A survival guide for the uninsured – MSN

Over at Money Central, they have a pretty good article up for those who are uninsured: A survival guide for the uninsured – MSN Money. Here are their tips for looking for alternative insurance:

Some of the options include:

COBRA: If you were covered by health insurance at work but are about to lose your job, you’re typically entitled to coverage for up to 18 months under the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. Unfortunately, you have to pick up the whole tab for this coverage, which can be tough to afford. Coverage for a family of three can easily cost $500 to $1,000 a month.

High-deductible policies: You’ll pay more of your routine medical costs out of pocket, but these policies protect you against catastrophic medical bills. Having the coverage also entitles you to insurer-negotiated discounts with doctors and hospitals. (It’s shocking, but many medical providers charge the uninsured higher rates and fees because they aren’t covered by such discounts.)

An individual HMO policy from Blue Cross with no deductible might cost a single 24-year-old female in San Francisco $299 a month. Choose a plan with 20% co-pays and a $1,000 deductible, however, and the cost drops to $51 a month.

Short-term coverage: Many insurers that provide individual policies have a bridge or short-term option, typically designed to cover you until you land your next job. These are typically cheaper than a regular individual policy because the insurer is exposed to claims for a limited time. Try the nearest Blue Cross, or talk to an experienced health-insurance broker.

High-risk pools: If a health issue, rather than the cost, is keeping you from being insured, check to see if your state has a high-risk insurance pool. The American Diabetes Association maintains a list of state programs and contact numbers at its Web site.

Health insurance for kids: Most states sponsor low-cost or free health insurance for children, and a few will cover their parents for an additional fee. A family of four in most places can qualify for insurance for their kids with an annual income up to $38,700; in higher-cost areas, that limit may be higher. (A family of four in California, for example, could qualify for that state’s Healthy Kids program with an income of $48,384.) For more information, visit Insure Kids Now!, a government-run Web site.

Medicaid: This government-funded coverage is generally reserved for people with very low incomes and few assets; each state has different guidelines. For more information, visit Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a U.S. government site.

If you are looking for a little more info on getting insured, this might be a good article to read. Personally, we have a high deductible policy, per my article “Consider getting your own health insurance, it could save you a bundle of money.” It saves us a lot of money per month/year, and it still gives us full coverage in case of an emergency. If you are younger and healthy, it makes sense to go this way as you are spending less out of pocket and you can still pop in to see your doctor and get prescriptions at a “reasonable” cost.

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