Under normal economic conditions, finding affordable health care benefits for single mothers and their children can be a challenge at best, but the added impact of today’s recession has turned this task into a monumental struggle for many women.
Ideally, health benefits are provided via an employer, but many single moms fall into one of the following categories:
- Work for a small employer that does not provide health benefits
- Want to make a change, but feel tied to a job due to the fear of losing health benefits
Under these circumstances, where should a single mom begin to search for affordable health care benefits?
Each one of the aforementioned scenarios offers various challenges and opportunities, but there are a few common questions that often arise when the household decision-maker is faced with the task of finding reasonably priced healthcare options for her family. Despite what the media and political pundits proclaim, affordable health care is still accessible in the USA.
Consult With an Insurance Agent
Those searching for health insurance options on their own often find the information available online confusing and frequently overwhelming. But single moms, living on a dime, commonly worry about consulting an insurance agent, because they mistakenly think that insurance agents charge fees for their services. On the contrary, insurance agents are compensated with commission after the client follows their recommendations.
The cost is the same to the client, regardless of whether the client purchases insurance via an insurance consultant or direct with the insurance company. Insurance sales professionals help their clients navigate the marketplace to find suitable benefits that offer the best value for the price. The best resource for finding an insurance agent is made available by NAHU (The National Association of Health Underwriters): http://www.nahu.org/consumer/findagent.cfm.
Combine Major Medical Coverage with an Affordable Accident or Critical Illness Plan
In todays economy, health insurance may seem like a luxury item that only the rich can afford, but there is a way to protect oneself from bankruptcy while, at the same time, procuring first dollar benefits for preventive care, accidents, and critical illness such as cancer, at an affordable cost.
Many people forget that the real purpose for health insurance is not to protect oneself from any and all medical expenses but, rather, to protect oneself from medical bankruptcy. Therefore, a high-deductible insurance plan, one with a $3,000, $5,000 or even $7,500 deductible, often fulfills that purpose at an affordable cost. Even if the insured does not reach the high-deductible, he or she will benefit from substantial discounts that the insurance company has negotiated with participating health care providers, particularly for lab and other high-tech diagnostic services, just by being a member of the insurance plan.
Additionally, Federal healthcare reform now requires that all insurance plans, regardless of the size of the deductible, pay for 100% of preventive care services, which include wellness exams, pap, mammogram, cholesterol tests, bone density screening, colorectal cancer screening and child immunizations.
To protect oneself from the high cost of an Emergency Room (ER) visit associated with an unexpected injury, consider purchasing an inexpensive accident plan, such as the one offered by Wholesale Benefits Association (WBA). Unlike Cadillac employer-sponsored insurance coverage, personal health plans with a high deductible do not provide the insured with the benefit of a low, $50 or $100 co-pay for ER visits. Instead, the cost of an ER visit will typically apply towards the deductible on the health insurance policy.
Therefore, an inexpensive supplemental accident plan, combined with an affordable high-deductible major medical plan, can provide a complete coverage solution at a more affordable cost than Cadillac insurance, especially for active single moms with young, accident-prone, children. Accident plans are not intended to replace health insurance but, rather, supplement it. The cost can be as low as $22/mo for an individual or $35/mo for the whole family, depending upon the level of benefit per person, per accident, that is purchased.
Cancer is a real risk and high-deductible insurance, while protecting against the catastrophic costs associated with a disease such as cancer, can still leave a person who lives on a budget with significant out-of-pocket costs.
Consequently, a critical illness cash plan or cash cancer plan can protect one from the risk of a high deductible at a surprisingly low cost. Humana and Assurant Health offer surprisingly affordable, supplemental critical illness and cancer plans.
Solutions for People with Pre-Existing Conditions
Pre-existing conditions can be a major obstacle to finding affordable personal health insurance coverage. Below are a few resources to investigate, in the event that a family member is unable to qualify for a personal health insurance plan:
- Domestic Medical Tourism
- Partnership for Prescription Assistance
- Needy Meds
- Insure Kids Now
- Walmarts Walk-in Clinics and Locations
- National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
Medicaid is an option for single moms who financially qualify. For more information about eligibility, visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Website.
Dental care is often unfortunately sacrificed for those living on a tight budget, but healthy teeth and gums are vitally important.
For many, the thought of purchasing coverage for dental care doesnt occur until services for a cavity, root canal, crown or expensive periodontal maintenance are urgently needed. But by then, its too late to buy dental insurance.
Fortunately, discount dental plans, such as those offered by DentalPlans.com, can provide significant savings for dental care at a reasonable cost. The benefits offered by discount dental plans can be taken advantage of immediately upon the date that the plan activates. For single moms with kids, a discount dental plan for families can make a necessary trip to the dentist financially possible.
For single moms living hand-to-mouth, affordable health care benefits may seem impossible to find. Dont assume that financial protection is out of reach.
“Agent Advice is a feature guest post from Lynne Erickson of Erickson Financial Services, Inc.,http://www.efsbenefits.com. Lynne has been assisting individuals and families with the purchase of personal health, dental and vision coverage for more than 10 years. Her primary objective is to help her clients procure suitable health benefits that offer the best value for the price. Lynne is a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU).