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© 2009 Corporate Executive Board, All Rights Reserved. Health Plan Dictionary How to Understand Your Plan and Make Cost- Effective Choices
© 2009 Corporate Executive Board, All Rights Reserved. 1.Premium A premium is a fee paid simply for coverage of medical benefits for a period of time. Premiums can be paid by employers or employees, but they are frequently shared across both. Tip: Plans with higher premiums typically have lower deductibles, so if you use health care services often, so if you use health care services often, you may want to consider a plan with higher premiums to reduce your out-of-pocket costs as you use services across the year. 2. Deductible A deductible is a set amount you must pay for health care expenses before insurance begins to cover all or a portion of the total costs. Often, insurance plans are based on yearly deductible amounts. Tip: Plans with higher deductibles typically have lower premiums, so if you use services infrequently, you may want to consider a plan with a high deductible, so your premium costs will be lower. Dictionary of Health Insurance Components
© 2009 Corporate Executive Board, All Rights Reserved. Dictionary of Health Insurance Components (cont.) 3.Co-pay A co-pay (or co-payment) is a set fee that you pay for health care services, in addition to what the insurance company covers. For example, some plans require a $25 co-pay for an office visit to a primary care physician. Depending on your plan, you may have co-pays or co- insurance. Tips: If you want your health care costs to be predictable, consider a plan with co-pays instead of co- insurance if one is available. Also, plans usually have lower co-pays for primary care physician visits and generic prescriptions as compared to specialist visits and name brand drugs.
© 2009 Corporate Executive Board, All Rights Reserved. Dictionary of Health Insurance Components (cont.) 4. Co-insurance Co-insurance is a variable fee you pay for health care services, which is usually calculated as a percentage of the total service cost. For example, your coinsurance may be 20% of the cost for a primary care visit, with the insurance plan paying the remaining 80%. Tips: Plans with coinsurance often have lower premiums, and depending on the service, coinsurance may not be more than a co-pay. To help manage costs, ask about and compare the cost of health care services before selecting them.
© 2009 Corporate Executive Board, All Rights Reserved. 5.Network A network is a group of doctors, hospitals, and other care providers contracted to provide services to insurance companies' customers for less than usual fees. Provider networks can cover a large geographic market or a wide range of health care services. In-Network providers or health care facilities are part of a health plan's network. Insured individuals usually pay less for using an in-network provider. Out-of-Network providers are non-participants in an insurance plan's network. Depending on an individual's plan, expenses for services provided by out-of-network health professionals may not be covered at all or covered only in part by your plan. Tip: Before switching plans, ensure that any providers that are critical to your care are located in- network to avoid out-of-network charges. Dictionary of Health Insurance Components (cont.)
© 2009 Corporate Executive Board, All Rights Reserved. 7.Claim A claim is request to an insurance company to pay for your health care services. In some cases, your care provider, such as a doctor's office, submits a claim on your behalf. In some cases, however, you may submit a claim directly to the insurance company. Tip: If you don’t understand a health care bill or believe your claim was not processed correctly, contact your provider or your health insurance company. Dictionary of Health Insurance Components (cont.) 6.Out-of-Pocket Maximum An out-of-pocket maximum is a predetermined limit to the amount of money that you must pay before the health insurance company pays 100% of an individual's health care expenses. Tip: If you are managing a critical condition or anticipate high health care costs associated with treatments, surgeries, or extended hospital stays, consider a plan with a lower out-of-pocket maximum.
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