California Health Insurance – Independent Health Life Agent Verses Insurance Company In House Agent

You have just completed an online form requesting a free health insurance quote and moments later you are being inundated with phone calls from insurance agents hoping to get your business. Try not to become overwhelmed or annoyed by these “pesky sales people” because they are really not telemarketers. Most of them are well-trained state licensed professionals who can really help you make a good decision regarding which health plan is best and most affordable for your individual or group coverage needs.You may be under the misconception that if you buy your health plan directly from the insurance company, and cut out the “middle person”, you will save money. This is absolutely not the case. In fact, insurance companies rely on agents for most of their business and that’s why they pay them commissions for bringing in customers. It does not cost a consumer one penny more to use a licensed California health insurance agent to obtain their insurance coverage.There are many differences between California health insurance and other states including how it is applied for.For example, while Blue Cross and Blue Shield are one company in other states, here in California, each is separate and applied to individually as Anthem Blue Cross of California and Blue Shield of California.California health insurance law AB 1672 is an improvement over the federal HIPAA law that covers all states in that it includes the following with regard to California group coverage:1. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions may change over to a new group health plan without an exclusionary period.2. It allows small businesses and professional organizations to have access to health plans providing they have between 2 and 50 full time employees.3. It keeps insurance rates from climbing after a claim is filed.4. Employees who have health problems may change jobs or health plans without being rated higher for having pre-existing conditions.That said, the very best health insurance agent for your individual and business needs is an “Independent Agent.” Why? Because they represent multiple insurance carriers, not just one. An independent agent can help you select the most appropriate cost-effective plan offering the most benefits for your dollar as available from the major carriers, rather than feeding you just one company’s line of health plans which may not suit your particular needs. Many people are too complacent and settle for what their current insurance company has to offer. They could use a good independent agent to sort through the many plans available from multiple insurance carriers to find and provide the best choice of options.Another misunderstanding you may have is that insurance agents set the premium rates for the health insurance plans they sell. Thinking if you shop around you may get a better price for the same plan. Premium rates are based on your age, zip code or county in which you reside and are controlled completely by the insurance companies. Every agent uses the exact same rate guides set by the insurance companies. The condition of your health may affect your premium, which may be rated up after the insurance company’s underwriting department has reviewed your medical records. Again, the insurance company, not the agent, determines that outcome.Now, let’s talk about the benefits of having a good insurance agent representing you. Most consumers neither know nor understand the benefits of a health plan being offered and need the expertise of an agent to explain the benefits to them in full. For example, do you know what the difference is between an “out-of-pocket maximum” and an “annual deductible?”An out of pocket maximum is the most you will have to pay in a given year for deductible and coinsurance for covered benefits before your insurance starts to pay 100% of most expenses until the year ends.An annual deductible is usually the amount you pay each year before your health plan starts paying anything for covered services. Generally, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Certain services such as prescription drugs carry separate deductibles. Plans may vary and sometimes benefits will kick in before you have to meet the deductible.A knowledgeable health insurance agent can be a guide through the maze and help you choose the right plan to meet your needs and budget while obtaining the most benefits for your dollars spent. An agent will also make clear how the benefits for a generic prescription may differ from the benefits for a brand prescription on a particular plan.After you have a health plan in place, a good, caring agent will remind you to pay your premium on time so the insurance company doesn’t cancel you. Your agent can also be an enormous resource for assistance if you run into a problem with a health insurance claim. Instead of waiting on hold at the insurance company’s 800 number for thirty to forty- five minutes, call your agent and explain your problem and if you have chosen the right agent, you will get help and may save yourself lots of time and frustration, maybe even some money by having an expert in your corner where your best interests come first.So next time you or someone you know, fills out one of those on-line forms for a health insurance quote and you get several phone calls from health insurance agents wanting your business, be grateful that a professional wants to help you for free to choose the right plan and you’ll have an important friend for life.

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Student Health Insurance – Tips to Help You Choose the Right Policy

It is summer 2006. Young and not so young people are graduating from school and there are millions of people who are starting to think about student health insurance. Here are some tips for parents and students who are looking for health insurance for a college student, health insurance for a graduating college student or health insurance for an older graduate student. There are a lot of choices. This article is designed to give you an overview of the choices available to students.Health Insurance For College Students You should explore all of the medical plan options available to you. Your choices may include:
Getting health insurance through the student’s employer.
Getting medical insurance through your local Blue Cross Blue Shield or other private health insurance plan.
Getting “college student health insurance” through a plan offered by their college or university.
Getting health insurance as a dependent on the policy of a parent or spouse.
When looking for the non-group health insurance plans that are available in your area, you may want to contact your state’s insurance department. You can contact them and find out which companies market individual health insurance in your area. Healthcare choices for the out-of-state student If you live on campus, look into the plans offered in each area. If your parents live in Florida, but you go to school in Texas, you should see what health insurance plans are available to you in both states. A student who has a permanent address of Connecticut and attends Yale in New Haven should only purchase a Connecticut-approved plan. If the same student transfers to UCLA, he or she can also explore plans offered in California. Some plans may even charge differently based on your zip code, so even if your two addresses are in the same state, you may still save money by looking at rates for both areas. Health Insurance For A Graduating College Student You should explore all of the medical plan options available to you. Your choices may include:
Getting health insurance through the former student’s employer.
Getting medical insurance through your local Blue Cross Blue Shield or other private health insurance plan.
Purchasing short-term health insurance to cover you until your employer-sponsored plan becomes effective.
Getting health insurance as a dependent on the policy of a parent or spouse.
Medical Insurance Plans to Watch Out For:

Discount plans. These are not health insurance plans! These plans can save you money on health care, but only offer discounted services and not true insurance benefits. If you had a major accident or sickness, getting 25% off of a healthcare bill of $50,000 may not give you the benefits you hoped for.

Accident only plans. Students get the flu, mono and even cancer. Being covered with an accident only plan can offer substandard coverage when compare to a comprehensive health insurance plan. (By the way, an unplanned pregnancy is not considered an accident either J. 🙂 )

Hospital Only or Basic Plans. These plans tend to offer good coverage in the hospital but little coverage outside of the hospital. These plans can save you from a hospital bill that might otherwise bankrupt you. However, today hospital stays are getting shorter and more and more healthcare is being done in doctors offices. If keeping your premiums low is important, consider a plan that covers you both in the hospital and in the doctors office that has a high deductible.

School Sponsored Clinics And Urgent Care Centers. They cover you well for the little things, but not so well for the big things. There may be no coverage for surgery or hospitalization. In contrast to hospital only plans, these plans my not cover you for a hospital stay or for surgeries.
Finding the right student health insurance is important. College students and graduating college students have a lot of choices. Hopefully reading this article will make you aware of the options that you have. This article can be copied and reprinted but only in its entirety. The article was originally published on http://www.1800insurancect.com/articles/student-health-insurance-article.htm. The article starts with the heading “Student Health Insurance – Tips to Help You Choose the Right Policy” and ends with this sentence.