Most of the people who are shopping for major medical insurance are concerned about their budget more than the coverage. The premium quoted becomes the deciding factor while choosing medical insurance. It determines the type and extent of the medical insurance they want to purchase. The rates offered for the medical insurance plan depend on the current health, habits, hobbies, and lifestyle of the person looking for insurance. Relatively healthy people are offered lower rates than someone who is suffering from any illness.Indemnity and managed care medical insurance plans differ in their fundamental approach of providing coverage. Indemnity plans are preferred for the wide choice of doctors allowed which include specialists, such as cardiologists and surgeons. They also provide a comparatively larger range of approved hospitals and other health care providers. Managed care plans do not have as wide a choice as in case of indemnity plans. They usually have tie-ups with certain doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. This allows managed health care plans to offer a range of services to its members at reduced cost.Health maintenance organizations or HMOs offer managed care medical insurance plans for lower rates as compared to insurance plans that charge a fee for the service rendered. However, it is not the right choice for people who might want to opt for specialized insurance coverage.
Preferred Provider Organizations or PPO insurance is aimed at combining the lower cost of managed care with the greater range of choice found with indemnity health insurance. A PPO health insurance plan has all the features of an HMO plan but it allows the policyholders to choose medical practitioners from a wider range.The point of service or the POS plan is a lesser-known plan that attempts to combine the properties of PPO and HMO. A POS plan requires the policyholders to choose a primary care physician to monitor their health care, who has to be chosen from within the health care network. This chosen physician becomes the point of service for the policyholders.
Consumers frequently inquire about the difference between these plans. Most understand the basics of traditional health insurance, but many do not understand the nuances of a Health Savings Account – or HSA.What is a Health Savings Account?The easiest way to explain the difference may be to clarify what health savings accounts are not. They are not health insurance plans. Rather, they operate much like savings accounts setup at a bank. And they are always coupled with a high deductible health insurance plan. That is to say, one could purchase high deductible health insurance coverage with or without a health savings account attached to the plan. A Health Savings Account is exactly that – an account established to save money for future health expenses.The idea behind HSA’s is fairly straightforward. Owners deposit funds into their accounts to be used later for qualified health expenses. Funds can be used for a variety of expenses – including (but not limited to) visits to the doctor, prescriptions and/or meeting the deductible.Advantages of HSA Compatible PlansGenerally, Health Savings Accounts will be less expensive than traditional insurance plans. The reason is simply that plan deductibles are higher. Therefore, the insurance company underwriting the plan will not have to immediately cover small, incidental claims. The owner would use funds from the HSA for many of the incidentals – like doctor visits, prescriptions, etc.In addition, the attached savings account has significant tax advantages versus traditional health plans. Contributions into an HSA are tax deferred and the interest accumulates tax deferred – much like contributions to an IRA. However, when funds are withdrawn for qualified medical expenses, no taxes are due on those withdrawals. In this way, HSA’s provide tax advantages to the consumer twice – once when the money is deposited and again when it is withdrawn.Who Should Consider a HSA Compatible Plan?Healthy individuals who infrequently visit the doctor are good candidates. Individuals and families on a tight budget, but in need of affordable coverage could also consider a HSA plan. These consumers can pay smaller, minor health costs out of the HSA, but should they have a significant claim, the health insurance coupled with the plan is available once the deductible has been met.Many employer sponsored group plans are already switching to HSA’s to lower their health care premium bills. The rising cost of health care is forcing many companies and small business groups to change insurance plans in order to save money. A HSA compatible plan can be a fair compromise for the employee and the employer. Some employer groups will make contributions to the HSA to encourage employees to make the change.Who Should Consider Traditional Insurance?Consumers who want lower deductibles and more in immediate benefits tend to purchase traditional plans. In the insurance industry, this concept is called “first dollar benefit”. These are benefits the consumer receives without having to meet a deductible or co-insurance provisions. Examples of first dollar benefits include annual physicals, visits to a specialist or non-specialist, OBGYN visits and prescription coverage. While newer HSA plans are offering more in first dollar benefits, usually traditional health insurance will provide the most in immediate benefits.Traditional coverage can be more advantageous for families and/or middle aged or older consumers. These groups may be more likely to have several claims against their policies. They may desire more in immediate benefits. Additionally, they may simply have the resources available to afford more expensive policies.In summary, there are many health insurance plans available to the individual, family and business group. Choosing the right plan will often times involve balancing cost with benefits. HSA compatible plans can be an affordable alternative to a traditional, lower deductible plan. Consumers, when working with an experienced independent agent, can usually find a suitable plan that fits their needs.
The USA prides itself as having one of the top nations with the most effective and functional educational systems. The US has been consistently working towards the improvement of the country’s education-related initiatives.The government has consolidated programs that not only offer federal loans, but it also includes academic grants to eligible scholars who attempt to continue their schooling and acquire a degree in a certain field of expertise.In order to constantly ensure the correct consolidation of these initiatives, the U. S. government has established several agencies which are intended solely for the administration of education-related initiatives.First up is the U. S. Department of Education, most commonly referred to as the ED or USED. The agency, established in October of 1979, was built to ensure that efficient channels are present in terms the administration and consolidation of educational laws, policies, programs, and initiatives.The mission of the Department of Education is to”establish policy for, administer and coordinate most federal help to education, collect data on US schools, and to impose federal educational laws relating to privacy and civil rights.”For more specific concerns, the Department of Education has established a few sub-agencies or divisions, namely:a) Institute of Education Sciences – This division was created as a part of Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 and is the primary research arm of the United States Department of Education.b) Federal Student Aid (FSA) – This division of the ED is the largest provider of financial aid in the United States in the form of grants, loans, and work-study funds. The mission of the FSA is to”ensure that all qualified Americans benefit from federal financial assistance grants, loans and work-study programs for education beyond high school.”In the year 2011, the FSA was reported to administer roughly $144 billion to almost 15 million postsecondary students and their respected families.c) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) – This agency is operating under the United States Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and it’s primarily tasked to gather, investigate, and share statistical data on education and public school district finance data all over the United States of America.d) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) – Another program of the ED that has continually been aiming at achieving its major agency mission which is to”to provide leadership to reach full integration and collusion in society of people with incapacities by guaranteeing equal opportunity and access to, and excellence in, education, employment and community living.