is also a chance of the individual health insurance company issuing you a policy with limitations on coverage.

Upon comparing the different quotes of the different individual health insurance companies, you can choose the company whose rates best meet your needs. Most individual health insurance companies have different options like fee-for-service insurance, association-based health insurance, managed care plans, high-risk pools and open enrollment in managed care plans. They differ in the criteria they follow to issue policies. You then choose the best plan from the best individual health insurance company, according to your needs, health position and budget.

Health Insurance Companies Aren’t Gouging Us? Take a Look at the Numbers

The much-maligned health insurance industry has not always deserved the contempt it receives. These companies are usually accused of caring only for profits, but those profits are not as great as most of us imagine. There is room for some improvement in the industry, but such improvements will not reduce health costs significantly. A clear understanding of your policy will go far to reduce the hostility many feel towards this essential industry.

Most commercial health insurance companies have three objectives: collect dollars from premiums, pay off overhead with what’s collected, pay off claims, and have about 3 to 6 percent of the total collected remaining as net profit. This profit goal is relatively modest. Americans pay $2 trillion dollars a year on health care, including the operating costs and profits of health insurance companies. This averages out to approximately $6,551 for each man, woman and child in the United states, or approximately $537 a month. At a 6 percent profit, the industry is earning $120 billion a year. This averages out to $387 a year, or $310 million in total from what Americans pay towards the insurance companies’ profits, or $32 a month. A mere 5 percent of what you pay each month for health insurance goes to the profits of the insurer. You pay that percentage to a taxi cab driver as a tip. Obviously, the health insurance companies are not charging their customers an excessive percent of the total for health insurance. Yes, they are in it for the money, but they’re not gouging us.

All organizations have some leakage of cash, and the health insurance industry is no exception. Their organizations spend a great deal on administrative costs, streamlining their operations, and increasing efficiency of operations. All this may go to reduce their operating expense and thus, the cost of insurance for us, but we can’t expect significant savings here.

Yet the new Health Reform law is requiring health insurance companies to spend 80 percent of those $2 trillion on medical treatments. That means they’ll have $400 billion left over. Subtracting their profits ($120 billion), they’ll have $280 billion to cover overhead. If they are able to reduce operation costs by just 1 percent, or $2.8 billion, and turn that into premium reductions, the $537 each person now pays is then reduced to $528, a savings of $9 a month or a savings of $108 a year. Although every penny counts these days, these numbers aren’t too significant to most of us.

Health insurance companies have been mandated by the new Health Reform Law to modify some of their policies, which may raise the cost of insurance. They are now prohibited from dropping people from insurance while they are sick. Now, they cannot deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. They can no longer impose a cap on the amount they will pay during a person’s lifetime. In 2011 they have to start paying 80 percent of their earnings towards medical treatment. In 2014 they can no longer refuse to sell policies to anyone, with or without a pre-existing condition, and the price they set for policies can’t be based on the customer’s health condition. So, by 2014, no one will be excluded from obtaining health insurance in the United States.

These measures, particularly the provision that doesn’t allow insurance companies to deny insurance based on a person’s health status, will go a very long way in reducing our overall health care costs. With universal coverage, many illnesses can be cured in their early stages, thus avoiding the most expensive treatments, those in the emergency room.

All of us should pursue a clearer understanding of the purpose of health insurance companies. They are not humanitarian, non-profit organizations, but businesses with the objective of making a profit. Much of the misunderstanding is fostered when an ailing patient is told by the insurer that their medical requirements are not covered by their policy. It is therefore absolutely imperative that you’re clear about what your policy will cover before you enter into an agreement for coverage. Nobody likes to spend money needlessly, but when it comes to spending money on your health, without an insurance company, you could do worse. Know your policy and expect health insurance companies to strictly abide by it. Whether we like it or not, we can’t do without them, and they can’t do without us. You’ll appreciate them most when that $13 thousand dollar bill comes in following a brief visit to the emergency room, and you don’t have to pay a dime. Then spend or save that $13 thousand for your future needs, such as college or retirement!

How to Find the Best Health Insurance Companies With the Best Rates

The best health insurance companies aren’t necessarily those with the highest premiums or the catchiest advertisements. The best company for you is the one that offers the coverage you need at a price you can afford.

Whether this means you look at bare-bones HMO plans, or policies with full medical, dental, and vision coverage for everyone in your family, the choice is up to you.

What Are Your Choices?

If you’re buying into a group policy through your employer, your insurance choices are limited to what your employer offers. But if you’re buying your own policy, you can design one specifically suited to your needs.

Maybe you just need a short term policy to cover you for a few months. Maybe you’re in good health and just want a major medical policy to cover you for accidents and major illnesses. Maybe you’re looking at HMOs and PPOs to save some money, or a high-deductible plan coupled with a health savings account. Your choices are nearly limitless.

Finding the Best Health Insurance Company

Once you know what kind of health insurance you want, you can start looking at specific policies. The fastest and easiest way to get and compare quotes from different insurance companies is to go to an insurance comparison website.

The best comparison sites even let you talk with insurance experts so you can ask questions and make sure you choose the best health insurance for your needs at the best price. (See link below).

You can also use websites to check out the insurance companies that send you quotes. At sites such as A.M. Best (ambest.com) and Standard and Poor’s (standardandpoors.com), you can check the financial rating of each company. In addition, you can check customer complaints for different companies at your state’s Department of Insurance website.

The cost of health care goes up every year, and so does the cost of health insurance. That’s why this is a crucial time to find the best health insurance policy you can.