In Pennsylvania alone, over 1.4 million people lack health insurance. My family was part of this statistic less than two years ago when my husband unexpectedly lost his job. To make matters worse, just five days earlier, we learned we were pregnant with our second child. The financial position we found ourselves in was terrifying. We dropped a full-time income and lost medical insurance in only one week’s time. Cobra was offered to us, but with the loss of income, we didn’t have the $400 it would cost for the monthly premium. Thousands of individuals and families find themselves in similar situations everyday. There are several reasons for the lack of insurance. But whatever the reason, it is important to know that you have options.
According to the Consumer Health Alliance more than 45 million Americans are without health benefits and that number is steadily growing. In most cases, for the households with no benefits, at least one person in the household is working a full-time job. The number of households that have insurance are dealing with rising premiums, rising co-pays, and a loss of benefits. In fact, health insurance costs are rising by 10% to 15% or more annually! The middle class is the hardest hit by these rising costs. They make too little to cover insurance premiums on a monthly basis, but they make too much to qualify for Medicaid. The Health Care Situation is distressing. But it’s NOT hopeless.
Consumer Driven Health Care is a relatively new concept but it should by no means be overlooked. The Consumer Health Alliance was launched in 1992 to regulate this new industry. The companies affiliated with the Consumer Health Alliance offer discount medical cards to their members. According to the Consumer Health Alliance, these discount cards are gaining popularity because they allow consumers to gain access to the healthcare they need without the exclusions, limitations, and paperwork typically associated with insurance. If you are suffering from a medical condition and can’t get insurance, a discount plan won’t exclude you! In fact, your medical history is of no concern to them. You can enroll in the plan and get affordable care immediately! And even better, the monthly membership fee is nominal.
The other benefit to these plans is that many offer supplemental packages that include dental, vision, prescription, and chiropractic benefits that are an affordable complement to insurance plans. Too many companies are having to scale back the benefits packages for their employees just to keep insurance affordable. Although a good dental plan is the 2nd most requested benefit, it’s also one of the first things to go when a company is forced to cut back.
The plans work this way. For a low monthly fee, members of discount plans gain access to wholesale rates similar to what large insurance companies pay. When care is received at a participating provider, the member pays the discounted fee at the time of service. It’s a benefit not only to the member, but also to the provider who is able to get payment up front with no paperwork to file. The services offered by the benefits companies will vary. For example, AmeriPlan Health® offers a comprehensive package for the uninsured that includes Doctors, Specialists, Ancillary care (labs, scans, hearing, etc.), Dental, Vision, Prescription, Chiropractic, and Hospitalization. They also offer a Dental Plan that includes FREE Vision, Prescription, and Chiropractic Benefits.
Should you look into a fee-for-service plan? That depends, every insurance plan is different. Some are very comprehensive and include a good dental and vision plan. Others don’t. If you’ve got kids that need orthodontic work, a discount plan could save you thousands. If you are looking into bridgework, cosmetic dentistry, or dentures, it would be worth your while to check out a discount plan. I can’t say enough about how great these plans are.
It’s my mission to get benefits to those who need them. I will never forget the stress our family faced when we didn’t have any medical benefits. If you are undinsured or underinsured, look into your options. You can get affordable care. And if you are uninsurable, there is help for you as well!