Cheap Health Insurance Companies In Alabama

Everyone in Alabama, it seems, is looking for cheap health insurance companies. And why not? The cost of health insurance is now so high that 16% of all Alabama residents can not longer afford health coverage of any kind. Fortunately we’ve got ways for nearly everyone to get their health insurance at a cheaper cost than what they are now paying.

Start with something very simple. Pay your premium payments automatically from your bank account every month. If you set up an auto pay program the insurance company won’t have to spend money sending you a bill each month and they will reward you by charging you less for your insurance.

Don’t smoke or use chew or any other form of tobacco. You know just as well as anyone else that smoking or using chew will prevent you from getting the cheapest health care insurance possible, so if you are serious about getting low-cost health insurance then you’re going to have to be serious about giving up smoking.

Unfortunately your weight plays a big role in how much you pay for health insurance as well. Losing weight is even more difficult than quitting smoking for most people, but if you can find a way to shed even a few pounds then you at least stand a chance of dropping down a rung on the insurance company’s weight chart and that could save you hundreds of dollars each and every year.

If you don’t see your doctor on a regular basis then increasing your co-payment from 25% to 50% not only makes sense it will definitely save you a considerable amount of money on the cost of your premium every month.

The fastest and surest way of getting cheaper health insurance is to raise your deductible. While this is one way to definitely save money every month keep in mind that you will have to come up with the amount of your deductible every year before your insurance company will pay for any of your health care, so don’t promise more than you can afford to pay.

The best way to find cheap health care companies in Alabama is to look online. There are literally dozens of websites that encourage you to compare the prices of health insurance from a number of different companies. In order for you to see the prices from the largest number of companies – and therefore stand the best chance of finding the lowest possible price – you’ll need to make your comparisons on at least 3 different sites.

But as soon as you’ve made all of your comparisons then all you need to do is to choose the lowest price you found – and you’ve done it!

Health Insurance Companies – Their Abuse And Tricks, Part One

There is little or no doubt that the Health Insurance Industry has a strangle hold on doctors and other healthcare providers and the delivery of healthcare. There may be little hope as a significant number of these health insurance companies get richer and richer; their buildings get taller and taller and they become more powerful political lobbyists. CEOs may command six or even seven figure salaries. In a significant number of cases, bonuses grow and flourish as life-saving or health preserving medicines and care are denied. This series of articles will focus on the abuse inflicted on healthcare providers and the healthcare system by a significant number of health Insurance companies. “The nation’s HMOs reported a $3.6 billion profit for the first three months of 2005, representing a $646 million, or 21.4 percent, increase over the $3.0 billion earned during the first quarter of 2004” according to Weiss Ratings, Inc.

Abuse #1: Pre-existing Condition.

Patient walks into a doctor’s office to be seen and he or she presents his or her health insurance card. The staff verifies insurance coverage and / or obtains a valid referral (permission) from the insurance company to see the patient. The patient is seen to take of the concerning health problem. The insurance company is billed. The doctor’s claim for payment is denied. Pre-existing condition is the reason given by the insurance company. In other words this condition started before (pre-existed) the insurance coverage. However, a doctor cannot know this unless he or she first sees the patient and takes a history. The doctor or other healthcare provider may never get payment. The patient despite paying premiums may get stuck with the bill. The insurance company pockets this money. The fight is on. Guess who usually wins, the company in that 20 or 40 story plush corporate office building that has enough red tape to tie up the healthcare provider for months to come. Guess who usually gives up.

Example: I was asked to consult on a hospitalized patient because she was passing blood and in pain due to a kidney stone. Imagine my surprise when my claim for payment was denied for pre-existing condition. The insurance company claimed that the stone was pre-existing!

Abuse #2: Referral or Prior Authorization

It is my opinion that the practice of insurance companies mandating that healthcare providers get special permission (referrals or prior authorizations) should be banned. These referrals or prior authorizations may be imposed on a healthcare provider before he or she can give a patient a health preserving medicine, diagnostic test, hospitalization or even an office visit. Referrals or prior authorizations in too many cases delay care and may place a patient’s health in jeopardy. They are barriers to care and in many cases are used as weapons to deny care in order to line the pockets of the insurance company. Isn’t it silly to think that healthcare providers who have spent many years in training and are indeed experts can’t determine on their own if a patient needs to be seen or is in need of a medicine or test.

Example: A patient presented to my office just after closing. I had seen her in consultation in the past for uncontrolled high blood pressure. She was not feeling well and she complained that her blood pressure was elevated. The insurance company was closed so we could not get a referral number. I obviously saw the patient and administered medicine to reduce her blood pressure. She felt better. I also prevented a needless emergency room visit. The next day we called the insurance company to explain our situation and they said they would deny our claim since we saw her without permission.

Healthcare providers and patients must speak up and demand that our elected officials make health insurance industry reform a priority.