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Family Health Insurance

Insurance for Families

Health insurance for families is vital for ensuring health care in today’s expensive medical environment. If your family is lucky, either you or your spouse has a group health plan through the workplace. However, many families need to find health coverage on their own. When determining what kind of coverage to choose, you have to take into account how many family members you wish to insure. If you have children, you also have to find the health insurance plan that will provide them with the coverage they need. Read more about child health insurance.

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There are two categories of family health insurance today: group and individual. Most families go with a group health insurance policy because the costs are lower. In shopping for group insurance, you should know there are several types of organized medical networks and become familiar with their characteristics as they relate to your family. The types include HMOs, PPOs, POSs, and the new Health Savings Accounts.

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What are my options?

HMOs are often lower in cost and are set up in regional clinics. Your family will see their primary care physicians there, so it is important for the facility to be near your home. If your family members are healthy and require mostly routine care, an HMO may be a good choice for you. PPOs and POSs are slightly higher in cost but allow for more flexibility. If you have a family member who may need to see a specialist, these plans have large networks of doctors from which to choose. You can also go outside of the networks, but at a greater cost to you.

The Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are new and can provide a tax-free means of paying your family’s health costs and have the added advantage of a possible tax-free savings account. More details about these group insurance types are explained both in our Glossary and elsewhere in this website. It is important for you to become knowledgeable about each.

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Cost-effective family care

All families are unique and some have members with major health issues. With individual health insurance, a medical condition can create difficulties in finding new insurance for a family. The health problem is called a pre-existing condition by the insurance company because it existed prior to the new insurance application. In some states, a family can be rejected for individual insurance due to the pre-existing condition of a family member. In most states, a new individual policy is made available to the family but excludes the person’s pre-existing condition from coverage. Because family insurance on an individual basis is costly, don’t hesitate to call your state’s department of insurance for advice.

How can I lower my annual premium?

In looking for affordable insurance, you will find that raising the deductible will lower the annual premium. You can make speculations on the future health needs of your family by reviewing last year’s expenditures. You may be able to streamline the policy and raise the deductible based on your review.

When shopping for family insurance, consider the following points:

  • Families have two broad categories of health insurance from which to choose: group and individual. Most families get group insurance because it costs less.
  • To make the most informed decisions, it is best to learn about the different types of networks in group health insurance (HMOs, PPOs, POSs and HSAs).
  • The amount of the deductible on a policy can greatly change your annual premium. Study your family’s need to ensure the best coverage.
  • Compare the costs of your final two choices for group insurance, taking into account the premiums, deductibles, co-payments, percentages of fees paid, speculated out-of-pocket expenses, maximum limits per claim and on lifetime. Make a chart because it can help you.
  • A family member with a health problem can make it difficult to buy new insurance.
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