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HEALTH INSURANCE

Group Health Insurance

Group health insurance covers a group of people. It is usually set up by a company that wishes to cover their employees, but it can contain different groups of people other than coworkers. Sometimes an organization or special interest group may also offer group health insurance to their members. If you belong to a trade association, they may offer you insurance as might a church or even the chambers of commerce.

What type of benefits might group health insurance offer you? Group plans are often cheaper after the initial set-up cost. This is because the insurance companies make a bigger profit when there are more people on a plan, so they can offer it at a lower cost to the participants. In some cases, you may work for a company that pays for part, if not all, of your group health insurance premiums. One big advantage is that once an insurance company agrees to ensure all the participants under a group health insurance plan, there is no need to take a physical exam and you don't even have to fill out a health history questionnaire.

Of course, there are a few disadvantages to group health insurance. You may have limited choices in some cases. If the group health insurance was established a while back and you are a new employee, you have no say so in what type of group policy it is, such as Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). An HMO usually means that from a list of doctors, you get to select one as your primary care physician. If you need to be referred to a specialist, such as a dermatologist, it will have to be coordinated by your primary care physician. This does not affect emergency care – you can still see any doctor in case of an emergency. With a PPO, you usually are allowed to choose any doctor you would like to see, but if you choose a physician off the insurance companies preferred list, you usually get more benefits.

When you join an existing group health insurance policy, you also will not get any say so in the cost of the premium, deductible or maximum lifetime coverage. However, the advantages of group health insurance see to outweigh the disadvantages.

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