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Fee-for-Service health insurance coverage options

Fee-for-Service or indemnity plans are the oldest type of health coverage out there, providing you with the greatest extent of flexibility. You are absolutely free to choose the doctor, specialist, surgeon or even the place you will receive your medical service from and it doesn't require any approvals or referrals from other institutions. So what's the catch?

The drawback of Fee-for-service plans is that they are quite costly and usually have higher deductibles than managed care plans. Besides, you will also have to pay a large part of your actual medical bill out of pocket. That's the price you have to pay in order to obtain the flexibility provided by these plans. But this doesn't mean that there are completely no restrictions with fee-for-service plans.

For instance, fee-for-service health insurance plans will not provide coverage for preventive healthcare services, meaning that any vaccinations, regular check-ups and physical exams will be paid for entirely out of the customer's pocket. This makes fee-for-service plans quite inconvenient for families who need regular medical services and doctor consulting.

Fee-for-service plans require an annual deductible to be paid in order to receive the coverage benefits from the insurance provider. Once you do so, your medical expenses are distributed between you and the insurance carrier. You will usually pay something between 20% and 30% of the entire service fee and your insurance company will cover the rest. So it's really important to choose a plan that has a smaller co-insurance (the part you have to pay out of pocket) before actually purchasing it.

With most fee-for-service plans you also have the so-called “caps” that are basically the upper limits of your yearly deductibles. These can be anything from $1,000 to $5,000 not taking your monthly premiums into account. So it's better to see what your plan carries before signing it if you really want cheap health insurance with fee-for-service.

On the other hand, fee-for-service plans offer comprehensive and timely coverage when you need it, especially when there's a medical emergency. You are completely free of the bureaucratic restrictions and setbacks of typical managed care plans that can turn down any desire to receive medical assistance in the first place. However, bear in mind that fee-for-service plans won't be suitable and attractive for everyone. If you want to get comprehensive coverage for preventive care or have a large family with diverse healthcare needs you better investigate managed care plan options instead of indemnity plans.

And don't forget about comparison shopping when purchasing fee-for-service coverage. Try to get as many health insurance quotes from different providers as possible and compare them in detail. You will be surprised to find out that different companies have different premiums, “caps” and co-payments that will all contribute to the final cost of your insurance coverage. So it's always better to take some time comparing you options rather than complaining that you have a costly insurance plan after purchasing it.


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