Health insurance frequently asked questions
Health insurance is a contract with an insurance company, which agrees to pay some or all of your medical bills based on your “coverage,” or the terms of your policy. In exchange, the insurer is paid a set amount of money — a “premium” — on a regular basis. Most Americans have private health insurance, either through their employer’s group plan or through buying their own individual policy. Others are covered under public “safety net” programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.
It’s no secret that health care is expensive today. The government says the cost to treat a broken leg can run $7,500 and an average three-day hospital stay can set you back $30,000. Without insurance, many Americans would be one health setback away from financial ruin. Regularly paying a set premium for health coverage assures that money will be available to defray the cost of everything from routine checkups to catastrophic medical bills.
All three are medical charges you must pay out of your own pocket, even if you have insurance. Your deductible is the initial amount you must pay each year for covered health services before your insurer will start to chip in. Plans may have separate individual and family deductibles and/or deductibles for separate services such as hospitalization. A copayment is a fixed amount you pay toward each medical service, such as $25 for a checkup. Coinsurance is a fixed percentage, rather than a flat amount, that you pay toward each service.