It is very important for everyone to have health insurance. The high cost of health care makes it impossible for the average person to afford care for a bad accident or major illness.

Most governments and large businesses offer health insurance to their employees. Usually the employer pays part of the cost and the employee pays the rest.

If insurance is not available through an employer, it can be purchased independently. Buying insurance independently is almost always more expensive.

There are two main types of health insurance – fee for service and health maintenance organizations.

Fee for Service Insurance

Fee for Service Insurance allow you to choose any doctor or medical facility you want. The insurance company will pay part of the cost and the insured person pays the rest. These plans are convenient but cost more than Managed Care Plans.

Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
The most popular kinds of managed care are Health Maintenance Organizations known as HMOs. One kind of HMO owns the medical facility. Doctors and other workers in this facility are employees of the HMO. Patients can only go to this place for medical care. In most HMOs the insurance company has contracts with doctors, hospitals and clinics. They agree to fixed prices for their services. Patients usually have to pay a small copay. In these HMOs patients must select a primary doctor. All medical procedures must be approved by the primary doctor. The primary doctor will decide if the patient needs to see a specialist, have test done, or go to the hospital. If necessary, the primary doctor will send the patient to another place that is under contract to the HMO for further treatment.

Patients should always compare insurance companies to see which is bet for them. Cost of the insurance, what is covered, how much out of pocket for copy and what the insurance covers for prescriptions should be compared. Whether or not the insurance company accepts people with preexisting conditions should be considered

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