A health insurance policy is a legal agreement where an insurer gives coverage for some or most of your medical care costs for a certain price. That price is called a premium.
If you work for a large company, the premium may be paid by your employer. If not, you may buy insurance on your own or through a group.
Health insurance can also be provided by the federal or state government, such as Medicare (for people over age 65) or Medicaid (for people with a low income).
Types of health insurance
The basic types of health insurance are:
Each type has pros and cons.
- A fee-for-service plan gives the most flexibility, but you pay more in terms of money and time (such as time spent doing paperwork).
- With an HMO, you pay less, but you have fewer choices.
- With a preferred provider organization, you can leave your options open and balance flexibility and cost each time you make a health care decision.
Getting health insurance
If you don’t have health insurance, you can get coverage by:
- Buying group insurance through your employer or other organization (such as a union or civic group)
- Getting coverage through federal and state programs (such as Medicare and Medicaid), if you are eligible
- Getting coverage on your parent’s health plan (if you’re under 26)
As part of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can’t limit coverage based on a pre-existing condition (such as breast cancer).
Dealing with problems
Insurance problems are stressful. If a claim is denied or if you change (or lose) your job during breast cancer treatment, there are things you can do. There are laws to protect you.
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